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Need advice about persuaders

This is a discussion on Need advice about persuaders within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    06-10-2013, 10:55 AM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by Saranda    
Natural horsemanship is basically about letting a horse understand, what's going on, going in sync with the horses' body language, psychology, all those things... A twitch does none of them, it's just brute, physical submission.

Wrong, a twitch can save you from getting killed when working with a horse.

And horse is NOT laying on the ground after brutally being forced to submit, or after suffering from having one used, whether it is ear, skin, lip hold with fingers, blanket clip, over upper gums, or traditional twitch.

And used properly, it can allow a horse to understand that what is being done is not going to harm them.

I've seen more than a few horses that had to be twitched in some way at first, usually for shoeing issues, that after 2, 3 4 times of being twitched, and with shoeing visits 5 weeks apart, understood that nothing was going to happen, and stood quietly after that.

But to call it brute force submission is wrong.
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    06-10-2013, 11:20 AM
Green Broke
A twitch does have a place, in very specific situations.

What more concerns me is a) why did she need to be shaved? Other than some forms of competition(or very few other reasons) there is no reason to shave a horses ears. And b) this statement:

I love horses but I don't want to get throwed again ever
I don't know anyone that wants to come off a horse, but it is the reality of riding, and while you should take precautions to give your self the best possible chance of staying on, you need to accept that ALL riders come off, even the best.
smrobs and EvilHorseOfDoom like this.
    06-10-2013, 02:27 PM
Super Moderator
SR, show me a horse who willingly puts his lip in a twitch, and maybe I shall change my thoughts about it being a method of force. However, I'm not going to argue, I just believe that if a procedure of grooming has to be done with a twitch, then maybe the handler should think over the basics, instead of trying to make a horse behave by twitching him. And I have the rights to believe in this, as well as you have your rights to believe in what's best. :)
    06-10-2013, 02:35 PM
Originally Posted by Saranda    
SR, show me a horse who willingly puts his lip in a twitch, and maybe I shall change my thoughts about it being a method of force. However, I'm not going to argue, I just believe that if a procedure of grooming has to be done with a twitch, then maybe the handler should think over the basics, instead of trying to make a horse behave by twitching him. And I have the rights to believe in this, as well as you have your rights to believe in what's best. :)
As was stated previously, if the twitch is used correctly, it is an effective method to calm a horse without using drugs.

A twitch will cause the release of endorphins. Endorphins are natural painkillers - made by the body but released by the brain.
    06-10-2013, 05:04 PM
^^^ So I have heard.
I'd still rather train a horse to accept something than start off with a twitch.
Skyseternalangel likes this.
    06-10-2013, 05:11 PM
Twitching a horse CAN be painful if it is used improperly. I wouldn't touch one.., but that's because I've never used one, and I don't know the proper way.

If used properly, it's not painful at all to the horse (even if it looks like it)

I agree with others that the horse should be taught to accept things first- though sometimes time is not an option for emergency things with poorly handled horses.
    06-10-2013, 05:14 PM
Super Moderator
Well, clipping the ears can hardly be an emergency, if we refer to the original post... But I'm the odd one who's against trimming all you can get off your horse, just because you can.
    06-10-2013, 05:48 PM
Super Moderator
A twitch is neither a training devise nor an instrument of brute force.

It is simply a 'distraction' devise and a form of a 'restraint'. There are times that the use of a twitch is very necessary to get something done quickly. They can be the best of few options in a particular circumstance. They work simply because most horses only feel pain in one place and not two or three. They can distract and restrain a horse while Xylocaine is being injected to suture something.

There are times you do not want to sedate a horse and you simply have to get something done before you would have time to train it to accept a certain thing. We have a set of stocks, so a twitch is much less frequently needed, but I still keep one around. Everyone that has had a lot of horses has had things come up where a twitch is appropriate.

Everyone also has their own favorite kind of twitch. Personally, I prefer a wooden pick handle with a hole drilled through it near the end and a 3/8 inch piece of rope tied through it in a loop of about 4 inches in diameter or so. The same kind of distraction can be accomplished a lot of times by taking a handful of skin on a horses neck where it joins its shoulder. 'Earing' a horse down does the same thing by twisting an ear, but has the bad side-effect of making a horse ear-shy. I almost always try a lip-chain before I go to a twitch because I can 'teach' at the same time I use it as a restraint. Other times, I just want a quick short restraint.

I probably use a twitch more frequently in breeding management than in other situations. I will twitch a 'kicky' mare so she will not injure a stallion during a live cover. I will twitch a mare that does not want to be palpated. I will twitch a mare to put in Caslick sutures or take them out. There are just a lot of times that a quick temporary restraint is appropriate.
    06-10-2013, 06:04 PM
Twitches have their place, but IMHO, should not be used to replace proper training. Twitches are something that should be saved for when you need something done immediately that the horse may nor may not be prepared for (or something that can't really be trained to correct easily).

Twitching her to trim the ears just shows me that someone didn't want to take the time to introduce her and desensitize her to the clippers the way it should have been done.

I've been around horses my entire life with my Dad being a pro trainer and we had thousands of horses come and go over the years. The only time I ever saw him twitch a horse was when one that was barely broke got hurt and needed a wound washed or needed a shot or other, similar, circumstances.

As I said, they have their place, but they can cause a lot of long term problems if used improperly.
    06-10-2013, 06:51 PM
Totally agree with what you've said. When I was a kid, we had a mare who tore the tendons in her hind leg which was followed by a massive abscess. I was really young, but I do remember my mom having to hose down her leg and maybe put some sort of medication on it... really don't remember that vivid of detail, but do remember having to use a twitch on her. In that situation, her hind leg was very painful to touch not to mention dangerous for the people doing it, so a twitch was necessary. There are situations that warrant their use such as medical emergencies or others mentioned above.

For things like clipping, I think it would be better to just slowly get her used to them.

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