Friends horse has control issues!!

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Friends horse has control issues!!

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    03-21-2010, 01:13 AM
Green Broke
Friends horse has control issues!!

Just wanted to see if I could get my friend some advice on what to do with her out of control gelding. This seems pretty extreme so I thought you guys would have some advice.

She a level 4/5 Parelli student... I wanted to post this here so she would have more then one way to handle the situation. she's contacting a parelli professional as well. But I want her to have other options just in case. SO please keep the bashing down to a minimum, she will be reading this.

I did get her permission to post this.

My advice?

Work on one rein stopping at all gaits, even lots of walk trot halt back ups, Canter trot halt back ups, etc. Working smaller less open areas in straight lines and do a bunch of one rein stops with in gaits.... also.. maybe a bit??? Just till you get it under control.

Once again, please keep bashing down to a minimum.
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    03-21-2010, 01:35 AM
Super Moderator
I don't really want to get into this but what I want to know is why is she riding him on a loose rein when she so obviously doesn't have control over him on a loose rein? I think she needs to go back to riding him with contact until he's going perfectly, at all gaits, and then work on removing contact at the walk. Once he's perfect at the walk, introduce trotting on a loose rein, then once he's perfect trotting, introduce cantering. As it is, it appears like he's taking advantage because he knows she has no control.
If it were me, I would perfect his response to leg aids (none of this "speeding up when she puts her leg on to turn" business) and I would introduce verbal slowing cues so that she has control over his speed no matter what. For instance, Lacey's cue for slowing down is "easy". Whenever I say easy, she knows that she needs to slow her gait down. If she's already going slowly in said gait, it means for her to drop down to the next gait. She also knows that "ho" means "STOP". I can tell her "ho" at any gait and have her plant her feet and stop. All I did to teach her "ho" was I'd say "ho", have her stop and then back up. Whenever she doesn't respond immediately (now that she stops immediately, most of the time), she gets backed up. It's as easy as that, and I never have to worry about her running away with me, with or without a bridle, because I have safety codes, so to speak. And Lacey is like this horse, she loves to run and stopping to her is "bad girl" cue, just so you know that she's not a horse with more "whoa than go."
    03-21-2010, 01:51 AM
Agree with Wallaby, what's with the loose rein? If I rode my mare in training with my reins like that she would try to speed up with me, too. You said "maybe a bit?" so I'm assuming he's being ridden in a rope halter or something, I would definitely get a bit in his mouth - I wouldn't get on a horse that I knew had some 'speeding up' issue without a bit, I don't think you should rely solely on a bit but I also don't think you should try to ride in a rope halter when it could put you in a dangerous situation (not being able to stop your horse at ALL or something of the sort).

If it were me first things first I'd want a bit in his mouth and contact through the bit, we wouldn't be trotting until we could WALK without him speeding up, and wouldn't be cantering until we could trot without him speeding up. If he's walking and speeds up, I would pull him in a tight circle. That would go for every time he sped up without being asked to. Once I could W/T/C with him being under control by seat alone (not control through a bit), I would start introducing loose rein to him, not just letting go one day and say "OKAY, GO" first time introduction just loosen the reins a little, and do it more and more each ride until the reins are where you want them to be.
    03-21-2010, 02:11 AM
Actually though that whole Video he has a Bit in his mouth.
His walk is actually perfect. Not sure what was up with him today, probably was the wind. He listens really good at the trot and canter with contact it is only when he doesn't have contact.

The video was showing my instructor what happens, this wasn't what I always do, just showing him what happens when I go on a loose rein. Cause he can't help me if he doesn't see the problem, so I showed him the problem!

Thanks so much for your advice! It is helpful!
    03-21-2010, 02:47 AM
My absolute first thought, within the first minute is that this horse has no idea how to balance, and the rider is not helping him whatsoever. He's trying his best, but he has no idea how he's supposed to hold himself together. Think about walking on a balance beam - if it's, let's say 3' off the ground (to simulate difficulty level) and quite thin, you're going to take your time to cross it. If you're asked to go faster, you're likely going to wave your arms around and lose your balance a few times. Given the right training and if you learn how to work on a balance beam properly, you'd be able to walk, run, jump, spin, go backwards, whatever on that balance beam.
This horse is being asked to run across the balance beam without knowing how to even walk slowly across it properly.
He's rushing because he doesn't know how to balance himself properly.

Okay -- here's an exercise for you... go find 2 soup cans. Got them? Great - put one in each hand, and extend your arms straight out to the sides, and hold them there. It's easy at first right? Then after 30 seconds to a minute, your arms start to burn. Your arms start shaking. You find that you have to lift your arms higher or grit your teeth to keep your arms up... and finally you can't hold them up anymore and you have to let them down to your sides. If you do that test every day, you're going to find that you can hold your arms out to the side longer and longer.
The horse knows how to canter, just like you know how to hold your arms out to the side. The horse does not know how to hold its balance at a canter, just like you struggle to hold the soup cans up - it takes lots of muscle memory.
Let's try another analogy... stand up, and balance on one foot, and lean forwards; go ahead and stick your other leg out behind you to balance. Pretty easy, yeah? Go grab a 10 or 15 pound weight - a sack of flour or potatoes will work in a pinch. Assume the position, and hold the weight in front of you - your balance is completely altered, isn't it? You might have to hop forwards a few times if you lose your balance.
When we get on a horse, we're completely altering the horse's balance - it takes proper training on your part and muscle memory on the horse's part, to achieve balance.
The horse rushes because he's trying to regain his balance.

