Teaching abused/uneducated horse to lunge - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by UnluckyHorshoe_11 View Post
The problem is that he was abused, and it shows in his behaviour. I can't send him out, he just doesn't get it, and as soon as you try to get him walking by approaching him he gets flighty.



Does anyone know an approach that might work for an abused / uneducated horse / stubborn horse?

When you train a horse, their history doesn't matter.

So it does not matter if he was abused in the past.

It does not matter because you simply work with the horse you have in front of you that day.
So first throw out the notion that you have to treat him special or different because he was abused. You don't. You just treat him fairly like you would any other horse.



Quote:
Originally Posted by UnluckyHorshoe_11 View Post
I was smashed into the ground and dragged because he spooked at something while I was working with him through the lunging process.

Before you even think about lunging, you need to continue to work on his handling and ground manners. This here tells me is not ready to lunge. He needs to first off learn that is is very, very wrong to run you over.



And on that topic, what is your PURPOSE behind lunging? If your goal is to send him round and round in endless circles, well, lunging isn't going to do anything for him
If your goal is to teach him respect and gain control of his feet, well, now you've got something.

And honestly I don't really call that "lunging". It's just good ol' ground work.



Use the lunge rope as an extention of your arm. It keeps you out of harms way and keeps you away from the hindquarters, but you can teach the horse much of the same.

You really would do best to find a trainer to work with. I know you said you don't have one, but it is so much easier to learn from someone hands on.
Teaching a horse to be respectful is all about your TIMING. You need to apply enough pressure so they learn, but you can't apply too much pressure or you'll fry their brain, and you can't apply too little pressure or they will never advance. If you release your pressure at the wrong time, your horse either won't make the connection (releasing too late) or will learn they don't have to listen to you (releasing too late).



If you absolutely cannot find a trainer in-person to work with, let me direct you to these free YouTube videos. While I think he can be really aggressive in some cases and should be taken with a grain of salt sometimes, I feel that Clinton Anderson does a great job of explaining what he is doing, why he is doing it, and WHEN you need to do it. There's a whole series here. This is the first episode. Watch and learn, and then appply.



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post #12 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 01:22 PM
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Many Weshies can be exceedingly reactive and not because they were abused, it is just the way they are. They can get out of it with good handling and work.

I would do the same as Greentree.
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post #13 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 01:33 PM
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Question - he he unhandled or abused, I believe they are kind of mutually exclusive......

If your second post is in fact the truth, why did you take on this pony? Three people have so far failed him, according to that account, what experience and skills do you have that will ensure success for him this time?

If he free lunges like a dream, as I understand and use free lunging, then getting him to move on the line should be easy enough.
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post #14 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 06:18 PM
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So it does not matter if he was abused in the past.

It does not matter because you simply work with the horse you have in front of you that day.
So important this. Of course, if they were 'abused' - or otherwise stuffed up/frightened/confused by previously 'training', then certain things are going to take longer to get through. Just like a horse that has not been handled/taught better & is of a 'flighty' disposition will need to be taken easier/slower than a calm, easygoing horse.

When I took on a rescue early in the year, I thought I'd taken on a serious feral, by the way he behaved in panic about everything at his old place. It's *possible* he was abused, but I think it's more likely they were just ignorant about horses & training & had terrified him unwittingly. It was obvious HE felt very 'abused'.

Within a few days here, he had settled substantially & he continued to come along easily. EXCEPT when I started driving him - as soon as I even looked like asking with 'pressure' from behind, he just wanted to bolt on the end of the rope in panic! I suspect that he had been aggressively 'round penned' & as horses think & remember emotionally rather than rationally, it didn't matter what we had done to that point, but that 'picture' triggered his terror. So we just took it in 'baby steps' there. I started with a very light 'ask' with my arm, no whip, no rope swinging. And I asked for only a couple of steps at a time, with emphasis on calmness. Didn't ask/do anything more until he was GOOD about that.

