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Brighteyes 05-25-2009 07:58 PM

Crazy, distracted horse
My horse has the shortest attencion span EVER. When I tried to lounge her, she is always trying to go back to the barn, eat grass, winny at her friends, and do all kinds of stuff like that. I need a way to get her to pay attencion and respect me more. Anyone have any idea?


koomy56 05-25-2009 11:28 PM

There are several different things you can try, but the most pleasant way of going about it is to just show her that when her attention is with you, her world is at peace. So go about your business calm, quiet, simple and methodical. She'll begin to associate you with something pleasant and non-stressful and soon will settle.
Otherwise you can try the concept of when her attention is elsewhere, you do something loud or harder for her, and then when she re-pays her attention back on you you reward by being very calm and quiet. There is a timing in this, and you need to be careful that yo don't punish her for losing focus and not rewarding for the effort to pay attention.
Is isnt always about lack of respect. It could be that you haven't given her the confidence she needs to behave calmly and at peace, which could have been caused by her work-out sessions being too long, too strenuous, or too stressful. Do something you know she's good at.

Babusina 05-25-2009 11:47 PM

It doesn't sound like she has an attention problem... she has great attention to her herd instinct. The best thing you can do is to continue taking her away from her friends and keeping her attention through positive reinforcement. Through retraining my horses herd bound issues I became a fan of clicker training. Once I followed the steps to get her to realize that a click meant a treat I was able to work with her away from the barn. (Example: She would flake and try to bolt to the barn, I would hold tight to the lunge and let her have a fit. After a few seconds of temper tantrum she would give up and begrudingly pay attention to what I am asking her again. The second she settled back into work she would get a click and a treat.) Herd bound horses take time to get on an indepenent path, but it is possible. Getting frustrated will only get the horse more eager to get away from you and back to the play pals. Baby steps are the way to go. Try keeping her away from her friends for just a few minutes of work, then bring her back. Continue extending the time away. Eventually she will figure out that you are not ripping her away from her protective friends and comfort zone.

weefoal 05-26-2009 06:31 AM

Shes definitely herd bound. The best thing to do imo is seperate her from all her buddies. I put this in another post on her on training Tia. We started putting her in a stall every night and let her into her own paddock during the day.

After that training her was no problem as her focus shifted from her herdmates to me. After about 3 weeks she was able to rejoin the herd and still maintain focus when she was away from them

Calamity Jane 05-26-2009 03:29 PM


My horse has the shortest attencion span EVER. When I tried to lounge her, she is always trying to go back to the barn, eat grass, winny at her friends, and do all kinds of stuff like that. I need a way to get her to pay attencion and respect me more. Anyone have any idea?

I suspect that Your attention span/your focus might not be as strong as you might think, and so your horse reflects this.

What I mean is...if you are trying to lunge your horse and she starts pulling away, and you refocus on THAT instead of sticking to your main plan of lunging....she pulls, so You React to her..."will you stop that! come on! Pay attention!" And you're pulling on her, you're getting frustrated....all of this sends the signal to her that she can't follow your lead. So...since she can't trust you, she's got to trust her instinct, which says, "your safety is with the herd" and so she pulls away from you, wanting to get back to her safety....the herd.

Your requests for lunging become muddled and unclear to her, because your focus isn't on the tast at hand, but on "she's looking at her buddies again!"

Instead of reacting to her, pay VERY close attention on your own focus.

The moment you find yourself being distracted by (her lack of attention) redirect your focus back to the task.

For example:

You're lunging her, and she pulls away, look at her hip and tell the hip to move away (disengage) and this brings her head to face you. Stop her. Then start her up again for lunging. If you are consistent in doing this, you teach her that every time she pulls, she gets pressure on her hip (you don't need to touch the hip. just take out the slack in the lead line and look at the hip and when it moves away and the back feet cross, you release) and must stop and face you (two eyes on you = you're more important) and start up again.

She learns when she doesn't pull away, she doesn't get all of that added "pressure" AND you're not arguing with her and you're also working on the two most important things in horse training: Go and Stop. Which will help you when you ride her.

Also....lunging can be very boring to a horse. If all you do is ask her to go around and around and around and around in one direction for too long (especially in a round pen), this can frustrate her and she might start to think of other things than you and lunging = she pulls away.

Solution: make it more interesting for her. Do lots of changes of direction. Send her out a circle and disengage her hip and stop her and send her out the other direction. Turn it into a rollback. (this is Clinton Anderson's Lunging for Respect part 1 + 2)

Use obstacles. once you can lunge her at all speeds, put some poles on the ground, make them messy so she has to pick her way through them as she goes around and you change directions, too.....put a tarp on the ground, send her over it,....get some barrels, send her over and between the barrels (this can teach her to trailer load later on).

ivorygold1195 05-28-2009 09:07 AM

try doin diffrent things mix it up dont do the same thing every time you ride and if she stats getting destracted do circles or figue eights or something to get her mind back on you :D

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