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post #531 of 1323 Old 10-31-2015, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoofpic View Post
And I think thats the most important factor, she is being trained new things.
No need to backtrack with lunging eh?

No, I think it gets as boring for them as it does for us.

Ok. But this is where Ive been wanting to do fun excersizes with her (whether its obstacles or tricks) for now on.
Yep, start doing something different with her.


I see what you mean but I wont be able to groom her in her paddock for long because she will be in the herd in the next 2-3 days. Or do you think it would be ok to do it in the field with her herd there?

First get comfortable with the other horses in her paddock and let them know that you are not to be trifled with. Say HI, get a pat and a quick scritch and off you go. They are not to come around and try to boss your mare, push her out, push you out, or interfere in any way. At first, I'd halter her and carry a lunge whip or carrot stick in with me to let the others know that you are in charge.


Games that I can play with her at liberty, yes I would love to do this. I am looking into it right now. Im a huge fan of all this liberty training but doesnt it take years to achieve this?

Not at all. Pick one thing you want her to learn and every day that you go out, spend 15 or 20 mins. working on that one thing until she gets it. If you go out for several hours, then break it up. For instance, in the first hour spend 15 mins teaching her one thing. Then go away for a while. 2nd hour, spend 20-30 mins grooming her and letting her stand quietly tied. come back and turn her loose in a small corral or round pen for a little while. 3rd hour, work on a different thing for 15 mins. I wouldn't do too many sessions in one day, that can quickly lead to burn out for both of you. One of my trainers used to say, "Work him more than once a day, but allow him time to forget he's already been worked, feed him a meal and leave him alone for a while in between." I find that works pretty well.

Same with trick training, Ive actually done a bit of clicker training with her (3 times over the span of a couple weeks) where I would get her to touch a target (I used a pylon) with her nose. She did great. I also used clicker training on getting her to do flexions and she did great. I put this off for a bit because (over the past couple weeks) I wanted to associate a word in place of the clicker as I find it would be more convenient. So my word that ive been trying to teach her is "good".

I've never been in to clicker training, it's cool but I jest never saw the point, I guess. When my horse is doing well, good attitude, doing what I ask, I say a BIG, "GOOOOOOD BOY!" or girl, whatever. When we've had a bit of a disagreement over how things should go and he finally has the light come on and does what I have been asking, I usually go over and kiss him on his nose (I KNOW I KNOW, he doesn't have a CLUE what a kiss is) and I drape my arm over his neck and put my hand between his ears and get him to drop his head and I say softly, "Goooood booooooy!" and I tossle his forelock a little and then I rub the base of his ears. Softly and gently so that my praise is exactly the opposite of the little tussle we had.

I would first go in her paddock and have her face me and say "good" and treat a carrot. I did this a few times and again the next day and the next day. i was hoping she would catch on but Im not sure if she is. After the first few days doing this, I started spreading out this word associating to every 2nd day (cause I was worried if I gave her treats everyday she would start seeing me as a vending machine).

When I'm training I don't care if they think I'm a vending machine for treats, as long as they understand that the only currency accepted is doing what I've asked of them. Then they get praise and/or a treat. Frequently in the beginning, they get both.

I have yet see her lick and chew and worried she hasnt quite caught on. Usually it shouldnt take long at all.

Licking and chewing is nice when you have a real demonstrative horse. I've had horses though, that you could watch all day long and if you weren't paying real close attention at just the right moment, you'd miss it, it was that little and that subtle. That kind of horse also tends to clench their jaws and get uptight. With one of those, I will wait until I see they have "locked up" and then I'll go over and very gently stick my finger in their mouth so they have to unlock their jaws, and they'll reflexively lick and chew. I just stand with my arm draped over that horse's neck and gently give them time to relax a little and digest what we've just been doing. I don't pet, don't talk, nothing, just BE for a little while. Once I can see they've reflected and processed a little bit, I'll back up to something they understood and did well and start over from there.

