No, I would save the reward for when you move to turn her away and she does so willingly without 'blocking' you or barging past. I would reward when she responds the way you want, and correct whenever she doesn't.
Ok, and yes thats what I was planning as well.
And I would especially make a big deal out of rewarding when she does something right, that she has been struggling with.
Yes, this is exactly what I will be doing. Even if Im just walking her into the barn, I will be constantly changing her sides as to which side im leading her from and once we do a turn away from me I will woah and make a big stink about it and reward her right away.
I don't reward after a correction. I will just set the situation up again and give them another chance to respond the way I want. If they do, then I make a big deal out of praising them. If they don't, then I correct and present the situation again. A lot of times, you can see them thinking about it. You can see them think about doing the undesired behavior, but then recalling that it brings them pressure and instead making the right decision. That's when I really go overboard with the praise. Try to think of it as rewarding the right thought process.
And this is exactly what I do too. I did this last week during that latest video. After I corrected her, I went back to asking her to step away from me and what do you know, she was good.
I think as long as I do this one time after a correction, I should be ok and once she does what I ask, I stop. If she doesnt listen, and I have to correct her again, I will make her repeat it again after to see if she learned. What do you think?
Once the horse seems to understand and will respond the way you want, reliably, you don't need to praise so much, the fact that they made the right choice and in return didn't encounter pressure is enough. Remember what I said about correction and reward being equal. If you are having to correct something a lot, when the horse responds in a way that you don't need to correct, make sure you reward a lot. If it's something that doesn't require a lot of correction, it doesn't need a lot of reward either.
Yes true, good point.
It never hurts to give unnecessary rewards for good behaviors, but it's not really feasible to be constantly petting on your horse for every little thing they do right. Once they have learned what you want from them, you leaving them alone when they do it right, is enough of a reinforcement.
Yes I know.
I agree, but I think you need to at least give it the 2 weeks of trying things the way your trainer wants you to. Maybe she's seeing something that I am not. Or perhaps, it's like I mentioned, that if the timing and feel isn't there on your part, hitting her with the whip or your lead rope might lead to more frustration and confusion with the mare.
Its not a timing thing, shes said this tight circle method as a correction is just what she uses. It gets all 4 of their feet moving, its quick, ends withint that correction window and it teaches her to yield to you. It teaches her that im moving her and im the leader.
Definitely stick with the trainer's methods right now. If two weeks goes by and you're still struggling with it, then talk to the trainer about trying the direct pressure (the slap from the whip/rope). By then your timing will probably be a little better too, since now that is on your radar as something to work on.
True but im already going to have my whip on me anyways. I mean does my trainer honestly except me to steer and control her with 1 arm? I dont think any human can no matter how strong they are.
elease is when you stop and remove the pressure. This is why I don't like that she told you TWO tight circles. Maybe she was just trying to simplify things for you, but for me, I apply the correction until the horse makes the movement in the way that I'm looking for. So if I want her to step away from me, just off my body language, she doesn't, and I've chosen to turn her in tight circles as the correction. I will apply quite a bit of pressure and make her move a few steps of the tight circle, then I'm going to back down a little and see if she'll take another few steps off just my body language. If she does I'd quit the correction there and go back to what we were doing. If she doesn't then I will apply a bit more pressure for a few steps, and back off again. Basically this is the conversation that is taking place -- [horse 'blocks' and doesn't move shoulders away when I step to them] me: 'oh you don't think you need to move over when I step toward you? think again. You are absolutely going to move over when I step to you, unless you'd like all this pressure' [I apply enough pressure which makes her take a few steps]. [now I back down a little] me: 'are you convinced yet, that it's just better to step away when I ask with my body?' [horse doesn't respond off less pressure] horse: 'no, not really.' [I increase the pressure again, maybe even a little more this time than in the beginning] me: 'No? How's this treating you then? Do you like this?' [horse moves shoulders away a few steps with a bit more enthusiasm than the first time] horse: 'I don't like that! I'm moving, I'm moving!' [I back off the pressure again and give the opportunity to move off my body language] me: 'So are you convinced now? Wouldn't it be easier for you to just move off my body language?' [horse moves shoulders away just off me stepping to them, without me having to apply a bunch of pressure] Horse: 'yea okay, you're right this is much easier.' [I release them from the pressure filled situation and stand for a short moment to let them think about what just happened] me: 'Thank you. Think about that for a second and then lets go back to work.'
Yes I know exactly what you mean. I feel this is the best way going about it, in checking to see if they learned afterwards, rather than just correcting and moving on.
So you see, there's really no set number of steps or turns, you have to let the horse tell you how much correction they need and when they give you the response you're after, you leave it alone. If it takes 15 tight circles before the horse finally steps over without me having to apply a lot of pressure, then that's what it takes.
