Is it really that simple? And a question
I know I come on here quite frequently with questions on how to boost my confidence, how to boost my horse's confidence, etc..
Well, Cherie's thread over in the training section, http://www.horseforum.com/horse-trai...l-horse-99776/ has helped me like you wouldn't believe. I have printed it off and regarded it as holy scripture ever since.
I think I get it now. I understand what I need to do. I really want to succeed. I really want to get my horse to the level of our pony (who I ride almost every day). The pony is dead broke in every aspect, and is a trail horse extraordinaire. She'll ride out alone and with a group, no spook, no anxiety, no anticipation, just a nice, easy, beginner-safe ride. It's not like my horse is a dangerous nutcase. She's just...not as broke as the pony, and I really want to get her there.
Anyways...a little off topic...I think I know what I need to do, and I think, because I know this, that I can do it confidently. But is it really that simple? Do miles really equate an awesome trail horse? Is experience and exposure all it takes? Surely it can't be so straightforward as that?
I also have one question, about crossing water. My horse doesn't refuse to cross a whole lot (she tends to just plow her way through things like a tank), but she does not like water, and she fights. Fights, as in, stubbornly refuses and won't give up. When there is any progress, it's negligible and there's no clear winner. I know it proves my incompetence and inexperience, but hey-I am incompetent and inexperienced, so-how do I teach her to cross water? More importantly, I need to learn how to teach her to obey me 100% of the time...so how do I do this?
How is he with bathing does he not mind his feet being wet ? One thing that really helps is if you have an out door arena after it rains ride in the puddles. I had this arab from Arizona that would refuse to walk in any puddle any size when under saddle took me a half hour one time to walk through a puddle. or if its the running water he doesn't like then run the hose or have somebody dump a bucket during bucket cleaning time at your horses feet and walk them in and out .
I hope you have a chance to tell Cherie how you have utilitzed her thread to great success. I wonder exactly what about that thread is so game changing for you?
When you think on this a bit, you may come to the conclusion that in horse training, especially for the less experienced rider, but really, for everyone, it's ourselves that we are really training. We work with ourselves, teaching ourselves to be more observant, more consistant, more sensitive to the horse's reaction and quicker to reward that all import try that the horse gives us. YOu are teaching yourself how to put more pressure on in that very moment when the horse isnt' sure and is about to waver into making her own decisions. You are training yourself!
So the idea that you will be able to have 100% obedience would mean that you all of a sudden become perfect! How likely is that going to happen?
If you were a horse, and you were riding yourself, you'd be a lot more generous with your praise for the tries that you are now making. Treat yourself at least as good as you'd treat any horse.!
What I would do in your water situation is the same thing I do with my horse in any situation that he does not want to face. Simply keep her faced toward it and wait her out. Use alternating reins to keep her facing the water. Once she starts to act more interested in the water than putting up a fight, ask her to move forward gently. She'll either move forward or go back to fighting. If she does the first thing, reward her with lots of pats. If she does the second thing, keep alternating reins to keep her facing the water and wait it out again. Eventually she will figure out the only direction she can go is into the water and off she'll go.
If it helps you at all, I didn't go on my first trail ride until I was 40 years old. Talk about green rider/green horse. I was somewhat experienced in the ring, but not at all on trails. He was a 5 year old off track Thoroughbred. Bad combo!! Luckily my horse was a saint because I was a wreck. It took awhile, but through lots of knowledge and small victories, we have become a good pair out there. Other than the odd deer jumping out in front of us, we do pretty well and my confidence is sky high. You post a lot on here and ask some very good questions. I'm sure you will get there.
Really, miles and miles is the secret for developing confidence in yourself and your horse.
Water crossings sometimes is a tougher one to work on mainly because we don't like getting our own feet wet. It's best to work on them young and not even riding age I've found. I'll pony them along right behind an older horse and generally they'll hop right in. If not, well my older horse is strong enough to drag them in, generally takes one drag for them to learn to go. For adult horses though...
-First of all, just like a young one try getting her to follow another horse through. If that works then while you have a riding partner cross, cross, cross and cross until it no longer is an issue.
-If that doesn't work then comes the getting your feet wet part. Get off and lead her across. If she follows then lead her back and forth until she no longer hesitates before stepping in. Take her back to the side you started on, jump on and ask her to cross. Repeat until she does as you ask.
-If leading her across doesn't work you have to go back to the barn and do some ground work with her. She needs to be at the point she will follow you wherever you go with no questions. This is actually very important for trail horses and often over looked. In tough going it's often safer to dismount and lead your horse, last thing you want is your horse balking on the side of a mountain with a 12" wide trail.
When I'm leading her, she follows absolutely anywhere I go. It's when I'm on her that she fights the water crossing.
My wife's horse, an Arab cross, will go into ponds, cross creeks and streams, but hates puddles.
To get a horse to cross water, either pony it across several times or just keep it facing the water and reward any try to go towards it, even if it's just putting their head down to check it out.
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And no, you are not teaching your horse you'll get off if they balk long enough. Read the whole thing I wrote, you go back to your starting point, get on and ride them across. They are not getting away with anything and learning bad habits. I've done this plenty, the person who showed me has done this plenty, etc, etc. It works. I've seen you post this comment before and it's just plain wrong.
Alltheprettyhorses- Right now she's afraid of crossing the water. By getting off and leading her back and forth you are showing her she has nothing to fear. This does two things, proves that she has nothing to fear and secondly builds her confidence in your leadership. Keep this up and soon she'll go just because she trusts your judgement more then her own.
Sounds reasonable but NO, it is too dangerous regardless of your experience.
And YES, you are teaching your horse. Every time you interact with a horse you are teaching it something.
If those things have worked for you, so be it but I would never, ever suggest it to a rider, green or otherwise.
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