A couple questions - Page 41 - The Horse Forum
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post #401 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 12:34 AM
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Gosh, she's a cute little thing!

As you get more comfortable with handling horses and reading their body language, you'll realize where the differences are.

When I first started really working with horses, I was timid and afraid of reprimanding them because I didn't want to "hurt" them. A couple of things happened to change how I viewed reprimands and then I really started paying more attention to body language and what can be allowed and what can't.

I started realizing that reprimanding for every tiny thing and having big reactions to relatively minor infractions made the horse start to resent me.

Remember when I (and a couple of other people) said that you get the behavior you expect? You sound like you're constantly expecting her to bite you and you're afraid of it. Trust me when I say that she is picking up on that. You may think you're hiding it, but she knows something is off. You're holding on to what she's done in the past. That's not fair to her.

My gelding was a biter when I got him because he didn't know that biting was not acceptable. All it took was one solid connection with my fist on his jaw when he latched his teeth onto my forearm to cure him of that habit. Didn't hurt him, just startled him enough to make him think that maybe biting wasn't such a good idea. Since then, in the four years I've owned him, he has only bitten me one other time...and I'm still not entirely certain it wasn't my fault. I had cinched him up and he was acting a bit off, but I ignored it. Then, my best friend was going to ride him before I did and I was tightening the cinch in preparation of her mounting. He snaked his head around and bit my boob before I really even knew what was happening. My BO and best friend were laughing because they said that all they saw was me jump back and yell while punching his neck in the same motion. His head moved so fast that they didn't even see it happen. I didn't hang onto what happened. Sure, I came on the forum and asked what the deal could be because he'd never done anything like that before, but the next time I went out to the barn, it was like it had never happened.

You'll find that experienced horse people let their horses get away with a certain amount of what some might consider "bad" behavior. Why? Because we know our horses inside and out and know that we can correct them at any time.

This is kind of why we've been saying that you need to take groundwork lessons on a horse that already knows what it's about. Right now, it's like you're trying to teach Russian to someone who only speaks Chinese and you only speak English. Sure, it might happen eventually, but it'd be easier if you spoke at least a little Chinese and a little Russian first.
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post #402 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 03:01 AM
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Ya'll are so cute together!!
I see so much improvement in you and her, hoofpic!

I mean, what about the way she turned away right with you, when you turned to the right about a minute into the video?!? That was perfect and you had no halter or lead on her!
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post #403 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rainaisabelle View Post
So I watched the video and I only feel like I need to comment on one part..
At around I think 1:10 -1:14 you were giving her a pat or scratch and she started to walk off. She pinned her ears back in my opinion when you raised your voice and hand at her. She was fine walking off like that she wasn't being disrespectful she had just had enough.

That's about it though she seemed to want to be around you which is fantastic.
1:10-1:14 is when she walked by and purposely bumped her barrel into me. I then raised my voice and hand but just tapped her on the HQ.
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post #404 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DraftyAiresMum View Post
As you get more comfortable with handling horses and reading their body language, you'll realize where the differences are.
One way Im hoping to continue learning their body language is still through books.


Quote:
When I first started really working with horses, I was timid and afraid of reprimanding them because I didn't want to "hurt" them.
This is how I was with her the first month I got her but things are much different now. Im not afraid of hurting her at all. By whacking her with my hand, I would break my hand well before it hurts her.

Quote:
I started realizing that reprimanding for every tiny thing and having big reactions to relatively minor infractions made the horse start to resent me.
But you have to remember where I came from with her. I used to not reprimand her near enough and near hard enough. It wasnt until few months ago where I started gradually changing things.

Quote:
Remember when I (and a couple of other people) said that you get the behavior you expect? You sound like you're constantly expecting her to bite you and you're afraid of it. Trust me when I say that she is picking up on that. You may think you're hiding it, but she knows something is off. You're holding on to what she's done in the past. That's not fair to her.
Im just on the look out thats all. Im not intentionally holding onto what shes done in the past, but you have to be cautious.

I can ride a new ship and starting today give her the benefit of the doubt that she is not a biter, has not tried to bite me and will not bite me. That way I can be around her not expecting her to bite. Hows that?

Quote:
You'll find that experienced horse people let their horses get away with a certain amount of what some might consider "bad" behavior. Why? Because we know our horses inside and out and know that we can correct them at any time.
Im not sure if ive seen this before. Most people ive seen dont let their horses get away with any bad behaviour especially the trainers as its not tolerated.