When I took on 3 completely unhandled sisters a number of years back, 2 of them were easygoing. One - the lead mare of the group - was really untrusting & reactive about everything, even just being in your presence. As slow & easy as I took it, there were times that the smallest thing would bring her 'undone'. It was obvious SHE felt 'abused' about it. It took her quite some time to get her comfortable with what her sisters were able by the end of the first week.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #15 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 06:30 PM
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I know that discounting a horse's history and past is common here, but I disagree.


I know a 20 year old horse who had very rough, aggressive reining training from 2-3 years old. He flunked out after he bucked off someone and broke their back.


To this day the horse is very finnicky about the bit. If you open his mouth you can see patches of scar tissue on his lips from where a big bit cut into them once.


he won't tolerate anyone he does not know handling his face. Fast movements around his head terrify him.


He's been owned and loved by a woman since he was 6 and he is very old now. But he has retained those bad memories.



---


My horse was starved in a pasture. She has been with me 3 years. When I got her she used to pin her ears at me and threaten to kick when I'd put the food down. She doesn't do it to me anymore but does it to the neighbor horse and did it to my friend who tried to feed her. She pinned her ears and tried to bite her. Because she doesn't treat ME like this and I am her main caretaker this issue has never "needed" to be schooled. It is a reflection of a deep fear of being removed of her food which I hypothesize was a training tactic used to control and dominate.


She will allow me to touch her face and ears but will not tolerate anyone else getting their hands near her head. I suspect she was either hit in the face or twitched.



There are more but those are the two that continue to plague us with strangers. I don't always trust her to be good with others on the ground, so she doesn't get a lot of multi-human handling because most would not understand nor treat her with the respect and consideration she deserves. I have only been allowed to break through her fears because I gave her no reason to believe she would be mistreated for "acting out." Now she has earned the title of "schoolmaster" and is teaching my good friend to ride a successful training level test and teaching my other friend who has just started dressage. She also packs around my good mid-level dressage friend who doesn't get lessons often and comes down every few months to take a lesson from my trainer on Tyra.
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post #16 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by thecolorcoal View Post
He's been owned and loved by a woman since he was 6 and he is very old now. But he has retained those bad memories.
To say we're 'discounting' previous history is not in the least the same as saying we're not being considerate of the horse & how they feel about stuff. Just means we don't 'pussyfoot' around them or avoid certain stuff because of (real or perceived)previous experiences, but deal with whatever is in front of us at the time. Regardless of the reason. Horses are very forgiving, but correct, they never forget. And as they don't think/remember rationally, happenings that were previously associated with fear/pain can indeed trigger the same behaviour, even years later, **if better associations have not replaced those 'memories'.

My horse is now around 18yo & when he was 4yo, green & I'd just had a second baby, I thought it best for him to have some training with someone else. Long story short, after only a week(he was supposed to stay longer), he was frightened & confused, very hard to catch, sore nose & headshy, sore mouth from a bit they said they wouldn't use.... To this day, when he's stressed & I go to take the halter off, he gapes his mouth as if he's dropping a bit - which he hasn't had since that week. I could get him over his bit association with careful training but I don't ride him in a bit so have ignored that.

My kid's first pony was great to handle & ride for them, never an issue. He actively comes to put his nose in the halter. But many years after owning him, they decided they wanted to do ponyclub and rules state that minors need to ride with a bit. So I bought him a leather bridle & bit... and when I first pulled it out to show him, he FREAKED! Obvious terror, didn't want me going anywhere near him with it, thank you very much! Obviously something happened before we got him long ago. It took some considerate approach & retreat to convince him that it was OK, and rewards to instead associate it with Good Stuff. He was then fine about it.

