Respect under saddle? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 12:38 AM Thread Starter
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Respect under saddle?

Hey all, I have been riding an 11 yr old QH mare for a good 3-4 months now, usually 1-2 X a week in lessons with more frequent rides as time allows. I really like this mare and when we do groundwork she is great. She listens well, has good manners and is usually good at focusing. She is technically a broke horse with a good solid start in reining (neck reins, goes off leg pressure, can do rollbacks and haunch and forehand turns). She doesn't buck or throw her head either, and today she bolted on me.

Trouble is when I get on to ride, she starts to get silly. She walks around fine and neck reins not too bad. But she does constantly try to go off and do her own thing, usually the classic of wanting to be by the exit gate or any of the tie up areas of the arena. She will trot ok sometimes, other times she weaves and fights everything, it's like she's drunk. Cantering is okay, but going back to a trot makes the issues amplify and sometimes she refuses flat out to go forward when asked to pick up the trot from a walk again after cantering. She is also a little herd bound it seems. Today my instructor got us outside in a much larger area close to where her main pasture and buddies are. He asked me to walk her over a wooden bridge and encourage her with a bit firmer pressure (we happened to be going towards where he buddies were). Well she lunged over the bridge and bolted towards her pasture. I fell and did a nice baseball slide on the ground.

I just want her to learn to settle under saddle and listen to me as her leader and partner, wherever we happen to be riding. I'm not sure if it's her work ethic or a lack of experience on my part (probably both) but it's a constant fight every time I ride her it seems. She has good moments of course, lunges well and even follows me w/o a lead line in the arena, but the constant fighting while riding with little to no improvement is making it not worth it.
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post #2 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 01:10 AM
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She might have some advanced training, but she also has holes in training, and/or has become spoiled
Forget neck reining, until you fix her holes. Go back to a snaffle and ride with two hands
If she has truly been taught reining by someone that knows what they are doing, she should guide, staying between the reins, have shoulder control, thus not try and run off at the shoulders, to the exit or anywhere else
You either need a different instructor, that can help you fix her holes, or have trainer re train her, and then take lessons with that trainer, so she does not revert
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post #3 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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I'm guessing it is from not being consistently ridden for so long. (I am the first to ride her consistently, I'm not sure how long she went before he allowed me to work with her. And yes, someone more experienced rode her first to see how she was and ensure I wouldn't be getting a bronc) Her owner is a professional reining trainer and has done many competitions, I respect him a lot. Maybe she needs some tuning up with someone more experienced than myself.

I will talk to him about her. I can switch her bit too and see if he can help me out with it. If not then I am thinking she will not be my next horse, as I have seriously considered buying her.
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post #4 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Farmgirl16 View Post
I'm guessing it is from not being consistently ridden for so long. (I am the first to ride her consistently, I'm not sure how long she went before he allowed me to work with her. And yes, someone more experienced rode her first to see how she was and ensure I wouldn't be getting a bronc) Her owner is a professional reining trainer and has done many competitions, I respect him a lot. Maybe she needs some tuning up with someone more experienced than myself.
I think so, far as the tune up, as the hrose is taking you for a ride, and not the other way around, LOL. You then need that person to coach you on how to ride the hrose, so she remains honest, as she most likely has your number
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post #5 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 02:26 AM
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your instructor must be blind. if he had seen all the trouble you've had with her, as per your own description, he should never have asked you to ride outside of the arena.

I do not think it is that the horse is lacking in training so much as that you are not at the level to match her training. I know that sounds harsh.
A horse that is trained to react to very small but clear ques will be really confused when ridden by a more beginner level rider. confusion leads to trouble.

do not write her off, yet, as a possible horse to buy. keep working on things, but consider that it's YOU who must learn to be much clearer in your requests to such a highly honed mare.
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post #6 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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your instructor must be blind. if he had seen all the trouble you've had with her, as per your own description, he should never have asked you to ride outside of the arena.

I do not think it is that the horse is lacking in training so much as that you are not at the level to match her training. I know that sounds harsh.
A horse that is trained to react to very small but clear ques will be really confused when ridden by a more beginner level rider. confusion leads to trouble.

do not write her off, yet, as a possible horse to buy. keep working on things, but consider that it's YOU who must learn to be much clearer in your requests to such a highly honed mare.
It's all good, I know I have a long way to go still in terms of learning. I know I have improved some as I am finally getting her to neck rein with more response at the trot with lots of focus on keeping my cues clear and hands quiet (been working on that very exclusively the last 2-3 rides and had much better luck.) She's better when we ride in the arena but taking her outside and asking her to do the obstacle work today seemed to completely fry her mind and amplify the "not listening" issue. She is also a bit of an anxious horse and I think her brain tends to go a mile a minute even when she is calm.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 03:46 AM Thread Starter
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I think so, far as the tune up, as the hrose is taking you for a ride, and not the other way around, LOL. You then need that person to coach you on how to ride the hrose, so she remains honest, as she most likely has your number
Lol, trying hard not to let her get the best of me. I used to have a mare who really did have my number and I was terrified of her. At least I'm not terrified of this one. I know she would be an amazing horse if I can get her to listen to me entirely.
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 05:06 AM
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[quote=Farmgirl16;10002402]when I get on to ride, she starts to get silly. She walks around fine and neck reins not too bad. But she does constantly try to go off and do her own thing, usually the classic of wanting to be by the exit gate or any of the tie up areas of the arena. She will trot ok sometimes, other times she weaves and fights everything, it's like she's drunk.

