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post #21 of 27 Old 09-17-2009, 12:04 AM Thread Starter
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Kevinshorses, I tried the wiggle back technique tonight and he really caught on. We also did some parelli games (mostly what amounts to yielding hind and forequarters) and the million dollar move. He was completely into it and he even dropped his head and licked and chewed. He has never, ever been submissive like that. He was down right affectionate and joined up with me. It was like having a completely different horse, seriously I barely recognized him. Incidentally I did this in his paddock- I am starting to think he shuts down in enclosed areas and that might be where we are getting stuck. I think we'll work on trust and respect for a good long time before tackling the cross ties again. Thanks so much for your tips, I can't believe what we accomplished in just one afternoon of playing around.
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post #22 of 27 Old 09-17-2009, 12:56 PM
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I'm glad it helped. Just remember the first rule. Don't get killed.
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post #23 of 27 Old 09-25-2009, 07:03 AM
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This ball business will get us all into trouble.
My Pilates instructor is threatening to bring big balls with handles on for us fellas to sit on in the next session. The idea is that balancing on them helps tone up the central core of muscles.
Now I have done this before - oh it is so demeaning.

Plus can you imagine what it would look like if someone came in at home and found me squatting on a rubber ball.

And it is so undignified when one falls off.

Barry G

Luckily DiDi is terrified of them.
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post #24 of 27 Old 09-25-2009, 08:29 AM
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LOL! If it helps my balance I'm all for looking undignified! I just got that massive ball delivered to my house yesterday. I've learned my balance needs a ton of work and I'm willing to look downright foolish perfecting it... I figure it's a shorter fall to the ground from the ball than it is from my horse!

I have no idea how my horses will react to the thing. Hopefully, if I go about it correctly it will be a great way to exercise them during the winter months... we'll see... Hopefully Milo will take to it well.... or he'll look at me like I'm nuts. He's good at that.
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post #25 of 27 Old 09-25-2009, 03:00 PM
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You are using words open to interpretation like “stubborn”.
Are you saying the horse is not listening
- or that he doesn’t understand
- or that he won’t do anything.
Or are you saying he hears and understands but refuses to work with you?

I find that working with a horse on a short lead rope - him at your shoulder - works wonders with this “let us get together thing”. You’ve got to use a thin training halter that works on the nose and the poll - so that if worst comes to worst you’ve got some leverage.
You also want some sturdy boots - just in case either he or you don’t know where your feet are. The halter’s purpose is not for punishment it is for re-inforcing an instruction - so the horse gets to know what is wanted and for control.

But it is a system that I apply only to the horses which I can trust not to fight me because I am going to get in close.
Presumably your fella is not aggressive - if he is aggressive - stop reading now.

Although, perhaps we could say that he is: just deaf, or deaf and stupid, or obstinate.
Whereas, in due course, he has got to listen to you; then he has to understand what you have said; then he has to be willing to do what you have told him to do.
The real problem is that he doesn’t speak or hear words.

SO, I kit my horse up, then I take him around the arena - just to check his mood and to warm him up and I tell him - “Heh , we are now working” . Of course he knows that already because I am walking full of purpose.
I start talking - any nonsense will do but a suggestion might be “Heh fella, this morning we are going to do this that and the other“. He has got to recognize the conversational tone of my voice - the base level.
He must accept that he is involved.
He must work with me.
And when I want him to listen to something important, then I pull on the lead rope - not too hard then I look at him and say face to face - “this is what we are going to do now - OK!”
Not too fiercely but nevertheless “authorative“. Then we do it.
Horses can learn to do most things by rote within three repetitions.

The pressure exerted on the lead rein is all important -
first ask, say 4 oz;
then request firmly, - more pressure
and finally demand, an absolute undeniable insistence ie a strong, firm pull which bears down on his poll until he gives in and moves.
There are also three tones of voice to go with the ask, the request and the demand.
Incidentally OI! is something I hold back for “don’t you ever do that again

Now in the training arena he is soon going to get bored. So I wake him up by taking him around the yard where all the stables are located. We do a tour of the things he hears and smells but never sees. I tell him what they are, He likes that. The idea is that he will become more interested in what the two of us are doing together. You never know it might even become fun.

The principles of my system are simple enough: the horse can hear, he can see, he can smell, he can feel. But he doesn’t speak English - even American English.
You have got to teach him by methods of non verbal communication. Stubbornness is all about poor communication.
The first step must be to get the horse to understand what you want of him.

Stage 2 The big wide world
Going out into the big wide world with a young unschooled horse is risky and only you can balance the risks. Don't rush it, wait till you are ready.
You have to be sure you can maintain control of the horse whilst on foot.