Quote:
Because she doesn't treat ME like this and I am her main caretaker this issue has never "needed" to be schooled. It is a reflection of a deep fear of being removed of her food which I hypothesize was a training tactic used to control and dominate.
Maybe it's a 'deep fear reaction'. Maybe though it's just her natural behaviour. A lot of horses are like that, who have never been starved, but just a 'dominant' personality & never been taught it's 'bad manners'/against the rules to treat people in the same manner as they'd show 'dominance' over another horse at their food. Of course, we all have to 'pick our battles' & don't need to overcome every problem, as I illustrated above, but regardless of the reason for her behaviour, that is one thing I would definitely want to work on. What if you were unwell, or couldn't look after her any more?

Quote:
She will allow me to touch her face and ears but will not tolerate anyone else getting their hands near her head. I suspect she was either hit in the face or twitched.
This too may be perfectly normal, natural behaviour. I don't like people reaching for my face either... She may or may not have been 'abused' and it doesn't matter either way. If you want to allow her to say no like that, fine - though it will make veterinary & dental work difficult and also more stressful for her too. Or you can teach her that it's OK - even a Good Thing to tolerate this.

Quote:
she doesn't get a lot of multi-human handling because most would not understand nor treat her with the respect and consideration she deserves.
Regardless of previous 'abuse' or whatever, they deserve respectFUL & considerate handling.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #17 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
To say we're 'discounting' previous history is not in the least the same as saying we're not being considerate of the horse & how they feel about stuff. Just means we don't 'pussyfoot' around them or avoid certain stuff because of (real or perceived)previous experiences, but deal with whatever is in front of us at the time. Regardless of the reason. Horses are very forgiving, but correct, they never forget. And as they don't think/remember rationally, happenings that were previously associated with fear/pain can indeed trigger the same behaviour, even years later, **if better associations have not replaced those 'memories'.

My horse is now around 18yo & when he was 4yo, green & I'd just had a second baby, I thought it best for him to have some training with someone else. Long story short, after only a week(he was supposed to stay longer), he was frightened & confused, very hard to catch, sore nose & headshy, sore mouth from a bit they said they wouldn't use.... To this day, when he's stressed & I go to take the halter off, he gapes his mouth as if he's dropping a bit - which he hasn't had since that week. I could get him over his bit association with careful training but I don't ride him in a bit so have ignored that.

My kid's first pony was great to handle & ride for them, never an issue. He actively comes to put his nose in the halter. But many years after owning him, they decided they wanted to do ponyclub and rules state that minors need to ride with a bit. So I bought him a leather bridle & bit... and when I first pulled it out to show him, he FREAKED! Obvious terror, didn't want me going anywhere near him with it, thank you very much! Obviously something happened before we got him long ago. It took some considerate approach & retreat to convince him that it was OK, and rewards to instead associate it with Good Stuff. He was then fine about it.



Maybe it's a 'deep fear reaction'. Maybe though it's just her natural behaviour. A lot of horses are like that, who have never been starved, but just a 'dominant' personality & never been taught it's 'bad manners'/against the rules to treat people in the same manner as they'd show 'dominance' over another horse at their food. Of course, we all have to 'pick our battles' & don't need to overcome every problem, as I illustrated above, but regardless of the reason for her behaviour, that is one thing I would definitely want to work on. What if you were unwell, or couldn't look after her any more?



This too may be perfectly normal, natural behaviour. I don't like people reaching for my face either... She may or may not have been 'abused' and it doesn't matter either way. If you want to allow her to say no like that, fine - though it will make veterinary & dental work difficult and also more stressful for her too. Or you can teach her that it's OK - even a Good Thing to tolerate this.



Regardless of previous 'abuse' or whatever, they deserve respectFUL & considerate handling.

I think if you saw the way the woman treated my horse when I picked her up you would be singing a very different tune, Loosie. And to learn that this "behavior" was NOT common place with the lady who trained her off the track? Along with the woman I bought her from claiming she DIED when the trainer inquired who she was sold to?


