Fear Does Not Equal Respect - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 43 Old 08-09-2013, 03:43 PM
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I'm pretty sure that no one would identify our old Flo as the leader of our herd, its not unusual to even see Honey (our resident bully) move her out of the way but she is the one that always leads the way through the scary situations, never gets kicked or bitten and when she does want to be somewhere she just gives her 'look' and they all stand back
She's also a great example of how a mare teaches its foal manners by giving them a good nip or even a little kick to remind them how they should behave - she was an abandoned foal that was bottle fed without any discipline at all from her owners, when we took her she was a step away from being shot because she was extremely dangerous without even knowing it was wrong
No amount of nice chats, patience, treats, running her around would have worked on her - essentially I had to become her mother and do to her what her horse mother would have done - give her one really hard whack.
And it worked. I never had to hit her again
Nineteen years later, I couldn't wish for a more loving, willing, trusting horse and she has character in bucket loads so it didn't destroy her personality either. I don't like robot horses.
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post #32 of 43 Old 08-09-2013, 08:12 PM
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Interesting the OP hasn't replied...
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post #33 of 43 Old 08-09-2013, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you to all for your thoughts on this. I thought I might make it clear that while I detest any person outright mistreating their horse, I do not condone pushy, disrespectful horses either. I simply will not tolerate being told what to do by any of my horses. If I correct, I do just that. I get in, get the job done and get out. I donít nag and I accept that I need to keep a lid on my frustrations if I want to maintain a relationship with my horses based on respect and trust. I always give my horses a chance to do the right thing using a light signal (just body language). If I do not get the answer I want, I increase the strength of the signal using other aids until the horse responds in an acceptable way. When I want to increase signal strength Iíll combine the movement of my stick with my body language. On rare occasions the string on my stick has made contact with the horseís hindquarters since I donít allow my signals to be ignored. Again, I say what I have to say, once...and get out. Thatís the process I use when I know the horse is capable of easily making the right choice. If he is not capable of easily making the right choice (e.g. if learning a new exercise) then I may need to backtrack the training to the point where the right answer comes easily. Iíll continue to ask for more as he gets better. This builds his confidence and trust and in the end progress is faster.

GSSW5: you and I are on the same wavelength

SlideStop: Iíd correct the rearing as outlined above for a new exercise.

Bsms: I guess in the beginning fear is there. But one would hope that the horse very quickly learns his fears are unjustified. And a good handler would go out of their way to prove it.

Jaydee: I think we agree more than you think. I donít see a smack as mistreatment either. Iíd likely do the same.

Speed Racer: Youíre extrapolating here my friend. I can back up what I said with real quotes.

Foxhunter: Youíre probably right. Iíve trained all my horses well enough so that they donít try to kill me or anyone else. I consider it my responsibly to do that. The technique you describe when clipping horses is called flooding (as you likely well know). It works. But itís neither kind nor tactful. For the horse itís a very distressing way to learn something new and it puts you at greater risk when using it. Horses are sensitive creatures and they do learn by pain. But ordinary discomfort will do.

Tinyliny: Totally agree with you and your trainer.

SlideStop: There is a serious time difference between you and me. And one does have to go to work occasionally.
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post #34 of 43 Old 08-10-2013, 03:43 AM
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[SIZE=3]Foxhunter: Youíre probably right. Iíve trained all my horses well enough so that they donít try to kill me or anyone else. I consider it my responsibly to do that. The technique you describe when clipping horses is called flooding (as you likely well know). It works. But itís neither kind nor tactful. For the horse itís a very distressing way to learn something new and it puts you at greater risk when using it. Horses are sensitive creatures and they do learn by pain. But ordinary discomfort will do.
I agree that it is ideal to train a horse not to attack a human! However, there are horses that, usually, through bad training have resorted to this a method of defence.
As for the flooding, any horse that I have used this on, has never had to have more than a word, usually, " eh!" And it relaxes and is well mannered. Most have been good for their owners to be able to clip them afterwards without me there.

Majority of handling horses, or any animal including children, is a matter of confidence. I can often load a difficult horse because I have no doubt that it will load. It works the same with dogs and children. Untrained or spoiled, if they sense the person in charge means what they say and it is a matter of black or white, then they are happy to comply. There might well be a few ups and downs but providing the consistence is there it takes moments to get them to understand.

There are times when you cannot ignore unwanted behaviour. The day a young foal swings its butt to you with the intention of kicking, cannot be ignored. A firm hard slap will send it forward, it has not harmed it but, has given it a shock.

I am not an advocate of beating any animal, I am saying that there are times when very firm handling works.
If I had all the time in the world to train every horse I had had through my hands by ignoring bad and praising good I would not be halfway through training them. Corrections should fit the crime.
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post #35 of 43 Old 08-10-2013, 03:46 AM
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I read the first page only.

I don't really buy much into natural horsemanship, that doesn't mean I am only old school either, I do a bit of both - but no NH games, just good sense horsemanship.

I am not harsh on my horse, so when I first got him, he tested boundaries. He was in a paddock that entered into his stall, the inside latch was stiff, so I put the feed in, and then walked outside to let him in and open the door. He charged me, I moved over, so did his charge, he was full out galloping right at me, and when I moved, he did too, so he was still coming at me. There wasn't much time, and there wasn't a fence I could get through in time. For some reason, I have no idea why, as there was no reason for me still to have it, but I had a metal feed scoop in my hand. At this point, I had my back to the barn and nowhere to go. I launched that metal feed scoop and got him squarely in the forehead. He's an English riding horse, but he did a sliding stop to impress western riders, as I moved to the fence, he stopped right at the barn, where I would have been standing.

It wasn't his fault that he stopped there, he was lucky to stop, but he did stop coming at me. Immediately.