For me, how ive been doing it in the past was, the more I have to correct her, the more circles we do. So the first time may be 2 circles, the time will be 4 circles etc.
Trainer says I achieve nothing by extending the correction.
If I were you, I would be using the two corrections (hitting her shoulder and the tight circles) together. Moving in tight circles, to really make sure she understands that I want that shoulder to step away laterally, not away and forward (which is what could happen if you weren't careful in using just a slap on her shoulder as correction. She might start getting away from it by jumping ahead of you or jumping her whole body to the side instead of just her shoulders, or even rearing if you aren't ready and able to prevent that... back to that whole margin of error thing). But in those tight circles, if she's not moving her shoulders away, like you want, I would use a slap on her shoulder to 'inspire' her to get those shoulders over.
And what if shes starting to get ahead of me, I speed up and she barges. Do 2 tight circles then only use the whip is she refuses to go? Cause to me the whip should come first, then circle her but I see your point about her possibly jumping her whole body to the side vs her shoulder away.
I'm sorry, we must've been posting at the same time because I didn't see that until after. Yes, that is the one I was referring to specifically, though I feel I have included a lot of really valuable insight in most of the responses I've left on this thread (as have others). I know when lots of people are posting at once, it can get into quite a frenzy and sometimes posts can get missed. So I would advise you to go back through all the posts in the thread when you have a chance, and see if there's anything you missed or maybe even something that didn't make a whole lot of sense to you a week ago, but does now. Have a pen and paper handy to take notes a jot down things you think you can use. And of course ask us questions if any come up :)
I copy and pasted them into a seperate note sheet I made.
Oh ok! With that being said, no more grazing her! You think she will get the message and fairly quickly?
Hard to say. Another thing that you just have to let the horse dictate. You might get her to where she's focused and ready to work, take her to graze again, and then she goes back to forgetting that it's time to work when you have the halter on. I've had horses that were always ready to work when I wanted them to, no matter if I let them graze or screw around in someway with the halter on. And I've had horses that though they were really broke, if I let them eat grass once, they didn't forget and thought that anytime we went past grass they should get to eat. I've had horses that I have never once let graze, in all the time I've worked with them, and they still try to grab a bite of grass if they think they can. You may not ever be able to let her graze without her trying to take advantage of it. If that's the case, you'll have to decide what's more important to you -- letting your horse graze or having a horse that knows it's time to work and pay attention even if there's grass around. The majority of horses are very driven by food and will always be trying to grab a bite of grass, if you let them, which is why most people don't ever let their horse's graze, in hand.
Do they not have grass in any of the pastures?
Well I will say that over the past couple months Ive worked with her on giving her a que when i signal shes ok to lower her head. She knows what it is. When I stand by her and drop some lead to the floor, thats it. Otherwise no eating. Shes really good now in not trying when i say no. She will still try every now and then but every horse will be like that and when I say no, she knows no.
She is in a pasture paddock but is going out in the field (about time) any day now, i have a feeling it could be this morning.
She has some grass where she is now but shes chewed it all down over the past few weeks.
Obviously I'm not there and have not seen the trainer ride the horse, so all I said was based on pure speculation, but just to illustrate. If I were the one riding your horse, I would likely not really want you there to see, because that's how hard I'd be pushing her. There would likely be a few pretty big battles in the beginning. It probably wouldn't be too pretty to watch. Most owners can't handle the idea of things getting that rough with their horse, which is usually why the horse has the issues it has in the first place. (It's not often that we get gentle, well-behaved horses, that don't need to be gotten into hard, in for training.... since those horses don't typically give their owners much trouble.) There would be quite a few days, especially in the beginning, when your horse came out of the arena dripping sweat. But I would guarantee that you'd have a different horse, with a different attitude on your hands, before too long. I understand the idea of wanting to take things slow and such, but again it's another deal where the horse dictates that. If the horse things they get to run the show and puts up a fight, it's my job as a trainer to make them change their tune, by showing them that they will not win by being rude, aggressive or dangerous. That the only way they win, is to do things my way. Sometimes, if the horse has been allowed to make their own decisions for too long, it can take quite a bit to convince them otherwise. I see no point in dragging that process out. It's something that I will want to address on day one, so I can set the stage for how the rest of it will go.
