The controversial join-up
I've read about the join-up working wonders for people and their horses (especially problem horses). They said it established respect between the person and horse. Btw a join up is where you send a horse running in a round pen around you until he eventually doesn't want to run from you anymore, and so you turn your back on him and he walks up to you and then he can follow you around the pen freely. I've also heard of people you think think this is unconventional. Please give your feedback on this, especially if you've tried it. I just want to know the truth about the join-up. Thanks folks!
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The main point in drawing a horse in or 'join up' is that it cultivates your ability to call the horse's attention to you and then utilize it for a reason. It's an easy mistake to make, to overdo driving a horse around a corral. You have to do it just enough to get their attention (by which the human becomes significant) and then make your point and get out. Otherwise, very soon the horse is just escaping you. If he can't physically leave, he checks out mentally. His mind flies away and is anywhere but there with you.
So don't overdo this stuff lol.
I do not believe this method is any more 'unconventional' than many, many other methods out there. I actually believe it makes more sense than many methods out there..... Monty Roberts is one trainer that uses it alot. It is not just about chasing horses around in a circle, it is about using the horse's natural language to communicate to them, and earn their trust and respect as leader of the 'herd'.
Joining up worked wonders for my boy!
When I got him as a five year old, he had spent the last 4 years of his life in the pasture with little human contact. He was hard to catch, and extremely untrusting, with no confidence in himself or humans.
When I got a trainer for him, she did joining up for weeks before she started any ground work on him. I was disappointed at first, to me it looked like she was just having him run around a round pen. I didn't understand the complexity until she had me start doing it myself. Sawyer, within a few weeks of joining up before his lessons, he was changing fast. He began following me on the lead line with no contact, coming up to me in the stall, and just trusting me.
We still do joining up in a large arena now. I can send him around any size arena with no whip. I can (most of the time) control his speed, stop him, and have him come into me. He'll follow me around the arena. Backing up when I do. He pivots on his front end is a walk at his hind quarters.
In all, I believe this is the most important thing he learned in training. I remember one day, I was taking a hike with Sawyer. He couldn't be rode at the time because he'd gotten a nasty kick in the leg from another horse. He could walk on his lead though, so I'd take him out to grassy trails to let him eat and relax outside of his stall. His halter broke on the trail, and I was very nervous about getting him home. I originally put the lead around his neck, but noticed he was just following me. I ended up walking him almost a mile home with no lead what-so-ever, because he was so willing to follow me. I took him straight to our arena and did our joining up and let him play.
I find it very valuable and always replace lunging with joining up. It's a mentally and physically engaging exercise, and really improves your relationship with your horse.
Wow folks, I didn't realize that there was so much to it. Thanks!
I can have horse following on lead line nicely, backing and moving over when asked, and behaving within matter of days, as well as coming up in stall. And doesn't take weeks either. Days more like it.
I've never seen the purpose in it, as it gets either overdone, or drug out when older methods work better.
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