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Would like suggestions please!

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  • When starting a colt do i spank on the shoulder or butt for forward motion

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    02-27-2013, 07:00 PM
Fair 'nuff, sounds like ya been there a few times :) I will take all the advice I can get! I will try this as soon as I have the combination of time and people power. Have any ideas about giving her front? That's the only other thing I'm stuck on with her (there's other things we are working on, but aren't stuck)
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    02-27-2013, 09:42 PM
What kind of trailer do you have? If it's a straight load, can you take the divider out?

As for her front end, lots of circles in varying diameters. Make sure you have correct, not over or under bend.
    02-28-2013, 08:22 AM
Super Moderator
Why on earth would you NOT want to teach a horse to do it right? Accommodating the kwirks and holes in a horse's training is as bad as no training at all. It is leaving the horse in charge.

On moving shoulders laterally:

Once a horse has made up its mind that it is easier to flop its butt around than move its shoulders laterally, it is kind of like the trailer backing thing -- they just develop an aversion to moving their shoulders. This is one reason I have always posted that when I do any groundwork with a horse I only rarely ask them to disengage their hind quarter once they know how. I rare do it under saddle and never combine it with a 'one rein stop' unless the horse is trying to buck or do something really bad. When they develop an aversion to it, they will do ANYTHING to keep from moving those darn shoulders. I've seen a bunch of them.

Some of these horses always show resistance to moving their shoulders. Once they have made up their minds they don't like it, I have always had to get a little rougher on them. I first try to have someone stand next to their hip on the same side as I'm on and see if I can make them move that shoulder while the other person does not let them flop their hip over. I've also stood them in a gate opening with their hip right next to the gate-post They usually just throw their hip into my helper or try to back up -- they just do not want to give that shoulder.

I usually end up using a piece of twisted up baling wire. If you fold up an uncut loop of baling wire in half and then fold it over a second time and twist it up, it will be about 20 inches long. You can fold it up like a big 'U' and stick it in your back pocket. I will spank a horse's shoulder with my makeshift crop and smooch. They will try to go backwards, but I just keep on pecking at one's shoulder until he takes that first step over. Then, instantly quit and back off.

It is important that you do not let a horse bend its neck way around when you do this. That just makes them more determined to flop their butt to get comfortable. Keep a horse's head pretty straight in front of him and put the pressure (the baling wire bat) on his shoulder while you smooch.

When a horse does this nicely on the ground, you can carry it over to moving its shoulders under saddle. Just keep its head pretty straight in front of it and tap on its shoulder while walking slowly forward in a pretty big circle. It is very important that you do not let this horse 'over-bend' or do what I call 'rubber-neck'. You don't want to spank his shoulder hard; just peck on it and outlast him. Don't stop until the shoulders go over enough that you can 'feel' it; then let him straighten out still walking forward.

Let us know how it works out.

    02-28-2013, 12:21 PM
I have worked her this morning, got about the same results (with her front end). Got some pretty nice side passing though XD . I did get a couple of actual steps out of her, a couple of different times (looked accidental, but I took it) and let her think about it, then saw one good try, though still very stiff about it, and kept nagging at her til she made accidental progress that wasn't so stiff- seems like when she actually trys, she turns into a log. I know she can do it on her own. But this is more or else how it goes, seem unable to bridge the gap. (In the very beginning, I would let her off with trys, stiff or otherwise. I now try to get more out of her, as in, I try to get the correct way out of her) I'm not looking for absolute perfection, I don't mind if her back hoof doesn't screw into the dirt, but just keep her butt in the same relative spot and she's not clanking her front feet together and tripping over herself (I want her front feet moving correctly) for a full 360. That's my primary goal at this point, and then can focus more on getting perfection. (Though I've found if you get the front end moving correctly, the back end generally falls in line and becomes more natural)

So far as flexing, I was still having a hard time getting her to move her neck (as usual) she would bend her head back while keeping her neck fairly straight, she gives a little, then stiff as a board. I try tug tug tug, and all I get is tug tug tug back (I pick up light and then tug, repeatedly) with little (if any) release on her part.

I'm not going to be able to try the trailer til this weekend, but I will let you know.

