trouble with 3 yr olds first trail rides (from ground) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 10-31-2010, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Norfolk, UK
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Question trouble with 3 yr olds first trail rides (from ground)

Hi there,

First off, Sorry for the length of this message.

Ive had my 3 1/2 yr old mare Rosie for 5 months now,
i bought her as backed but green (they hadnt taught her anything eg. moving away
from pressure), as she was only 3 i decided to leave the backing untill next

Ive been doing alot of ground work and intergrated CT into her training as she
had a huge tendancy to move into pressure, and was being rather rude and bargy
as i put pressure on.

It also seemed as though she didnt have a reason for wanting to learn untill i used the clicker with her and her eyes lit up when she caught on.

She now moves from pressure on any point of her body in the correct way
Her leading in the arena, her pasture and around the yard has progressed alot
(she always stays behind you, keeps out of your space, dosent mug, extreamly
light. the only thing she falts is planting her feet occasionaly when she dosent
wat to go the way you want but if i click when a foot goes forward and she gives
a little it resolves the problem and is happening less and less.)

we enjoy verry much playing nose ball together =)

now, the problem i am having is as soon as we go out the gate, like today:
Our new livery decided to walk her horse out today to get it used to the
surroundings, so i said i would walk rosie out with her as soon as we got out of
the gate she was pulling forwards and refusing to stop so i pulled her in a
circle cued her to halt/back and clicked her i did this repeatingly the whole
way up and it didnt make any difference to her to wether she was infront of the
other horse or not, i wanted to click her for giving a bit but i didnt feel that
there was any behaviour that it would make a difference to.

on the way back she was getting better and i wasnt having to circle her to get a
halt/back all of the time,
although she got spooked by dog walkers who let their dog come up to her (was on
a lead) after i had asked them to walk around her,
anyway she did a spin and a rear, i then got her to stand quietly for a few
moments clicked her as she walked from behind me to start with.

when we were nearly home she decided to compleatly dislodge her back hip and
kick me out to the side as she pulled i stopped her backed her up about 10 steps
then took her home,

as soon as we got home she was perfect would do anything i asked her to do and
almost seemed appologetic.

the walk was for 10 mins max.
i wanted to turn her around but the livery lady wanted to keep going and and
their mare is rather attached to mine so i didnt want to cause her problems.

Ive taken her out 4 times before shes not a particulary spooky natured horse,
she wants to go out she enjoys it , never turns for home, she gets anxious but i
could cope with her.

Anyone have any ideas (or previous eperiance mabey?) how i can help her with
this i know i need to chunk it down verry small distance, often, does anyone
have any effective tips?
im going to work on it but need inspiration as the most i get at our yard is
'give the horse a good smack when it pulls' im like no thats realy not the
answer id never hit her, and my mum is always like lunging solves everything =/ shes verry classical in her methods and hates the fact im going bittless.


Jessii & Rosie
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post #2 of 27 Old 11-02-2010, 02:09 PM
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IMO (I'm not a pro by any means) I think you're doing fine. You can't expect perfection so soon. Just keep at it, consistent, short rides, and visualize what you want. (Try not to think of what happened the day before.)
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post #3 of 27 Old 11-03-2010, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Norfolk, UK
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thanks =) it makes me a bit down when she does this though, i took her just out of the gate onto the track yesterday and she just wanted to get going lol ... she was spooky (at nothing) but she wanted to go away from her field friends lol .. oh idk .. i dont want to get her or me hurt just because shes exited, im going to give her a calmer next time (natural one) and if that dosent work ill wait till ive gotten her fully backed an get her on trails from her back as i feel more in control on their backs lol ..
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post #4 of 27 Old 11-03-2010, 03:07 PM
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I don't believe in giving a horse a calming agent to train them. I feel it just masks the situation, but its your choice not mine.
And also, if you cant control a horse on the ground, isn't it a big no-no to assume you'll control it in that situation on its back? Or is every trainer/instructor I've worked for backwards?

I agree with Beling that your doing fine though. Like you said she was spooky/excited. So it could be that she is wanted to run and play (you said you play games with her already) or she was genuinely nervous (my mare doesn't run home when nervous either) or she was being a typical 3 year old brat and trying to see what she could get away with.

Either way, keep going for walks, they'll get better and better. And then you'll have next to nothing to worry about when you are riding her out.
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post #5 of 27 Old 11-03-2010, 06:22 PM Thread Starter
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Obviously, i dont want to jump on her back right now lol
i mean in the spring when shes 4 and when shes broken properly, i dont think i realy knew what i meant by that but basicaly as she dosent think theres monsters in the hedges and trees im not going to worry too much other than when i am on her back it will be a case of if you want to pull your head away then ill pull you too the right untill you give, too the left untill you give and so on yano that way i can deal with it without being physicaly dragged and fighting untill i have to turn her in a circe, which dosent realy teach her to give.

but again its exitment at home she always gives shes polite dosent pull even going in for her night time feed.

but im going to take her out again mabey with a different horse whom she actually cares about, see if its her being a teasing 3 yr old she will have to be told she the lower rank

if its exitment which i think it is, as she always gives at home its hard to teach her that if you get me?
and no one can stop a horse from being exited and she must be getting a huge sence of freedom.

as for the calmers
I got the vet in a month after i first got her as she came into season and was verry different, i rang her previous dealer owners as they had her for a year and asked if she had been in season yet and they said no.

