Does she accept me as her leader? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-21-2016, 04:08 AM Thread Starter
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Does she accept me as her leader?

I have a crossbreed filly of 2 and a half years old. We seem to have a great bond, but I do understand that I am her caretaker. I am the one feeding, grooming her. I often wondered if she accepts me as her leader, or just her caretaker. She is very friendly by nature, and the only problem we had so far was an issue of her being a bit herd bound, but we worked through that.

She is a bit spooky, so the trainer did some desensitizing exercises the other day using a plastic bag, some beach balls and an umbrella. I was in the pen with them, not really to help, but because I am really interested in training methods. Every time the scary beach ball approached her, she came running straight to me and placed her forehead on my shoulder. When she stood next to me, nothing seemed to scare her. Because we got nowhere with me in the pen, I got out and stood beside it on the outside. Again, she came running to where I was standing.

Does this mean she accepts me as her leader and looks toward me to protect her? Obviously that is what I want to believe... Or maybe it's just because I was the only familiar thing there?

I would also like to hear opinions on when is the best time to start backing her. All the websites say different things and I figured why not ask all you experienced horse people. She takes the saddle without a fuss, but I definitely will not add weight before she turns 3.
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-21-2016, 05:39 AM
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As she seems to trust you to protect her from these horrific articles, it seems that you are building a good bond.

Get her in the round pen with just you, open and close an umbrella, kick the ball around - get her to blame you for the spooky things so when something happens she just thinks "What the heck is she up to now?"
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-21-2016, 09:08 AM
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When she is not heard bound and spookie then she accepts you as her leader.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-22-2016, 04:04 AM
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Hi, I really don't get too hung up on concept of 'accept as leader' in the way many seem to perceive it. That the horse trusts me to look out for her & protect/control scary stuff, and that she understands me as a clear, firm but fair sort of a person, who requires stuff of her is what matters to me.

I'd say that if your trainer scared her & she ran to you to protect her, then that's a good sign... for you. Not sure about for the trainer & their method of 'desensitising' though. Sounds like trainer was possibly overfacing her, not in control, but of course perhaps it's my imagination of what happened.

When to start a horse under saddle - been there a lot lately on this forum. There was a recent thread something like 'when can I start riding my 2yo' which said most. Look up skeletal maturity, consider that, your weight, her build, what you want to do... Eg. There are lots of considerations & factors. I don't think it's *necessarily* bad to start a 2.5yo under saddle, if that means just getting her used to being sat on for a bit, very short, light rides for eg. I'd just wait until she was a fair bit more mature for anything like real riding. Wait for maturity to do anything very 'high impact' such as jumping, barrels, etc.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-22-2016, 08:49 PM
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You either have "it" or you don't and I find the labels pretty silly. She is looking to you...that is ultimately all you need.

Completely agree with Foxhunter. Everything you do will just give you a better bond and help with that "it" everyone wants. A horse doesn't necessarily like someone just because they groom them! I find a lot of those labels just go hand in hand.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-23-2016, 04:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies. I must admit Yogiwick - the grooming part doesn't help our "bonding" at all. She doesn't seem to like it at all.

Thanks loosie! I have no intention of her jumping just yet. She primarily will be my daughter's show horse if her temperament allows it. My daughter is still very young, so there will be enough time to train her properly. Although... yesterday my daughter came running with her favourite Pony Magazine in hand showing a picture of a girl jumping her very pretty pony. Her words: "This is what I want to do!"
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-23-2016, 05:42 AM
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When the horse will go where you say, even if it's to leave you. And move away from where she wants to be,and allow something a bit scary to be on her because YOU tell her it's ok, the she accepts you as her leader
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-24-2016, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heleen Strydom View Post
Thank you for your replies. I must admit Yogiwick - the grooming part doesn't help our "bonding" at all. She doesn't seem to like it at all.

Thanks loosie! I have no intention of her jumping just yet. She primarily will be my daughter's show horse if her temperament allows it. My daughter is still very young, so there will be enough time to train her properly. Although... yesterday my daughter came running with her favourite Pony Magazine in hand showing a picture of a girl jumping her very pretty pony. Her words: "This is what I want to do!"
Lol at that. I know some horses just don't like it but even those horses usually have a "weak spot", maybe she likes the curry in a certain spot? or the soft brush on her face? If she's sensitive just be gentle.

A little O/T but always nice to make things enjoyable for both!
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-25-2016, 01:02 AM
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When people ask me if I can tell their horse respects them, I often wonder if the person respects themselves.

You are providing for her. You are deciding what is good for her. You would do her no harm. Ever. You probably require little of her.

In your situation, your mare/filly obviously thinks all is well when near you. You and she will likely have a disagreement at some point. I hope you give yourself enough credit to insist on your way.
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post #10 of 11 Old 03-07-2016, 07:34 PM
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No. You're not a horse.
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