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Refusing to Join Up!! HELP!!

This is a discussion on Refusing to Join Up!! HELP!! within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    05-29-2013, 02:36 PM
Green Broke
I agree with loosie. If you don't know what you're doing, you really need someone experienced to guide and instruct you. Otherwise, it will take much longer and you and the horse will have problems.
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    05-29-2013, 04:26 PM
Originally Posted by Luvofthehorse    
I think joining up with her is a important part of training her. I was waiting to get her roundpenning well before I put her saddle on but she is fine with the bridle and saddle blanket. I have put weight on her and done groundwork on her such as moving her front and hind end around, sidepassing, backing up, and foot work.

She is easy to get moving, but she gets tired fast and stops until I can get her going again. She will slow if I stop but won't come to me. I turn my back but she just looks away. I tried to answer your questions but I may have left some out.

I agree that join up, or whatever you want to call round pen work, is important, though certainly not essential. It's possible that this mare is of a rather sensitive and what I might call shy or uncertain nature. When you have her moving, she is fleeing you and might not be moving with a connected response to the level of pressure you are putting on, but rahter just running away, like I said, "fleeing".

Ok, some people just want the horse to flee them, round and around, until the horse is tired enough that it kind of "begs" to be allowed to stop. Then it's supposed to turn toward you and come to you. I think that's how it goes, no?
But what you might be looking for if you were working with me in the round pen, (In my limited knowledge) would be for the horse to be looking at you for direcction, and that would mean not just wanting , beggin you to stop driving it and allow it to stop, but for it to be looking to you for direction on HOW fast to go, and when to slow down, and turn around , etc.
You can work on those things without ever having the horse beg to come in and "join up" wiht you. YOU ask her to move forward at a walk . If she runs off, then stop and turn her, and try again. Until she walks. This mean that YOUR body language has to be saying to her "walk", and not "run away from me". It's hard to do this without someone showing you the way. It's very hard to learn from books.

Anyway, you work on getting her to go slow/fast/change directions, and when you stop moving her, she should at least stop running around, as you say this is what she already does (good). If you would like to draw her in to you, you may need to do more than just stand there, beuase if she has a sensitive and timid nature, she may not be confident enough to come in without more "invitation" from you. Such as, you back away from her, or move away and toward her hind end a bit. She'll follow you with her eyes, and where her "mind" goes, her feet will follow. If you stop, you back up, you move around to her hind, you turn you body somewhat sideways, (all ways to invite her) and she won't come, then ask her to move on and try again.

It's all about getting her to think ON you . If she is looking at you , thinking about you , maybe, but not moving her feet, then help her to move her feet by other means of "drawing " her, and if that won't move her feet, then drive her forward a bit, and try again with the stop and draw. And if she starts to step toward you, then you kind of "peel off" a little and she will likely step in and follow near your shoulder. THAT is enough of "join up" and time to go on to other things.

I wish I could help you but I wish you the very best in your efforts and hope my explanation can make some sense. It's hard to write , much easier to show.
loosie and Little Jane like this.
    05-29-2013, 08:15 PM
You could try going forward without "join up" and work on that later. If she's not coming to you, I would have her change directions a lot, to keep her focus on you rather than on just moving. The goal should be a quietly walking horse who turns when you step in front of her shoulder and back up. But the mare may be trotting or even running at the start, though I wouldn't ask for more than a walk, don't punish the forward. Instead, as Tinyliny suggested, make her change directions. Step in front of her shoulder and towards her, and she should move away. You may have to jog to get in front of her, and that's okay. As soon as you see a head drop/chewing/licking/ears on you/any indication that she's ready to stop, step in front of her and back up. Keep your feet moving so that she knows you want her feet moving as well. It's amazing how much they watch our feet ... Give her a few seconds (continuing to move your feet) and if she doesn't take a step towards you, drive her on again. If she's a sensitive one, be gentle in your driving. However, any teensy tiny step towards you should be rewarded with a "good girl" and a relaxing of your body and the pressure. In the beginning, you may only get two or three steps towards you, but that's okay. You can walk up to her and rub her and love her up and let her think about it for the rest of the day. If she does what you want, even if it's a few steps in the right direction, give her that break. And keep us updated :)
    05-30-2013, 12:08 AM
Thanks tinyliny and littlejane!! Out of all these posts this one has actually helped! I will see if I can try it this weekend and keep you posted on what happens!
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    06-04-2013, 03:21 PM
Any updates? Hope all is well!
    06-04-2013, 04:18 PM
Super Moderator
Honestly there is nothing to be gained from 'join up', I've never done it and never had a horse that was the worse for that. They've all come to call and would/will all follow me without a lead rope. They trust me, respect me and do whatever I ask of them
One minute you're telling your young horse to go away from you in quite an aggressive way and then suddenly you expect her to come to you
She's confused, hasn't got a clue what you want and that's unfair to her. You might even be destroying her confidence in you
Everything we do with our horses should be a step to what we do with them under saddle and I fail to see how join up benefits that
There's a lot of negative thought now about the whole join up thing with the opinion of people like Hempfling who liken it to the 'prey/predator' situation where the animal is run to the point of exhaustion (or boredom) so gives in as a victim and not as a willing partner.
loosie and Skyseternalangel like this.
    06-05-2013, 11:28 PM
I haven't tried what Little Jane and Tinyliny said but I will try it tomorrow and say how it goes. Even if it doesn't work I will be putting her saddle on anyways.
    06-05-2013, 11:56 PM
Agree with Jaydee, about 'Join Up' being a predatory type situation. But I do think on & off lead yard work(I don't care if it's round or has corners) can be very handy & not predatory, depending on how it's done.

Eg. If you're chasing the horse around a small enclosure they can't escape from, especially if you don't quit until you get clear signs from the horse that they have given up, this is nothing like a situation within a natural herd, but everything like a horse being chased by predators until it gives up.

But if you ask a horse to approach you, it doesn't, or it moves off, so you put *a bit* of pressure on it(never enough that it causes panic or pain), and quit any pressure the instant it *starts* to think about hesitating, looking or moving your way, this will teach the horse that the easiest & best answer when you ask it to approach/follow is to do just that. I also find having worked with the horse & taught it the basics of yielding online & with direct pressure first means that there is far less confusion & worry... & wrong answers when you first work the horse off lead.
    06-06-2013, 07:07 AM

Monty roberts
    06-06-2013, 09:30 AM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by TBforever    
This sort of breaking technique just explains to me why we have so many poorly educated and badly prepared horses in the world right now - the first months of a horses education are the foundation for the rest of its life and should never be rushed like this.
I will stick with my good old fashioned methods!!!
loosie and Skyseternalangel like this.

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