"Try" and re-teaching a horse heart - Page 6 - The Horse Forum
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post #51 of 54 Old 12-10-2015, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Sharpie View Post
I have to agree that I wouldn't touch that barrel horse with a 10 foot pole either. I'm not sure that what happened to that horse is an "incidental/accidental" poor outcome that might happen with any (usually inexperienced) trainer though. What happened to him was extremely long term, repetitive, and confusing over the course of years. I don't know if an individual horse could come back from that or not and suspect that it would really come down to "it depends." On the horse, the new situation, how long they tossed him out in a field to be a horse and decompress, a new handler/trainer, etc.

I think that most average riding horses in the US, and I think the world, or more on the green/minimally trained end than that one though, and I do think most of them could be made into "good citizens" as you said. I don't think they should necessarily all be counted out for having try either. I'm not talking abused horses, but just ones that got the average/cowboy training, which in my observation is based more on getting them moving under saddle quickly for sale than really teaching them to be good reliable pleasure mounts in the long term.

I wonder, would you have thought my horse a cheater? He certainly wasn't ever apathetic, but he wasn't much for trying either at the start. Freezing up and/or acting dumb doesn't really seem like a "cheat" to me since, in his case, it was out of fear.

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely horses that pull dirty tricks that deserve a swat. In those cases the motivation isn't fear though, so it's a different matter to my mind and that is what I might consider "cheating."
I fear I may have accidentally perpetuated another bad stereotype on barrel horses with my story. That was not my intention and I just want to make that clear, it is a lovely sport with incredible horses - But it is also very fragile and incredibly easy to screw up as well.

I honestly have not seen your horse personally and can't really make an opinion. As I stated in my above reply, horses don't know good and bad usually - They just know what works for them and gets them reward, or rest. Eventually some learn through this, or perhaps fear like you said, to cheat. I personally don't treat fear based horses any differently. I don't care if they're afraid or not, they need to check in with me before they lose their marbles. Some people don't agree and don't like that method of thinking and that's perfectly okay - It's not the only way to do things, however for me it works and I have had great results on my own horses in training with it.

I would be interested to follow your story though, any opportunity to see the progression of another horse is an opportunity to learn! I also wish you luck.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #52 of 54 Old 12-10-2015, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
When a teen I rode a horse that tried every trick in the book with me. He preferred the security of the barn with other horses. Each time I rode he'd test me then finally quit and be fine. I didn't hit him, just outrode him. I wasn't able to ride for several weeks and boy he was full of testing me, all over again. Only this time he added rearing to the mix. About the third one I hollered for my friend to close the barn door. Instead she ran out and wrapped the whip around the two legs that were on the ground. He came down fast and trotted off when I asked. He suddenly became a well mannered horse.

Some horses respond beautifully to gentle hands, simply better handling, softness, and general patience - I am of the opinion though that one needs to know when to deliver some more serious consequences.
bsms likes this.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #53 of 54 Old 12-10-2015, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
...I remember earlier in my riding journey i was riding a hrose who would periodically spook and do the 180, and he'd gotten me off 5 times! the owner of the barn said, "well did you spank him when he did that? he knows better than to do that".

i did not spank him, and I am not sure if that is a useful response. h m m ..
I'll throw this out FWIW, since I've adjusted my position on it:

Mia was a very spooky horse, but she was an utterly HONEST spooky horse. If she balked at something ahead, she was afraid. She was sufficiently 'willing' that she would forge ahead on 'uncomfortable', 'nervous', 'not entirely sure', etc. If she put on the brakes, or more frequently, if she jumped sideways or spun around, she was scared.

And a scared horse doesn't get better by hitting them for being scared.

Enter Bandit. After 6 months riding him...he's a different horse. He will fake being scared when he is really just 'uncomfortable', 'nervous', 'not entirely sure', etc. He also has times when he is SCARED - but when he is genuinely scared, he's more responsive than when he is just balking. Genuinely scared, he WANTS his rider to take charge. Balking...he's trying to take charge.

There is a different feel to his balks. In some ways, they imitate his fear - but he does the outward signs without the stiffening of his back, and there is something a little different about how he moves his head. It is hard to describe.