Btw way, this is the first horse I've ever worked with from the ground up (meaning, I've had her since birth) so any holes here are mine (I accept that). She got a late start with training, and I had never started a horse. I haven't been working under saddle with her recently, since she seemed to have regressed horribly after some changes were made (living situation, she started to get super jumpy, flighty, and just doing things and acting out in ways she had never done before), so I'm more or less starting over with her and making her remember she has a brain and how to use it. (It is also incredibly difficult to do anything under saddle after your horse plows you in the dirt and fractures your ankle... Ugh. I did manage to get back on anyway directly afterward, but I decided since she lost her mind I needed to take a step back)

So, if you (generally, to anyone) have any critique on what I'm doing I am in for the learning. I'm currently starting a young guy who has had some severe behavioral issues, and I'm using any acquired knowledge for him, as well- since if he has any holes, it has the ability to turn bad quickly. (In a perfect world he would go to a professional, but rescues have limited funds, and trainers willing to deal with those things are fewer and far in between- and he's my foster, so it's up to me to get him adoptable and sane, he is doing very well, though) I know it's hard to critique without seeing so I try to explain the best I can.

So far as the trailer, I have a two horse straight load with removable divider (completely open in the back, no bars). It's a large trailer - tall and wide (wider than most horse trailers, more like a stock)- it's primary problem is that it's high off the ground, so shorter horses (15hh or less) have a tendency to want to jump into it (it comes up to their knees), rather than step, and that first step out can be a doozie compared to most. I usually back it up to a higher spot of land or platform initially to build confidence, and after a few goes in and out, they are good for the bigger step. And have no problems, in fact, she's the only one I've had issues with!

This weekend I will (more likely than not) be coming home with a 2h slant (friend is selling it for a good price and will allow me to make payments, mine is just simply too big for my truck to safely haul, so I have to borrow other's trucks) Will be smaller (though its one of the taller types) but shouldn't be a problem. My horse has been loaded into all different types of trailers, at different times of the day and night, and as I said she doesn't have any problems going in. She's slow (not resistant), deliberate. I don't have to go in with her, I just point, she goes, throw the lead over her back and then tie her.

I appreciate all input. Sorry for length!
    02-28-2013, 01:53 PM
To Cherie;

These two long ropes are attched to each side of the web halter? On the rings?

To OP:

I am not a trainer, so take my thoughts for what they're worth, which might not be much.

For the horse to move her front end over, she needs to have her weight on her hind to unweight the front. If , when asking her to pivot her front over, you first ask her to rock back over her hind legs, she might be more prepared to mover her front over.
When you back her up, does she just tuck her nose under and drag her front legs back? I would want to actually feel her rock back over her haunches enough for her to be able to LIFT each front foot while backing. Backing her up a hill can help develop the strength and balance to learn to stay over the haunches and pick UP the front feet and place them back, not drag them back.
You can even play with when you are just sitting on her, she's resting, see if you can get her body to rock backward wtihout her even moving a foot. That's teh "getting ready" position. Then, rock her back and then see if you can get her to place one of her frtont feet out to the side (you pick which one). If you know which side of her body she is more heavily weighting, then pick the other side, since she cannot move first a foot that is weighted.
    02-28-2013, 03:08 PM
She used to "tuck and scoot" while backing(fighting the whole way) but we have over come this! She backs well now, and picks up her feet (over small obstacles and such, to encourage her to also feel where her feet are going, aside from just trying as quickly as possible). Since we cover various terrain, I'm more for encouraging her to pay attention to where/how her feet are planted rather than just going as fast as possible. I haven't backed her up an incline on a regular basis, but I can see how that would help in regards to balance and such as you mentioned.
    02-28-2013, 03:25 PM
Wausuaw, CHERIE's advice is sound.
Perhaps you are not aware that
1) retraining can take up to 10x as long as correct training
2) calm repetition, with excessive PRAISE when your horse tries, is the quickest way when a horse is frightened
3) it always takes longer than you plan for to solidify the fix for a training problem
4) YOU ARE ALWAYS TRAINING YOUR HORSE, with good habits or with bad habits
Your horse wants to trust somebody, and it might as well be you. A frightened horse can hurt you worse than a bad tempered one bc the latter will pretty much always give you a warning, like ears back and a foot raised. A frightened horse doesn't think, just reacts and the horse has the quickest reaction time of all of our domesticated animals.
Thank of yourself as your horse's savior. You will save him or her from all of the frightening things in his world by exposing him or her to them, and therefore, "desensitizing" them.
wausuaw likes this.
    02-28-2013, 04:11 PM
Super Moderator
Tinyliny -- You can do it in the lower side rings or the bottom ring, but I usually snap them into the bottom ring so I don't pull the halter up high on their face before they tuck their chins.

