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Work as punishment

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    05-25-2013, 10:27 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by GallopingGuitarist    
Do you think I did the right thing with this horse, or should I have pushed her farther and made her accept me grooming or rubbing on her longer?
If it was me, I would not push her further. As we ask for respect from the horse, I think we need to return that respect so if there are certain things that an individual horse does not like, I endeavour to minimize the intrusion/irritation. For me, the correct response or achievement of an end goal is what I want and if the horse gives me that then I will try my best to give them what they want. Horse personalities (just like human personalities), as no surprise to any of us here, are varied and some horses just don't appreciate excessive 'fuss'.
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    05-25-2013, 10:34 PM
Originally Posted by GallopingGuitarist    
I have question to add to this.
I worked with a TB filly that was way too smart for her own good. She also was a pissy, 'don't love on me', type of horse. If I petted or groomed her too long she would bite, strike, or kick at me. I would correct her firmly every time with a sharp "Hey!" and a elbow, slap, or whack with the back of the grooming brush. As I worked more with her and got to know her warning signs earlier and earlier along, I could catch her almost before her ears went back, with a quick, "Hey!" and she would stop. But I also knew what made her mad and learned not to groom or rub on her for so long.
As long as I walked up like I meant business, snapped the lead on, ran a quick brush over her, and then went to working on the saddle pad, surcingle, saddle or bridle right away she was less irritable.
She was still mouthy though and I learn one day that if I put a headstall with a snaffle on her she wouldn't try eating my clothes.

Do you think I did the right thing with this horse, or should I have pushed her farther and made her accept me grooming or rubbing on her longer?
I only worked with her for 6 weeks. She was a long yearling, and I giving her and another gelding (who was a sweet heart) a head start before they went to the track in Saskatoon the next spring.
The fact you were able to catch it early is great. The faster you catch it the better. I'd keep working on the grooming, slowly increasing the time over several weeks, months even if needed. As far as putting the bit in her mouth, interesting that stopped it. Do you attach anything to the bit when tied? Because if so that can be dangerous.

Honestly I wouldn't use the bit and correct the behavior as it happens, with a smack/flick and a firm no when she goes for you (I'd also have her tied so she can't whip her head around). It takes a long time and 6 weeks is nothing. I'm glad you have made progress with her!
    05-25-2013, 10:45 PM
The bit stopped the mouthyness... Not the bad attitude. Being a colt she liked to chew on everything and needed something in her mouth. I never tie a horse with the bit. Learned my lesson with my first horse.

I did this first... this is the filly.

Then I added the reins when I started working with giving to the bit. This is the gelding.

I didn't have solid place to tie the horses (I was working at their owner's place), so I preferred to keep the lead rope in my hand and be able to correct them that way.
When I mentioned the bit stopping the mouthyness to filly's owner, he looked at me and said that it was an old trick. He has had horses for years upon years. Mainly race horses, but also horses from the rez. He is a Metis follow in his late 60s.

I only worked with the horses for 6 weeks, and the filly did improve her attitude greatly in that time.
It was the first time I have ever worked with a horse that wanted to hurt me, because she didn't like what I was doing. Her dam was the same way. Very stand-off-ish and 'don't touch me, but I'll run over top of you'. I didn't work with her, just fed her every morning.
    05-25-2013, 10:52 PM
Oh, and this was three years ago that I worked with these horses. I was just wondering about it, because the thought her has always bugged me.

They both raced in 2011 and 2012. The filly, Bonchemin, liked to buck jockeys off and lope at the back of the pack. She has a really big attitude! Like really big! LOL!
The gelding, Elzear, did quite well. He won a race and came in 2nd twice, in 9 races.
    05-25-2013, 10:53 PM
I'll start off to Paso Fino. Are you talking about Paso Fino's? Where are you? Training Paso's in the U.S. Is a lot different then in the Latin American Countries and/or by Latin American trainers in the U.S. Then we have the "Natural" horse person vs ????.

My stallion was a BIG BITE horse while with the first trainer. I cold cocked him in his nose after the third time. The X-trainer almost fainted and ranted for an hour. My Stallion has NEVER tried to bite me since and that was over 5 years ago.

I THEN had to re-train my Paso into being a good and mannered horse.

Nothing like a know-it-all that has a closed mind.
    05-25-2013, 11:11 PM
Paso, I'll use lunging as a form of correction but there are lots of turnbacks which are much more tiring on the horse than circles. I do ask for a brisk trot and make him hustle. Canter can bring out defiance and possibly a huge kick in your direction. When there is serious unwanted behaviour I'll send the horse out like I plan on murdering it. I want it to know it has really overstepped it's bounds. NOW, the lesson isn't learned the first time this is done as the horse often doesn't make the connection. After the second time it's either figured it out or almost. Definitely by the third time. That's not to say it's completely done with. In a week or maybe a month the horse will try it again, because horses do this so be prepared to do as previously done and this is usually the last of it.
    05-25-2013, 11:18 PM
Originally Posted by Sereno    
I'll start off to Paso Fino. Are you talking about Paso Fino's? Where are you? Training Paso's in the U.S. Is a lot different then in the Latin American Countries and/or by Latin American trainers in the U.S. Then we have the "Natural" horse person vs ????.

