Backwards! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 08-12-2012, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2012
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hi. Ive recently bought a horse, hes wonderful :). went and rode him before i bought him he was exactly as described. got him home to me, and he seems to be settling well. 4 weeks i worked on the ground asking him to go backwards, forwards, follow me and halt when asked before coming into my space. he picked it up well. We went for walks along the lane which is a couple of miles long and he settled from being very bargy to walking nicely. rode a couple of times but not to far, just 5 mins or so along the lane as he wouldnt go past a certain spot, but that was something to work on. Then he lost a shoe. its quite a rough track so i didnt want to take him out along it, so i still went to see him every day, gave him a couple carrots and left. after a week i decided to bring him into the yard and groom him, make sure he remebered everything we had been learning. He has now decided all he wants to do is walk backwards! Initially when i bought him i couldnt tie him up as he would fling his head and snap whatever he was tied to. but he had settled nicely and so i didnt tie him, just looped the lead rope through the ring and leave it loose. Now he wont stand at all, walks backwards and keep going.cant get him to stand to groom him or anything. Im still new to natural horsemanship techniques and not sure what the best thing to do is? hope you can help :)
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-14-2012, 09:12 PM
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Hi Lucy,

Not exactly sure what you're saying here. Sounds like you have 2 issues - the horse hasn't been taught properly to tie up and he won't stand for you when asked?

Tying... I like to use a long rope wrapped around a rail, or a 'Blocker Tie Ring' or such, to teach them to stand tied & yield to the pressure without the risk of tying firm & risking breakage & injury. Only once they are confident stanting tied with reasonably firm pressure(a few or more wraps around the rail will I start 'testing' it by tying firm. Especially as he's already learned to break loose, once you get to that point, while hopefully he'll be confident about it by then, I'd tie to a strong tree or such unbreakable, with a strong rope tied above wither level and a strong, wide halter &/or neck collar, so he can't break loose & there's not too much chance of injury if he does fight. I wouldn't tie him to anything that was weak or breakable for a fair while, until he's well practiced & reliable about standing tied without pulling.

Standing on cue. Tell him to stand or otherwise cue him(drop the rope on the ground as a 'ground tie' cue). Reward & reinforce him repeatedly for standing there. Don't ask for or expect much at all to begin with, just give him the idea of what you want & make it worthwhile to him, with a treat, scratchy, whatever. Every time he begins to move, just say 'uh-uh!' or whatever & reposition him. Reinforce him for being there & start again. He should soon get the hang of it. *I'd wait until he does obviously get the gist before being a little 'firmer' or more abrupt about the repositioning when he moves - make it mildly unpleasant for him. When he gets more reliable with the basic behaviour, you can gradually increase the 'difficulty' by asking him to stand for longer, asking him to stand while you move away from him, while you walk around him, etc.
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post #3 of 6 Old 08-24-2012, 01:36 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: New Mexico
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What I do to teach a horse to stand tied is similar to what loosie suggested, but with a couple more steps if a horse is really panicky or stubborn about tying. I usually ask the horse to back up and then take the slack out of the line holding a firm but steady pressure on the rope until the horse yields forward,(a long rope is helpful) to begin with a forward yield might just be just stopping backing. When doing this, try to keep your feet still, pretend you are the post you want the horse to tie to. If the horse flies back when the slack comes out, follow along keeping a steady pressure, try not to increase the pressure, just match what the horse puts on the rope.

When the horse yields forward really well to varying amounts of pressure from a back up, then I do as loosie suggested and single wrap a really long rope (at least 20 ft.) around where I want the horse to eventually stand tied, keeping control of the tail end of the rope I ask the horse to back away and let them take the slack out of the rope. If all goes well they will stop when the slack comes out and hopefully even take a step or two forward, but if not I am ready to let the rope slide, keeping the same firm steady pressure as before until they do yield forward. Only when they no longer lean on the pressure of the rope do I actually tie them, and I always use a quick release knot, because even horses who are used to tying can do stupid things.

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post #4 of 6 Old 08-24-2012, 01:56 PM
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I teach the horse to stand tied by first teaching the horse to stand at liberty. He is rewarded with a treat when he stands still. I will stand in front of him, raise my hand like a stop sign and say "stand". I will move toward his shoulder with one had on him, then back up and treat him if he stood still. I may go a step farther the next time until I have completely circled him, still touching with my left hand. By this time he's figuring out to keep his feet glued to the ground. It gets more difficult when you begin to circle a little farther out without touching him. He'll want to follow but just put him back, reinforce Stand and walk just in line with his shoulder and reward. Within about 10 min I could make a 50' circle without the horse moving. I would then walk away straight out from his head about 75' and return. By repeating the entire exercise three days in a row (repetition) tying became a non issue but I found tying unnecessary. The horse will wait wherever I park him and tell him Stand, whether it's for grooming, saddling, etc.
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post #5 of 6 Old 08-25-2012, 02:08 PM
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Location: westmoreland, Kansas
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blocker ring works well for teaching a horse to stand tied. Instant release when horse stops. He needs that release when he relaxes. Get yourself a 22 foot line so that he has some rope to use when he backs away.
Regarding backing, hard saying not seeing what you are doing. I know that Brent Graef was helping us with some ground work and said that it is important where you stand...that being behind the shoulder with your focus not on the horse, but where you are going. Tap tap with the popper (no you don't whack him) using as little pressure as necessary, but as much as it takes. If you are standing in front of the shoulder, and applying pressure, backing is the correct response from the horse. lol, I usuallly find that my horse's issues are pilot error. Horses are pretty willing souls, with a lot of try. We just need to get clear with our ask and don't forget that release.
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-30-2012, 05:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Thats a good idea, put a video (or have someone film) when you are leading up to the grooming area, and the escaping backwards. so that you can see and maybe get an insight, a different level of awareness (einstein ;)
As for backing up as an escape i would make it a harder option then standing in the grooming.. if he backs up, make him back up until he thinks its hard work backing up.. you can guide him, and turn him around so that he's right at square one.. and when it feels right (not him taking the initiative, seeing hes concentrated, hes thinking, etc..) stop and release as a reward.. repeat a lot.. do a session teaching, forward, sideways and back.. that permits you to "control" his feet, and no direction is an escape..

I like that Tie Ring, really cool :)

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