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When ground work doesn't translate to undersaddle

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  • Horse doesnt want to move under saddle
  • Horse terrified under saddle

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    05-21-2012, 07:29 AM
  #21
Weanling
It sounds like it could definitely be something the rider did that made the horse insecure with her. If she's going to be scared and not trust him, they are only mirror the same emotion so he's going to be scared and not trust her either. She will have to learn to gain that back with her doing the work, or just never do it and have him respect everyone else.
     
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    05-21-2012, 09:07 AM
  #22
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cherie    
It was in response to all of the people I get, some that have had years of riding lessons, and they are clueless as to what to do when they want to go south and dobbin wants to go north. So many instructors teach 'equitation' and 'form' on an old lesson horse that take voice commands from the instructor but they never teach how to handle a horse that does not necessarily want to do what its rider wants or go where its riders wants it to go.

I see riders all of the time that sit up there with perfect form until the horse runs off to the gate and they scream or jump off or do absolutely nothing, maybe futilely pull straight back on both reins screaming "Whoa!".
Not to get off-topic or anything - but I think this is so true! I took lessons for years....but afterwards, discovered there was so much "basic" stuff that I just didn't know. Like - why use this bit instead of that one....or what certain horse behaviors mean.

There is a HUGE difference between an old schoolmaster who works daily and the trail horse left in the pasture for weeks at a time - and it is surprising how many people do not realize that!
     
    05-22-2012, 12:11 AM
  #23
Yearling
Very true. I bought my first horse when I was 27. By then i'd been riding for nearly 20 years. But truth be told, just because I knew how to ride doesn't mean I knew anything about being an owner. Hell, I didn't even know how to correctly wrap a polo wrap! This is yet another sad part of horses... simply because one knows how to ride a horse, doesn't mean one would make a good horse owner!
     
    05-22-2012, 12:32 AM
  #24
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by corymbia    
The reason a horse can be very responsive to cues on the ground, but completely "ignorant" when ridden is because the cues we use for ground work are mostly not the cues we use when we ride the horse. For example, when we want a horse to move forward when we lead it, we apply pressure on their poll from a halter and then they move forward we release the pressure and its the release that rewards the horse for moving forward. In contrast, when we want the horse to move forward under saddle we apply pressure on its sides with our heels and when it moves forward we release the pressure on its sides to reward it for making the correct response. The poll and the sides are two separate areas of the horse's body and we have to train the responses to pressure on these areas individually. The horse can't generalise between a pressure on its poll meaning walk forward and pressure on its sides meaning the same thing without being taught to respond that way.

When starting horses I often teach them to walk forward from a whip tap on their sides in the same place as I will put my heels once they are ridden. Even though this makes the process of them learning to move forward from heel pressure a bit quicker, they are usually still confused the first few times they feel my heels on their sides, until they learn that moving forward is what makes my heels go away.

Good ground work is essential to ensure the horse is safe to handle and has practiced responding to pressure cues in order to obtain the reward of pressure release. This does enhance their learning under saddle, however the specific responses we want from cues we deliver when we ride them have to be trained one by one irrespective of the training method or approach that we follow.
I've often wondered about this myself, I'm green myself only been with horses for about 2yrs I ask most of the people that are around me how can a horse really pickup what you want other then respect, from groundwork. I think groundwork is essential don't get me wrong but it just seems to make sense if you were asking them to do something on the ground, wouldn't it be better to put that pressure where you would be asking them from the saddle. I get a lot of vague responses

I think it is just as hard for the person to translate what they have been doing on the ground, to now the saddle.
     
    05-22-2012, 01:06 AM
  #25
Showing
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandra1313    
I think groundwork is essential don't get me wrong but it just seems to make sense if you were asking them to do something on the ground, wouldn't it be better to put that pressure where you would be asking them from the saddle. I get a lot of vague responses

I think it is just as hard for the person to translate what they have been doing on the ground, to now the saddle.
I encourage you to research "In Hand Training" as that done on the ground will translate directly to saddle.

But yes, that would be the logical thing to do to make it easy for your horse to understand the difference :)
     
    05-22-2012, 01:14 AM
  #26
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
I encourage you to research "In Hand Training" as that done on the ground will translate directly to saddle.

But yes, that would be the logical thing to do to make it easy for your horse to understand the difference :)
I do have a book about in hand training. I should probably drag it out again since my horse language has improved
Skyseternalangel likes this.
     
    05-22-2012, 01:58 AM
  #27
Super Moderator
It isn't how long you've been doing groundwork with a hrose that matters, it's how successful the ground work was. Groundwork done incessantly and only half ***edly just makes for a person who thinks that she's "done the homework" and a horse that thinks "I'm outta here first chance I get".

The kind of groundwork they were probably doing was undoubtedly focussed more on the "formula" than on any change it might create in the mind of the horse.


If you are able to help the lady, it would be cool, and she may need to pretty much jettison the things she has learned about ground work. Either stop doing it, or get someone to show her how to do it for results, not for "levels"
Oxer likes this.
     
    05-23-2012, 02:42 PM
  #28
dop
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxer    
I will try to keep this relatively vague in an attempt to be respectful to the people who were involved...

My feeling is that if your horse is a polite and respectful animal on the ground, then your work and the respect you've obtained should translate properly under saddle.

So today I went to spend some time with friends at another barn. This lady offered her horse to me for the day. She's been through some "stuff" and struggles with her confidence and her trust in her horse.
He didn't concern me in the least. He was rude and there were things that, were he my horse, I would address them IMMEDIATELY. But I worked him on the ground before I got in the saddle, and he was decent to ride around the property and in the arena.

