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Question about Clinton Anderson's methods

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    05-04-2012, 01:51 AM
She doesn't get grain this time of year...She is getting alfalfa though, but she's been on it for a month and I haven't noticed a huge change from when she was on plain ol' grass hay....

I'm kind of excited to do the round pen though, I haven't gotten to do a join-up since Ruger when he was two.
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    05-04-2012, 01:53 AM
I'm not a trainer, and I don't have a lot of experience, so take this with a HUGE rock of salt...

My horses don't run around much either. They don't play. Both geldings have started each ride with the desire to trot or run for 15+ minutes. With both of them, it was because of inner tension. Not 'too much energy', but 'too nervous about what was going to happen'.

Trooper had been abused at a ranch - as in bloody holes in his sides from spurring. He still has a nasty scar on his right side, 4 year later. In the end, we went about 8 months without riding him, and then had him spend 5 weeks at a trainers. She did ground work with him for the first 4 weeks. The 5th week was easy, since he had overcome much of his fear of humans. When we got him back, we had him on the 'you can do no wrong' program for 3-4 months. Only then did we begin correcting him, although he is by nature a horse who wants to get along. Even now, we treat him with a light hand.

Our BLM mustang that we were given last Dec has a lot of good qualities, but he will randomly buck (he's only 13 hands, so his bucking isn't very powerful) or bolt. Part of the problem, IMHO, is that before we got him, they would take him to the round pen and 'run the energy off of him'. I think what they REALLY accomplished was to teach him that humans are irrational beings who sometimes make you run hard. It didn't have any reason that he understood, and they didn't time the release very well.

The trainer who worked with Trooper was over today and worked with Cowboy (the mustang). She thinks he's a fast learner, and willing. But he doesn't trust people to act rationally or to give him a release from pressure when he gets it right, and he responds defensively (aggressively). Our plan of action is for my wife & I to work him gently and slowly on a lunge line, and to make certain we give a quick release of pressure when he does right. We'll take him for walks on a lead line, and do some light riding with other horses (he behaves MUCH better if another horse is around).

If lunging is turning into a battle, then maybe lunging is 'too hard' for right now. If someone gags when you feed them, maybe they need smaller bites.

All that being said, I've never had to deal with a real dominant/aggressive horse. Mine - all whopping 4 that I've worked with - have all been willing animals who in a couple of cases didn't trust humans to take care of them.

I'll add that my mare is, in a way, a fighter. If you press her too far too fast, she'll get either afraid or angry, and neither is good. If she feels she is being bullied, she will fight her rider. She has been known to do that with much larger horses, to the point of losing 150 lbs from her 900 lb frame.

Just food for thought. With only 4 horses of experience, there is an entire universe of horses that I know nothing about.
    05-04-2012, 02:14 AM
Selena is very dominant....She's dominant in the pasture and picks on the other horses, not to the point of being dangerous but she certainly lets them know that she's the boss and enver takes no for an answer. And since she's associated with humans her whole life, she's of the opinion that we are just another horse in the herd, not the leader. (She was literally one that as a foal they would snuggle with in the stall. She was the 'baby' since she was an orphan, and the "farm greeter"....She had free run of the ranch and would run up to cars and people when they pulled in the driveway and "greet" them.)

Though it's an interesting idea bsms, that is definitely going to stay in the back of my mind if the round pen doesn't improve her.
    05-04-2012, 04:24 AM
My daughter had mare when she was a teenager. This mare was also an orphaned foal and very spoilt! We had to keep her separate from other horses as she was just too aggressive with them.

And man, did she have a battle with that mare to get some respect. Hannah is a strong determined girl and did not let up on this mare but from a distance she looked like she was battling with the black stallion!! Well, when she did gain the mares respect she was just awesome. She always did her very best for Hannah. Funnily enough she was always the safest horse to put beginners on as she would not go forward well till she knew they were secure. She hated anyone falling off her. There was one instance of the saddle slipping and the beginner kinda hanging upside down under her belly. She just stood completely still, looking under her belly as if to say 'what are doin there?' She was very jealous of Hannah riding any other horse and would pull the ugliest faces!

Orphaned foals are difficult to deal with because of a lack of socialization but they are trainable as we found out.
    05-04-2012, 11:23 AM
Some ideas:

Start from the beginning, and see if you have respect issues from general handling. How does she do being led, getting hooves cleaned, groomed, etc? Will she yield her shoulder and hip? If she is pushy at that level, then fix that level before moving higher.