Ive even allowed more time to pass inbetween each time I click and treat. But the past couple times, (because Im still working with her on getting her to lead away from me willingly), each time she does this when I lead her, while she leads away I right away say "good" and treat her and give over the top praise. I think she may be catching on with this (she did with the unhaltering and pretty quick).

In the beginning, I praise lots and lots and lots and I give a lot of treats, consistently when they do something right. At this point, it doesn't matter if they think I'm a hot and cold drink dispenser, as long as they give me a good honest try, I'll give a treat and praise. We can work on weaning off of treats and such later on (like a year or 2 down the road), right now I want them to get what I'm teaching.

But I need to make sure she knows what it means when I say "good" and that it means a reward is coming and a treat is the form of the reward. So that when I do something with her and I say "good" and praise her, she will know. And eventually I can phase out the treats and just say "good" and give her scratches and rubs and she will know the scratches and rubs are the reward. Hope im not talking mumbo jumbo here.

No, you're not talking mumbo jumbo, but you ARE trying too much too fast. Some horses are like the nerd kid in school and seem to drink n everything you toss at them, training wise. Most are more like the Spay-shull kids that need individual teaching and someone who can be infinitely adaptable to their learning needs. I forget who said it, Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt? but, "It takes a horse at least 1000 repetitions before you can say he's truly trained." That means, 1000 reps of EVERY SINGLE THING you ever teach them. Before that, they may or may not have it and in a crunch may forget what they've been taught. They have to build muscle memory in addition to having "head" knowledge.

Anyways Im hoping by doing some fun stuff with her that it will bring us closer together. You think this can happen?

Absolutely it will happen. You just need to give her time. Do more with her, spend time just learning to hear what she's telling you and the more you learn her ways, the more she'll trust and rely on you.
See my post above in between your questions. You want to read good books by folks who KNOW their stuff, read stuff by Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Sheila Varian. Those are some really GOOD horse folks.

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post #532 of 1323 Old 10-31-2015, 11:42 PM
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I also think you have mis understood this "licking and chewing" thing. This is usually indicative of a release of endorphins. All horses are different. Some do not even do this when they are worked on by a chiropractor.....so you should probably not count on it as an indication of understanding.
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post #533 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
See my post above in between your questions. You want to read good books by folks who KNOW their stuff, read stuff by Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Sheila Varian. Those are some really GOOD horse folks.
Ok thanks :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by greentree View Post
I also think you have mis understood this "licking and chewing" thing. This is usually indicative of a release of endorphins. All horses are different. Some do not even do this when they are worked on by a chiropractor.....so you should probably not count on it as an indication of understanding.
Ok I wont always look for it. I thought them lowering head is a release of endorphins?
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post #534 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoofpic View Post
I will admit, I do find it boring and tedious as well. I dont exactly enjoy lunging. I remember the very first time I was taught to lunge (back in Feb when I didnt even have my mare) and was lunging a wild mare on a 30ft line, I was getting dizzy and my trainer at the time made me do it for almost an hour. I felt sick afterwards and kept asking to myself, what the hell did I just do? That wasnt fun at all! But as time went on I did start to tolerate it more.

Im not proud of lunging my mare because I really do not like doing it for the sole reason of it being hard on their joints. And considering my mare is still growing, I would rather not lunge her if I had the option.

But is there are credibility to someone who says that you lunge to work on their trot, canter and walk rythym?

Isnt there some proof that a horse can get in sync with their owner when the owner lunges them?
Only if you can keep your horse at a steady pace.

What do you mean by in sync?
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post #535 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Well, BIG NEWS!

Now, Im a bit upset at myself because yesterday I didnt go see her. Of all days that I decide to not see her, it had to be yesterday when she was put out in the herd for the first time. They put her out in the day and back in the area next to the herd for the night.

I got there today and couldnt see her! I thought maybe trainer was riding her, went in the barn, nope wasnt there. Got a bit worried, went back out and she was in the herd!!!!! I was so happy but she was at the very back of the field far away from the herd.

