training from scratch & owner's different ideas... - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 06-01-2020, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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training from scratch & owner's different ideas...

OK, so, the story is, we can't afford to take on any more horses long term ATM, but I believe Darcy has been up to the challenge of training his own horse for a while now & desperately wants to. So I had a bright idea, that perhaps it would be helping out a brumby sanctuary I know of, to take on an unhandled(or very little handled) beast, train it, then give it back, saddle trained, for them to rehome(knowing she's very caring about who her horses go to).

So we went to see her last week and she said she had some brumbies that were 'run'(as in, chased, roped, caught aggressively, so rather more worried about being 'pushed' & about people in general than passively trapped or in total ignorance of people) and that these guys, after some 'hard work' in the round pen, could be haltered & petted, but every time she went out to them, they behaved the same as the first time she met them - she'd have to 'convince' them to be caught. Every single time. We drove one of these from their paddock into the round yard and Darcy went in to make friends.

While I've had little chance to use an actual round pen, I do use a sort of non-threatening, low key form of 'Join Up' type affair, which Darcy has learned from me. I know that more 'forthright' methods work to get a horse caught, and have used them in the past. I just want a better *attitude & emotional response* than you tend to get with 'confrontational' methods. I think it depends on the 'stage' the horse is at & how they are emotionally, as to how much 'pressure' you put on them, and at the very beginning, (esp with a horse who's already quite nervous of people & being chased) I think it's best to use very little.

So, at first, it was just a lot just directing a tiny bit of pressure at the horse whenever he wasn't facing Darcy, then a lot of standing around, being non-threatening when the horse was 'facing up'. That went well & it didn't take long at all for the horse to learn to just stand & focus on Darcy.

Then he started approaching & retreating, little bits at a time. To start with, when he could walk 1' towards the horse & horse didn't start to leave, he'd retreat, before repeating. And he put a small amount more pressure on horse when he did leave, making that the more uncomfortable option, but not enough to cause him to do more than a slow trot, and rewarding the horse by quitting any pressure whenever the horse looked/stopped. Darcy also picked grass from outside the roundpen and dropped some on the ground just before 'retreating', which the horse was impressed about! It took nearly 20 mins before Darcy was about 1' away from the horse & he was standing wary but not wanting to leave, and took the first bit of grass from his hand, before Darcy 'retreated'.

The owner had been standing watching, saying nothing, except for to me, 'he's given him grass! - they have to EARN it to get any from me!' But by this time, obviously patience had left the building. She started saying 'you need to be more forceful & stop walking away from him.' And 'push him! Right now! Harder! No, don't stop now!' and 'No more grass! He's got to let you get that halter on before you give him a reward.' Things started going to pot then, as the horse got confused & upset about Darcy's suddenly confusing behaviour, and Darcy started being unsure of himself too.

Then she said she would come in & show Darcy how it's done. As soon as the woman went in, the horse began to prance. She got 'big' & he cantered around, before 'asking' if he could face her. At which point she said 'he is not allowed to call the shots' & pushed him harder for it. Well, you probably know the story, it didn't take her too long to have the horse standing quivering, allowing her to walk up & touch his nose. Then she walked out & told Darcy that's how he should do it. And he did try, but between not agreeing with when/how hard to 'push' and with not being at all practiced at that approach, he didn't do well, and the horse wouldn't let Darcy approach closer than 1' from the middle without moving off after that. The woman said he couldn't quit until the horse 'Joined Up' properly & Darcy could catch him. But after another half hour, with both Darcy & the horse quite agitated, I told them we had to leave.

So... standing on the sidelines, I was mostly biting my tongue, but I did say to her that we tend to have a lower key way of doing stuff, so Darcy's not experienced or comfortable with more force, and told her that the way I'd go about it was probably somewhere half way between her method & what she saw Darcy do. She said that's not using force, and you have to 'demand respect' before you can try to be friends & get their trust. She did say though, she was happy for us to come for a weekend(she wants everyone considering a brumby to spend a weekend meeting & playing with them before she will consider anyone taking one), that she was fine about people having different ways of doing stuff...

But I dunno now... Give me your thoughts please??
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post #2 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 06:49 AM
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“That woman” (and I mean it in “THAT” context) subscribes to “the beatings will continue until the morale improves”. “Beatings” are not always physical.

Her methods sound to go against everything you stand for and have taught your son. I would walk - and - not - look - back, but pray for the horses.

