Understanding the Importance of Manners
 
 

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Understanding the Importance of Manners

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        05-21-2013, 07:43 PM
      #1
    Super Moderator
    Understanding the Importance of Manners

    Many of the posts asking for help are about horse's taking advantage of the green owner.

    What many owners do not realise is the importance of correcting the slightest misdemeanour the horse tries on. I always say "Stop the little things and the big ones rarely happen"
    Cherie says "The worse behaviour you allow is the best behaviour you can expect."
    Both statements are true and well worth remembering. They are stated by two people who have spent their lives working with horses.
    If you ask a horse to do something then you should always follow it through. Give up and you are opening the door for that horse to further refuse to do something you want it to.


    I always start anything to do with manners, in the stable. I will have the horse loose and tell it to stand. This is at the back of the stable so it is standing sideways to the door. The moment that horse takes half a step to go forward, it is made to go back - the command "Stand" spoken in a firm voice. I will correct with poking my finger into its chest and if it chooses to ignore this then I will use the point of the hoof pick so he feels it.

    In the UK horses are generally groomed and tacked up in the stable, they are also mucked out when in the stable too. Manners are vitally important and the horse should readily give ground to a human so, when I walk into a stable I expect the horse to move back. If it doesn't then it gets the finger in its chest. If I walk behind a horse whether it is loose or tied, I expect it to move to give me room. I will teach it by pushing them over to start and then it just becomes automatic.
    Just because the stable door os opened does not give it the right to walk to the door - again correction and make it stand at the back of the stable and, when taking them out, they follow me and do not charge or rush out.

    All the above is done every time I am in with the horse - no exceptions! Consistency is vital.

    Feeding often causes problems and again it is vital that a horse realises the human is the one who is in charge. If a horse is bullish and charges for its feed then I will give it to him - still in the bucket and wrapped around his chest. I will make that horse yield to me by chasing it so it is going backwards around and around the stable until it is submitting (licking its lips) then I will give it one more circuit and walk out. It has its feed, tough that it is in its bed!
    Next feed time chances are that he will think twice about charging for his feed and stand back - if he doesn't then I will make him yield. Usually just waving an arm or a stern word is enough.

    I will leave the horse to eat in peace but if I want to do something with it then I will - the horse that shows signs of disliking the fact, gets messed with more. He has to realise that I can do what I want, when I want.

    By being consistent and getting the horse to move from a finger pressure then when leading it they get a bit strong a finger in the chest will make them think about pushing their luck because they know that you will enforce them to move away from that pressure.

    I do not ask for respect I demand it. I do not expect any of my horses to 'love' me, so I am not worried that if I correct, they might go off me. The opposite is true providing the corrections are fair.

    Any correction regardless needs to be done instantly. Learn the body language and you can read a horse before it reacts. If a horse is constantly moving, watch its knees, the moment it take the weight on one leg it is preparing to move - correct with a word or a finger before it has a chance to actually take that step.

    I am not an advocator of beating or thrashing any animal. However I am not afraid to correct a sin with something physical. The horse that swings around to bite will get a very firm slap across the flat of the muzzle - it will feel it but it will not make it head shy.
    The horse that kicks will be set up to actually kick out at me when I am 'armed' usually with a yard broom and the bristles are used - it doesn't actually hurt the animal but it sure as heck makes them think twice about trying it on again.

    Once a horse knows it is stronger than a human then real problems start because they will walk all over you.

    All corrections must be fair, carried out at that instant and not 20 seconds later. Do this and the animal will respect you as leader and as leader it will be prepared to follow you anywhere.
         
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        05-21-2013, 09:30 PM
      #2
    Green Broke
    Many times too, the problems that people are having with their horses under saddle, will have their root on the ground. Allow your horse to snatch lead out of your hands to eat grass? It will do it when you are on trail.

    Let horse bump head against you will lead to horse becoming aggressive with you.

    And many of the problems I see are coming from "I want my horsey to love me" and because people have mixed up love as equaling respect and that horse has to trust them before they can get respect.

    Wrong.

    A horse is perfectly capable of standing still, not biting, not kicking and not barreling you over. They don't do the lead mare that way, or lead horse, and should not do that to humans either.
         
        05-22-2013, 02:28 PM
      #3
    Foal
    What you are saying is very true. The problem with most *green owners* ( me included) is that cues to bad behaviour are missed due to inexperience, not the will to correct it straight away. You can learn to be a fair and consistent leader with your horse by knowing where you have gone wrong in the past.
    It's not the horses fault these cues are missed that leads to worse behaviour.. but the owner if they don't have the experiences under their belt is not too lazy to correct they just don't realise what has happened until the behaviour becomes problematic.
         
        05-22-2013, 02:35 PM
      #4
    Trained
    Another common problem I see is that people don't always correct because they are in a rush or try to do a small training excercise without setting aside enough time. My motto.... "Don't start something you can't finish."
    Posted via Mobile Device
         
        05-23-2013, 05:31 AM
      #5
    Trained
    Excellent post Fox. Agree fully. I must say, especially with horses, people are generally more ready to 'correct' but not so hot on reinforcing/rewarding horses for what they do 'right'. This is just as important IME.
         
        05-23-2013, 11:36 AM
      #6
    Trained
    When I saw the title, I thought of manners TO the horse. As in:

    Don't walk up directly to their face and grab them.

    Give a horse 5 seconds to smell you and accept you.

    Don't just grab their feet to pick them, or drop them afterward.