Hi,

As always, first & foremost, rule out/treat any pain/discomfort issues. Perhaps she has saddle pain, bit pain, sore back, sore feet... This bit especially sounds like it could be related to pain;

Quote:
Cantering is okay, but going back to a trot makes the issues amplify and sometimes she refuses flat out to go forward when asked to pick up the trot from a walk again after cantering.
But it also sounds like she is a 'schoolmaster' type lesson horse? That perhaps she is just sick to death of going round an arena with beginners, and has also learned how to annoy them back... Once pain/discomfort is ruled out/treated, try to find ways for her to enjoy the 'work' you ask of her. Ensure she is effectively & adequately reinforced for the Good Stuff she does - you don't keep asking/release 'pressure' immediately, and you can also reward/positively reinforce her too.

Of course, that it sounds like she isn't your horse, is likely ridden by others, and that you are inexperienced all makes things hard/impossible to change much if any. Can you ask for a different horse that's not so resistant perhaps?
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 09:09 AM
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Kind of reminds me of when I got my first horse after many years of not having one. The mare that I got had been used as a broodmare exclusively for eight years and then she was given to me at the age of almost nineteen. She was a show horse in saddle seat and I didn't know any of her buttons and had no interest in saddle seat. That being said, she was anticipating my expectations and I was not doing it right in her brain. It led to a lot of frustration on her part in the very beginning. Once she got the idea that she didn't have to do any of those things from her former training she settled down. Plus, at first, she wasn't the happiest being brought out of doing nothing but having babies. Her go to when she was frustrated was wanting to bolt to safety (which I didn't allow). We ended up working it out and she was fine but it took about three months for her realize that she was safe and also that she wasn't going to get away with any BS.

There were a lot of things that I would have done differently with her if I were to just get her now. I had some help with her but not a whole lot and not consistently. If you are to purchase this horse, I would definitely seek out help with her to show you anything that can be done differently to help this horse settle down and peacefully work with you.

I think that a lot of times with horses that are respectful towards you on the ground and very well behaved are not exactly being disrespectful when riding. I think that it has more to do with rider confusing them and then they feel unsafe and want to go to where it is safe. Unless, of course, they have learned that they can do whatever they want under saddle.
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post #10 of 25 Old 06-06-2017, 11:47 AM
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Not a pro nor have I dealt with hundreds of horses, so take this in that light:

Sounds like a horse who has been taught to submit by someone who is willing and able to up the pressure to a point where the horse feels it must submit. If the horse has no other reason to submit other than "rider increases pressure", and you either can not or will not increase the pressure to that point, then the horse has no reason to submit.

Too much emphasis on obedience disengages the horse's mind. That gets the horse back to thinking, "Can the rider make me?" instead of "Does listening to my rider help me?" If obedience to a cue has no more purpose than "This is what the rider wants", then why should the horse obey if the horse wants something different? And what horse can understand, easily, WHY it needs to speed up at some point in the arena, or WHY it needs to spin or stop very hard just because? What is the benefit to the horse?

The next step is to get the horse to start talking to you, which in turn means listening and responding to what the HORSE thinks. It means you may not cross that wood bridge today - and certainly won't if the only way to do it is to increase pressure until the horse gives up. You may need to back off until the horse is no longer too anxious - "She is also a bit of an anxious horse and I think her brain tends to go a mile a minute even when she is calm." - and then dismount and LEAD the horse. Would you trust someone who responds to your fear with kicking you or forcing you?

Quote:
I just want her to learn to settle under saddle and listen to me as her leader and partner, wherever we happen to be riding...but it's a constant fight every time I ride her it seems.
If you want a horse to think of you as a partner, you need to be a partner to the horse - and partners don't expect blind obedience.

I suggest reading through some of these journal threads:

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...ay-can-431322/

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...gether-622121/

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...a-trot-645777/

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...ntures-711762/

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...people-479466/

https://www.horseforum.com/member-jou...2015-a-536297/

In essence, you need to find a way to convince the horse you have good ideas. And not all horses are going to be interested in what you prefer to do. A friend had a stallion who was dangerous to ride until the stallion connected people riding him with things HE liked to do - travel 40 miles in a day, or work very rough cattle. Once he associated humans with that, he became my friend's all-time favorite horse and was eventually ridden by kids.

That stallion sired Trooper, who was spurred to a bloody mess by someone who wanted Trooper to cut cattle - and Trooper hated working cattle. Yet Trooper was an excellent sheep horse and a wonderful beginning rider's trail horse...once he got over being spurred. Nine years later, he still has the scars:



So a big part can be finding a horse who likes doing the things you like to do. I don't think any horse can be very competitive at a sport the horse doesn't enjoy. They'll always be beaten by a horse with similar ability who WANTS to rein, cut, race, jump, perform, ride trails, etc. If you really like doing X, and the horse shows little initiative in X...don't buy the horse. It will just frustrate you both.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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