He's a tourist while leading (stops to look) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-19-2012, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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He's a tourist while leading (stops to look)

My boy Ed and I are still in leadership building mode. As well, I am a new horse owner. I have been taking him on "walk about" that is, introducing him to different places on and off the barn property. Looking at the neighbour's chickens, leading him into rough trail, rocky ground, forests, that kind of thing.

While he's happy to follow me and is calm, he will stop and "look" for several seconds at "something". I do one of two things, based on my previous experience. Wait for him to walk forward, which he will, or keep the lead snugged up and release when I ask him to come forward, which he will, but sometimes not right away. My concern is which is the best way to handle this before it gets worse or when we are under saddle on the trails and the same thing occurs.

He is known to back up but he hasn't come across anything yet that derails him when in hand. My trainer gave me some tips on derailing his backing up under saddle (yield hind quarters, make it a sideways movement).
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-19-2012, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livelovelaughride View Post
My boy Ed and I are still in leadership building mode. As well, I am a new horse owner. I have been taking him on "walk about" that is, introducing him to different places on and off the barn property. Looking at the neighbour's chickens, leading him into rough trail, rocky ground, forests, that kind of thing.

While he's happy to follow me and is calm, he will stop and "look" for several seconds at "something". I do one of two things, based on my previous experience. Wait for him to walk forward, which he will, or keep the lead snugged up and release when I ask him to come forward, which he will, but sometimes not right away. My concern is which is the best way to handle this before it gets worse or when we are under saddle on the trails and the same thing occurs.

He is known to back up but he hasn't come across anything yet that derails him when in hand. My trainer gave me some tips on derailing his backing up under saddle (yield hind quarters, make it a sideways movement).
I am helping a friend whos mini spooks and spins sideways with her while driving. He doesn't do it with me but I keep him between the reins. So I have been line driving him to scary stuff, keeping him between the reins and if he stops to look I let him. As soon as he is done looking I urge him forward and I keep repeating. I drove him up a set of steps and my friend was amazed that he did it and didn't spin. She would loose contact and he would spin out.
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post #3 of 10 Old 09-28-2012, 03:54 AM
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Sounds like he is playing the role of "leader" by watching out for danger. He should be confident that you will be the one to protect him, not needing to protect himself and "looking" all the time.

I would definitely push him right into either a casual circle or a hip disengagement the moment he starts to balk up. Or both. You can casual circle into a hip disengagement, throw a couple pivots in there, and then hip disengage into a casual circle. Use the end of your rope, or a carrot stick, and get his feet and brain "unstuck" until you see him focus on you.

I also like to torture my horses by jumping and making a quick "boo!" noise whenever they start being looky-loos. Of course I'm ready to pull them into a hip around, but most of the time they look at you like an idiot and realize that they should be focusing on the scary human, not the bushes.
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-28-2012, 11:58 AM
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Carry a lunge whip. When he wishes to stop and stare it's not his decision to make. In this case, a leader horse would keep walking with your eyes focused on something up the road/trail. If he does stop give him a tap with the whip on the leg. You will be carrying it in your left hand pointed behind you almost dragging on the ground. That may surprise him a little but try to just keep walking. The next time just wiggling the whip may be enough. You might find it easier if you tie the lash up along the whip as it can be a nuisance sometimes.
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post #5 of 10 Old 09-28-2012, 12:22 PM
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I guess I come at it from a different angle. When I'm out on the trails, I'm there to relax and enjoy the scenery and companionship of my equine friend. My Hercules will often just stop and look at something so I let him. It's actually saved my butt a time or two when he's spotted a deer walking through tall grass.
When we're in the arena it's different- he can look if something catches his eye, but then it's back to our lesson.
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-28-2012, 02:23 PM
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Make him move those feet! You are the leader, and if you say "move forward", that means move forward.

Think of it as a stallion/lead mare moving the herd. If you are wanting him to go forward, he should do it. A lead mare isn't going to keep pulling on the rope. She's going to pin her ears and give him a good nip on his rear end if he doesn't listen.

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post #7 of 10 Old 09-28-2012, 02:33 PM
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What ever you decide. I mean if you decide to let him look, do so. But, if you want him to move on, then require that he do so when told to, and not when he drags himself along reluctantly.

Practice moving him forward, sideways, back away from you and having him just stand , away from you for a bit.

you can let him look if you wish. But make it as if you are asking him to stand there, not that he has suddenly decide to stop and be a tourist.
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-28-2012, 09:46 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, all good suggestions. What I've been doing is continuing to walk forward even when my eye has seen him stop but remain facing forward, keep pressure on the lead and he does step forward after a second or two. But I think this is an easy way out and the other methods mentioned are better solutions to this issue. I don't need to drag him but I can see if it doesn't get fixed it will show its ugly head one day. The faster I can establish better leadership the better off we both are!
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-02-2012, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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I've been thinking about the time factor. For example, you see/feel your horse come to an abrupt halt, staring off into the woods. As a leader, would you assess quickly for any possible danger before you decide to get his butt in gear? The area where we are is heavily wooded, trees everywhere. Cougars and bears do happen to cross the property. So its not like he's stopping to look at a blue barrel. As leaders, isn't it our job to ensure our herd is safe and allow for some slack in noticing potential threats so you can act accordingly?
The other end of that question, where there is no perceived threat. Give a second or two, or immediately begin to demand movement from your horse?
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-03-2012, 01:03 AM
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It's personal preference and something you have to "feel out" for yourself. There's a difference between a horse who is sensing true danger, and a horse who is just a skeptic. Besides, even if there is true danger, I would still have a horse who will focus on what I tell him to do. I was riding along the trail one time and a bobcat ran in front of our path. Naturally my horse stopped in his tracks, but his ears were back and you could tell he was waiting for my response. I turned him around and went home because I'm a big chicken, lol.

I just don't like it when the feet lock up, then the brain locks up. I see a lot of people get into trouble because their horse stops, locks, and stares with no regard to the rider's pulling and kicking. Then if even a twig snaps the horse jumps out of its skin and completely forgets about his rider.

I'm happy to say I prefer a horse who would rather put himself in a hip disengagement when he is scared than lock his legs. I've known a couple, and they are wonderful.
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