Too much yield.... help!
I have been working with a 6 year old paint gelding that previously has been someone's pet and spoiled rotten. He had absolutely NO ground manners and was VERY VERY pushy. He is coming along beautifully and has mastered Join-up, lowers his head for haltering, can touch all over, lifts all 4 legs, etc.....
He is still learning his pressure ques on the ground and though he responds well to yeilding to the pressure for lateral movements, now that he has figured out how to move his big ol body around, now he wont stand still! He will ground tie to be saddled, but when it comes to bathing or brushing, he is constantly yielding his hindquarters. If I tie him to do such, he moves until I almost have him "cornered" then stands still and lets me continue.
Is this my error (possibly I didn't have my body positioned correctly while teaching him and so he thinks he's doing the right thing from my body ques) or is this his way of telling me he doesn't want me near his hiney? The previous owner did tell me that he would break in two if you touched his hip or flank area. So I promplty did touching excercises in that area and haven't thus far had any issues until he learned lateral movement on the ground and now wont hold still.
Anyone have any ideas???? Thank you so much!!
I'd desensitise him(or re-desensitise) to your touching there. I'd just keep it up, following him as he moves(moving away doesn't work for him), until he stops - be it because the rope stopped him, be it a momentary hesitation, whatever it is, stop touching him immediately & move away. This will show him that what works is to 'ignore it & it'll go away'. Once you've established the basics, then you can gradually build the length of time & different things you ask him to accept, with the same tactics. That is, negatively reinforcing his behaviour. The addition of some positive reinforcement(rewards) for 'right' behaviour is also very helpful!:wink:
Try to ensure that when you actually want him to yield, you have a different look about you, so he can learn to differentiate. Eg. when I'm just being with my horses, or grooming, touching, whatever, I remain 'soft' & relaxed looking - sort of a little bit slumped, for want of better description - and when I'm asking them for something, I sort of raise myself up, put energy in my body & movement & focus strongly.
Thank you so much for the advice! We had a GREAT ground work lesson yesterday! I really paid attention to HOW I was asking for him to move or to stand instead of just trying to pull or push and put him somewhere. It was AMAZING how responsive he is to just my body language alone without touching or pulling at all!!!! At the end of the day, I was walking circles around him and by just changing my stance, had him spinning circles around me!
THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Great to hear! When I 'get focussed' I also focus on whatever part of their body I want moved too. Eg. If I want a spin on the hq I focus on their shoulder or thereabouts. If I want hq to yield, I focus on that part of their anatomy, and if I want them to move sideways/sidepass, I focus on the middle.... & when first teaching, alternate between fq & hq.
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