Today my mare spooked big time in the cross ties and on the lead and it really scared me. There was no way I was getting on her back if she was this way, so I brought her into the round pen to try my hand at join-up. I don't have a lunge whip so I just let her go and swung my lead line in her direction (never did I hit her....) She trotted a few circles and then cantered when I asked and then she let out a little steam with some galloping and bucking, finishing it off with a huge rear. Same thing in the other direction sans rear.
I had her working for a decent amount of time and I saw her head drop and she started licking her lips so I let her circle once more at the trot and then I turned my back to her. She did walk up to me, but, walked right on past me too...
I've never really read up on join-up I just learned what I know from Heartland and friends...
Any ideas on why she walked right past me? Also, I'm not sure if the goal is to also get the horse to follow you after but she really didn't, help or techniques would be great! :) Thanks in advance!
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yes. YOu want her to walk toward you , stand by you and want to BE by you. So, if you walk, she walks, if you stand , she stands.
You are looking for a change in her MIND, not a set of particular actions, but her action will tell you about her mind. If she walks toward you, but then blows right past you, then the "draw" you had on her mind was only fleeting. There was something else out there that was more important than you.
Your goal is to make yourself the most interesting and enjoyable place to be. To do that, you have to make it uncomfortable for her when she puts her attention outward, not inward. If she needs to run around a bit, rear or buck before she can even think about giving yoiu her attention, then let her do so. Encourage her to do so. When she asks to come in, you can turn your body slightly, but not turning your back. If she doesnt' come in, send her off again for a bit. Then stop moving and see if she'd like to come in. Do NOT let her come trotting in to you. If she does, send her off immediately. She must stop, and come in politely, even a little hesitantly. She cannot run up to you like she owns you.
If she comes up to you but then says, nah, I think I'll go to the other end of the pen, when you see her turn her butt to you (she's blowing you off!), then send her off briskly (stay out of kicking range!) and move her around.
She can either mover around paying attention to the outside world, or come in nicely and hang with you. When she comes in, ask her to stop about 4 feet off from you, and you make the last step toward her, and lightly rub her nose. Then, turn and walk off. I bet she will follow.
Wow thanks so much, I'll definitely take all of your advice next time I'm trying. Another question, sometimes she would cut corners, and blow across the round pen and start snorting while looking out of the pen, I got really scared and left the pen to see if she needed to let out steam but she just stood there calmly after. There were some really close calls where I thought she was gonna come charging at me, is there something I can do to fix that? Also, if she come to me and follows me nicely, would it be okay to give her treats? Sorry for so many questions ! :P
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If you're going to do "join-up" then read the book. Don't blunder around with what you see on Heartland and what you can gather from your friends who may or may not know more about it than you do. The book is called "The Man Who Listens To Horses". If you don't want to read about Monty Roberts whole life story (which is disputed by just about everyone he mentions in the book)then just skip to the last chapter and read the step by step instructions.
I think the value of join-up is somewhat overrated but if your going to do it then you should at least take the time to do it right.
I don't think treats really are necessary. Maybe after you're out of the round pen or when you've done some actual work. Joining up, to me, is connecting with your horse, making you seem like the one that horse needs to follow for survival (again, the herd leader aspect for feeling safe.)
If you are worried your horse is going to charge at you.. then you should back it up to ground work and working on respect.. because charging at you tells me your horse isn't considering you as a herd leader, or even important at all. And that is DANGEROUS.
Join up is when you have established respect and you're ready to become not just a leader, but a companion/team mate to your horse. It's very powerful once you both understand that the human is the leader and shall be respected, and the horse shall in turn get respect.
Just my thoughts. Even after free lunging in an arena with grass, my horse follows me afterwards. Doesn't matter if we had to work things out or if he was perfect.. because we respect each other and he wants to be around me.. no treats needed ;P
It sounds like all this is really new to you and that you might really feel more comfortable having someone work with you doing this the first few times. It IS hard to learn from a book. I mean, even if you did read the book by Monty Roberts, you still might not feel comfortable doing this on your own.
Horsemanship really cannot be learned from a book. It can help to read and if you know already how to work a hrose on the ground, then you might not need a helper, but I just get the feeling that for you a mentor to help you learn the basics of round penning would be good.
I dont' think your mare was charging you. She may have been cutting the corners, but I don't think there was real aggression there. She shouldn't do this, though, and you will have to be very firm, either with a whip or a leadline swinging, to move her out of your space! Remember when I said don't let her come trotting up to you like she owns you? This is the same sort of thing; she has to see you as occupying that space and her needing to move around you with respect for you, not as if you don't exist.
Is there anyone who could help you a time or two?
I'm sure I could get someone out to help me next time, I would have this time as well but everyone I knew was at a show and I had to let desy blow off steam some how, I guessed I'd try join-up. I'll have my coach or someone work with us next time. :)
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One little question - is this normal behaviour or is she in season?
If she is in season, then don't try much of anything.
Read up on "regumate" and decide for yourself whether you want to use it.
One good reason for not doing so is that it is expensive but there are other
very good reasons for deciding not to use it. But on some mares it works.
If by in season you mean in heat, everyone jokes that she's always in heat.
Lately this has been her normal behaviour, in our lessons she bolts and bucks all the time cantering the long side of the arena towards the barn. Everyones been out and nothing's wrong according to them, just lacking muscle in her topline.
I'd look into regumate but if it's something to administer orally I can't give it to her as I'm only leasing her...
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It seems to me that your slightly intimidated by her which is perfectly normal with an unpredictable horse. But in order for the join up to work you have to believe that she is a tiny harmless bug and your a big elephant. Unless shes a truly mean horse she wont harm you if you think big. Maintain eye contact, make sure her inside ear is consistently pointed in your direction, her nose is almost touching the ground, and shes licking and chewing like there's no tomorrow. At this stage relax and turn your body put your head down and drop your eyes to the ground. She should walk up to you and stand with her head level almost touching you. If she walks right past you again immediately ask her to lope again and when she shows all the proper signs keep her going for another circle to make sure shes not losing her concentration. You'll get it eventually! But in order for your horse to respect you, you have to prove worthy of her ultimate respect and love. Horses are proud animals with lots of personality (especially mares) and as soon as they love and trust you with all of their heart you can love and trust them with all of yours! :) Good luck!
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