Join-up with an older horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cumbria, England
Posts: 15
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Thumbs up Join-up with an older horse

I realise this is a pretty basic question. I've read Monty Roberts' The Man Who Listens to Horses and while his method seems incredible, and I really want to try it, he always seems to be referring to using it on young horses. Is it possible to join up with a horse who has been ridden for years and is an old hand? She's not old enough to be getting tired or anything, but she's no stranger to being ridden. Has anyone else had success with joining up with a horse they've been riding for a long time?

Thanks, Alex :)

EDIT: One more question - has anyone done this in a rectangular arena, and has it been a problem? The arena I have in mind is really quite small.

Last edited by songbird; 07-04-2011 at 11:18 AM.
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Uk
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The age of the horse really makes no difference to round penning horses in this method.

With a rectangular arena the issue may be that the horse gets trapped in the corners when you chase it away.

Just curious can I ask why you want to perform join-up on this horse? What is it that you are hoping to achieve? Is there a particular problem you hope it will overcome?
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post #3 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cumbria, England
Posts: 15
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There isn't a particular problem I have in mind. I just feel that I would really like to try and connect with her in this way. Why, would you recommend not trying it unless I have a goal in mind?
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post #4 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Uk
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I have worked with and alongside a number of Montys representatives and students and seen Monty on tour. They are lovely people the ones that I know (images of an experiment with inflatable palm trees and vets coats spring to mind but that's another story lol) but we just see different things behind join-up.

I believe that used willy nilly as it often is does not create a bond but actually challenges it. If you are attracted to it solely by the book and maybe a tv show, then I would offer a second set of opinions from better sources than I for you to consider prior to deciding how you want to proceed with your horse.

For a translation google 'Cavallo magazine Dec 2003'. Of course everything is opinion on both sides, you have to make your own mind up, but it is always best if you can see two sides before weighing up.

All the best.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 06:20 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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I used to use a 45' square pen for first rides and for much schooling. I really like the square pen better than the round ones.

I used to do something that would be similar to 'join up', only it as years before Monty Roberts ever heard of it. I used it mostly to get new horses and really wild horses to face me. [A lot of the horses I got in to train, were unhandled -- not even halter-broke when I got them.] I found out that when they learned to face me, they would usually just start following me around. I did not think it was some 'magic trick'. It was just how it worked and their face was sure preferable to their butt greeting me. I would just send them away until I could back up and 'draw' them to me. They invariably stuck their heads in a corner when I first ran them into the pen. I gave them a light swat on the butt and they went to another corner. This is how it went until they thought they would stop broadside to me. When they did, I would back up and they would usually start following. I just never approached a horse if it had its butt to me -- in a stall, a pen or a pasture. Years later, anyone can open a stall door and these horses will automatically turn around and face the door.

I recently bought a 10 year old gelding to use for trail rides. He was sold to me as 'impossible to catch -- especially in a pasture'. I put him in the round pen and made him make several circles each direction. I kept him moving until he would stop and 'draw' toward me and reverse toward me.

Then, I put him in our 150 foot round pen that we work horses on cattle (and bison) in. It only took a few rounds and he 'wanted' to come to me. I did not move him around aggressively -- just waved an arm and smooched and 'drove' him away form me.

I have turned him out with the other horses and so far, I can walk up to him anytime I want to. With 5 - 10 geldings in every pasture, I would rather walk up to the one I want than have them crowd around me. I prefer that they respect my space.

I think driving a horse away until he wants to come to me is a good lesson for any of them to learn. The aprehensive ones become more approachable and the 'pocket ponies' learn to move away when you ask them to. There is something in it for any of them.
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post #6 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: South East Texas
Posts: 7,157
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I don't think of join up as a magical treatme, or as a tool that is necessary on a well-trained, respectful horses, so IMO if your mare keeps out of your bubble, isn't hard to catch, and responds to you- there isn't a reason to introduce something new to her. I know quite a few people who use joinup as a sort of lunging exercise before riding their horses, and although I do admit that their animals are very well behaved and responsive, joinup to them is just another thing. They are simply reacting the way that they were trained to when running in circles, not using their instincts or their heads to figure something out. I've even had one of said person's geldings attempt to joinup with me when I was lunging him.

That being said, I am pro-joinup under the right circumstances, though. I've used the method with my ill-tempered (and extremely dominant/marish) filly two or three times as a way to establish dominance. I otherwise just roundpen her, which, ofcourse- is quite different.

I advise in just not attempting join up with her, especially if you do not have a friend or trainer who can teach you the first time- as I have heard of many stories (often on this forum) from people who attempt to join up with their long-time horses and end up with a big mess (such as a charging, rearing, or kicking horse)

if it ain't broke, don't fix it! ^_^

Everyone in your life is meant to
be in your journey, but not all of
them are meant to stay till the end.
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post #7 of 7 Old 07-05-2011, 03:56 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Cumbria, England
Posts: 15
• Horses: 1
That all sounds fair enough to me and I appreciate your perspectives. I agree "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" and it would be really difficult to construct a round pen in someone else's yard anyway, so I think I'll wait to attempt join up until I have a young horse to start (hopefully in a few years after uni!).

So once again thanks for your opinions. I look forward to trying join up in the future though.
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