Then try basic desensitization. Does she handle having a rope drug all over her body? Can you move a whip over her body? What about hula hoops? What about trash bags on a whip? Again, if she is calm with everything you can think of, then it isn't a fear issue. If not, work with her to get her used to the idea that she can trust you to do odd things without hurting her.

Round pen: Will she walk quietly? Will she change directions, outward or inward at your choice, and do so calmly? If she won't obey at a walk, then she won't obey/respect at higher speeds. Work her up a bit at a time. With my mare, at age 11, we had to work her up a little and then she would explode - racing around. But racing around meant she had to change directions at speed, and that was tiring, so...

We spent several weeks working with her to raise her emotional level, and then let her calm down. Graduation was when we could have her move up to a gallop, change directions, and then quickly slow her to a walk without trouble.

If the horse is dangerously aggressive in the round pen, I'd shoot the horse. I know some people are willing to risk their lives to work with a horse like that, but I won't & I won't ask anyone else to. I've heard stories of horses trying to kill a human, and I wouldn't take a chance on anything like that.

To me, a round pen or lunge line is to introduce a horse to new ideas, or to show it that if it obeys simple commands, it gets immediate release of pressure. Once they understand that, it is time to move off.

Next (and BTW, this progression is what we used on Mia, a mare who was sold to me as great for a beginner, and who I had ridden, as a beginner, in a sidepull halter for 3 years before I got tired of her occasional explosions/bolting), see if the horse understands things like tying up to a post, bit cues, leg cues - from the ground. From my very limited experience, it looks like a horse is about 1/2 as good when I'm on her back as when I'm on the ground, so I want the ground work to be very good and consistent before I try asking for it during a ride.

To me, if a horse 'needs to have the energy run out of him' before mounting, then it indicates a training issue that needs to be worked before mounting. That was how Cowboy was treated as a lesson horse - they would 'round pen the energy out of him' before letting the students ride him. I honestly believe that is counterproductive. Round pens and lunge lines are great training tools, but only when there is a training goal being worked on. But I also know some trainers with 100s of times my experience who disagree, so take it FWIW.
    05-04-2012, 03:07 PM
I have never seen any videos of Clinton Anderson until yesterday when I watched him filmed giving a trailer loading video "lesson" in Missouri on youtube. I was revolted by what I witnessed. I'm going to see what more is available to watch him, but I will tell you flat out that if this one video is any indicator of his "natural horsemanship" methods, whoever is buying his tactics are unknowingly abusing their horses and wasting valuable money.
AnitaAnne and corymbia like this.
    05-04-2012, 05:37 PM
Originally Posted by DRichmond    
...are unknowingly abusing their horses and wasting valuable money.
Money? I dunno. But "abusing their horses"? THAT I seriously doubt.

Let's reserve "abuse" for something other than "not what I would do"....
SorrelHorse and CarmenL like this.
    05-04-2012, 05:51 PM
Well, Clintons Method works for me and my horses are quiet, relaxed and respectful. I love it that I have the knowledge I need to work through any problems I should have with my horses. I don't need to be running to trainers and experts to train my horses.

Safety is important to me and my kids and grandkids are all safe round my horses.

And I can easily float load by myself with no issues.
RosiePosie06 likes this.
    05-04-2012, 06:07 PM
If the OP is interested in learning non-abusive training apps which give an accurate depiction of what natural horsemanship in fact is, and from a well known name, I would recommend veteran John Lyons as an example. A true horseman neither needs nor uses tools for the foundation work and only engages those tools as a humane extension and knows how not to misuse them.

I have watched 3 videos of Clinton Anderson on youtube so far. I wouldn't spend a dime on any of his services if I were a serious student or beginner.
AnitaAnne likes this.
    05-04-2012, 06:12 PM
If someone prefers John Lyons to Clinton Anderson, that is fine. Saying Anderson abuses horses is, IMHO, over the line.
"A true horseman neither needs nor uses tools for the foundation work and only engages those tools as a humane extension and knows how not to misuse them"
Which is it? If they don't need or use tools, then how can they use the tools as a humane extension?

But since halters, lead ropes and saddle are tools, I think just about EVERY rider uses tools...

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