I think separating man from beast has it's place. It also can perpetuate abuse, especially since humans are so fond of scapegoating the "other." I was reading mark rashid's book and absolutely appauled by how the horse in the beginning was treated by the men trying to break her. And yet there are so many "natural horsemanship" gurus who claim to be kinder but are NOT, and perpetuate, support, and encourage this kind of rough handling by claiming "it's a horse, not a person - treat it like a horse."
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post #18 of 26 Old 11-19-2018, 11:36 PM
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I think if you saw the way the woman treated my horse when I picked her up you would be singing a very different tune, Loosie.
I think you missed my point then. Because I was not assuming she hadn't been abused, just saying her behaviour doesn't mean she necessarily was. And regarding further training, getting her over her 'hangups', it doesn't matter whether she was or not.

Quote:
I think separating man from beast has it's place. ... And yet there are so many "natural horsemanship" gurus who claim to be kinder but are NOT, and perpetuate, support, and encourage this kind of rough handling by claiming "it's a horse, not a person - treat it like a horse."
Absolutely! If you can't set it up to ensure she will have 'right' experiences with people, best keep those 'wrong' people away And yes, that includes some professional trainers, whatever banner they put themselves under. For eg. the 'wrong' guy I chose for my boy years ago. 'Respect' is the biggest buzz word these days it seems, but it also seems that very commonly, it's just another term for dominating the horse & does not include being respectFUL TO the horse.

And another story... we have joined an 'extreme cowboy racing' club, where horses do obstacle courses. For the most part, I agree with the trainer there. But there is one thing she teaches that I strongly disagree with, and that's making a scared horse 'work' as punishment, in order to make his life a misery when he refuses to do something that scares him. For a number of reasons I disagree with 'working' a horse as punishment, but in this sort of situation - or a horse who's afraid to go on a trailer or such - I think it's akin to telling someone to... go jump in a shark tank, and when they balk, trying to convince them to do so by forcing them to do 50 pushups...
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg

Last edited by loosie; 11-19-2018 at 11:50 PM.
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post #19 of 26 Old 11-20-2018, 12:51 AM
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At Equitana the other day I watched day 3 of the 'Way of The Horse' challenge, where trainers choose an untrained horse and for each day of the event(4 days), they spend something like an hour training it. So they'd each put about 2 hours into their horses by the time I came to watch. This year, a Qld trainer, Ken Falkner was one of the competitors. The other ones I hadn't heard of. Very intense experience for the young horses who had never been off their stud farm before. And the trainers were under the pump, expected to turn out a decently 'started' horse in only 4 hours total.

The 4 horses, left alone, were pacing or even running around their separate pens in the big arena before the trainers came out - understandable, putting youngsters in that environment. When the trainers came to the pens, 2 of the horses ran from the gate & tried to stay away. One horse stood & allowed the trainer to approach(unfortunately he was up the back from where we sat so didn't see much of his 'way'). Ken's filly however, saw him coming & relaxed immediately, met him at the gate & followed him around when he went into the pen.

One trainer seemed to have the CA approach, of making the scared horse run around the pen until he 'submitted'. Not that the horse was at all calm. Head in the air & jumpy about everything. When it came to riding, he was the first to have his horse saddled - albeit with a couple of bucks - & ridden that day, with the other guy who was a bit... intense being second. Those two had their horses going over obstacles - the CA style guy with a big ball. They had them saddled despite the horse moving around trying to avoid them. They had them moving out at a trot while ridden, doing lots of different stuff... albeit jumpily.

Ken and his horse were meanwhile moseying around in a relaxed fashion, just doing lots of small things, like yielding just a few steps, with lots of... nothing much in between. When he went to get his saddle, the horse followed him & stood to allow him to put it on her back. He did everything quietly, calmly, but matter-of-factly. Did up the girth, moved the horse around, asked her for some more yields to his fingers or the rope. Slowed stuff down for her & gave her the time she needed whenever she got 'tight'. When he went to get on, he asked her to stand & waited for her to be comfortable before putting a foot in the stirrup. Ensured she was fine with that before hopping up, ensured she was right about that before swinging into the saddle... etc. Then they proceeded to mosey around on a loose rein, her responding to his legs for direction. I think he did do a few steps of a trot here & there, but mostly it was at a walk. The horse was obviously relaxed & paying full attention to his communication. Then, while the other 2 were trying to do as much as possible in the allotted hour, Ken got off, removed the saddle & halter & left the pen. His horse came to the gate & stood watching him hopefully outside.

