Like others have said, I see a horse who is really trying to be good for you. I don't see one that is trying to be mean or has a bad attitude. At times she looks confused and others she just looks bored.
I truly do believe she is trying to be good for me. Once I get better and more concise with my body language im hoping it makes a difference in her, and im sure she will feel better.
I'd like to see you go a little more overboard with the petting when she does what you want, especially if it's something that you have been struggling with. The first time when you got her to trot with you, I wish you would have really made a big deal out of rewarding her for that, to make it very clear to her that's what you wanted. Horses really like being scratched on their withers and neck (especially at the top where their mane grows out), where they can't easily reach themselves and I have never met a horse that didn't appreciate some good eye rubs.
So I can pet her more? Ok good to hear, I thought if anything, I was petting her TOO MUCH. Yes you are right, when she trotted with me the first time I should have made a big deal about it. I will next time I get her to do something that is difficult for her.
For instance Im still working on teaching her to lower her head when I put light pressure on her poll. I might do this tonight for a few minutes. She hasnt quite caught on yet, but i reward her for every single time she even moves her head down a cm.
Also, I've said it to you before, but I don't think it has sunk in yet -- THE PUNISHMENT NEEDS TO FIT THE CRIME. Meaning the punishment has to directly relate to the offense. If she nips at you, pop her in the mouth/cheek/whatever you can make contact with, AS she is reaching to nip at you, hard enough to elicit a reaction and then just go about your business. Hitting her (too late after the fact), then making her longe around you, doesn't make sense to her, by that point she has no idea why you're longeing her.
Yes Im well aware now of how the punishment fits the crime, its just the matter of me being able to perform that correct punishment. Last night I was not because i didnt have my whip on me.
The only time I would move a horse around me as punishment, is if they got stuck in reverse and were trying to go backwards when I was asking them forward, or if their feet were getting sticky and they were wanting to go up (suggesting to rear. if a horse had escalated to a habit of full on rearing, I'd be putting a stud chain on them and using that to put a stop to it). And even then, I would be sending them forward HARD so they were having to canter around me. Longeing her at a lazy jog, or even a quick trot, isn't enough to influence change.
Well last night the 2nd time I lunged her, it was hard and fast, really HARD and FAST. Im a bit nervous about seeing her tonight, especially after last night. I know horses dont hold any grudges against people, but last night was forgettable to say the least. It was not a night to remember, aside from her being good when grooming.
Corrections are most effective when the timing is INSTANTANEOUS (as the behavior is being committed, if you wait even a second after the crime has been committed, it's too late), quick (get in and get out. apply the correction with good timing, with enough force to get the message across immediately, then move on quickly back to what you were doing. Don't dwell on the correction), and relates directly to the behavior (biting=whack on the mouth, kicking out=whack on the offending leg, getting too far in front of you=making her get back, getting too far behind you=making her get forward, shoving into your space=making her get out of your space back the direction from which she came in, turning in toward you and trying to stop= making her turn back away from you and sending her forward, do you see what I mean?)
Yes, the only thing is me being able to correct in time. Most of the time I am, but this whole biting thing, she just wont let me whack her cause she immediately pulls her head back (cause she knows shes going to get whacked). So thats why now im carrying the full length whip with me all the time. It should really help.
Don't think of roundpenning as a bad thing. The roundpen is a great tool, if you use it correctly. You can work a horse in a roundpen with nothing on their face, so it really makes you have to ante up and get the horse trained off your voice and body cues, without being able to make any contact with their face. It'll show you where the holes are in the horse's training pretty quickly.
