Mare Won't Budge--R+ Suggestions? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 11-14-2019, 10:53 AM
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I think having a task to focus on, @Horsef , also helps a horse think "WE". Be it dressage or working on poles or going across a place without a trail - when I'm busy thinking about how WE can get a job done, my horse seems to instinctively feel my need for a team mate. I'm no dressage rider but it seems to me dressage ought to take the approach you discuss so the horse gets mentally engaged in getting things right WITH their rider.

A lesson my daughter took years ago. They progressed to weaving between poles. The idea was for my daughter to learn to cue at the right time to get a perfect weave. But Trooper figured out the game and started doing whatever it took for them to "win". The instructor just started laughing and said if Trooper was trying to help her win, then at least they had the right attitude going...


Overthinking things tends to be a huge part of my problems in riding. I'd be better if I worried less and just DID.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #22 of 27 Old 11-14-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I'm no dressage rider but it seems to me dressage ought to take the approach you discuss so the horse gets mentally engaged in getting things right WITH their rider.
Oh, I am no dressage rider by any means.

I just use the tests as a cheat sheet to get out of my own head and - as you said - work WITH my horse not AT it.

I remember a thread on here which had an English hunt video. I asked the lady who posted it how come all the horses stand so quietly at the meet, all bunched up against each other (just that part gave me palpitations, the actual riding was hair raising). She said that they know that there is a job to be done and they are waiting to do their job. I think that horses feel our purposefulness and join in it. If we just ride around with no clear purpose in mind - they feel it and behave accordingly.

As @tinyliny said earlier: I want to go THERE! Even if it just a silly old arena corner in my case.
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post #23 of 27 Old 11-17-2019, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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An update on our progress this week:

Today I decided to take her on a little hack, like I had mentioned I was planning, to just try and refresh her mind and un-bore us both. I decided to go the "tricky way" which is past her field. We always have a hard time with her stopping at her friends and not wanting to move forward, so I wanted to see if we could work through it using your suggestions. As I anticipated, she got stuck when we passed her field. I tried the leg flapping once, and SHE UNSTUCK IMMEDIATELY! We haven't gone this direction on our hacks in a while because she is so difficult to move forward when we pass her field, but we did it and were on our way!

After our hack, I took her in the arena just to trot/canter around a couple laps to finish off our ride. There were two other horses in the arena, and I figured she would try to stop near them and refuse to move when I asked her for the trot. She tried it once, to which I responded by using the leg flapping again, and she unstuck immediately again! I didn't have to correct her anymore for the rest of the ride. We trotted and cantered a few laps, but I ended it fairly quickly as a reward to her for giving me what I asked for.

Between working with her using a combination of everyone's advice this week, to giving her a refreshing fun hack, I feel like we have made more progress this week than I ever anticipated. That isn't to say that she won't regress or that I won't have to use different tactics in the future, but I am really pleased with our progress!
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post #24 of 27 Old 11-18-2019, 03:30 AM
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@Lolapalooza That's great!

If you continue using the "slapping", make sure you don't catch her mouth when she takes off and ALWAYS bring her back to walk (gently) after a few meters and squeeze lightly and decisively for trot. If she refuses, slap again, bring back to walk, squeeze lightly. If you don't, she will learn to always require slapping for trot and then she will learn to ignore that too. Don't be uneasy to bring her back to walk - I made that mistake with something else I was teaching. I can practically guarantee she will go into trot with just a squeeze after being woken up. She wants to avoid being slapped, especially so soon after it happening. Remember, you aren't teaching her to trot - she knows how to do that. You are teaching her not to ignore your leg. I am guessing that's how she learned to ignore the crop.

Just to illustrate, I made that mistake with canter depart. I would give the aid lightly, my mare would just speed up the trot. I would kick and insist and she would go into canter. What I didn't do is bring her back to trot and repeat asking nicely. So she would make her trot-start longer and longer until I couldn't get her to canter no matter how much I would kick. I slapped some spurs on and used them when she refused, got her into canter with those but brought her back immediately and asked nicely. It worked and I don't have any issues with canter depart, including from a standstill.

