How to "Undo" Bad Training
Alright, so there's a back story to this post. We recently (maybe a month ago) acquired a foster horse at one of the five barns I manage. My trainer/BO accepted her with the agreement that she would mainly be a project for me. She is a three year old Thoroughbred mare named Shadow, and she couldn't be more awesome. She is kind and willing, and I don't believe she possesses a mean bone in her body. Today, I had her out on the trails, and except for a relatively minor spook, she was exceptional. Calm and focused, wtc without any rushing or disobedience. Later, while I was feeding, my trainer came to help me with my car, and I mentioned to her how well-behaved Shadow was on the trail. I told her that I couldn't believe a three year old Thoroughbred mare was so much better behaved and easier to handle out on the trails than my 16 year old Quarter Horse gelding. Her response was that Shadow doesn't have any bad training to undo.
So this got me thinking, how do you "undo" bad training. I've been working on the trail problems with my man for a few months now, and he's gotten better, but still has the tendency to want to take off, and will throw a fit the rest of the ride if you don't let him (sometimes even if you do). I've been collecting and leg yielding and such to distract him from his desire to run, and it's been slowly successful. But my question is, what is YOUR method to fix poor training in the past? How do you handle such a situation?
I take it one step at a time.
There is no "undoing" a horses training rather "retraining" horses are patern animals so you have to re pattern them :)
think of it this way. say your not a jogger, you dont lik to run you dont have time or energy and it hurts your knees. well your best friend signed you up for a marathon. Great you have to start Jogging. so what do you do? you start slowly, you start by waking up 10 min earlier and do some stretches walk around the block and go about your day, slowly building on that. you change your pattern (waking up earlier) and muscle memory (walking then running)
Same with your horse. I have a Clients gelding who is Trained to Back up when you squeeze your legs so we have to "Undo" that because she squeezes to go forward, so its frustrating for both the gelding an the rider. well it isnt the horses fault so we cant scold him hes doing what hes taught an thats the same thing for the rider so what do we do? we change the patern and slowly move on... we trained the gelding to walk off with the sound of the comand "Walk on" now we are saying "walk on" then gave a squeeze. with in a month we can no squeeze to walk on and he backs if we add more leg.
So its just re training not Undoing :)
Praise/encourage good behavior, ignore/correct (depending on what it is) bad behavior.
It's about changing the "right" answer in their minds. Be clear.
Ditto above. It will take lots of patience, perserverance and consistency, as you can probably assume he's had at least 10 years of that 'muscle memory'.
Other than that, ensure there's no pain/discomfort causing his behaviour, such as saddle fit, back, teeth, jaw, feet, etc.
Good way to put it loosie... years of muscle memory. Love that! Cause it's so true! :)
Thanks to Blackburn then...
No I read Blackburn's post, though it was good I liked your sound bite. That stood out to me. I talk about muscle memory for riders.. but truly it's the same for horses.
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