"Try" and re-teaching a horse heart - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #11 of 54 Old 10-19-2014, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SE Spain
Posts: 1,270
• Horses: 4
That was an excellent and thought-provoking post, Sharpie. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.
Originally Posted by Sharpie View Post
He knows I won't set him up to "lose", and if you can't lose, you can be a very, very brave pony indeed.

Thanks too to the mods for making it a sticky.
Posted via Mobile Device
loosie likes this.
Bondre is offline  
post #12 of 54 Old 10-19-2014, 07:47 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,614
• Horses: 0
Very well said Sharpie. It is SUCH a common problem IME, that horses are effectively 'shut down' so much in training. It's not just that they're big animals that we need to control for safety's sake either, but I think is a 'hangover' of older training ideas that we're getting through, with more understanding of psychology these days. Not just animals either... how many kids & even adults are afraid of trying something new because they're frightened of getting it wrong?

I remember hearing Pat Parelli once say that Tom Dorrance went to hospital, maybe his deathbed, and called Pat in. He went there, wondering what vital piece of knowledge Tom would share, and Tom just said something like 'Don't knock the curiosity out of them'.
loosie is offline  
post #13 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 10:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 558
• Horses: 5
Thank you for the great post. My Nibbles was raised and trained by an excellent horseman. She is well behaved, calm and willing to do anything asked of her. I don't think she has ever been hit in anger. Chief, on the other hand, from what we have found out, had been owned and ridden by little girl and had been a great horse. When she lost interest he was sold to a lady who tried to make him into a barrel horse. When he wasn't fast enough or would hit a barrel or wouldn't turn right, he was roughly handled and whipped. By the time we got him he was a mess. He is very sweet, but evertime you'd raise your hands (while riding or on the ground) he would freak. Just picking up the reins would cause him to try to bolt. If you asked him to do anything at all he would either freeze and tremble or try to bolt. We really thought we had made a mistake. Gradually, however, he has come around. He wasn't with his last owner long, and I think he is reverting back to his old self. He listens and we are praising him when he tries. At this point we aren't asking anything really hard, but we make sure he is successful on what we do ask him. The bolting and freezing has completely stopped, but he will never have the calm "whatever" attitude Nibbles has, and it makes me so angry with the lady who did that to him. He tries SO hard to please and be a good boy, but even though he doesn't act up, you can tell he starts to worry when we ask something new. It sometimes makes me want to cry when I see that worried look in his eyes.
Alexalynn likes this.

Customcanines is offline  
post #14 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 11:11 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
Posts: 3,053
• Horses: 3
I got a horse that was terrified of doing the wrong thing though. Things he knew were right, he would do quickly and willingly, johhny-on-the-spot. Ask him something he didn't know the pat response to though (like to sidle up to a gate), and he'd get tense. He'd throw his head up in the air and either try to run off like a giraffe or try to pretend he couldn't 'hear' you at all and figuratively stuff his fingers in his ears. I think those are pretty familiar responses and things we see commonly in green horses or horses with less than perfect training.
some horses are like this, without any bad training. My Bo's mare, that was bred and raised on the farm, does this exact thing, but she's 1200lb of very athletic thoroughbred, so it can really get dangerous if you push the wrong button. She too just needed patience, a quiet rider that was understanding, and she came around.

I think try is an interesting thing to think about. you can kill the "try" in a horse by setting it up to fail. You can kill many things, like work ethic, with this method of teaching, If you cant succeed, even the most determined will only attempt it for so long. Like a job that is constantly pushing and no matter how well you do they want more. eventually you just become desensitized to it and stop really trying. You do what you have to and that's it. The only way to fix this in a horse or human, is time and patience, like the OP did. On the other hand, there are horses without try.

I got talking to a couple cowboys about it, and they have experienced horses that would "quit" out on a trail. they just were not born with the fight and heart and determination that others were. You cant teach a horse(or human) to try when it lacks the desire or ability for it.

Really good post OP
BlueSpark is offline  
post #15 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
Posts: 17,293
• Horses: 0
Before we declare an animal as being abused, if we haven't witnessed it then it's gossip or conjecture. Horses are adept at outsmarting humans and will test their limits. This often causes people to assume abuse. A horse shutting down is a coping mechanism. They do this when attacked or too much is asked of them. We can also sour a horse with too much repetition. I have found that when teaching in increments and the horse has an "aha" moment, it really doesn't need a lot of repetition because he understands what is being asked. It is also easy to bore these horses so we need to challenge them in different ways to keep them interested.