But when he does that, he needs to be pressured harder, not given relief. Because he isn't really afraid, and he is still entirely capable of learning and thinking - he's just rebelling.

Mia sometimes got ****ed at me, but I never felt like she was truly rebelling. Bandit will try to get out of doing what I want just because he doesn't want it. It isn't fear and it isn't 'you hurt my feelings'. Just a case of I don't want to and if it looks like I'm afraid them maybe he won't push me.

I'm thinking of switching to riding him in my old Aussie-style saddle. It fits him well enough, and my slick western saddle is excellent for a relaxed trail ride, but not so good for getting in a fight. It has a little too much room, a "slick seat" and a "slick fork", a "slick" is not what I need on a rebellious horse. With the Aussie-style saddle, I can get my legs around Bandit and tell him I'm going where he is going, but I'll make him very unhappy if he goes where I don't want to go.

It has me missing the two purebred Arabian mares I've owned. Both had their faults, and I can ride Bandit in places I could not have ridden Mia, but I miss the "Oooohhhhh, what are WE doing TOGETHER today?" attitude of the mares.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #54 of 54 Old 12-10-2015, 12:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I'll throw this out FWIW, since I've adjusted my position on it:

Mia was a very spooky horse, but she was an utterly HONEST spooky horse. If she balked at something ahead, she was afraid. She was sufficiently 'willing' that she would forge ahead on 'uncomfortable', 'nervous', 'not entirely sure', etc. If she put on the brakes, or more frequently, if she jumped sideways or spun around, she was scared.

And a scared horse doesn't get better by hitting them for being scared.

Enter Bandit. After 6 months riding him...he's a different horse. He will fake being scared when he is really just 'uncomfortable', 'nervous', 'not entirely sure', etc. He also has times when he is SCARED - but when he is genuinely scared, he's more responsive than when he is just balking. Genuinely scared, he WANTS his rider to take charge. Balking...he's trying to take charge.

There is a different feel to his balks. In some ways, they imitate his fear - but he does the outward signs without the stiffening of his back, and there is something a little different about how he moves his head. It is hard to describe.

But when he does that, he needs to be pressured harder, not given relief. Because he isn't really afraid, and he is still entirely capable of learning and thinking - he's just rebelling.

Mia sometimes got ****ed at me, but I never felt like she was truly rebelling. Bandit will try to get out of doing what I want just because he doesn't want it. It isn't fear and it isn't 'you hurt my feelings'. Just a case of I don't want to and if it looks like I'm afraid them maybe he won't push me.

I'm thinking of switching to riding him in my old Aussie-style saddle. It fits him well enough, and my slick western saddle is excellent for a relaxed trail ride, but not so good for getting in a fight. It has a little too much room, a "slick seat" and a "slick fork", a "slick" is not what I need on a rebellious horse. With the Aussie-style saddle, I can get my legs around Bandit and tell him I'm going where he is going, but I'll make him very unhappy if he goes where I don't want to go.

It has me missing the two purebred Arabian mares I've owned. Both had their faults, and I can ride Bandit in places I could not have ridden Mia, but I miss the "Oooohhhhh, what are WE doing TOGETHER today?" attitude of the mares.
I think that is all part of the learning process, both generally and individually.

What I mean is this.

Generally: The more you ride, the better able you become as a rider to quickly recognize the difference between an “honest” horse and one that tends to like to play mind games with the rider or themselves. (IMO three different categories)

Individually: The little things you described about Bandit’s reactions, the peculiarities that you said are hard to describe, that is you knowing how he communicates specifics (the two of you are bonding) and then responding appropriately to what he is saying.

How I think this relates is that it is one thing when you have a horse who is playing mind games with the rider (this is insolence) and another altogether a horse who is getting into their own head and creating boogers, not to be difficult but because of the parts of the brain they tend to live in. Neither requires evidence of real panic.

The former is a bad attitude that requires discipline and the latter is one that requires teaching and putting the horse back primarily into the thinking part of the brain (logical side vs creative-reactionary side), however you choose to get them there.

This is why both pushing them through it by getting them refocused on you works and why allowing them time to mentally work through it can also work.

How you go about it is up to you and what works with your particular horse. Both means, if done properly with respect to the horse will end up with the horse in a thinking state of mind which is the goal.

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer


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