I also always teach horses to move their shoulders while walking forward so that they learn to cross one front over in front of the other. When teaching a horse to pivot or spin under saddle, all reining trainers teach them to start moving their shoulders while going forward in ever smaller circles. Then, a the circle tightens up, the horse has the movement down to cross over in front of the other front leg.

When you back a horse into a 'turn-around', what you get is a 'roll-back'. When a horse rocks back, the front leg closest to you goes behind the other front leg. If they do this for more than a step or two, they either hit themselves or 'lock-up' and back out of the turn-around. If you are riding them, they either lock-up or start 'hopping around'.

Reiners and show people (including showmanship contestants) MUST have a horse that sets one hind foot and crosses over in the front end for the entire pivot or turn-around. A good reining horse not only can do this for 4 complete spins (as called for in every reining pattern) but can do it 10 times if a rider asks it to. A spin or a pivot is a 'forward maneuver', never a backing one.

Cutting trainers, on the other hand, teach roll-backs. The horse rocks back or steps back, loads its weight on its back end and either steps behind the other front foot or 'sweeps' the ground for up to 180 degrees. A cutting horse does not need to turn more than 180 degrees and he needs to be able to 'give ground' to the cow if he needs to to protect himself from losing a fast cow. So, the roll-back is NOT a forward maneuver and is not suitable for show classes like showmanship, horsemanship or equitation.

I hope I explained this where it made sense. Cherie
Corporal, wausuaw and thenrie like this.
    02-28-2013, 04:18 PM
You are so right about teaching a side pass. My boy, "Buster" is spending the winter in his (tiny) 16' x 19' foot shelter (adjacent to the barn), and I clean around him. Now, when I ask "over" he often keeps his head in the manger and side-passes--nice crossover in front. I use my grain shovel in lieu of a whip, ha ha.
    02-28-2013, 08:54 PM
Cherie: that last post was very helpful. I never thought of it as a backward vs. forward motion before, and that sends me to a kind of eureka momment with the whole deal.

I don't think she has a problem with "getting it" I think I have more of a problem with being more consistent about it. I have a tendency to have her fallow me forward, then backward, then to the side. That itself throws her more on her rear initially, when she trys to go to the side, I can get a few good steps out of her, but since she's already on her rear and a push her more, she simply tries to do it fast, which is easier for her under, she gets locked up and goes back.

Essentially, I'm making the right way hard for her to accomplish.

*Click* there's a new brain wrinkle.

Corporal: Yes, it does take a lot longer to fix problems than it is to teach new lessons. With my mare, I know I'm the one at fault, and she has only known certain ways with me, and I have my own habits to break, between the two makes more of a challenge. Luckily, I have gained allot more insight in the last couple of years.

Oddly enough, I've got way more experience and knowledge "fixing" horses with serious problems (attacking, biting, spooky, etc- the more physoclogical horsey problems) than ones with the normal stuff, or starting fresh. I've just begun this journey of expanding my knowledge as to how to communicate these things- the relatively normal stuff beyond just going when told, steering, stopping, and not wanting to kill someone who's telling you to do it, getting trust, respect, confidence.

My mare, aside from this recent relapse (and I probably could now, at this second my ankle is mostly healed, but the last time I rode the stress on my ankle made it all screwed up again so I'm giving it more time) I could take anywhere, day or night, explore the whole world and she'd go right along with not trouble. I haven't trained her perfectly, mind you, and now that I'm learning more I'm finding the holes. It USED to be (as allot of people are) just happy she would get into a trailer happily with no resistance (coming out forward or not). USED to be, I didn't really care if she could pivot or not, just so long as she could get around in a tight space. BUT, I'm figuring it out. The why's, the how-tos and the why come's.

Luckily, there's a whole world of people out there with awesome knowledge I can feed from :)


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