BO said that yesterday she was fine when the trainer let her out. No fighting, no chaos. They put her out again early in the morning today and even fed her in the herd but everyone got 4 piles away from each other and he said she didnt have any problem eating, they didnt chase her off her food, which is good. He feels that my mare will really connect with the philly.

But today I was hanging out with them for quite a bit and noticed my mare is keeping her distance from the herd. When the herd walks to her direction she will create that space. I thought she was scared of them or perhaps didnt like them.

Heres a dumb Q but shouldnt everyone in a herd get along with every one? Cause if she gets along with say one or two but the chestnut she wont ever get along with...wont that just create tension and they should be split up? Cause a herd is a cohesive team that look out for each other right?

When I went to catch her and bring her to the gate, the other horses all came up and I know she got nervous cause she sees 3 horses she doesnt know rushing up to her. She wants to face them when they come up to her so she quickly turned around. So I had to use a wood stick to chase them off. She did a sigh when I got her out and closed the gate. I thought uh oh, sounds like shes relieved shes out of there. Not good. She should be having fun should she not?

I took her in and noticed she had a bite on her butt. I was not happy. Most likely the chestnut gelding who did it. This immediately made me think that she doesnt like the herd and vice versa and was going to ask the BO to see if he can reconsider her to another herd. Is shes already getting bit on the first day, ummm shouldnt we reconsider having her in there? What if things escalate? And thats what im really worried about. But is 2 days too soon to give up and judge this soon?

Its just that Im wondering if theyre picking on her or being mean to her. Ive seen herds where every member will bully the newest and youngest member and that member will always create a distance from the herd and its some of the most cruel stuff ive ever seen. That member is alone in the herd and left out.

I was talking with my trainer and when she put her out yesterday, she hung around and watched for quite a bit. She said that the other 3 were chasing her around and I told her that yes I saw that too and that my mare is keeping her distance for me. Is she scared of them? Doesnt like them?

But the trainer says if shes keeping her distance thats a good thing because she said theyre putting her in her place. Apparently yesterday my mare tried to just go up to them and the chestnut gelding chased her off pretty aggresively.

When I brought her back in the field, I brought my carrot stick with me cause I figured it would be more effective than a stick of wood to chase them off from the gate to give her space.

They were all at the gate and I had to chase them off but they kept wanting to come up. I knew my mare wanted space. I put myself inbetween the herd and her. The chest nut gelding turned butts to each other with her and they did small kicks to each other. Even those I already chased him off! Thankfully, no one got hurt as their kicks were low and neither one connected.

Is it fine if I bring my carrot stick for the next while to me when I catch her and put her back in? I dont want to be whipping other peoples horses but I do it to create space for my mare. I dont want them crowding her.

HOW MUCH SPACE IS REASONABLE FOR ME TO WANT TO HAVE BETWEEN MY MARE AND ANY OTHER HERD MEMBER WHEN IM PUTTING HER THROUGH THE GATE EACH TIME? 10FT?

I think situations like this is a good time and oppurtunity where I will build trust with my mare right? Will this build trust for my mare and I? She sees how I handle the situation, I made her not worry or get uncomfortable and make her feel reassured that she wont get hurt when she enters and leaves the field. True or false?

I have a short video I took of the 2nd time me catching her. The herd was geting curious about the camera and started licking it haha. Good thing its a work camera and not my own and I have a plastic protector on the lens. But this will show you what I mean. My mare is keeping her distance, looking into the herd next to her and giving no attention to her new herd.

The BO and trainer are putting her back out in the herd tomorrow morning. Im a bit scared for her after seeing how she was treated today and she already got bit on the butt.

The herd is one philly and two geldings, all 10 years old.

