Never trained a horse before, now have 3. Eeek!
Hello! I have never trained a horse before but now I have three little miniatures who have never had any real training. So, I will describe each of there problems seperatly.
Copper: Copper is my gelding who is a people-pony. He will run up to you and then when you walk away, you hear little hooves following you! He walks on a lead but has no respect for my personal space. I beleive it is becoming a hazard as he could very easily run me over. He turns his butt to me and gets up close and when he is walking on a lead he practivly runs into me. He loves to run so we run on the lead but he comes up behind me and runs faster than me. I tried the clenton anderson oersonal space excersise where he has the stick and he tells them to back away, but copper just stood there and grazed! Another problem he has is that he won't lift his feet and when he does he tries to back up.
Bell: Belle won't walk well on a lead. I hope to show her so this is a MAJOR problem. If she doesn't want to go somewhere, good luck! She will sometimes walk well(i give her lots of praise when she does) but ten other times she just balks.
Misty: Misty is a 1 year old filly who before she came to me a few weeks ago, had never been handled except to eat. She refuses to walk on a lead or lift her feet. The little training she has, I did with her. She ould not be caught when I recieved her and will only walk on a lead if she is following bell somewhere and she doesn't often do that.
By the way, I only get to see them about once a week. Oh, and also, I did not buy htem, they were all gifts from my grandmother. I didn't want you guys to think I had chosen 3 poorly trained minis as my first horses to train!
You may want to find a local trainer who can help assist you, as they will be able to spot the 'problems' first hand, and can tell or show you what you need to do in each situation. I would definitely be trying to get out there more than once a week too; it takes a couple of days in a row, or a couple of every other days in a row to ensure that the lessons you are teaching are actually sticking. If you can't get out more than once a week, you will be teaching these lessons over and over again, simply because he's not getting enough 'reminders' in a row in order to retain it fully.
If Copper has no respect for your personal space, and won't move off when you ask, you may not be asking correctly, or positioning yourself in a way that he feels you mean "back off". I have two yearlings I am training for the school I live and work at, and BOTH know how to longe, back, etc, but when a staff member who has little to no assertive-leadership, they won't do any of those things; they can tell immediately how "soft" a person is. I'm not saying to beat your horse into submission, but you have to learn how to make yourself "heard".
For the mare that is balking, don't stand there and pull on her lead; that is actually teaching her she can resist you. Start teaching her to yield her hips, and shoulders, so you have a way to keep her feet moving when she does balk. When she balks, give her a "kiss" cue, and if she doesn't move on, then just start yielding her hip and shoulders; she will quickly learn to move forward, because she's not going to want to go in 'circles' for long...that's work for a horse, and most horses are innately lazy; meaning they want to do whatever is easiest. You can teach her how to longe as well, and when she balks, just start longing her; again, the main thing being that she learns that you control her feet, and she figures out that going forward is easier than doing 'work'.
For lifting of their feet, start teaching them to 'give' to a feel; use a cotton lead and loop it around a foot; click, and ask them to "give", while simulataneously applying pressure to the lead; as soon as they shift their weight off of that foot, take the pressure away. You can gradually ask them to 'hold' the give for longer, and eventually start asking them to 'give' with your hand alone. Doing it this way keeps you out of danger of kicking feet while they figure out what you are asking.
My four year old MFT gelding sounds a lot like your Copper. I agree with Mom2pride about making your self heard and being assertive--not aggresive--. I have just now gotten Zane to where I can walk towards him saying "back" with my "No nonsence" pose and he will back up which is a lot better then when I was jiggling the lead rope and pushing against his chest--which made him rear alot of times--. If I don't have my assertive No nonsence additude he will challenge me.
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