A couple questions - Page 82 - The Horse Forum
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post #811 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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I want to mention one other thing.

Yesterday, I was taking my mare back to the field and my trainer was helping the BO with feed, so they came in behind me on their quad. Now my trainer offered to get the gate for me, (which I was fine with on my own) but it was good to let her get the gate this one time because I got to see how she backed up the herd when she enters their field.

She doesnt need a carrot stick like Ive been using, she will walk in with authority and just shoot the herd back by clucking or kissing and waving one of her arms upwards. Just simple body language. Right when the gate opens and she takes one step in, she tells the herd to get back.

I think Im confident enough right now to be able to catch my mare without having to bring my carrot stick with me, because ever since that first time where I really had to get after the herd for getting back when catching and putting my mare back in, they have learned! I know the fillie really learned! She is a very cute and curious horse, (shes the one who always wants to follow me) but now she will walk towards me but then stop at a distance as she knows she cant get to close or ill chase her out.

So after my trainer stepped inside, I then brought in my mare and unhaltered her and with all the horses knowing food has arrived, they all got a little excited and were hovering around the quad and the BO and trainer didnt like it.

Now, I was watching (cause like I said, each time my BO and trainer are around I can learn a lot from just observing them around the horses). BO is incredibly good at body language, hes disabled and is always on his quad because he walks with a kane, but because his body language is so good, hes able to get horses out of his space with just his tone of voice and arms. Most of the time he just has to use his voice and like the trainer, he raises his voice so hes loud but isnt yelling.

This immediately reminded me of the very first barn I was at in Feb when I was volunteering (cause they used a quad there as well to run the feed). The ladies working and the barn manager would just drive in the quad and they would let the horses just hover around the quad and grab bites of food as they please as they toss out the hay piles.

But yesterday, my trainer and BO didnt like how the horses were hoving around them like bees on a honeynest so my trainer got big, waved her arms upwards and said very loudly "get back!" and my mare and all the other horses immediately took off fast.

This makes me bring up, I know people mentioned that you should never yell or scream at your horse, cause it doesnt achieve anything and if anything they will most likely tune you out. My trainer wasnt screaming at them, but she raised her voice loudly. It was an aggresive assertive level but it was obviously very effective cause she chased the horses away instantly.

Ive raised my voice at my mare before but Ive always been weary on when I cross that line of borderline yelling. Can someone tell me how you know what your limit is in terms of raising your voice?

I think raising your voice is just as effective as body language and really does help and go well together.

Last edited by Hoofpic; 11-15-2015 at 12:05 PM.
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post #812 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 12:02 PM
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This is a difficult concept, so don't feel bad about being a bit bum fuzzled.....it is why some horse people look like miracle workers, and some constantly get stepped on....with training horses, we have STUDIED that body language(and it is never 100% correct, but still...) so that we can reward the TRY. To tell the difference between "maybe", which we reward, and" ummm, I don't think so", which does not. BOTH responses from the horse get a do over, try again, though....until we get just past that to "that's IT!!", then they get to quit, (reward).

Take lifting that foot. Most of my horses lift their feet automatically if I walk up and turn to the rear, standing beside the leg. From the very beginning, I have said,"Give me your foot". So, if they do not do the auto lift, I say that. So, if they are learning, it goes:

I walk up, say give me your foot.

Run my hand down the leg. If this results in a lifted foot, I say good!, let it go, back up a step. Even if they just lifted it a BIT, do you see the "TRY"? And the "reward"? I let it go, backed away.

If there is no lift, or try, I increase the intensity(and this increase happens quickly, in microseconds, not minutes) until I get SOME kind of response, even if it is stepping to the side, then I grab the foot as it gets lifted, say good, let it go, and reward....because SOME hOW, I MUST create a response to reward.

This will be repeated a couple of times until I get a real try, but if I don't get the hoof picked out, it is NOT a big deal. You have to choose a good time to quit, before something goes wrong.

(Spending minutes standing by a horse's side repeating a command for which you get no response is WORSE than useless!)

The next time, I expect the horse to raise it's foot when I run my hand down its leg. If it does not, I repeat above. Every time, I get a little closer to the auto response.

I may have explained this before, but it why I do not chatter incessantly to my horses. It is not fair for them to hear hihoneypookydarlinhowareyoudidyousleepgoodareyouha vinagooddaygivemeyourfootiloveyouohyougotascrape. There was a command in there, but HOW do THEY know that?
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post #813 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I expect, no demand that EVERY horse pick that hoof up and doesn't lean on me (what I think you're referring to when you say doesn't take the weight completely off?). That's why I break it down into eensy weensy steps when I'm training them to lift their hoof when I ask. They can get it right in each step before we go to the next. Right now, you say she's only half way picking up her hoof. Deal with that first. Then once she's giving it to you, if she leans deal with that. When she is freely giving you the hoof, standing quietly and not leaning, THEN you can clean her hoof and tell her she's a good girl. Otherwise, you need to break it back down into steps so that maybe picking up the hoof actually ends up in 3 or 4 good girls, or going back to the previous step and doing remedial work, before you get to pick up hoof freely, doesn't lean, clean hoof for 1 good girl.