If you have access to a round pen, or small enclosed area, it would be a good place for you to work on 'leading' her, without having a halter on her. That way you really have to get you body language, verbal cues and timing right. A good tip I learned for body language, when free longeing, is to pretend you have a long stick coming straight out from your belly button. Pointing that stick at different parts of their body, really just makes you 'square up' to that spot and puts pressure on that body part to send it away. So if you want to move her forward, point the 'stick' at her hip or even behind her hip, if you want her to slow down or stop you point the stick just in front of her, if she is leaning her ribcage toward you point your belly button toward that, etc. If she doesn't respond to you point the belly button stick toward a body part, then step to it as if you are poking her with the long stick, if still no response, then follow up with your longe whip, making contact with the body part, hard enough that it only take one time to get a response. When she's doing exactly what you want, step back, removing the pressure and cock your body so it's at an angle and your 'belly button stick' isn't putting pressure on her, ready to step back up and square up as needed, if she quits doing what you want. If you are consistent with that, she'll learn to respond just off your body positioning, because she knows that it will be followed by contact from the whip. You can get them to where you can stand still in the middle of the pen, cluck to them or whatever the cue is, they will step up into the gait you've asked, stay at that gait and longe themselves around you in, without leaning in or out, just going around perfect, without you having to move a muscle. And then stop when you say 'woah'
All of this is best accomplished in the roundpen with nothing on her face. Work on that first and foremost, as it will help you understand better how you communicate with your horse through body language.
For working on the forward cue -- while you're working on the body positioning I described above you can work on making sure she has solid cues for moving forward. With your body positioned so you're belly button is pointing to her hind end or slightly behind it, give the verbal cue (only one time. if you repeat and repeat, it just teaches her that she can respond whenever she feels like it, instead of right when you give it. She can't think there is any option other than to respond immediately). If she doesn't respond, step to her hip closer at the same time popping her with the whip from behind. If she squirts off and over reacts, it's fine, as long as you get the response you wanted -- her moving forward. (this is part of why, I only teach a cluck, not specific cues for each gate, I want cluck to just mean move your feet faster, so it doesn't matter in the beginning how fast they go, just that they go somewhere. Once they get that, I will work at refining it so that one cluck means build energy in the current gait and move feet faster, and a few clucks means build energy and step up into the next gait) When she goes forward remove all pressure. If she slows down without you asking, position your body back toward/just behind her rear end and give the verbal cue again, followed by increased body pressure with the use of the whip. It won't take long before she realizes that moving forward when given the verbal command saves her from the increased pressure and a slap from the whip.
Once she is solid in her understanding of the cue to move her feet and go forward, then you can ask for it while you're leading her (it's very important, and the only fair thing, to set your horse up for success by properly preparing them before asking something of them. Try to only ever ask her to do things that she is ready to do, otherwise you get a horse that learns to say 'no' because they do not have the tools and education to do what you are asking. Take your time to build up to things so that when you ask, it's easy for them to respond with 'yes'.
When you first start asking her to trot with you while leading, carry a whip and use it in exactly the same way I described for in the roundpen. Though make sure you keep facing forward, staying parallel with her face, maintaining your body position when using the whip. Don't let yourself fall behind or get out of position when you go to use your whip, otherwise you are sending her mixed signals. When you are using your whip (or lead rope, or whatever), to back up your cues, don't make a big deal out of it, it's not effective it becomes a big ordeal. You want the horse to just thing 'oh, I didn't respond to that cue and then something stung me!' You don't want her necessarily associating it with you. It's just something that happened because she didn't respond to your cue.
I will have to take your advice on this. Wont do it tonight, perhaps not for the next few days but i do agree, leading in the roundpen will really help.
What kind of riding is the trainer doing with her? Is she actually working her good? Or just dilly dallying around...? I ask, because when you did longe your horse around you, she acted pretty fresh.
Shes working on her form, getting her to trot on both sides, bend, working on getting her more flexible on her right side (Which is her weaker side) and doesnt bend as well on her right.
She is working her good, Ive seen her in one of the lessons and she first warms her up for 5-10mins, then really gets into trotting her and working on her form and getting her to bend. She is very good in communicating with me on what exactly she is doing and why shes doing it.
I agree with everyone else, that she seems to be pretty bored with the stuff you're doing. If you ask her to do something, and she does it well. Pet her and move on to something else. Don't keep drilling her. It's okay to work on things you're having trouble with, but look for any amount of improvement and quit her when you see it.
This is true for anything you do with them -- quit while it's still fun or interesting, don't push them until they say 'no'.
And this makes me think you know what? Theres stuff that ive done to death with her that I probably dont need to do for a long time. Backing excersizes, basic leading in the arena, yielding her HQ, to name a few.
I dont want to bore her or have her tune me out.
This is why im coming up with a list of fun things for us to do. I want her to enjoy her time with me and look forward and be excited to do stuff iwth me.