When the vet came out he said she was a bit late and it was just the horemones verry unbalanced and i sould give her some horemone calmers to balance it out and that hopefully but next year she should be fine.

i took her off of them about 6 or 7 weeks ago so they could balance them selves out a bit which they seemed too
then a week agos she came in again and has been tearing around her paddok like a loon and coming to sliding stops all over the paddok alot and infront of the gates so as i dont want to see her with her foot through them i thought id put back on it, and her behaviour out on the track is probably because of her hormones too,

as the vet said i need to keep her safe as at first i didnt want her to go on them
but its like us women and we know how we feel with pmt right?

also he said some horses get tummy aches with it too and as shes having abnormaly long and frequent seasons it has to affect her.

its just figuring the best way with her and as shes my babie i cant train her how i would others, i admit im a bit too soft when it comes to her but if im mean too her i feel so bad and its like she gives me those cute little 'mummy im sorry w..www..why did you tell me off boo hoo hooo' eyes, yano?

sorry im rambling a bit im just worried i love her so much and want to give her the best start so she enjoys going out as i hate being on a horse that dosent cos its like whats the point?

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post #6 of 27 Old 11-03-2010, 10:46 PM
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Okay, I take back the calming agent statement then. If vet says she is hormonally out thats one thing, I just hear a lot of people giving their horses a sedative in a situation that might make them nervous.

And good that you're not planning on just jumping on and hitting trails. Another thing that I'm all to familiar with. Sadly one of the girls I knew who did that all the time learnt her lesson that teaching horses something first before going out works instead of having the horse flip over on top of a car.
But clearly you are in no hurry to push her into anything.

I have yet to see a horse that doesn't love going out though lol, so I don't think you have to worry about ruining it for her. Its just a matter of having controlled excitement lol.

Try different horses, try different numbers, try alone, the more times the better.

And I totally know the feeling of not wanting to punish them! It's one of the reasons I'm sucking it up and sending my mare out to a pro as she is to big and to good at taking advantage of everyone to not be disciplined properly lol.
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post #7 of 27 Old 11-03-2010, 11:42 PM
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I think clicker training is extremely effective in helping a horse understand what you want from them and when they have succeeded. I commend you for you patience with this young horse.

What worries me about this mare is the kicking and pulling. When what you want is not important to the mare is when the clicker becomes useless. Think about exercises you can do to more firmly establish yourself as the "boss mare" before taking her out. You also need to consider how horses teach each other how to behave in the herd. The "boss mare" always gets her way and it is not up for discussion. She disciplines swiftly and only applies as much pressure as needed to get the response she wants which is for them to respect her and her space. It's natural for them and they do not hold grudges. Sometimes a physical reprimand like a slap on the chest or front feet is all you need in order for it to be clear that what you want should be important to her to. Know this, if you never discipline and only reward or say good job your horse will not respect you which means that when you want to do something that your horse does not you will be out of luck.

Discipline is just adding pressure until you get the response you want. But the discipline/pressure has to be there for the horse to want to please you and get the release. There will be times when getting to hear the clicker is not enough motivation to stop doing what she is doing.

You add pressure to tell her to back up, why do you not add pressure in the form of discipline when she is not behaving?
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post #8 of 27 Old 11-04-2010, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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The thing is like today, at home she has total respect if she gets in my space, she gets told, if she was one day to challenge further she probably would get a bit more than a nudge away.

She follows me like a dog but she knows it has to be from a distance and not to get pushy.

at the same time she is an absolute overachiever, when we start a clicker session by the end of it i wound need to even touch her, the phisical pressure i need turn into every small movement i make.

the clicker was usefully obviously it didnt help her pulling but it helped her to keep her attention on me a bit if i didt have it she may have bolted out of my hands

when i first got her she was slightly aggresive she didnt like pressure if you touched her sides she would swing round and bite, the clicker has helped her in that.
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post #9 of 27 Old 11-04-2010, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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basicaly when i got her if the grass was greener over there she would be gone since we used the clicker she would stop listen all day long and then it was more positive reinforcement than negative as she couldnt handle it but now its an even mix, so things work.

im not saying she needs the clicker, but it helps if id have just been pulling and pulling, yanking her head and there was no reward (relese of pressure is reward but not to her at that point) she would have tried me on big time.
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post #10 of 27 Old 11-06-2010, 04:17 PM
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Have you tried Teaching her the 7 games? I guess people have probably heard it time and time again but I really believe if you take the time to teach them the 7 games then you will have built up a great rapport with your horse in that time and other things just seem to flow from there. It seems as though she had a few issues & ideally you would have turned back when you first wanted to because you knew thats where her thresholds where & you didnt want to push her over them before she was ready to cross those thresholds. Its a shame when we are with others we sometimes forget our loyalty to our horses and we disappoint the horses by not being such a partner to them. Next time, if you are confident enough, next time you feel your horse is not coping & needs to be taek back to her safety threshold then take her back and let her just be for a bit, dont push her past that threshold and you will hopefully start to see improvements. The thresholds will get further and further appart too. ;)

~*Real Horses Weigh A Tonne*~
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