Last edited by Hoofpic; 11-01-2015 at 08:46 PM.
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post #536 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 08:55 PM Thread Starter
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The BO insists that she will fit in with this herd even though we both notice that my mare pays an awful lot of attention to the 3 mare herd right next to her just over the fence. There is one mare in that herd and I think my mare and I have started to bond over the past week or so. Im wondering if thats where my mare would like to be. Cause she will just stand at the back of the field and watch and look to the mare herd next to her. But again, is 2 days too soon to give up? But I know that horses determine the pecking order within seconds once a new horse is introduced. Im just a bit worried that 2 days shes been in there (though not 24 hour days but the mornings and afternoons) and theyre still chasing her and shes still keeping her distance. Im wondering if shes resisting and refusing to be the bottom of the pack?

Someone here mentioned awhile back that when my mare is out in the herd, me going to catch her is going to be a much different experience than her just being alone in her paddock because I have to deal with other horses in the same area. I saw this right away and it was quite the change. It will take me some time to get used to but it wont take long at all. Its a good learning experience though for me.
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post #537 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 09:13 PM
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Hoofpic, take a deep breath....maybe four. Make sure to exhale deeply.

Your mare is fine. One bite mark on the butt is nothing.

Your mare being standoffish is fine. She is probably firguring things out.

Listen to your gem of a BO.

My gelding is in a herd of eight gelding's. He is part of the herd, but always on the fringe. He likes it that way. He is happy. He isn't pinning away for closeness. Plus he doesn't get in the middle of the 'school yard' scabbles.

Relax.

Now I'll go back and read the rest of your post.
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post #538 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 09:20 PM
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Dang auto correct. I apologize for spelling and other errors in the previous post!

The gelding is just telling your mare he is the big kahuna and putting her in her place by chasing her away from his herd. He will allow her 'in' when he feels she is respecting his place. Sounds as if she is listening to him.

Watch this gelding and how he handles his herd. A human can learn a lot by watching.
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post #539 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 09:38 PM
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Your mare will be fine. She may get a few scuffs, bites and kick marks while she finds her place in the herd, but she'll ultimately find her position in the pecking order. The gelding bit her on the butt because she was being disrespectful. Horses have no truck with disrespect from new or underling members. They will correct them, quickly and severely, and rarely will the new horse need to be corrected more than twice by the same horse. I'd stay away for a few days and let her find her place.

Yes, carry your carrot stick with you, you can whip the air with that savvy string and hit the ground and make a very impressive sounding pop with it. If you use it right, you shouldn't need to touch anyone with it. Now when that gelding and your mare went butt to butt and started flinging heels around, I'd have cracked him on his butt and run him off and I've have corrected your mare. They may throw kicks at each other, but not with you in the pasture. They need to learn to recognize you (or any other human) as the #1 as soon as you go in the pasture. I think I told you that I remind mine, "NOT with ME in the pasture! I AM THE ALPHA!" and I am swinging buckets, ropes, carrot stick, whatever I have if needed. They aren't allowed to make nasty faces, pin ears or turn butts if I am present. None are allowed into my space unless I invite one or more in. I enforce that with my carrot stick. As for gate clearance, I would reach out and touch a couple and run the herd leader off the gate PDQ next time I was out. And I would send him 25 ft or more away, the rest will follow. Once you get his attention the others will look to him and see he gives respect and they will too.

Your mare will be allowed in to the herd in good time. It may not be YOUR time but when they're all ready to get along, she'll be allowed in.
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post #540 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 09:48 PM
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No matter where she is, she is going to have to volley for ANY place in the herd. The geldings are normally WAY kinder than the mares. At my house, there are ALWAYS hooves, teeth , and fur flying, because I have 8 mares together. Most of them are related, and they have been together since BIRTH. Sometimes , they chase each other around BACKwARDS, kicking, for 100's of feet.

They are horses, and as I said before, the BO was doing YOU a huge favor by keeping your mare by herself. Not to mention himself. Because if you are going to fret about everything, you may find yourself asked to find a new barn. The man has enough to worry about.
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