    Horses enjoy being treated with some measure of respect. In return, it is much easier to GET respect from a horse when you show them some. And yes, it is also important to demand respect from a horse, and to do it long before it gets to the biting or kicking stage.

    Like sparklefox says, most owners screw it up because they don't understand that behavior X is rude - in either direction. StateLineTack used to have a big set of free videos by Chris Irwin. When I was starting, I found those invaluable for teaching me both how to show respect to a horse, and how a horse would START showing me disrespect.

    I wish someone with a lot of experience would start a YouTube section on these sorts of things. Simply knowing how to get a horse, groom it and tack it without being rude to the horse, and knowing how to tell if the horse was being rude to you during that time, would be a great resource for a newbie. Simple things, like how to hold a horse's hoof while cleaning it, or what the horse is doing if it leans on you or moves into your space while cleaning a hoof. None of us are born knowing that.
         
        05-23-2013, 12:46 PM
      #7
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bsms    

    Like sparklefox says, most owners screw it up because they don't understand that behavior X is rude - in either direction. StateLineTack used to have a big set of free videos by Chris Irwin. When I was starting, I found those invaluable for teaching me both how to show respect to a horse, and how a horse would START showing me disrespect.

    I wish someone with a lot of experience would start a YouTube section on these sorts of things. Simply knowing how to get a horse, groom it and tack it without being rude to the horse, and knowing how to tell if the horse was being rude to you during that time, would be a great resource for a newbie. Simple things, like how to hold a horse's hoof while cleaning it, or what the horse is doing if it leans on you or moves into your space while cleaning a hoof. None of us are born knowing that.
    I agree with you. Most owners are far to green to be able to manage a horse without experienced advice. Also, with so much of this 'natural horsemanship' are afraid to correct.

    As for the videos that is a good idea. I might just set about making some this summer.
    The thing about many of these videos is that the trainer is using horses that are already trained and trying to get their point over. I would like to use problem horses with their owners and show how easy it is to correct.
    bsms and EvilHorseOfDoom like this.
         
        05-23-2013, 12:59 PM
      #8
    Yearling
    I am learning to stop these unwanted behaviors currently, training a green 4 yr old. I have stopped so many of his terrible habits by correcting him the first time.
    Biting? Smack.
    Rearing? Circles circles backing circles and more backing.
    Getting dangerous when fly spray or washing? Circles small enough where he can't avoid the spray or hurt me.
    Rearing when riding? Crop and then circles.
    Kicking? He gets kicked back.

    All of the dangerous habits he had were stopped, immediately. I'm sure people will disagree kicking him when he kicked, but he never lifted a leg at me again.

    I think a problem with alot of green owners is thinking that discipline is being "mean". Wrong, it shows you are the leader and that you demand respect. My mom disagreed with me disciplining the 4 yr old, thinking he would act more agressive and not like me, but he greets me at the gate everyday and gives me the most respect I could ask for.

    One big thing I read, I don't remember where, but:
    A horse can feel a fly on his coat, so he doesn't need hard aids and cues. But out in the pasture, horses play and kick and nip each other. A single smack isn't going to hurt them compared to how much the other horse can.
    Horse owners need to know when to be soft and when to be hard. It took me years and years to develop this, and I still am.
         
        05-23-2013, 01:29 PM
      #9
    Trained
    My horses are well behaved on the ground and -surprise- undersaddle as well.
    Lady I know can't control the horse on the ground and is scared to ride the thing (it bucks). It was all up in my space the other day, I kept moving away and she made some cute comment about me not wanting to get dirty. I just thought it in my head but I really just didn't want to club the horse in the head in front of her for fear of offending her. My horses you can stand 5' away with treats and they will not come into your space unless invited. Weird they don't buck either...
    People irk me. I like my horses well behaved.
    Posted via Mobile Device
    EmilyJoy likes this.
         
        05-23-2013, 01:51 PM
      #10
    Green Broke
    I'm having difficulty with this at the stable I board at. There is one horse in particular owned by an older couple and he is a total spoiled terror. For one, they hardly ever lead him on a lead. They let him run wherever he wants and "usher" him where he needs to be. This irks me to no end because they usually let him out in the main area where all the paddock entrances are to graze. Which means to get into the barn, to my paddock, out of my paddock, I have to deal with a stupid pushy horse.

    He has nearly ran me over TWICE. Literally running straight towards me with no intention of moving. The second time I smacked him in the face with a bucket but he still charged forward and I had to move out of the way. When I told the old man about it, he laughed and said, "yeah, you gotta stay out of his way!" NO!! HE needs to stay out of MY way! It is completely dangerous. Not to mention they have a 10~ year old grand daughter who he has kicked out at multiple times. But he "looooves her." They "play a game" where she runs on the outside of the fence with a carrot of handful of grass and he runs with her. Let's just forget the fact that his head is straight up in the air and his ears are pinned. This horse has never been officially "broke." He's never been sent to a trainer or had serious work done. All they did was strap a saddle to his back, stick a bit in his mouth(which they can't even do anymore because his shoots his head up in the sky) and hop on. And the old man keeps asking people to ride him saying he's broke and wouldn't hurt a fly. I just can't handle how in denial they are. Someone is going to get seriously injured one day because of that horse. And I don't want to correct him because I don't want to offend them. Heck, they got mad at my farrier when he smacked Prancer for trying to kick him multiple times. Then their grand daughter bragged a couple days later, "He'll let ME pick up his feet!" That horse should let anyone pick up his feet, it's nothing to be proud of. Needless to say, my farrier no longer wants to trim him, and neither do I.

    /endrant
         

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