Quote:
This is kind of why we've been saying that you need to take groundwork lessons on a horse that already knows what it's about. Right now, it's like you're trying to teach Russian to someone who only speaks Chinese and you only speak English. Sure, it might happen eventually, but it'd be easier if you spoke at least a little Chinese and a little Russian first.
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What kind of groundwork would you suggest doing with the lesson horse?
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post #405 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by enh817 View Post
I mean, what about the way she turned away right with you, when you turned to the right about a minute into the video?!? That was perfect and you had no halter or lead on her!
I was immediately impressed and proud of her once this happened but you know what? It was only cause i had a carrot in my pocket and she knew it.

Unfortunately, last night when i brought her into the barn, and was turning away from me, she still tried to speed up and block me for the first few times. Again, nothing aggresive, just like how it was a few nights ago. I was a bit dissapointed to see this seeing her improvements from a few days ago. I thought that factor, plus the couple days off would have really help sink things in for her. :(

On the way back I did get her to turn a couple times away from me and just as she was stepping away from me i immediately praised her over the top. Hope that was something to build on for next time.
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post #406 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoofpic View Post
I was immediately impressed and proud of her once this happened but you know what? It was only cause i had a carrot in my pocket and she knew it.

Unfortunately, last night when i brought her into the barn, and was turning away from me, she still tried to speed up and block me for the first few times. Again, nothing aggresive, just like how it was a few nights ago. I was a bit dissapointed to see this seeing her improvements from a few days ago. I thought that factor, plus the couple days off would have really help sink things in for her. :(

On the way back I did get her to turn a couple times away from me and just as she was stepping away from me i immediately praised her over the top. Hope that was something to build on for next time.
Just remember, Rome was not built in a day. It takes the time it takes. I think Ray Hunt said that. Also another good saying is, the slow way is the fast way with horses.

You will find you will be 'training' her y'all's entire partnership. The good, bad, and ugly. And at times she will be training you....the good, bad, and the ugly.
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post #407 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sarahfromsc View Post
Just remember, Rome was not built in a day. It takes the time it takes. I think Ray Hunt said that. Also another good saying is, the slow way is the fast way with horses.

You will find you will be 'training' her y'all's entire partnership. The good, bad, and ugly. And at times she will be training you....the good, bad, and the ugly.
I find this issue is no different than the "fussing while being unhaltered" issue. I think its safe to say that her fussing and tossing her head while being unhaltered has been fixed. Its still early and I still have to be ready to correct her if she does revert to old ways but what ive seen in the past week unhaltering her is a night and day change.

She doesnt toss her head, or her nose or get impatient anymore when im taking off her halter. She stands quietly. Im still rewarding and praising her when its off and she stood quietly and will continue to do so until she has it down really pat and its natural for her. I gained a lot of confidence in the halter issue and having it addressed. This was an issue that I had with her since I got her.
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post #408 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoofpic View Post
But where exactly did I get into her space and over stay my welcome? I dont see it.

What I mean by "you in her space" is that when you walk up to a loose horse, you are walking into their space. When they walk up to you, and you allow the approach, they are coming into yours. It's not "in her space" in a bad way it's just differentiating you going up to her or her coming up to you. Either way, you have mutually allowed the other in your personal space. When I say "over stayed your welcome" means she's had enough and wants to leave. When a horse is unhaltered, then it's really their decision not yours. I liken it to someone coming into my living room, when I've had enough of them I either leave or tell them to leave. I'm "unhaltered". At work, I can't just walk away from my desk, I have to stay and do what's expected. I'm "haltered and on a lead".

I still believe that if any horse is invited in my space, they dont purposely bump into me. She didnt bump me hard, just a small bump.

What I saw on the video was just a brush, not a bump. Semantics again, to me she brushed past you in a not disrespectful way. If she bumped you, I would expect you to have been knocked back a little or a lot depending on the force.

Now what if she did this while being on a lead? Would you still be okay with it?

No, I would not, because when she's on the lead it's up to ME to tell her where to go, how far and how fast. When I'm working with a horse and introducing new things, I have them haltered and on a lead line or lunge line. Every new thing is scary and their first instinct is to leave. I frequently say, "Nope, you're not allowed to leave. You can stand and look and sniff, but you have to stay with me." We're working then, not "in the horse's living room" just grooming and playing.

My trainer doesnt even let her sniff my hand when shes on a lead. She will back her up. How do you feel about that?