My stallion was a BIG BITE horse while with the first trainer. I cold cocked him in his nose after the third time. The X-trainer almost fainted and ranted for an hour. My Stallion has NEVER tried to bite me since and that was over 5 years ago.

I THEN had to re-train my Paso into being a good and mannered horse.

Nothing like a know-it-all that has a closed mind.
Well the situation that started this all was just some random horse, based off a question on a different site. I deal primarily with Paso Finos, but I've had to use my methods with a variety of breeds, almost always the same results (granted there was a paso mare who would bite out of fear and I did not cold clock her like I would our stallion who would bite for attention or to play, I had to use very, very different methods with her). I am in the USA, but have dealt with trainers from both the USA and Latin America (various countries). Pretty much everyone uses the same techniques, there are very few "natural" people who believe smacking a horse is the absolute worse thing you can do (of any breed I've worked with Pasos are the ones I've noticed that become dangerous quick if you do not stop bad behavior immediately, besides one Paint I knew and half his stuff I think someone was encouraging to convince the owner to sell).

Heck with our stallion who tries to bite I was told specifically by my trainer to aim for his teeth, it is the only way he will stop otherwise he is like "oh you don't mean it I can do what I want haha". Once the issue is taken care of he is extremely sweet.
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    05-26-2013, 02:07 AM
Gallopingguitarist, my take on the filly is that you took the right approach. She's not trained that way, that's just her personality. Although training can help that, a personality isn't going to change. The goal is to teach horses like that that it's not okay to react to discomfort by biting or kicking/ in a dangerous manner, and that they need to behave themselves, but without antagonizing them. So, I think you took the right approach- sometimes, less is more, and being left alone/ keeping contact to the minimum is the biggest reward a horse can have. If you had used increased grooming/ contact/ etc. as a result of her shunning it, I'd bet she would just get worse. Although I do think that the grooming her a bit more every day is a good idea, as it would teach her that one, having a nasty personality is not going to get her what she wants, and two, she needs to act decently while with people/ humans mean business. You want to respect her, but without letting her be a dictator.
As for the original question of work as punishment... In regards to the specific situation of biting and making the horse do circles as punishment, I think that has a lot to do with the horse and their personality/ how excitable they are. Overall, though, I don't find that this specific method gives very good results... I personally don't like that approach in general, as a lot of the time, that kind of aggravated and longer-lasting response just serves to aggravate the horse without actually teaching them anything. One of my horses is a sensitive snowflake, who, when facing this kind of thing, gets so caught up in "ohmygoshohmygoshcirclescirclescircles" that he forgets about the whole "I shouldn't bite" thing. Basically, if I up the energy, so does he, so making him go in circles is not the answer. A firm no, an aggressive movement, a whack with the lead rope, then maybe making him back up a few steps, as long as it's quick, firm, and done calmly, he gets it. If my reaction is prompt and lasts within a few seconds, then back to normal after that, I get the best results with him and pretty much all the other horses I've dealt with so far.
Overall, work isn't necessarily being used as a punishment. It's not the work itself, its the discomfort. It's like swimming v. Swimmimg properly- when you synchronize your arms, legs, and breathing, it's still work, but it's so much more enjoyable than swimming incorrectly, which is uncomfortable, if that comparison makes sense.
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    05-26-2013, 02:38 AM
Originally Posted by Paso Fino    
So often I see someone ask about a disrespectful horse (usually in the form of biting). I always see an answer along the lines of "don't smack the horse! Make them do circles until you say stop!"

The point of a punishment is to associate the unwanted action with the consequence, therefore breaking the horse of the unwanted action.

I fail to see why making a horse work as a form of punishment is a good thing. I've seen plenty of horses take advantage of this, continue the habit yet go off and do circles on their own. That or they resent doing something like circles all together because they associate it with punishment.

Do you use work as punishment? If so why?

I will slap a horse all the way to Texas if he tries to bite. I have slapped my latest foal so hard he sat down on his butt like a dog for a second. He nipped me so hard I had purple bruises on my arm for a week. He has not offered to nip since.

I prefer not to work as punishment, I'd rather they associate work with a trail ride, a show, a good grooming session, lots of good attention and treats.
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    05-26-2013, 11:41 AM
I find that for some horses, for some behaviors, sometimes, work is the answer. It's just one of many tools I use. I wouldn't say that one tool or another doesn't work because I like using the variety.

If you circle using these 3 steps, you will help a horse calm down: 1. Inside rein, hand to your knee, slowly circle, 2. Now lift inside hand up to your inside shoulder, to bend horses shoulder, neck and barrel, 3. Finally, move that same hand over to your opposite (outside) shoulder to disengage hindquarters. Calms and supples. Not used as a punishment but a refocus exercise. I like this as a warm up and cool down/pre-flight move on every ride. But I also use it when horse is being distracted and balky during ride, for as long as it takes to refocus.

As a punishment for refusing to move forward (balking): I jump off and lunge in small circles with lots of changes of direction and I act like I will eat the horse with intensity. Only had to do this 3 times to solve problem of balking.

Refusal to load the trailer: lunging with lots of direction changes (your attitude is dogged calm) until they load themselves.

Moving while saddling: saddle in open area, not tied. When the horse moves, back her up several steps. Stop. Start again. Problem solved in three 10 minute sessions.

I can't think of other examples but I know there are more where I use work as a "punishment." But it works well in those examples.
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