Best of luck!
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post #25 of 27 Old 11-18-2019, 12:03 PM
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When you get on your horse, establish dominance by first backing up. Then simply start around and ask for a walk. If she walks as soon as you ask her, then reward her. When you are ready for the trot, lean forward slightly in the saddle. Gently cluck and squeeze with your legs if she speeds up at all, reach forward and pet her on the neck even if she doesn't start to trot and just speeds up. If she stops, keep gently asking her. If she still does not go forward, then back her up. It is a great way of telling your horse that what she did was wrong, without fully punishing her and getting her upset. Then try again. If she moves forward even at a walk, reward her by taking off pressure and petting her again, really tell her that moving forward was a good choice, and it will become something that she will want to do.
Hope that helped!
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post #26 of 27 Old 11-18-2019, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Horsef View Post
@Lolapalooza That's great!

If you continue using the "slapping", make sure you don't catch her mouth when she takes off and ALWAYS bring her back to walk (gently) after a few meters and squeeze lightly and decisively for trot. If she refuses, slap again, bring back to walk, squeeze lightly. If you don't, she will learn to always require slapping for trot and then she will learn to ignore that too. Don't be uneasy to bring her back to walk - I made that mistake with something else I was teaching. I can practically guarantee she will go into trot with just a squeeze after being woken up. She wants to avoid being slapped, especially so soon after it happening. Remember, you aren't teaching her to trot - she knows how to do that. You are teaching her not to ignore your leg. I am guessing that's how she learned to ignore the crop.

Just to illustrate, I made that mistake with canter depart. I would give the aid lightly, my mare would just speed up the trot. I would kick and insist and she would go into canter. What I didn't do is bring her back to trot and repeat asking nicely. So she would make her trot-start longer and longer until I couldn't get her to canter no matter how much I would kick. I slapped some spurs on and used them when she refused, got her into canter with those but brought her back immediately and asked nicely. It worked and I don't have any issues with canter depart, including from a standstill.

Best of luck!
This is great! I will keep all of this in mind so that I'm being as effective as I can be and not confusing her/dulling her response to my leg. Thank you so much. It's great because the whole leg slapping seems to wake her up to my leg, and she is really responsive to my leg cues afterwards. She has always been really responsive to slight leg and seat cues, so this new issue of her just stopping and refusing to go forward because she wants to hang out with other horses was a big bummer. Glad to be making progress, and really appreciating all of the advice!
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post #27 of 27 Old 11-18-2019, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Showmanshiplover View Post
When you get on your horse, establish dominance by first backing up. Then simply start around and ask for a walk. If she walks as soon as you ask her, then reward her. When you are ready for the trot, lean forward slightly in the saddle. Gently cluck and squeeze with your legs if she speeds up at all, reach forward and pet her on the neck even if she doesn't start to trot and just speeds up. If she stops, keep gently asking her. If she still does not go forward, then back her up. It is a great way of telling your horse that what she did was wrong, without fully punishing her and getting her upset. Then try again. If she moves forward even at a walk, reward her by taking off pressure and petting her again, really tell her that moving forward was a good choice, and it will become something that she will want to do.
Hope that helped!

Just wanted to input on this facet. Backing a horse is a helpful movement to have, but if at all possible you don't want to have it be an automatic course of action when you get on or if your horse ever does something wrong. The movement in and of itself is not a punishment. And I have met several horses who have been trained how you explain and they were more dangerous (especially on the trail), and just as sour, but with a nasty evasion. Walking backwards is far easier than trotting or cantering forward and many horses would much rather back than do those movements, so will automatically start backing when they don't want to work forward. We never want a sucking back thinking horse, it can lead to worse habits in the horse like rearing. Generally to fix this problem once the rider has made it, is slow and a bit of a pain, since adding more leg usually just sends them backward faster. My course of action is usually patience and realizing you have to go through a long process of behavioural extinction in the horse that may make them and the rider quite frustrated. One rein disengagements help some, but there is a lot of waiting for the horse to give up backing when no release for it arrives.


When a horse is already trained, backing up has mixed use as asking the horse to bend at the poll and bring the back up. Some people use it and some people don't, there's some disagreement on whether or not it's useful or that. But using it for that purpose happens only after the horse has a solid and clear grasp on the fundamentals, to avoid the aforementioned evading horse. It is entirely possible that the quoted poster has a horse that fits into this category which is why the method works for her. However it's not something I recommend at all. Backing can be useful but to establish dominance? No.

I'm glad the OP has found a method that works well for her mare I'm sure they'll get by just fine. This is just a training note.
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