Is this okay?

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Is this okay?

This is a discussion on Is this okay? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • My horse is refusing to go forward off the leg and is attempting to kick me when i do

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    06-23-2013, 11:51 PM
Is this okay?

My horse absolutely refuses to go forward. I'll kick while increasing pressure. Like soft kick, if she doesn't respond then a harder kick and so on. Although usually I have to keep kicking hard repeatedly for quite a while until she moves a muscle. (Not even move forward). So I have resorted to a hard slap on the butt. It gets her moving forward really well.

I feel like maybe it's not the best thing to do? It's a pretty hard slap, but I immediately relieve any pressure once she moves forward, and praise her. Right now I've only done it a few times, but it works pretty well so I'm considering doing it until she moves off pressure easily, and then not using it again unless needed.

It's not an abusive slap, she can feel it. But I'm 99% sure it doesn't hurt her as I'm a pretty timid rider so the slap can't be that hard. Should I try sometime else? I've done groundwork and earned her respect, and I try to be a leader but it's a little hard. I'm just looking for ideas/comments. She's being ridden in a Dee ring snaffle. The saddle fits well, her hooves are being done tomorrow, and her teeth will be floated soon. I don't think it's a reaction to pain or fear. Oh I've just started riding western so I'm still trying to adjust to it.

Thank you for reading this extreeeeemely long thing(:
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    06-24-2013, 12:39 AM
What about trying a crop? I had the same problem at first, when I switched to western riding with my new horse. He wouldn't work even on the lunge or round pen while doing ground work, because he didn't respect me at all. He plain ignored me even when I was in the saddle kicking, kissing an doing whatever to go, because he thought he could get away with it. At first, you should be able to make it work from the ground. In my case, I helped myself with a crop when he ignored my legs (trainer suggestion). My boy tried refusing the work with little little bucks, or turning the direction he wanted.. Or even straight towards fences.. until he uderstood what's his job..! It's a matter of time.. I spent a month on it! Now the horse listens to legs and voice :) ps: this should work if it's a matter or non respect and or laziness. Nothing to do with any other problem!
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    06-24-2013, 08:58 AM
I use split reins, and from time to time my horse will refuse to move forward also. I just use the end of my leather reins to flag or swat him if necessary. I'm not beating him, but I'm reminding him. Like you said, pressure away when he walks forward. He needs to understand that when you ask nicely, it means go, and if not, you will up the pressure. I think a swat is better than kicking a lot because then you just create a dead-sided horse if you kick too much, and your legs will mean nothing anymore. A crop works if you can handle another think in your hand, but I just use my leather reins. My daughter barrel races and leaves an over/under on her saddle. The few times her horse has refused, she just flags her with that. We try to avoid getting into a kicking fit.
Mochachino and Roux like this.
    06-25-2013, 01:29 PM
Yeah you're totally fine. It would be different if you didn't try asking with your legs first..but it sounds like you give several warnings before you resort to that, and its great that you are making him listen. Like the other girls said, if you are riding with leather split reins, you can also use a rein as a last resort to pop him on the butt as well. Keep working on it, and eventually he should understand that if he doesn't go when you use your legs, he's going to get swatted. This could just be a matter of having a lazy horse that is trying to take advantage of you a little bit to see what you know.
    06-26-2013, 10:48 PM
If you want him to become more responsive try bumper spurs. It's a subtle que that involves leg with out using a crop or split reins which can throw you off balance.
    06-26-2013, 11:33 PM
Wiggle your heels in his skin when you nudge him, and click your tongue ect.
Mochachino likes this.
    06-27-2013, 10:21 AM
Carry a dressage whip at your leg, and when you ask with your leg for forward and get no response....then use the whip AT YOUR LEG. Your horse is basically flipping you off and tuning you out if you get no response from using your leg.
    06-27-2013, 11:04 AM
You should only have to ask once with your leg. If the horse doesn't immediately move forward from the first leg cue, back it up immediately with a dressage whip at your leg. He needs to learn to respect the leg. Listening to it is non-negotiable, and he will learn that the whip follows the leg if he argues.
    06-27-2013, 11:29 AM
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You asked if it was "okay", in the sense , I think, of not being cruel.

I would say there is absolutely nothing cruel to the horse. But you'll wear out your hand that way, and that's cruel to you. And, having each and every time you go forward be a battle can get old, fast.

So, using the end of a split rein, or a crop or whip (not spurs for a baulky horse and not unless you have plenty of experience). Do the Ask, Tell, Demand.

One soft asking with leg, one very firm telling with leg, and then Wham! Put the whip on , and don't hesitate. It should have a a one, two, three! Rhythm to it.
The horse will be surprised and will leap forward, or maybe crowhop, so you have to be ready and know that you can deal with this. Don't yank him back to slow again, just let him move out, even if he trots or canters, then kind of ease back to walk, slowly.

The idea is to make a BIG impression once, so that he'll remember that if he ignores you he gets a very unpleasant experience. He won't ignore you again.

That is less cruel than to have and everytime we go arguament with kicking, more kicking and slapping.
    06-27-2013, 12:50 PM
It is definetly ok. I was putting some time on my moms 3 year old last year, and she had no desire to move out and stay in a lope for more than a couple strides before lazing back to a trot. She is still lacking in the desire to go do stuff department, but you can get her going consistently in all 3 gaits without having to sit there and pound her sides.

She caught me a bit off gaurd - I was deffs not expecting any bursts of speed out of her. Even with taking the split rein to her.

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