I wish I'd seen the earlier sessions & wish I could have seen the finale too. While 2 of the trainers were apparently getting lots more done, and I still think they were good to be able to do what they did within only 2-3 hours of handling the horse, by far the most impressive one for my money was Ken, who didn't seem to do all that much, but who had his horse trustingly & willingly doing what he was asking, looking to him for guidance, responding - not reacting - to leg & seat aids.

Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #20 of 26 Old 11-20-2018, 01:46 AM
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I know that discounting a horse's history and past is common here, but I disagree.

he won't tolerate anyone he does not know handling his face. Fast movements around his head terrify him.

---


My horse was starved in a pasture. She has been with me 3 years. When I got her she used to pin her ears at me and threaten to kick when I'd put the food down. She doesn't do it to me anymore but does it to the neighbor horse and did it to my friend who tried to feed her. She pinned her ears and tried to bite her. Because she doesn't treat ME like this and I am her main caretaker this issue has never "needed" to be schooled. It is a reflection of a deep fear of being removed of her food which I hypothesize was a training tactic used to control and dominate.


She will allow me to touch her face and ears but will not tolerate anyone else getting their hands near her head. I suspect she was either hit in the face or twitched.



There are more but those are the two that continue to plague us with strangers. I don't always trust her to be good with others on the ground, so she doesn't get a lot of multi-human handling because most would not understand nor treat her with the respect and consideration she deserves. I have only been allowed to break through her fears because I gave her no reason to believe she would be mistreated for "acting out." Now she has earned the title of "schoolmaster" and is teaching my good friend to ride a successful training level test and teaching my other friend who has just started dressage. She also packs around my good mid-level dressage friend who doesn't get lessons often and comes down every few months to take a lesson from my trainer on Tyra.
In both these cases it is lack of training for respect that is missing, NOT because of past things that happened. Many horses will pin their ears and try to boss the person feeding them, to hurry up, just as they will boss another horse if being fed in a field. The fact that she doesn't do it to you is probably because you ignore it. The fact that she does it to other people is bad.

I have seen a lot of things in my life but have never seen a human give a horse a feed and then remove it as a method of training.

The fact that neither horse allows their head to be handled again says lack of training and confidence.

I have had two or three Welsh ponies that were like the OP describes. None were what could be called suitable for small children. I do not know what had happened to them prior to coming to me, I didn't care, I had to deal with what was in front of me.

One was so bad and frightened of just about everything, his owners had been 'softly softly' around him and it hadn't worked. I was just matter of fact. If he spooked, got up tight, tried to run away, I just held on and continued with what I was doing ignoring his antics.

I took him with me, he was in the stables as I mucked out, he forwent with me to the muck heap when I emptied the barrow. He was with me when I dug the garden, fed the chickens, went out to see to the sheep, took the dogs for a walk, he was on a rope with me. If he freaked I just ignored and held on. I had trusted people handle him so he got use to others.

When his owners came to see how he was getting on I had a girl riding him. She could wave her arms, do all the small child exercises like round the world, do backward rolls off him amd leapfrog onto the saddle from behind and he didn't bother.

I had a stable full of both very fit horses and youngsters, mostly TBs, yet any small child could feed them either their hard food or a carrot, and not one of those animals would dream of pinning their ears or taking advantage because it was a little person feeding them.

I taught the children to hold a carrot at the fat end and let the horse take a bite. The horses would have several bites but would not snatch but feel with their lips so as not to nip little fingers.
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