It will not help your son to have to go there and either succumb to her training demands or try to sneak the training methods you taught him into working with the horse.

I was taught to meet the horse half way, when training. If the horse “asks”, our answers should be yes.

The exception to that is when I am brushing or working on them somehow, they decide they’ve had enough and start to walk off. That is when I say “you don’t get to tell me what to do”. Most of the time, I don’t tie my horses for anything - they stand still because a trust has been developed over the years.

THAT woman with the Bumbies is not building trust - she is building fear and creating ulcers from fear of making a mistake. Horses are not “things mechanical” where there is often no +/- room for error - there should be a lot of give and take. I actually want to slap her until her face looks like five fingers worth of sunburn:)

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post #3 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 07:57 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Walkin, yeah, my thoughts to a large degree, tho she is in line with most common ideas on 'horsemanship' such as lunging for Respect' and 'make them move their feet' as punishment. I don't think she is cruel per se, and in fact she deeply cares for the horses. Just that she is... a 'normal' horseperson.

And no, I let it go & mostly bit my tongue that first visit, seeing how it panned out, but I have no intention - and I know Darcy has no desire - to do things her way, and I wouldn't be going behind her back, but I believe in telling it like it is - 'we do it this way & if you'd like us to train any of your horses, this is the way we will go about it.' While she said she's happy about 'different strokes', I just wonder how much she means that &... well, it's nearly 3 hours away & don't know if it's worth our time to try.
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post #4 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 08:55 AM
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I would just tell her that you would like to train one and give it back. Although, it would be hard to give it back. Better yet, have her have adopter come to your place to retrieve the animal. I don't think that the stipulation should be that you train exactly like her. Besides,
this is helping her out, not the other way around. Gp get one and bring three months worth of hay with you for the horse.

I honestly think that pen work can be a good thing for horses and it doesn't have to be round. Pushing them away for disrespectful behavior like another horse would, not chasing them around like a predator. There is a difference. I also think that when you are working with a wild animal, trust in humans has to come first before anything else. I can push my horses away for disrespectful behavior and/or get their attention, but they know who I am and what I'm about.

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post #5 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 09:25 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah Lori, because she cares, she won't just give her horses to someone without checking them out first. So I highly doubt she'd let the horse be adopted from here either, but that's worth a suggestion. And yes, I'm not against 'pen work' per se, or 'pushing them away', but as you said, I believe, with a wild/frightened animal, trust must come first, and respect must be EARNED. It's not something you can force.
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post #6 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
Yeah Lori, because she cares, she won't just give her horses to someone without checking them out first. So I highly doubt she'd let the horse be adopted from here either, but that's worth a suggestion. And yes, I'm not against 'pen work' per se, or 'pushing them away', but as you said, I believe, with a wild/frightened animal, trust must come first, and respect must be EARNED. It's not something you can force.
You can send pics and videos of progress as you live three hours away. That should ease her mind. Plus, they would keep fabulous feet I'm sure.
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post #7 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 12:14 PM
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If it comes down to her way or the highway I agree with Walkin. Take the highway and pray for the horses. You can try explaining that you'd like to try a different way and if she is open to it then you would be welcome to out and work again with one but the condition would be that she would need to allow for the entirety of the exercise without interference. I don't know though that I would be able to trust her not to interfere.

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post #8 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 04:57 PM
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What a shame that the session hadn't ended before the woman got in and ruined all the progress Darcy had made. I hope this lady has not gotten under Darcy's skin to hamper his self-confidence. He was doing just fine, and will do so on his own. please tell him I said that.
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post #9 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 08:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. Thanks Caroline for the 'words of support' for Darcy. Yes, we had much discussion on the way home and I ensured he knew that I fully supported his way & felt it was her approach that caused him to 'fail'.

And absolutely, if it's 'her way or the highway', just not going there. But... it's a long highway - devoting a whole weekend & nearly 6 hours driving, just to 'see'... And Lori, she won't let a horse go without us spending the weekend there. Can't blame her for that - I'm a control freak, cos I care, about my horses too!
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post #10 of 17 Old 06-02-2020, 08:22 PM
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Is there perhaps another rescue group around that you can look to for potential training horses? Or something equivalent to our SPCA or Humane Society? Unless Darcy has his heart set on a brumby specifically, I can't imagine a rescue not falling over the chance for free training.
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