Buddy sour brat?
Alright, so I have Sugar. She's about 16 and was left on a pasture for 3 years. I've had her a few months now and I've done lots of ground work with her, as she had no concept of invading space, stopping, moving... She went forward and that's about it.
Over the past week or so I've been riding her at a walk for 30 minutes. She quickly picked up stop and go over two sessions, and she is slowly loosening up to turns so it isn't an all out battle of the wills to turn her head. I ride her in a halter as that's how I've always been taught to start a horse and I have no idea what she knows or might have been taught in the past. She has never offered to buck or rear, although she has tried to turn and nip me once.
My only real annoyance with her is that she is buddy sour. She is reluctant to head off away from the other horses and tries to trot back to them when we turn around. As of today I put her on her own side (our property is broken up into 3's) as I'm hoping to have my new mare delivered Friday, and will have a pair of horses on each side.
When she balks or tries to turn back to them I make her do circles and again, it becomes a battle of wills. I've actually never had a buddy sour horse, just barn sour, but I'm thinking it is the same type of thing. Muscling her big head into circles is tiring! But other than that, she's made lovely progress.
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Oh, and just to be clear, I'm not working with her towards any kind of discipline or more intensive training. I thought it might help her swayback some if she had a little more muscle to hold it up, and if it came down to it where I HAD to find her another home, it would be a little easier if she was, as most people around here put it, good for something.
I also wanted to add that her ground manners are perfect when it comes to leading to and away the other horses. She's only a butt when I'm on her back.
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I do not think there is such a thing as a horse that is a 'brat'.
A horse is either respectful and has good manners, is green and untaught or is spoiled. 'Brat' does not fit into any of those but probably fits 'spoiled' the best.
First of all, I would not ride any older horse is a halter unless it was impeccably trained and well-mannered and then I would not ride it often that way. It is impossible to school a green or a spoiled horse in a halter. I have seen people try, but they were usually just being drug around where the horse wanted to go while the horse just learned to argue and win.
If I get in a horse that I want to evaluate and do not know what it has been taught in the past, I quickly go through ground manners and moving when and where I want it to with 'light pressure' and a 'smooch'.
If it seems to know what it should do on the ground, I saddle it, put a full-cheek, 3-piece snaffle on it and let it stand around all day for a day or two.
Then, when it is quiet and settled, I head to the round pen and ground drive it. I would not even think about riding a strange horse I have not seen ridden safely without ground driving it first -- ever. When I ground drive a horse, I can teach it to 'follow its nose' if it does not already do so very well. I can evaluate its stop and back-up as well.
If the horse drives nicely in the round pen, I head out and drive it all around the place. This will include out in the pasture, away from the barn and other horses, up and down hills, over logs, and even across water.
A person has a lot more leverage if they need it and a lot more control when their feet are on the ground rather than just being a passenger.
When you ride an uncooperative horse in equipment that does not give you any advantage, all you are doing is letting them practice being disobedient and teaching them to argue. These are very counter-productive to ever having them be worth while to ride. A poorly trained horse has no more value than an untrained one -- or even less.
I'm not the type to anthromorphize a horse, so I didn't mean for the title to be taken so seriously. I did do ground work with her for the basic stop and go and got on her when she had that down well enough, as she was a supposedly well broken trail horse before being left in a pasture for a few years. And I can assure you that she doesn't drag me around, nor does she win her battles. She's lazy and stubborn, and while it does take some will power, I can haul her big head around when she tries to out maneuver me to he'd back to the other horses. While I do ground work, ground driving has never really been part of it, and I've raised babies to 2 year olds and never had a buck out of them with a basic western saddle and a basic snaffle.
The last 3 horses I've gotten that were sound to ride, I was the first one on them in months, if not years, and while I would.never boast some secret or superior horsemanship, I've yet to be even attempted to be thrown. But that's just the way I was taught to try out horses. Once you have some basic trust.and foundation laid, get on and see what happens.
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Then what is your question if you already know how to accomplish everything you want?
This horse is behaving 100% naturally as she would with a leader that she does not respect or wish to follow.......
hey, Nightside, sounds like you are doing a good job with a your mare, she's not done anything for a few years and now you are getting her out and about. I think it'll just take time and keeping on going for your mare to get used to going about herself again.
do you have anyone to ride out with while she gets used to the trails?
I used a combination of riding out with other people, and then just leading out till we got used to the area. it took a couple of months and then we were riding out ok.
Having studied with James Roberts, a professional colt starter and re-starter for difficult horses, he generally did not advocate riding in a bit until the horse has around 100 to 150 hours riding time.
My young tb mare that he started for me is a case in point. I only around 15 hours on her and have yet to use a bridle. I just use a rope halter and rope reins. In fact to get her thinking forwards we even stopped using the 12 foot lead rope we started using, the heavy clip was too much interference around her face. She goes much better in just tied rope reins.
She will be ridden in a snaffle bit, but only once the schooling is to the level that the bit is used very the subtlest refinement, not for gross control.
What sort of advantage is it that a bit gives you ? Having re-started riding after a long break in just the last few years I have come back to it with fewer "received" truths and find myself questioning more things. The use of the bit for control of an unruly horse is one.
I watched a very good rider and friend of mine helping a young girl school her horse for jumping. It kept ducking out to the side. Eventually Liz decided to have a quick ride and removed the bridle to replace it with a halter. She reckoned she would actually have more control in the halter, and so it turned out. The horse was very soon jumping beautifully.
This is not a colt. This is a 16 year old pushy mare. Obviously (or I thought it was obvious) from the statement below that this arrangement was not working.
But --- this in not a colt. When you have to pull on an older horse's head until it is "tiring" out the rider, something needs to be done differently. Putting a snaffle in her mouth and ground driving her to teach her to 'follow her nose', which she obviously is not doing very well, seems like a pretty traditional and sensible way to get from having to haul her head around to getting her to be lighter and more responsive.
Please explain why this is a 'interesting point of view'. Seems pretty traditional to me and VERY MUCH superior to any method that requires a rider to pull so hard it is tiring. Since I have had severe arthritis for many years, I sure have to find a way to use my head and not my hands and pure muscle. In a mater of a couple of driving sessions, I can drive about any horse just holding the reins loosely and barely using any 'pull' at all.
It wasn't a question, more like asking for other ideas and opinions. We just have different schools of thought. She is ridden for about 30 minutes each session and she does get lighter each time. Only when she gets a wild hair to stay near the other horses do I have to swing her head around, and we do circles until she's sick of trying to go that way. Again, this is just how I was taught to teach, although since she IS improving, I wouldn't say I was ruining her. There's a million ways to get results, and I think we can all agree on that at least.
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