Keeping calm when riding a frustrating horse? - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 05:29 PM
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Well, what I do then, because when I get frustrated it's a lack of communication, I stop and go back to the basics on a level where we can get each other again.
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post #42 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 05:31 PM
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Eliminate the frustrating factor which is a lack of training and respect...
You set yourself up for that failure and frustration by not making sure your horse was ready for what you asked. You stated that he tests you in tack, so obviously he was not ready.

To answer your question: dont set yourself up for frustration, you control the situation and dont let it get that far next time, even if you have to resort to the basics. You have to set yourself up to succeed.
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post #43 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 05:53 PM
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I'm sure people get tired of reading my posts about Mia, but she's the horse I've ridden about 80% of the time. Mia is a sweet girl, mostly. She is honest, and usually gives you her best, up to the limits of her training or her fear.

But once in a while, she obviously thinks, "Who in the hell are you to be giving me orders?" And those are not fun days. Sometimes it only lasts for 10-15 minutes. I don't think she is actually testing me. Not in the logical sense of "I'm going to see if he can make me obey" - because logically, I can never make her obey. Her 900 lbs of muscle can pretty well clobber my 180 lbs any time she gets serious about it.

But she won't be in the mood, and puts up a fuss. Those are days where we spin around in tight circles, or go from a fast trot to an almost violent stop, all accompanied by head tossing, prancing, and attitude. I'd swear Mia can sweat vinegar, so to speak!

Those episodes are completely different from when she is afraid, or when her training has a hole. And yes, it is incredibly frustrating. More than once, I've returned from the desert hoping to see a truck parked next to my house with "I haul obnoxious horses to Mexico" written on the side! That is part of why I don't plan on ever riding her without tack.

I can't pretend I don't get mad - ask my daughter if I've ever shouted, "I KNOW Trooper is fine, but the **** &%$#@ I'm on isn't!" I try to focus on outlasting her, rather than forcing her to do something. The lady I took lessons from a couple of years ago said you couldn't force a horse to do anything. You could only limit some of its options and wait. That seems to be true of Mia, although I've yanked hard on her mouth more than once just trying to keep her out of the cactus! If I try to dominate her, her resentment or ****y attitude can turn into fear, and she's a pretty scary horse when she is scared. We've done 2 hours of repeated bolts in our arena, squirting diarrhea out the back like a green water hose...NOT fun. I don't ever want to do THAT again!

If I can stay patient but persistent with her (if not my daughter on Trooper!), then she will always settle down after a bit and end the ride with her acting affectionate and obedient.

That may be very different than the OP's horse. I don't know. Just offer it FWIW, if anything.

Oh - and the only time Mia has ever bucked was when my youngest daughter tried riding her. The ride didn't last 60 seconds. My daughter forgives me for losing my temper while on Mia...says she understands.

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

Last edited by bsms; 03-31-2013 at 05:57 PM.
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post #44 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 06:04 PM
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OP, from all your posts, it just sounds like you have gotten very good at doing the wrong thing. You need some help and a different approach, no rider, or trainer in the world can say they haven't been there, and if they do, they are liars.
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post #45 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 06:19 PM
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You want to know how to stay calm????
Get on your horse prepared, and that includes using the proper tack. And don't blame the horse. He is simply being a horse.
I'm surprised we haven't seen a post from him asking how to deal with his frustrating human.

If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #46 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 07:22 PM
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Oy vey....OP I own, show, ride, and drive my draft horses....I am here to tell you that if you think that slapping your horse about the neck and head will get your point across your sorely mistaken. If anything, that draft horse is going to set their heels and do again exactly what you loath they do. The other problem I have seen, and I had a few myself, was when you come from a light horse background, you have some misconceptions about draft horses.

A draft horse loves to please, they want a leader and they want someone they can trust. If you don't give them all of the above, you won't get that bond nor the trust that is involved when working with an animal that large. It too me about a year to bond with my first draft mare, she had been primarily worked with by men, so having a woman work with her, was different than what she was use to. Now, I wouldn't trade her or her team mate for anything. It isn't jumping on them bareback, it isn't moseying around the corral or round pen, they are not puppies, they are large animals that need boundaries.

Get a snaffle bit, get someone who knows the draft horse, some lessons and stop making excuses for your rude behavior to your horse. Have I ever lost my temper with my horse? Sure. But I would NEVER slap or beat or abuse my horse ever! I am their leader and their partner...