Never once has he come at me again, and never once have I ever thrown something at him again. It's been 3-4 years since. But if he came at me again, I would take off my shoe and throw it, or do whatever I could, including whopping him.

I think the NH movement is over the top with the don't hurt a horse that can kill you. Some of the better NH'ers would, but not the most popular ones.

So you have a horse charging you, and you have your back to the barn, what would you do?
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post #36 of 43 Old 08-28-2013, 06:06 PM
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I don't know if this has been mentioned, but yes, aggressive punishment *does* have it's place at *times*.
I have a mare that EVERY TIME you tried to mount she would stand still and willing - not moving a muscle but as soon as she felt you getting on, she would swing around a try to bite you. And not just a, "Hey I don't feel like a ride." bump. There was pinned ears, angry eyes, and teeth!
There was nothing wrong with her back, or the saddle fit - I had both checked.

Once we were standing for a moment while I was trying to readjust my stirrup. She snaked around, teeth bared and about got my hand. I calmly sat up in the saddle and waited for her to do it again. And she did. And I kicked her as hard as I could and caught her a good one right in the top lip. She turned around with a big "owwie!" face (although not even taking a step during this) and I continued to sit calmly right afterwards.

Did she try to bite me later that day (I did practice more with getting on and off multiple times just to test) - no. Did she shy when I went to rub her head - no. Did she try to bite me the next day or the day after - Nope.
So I would say I fixed it. But other people would say I abused her?
Do you think that if I hadn't been fast enough and she was able to bite me, do you think she'd feel sorry - Nope.
That kick from my sneaker to her nose still isn't anything that a hoof in the pasture would have been like. But it got the point across in her own language.
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post #37 of 43 Old 08-28-2013, 10:34 PM
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This has been an interesting thread to read. I began using positive reward training (treats, scratches, praise) and minimal pressure a couple of years ago and unwanted behavious have just melted away, including bite threats. I do occassionally have to signal 'no', an the strength of that depends on what the horse has done. Getting a little pushy a calm 'no' and wagging finger does the trick, if more serious a louder 'NO' and biger gesture, if very serious a shouted 'NO!' and leap at them to send them away and keep them away works. Note I do all my training at liberty - no ropes- and in a large field, and wouldn't advocate lots of pressure if the horse was on a lead or in a small yard/round pen.
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post #38 of 43 Old 08-28-2013, 10:47 PM
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Quoted from AlexS:

So you have a horse charging you, and you have your back to the barn, what would you do?

What would I do? Exactly what you did AlexS! I had a two year old charge up behind me and bite me on the shoulder blade, he actually had it in his teeth, and half lift me off the ground at feed time many years ago. I had just dumped the feed out of a 15 litre pail in the feeder as he did it, well he had swung me around to my good fortune and I hurled that bucket across the pen and hit him square between the eyes, or was it the back of the head? Anyway I can't remember, but it happened all within a few seconds. He never charged for feed again. I look back at that and think, heck if he had grabbed me by the back of the head he could e broken my neck or scalped me.

Turned into a very nice horse in the end.

To those wanting to report this as abuse, please PM me, I'd love to share details;)
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post #39 of 43 Old 08-28-2013, 11:38 PM
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I have a mare who I HAVE to use very firm punishment with. She is a half draft 1600 pound mare and she is INCREDIBLY dominant. She leads any herd she's placed into with her teeth and all four iron hooves... Including me, if I give her even half a chance. She moves the herd of 20 with nothing but her ears. She didn't earn that place with nothing but smiles to the other horses.

I tried nothing but positive reinforcement. Believe me, I did. What did that give me? A herdbound horse to the point of being dangerous who would nip and bite for treats and walk all over everybody. She NEEDS to be shown that she is NOT my herd leader and with her, that just can't be done without some very solid rules. She does get punished if she steps out of line. She does get a bop on the nose when she bites my pockets. I do use a crop to remind her just when she's getting too out of line. The fights she gets into in the pasture are more than enough to remind me that she moves for no horse, unless they can show her with their teeth that they deserve to have her move for them, and to her I am no different.

Is she afraid of me? Absolutely not. She respects the authority I hold over her. She will occasionally challenge me and believe me if I don't put a FIRM hold on that she will take what she can get and run. And yet she's not afraid of me. She willingly comes to me in the pasture. She puts her head down for scratches. She will do things she's NOT supposed to do, looking at me out of the corner of her eye, and plays at nonchalance when I turn for correction. She follows me willingly, she looks to me for leadership. I have earned her respect and trust and now she's happy to come in with me and beg for pets - with minimal correction here and there when she tests our boundaries. The fact of the matter is she simply will not respect someone who isn't capable of taking that leadership by the nose and fighting for their right to have it.

My other mare is the most easygoing girl on the planet. I could do NOTHING but positive reinforcement and she'd do exactly what I want. She's very willing, very okay with following, and has not challenged me a single time ever. The second she understands what I want she does it.

Some horses do well with what you're talking about. Some horses do not. I have one of each. One training method simply does not work with both of them. If I used the same teaching I did with my dominant mare on the second one she WOULD be afraid of me because she just doesn't need that level of energy. And if I used the methods I teach the second mare with the dominant mare, I would have a very nasty horse on my hands. It's not a one size fits all situation.

Last edited by Shoebox; 08-28-2013 at 11:41 PM.
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post #40 of 43 Old 08-29-2013, 12:27 AM
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I mostly agree with what has been said. I do think that there must be a measure of fear in the beginning to achieve respect.
There has to be negative consequences or there is no way for a horse to recognize what behavior is good and what is bad.
Likewise there must be positive consequences for the correct behavior for encouragement.
I think respect and trust are achieved through consistency in your reactions and with time.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.

Last edited by flytobecat; 08-29-2013 at 12:32 AM.
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