Woodhaven, greenhaven and CASugar like this.
Saddlebag is offline  
post #16 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 12:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 558
• Horses: 5
If you were resonding to my comments, yes the horse was abused. I know as a dog trainer that many people will say their dog has been abused when it is simply inheritently shy, and people say their horses have been abused when they haven't been. I know that it is human nature to want to "blame" someone or something for their animals behavior and to try to justify behavior that doesn't make sense to them. Chief unfortunately WAS abused. I actually saw a video of the lady "training" him, which included holding him back and whipping him until he was in a fenzy, then letting him go. She would then haul back as hard as she could on the reins to get control. The vet said he had small scars on his side from spurs. The farrier told me that he had seen her repeatedly hit Chief hard in the face for not holding still. I have been told other things as well, but have no proof of those things, so I won't say anything. We have also spoken with people who knew him before, who said he was a doll - very laid back and willing. Since we went back to the basics and have been fair in our demands, he has gotten much better. We insist that he does what we ask, and are gradually asking more and more. We are careful to reward "try". Hopefully he will be back to his old self soon.
greenhaven likes this.

Customcanines is offline  
post #17 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 04:17 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: SW UK
Posts: 16,000
• Horses: 0
There are more forms of abuse than just beating a horse or riding it roughly.

I sold a green Irish horse to a very good young rider. A year later he was brought back as being unrideable. He never bucked or dropped the rider, he just sagged when you went to get on him so much so how belly nearly touched the ground. The owners had oodles of money and had had the horse to all sorts of bets for an explanation. No one had one.
I chucked him out in a field and was going to have him euthanised. The day I went down to get him in. The gateway was knee deep with mud so instead of me trying to wade through the wellie sucking stuff, I vaulted across his neck and withers so he carried me through. He never sagged at all and once on firmer ground he cantered off so I just stuck a leg over him and rode him across the other field. He was even half bucking. I only had a flat halter on him so not a lot of control. I turned him to the rails and he just pricked hi ears and jumped them landing in the garden!
That changed my mind about shooting him so he stayed. I rode him out and about bareback, then I ponied him tacked up. Then started to rode him. Whatever had bothered him had disappeared.
He was a very good horse, always tried his best and I won many show jumping competitions with him.
At a regional competition it was held in an indoor arena. I had jumped him in a warm up class earlier and he was his usual self. Took him into the indoor and his back immediately sagged. I dismounted and took him out. He was tense and upset. I walked him in hand away from the other horses and into some woods. He began to relax and so I vaulted onto him. He was fine. I rode him bareback to the other horses and as soon as he was near the indoor he sagged.
Next day he was fine. It made me think. A call to the girl and I was told that as he had been spooky when she rode him out her father forbid her from roding anywhere bar the indoor arena.

I kept him because he puzzled me. I would pony him around a local indoor and soon he was slightly happier. I had ridden him around t on a couple of occasions and although he never sagged he was tight. One day two of us had had a lovely ride and we were passing the indoor so I thought I would give him a quick trot around it. The local Pont Club were having a gymkhana games practise so we just sat on our horses as the hairy ponies raced up and down with children jumping on and off them. Cheeky was fascinated and stood excitedly watching.
One girl offered me a bending race challenge so we raced up and down the poles. Cheeky loved it, wasn't far behind the pony at the finish!
I never managed to get him working or jumping happily in an indoor, he did it without sagging but was never relaxed.

He had never been knocked around or incorrectly ridden but the mental abuse, although unintentional, had occurred and went unrecognised.

I kept him for three years turning down a lot of money for him amd in the end I gave him to a girl who had ridden ponies for me. I knew she would give him a wonderful home and she would never get rid of him nor would she force him indoors.
She kept him through thick and thin. He was finally euthanised at her home at the grand old age of thirty three.
loosie, bsms, egrogan and 9 others like this.
Foxhunter is offline  
post #18 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 05:33 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Woodinville, Washington
Posts: 1,203
• Horses: 0
You can train a horse (or dog, human, any animal) either by punishing the incorrect responses or by rewarding the correct (or a little of both). Both techniques will get you results, but they will produce very different horses. I used to think my horse would never have any drive or desire to please me, but found that switching up training methods completely changed her.
TessaMay is offline  
post #19 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: I'm an American girl living in southwest France
Posts: 1,563
• Horses: 6
Wonderful original post and follow up too. You are so right. Horses are amazing creatures. I wish the rest of the world knew that.
greenhaven likes this.

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
ecasey is offline  
post #20 of 54 Old 10-22-2014, 09:27 PM
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 22,614
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by BlueSpark View Post
some horses are like this, without any bad training. .... You cant teach a horse(or human) to try when it lacks the desire or ability for it.
I disagree. Well, of course all horses are different, in this as any other ways, but while they may not be *born* with a lot of 'heart', it is the job of the trainer to instill that in them. They can either be encouraged or discouraged. You can absolutely & positively teach a horse to want to 'try'.
loosie is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
"My Heart, Your Heart" - Horse Sculpture by Ron Hevener ChaseADream Art and Craft Work 2 07-20-2010 06:50 AM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome