Hooking on - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-04-2013, 06:51 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Australia
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Question Hooking on

Is it possible to do hooking on without a round pen? I don't have one available and have a new horse I want to gain some respect from.
Any videos or articles out there I can see?
Oh I also have to limit circle work has he has a weak stifle.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-04-2013, 08:00 PM
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you can totally do this. in a smallish paddock, or a large one even.

you look at it as "catching" your horse. or , really , making your horse come to you in a paddock. once he comes to you, you then turn and walk off. chances are, he will walk along with you.

as you move along, you can send him off and draw him back. That means, you ask him to step away from you, you let him step off a few steps, then you draw him back and walk off in a new direction . it is this drawing, sending redrawing, (a kind of 'dance') that is the essence of "join up".

As to the specifics of that:

you walk toward your horse, and stop a ways off. See if he'll walk toward you . make a little noise to get his attention. if he looks at you with curiousity, good. allow him a little less pressure by turning your "core" away from directily facing him to facing off at an angle. if he just stands there, give a minute or two to think about it, then shuffle the ground with your feet, or swing the lead rope, or , as I do, pick up a little stick and toss it about halfway between the two of you. what you are doing is interrupting him, and asking him to choose a direction, but you are asking him to MOVE. if he chooses away from you, then you walk toward him, and make a bit more of a commotion. you might say, but won't that drive him off? well, yes it will, but it will also make him have an uncomfortable feeling when he turns his back on you and moves AWAY from you. chances are he will run a bit, but he may also leap forward (spook) but then turn to face the thing that scared him. That's when you stand still, turn your core off to the side a bit, and 'invite' him in. he will either
1. come toward you.
2. walk away
3. stand transfixed.

if he comes , you praise him verbally, and make yo9ur body position even more inviting (turn your core off side, exhale and become "passive" in your posture).

if he goes away, as soon as he turns his back to you, make a commotion! he made the wrong choice and you want to make that uncomfortable. scuffle the rground, use the leadline to smack the ground, wiggle it. do whatever it takes for him to react. if he turns to you, go back to inviting, if he runs off, follow him and interrrupt him when he chooose AWAY, and reward him with pressure off when he chooses TOWARD you.

in if he stands transfixed., wait a bit, invite quietly with body posture, add a tiny bit of scuffling, very small things to make him break out of the transifixed state and choose to either approach or run.

That is the basics of catching a horse out in the open. this IS join up. eventually, the horse will come to you with the very smallest of shuffle of the leadrope to get his attention.

Does this explanation make sense? I could show you in just minutes, but in words it is much harder.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-04-2013, 08:14 PM
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The more common term is joining up, and yea u can do it with out a round pen. Just get a lunge line and use a longer whip or your arm to guide the horse. If you know what to look for in your horse and you know what to do with your body it can work great. I can put my hand out and my horse will change direction immediately or stop or slow down, just make your cues are simple. Also my biggest problem was my horse would sometimes ignore me, but if you are the herd leader you have to correct that, to show your dominance. If you have ever watched in the pasture a horse will suggest nicely and usually after that if the other horse does not move it would get a bit or kick, so don't let them get away with the little things because if it does then it will always test. Hope that makes sense and helps!
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-04-2013, 11:05 PM Thread Starter
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Tingling- your response makes perfect sense. Thankyou so much! I will give it a try tonight. I have found this site and people like you so valuable. Thanks once again. If I come to any problem or question I'll let you know.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-05-2013, 08:14 AM
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With a horse that was genuinely afraid of people, the process was started in the pasture. Circle way around paying no attention to the horse, until you are directly behind him. You should be a good 30' away. Then come at him from behind to make him move but not so he takes flight. Continue to do this until he wants to keep both eyes on you and makes it difficult to get around behind him. When he's glued to you, back up a couple of steps as horses are inclined to follow what is moving away. If he doesn't move, the approach him with arm extended and a soft fist, fingers downward. Don't touch his nose but wait until he comes the last inch so that he's acknowledging you. Turn your back and walk away. He may chose this time to follow you. Rather than catch the horse, just rub his back with your hands, down his legs, whatever you feel safest doing, then walk away. A mistake a lot of people make is to begin touching the horse on the chest or underside of the neck. For the horse this is a very vulnerable area (jugular vein) and many will suddenly swing away. I generally rub the horse all over then the side of the neck, basically asking permission to rub the chest and jugular area. Watch the horse to see if it feels uncomfortable and if so leave it for now.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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Just want to verify my horse is not scared of people or me. I just want him to act as I am his herd leader. I see people who's horses follow directly behind them wherever they go, normally in a round yard. Would a horse do that in his own pasture or is it because they have no where else to go? My boy is very food orientated and defentely prefers it over wanting to know what I am doing. I guess that is normal and I am expecting too much:)
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-06-2013, 12:25 PM
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of course it's normal for him to be more focussed on his food. you CAN interrrupt his thinking on his food, though. you can make is so that every time he goes to put his mind on his food, you do just enough that he gives up that thought and puts his eyes on YOU. then, as said, you either back away or back in an arc around him, toward being behind him, and he will keep turning to face you. then, turn and walk off and see if he'll hook on and follow.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 07:05 AM
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I used to use a 40' X 50' square pen. This was years before modern round pens had come into use. Back then, the only round pens around were about 20' in diameter and were were putting first rides on horses. Many of them sloped out so riders would not hit their legs. They were 7 or 8 feet tall to keep broncs from jumping out.