One question definitely is whether you have control but if you plan to ride the horse later on in the outside world then you are merely bringing forward the training. You might want to delay going out in public until he is getting responsive. If you do ask someone to go with you as support, then only talk to the horse - your friend is there to help in an emergency not to gossip with

I live in a small English type village. There is traffic but not much. The villagers are used to horses so if he is in the mood, off we go.
Out of the yard, down the slope to the entrance, out onto the lane and we head towards the village. That’s a real spooky place and full of things he has not seen before.
I am going to show some of them to him ie lawnmowers, cars, boxes, people, dogs. We are going to talk about them. He is going to meet them with me.
If he is bored by all of this palaver, then to be honest, he is stupid not stubborn.

Remember I’ve got him on a short lead rope (but one I can let go of in an emergency)
I can use my shoulder against him if I do need to turn him.
I might even have a crop stuck in my boot - but only if the horse is used to being lightly tapped.
And I’ve got control of his head and neck - so I can manage him.
I can disengage his hindquarters, by turning his head right round to his side if I really have to - but I don’t do that unless things are going belly up.
On the walk I become the perfect actor - sweet as a bird, as firm as a sergeant major and as demanding as tax inspector. The horse will quickly pick up on my mood by the tone of my voice, the pressure of my hand and my overall demeanour and not forgetting the pheramones I put out when I am frightened, angry, or indeed loving.

Things should progress to the stage where I can go up to the gate of Mrs Jones’s cottage in the village, ring the door bell and demand an apple for the Boy - who is standing there patiently at my shoulder - dribbling.

Obviously if you live in the centre of a busy town, then this system is not going to work. But I think you’ve got my drift if you are still reading this epistle.

Communication is everything - the difficult bit will come when you try to understand what the horse is saying to you.

Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 09-25-2009 at 03:06 PM.
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post #26 of 27 Old 09-25-2009, 07:55 PM Thread Starter
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Barry, excellent advice which (as per usual) I will be re-reading and taking to heart. To clarify; the lug is not a bit dangerous or aggressive. I say stubborn and you're right, it is very open to interpretation. What I mean is, testing. He wants to see how much I mean it when I ask for something and if I am willing to back up a request with a demand. He is getting to the point where it is quite clear to him I am not only willing but able and so he tests less and less.

I think another problem we were having was a lack of trust which is completely understandable as I have had him less than two months during which he has undergone two stable changes and a visit to the vet hospital. He is now in what will be his home for at least the next 3 years and we have settled into a routine which I try to make comforting without being so repetative that it is a bore (the collecting and grooming, turning out, feeding portions of each day are the same, what we do while we ride or do ground work is where I mix things up for him). Yesterday he spooked twice in the arena when an attack chicken appeared as if from no where. I calmed him and he relaxed visibly. At the end of the ride he was stuck to me like glue and I think he was actually looking to me for comfort. I definitely can feel trust slowly forming between us.

I have gotten some fabulous coaching and discovered my main problem was allowing my emotional attachment and desire to have a special relationship with my horse get in the way of my knowledge on how to handle horses. Ironically, allowing him to get away with things I'd never accept from another horse got in the way of our relationship. Now that I'm back on track things are progressing very well and he is opening up to me and actually getting excited to learn new things.

Indeed I do not live in the city but have no plans to take him into the wide world just yet. My boy is very well schooled indeed but like your horses, he knows instantly if the rider on his back knows what they are doing or not. He is an utter lamb under saddle in the arena (both indoor and out) but he is not the only one still lacking in the trust department. Until I know I can trust him not to be an idiot and trust myself to stay seated and control him if we have a wreck, it will sadly be arena work only for us. Except on the ground. I take him for walks in the wide world as well as lunging and other exercises in the wheat fields out here. As I said, try to mix things up as often as I can. And feel certain I can manage him to this extent.

thanks again for your advice, which is always worth reading (several times in fact!!)
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post #27 of 27 Old 09-26-2009, 05:17 AM
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I worry sometimes about giving detailed advice on how I deal with a problem in my own horses. Neither Joe nor DiDi were/are aggressive but both inadvertently did me physical harm. DiDI is timid but also a touch crafty, Joe was timid but he had a comfort zone which one entered with caution.
The difference in their chracters did not matter, what hurt me were the effects of Newton's laws of Gravity and Motion. Neither horse meant to hurt me. I just got caught up with the energy expressed by over 1000lbs of muscular horse flesh.
And the laws of gravity say what mounts up must get down - sometime.

You've known your fella for just a few months and by the sound of it , he is coming round to liking you. But be careful - it is invariably the unexpected which hurts not the predictable.
My DiDi is a delight to handle but she is a difficult horse to ride - because of her timidity which erupts as a shy which comes completely out of the blue for no discernable reason. In many ways she is more difficult to handle than Joe - who one knew was going to be bolshie under certain circumstances.
With hindsight -please leave the outside world unvisited until you think you can read your Boy's thoughts - well enough.

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