I'm not quite that strict. If your horse has a history of being a mean biter, then I'd probably not allow it either because that kind of horse gets an inch and wants to take an ell. A horse that gives a quick sniff, kind of to make sure it's really you, doesn't bother me. A horse that wants to "sniff search" me, like for treats, is not allowed to do that.


Ok but if you let a horse groom you doesnt that increase the chance of getting bit?

Yes and No. Yes if you let them just groom you back where ever and whenever they please. No if you give them the flat of your palm with all fingers and thumb close together and straight, they just get the flat of your palm. If they only have your flat palm, you may feel teeth at first because they use teeth on each other. If you take your hand away and say, "No Teeth", then they get it after awhile and just use the upper lip. It's up to you if you want to allow it or not.

Like Drafty said, I allow certain little transgressions with some of my horses (note not ALL) because I've had them since they were babies and I've raised them my way.

I KNOW that I'm not going to get bit or kicked because when they were babies, they got schooled HARD the first, and HARDER if there was a 2nd, time they offered to bite or kick.

I was working with Ducati the other day, he's a BIG yearling, and we were working on giving his shoulders when I asked. He wasn't getting it and I reached out and stuck a thumb nail into his barrel right behind his shoulder, about where a girth would be, and he whipped his head around and offered to bite because he didn't like it. That's the first time in almost 2 years he's offered to bite and he got very strongly corrected and worked harder on yielding his shoulders until he got very good about moving when I said so. I doubt he'll ever try to bite me again. I won't approach him like I expect him to bite, I will expect him NOT to, but I'm always watching their body language and looking for the signs that they're getting upset, unhappy or uncomfortable.

When you get more comfortable reading your horse's body language and ears, you'll learn what ticks her off, when she's just listening or watching you and when she really is being disrespectful. That takes a lot of practice and just studying how your horse acts and reacts to things. Five years from now, if you still have a horse, I would expect you to handle her much differently than you are today.
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post #409 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
Like Drafty said, I allow certain little transgressions with some of my horses (note not ALL) because I've had them since they were babies and I've raised them my way.

I KNOW that I'm not going to get bit or kicked because when they were babies, they got schooled HARD the first, and HARDER if there was a 2nd, time they offered to bite or kick.

I was working with Ducati the other day, he's a BIG yearling, and we were working on giving his shoulders when I asked. He wasn't getting it and I reached out and stuck a thumb nail into his barrel right behind his shoulder, about where a girth would be, and he whipped his head around and offered to bite because he didn't like it. That's the first time in almost 2 years he's offered to bite and he got very strongly corrected and worked harder on yielding his shoulders until he got very good about moving when I said so. I doubt he'll ever try to bite me again. I won't approach him like I expect him to bite, I will expect him NOT to, but I'm always watching their body language and looking for the signs that they're getting upset, unhappy or uncomfortable.

When you get more comfortable reading your horse's body language and ears, you'll learn what ticks her off, when she's just listening or watching you and when she really is being disrespectful. That takes a lot of practice and just studying how your horse acts and reacts to things. Five years from now, if you still have a horse, I would expect you to handle her much differently than you are today.
Thanks for the example. You and drafty have convinced me that starting today, I hold nothing from the past against her and when Im around her, I dont expect her to try to bite. That leads me to ask, is this is the case...is it still okay if I carry my short whip with me when leading her but not nessecarily bring it in her paddock?

Also, Im going to the bookstore this morning in search for a book on horse body language. Can you or anyone suggest me one?
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post #410 of 1323 Old 10-23-2015, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hoofpic View Post
Thanks for the example. You and drafty have convinced me that starting today, I hold nothing from the past against her and when Im around her, I dont expect her to try to bite. That leads me to ask, is this is the case...is it still okay if I carry my short whip with me when leading her but not nessecarily bring it in her paddock?

Also, Im going to the bookstore this morning in search for a book on horse body language. Can you or anyone suggest me one?
If you really feel the need, I would use a very short crop like this: Dover's Show Bat | Dover Saddlery

It's small enough to stick in your back pocket and not get in your way. I personally almost never carry or use a crop or whip, unless I'm working. If a horse misbehaves and needs correcting, I'm pretty deadly with the tail of my lead rope. Also, I'm only 5'3" and I can "grow" to be Godzilla sized when they make me mad. My DH says he can see my "mare's ears" go flat on my neck when one of them pushes me too far. It's better for you to study how to be commanding in your body language and presence than to carry a whip.

Sorry, no books, I've learned from the School of Hard Knocks, Broken Bones and Stomped on Feet. Pain makes a lesson really stick!
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