My old square pen had an 8 foot tall, 1 foot in diameter 'snubbing post' in the middle of it. I used to get in a lot of untouched horses and needed the snubbing post to help me 'hold' these until I got them good and halter trained.

I used my square pen for teaching horses to face me, come to me, follow me and for first rides. most of all, it taught them to never turn their butts to me. The lesson lasted forever.

I started out hazing horses around the pen. They would always hide their heads in a corner. I would hit them on the butt with the end of a long cotton lead-rope and they would go to the next corner and turn their butt to me. After about 10 minutes, I could haze them around and around and they treated the square pen like it was round. They had learned to keep their heads out of the corners. When I had them going around without hiding in a corner, I backed up and would 'draw' them to me and they were ready to follow me and ready to listen. I never made a big deal out of them following me -- still don't. I made a big deal out of them listening and being ready to learn. I used to tell people that they were learning to 'go to school' and they needed to think of me as their 'teacher'. This was years before I had ever seen a round pen.

I still use a square pen for first rides. I like it MUCH better than a round pen. If a colt gets scared, which is when one would either buck or bolt, they just run into a corner and stop. I find the corners very useful.
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Last edited by Cherie; 11-07-2013 at 07:09 AM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-07-2013, 05:58 PM
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^Agree that corners are useful!

I agree with Saddle on the subject of fearful horses & teaching them to come to you & trust being handled initially is best done in a larger, less 'compulsive' environment, like an arena or not-too-small paddock. But a smallish yard - whatever the shape - is good value to teach the horse to listen to you, because you can stay at an effective distance. It also cuts out/down distractions, such as yummy grass. Some tread-in posts & elec fence tape makes a quick, cheap, movable yard. But horses don't generalise well, especially when you move to a situation where they can get away from 'effective' range & there are attractive distractions! The basic lessons still apply, but may not be clear to the horse in a different situation & you've got to work to stay effective. I like to teach them in varying sized paddocks/yards. I also am not adverse to using positive reinforcement(rewards) along with the negative reinforcement(release of pressure) to motivate & strengthen their 'good' behaviour.

I too, like Cherie, don't give too much emphasis on a horse just following me around regardless, don't personally feel that's any great acheivement. IME the ones that I've seen that are 'joined up' or 'hooked on' like many teach, with chasing them around a round pen until the proscribed bunch of 'signals' are ticked are more likely to be drones. Although if you want this, fine. I want the horse reliably coming/following/yielding *when I ask* him to tho & because he is thinking & choosing the best option, not because he's been made to submit.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-10-2013, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tombo8 View Post
Just want to verify my horse is not scared of people or me. I just want him to act as I am his herd leader. I see people who's horses follow directly behind them wherever they go, normally in a round yard. Would a horse do that in his own pasture or is it because they have no where else to go? My boy is very food orientated and defentely prefers it over wanting to know what I am doing. I guess that is normal and I am expecting too much:)
I've done it with mine both in the round pen and the pasture. They definitely come around faster in the pen, but will do it in the pasture as well. In the pasture, the tend not to follow directly behind me but trail a few feet behind, stop for a bite of grass, etc.
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