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Any NH tips?

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  • My part arab mare hates arena work

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    09-05-2011, 04:32 PM
Green Broke
^^ Pretty much. BOTH my mares are total left-brain introverts, which can be fun at times but a pain when I want to do arena work in the winter.
My arab mare used to crowhop every time we ran (and still does whenever we are in the indoor arena) but has gotten so much better. I ride her mostly bareback now & we run all the time. She had very poor ground manners, though and NO patience! She would NOT stand still to be brushed & saddled, would pull back sometimes when bridling and always had her attention on anything but me, whether on the ground or in the saddle. It was SUCH a pain!
I lived with her for 2 years like this and then started NH. Now it takes literally less than 5 minutes of just doing some of the ground exercises, especially circling and backing up and I can leave her groundtied to saddle & bridle & don't even need to ride her in a bridle anymore!
I see more sense in this than others who run their horses in mindless circles for long periods of time trying to get rid of the horse's excess energy. If the horse's mind is engaged, it won't matter how long he's sat in pasture or what breed he is. He will listen to you because you are the leader.
Also (just to point it out) basic longing just stimulates and increases the horse's flight instinct because all you're doing is chasing the horse around. This CANNOT build a horse's respect or confidence in you as a leader, just convince it that you are a predator).
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    09-12-2011, 04:58 PM
Trust and respect.

Approach and retreat.

Pressure and release.

Those are the six key things I've learned in the past four years of working with a trainer who focuses on what most people would call natural horsemanship, but she just calls...horsemanship. You can't establish leadership without trust and respect. The horse has to trust that you aren't going to do them harm, and respect your space and your authority. Approach and retreat allows the horse to build confidence. Never inhibit a horse's curiosity--if it's interested in an object, encourage that. If it's afraid of something, encourage the horse to approach the object, but also allow them to retreat from it so they know they have the ability to "get away" from it and be safe--that's their prey animal instinct. They'll become more confident about approaching scary things. Finally, release is the reward from pressure. Timing is critical, and something we can always improve on. Learning to release at the right time lets us control all the body parts of the horse, and is the foundation for liberty. Pressure and release can be tangible--actually touching the horse--or used in terms of body language when you get to the liberty stage.

I've found one of the biggest mistakes people often make with horses is to overcomplicate things (whether with equipment or methods), and keeping these 6 terms, or 3 relationships, in mind can really help work out a problem on terms the horse is going to understand.
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    09-14-2011, 02:39 PM
Green Broke
I agree, especially about allowing & encouraging the horse to approach/confront something it's uncertain of. So many people i've seen actually try everything to avoid something they think/know will make the horse spooky but by doing this the horse will never overcome the fear and the more you shelter him the more unconfident and nervouse he will become.

Another thing i've learned is how to differentiate between a horse who's being stubborn and a horse who's acting out of fear.
For EX: one horse I know has been loaded & trailered MANY times in his life (he's around 10) and has no issues going in the trailer first try if there's another horse in it already but if you try loading him on his own he will plant his feet and sometimes pull backwards.
For the longest time we (he's not my horse) thought he was just being stubborn and didn't want to get in the trailer, but now we understand that although he's been in the "metal cave on wheels" countless times, he still lacks the confidence to approach it himself.
This is why it's a great idea to teach the horse to load on his own, without being led into the trailer because it causes him to confront the situation by himself and this builds confidence.

natural horsemanship, training tips

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