Does that make sense?

Oh and in answer to your training question, yes, they have not been trained. Or if they have, they are trying you on which is another mark of being disrespectful.
Yip it makes sense. And I think the first step in getting her to pick up her hoof on her own is what Greentree suggested.

I could just put her up against the barn wall, tap her leg and teach her to give me her hoof by lifting it up on her own. Start off small by getting her to lift the hoof off the ground an inch, then 2, then 3. Do it as lessons with having no intention of cleaning her hoof.

As long as the effort is there, I reward. I should be able to tackle this like how I tackled the unhaltering/head tossing issue and the leading away from me issue with treats and over the top praise rights?

The reason my mare caught on with the head tossing when being unhaltered issue so quickly (2 days really, 3rd day was when I noticed a night and day improvement) was because the first couple days, I literally stood there and haltered and unhaltered her 8, 9, 10 times in a row over and over again,for about 25mins.

It was really the first day where I ended up putting back on her halter 9 or 10 times, where she learned that as soon as she tossed her head or moved it attempting to free herself from the halter, I stand there with the halter positioned as is (everything undone, just need to let loose) and we stand and wait until she either lowers her head (even just a bit) or stands quietly being more relaxed, then I say "good" and off the halter goes, over the top praise and treat her.
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post #814 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 12:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thankfully I was able to fully address the head tossing when being unhaltered issue with her. Stupid me, I allowed months to pass until addressing it (even though I was trying) and Im very lucky I was able to get her to stop this bad habit. If you saw how she used to me, she was bad when taking off her halter. She would shake her head, toss her head, put her nose up to the sky attempting to free herself from the halter on her own and not the halter get freed from her. She was a brat!

Before this, I attempted to try other methods like backing her up aggresively for 3 seconds each time she did this, then re-try. Even tried circling her, then re-trying. Even tried taking the halter off completely then putting it back on right after. None of it worked.
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post #815 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 12:35 PM
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There is no limit. Do what you need to do to get the response you want.
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post #816 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 12:41 PM
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I'm not a bit talker when it comes to the horses. I say things, sure. But like with the hoof it's probably like, "Give it.". At the gate, "Back" and if they aren't responding, "NOW". Like Greentree says, I don't go up and say, "HihoneyhowyadoingimmeryourfootIlodveyoubabywhatsw rongwhy haven'tyougivenmeyourfootNOW." I walk up and make my small talk, "Hay Cloney, what's up Big Red Knucklehead?" and I'm petting and scritching and saying hello. When I'm ready for hoof picking, I shut up and walk to the leg I want to work with. Then I tap the back of the leg (that's my cue) and if that doesnt work I grasp the cannon bone and say, "Give it" and apply pressure with my fingers. If I have to squeeze pretty firmly, I say, "NOW" and if they're trained but just not quite there that usually works. If they're being difficult, I stick a shoulder into them and push to make the weight shift and then I take the foot as it comes up, hold it a second and then put it down. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum until they get it.

I tend to stay in a pretty conversational tone with my horses. If I have to raise my voice, somebody's likely to be getting "touched" with the carrot stick. If I actually have to yell to get some attention, we go back to the training drawing board. Once they are trained or mostly trained, I rarely raise my voice, even in the herd situation because they follow the herd leader and that's usually my most trained horse. HE knows what a raised voice means. But remember, and this is key, that these are all MY horses, trained by ME, MY way. They're not outside boarder's horses and who know what or if they've had any training. So my situation is a bit different than yours.
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post #817 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greentree View Post
There is no limit. Do what you need to do to get the response you want.
I agree. When someone gets all in a rush when working with their horses I always say,

"You're on Horsey Time now, not People Time. It takes what it takes and the more rushed you get the longer before the horse gets it right.".
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post #818 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 01:14 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greentree View Post
There is no limit. Do what you need to do to get the response you want.
Wait, you're refering to raising my voice?

If so, I do feel there is a limit becuase if you yell, they sense that you are upset/frustrated with them and they feed off it. I think of it as yelling at a little kid, it rarely achieves anything. Kids will think and act a lot better than their owner thinks and communicates rationally.

Thankfully, Im not a person who shows my anger in person (though horses can sense it within you).

But Ive always been known as someone who was too gentle and soft on horses and Ive had to make huge strides with enormous amounts of effort and dedication to change in making myself be a much more assertive communicator. I use to be worried from whacking my mare. I used to cringe when I would see my past trainer give a fist to my mares muzzle. Not anymore.