My second thought is that this horse has no idea how to work through himself properly. He's completely working on his forehand, and he's strung out. This goes hand-in-hand with balance. He needs to learn how to use his hindquarter and back in unison to balance himself and propel himself forwards.

My third thought is that he really doesn't understand correct aids.
He is responding "faster" to leg aids because it hasn't been (properly) connected in his mind that leg doesn't always mean faster.

I'm not understanding this "finesse" thing... it looks like the rider just takes up contact with the horse's mouth, and the horse starts shortening its stride. It does not round up, nor become any more balanced. He does not accept the contact; he bounces in front of and behind the contact. He's still on his forehand, and she is still reaching for control of the head rather than the body.

Regarding "straightness" -- the horse has no concept of straight. That's fine - it's a very hard thing to teach - but it's essential. The rider once again goes to the reins first - straightness, like just about everything, comes from the hind end, and from the legs and seat.
Regarding the horse bolting home -- where is the correction? The rider does not reprimand the horse for taking off. If he's not getting corrected, the horse thinks he's doing something right. Kind of like nobody correcting a person when they say "I is happy" -- if nobody corrects the grammar, how are they supposed to know differently?
Regarding the bridleless... this kind of makes me shake my head. The horse has no concept of balance even with the rider's reins... without that, he is completely lost. If you don't have control and balance with full equipment, why are you trying it without a bridle?

Specific points:
@ 4:23: He pushes his shoulder and completely changes direction before the rider even knows what's happening. My diagnosis is that she's concentrating on controlling the head, when she needs to learn to control his shoulder and the hindquarter. If you have control of those two things, you have the horse. If you just have the head... well.. you don't have control over anything. You can see the rider's first instinct is to go to the reins, and she really doesn't correct him, just circles and carries on.

@6:08 - See the horse's head all over the place? He's completely hollowed out, which makes an uncomfortable ride for him and the rider. To me, there is absolutely no warning that the horse is to jump the log, I'm glad it was small. When you jump, you want to give the horse ample warning, and time to calculate approach so you both can get over it safely. The rider also gets behind the motion, making the jump very uncomfortable for the horse.

@6:11-15 - The horse is bracing against the bit. You can see the underside of the neck bulging, and the rider's hands bracing.

@6:20 - To me, I see no warning that there is going to be a change of direction over the log, the horse is already on the ground before the rider pulls his head over to the left, which puts the horse off balance, which forces him to change his lead.

My solution?
Find a good dressage trainer, and get started with them pronto. The horse and rider pair have a ton of potential, but they aren't getting the direction they need. If this is level 4/5, I'd hate to see how strung out he was in the beginning.
Honestly, I see a lot of potential. They could make quite the pair, but they're going about it just about completely backwards right now.
    03-21-2010, 03:05 AM
Super Moderator
Thank you for writing that JDI. I wanted to say something about balance but I didn't know how to say it "right" and you totally did!

Totally off topic, but I wanted to give you props. Haha
    03-21-2010, 03:47 AM
I only watched the first minute or so, and don't have long but wanted to comment.

1) That isn't a loose rein - It's a totally ineffective, floppy rein. There is way too much slack there to be able to take it up in case of an emergency.

2) That horse needs the support of the rein. An outside rein would stop that shoulder escaping out, and help teach him to straighten up and balance, as JDI mentioned.

More to come tomorrow!
    03-21-2010, 10:57 AM
Green Broke
AWESOME post JDI! Read every word and loved the advice you gave! :)

The person in the video actually posted here: HannahNaturally

I deffinately think there needs to be a lot of balence work I agree and Hannah I know you want to follow the program but you do need to think about what your doing to Blazes body in the process of all that. You can work the body and the mind at the same time and do both some good. I do it with Little/Squeak all the time. I use to do it with Chance when seh could be ridden. Just food for thought. I know a lot of parelli instructors don't just go by the program hense why most have the best sucess.
    03-21-2010, 03:32 PM
I expected a lot of PROBLEMS. You looked pretty good to me. All I see is very bad balance going left. He needs to stretch and supple the right side of his body. Everything else, like cantering fast, is an attempt to deal with the off-balance he feels. I found that teaching shoulder-in to the LEFT helps stretch the right side. Don't force it, help him find his balance. Like others, I find nothing helpful about the ultra-loose reins. He wants your support and guidance-- be there for him. The bolting looks like a habit, which you should break. By the way, over here, most of the Parelli people, whom I highly respect, nevertheless do not "do" dressage, and do not address things like balance. The idea is that the horse will find it on his own. But I don't think that's true. They find A balance, but sometimes it's one-sided, like your horse's.
    03-21-2010, 03:46 PM
I didn't see alot of control problems. What I saw was a communication problem and a foundation problem. I have a horse that is alot like that. What I did was work on slowing and speeding up (contolling the speed) at each gate starting at the walk and working upward only when you can perfectly control the speed at the previous gate. Quit with the one-rein stops. You ask the horse to go then when he goes you say "hey what did you do that for. Slow down". That is the communication problem and you can't effectively communicate with your reins at your horses knees. Try riding your horse somewhere instead of going around in circles. Not only is this not so good for your horses mind but it puts alot of stress on his body.

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