Re-evaluate your horse ownership....if you can't be calm and walk away or get some lessons to be a better horsewoman...You can't bully a draft horse and expect them to bond with you, won't happen.
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post #47 of 54 Old 03-31-2013, 07:54 PM
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Can't believe only one other person caught this!

You sit on your horses back and let him wander around the arena without direction???

Please tell me how he is supposed to know when he is making the decisions or you are? One day you leave it up to him, then the next you get mad and start beating on him when he makes a decision.

No wonder you don't have a good 'bond' - you keep switching up the rules on him! How can he trust you?

Horses love consistency. They love routine. They love knowing they don't have to make the decisions.


In regards to not losing your temper. There's a saying that holds very true for me - anger begins where knowledge ends. Or something like that!

I never get mad if the horse just doesn't know what I'm asking, or if they are being stubborn. They are simple situations, just set up for success and wait until it clicks, or discipline calmly if needed.

I only get mad when I'm trying to do something and I don't know how to fix it/make it happen. Usually when I'm trying something new or I'm not ready for. I know what I want to happen, but I don't know how to get there, which is frustrating as all hell.

I just have to take a step back and realize getting mad at the horse for not knowing is not helpful when I don't even know what we are doing.

That's when I do as others said, step back, do something I know I will get the correct response for, and then I go seek help with what I was stuck on. Increase my knowledge.
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post #48 of 54 Old 04-01-2013, 01:41 AM
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Like I said, there is no respect, and there is no consistency. Everyone here is completely right, OP.

Your lack of a cool head is also partly because you know he is capable of doing something wrong. How can he trust you, when you don't trust enough in him, or haven't put the training on him to get yourself comfortable letting him work? Get this horse's respect and you'll find a whole new brand of confidence in yourself and in your horse.

I'll use this example. I train my barrel horses to hunt a circle with very little contact from me. One hand, just barely tipped to the inside. They stay on the circle, I don't mess with them. They drift, dive in, etc and I correct them and go back to being light. They learn where they are supposed to be because that's where they don't get corrected. Same deal with a horse who doesn't stop. I'll give them a loose rein and sit down and say whoa. They blow through my cues? I say "You shouldn't have done that." and we'll stop from my hand and back up 10 feet and try again.

The moral of that story is don't babysit him, but get his respect and learn to try trusting him instead. Even the most well trained horses have their moments. Selena sure does and she's a finished reiner, been on drill teams, worked cows, roped, runs at the barrel races, shown dressage, etc. But some days, she won't, for the life of her, do a simple flying change without a fuss.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #49 of 54 Old 04-01-2013, 02:44 AM
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To answer your actual question, I have never gotten to the point of hitting my horse out of anger or frustration. I agree with some of what has already been said (asking yourself if the horse has the training to know what you are asking, if you are asking correctly, etc. Stopping what you are doing, walking, and re-planning your methods never hurt anybody. If my horse isn't doing what I ask, I think of other ways to ask the question and I try to get creative. In regards to asking the question properly, yesterday I was trying to get him to do something but it wasn't working (and it was something so simple that I knew, but forgot how). I had a feeling I was asking wrong so I went home and looked it up. I was in fact asking wrong, so reviewed how to do it correctly, rode again today, and we did it properly. HE knew I was asking wrong yesterday and I knew I was confusing him, but I solved the problem. We of course ended on a good note that day, but I didn't blame him for not understanding my confusion. I know you said you could ride without a bridle, but next time if he acts up, put one on instead of continuing to fight. Use it as an aid to solve your issue. Go into a round pen if he won't listen and get him going where you want when you want. When you get frustrated, try to take a step back, relax, and regroup. What are you doing wrong? Why is he not listening? What can you do to camly fix the problem?
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post #50 of 54 Old 04-01-2013, 02:52 AM
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Also, my horse (4 yr old OTTB) is very strong and if I get strong with him (for corrections, him not listening to me to slow down--his biggest issue right now, etc.) he will get even stronger and unhappy. That characteristic makes it a bonus for me to try to quickly come up with new plans and ways of accomplishing things. I am NOT a harsh rider at all, but he is just very sensitive and smart, so I have to work with him instead of against him. I weigh 105 pounds and he weighs about 1,000. If we make eachother completely ****ed, I don't think I will win.
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