Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: middle of nowhere
It's not 'chasing them in circles' or 'move and I'll whip you.' It's about moving the horse's feet and not moving his feet. If you control the horse's feet, you control his mind. If you can make him move his feet when you want to, and stop those feet when you want to, then you are working in a safe, respectful partnership with the horse. If I'm working a horse in a round pen and he ducks in and decides he's going the other way, I'm not going to whip him, but I'm going to get in front of him, block him, and send him back the other direction until he realizes that when I want him to go that way, he needs to go that way. If I ask him to stop and stand and he won't, then I'll keep him moving until he wants to stop, then try again. When he stops and stands and relaxes, I'll reward him. He's learning that I can make him move and make him stop, but that nobody is hurting him and he controls whether he's under pressure or not. It's not fear-inducing in any way, but it makes a huge difference in whether that horse is safe to be around and ready to go on to the next part of his training, and also serves as a huge attitude adjustment for a problem horse who has learned how to bully people into doing or not doing what he wants, and that's a safety issue.
You can certainly do those things without a round pen, but the pen makes it easier. If someone's 'training' consists of chasing the horse around in circles, or whipping the horse if he doesn't move, that's doing it wrong. Do you sometimes need to pop a disrespectful horse on the hip with the end of the rope or stick? Yeah, if he's really belligerant, but that's well after the horse was given other opportunities to do what was asked and ignored them. At that point 'he ran into the stick I was moving' because he didn't care enough to follow the cue. Next time, he'll move before I get to that point, and that's it-- no fight, no stress, lesson learned. I don't want a submissive horse-- I want a confident, thinking, alert, happy horse who is respectful and safe.
Last edited by SilverMaple; 07-07-2017 at 03:15 PM.