Whip shy green horse - how do I get her to listen to my aids better?
 
 

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Whip shy green horse - how do I get her to listen to my aids better?

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  • I bought a green horse where do i start
  • Horse is whip shy

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    03-22-2012, 10:43 PM
  #1
Foal
Whip shy green horse - how do I get her to listen to my aids better?

I am working a 5-year old very green and opinionated Saddlebred mare. She is very resistant to going forward, light on forehand, kicks out and does bucks when I insist on asking her with my legs. We get into it with her all the time - basically we have who is boss confrontations, when I keep on applying my legs till she goes into a half-ass trot. Some days are better than others, and I know that the ideal way to fix this would be to add a crop or training whip to the aids, and tap her when she refuses to go. The problem is the horse is absolutely horrrified of it. I tried it once on her, she went ballistic - not just stubborn, pissed off ballistic. Her reasoning completely shut down, she went into a completely uncontrolled "I am scared and I will do whatever I can to get away" mode. It was just plain dangerous. How can I teach her to stop resisting the aids? She knows what I am asking, because on good days, when she forgets she is so very opinionated, she will go with half a tap!
     
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    03-22-2012, 11:10 PM
  #2
Yearling
Sounds like you need to move away from the saddle altogether and get this horses respect from the ground up. That will fix a lot of holes. Plus, on the ground you can desensitize her to a whip, teach her what it means when you wave a whip at her, and teach her to move away from pressure.

I would definitely start ground up, when a horse balks, it is a refusal to listen to pressure. Most horses, when you start over from the ground up teaching them pressure and release,are a lot easier and a lot safer to ride afterwards. You can then translate what you taught on the ground to the saddle.
     
    03-22-2012, 11:19 PM
  #3
Foal
I agree, and actually she is very respectful on the ground. I have done just that. Worked for weeks on end on the ground with and without tack. This is our 2nd week of riding.
     
    03-22-2012, 11:27 PM
  #4
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittiastra    
I agree, and actually she is very respectful on the ground. I have done just that. Worked for weeks on end on the ground with and without tack. This is our 2nd week of riding.

Did you do any pressure and release exercises on the ground, like pre-saddle training? With a newbie under saddle, I would work on flexing and turning, not trotting. It is only week 2 after all. When she has all that down at a walk, that's when I would start with a trot. If she is bucking and refusing when you use leg, then she needs to be taught on the ground what that pressure means.

And if she is terrified of a whip, she needs more groundwork. A horse should never be terrified of an aid of any sort.

Oh and one more thing. Is it just at a trot that she refuses to go faster? Or is it at a walk too?

If it is at a walk, I would out stubborn her before I would kick or use a crop.
     
    03-23-2012, 09:52 AM
  #5
Foal
No, she has no problem at a walk, unless we somewhere near the barn and she wants to go back, but she gives up easily on that. It is just the trot. And I have to add that she had been ridden before I got her, so she is not THAT green. She was just ridden by people who a) got her whip shy b) generally sour c)aggressive. We have overcome a lot of emotional issues, we have done pressure work on the ground, and the way she was yielding, I could tell that someone had done it with her before. So I am guessing she was broke not bad, and then pretty much spoiled by someone else. When I got to train her she had not been ridden in 6 months, and when she was ridden by new owners, she bucked them off every time. It is the case of people getting more horse than they can handle. So she is not completely green, she acts like it though - I am pretty much retraining her.
     
    03-23-2012, 11:42 AM
  #6
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittiastra    
No, she has no problem at a walk, unless we somewhere near the barn and she wants to go back, but she gives up easily on that. It is just the trot. And I have to add that she had been ridden before I got her, so she is not THAT green. She was just ridden by people who a) got her whip shy b) generally sour c)aggressive. We have overcome a lot of emotional issues, we have done pressure work on the ground, and the way she was yielding, I could tell that someone had done it with her before. So I am guessing she was broke not bad, and then pretty much spoiled by someone else. When I got to train her she had not been ridden in 6 months, and when she was ridden by new owners, she bucked them off every time. It is the case of people getting more horse than they can handle. So she is not completely green, she acts like it though - I am pretty much retraining her.

Okay well that sounds very similar to the situation I went through with my guy.

