Any Advice on Anything Please!
So I just got 2 horses a few days ago and although I was around horses for all my childhood , I don't think I really know what the heck I am doing! My mother did all of that and she passed away about 5 years ago and I feel lost! I could use advice on just about anything! They are sweet boys and I love them to death already! They do good when putting a halter on them and leading and they will stand when I groom them. I haven't attempted to ride them yet because it's been a good while since they have been rode and I am going to have someone more experience come help me with that , gosh it's been 8 years or so since I have rode a horse! What I would really like help with is getting them to trust and listen to me! I got them in the pasture and they stay up on the top of the hill a lot and when I want them to come down I call for them and they won't come , they only come when they want to ! Everytime they see me I go and love on them and give them treats , I really want to win them over! How in the world though am I going to get them to come when I would like them to? I have tried calling their names , whistling everything ! I would also like to know how you teach them to walk with you , you know like you start walking and they do , you stop they stop and blah blah blah , my mom's horses used to do that and I loved it! Any other advice would be greatly appreciated ! I know I have much to learn and am eager to do so ! Thanks so much guys!
The best advice would be to get a trainer or experienced horse person to help you in person. Next would be to educate yourself. Not only with handling them but herd behaviors too. You've got to understand how a horse thinks. Read many books and watch videos. Attend any clinics in your area.
I want to caution you about using treats and loving on them to win them over. It may work to a point but that's not how horses think. You'll need to learn how to work them on the ground. Then, when you work them, let their resting time be near you. They will want to be near you because that's where they can rest. Don't always work them once you catch them. Let it be pleasurable at first or they can get worse in being caught.
You'll need to learn how to correct them when they misbehave. Don't let anything slide. I mean anything. Be firm but fair. Don't go overboard in correcting them and don't let your anger get the best of you so you overreact in correcting them.
Much of this we can try to explain over the Internet but it is a lot easier to have someone there to show you and correct you if you do it wrong.
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Okay a few things to point out.
No matter how many treats you give a horse, they will not gain respect from you. Respect is what causes the horse to come to you from out in the field, in conjunction with trust.
You and your horses are in a herd. Your relationship to them should be YOU are the herd leader and your horses are members of the herd that listen to the herd leader.
The herd leader is a protector, the boss, and when they tell you what to do, you do it. Now we don't need to be bossy herd leaders, just when you ask them to pick up their hoof, per say, they need to pick it up. When you walk toward their hip, they need to yield. When you ask for them to walk on, they best walk on.
They look to your for protection, if they're scared they look to you to decide what to do. You are their friend, but not in the sense of love. They can appreciate you and thank you and be trusting, but they aren't at all like people and love.
You need to pick one horse, and 'walk them down.'
This means when the horse gives you their full attention (ears on you, facing you) you keep your distance. As soon as they stop paying attention to you (turn their hinds, pin ears, turn around, look away) you drive them off. Bring a lead rope or a whip out and drive them off. Keep them moving at a trot or even a canter depending on how badly they brushed you off (pinned ears or turning their hind to you = HUGE drive as in make that horse canter/gallop away from you)
As soon as they turn and face you, pressure is off, stop following them. Stand still, soften your body.
When you have their attention and go to take a happy step forward to catch them, make sure you aren't asking them to move off. Soften your body, don't look at them full on because that adds pressure, approach them at an angle not in a straight line (I aim for their shoulder.) Never approach a horse from behind or directly infront. Those are blind spots. I like to weave my path to the horse and like I said, aim for their shoulder. My bosy is relaxed, my driving aid (leadrope or whip) is dead behind me/pointing down NOT out to the side)
A tip: Always prepare your halter before you go out to the field. Hole the buckle and the strap that goes through it together in your left hand, the right hand either has the rope draping over it, or if you're using it, you are holding it so you can swing it if necessary.
Horses read your body language, so when they do something wrong just as a horse in the herd would pin their ears, kick, charge, or just give them a look.. you replicate that with your "vibe" (you fill yourself with GRRR I AM GOING TO KILL YOU if they're bad and "ahh I am feeling really pleased and happy and I'm filled with joy" if they did something great/right) your posture (erect and facing them you're asking them to do something, softening and averting your eyes away from them means you are just hanging out with them.)
There's much more to it, a good trainer will help you further.
But yeah, drive them off when they don't give you their attention, back off and give off happy vibes when they do give you their attention.
Eventually you'll be able to call their names and they'll come up to you. But don't do so without getting past the walking them down stage.
Maybe you can practice "catching" them by walking them down, then petting them all over and not haltering them before you allow them to be sent off
How to send off safely:
Halter in your right hand (or left depending where they are), put it by their face, use the tail end of the lead and send their hind end away.
By having your hand by their face, you direct their nose away from you and give them a clear path. Back up as they are being sent off. You do not want to get kicked or take your eyes off of the horse.
If you need anything else, don't hesitate to ask! But a good trainer/instructor is crucial to keeping you safe and progressing.
Good luck :)
Thanks for the caution about the treats ! Now so far (knock on wood) they have really good manners! They were already trained by a woman when I got them (she shows horses) I just don't know I guess how to communicate with them , and how would I go about reprimanding them? I don't want them to be scared of me . Now I have been out there with them a lot since I got them and have been watching on the interract with eachother and stuff. They are 2 geldings , one is 12 and one is like 22...They don't really run or anything and I was thinking about lunging them in the next few days. ( I really wish I would have paid attention to my mother when she was trying to teach me !)