Though my current trainer has a lot to say about that because she knows how sensitive my mare is. She wants me to always be soft and gentle with her and only up the anty when needed. But theres been times where she has had to give a solid fist to my mare and it doesnt bother me anymore.

Last edited by Hoofpic; 11-15-2015 at 01:21 PM.
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post #819 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I'm not a bit talker when it comes to the horses. I say things, sure. But like with the hoof it's probably like, "Give it.". At the gate, "Back" and if they aren't responding, "NOW". Like Greentree says, I don't go up and say, "HihoneyhowyadoingimmeryourfootIlodveyoubabywhatsw rongwhy haven'tyougivenmeyourfootNOW." I walk up and make my small talk, "Hay Cloney, what's up Big Red Knucklehead?" and I'm petting and scritching and saying hello. When I'm ready for hoof picking, I shut up and walk to the leg I want to work with. Then I tap the back of the leg (that's my cue) and if that doesnt work I grasp the cannon bone and say, "Give it" and apply pressure with my fingers. If I have to squeeze pretty firmly, I say, "NOW" and if they're trained but just not quite there that usually works. If they're being difficult, I stick a shoulder into them and push to make the weight shift and then I take the foot as it comes up, hold it a second and then put it down. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum until they get it.

I tend to stay in a pretty conversational tone with my horses. If I have to raise my voice, somebody's likely to be getting "touched" with the carrot stick. If I actually have to yell to get some attention, we go back to the training drawing board. Once they are trained or mostly trained, I rarely raise my voice, even in the herd situation because they follow the herd leader and that's usually my most trained horse. HE knows what a raised voice means. But remember, and this is key, that these are all MY horses, trained by ME, MY way. They're not outside boarder's horses and who know what or if they've had any training. So my situation is a bit different than yours.
Thought about it and Im going to take your suggestion in breaking it down into 3 steps. What those 3 steps will be I need to plan it out but for now I will start with (on the days where i dont plan on cleaning her feet), tie her, put her against the wall and starting with one leg, tap it and get her to make an effort to get it off the ground. Start small, then increase the distance she moves it each day. Praise and treat.

If theres one thing about my mare that is blantantly obvious that i know is that she is 100% food motivated. Whether or not this is a good thing im not sure about but you can bet this 100% a result from her previous owner and she always used treats with her when teaching her stuff.

Right now I have 3 solid things to work with her each time I see her.

1) Lowering her head when haltering her. I have to ask, is there any benefit to having a horse lower their head when being "unhaltered"?

After thinking about it some more, I think once I lower the halter and she lowers her head, I feel I need to give her the treat right away as I say "good" cause if i priase first and wait any longer chances are she will have her head back up. And if i give her the treat then, that will send the wrong message. So right when she lowers her head, treat immediately, say good, then give rubs and scratches.

2) Getting her to pick up her feet on her own. This may take a good week or two, but again...start off small. If anything, I think it would be a wise idea for me to take a full week off from picking her feet so that i can work on doing lessons with her on this. Is it safe to go a week without cleaning her feet? Its not so much about the dirt but any small rocks that may get lodged inside her hoofs.

3) Getting her to stand quietly when I have food in my hand. Now this one I have to say, yesterday was only the 2nd time Ive been working on this with her in the roundpen but she already showed a huge improvement over the first time. I dont know if anyone has asked why Im doing this one, but my goal is essentially I want to be able to approach my mare any time when shes eating hay and her not turn her butt at me. I should be able to approach her every time when shes eating hay and have her accept it. If I ever need to move her food, then she will stop eating and follow where the food goes but until she stands quietly and not in my space, she doesnt get the food again.

Last edited by Hoofpic; 11-15-2015 at 01:38 PM.
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post #820 of 1323 Old 11-15-2015, 02:14 PM
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1) Lowering her head when haltering her. I have to ask, is there any benefit to having a horse lower their head when being "unhaltered"?

Yes, if her head is lowered when you remove the halter, she's not flinging it up and trying to pull away. She doesn't need to lower it enough to eat off the ground, just enough so you can comfortably undo it and let it down without having to "dance on your toes" to reach the poll strap. Since she's small you may not have had to experience this.

2. After thinking about it some more, I think once I lower the halter and she lowers her head, I feel I need to give her the treat right away as I say "good"

Yes, that's why I put the treat in my left palm and balance the bottom of the halter there until I have the horse's nose in the halter. I start a little high and then once she's moving to the halter I drop my hand a little bit and let her follow it down, putting her nose in the halter to get her treat. My right hand is pulling the poll strap over the poll (makes the halter a little lopsided for a minute) and when she's got her treat, I use my left hand to hold the cheek strap and help buckle the halter on. Once the halter is on, I say Gooood Gurrrrl again and gently pat her on the neck.

3. Is it safe to go a week without cleaning her feet?

If she's barefoot then yes. If she's shod, I wouldn't.

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