Im going to talk to my trainer about this. I will ask if shes going to push her really hard. How would you word it? All i know is shes trying to undo some of her past "not needed" training that came from her previoous owner, like she was trained in spurs, in which she said a horse this young doesnt need to know all that.
ou talk about the first day the trainer rode the horse as her 'feeling the horse out', I look at it more as the horse 'feeling me out'. Feeling out the fact, that the crap is going to stop then and there. That I will not tolerate that stuff and that they WILL change their attitude. That first day might be incredibly rough, probably the roughest we will have in our whole time together, but I want to deal with the attitude issues right then and there, so that they are clear on where we stand, from the get go, so I can move on to teaching them other things. I have learned from experience, that if you don't address those types of big issues right from the start, you will continue to run into them with everything you try to do. If you get them to understand how the relationship is going to go, from day 1, it gets easier and easier each day after that and it doesn't take long before they are no longer challenging you and are willing to try whatever you ask of them. I have no problem taking things slow with a horse that has a good attitude and is trying for me. I will never push that type of horse until they have no more try. But you have to get them to that point first, and like I said, I see no point in dragging out that process.
It's unfortunate that it has to be like that, because it's almost never the horse's fault. They are just behaving in the way they've been taught. 99.999% of attitude issues are cause by people who don't really know what they're doing. Often times people are too unskilled, too afraid and/or too concerned about the horse's 'feelings' to really address issues and fix them as soon as they surface. We don't have any big issues with the horses we start. Ever. Earlier this year, we sold a 2 year old and a 3 year old, fully siblings that we started, to an older couple who are pretty novice. They are both by our stud, who can be broncy, as have been all his offspring. Both those young horses were a bit wild when we started them and wanted to buck around at first, so the first few days weren't real pretty. But, our colt-starting program is so solid, that we were able to alter their thinking and get rid of their inherited broncy-ness within the first few rides and have those horses safe and gentle enough to go to people with not much skill and be just fine.
We had a colt here to start, that flipped himself over the first time he was saddled here. That is not a natural response, so it was pretty clear that the owners had tried saddling him while he was trapped (probably tied up), it scared him, and he had no where to go to get away and he flipped over. He probably got stuck on the ground, so they untied him and unsaddled him. Teaching him that flopping over is an effective way to get free of the scary thing strapped to his back. The first few days - week with that colt were ROUGH. He'd get his feet locked down and they'd break free, he'd go up. Instead of skirting around the issue, taking things slow, etc, etc. We dealt with it on day one. We made that colt deal with his issues and taught him that the ground was not a good place to be, and that the way out of pressure was to move his feet, not lock up. Within about a week, all those dangerous behaviors were gone and we were on to getting him broke and riding around good. He was only here for 30 days, but I guarantee the owners don't have any issues with that stuff going forward. If we has *****footed around the issues, or worried about him getting hurt or whatnot, they'd still be there and I wouldn't be surprised if he hurt or killed someone flopping over like that.
It never pays to 'go slow' when dealing with major issues like that.
You can take your sweet time teaching a horse something new, making sure they are prepared and have all the prior education to be successful with the new concept, but getting rid of undesirable behavior, especially that of a dangerous nature, needs to be done immediately, if not sooner.
When I was talking about the first time, it was a very brief 15min ride for her on my horses back in the roundpen. This was at the time where she was just making sure she was safe to ride (after she ground driven her). But after that, shes been in the arena with her and pushes her a lot harder.
She was behaved really well.
My only concern is that, because my trainer sees her as well behaved, but can get a bit sassy, but is sensitive. I hope shes not too easy on her when she does get attitude. Just because shes sensitive doesnt give her a way out of lowering how hard she is disciplined and pushed.
The fact that at one point in time, you had your mare where she wasn't challenging you at all and was pretty agreeable, should tell you that somewhere you (and your trainers) dropped the ball. (it's okay, it happens to all of us. ...... That's okay, you know better now and I bet you won't make that same mistake again in the future. That's how you learn this whole training thing -- by making mistakes and screwing up your horse, then having to go back and fix them. The lessons you learn that way will stick with you better than ones you learn just from someone telling you.
100% this is it, I know for a fact. But I started getting hard on her over a couple months ago and its increased as time has gone on. When I first got her, the first month I was way too light on her but it was when boarders were telling me that I need to be much more assertive and dont worry about hurting her when I whack her, is when I stepped it up.
When I was working with the trainers, the time where I saw a night and day difference in her in a very good way is when i was doing roundpenning and groundwork with her (and my lessons were a week apart), for a total of 2 from this trainer before he went on vac for a month. So the lack of consistency in when my lessons were was definitely a factor. But I couldnt help it when he went away, plus my previous one was away for family reasons.
Just remember what I said about the most effective trainers seeming to have no emotions about the horses. .... if you don't like a horse that you have to work with, you have to be very careful that you are still fair with them and don't let your negative feelings toward them get in the way.
Ive noticed this too. My past trainers would feel no emotion when working with my mare. They came across as neutral to her.
I think I have that book you mentioned, How to Think Like a Horse, is it by Cherry Hill? I got it for Christmas from a relative but never did read it. I think I'll look for it and check it out to see what it has to say and if it's in line with my findings on how horse's minds work, or not.
Yes thats the book