09-25-2009, 04:00 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.