How do I earn my horses respect?
Thanks for reading.. hopefully I can get some helpful responses..
A quick bit about us to help you understand more...
I am a first time horse owner, I have had DeeDee for 5 years and even though she is the most gentle natured horse on the face of the planet she does not respect me like she should. Lately the problem I am having is that when we go to the roundpen to lunge she will sometimes do it, sometimes not. More often not these days. Her feet are fine and she is not injured so the only reason I can think of is a lack of respect for me. I do not whip my horse and will not so please dont suggest it.
Typical lunge for us consists of me in the middle, with a lunge whip, I stare at her shoulder blades (careful not to step in front of her drive line or behind) and point in the direction I want her to go, click my tongue, and hold the whip facing her hip and switch it a little and then she goes.
Recently I do it and she stands still and stares at me. I have tried whipping the ground right next to her feet, and i have tried running towards her hips while whipping the ground and clicking and her front feet stay in the same spot and she just turns her rear end in circles and then we end up in a very comical/frustrating situation where Im the horse running circles and shes telling me what to do from the middle.
What am I doing wrong? I know to gain a horses respect you have to move their feet but I am struggling with this now. Any suggestions would be great, thank you :)
can't really help since one of my geldings is doing the same thing :) would love to know what responses you get :) good luck
I'm not going to be a lot of help, either. My Dancer had a lot of issues when I first got her two years ago - most dealing with ground manners - or a lack thereof. I was able to get her to "behave" because I just don't put up with nonsense. After two months, she was an angel on the ground.
Started lunging her about a year ago - didn't have a round pen at that time. Didn't even know if she could be lunged - I never messed with lunging horses before - the ones I had didn't need it, and I didn't know if Dancer had ever been taught to lunge. Seems she knew more than I did about it, so I got really lucky.
However, she's a mare, and has her days of "I don't wanna!" On those days, I do have to be a bit more assertive. Upon occasion I've even had to resort to a little smack on the butt with my lunge whip to let her know I mean business. I'm not "whipping" her, per se, just a smack - doesn't even have to be hard. She gets the message, and after a little hissy fit, she settles down.
Don't be afraid to get as physical as you need to with your horse. I'm not advocating abuse, but a well timed smack can do a world of good. You really need to get your horse to focus on you and move her feet. If the horse won't move when you run at her, then get her to move some other way.
I am assuming, of course, that you are dealing with an attitude problem, and not a physical one...
If it was me, I would try to get her moving in a different direction if she wasn't going forward. I'd get her to back up and keep her backing up for a few strides, then try to get her going forward again. If that didn't work, i'd back her up in a circle around the round pen, maybe get her to side pass on the ground, get her feet moving and keep them moving in any direction, until when you ask her to go forward she does it.
Then again, if that didn't work I'd scratch my head and ask someone else. :D
Rent/buy DVD's of either Clinton Anderson (gaining respect series) or of Buck Brannamen. Both are excellent instructors.
I was just watching a friend have a similar issue as this yesterday, only in her case, the horse was not only refusing to move, but was "air biting" toward the stick that she was circling in the air.
Your horse will respect you when she knows that you mean what you say and say what you mean. So, if you ask her to move her shoulder away from you, then you durn well better get that reaction. The longer you stay in that place of you just swinging your stick and her just ignoring, the more it will eventually take to move her. You are building dullness into your horse, which is the exact opposite of what round penning or lunging should be about;
Think of it like this:
when you apply pressure to the horse you, the horse has a place where he will react to that pressure, by moving away from it. Every horse has a different " break point" let's call it. You will start applying pressure very lightly and increase this until you reach his break point, he gives and then you take all pressure off instantly. Such is the fundamentals of training. Your goal is to move that break point further and furthe down the scale. Scale?
I mean, you've heard of "ask, tell, demand" right? It means first you ask nicely, then you tell firmly , then you demand! So, if "ask" is a 1 on the scale of 1 to 10 in terms of pressure, then 'tell" is not one increment above "ask" but rather maybe 3. So "tell" might be a 4. Then if your horse is still not responsive, either willfully blowing you off, or asleep at the wheel or maybe not understanding what's going on, then you have to go to "demand!" Demand is not one increment up from "tell" . It's number 10!. So, your increase in pressure is not a linear increase, it is exponential.
Once your horse knows that you will go to 10 if necessary, she will respond at 4 or less. That is moving her break point down the scale and building responsiveness into her, rather than dullness.
In your case, your horse knows what the worst you will dish out is, and she knows it's surviveable, so she knows she need not do anything. You need to go in with a "this is a whole new ballgame" attitude. think; I am going to move you around here and you will move promptly and correctly and as soon as you do, we are done. But, make no mistake, you WILL move, now!"
If you think this, and if you are willing to do what it takes, you will get your horses attention, and thus more respect becaue you are willing to do what you say you will do. That earns a horse's respect.
And yes, you may need to strike her with the whip. Make it memorable so you won't ever have to do it again.
If she really doesn't need round pen work, then why do it? She's likely quite bored with it and is shutting down. Why not set up an obstacle course and work her over, under and thro that instead to help keep her mentally fresh.
Agreeing with Saddlebag!
This is maybe a bit off-topic, but I just came to think of when I tried to lunge Silver (my mare) a couple of years ago.
She cantered a few rounds, then she became bored with it and just wanted to come in to the middle and have a cosy time instead :-P
At last I had to give up the lunging, and just pet her.
Haven't tried after that, I'm just riding her or working on the ground in other ways.
Just an incident!
I agree with both saddlebags and tinyliny. There's no point in doing something your horse doesn't need, but not having your horses respect, and your horse knowing he can just stand there when you are asking him to do something is unacceptable. This will eventually lead to him standing there and ignoring your aids in the saddle. My horse has done this before, and really the point of the setting back is the not moving. So if anything make your horse MOVE HIS FEET. back up, do laterals, and eventually get him moving forward, and away from you. Your horse should know to stay out of your space if he respects you, and this is very important. And with the whole hitting your horse thing, they have a thick skin, and you don't need to actually whip your horse, but you can use a lead rope, or something that will make him want to move away from it (i've used a longe whip with a brightly colored piece of fabric, or a plastic bag attached to it, because they move away from something weird like that and you don't need to hit them with anything) So hope those are some helpful ideas GOOD LUCK:)
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