Rude and disrespectful horse. Any suggestions?
I have had this 9-yr-old mare for almost 2months. I noticed that when my daughter rides her, the horse jerks the reins from her hand when asked to turn or stop. I rode her and she did the same thing.( to the point of burning my hand with the reins) I took her to the vet and had her teeth floated when I first got her. It appears that she has been allowed to get away with this during previous rides(previous owners) I have worked out other attitude issues with ground work and she is responsive in the round pen. Any suggestions to overcome this?
Instead of asking her to turn or stop with steady pressure ask her with bumps. Pull on rein release, rull on rein release, until she does what you have aksed. It's alot less "in their face" and they seem to accept this easier. I do this with all my young and old horses!
Focus more on stopping and turning using your seat and leg cues instead of your hands.
This article has some good tips: go down the page to stopping without using reins
Thank you for the site attatchment. I will try it. 8)
G&K, very nice series of articles - it should help a lot of riders. Thanks.
Re: Rude and disrespectful horse. Any suggestions?
After a good smack, turn her in a small circle at the trot/jog until she submits (you'll feel her head/mouth relax). Use your whip as an aid (taping behind your leg lightly) to encourage her to keep marching (this will also help to show her that the whip isn't a bad thing, unless she acts up). Then go on with your ride.
Rinse and repeat as needed. Be sure to change the direction of your circle so she doesn't anticipate you.
Some people might balk at the use of a whip this way, but it works. It usually works rather quickly as well, which IMO is more "humane" for the horse. Which would you rather have, a few quick whacks or weeks of "training"? Horses don't exactly have long attention spans, so I'm guessing the whip would be the preferred method, lol. None of my horses are scared of whips or me. They understand that the whip is a training tool. After consistent work, I no longer have to ride with a whip. I haven't ridden with one in years. BUT, I rode with one every ride for the first 8-10 months, until my horses understood what was "right" and what was "wrong". Give lots of praise for doing what you want, so your horse gets clear messages.
I also agree with G&K though, the reins should only be a refining aid. Work on using your seat, legs, and eyes/upper body for turning. LOOK UP in the direction you want to go, using your outside leg to cue the horse over, while stepping into your inside leg to "open the door" to the direction you want to go.
That said, it sounds like a bad habit that needs to be nipped in the bud!
ground work ground work groundwork
ANY and every problem with a horse can be fixed on the ground.
If your horse is pulling on the reins, make sure you two aren't pulling too hard on the reins.
Definately do NOT take a whip and whack her when she doesn't stop...it's cruel in my opinion. Horses have a good attention span when they are truely in tune with the rider and the rider in tune with the horse. A whip is not a training tool IMO and I never use one nor ever will. There are humane ways (like groundwork) to teach a horse respect besides whacking them with a whip to get their attention.
Some simply groundwork for respect will solve the problem.
Also don't simply pull back on the reins...that actually engages the hind-quarters and doesn't particually make them stop. Instead use a simply one-rein stop, not only will that disengage their hind-quarters, but it disengages their mind also so they don't "want" to go forward
What's more humane, weeks and weeks of boring repetitive ground work, or a couple of whacks? Would you rather be lectured by your mom over and over, or have her spank your hand once?
Horses communicate with each other through body language and such, but if that doesn't get it done, then hooves start flying and teeth come out. A whack with a whip is NOTHING compared to a kick or a bite. It's barely more than a horse fly bite.
A horse has to know that YOU ARE THE BOSS. You are a kind and loving boss when respected, but you should do whatever you need to do when it comes to unwanted behavior. If all you need to do is some work in the round pen, then GREAT! I am all for round pen work. BUT, if a horse has some deep seated bad behavior that is turned into habit, and ground work isn't working, then a whip along with proper praise for good behavior works like a charm :wink:.
There are a hundred ways to skin a cat, and twice that to train a horse. Learn from all avenues and use what WORKS for YOUR HORSE and your particular situation. Never say never. A good horse trainer/handler has many, MANY tricks up their sleeve. One method will NOT work for EVERY horse in ALL situations. The best trainers keep learning, from all sources. You file away what you don't need now, but hang on to it for future reference 8).
A whip should NEVER be used to hit a horse because they are bad or misbehaving....a whip is exactly what the name says. If you hit them with it...it HURTS like heck! (yes I hat myself with one when I first started riding to see exactly what a horse feels...and I was all bruised).
Horseback riding is a partership....a 51%-49% partnership...you have the most so you ARE the lead horse, but you also have to learn to respect your horse. Your horse will respect you if you respect the horse. Same with your relationship with your parents...as long as you respect them, they will respect you. If you get mean and cruel to them, they won't want to take you out to the mall or so you can hang out with your friends. The MINUTE you get mean and harsh with a horse, you are no longer a partner or friend...you are a predator!!
You know that groundwork isn't simply lunging a horse in a circle over and over again to get their attention on you. I will only use "lunging" to see how my horse is feeling...if he's stiff, lame, or having an off day so I know what to expect. He only has to trot around me twice...one circle in each direction. The most I'll do is two circles in each direction. No more. WHy? Because it gets boring. I get bored easy so I don't like to do things over and over again, so I respect my horse and won't make him do it. Not only does he respect me for not having him do things over and over again, but he's happier and listens to me because he knows I won't do anything that will hurt him, make him bored, or won't force him to do something if something is physically wrong.
It's our job as a horse owner, to figure out why a horse is acting the way it is....and personally, I'd rather take a month to solve the problem COMPLETELY than to solve it in 2 days by hitting him to get over it.
Groundwork will work for every horse, but sadly groundwork will not work for every horse owner. Why? Because some don't understand what real groundwork is...others choose not to take the time to do groundwork with their horse. Some people choose to take short cuts to cover up a problem, but don't really get to the bottom of the problem.
I would never whack a horse....EVER! Sure, I've given my horse some slaps with my hand, but that's after asking 4 times nicely. And my slam was not hard at all...it was just a tap with my hand.
Horses are prey animals, which means they are sensitive to any type of contact, even if they dont show it...that just means they are the dominant type, but they still do take it personally.
I would NEVER support a horse trainer that would whack a horse to get them to listen...it IS cruel.
Beating a horse is not a substitute for proper training. A crop or whip is used to enforce an cue not for discipline.
Repetition is the way to train a horse, not fear. Personally I don't learn by being bullied or smacked.
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