It sounds like she needs to be desensitized to a whip, and then maybe carry a crop? I would try that. Also, when she does trot well, let her relax at the trot. Keep her in it until you ask her to slow, but don't make it a long period of time. I would shoot for maybe 50 feet at first, then walk. Then ask again for another 50 feet. Gradually increase so she can work up her muscles. Also, this way she will know that she will eventually get to stop and not have to trot forever.

Good luck with her. It is a lot harder to undo bad training than it is to start a green horse, in my opinion. But it can be done. My gelding did not even want to move at all under saddle and would threaten a buck, rear, or crow hop when asked to trot at first. I ignored him and kept pushing, but this was after 6 months of extensive groundwork and a few vet visits. He also was terrified of whips. I have never used one under saddle with him, but he is no longer afraid of them. I just pushed him until he realized I wasn't going to give up and now I just click at him and we go into a trot. He is verbally trained walk,trot,canter. Lunging may also help you. If you can get her to understand your verbal cues for w/t/c when lunging, it will be much easier to get that under saddle. Also, if lunged correctly, she will build muscle and learn transitions, and learn to not be afraid of a whip.
     
    03-23-2012, 11:54 AM
  #7
Foal
Thanks for encouragement. When I lounge her, I do not even use a whip anymore. When I have a whip anywhere close, she will just gallop herself dead inside the roundpen. So I just work her with hand signals and voice. And that time she freaked, I had a crop, not a whip in my hand. So she is horrified of both :( Poor girl. Maybe she just needs more time. She is doing better with me than with her owner - with him she just stands! And aint' nothing going to move her!
     
    03-23-2012, 05:21 PM
  #8
Weanling
Agree that you need to do whip desensitization training. Did this with my 3yo when it was time to start using a whip but he over reacted to it. I think his experience prior was a lunge whip being used to gallop him around the ring to get his admittedly prodigious energy out.

Take her in the round pen on a 10-15 ft lead. Put her in a whoa, then walk around her with a short crop. Don't hold it like a whip, just pretend it is a random something for her to play with. Let her see it, let her sniff it, heck, let her eat it. Then just rub her all over with it while talking softly and telling her she is a good girl. If she tries to move have her stand and start over again. Once you get to the point where she is comfortable with this, do the same thing with a dressage whip...again, not hitting or tapping, just getting her used to the touch/tickle. Basically, all you are doing here is getting her used to the touch and sight of the whip and teaching her that she doesn't need to fear/jump out of skin every time you pick it up.

Once you can do this, it is time to start teaching her that a tap means to move away from pressure. Using your hand or a spur, give her the signal to move her shoulders over one step. When she does, release the pressure and say good. Then repeat, only this time, tap with the whip at the same time. Also do this on her flanks to have her move a step to the right/left. Eventually, you should be able to tap her and she will move the part you are tapping. Again, do all this from the ground.

Once she is comfortably doing this on the ground, you can mount up and try it at the walk and then go from there. I've found that turns on the haunches and forehand and leg yeilds are perfect for teaching this lesson. When I first started this, I only carried the whip for the 10-15 minutes I was specifically training with it. Eventually you can hold it the whole time.

Unless she is seriously scared for some reason, it shouldn't take more than a week or so of 10 or so minutes a day doing this.

BTW, once I had my horse used to the crop and dressage whip, I used the dressage whip as my whip while lunging and then gradually transitioned to a full lunge whip. I still have to drop that occasionally if he is too hot lunging, but usually, I can consistently carry the lunge whip now.
     
    03-23-2012, 06:00 PM
  #9
Foal
(Subbing). :)
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    03-23-2012, 07:50 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Agree that she needs some desensitization work done to get her used to the whip.

In the meantime, have you tried slapping the reins over her neck as a cue to get going? The first horse I leased was also afraid of whips (funny story... her owner told me she "didn't like" whips, but one day she was just super sluggish so I decided to give one a try. I got off to get the whip; as soon as I mounted again and she saw the whip- it didn't even touch her- she bolted. It wasn't until I though to throw the whip aside that she calmed down.) I was definitely too much of a beginner to use spurs then (I still have never tried them...), but slapping the reins a little bit around her neck was enough to get her going. I never had to do it hard, and eventually, when she started feeling me gathering them up that was enough.
     

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