Thanks for that post Sky, I had never heard of that and I will try that out tomorrow! Now when I go into the pasture and they are like right there , I can walk up to Scooter and put a halter on him no problem at all he just stays there, but Cash on the other hand if I walk up to him with a halter he will start running away from me , and would that be where the walking him down would come in? I want the horses to trust me as much as I want to trust them! I am loving the advice you all are giving me by the way and thanks so so so much for helping !!
He sounds like a goose so be careful he doesn't charge you or anything. If he does, chase him off with the whip, don't be afraid to hit him on the rump if he gets too close to you.
As for reprimanding a horse. There a few things you can do.
But the first thing to do is check if the horse is experiencing any pain (unless it's doing something dangerous.. a trainer will help you decide when to reprimand and when to stop and check)
If pain has been ruled out:
The most effective one is more work.
This one is the most common and effective way to deal with mild behaviors, explaining to a horse what the WRONG answer is to help them get to the RIGHT answer
1. backing up on lead
2. lunging on the spot
3. yielding/turns on the forehand/hindend
4. lateral work
The second is to physically reprimand them
This is used for more dangerous behaviors like charging, kicking, biting, rearing. The things they do that can get you killed.
1. Smack them with a short crop
2. Throw buckets
3. Tap on the hind with a leadrope
4. Sometimes a smack/punch
Now there are other corrections like if your horse is trying to bite you when you are cinching up, then you can use your elbow to protect yourself. They run into your elbow and learn how to do that.
Every scenario is slightly different, you will have to think on your toes. Most often the physical reprimands rarely happen but sometimes it's needed to lay down the law since horses are over 1000lbs heavy and 2x+ bigger than we are. They can kill us.
We love horses, and the more we understand them, the better the relationship. But we don't put up with dangerous behaviors.
Hope that helped.
Very much so! Now when Cash is running from me Scooter is in the pasture with us , should I put him up while trying to deal with Cash? Cash really is a sweety once I get the halter on him ! He likes to put his head on my shoulder and for me to rub him ! Scooter won't run when I put the halter on him even with Cash being in there with us. I have only had them since Thursday , but so far they haven't charged , bit , or even kicked .......but I know I have only had them a couple of days and am sure I haven't seen all of their behavior! How should I try and bond with them by the way? I have been out there with them daily and will brush and talk with them ,but is there anything else I should be trying to do to try and get a good bond going on ?
For bonding, brushing them, working on ground basic ground work (with a trainer if you need help,) working on walking them down will build trust and you will bond, feeding them, taking them one at a time to hand graze, doing stretching with them (carrot stretches,) riding them.
Once you establish your status as a herd leader that can be trusted, (and be careful they don't walk all over you.. horses spoil really fast!!!) then your bond will grow.
By walking all over you I mean stepping on your feet, turning their hind to you, pinning their ears, nibbling on your clothes, using you as a scratching post, etc.
Now when they learn you are no nonsense, then you can start to allow some of these behaviors like licking your hands or them asking politely to rest their head on your shoulder. But at first you need to be firm, accept no nonsense, and you will find you and your horses are safer and communicate much better.
So what you need to practice:
Walking them down, sending them off safely once you bring them back to pasture, making sure they aren't walking all over you, minding your body language, working on controlling your emotions and manipulating the vibes that you give off.
Ok so another thing I was doing wrong , letting them lick my hands lol....Tomorrow I am going to walk Cash down like you were telling me and see how it goes from there! Now I can do some basic ground work but the one thing I really haven't done is lunging ? I know the concept of it , just not so sure on how to get it started ?
If you have a leadrope and halter, then that's all you need. Work on leading. They should walk with their shoulder in line with you. If they get infront you need to slow them down or stop and back them up. For me, I spin my leadrope infront of their nose (staying where I am.. it takes practice so practice BEFORE you involve the horse) the leadrope will create a wall. If they walk forwards their nose gets tapped by the spinning rope. If they go backwards, stop spinning. There are other ways like pulling back on the halter underneath their chin. Use what works best for you.
If the horse gets too far behind, send them forward by tapping their side with the leadrope.
Once they can lead, work on backing up. You should ask the horse to back up in one way.. and once they are comfortable with that, ask them to back up a different way. So maybe you start off using even pressure on their halter and let up when they begin to step back. Then once they backup well, you can ask them to backup with the spinning rope, or back up with you standing infront.
Are you following? You want your horse to know how to do things in different ways, for every occasion.
Backing up, leading, and moving forward are basics of ground work. Once you have those, you can teach your horse to be "sent."
This is like lunging. You direct them in a certain direction and they move, you ask them to reverse and they reverse..
Lunging is a circle. Sending is a direction. You can "send them" between objects like the fenceline and a barrel. You can "send them" into a trailer.
So instead of lunging a full circle, do a line that starts just out of the corner of your left eye to the corner of your right eye. You don't move your feet, but you direct the horse with your body. "Send" them right, ask them to turn by directing their nose and send them left. Add a barrel or a pole and send them between it and a fence.
To tell them a direction (practice right now, without the horse) pretend you're holding the halter in your left hand, and the rope in the other. Your halter hand opens out (like dracula and his cape) while your rope and points to the horse's hip to tell them to move. You can cluck (that weird horse-person noise) or spin or wiggle the rope to send them off.
So you open with the halter hand, point and direct with your rope hand.
Now how it relates to the horse. In your right hand is your whip, left hand is the rope connected to the horse. Open that left hand, point the right hand to their hip and cluck or wiggle to send them off to the left.
To reverse, bring both hands close together infront of your belly, swap the rope hand to the right, whip to the left hand.. then you open the right hand the point the whip to the horse's hip to drive them forward.
Are you following? It can get confusing.
Sending, backing, leading, and moving forward are your basics.
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