Problems, problems, problems ...
So, I am having a few problems with Lia.
1.) She will not come to me in the pasture. She has 13 acres to roam on, and boy does she do that. When I pull up she starts walking away, this is bad. I go out with treats, hay, no rope ... and can barely catch her. Today was REALLY bad. She was running away from me. I started feeding treats to the other horses and she got jealous and came in for some treats and I caught her ... *sigh*
So then I brought her into the round pen to groom her and was going to saddle her again (we are just introducing the saddle) she started being disrespectful so I free lunged her, and she was lunging disrespectfully, if that makes sense. When we were finished we went on with our routine.
I ground tied her and went to get my brushes. I returned and she backed away from me and laid her ears back, I wacked her with the end of the lead rope and it hit her so hard I immediately felt terrible. I walked her around, returned to our spot and ground tied her again. I went onto brushing her. Her ears where back the entire time and she was just irritable. (No pain or anything and did not try to kick or do anything bad.)
She has been like this lately, but not this bad at all. In fact, she is often sour with me. So today I just brushed her, fed her and left it at that. I honestly feel like she hates me. =/ I do not know what to do. Perhaps I moved too quick with her training and it is kicking me in the butt ... I don't know. The BO seems to think she was being bitchy because it was so windy. I think otherwise.
2.) The BO has been changing the feeding schedule. She says it depends on her work schedule. So last week the graining was at 7 am and 5 pm, this week it is 1130 am and 5 pm ... should I be concerned? They all have free choice hay and actually have grass in the pasture right now.
HELP! Ughh... I have been thinking of just going out to feed her for a while and not mess with her much. Idea's?
the horse is grained twice a day? Lots of grain, but I guess it seems that way to me because we dont' give our horses any grain.
She could be coming into heat. IT's early, but it's possible.
When you were approaching her and she backed away, I might not have actually hit her, though I would have done something to break up that wrong thinking. I might have scuffled the ground with my foot or verbally scolded her or anything to break her out of that thinking and get her to focus on you.
If I were out in the pasture and was trying to catch her and was putting a halter on and she turned and ran off, I might whack her one if I could do so safely. That level of blowing me off is worth a whack, because she has fully made the wrong decision, but if she is just beginnnig to go thinking the wrong way, you can sometimes derail that thinking without the big guns.
If you do chose to hit the horse, don't waste a second being guilty , remoresful or trying to make it up to her. This kind of inconsistency is the worst for horses. they can adapt to any kind of human behavior, as long as it's consistent and predictable.
Do you think hitting a horse that has just backed away from you would make the horse want to come closer to you?
You need to learn 'cause and effect' before you discipline a horse. If it is going to be effective disciplining, it has to make sense to the horse. They are not very good at figuring out delayed and indirect responses.
Hitting a horse with your hand or a rope is not very effective disciplining any way. I would not even think of using that method unless a horse tried to bite or kick and then I would get after one a whole lot worse than 1 swat.
I would expect your horse to now back away from you every time you approached it. You have literally taught this horse to back away from you.
Is 13 acres all she has to play in? Well I suppose it could be worse, say maybe 26 acres?
I would not be worried about any training, all I would be worried about is how to catch the huzzy. Unless you can get a head collar on her, you ain't going nowhere
So, my dear, you have to find some reason why she is going to love you.
Try treats, apples, pears, stroking, - I don't know, I am not there but if I ever caught the horse, then I be reluctant to let it go again.
You'll need a very long piece of rope, and a whip with a long lash and two or three mates who are not frightened of horses. Plus a bucket of feed and apples and carrots.
And patience and persistence.
PS Hope she doesn't discover that if she doesn't want to be caught, then she doesn't have to be.
PPS How fit are you for running?
Haha, I have to say, swatting her as she was backing away was a no-no. If she turns her butt and runs, I might swat her on the butt so she thinks i'm driving her away and she isn't really running away, so she'll be thankful when I quit "chasing" her and come back in to me when I ask.
If you don't feed her yourself, she is relating you with work, and is choosing to have none of it when she wants. (which is unacceptable, but I don't blame her) I would catch her sometimes to just give her some feed and a pat, then turn her loose so she doesn't expect hard work and scary things when you're around.
If she is really running away and not letting you get close at all, I would get another horse so you can keep up with her and teach her when she stops and faces you, you will leave her alone and she doesn't have to run anymore. If she gets that bad about being caught, you are in for a world of fun! (or not, lol)
I discovered something funny about my horse. He doesn't seem to differentiate between a huge field and a 40x40 pen when it comes to my body language. If I look at his hind end, he turns it away from me. If I step in front of the direction he's going (the drive line) he turns around and starts back the other way. If I turn my back to him, he approaches me.
My point is, work with this horse in a confined arena. Teach her body cues so that you can move her around using non-verbal cues from 20' or so away. Maybe 13 acres is pushing it, but most horses will still respond to the cues whether you are in a box or a gigantic field. Can't hurt to try it and maybe you'll get some respect established in the process.
Start on a longe lead line first. Teach her to move your hind end away from you, her shoulders away from you, changing direction when you step in front of the drive line, etc. Once she's got it on a line, try it without it attached, but still use the lead as a cue. All that's left then is to try all the same stuff out in a larger area, and then finally the field.
Alright, let me clarify some things here.
She was turning and backing away with her ears pinned, she deserved a whack. I didn't mean for it to be that hard though, perhaps it just sounded worse than I thought it would. It WAS just the end of the lead rope. Maybe I should have left out the part about me feeling bad. But after I whacked her she stopped running. This horse is generally VERY respectful and manageable in a round pen or arena, it is just catching her in the pasture that sucks.
But in the round pen, she is good. Like, REALLY good. I can groom her, pick her feet (which was a huge accomplishment with her, for those of you who don't know, she was a rescue) free lunge, line lunge, ground tie, bridle and saddle with minimal fuss (I have saddled her 2x and bridled once, this is her first introductory) she is scared, but she does as she is told and tries to please.
What I don't get, is that she does ALL of this with her ears back. (Not always pinned, but certainly sometimes) and I would say she is just generally annoyed with me.
I am going to go out a couple times extra a week just to feed her and leave and see if that makes her love me more! XD Maybe this thread is stupid, but she is such a weird horse. This is coming from someone who has broken and retrained many horses. Just not one of my own in years.
I suppose I have never had the "pleasure" of working with a horse who does not want to be touched or bothered ever. Nothing interests her. Treats and food are great, but she will take it and walk off. If you stand near her food while she tries to eat she will walk away and come eat later.
Maybe she has had a worst past than I thought and I need to slow down with her.
i wouldnt worry about her past, i would worry about her right now. is she really very comfortable being brushed and all that ? i would consider every thing, because she definitely seams uncomfortable about something you are doing if shes pinning her ears an acting like that. make sure that during everything you do, she is calm and relaxed, its not enough for them to just be obedient enough to stand with out moving.
has she been checked over by a vet ?
what i like to do with horses who are hard to catch, is walk out the the pasture and give them a treat and a pat and go back in with out them. this teaches them that seeing you and having you come up to them does not always mean work.
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