Help Me With Honey?
So, I recently brought home a new draft/pony cross named Honey (Daft N' Punk) and well...she has a few quirks.
1) She doesn't really stop. Once she gets going she is incredibly difficult to stop. I've been doing the "Woah, sit, reins, back up" technique, any other ideas?
2) She's a little too good about picking up her feet. You tap her leg and she lifts it up to be picke dout, but she also won't let you groom her legs. I tried to brush them and ignore the lifting, and she bit me. Help?
3) When you put the bit in her mouth, she's fine, but getting it out...that's another matter. She throws her head back and I don't want to rattle the bit on her teeth but I'm not so tall as to stop her head from getting away from me. How do I correct this?
Thanks guys :)
Bite her back. I did once when my loan pony bite my back when I made him pick up his feet, he never bit me again. Didn't think about it just did it and it worked.
So, as far as the leg thing, I really don't know, but with the bit thing, does she do it with the halter, too? If not, it's probably because someone wasn't too careful about clanking the bit on her teeth on the way out. What I would do is teach her a cue to lower her head, and then, everytime she puts her head up while you're taking off her bridle, ask her to put it back down, and when she'll let you take off the bridle without transmogrifying into a giraffe, be careful not to smack her teeth when you take her bit out. Eventually she'll learn that letting you take the bit out isn't going to hurt. It could take a while though... Maybe someone else has a better idea? That's my best shot.
I like SuperStarSugar's plan for the bit. I'd try that first.
For the legs, first I would start pairing a pick-up cue with a verbal cue (my guys know "foot"). If you are picking the foot up, always tell her "foot." If you are doing anything else, don't use the word "foot." After a while of that, if her problem is confusion, that should start to clear up.
If she picks up a foot and you don't want her to, stop what you're doing and hold. For example, if you're brushing her legs and the foot comes up, just rest with the brush were it was when she lifted the foot until she puts it back down. Be ready for the biting, and have a hand free to "bite" her back if she tries. When she puts the foot back, praise her and continue to groom.
Honestly, the best way I know of to help build a whoa button is exactly what you're doing - lots of downward transitions. Be sure that you're cueing goes seat, legs, hands. I like Clinton Anderson's Cruising exercise, personally, to get consistent rhythm, and then start breaking up the "cruises" into transitions between gaits (Calling "whoa" a gait, too), and within gaits. Also, if you have a solid response to "whoa" on the ground, the odds are more likely that the idea will carry over into ridden work. Of course, be sure that there's no physical reason for her quirks. You never now over the internet, but, for example, if her bridle is adjusted too tight, she could be desensitized to constant bit pressure, so you're whoa command via rein has lost meaning.
Hope that was a little helpful to you and Honey! Good luck!
I can offer a suggestion on the bridal thing. When you're taking it off, stand parallel to her so you're near her neck facing front. Hold her nose as gently as possible and as strongly as needed while taking off the bridal with your left hand. It gives you a little more control of her head and usually spares your teeth since your body's more out of the way.
Definitely teach her a 'head down' cue. When you go to take the bridle off, you could also loosen it one or two holes, so you don't accidentally pinch, or pull hairs on her head...some horses HATE that! I would teach her the head down cue, then start using the halter, with the throat snap undone, and remove it the same way you would a bridle; chances are she may argue about this too, as it may just be an 'anticipation' thing. Have her put her head down for you, and slip one ear out of the halter...if she raises her head, just leave it there, and ask for another 'head down'. Slip the halter back over her ear, and start over. When she is good with this, then put her bridle on, and start out the same way...remove one ear, put it back, until she stops anticipating. Even if she is reacting out of a painful memory, the key is to STOP her anticipatory response, as that CAN hurt her.
For the "Whoa" you could start teaching her a one rein stop; an advantage of this is that with all the bending you do, you can really get a soft supple horse. Don't yoink the rein back to far on the first times, just take the slack out of it, and bring it to your hip, and leave it there until she 1)stops 2) gives to the bit pressure.
For the legs I would work with a carrot stick on this one, so you have control over both her face, and her feet. Just start rubbing up and down each leg, until she stops moving or picking it up; if she picks it up, just keep rubbing, until she sets it back down. Chances are, whoever taught her how to lift her feet, did in in such a manner that now she is afraid NOT to lift them. Desensitize her to touch, and teach her that every touch on the leg does not mean "lift". When you do go to pick up a foot, I would teach her a cue word, such as "give it" or "Up", something like that. When she is used to you touching her on all four legs with the carrot stick, and is not lifting, or pulling away, then start proceeding to touch her with your hand. Try to not remove pressure until she stands.
To answer previous questions, it is only with the bit and not the halter. Thanks for the bridle suggestions :)
As for the one-rein stop, I've tried that but she just stiffens her neck and carries on. She'll bend while I'm on the ground, but as oon as I get in the saddle she becomes this stiff, stubborn pony. I assume she's just doing it to be difficult.
Thanks to everyone, I'll try those ideas xD
for the whole bridle thing i would put a chain lead rope around her noes (slip the halter on if possible) when she lifts up her head yank the chain...did that with my boy once because he rubbed against mee really hard and never did that again...it works!
I'll bump this. I have a horse who won't stop either. If he gets it in his head he runs right through the bit. Even at a walk he often takes 3 or 4 steps to stop. I would love more answers on that.
last thing you want to do is use a chain and yank her face, if you have to do it alot she'll likely be head shy.
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