The trouble happens when the owner decides that she wants to get on. She was so happy with how he was with me, that she thought (after 2 months of not riding) that she would be able to get on and go. That lasted about 4 seconds. She mounted from the block, he wheeled around, and bolted for his stall. She had to jump off to avoid being decapitated by the stall roofing!!

So here's my question:
This horse in particular was trained in a specific form of NH and has been since birth. However, my feeling is that although he's been very well ground trained, he was never properly under saddle trained. But wouldn't you suppose that a horse that has a solid foundation of ground training, should be much more polite and respectful under saddle as well?! I'm at a loss here.
Please don't take this wrong Oxer and I don't mean any offense at all but if you knew this lady hadn't been on her horse in two months and previously had issues with him, why would you think it a reasonable idea that she get on his back? Especially after you rode him around and found him to be only 'decent'??

I know you weren't there in any training capacity and you were simply taking the lady up on her offer to ride her horse that day. She got all happy seeing how well-behaved he was for you and she thought somehow it would translate for her. In a big way...you set her up to fail. Do you see what I mean?

From the horse's perspective, he had a confident, experienced rider on his back one minute and the next...a scary, nervous lady with shaking legs who should really be on the ground right next to him...feeding him cookies. Her anxiety turned into his and he wanted no part of it.

It really sounds like this lady needs to go back to square one...in-hand training/discipline and riding lessons from a professional where she's mostly walking him under saddle and they're learning each other, etc...before she gets hurt.

ETA..I know you didn't have control over what this lady did with her horse..but in a way as an experienced horsewoman...maybe you could have suggested she not do this..for safety sake..is all I'm saying.
     
    05-23-2012, 03:06 PM
  #29
Super Moderator
problem under saddle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oxer    
I will try to keep this relatively vague in an attempt to be respectful to the people who were involved...

My feeling is that if your horse is a polite and respectful animal on the ground, then your work and the respect you've obtained should translate properly under saddle.

So today I went to spend some time with friends at another barn. This lady offered her horse to me for the day. She's been through some "stuff" and struggles with her confidence and her trust in her horse.
He didn't concern me in the least. He was rude and there were things that, were he my horse, I would address them IMMEDIATELY. But I worked him on the ground before I got in the saddle, and he was decent to ride around the property and in the arena.


The trouble happens when the owner decides that she wants to get on. She was so happy with how he was with me, that she thought (after 2 months of not riding) that she would be able to get on and go. That lasted about 4 seconds. She mounted from the block, he wheeled around, and bolted for his stall. She had to jump off to avoid being decapitated by the stall roofing!!

So here's my question:
This horse in particular was trained in a specific form of NH and has been since birth. However, my feeling is that although he's been very well ground trained, he was never properly under saddle trained. But wouldn't you suppose that a horse that has a solid foundation of ground training, should be much more polite and respectful under saddle as well?! I'm at a loss here.
My advice, Tell her to sell him ASAP, he is not the horse for her and if she keeps him she will give up altogether. Failing is not knowing when to say 'no more of this' and admit that this is not the right horse for you
About 25 years ago we were asked to find a horse for an average but nervous girl rider who had outgrown her pony. Eventually we bought a beautiful mare from someone we knew well who was a very confident correct rider. The mare was perfect on the ground, she'd competed in showjumping, showing, dressage and even been used to lead the ladies daughter on her pony off. The prospective buyer was on holiday. I rode her, my husband rode her, a young girl who helped us out at weekends rode her, we all loved her. Perfect horse. Right up until the girl who wanted to buy her got on and if I hadn't seen it I would never have believed it but that mare went from quiet to crazy in about 2 seconds and the second time the kid tried to get on she wouldn't even accept that. I got straight on her myself and - back to quiet well mannered horse in an instant. We advertised her for sale and the first person to come to try her was also an average but nervous rider. I put her through her paces - perfect, the girls trainer rode her - perfect then the girl got on and instant explosion. We sold her to the next people who came along - experienced and confident, no problems and they spent many happy years together.
And the original girl? We found her a lovely gypsy cob that she and her mother both rode and enjoyed, I get a Christmas card from them every year and last year got the one that told me she had died peacefully in her field at the very good age of 34.
There is the right horse out there for everyone so why stick with the wrong one
     
    05-23-2012, 03:23 PM
  #30
Foal
Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
I encourage you to research "In Hand Training" as that done on the ground will translate directly to saddle.
Skyseternalangel I saw your guy being played with this week on the ground, kind of impressed with what I observed. Alli and company are really getting some kinks worked out, I saw some very good fore hand yelds and direction control. I don't think with continued play and time with Sky you will be able to call her green any more.

My horse knows really well when you switch riders. She is very responsive and a rider who can communicate to her where to go, no problems. But if they don't pass the test, she makes up her mind for them, and its not pretty. From what the OP describes she is most certainly not the herd leader on the ground or in the saddle. I think what in Hand training sets out to accomplish is using the same cues as you would in the saddle while on the ground. For example latteral flection, by applying pressure on one rein. Or pushing your finger into their side right at the girth to have them move sideways away. Which simulates what you want them to do when your leg presses into the side.

Most of us have different ideas on what to train or even how. Some people like voice cues (ex. "Whoa" and "Gittiup"), some people want a squeeze to move forward. Others want leg pressure to move the horse left or right instead of just forward or backwards. Still others like to use their seat to control speed, etc. I tell people when they mount my horse what to do, ie how she has been schooled. For moving forward, for stopping, for going sideways etc. And most importantly what to do if they fail the test of direction control. For my horse that's the emergency one rein stop.
     

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