Getting my horse listening to "Whoa" - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 21 Old 08-12-2014, 10:31 AM
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I may need to order Tom Roberts' fourth book, and complete my set! Training isn't something we do just with young horses. It is lifelong, and Tom Roberts seems to have been an uncommonly level-headed and practical horseman.

I think this is worth repeating:
"The reason I cited this excerpt is because communication difficulties between handler and horse have more causes than the commonly cited "lack of respect" that assumes the horse knows exactly what is wanted from him. Even if a horse has had a good education, often confusion ensues when they work with a novice handler, and so it is useful for newish horse people to understand some of the basic principles behind horse training."
One of the biggest problems I had with Mia is that she was sold as "perfect for a beginner", yet she had little or no training. I was counting on HER teaching ME, and the reality was that she often had no clue what I was asking! It took me ages to realize that I should never assume the horse knows what a given cue is asking for unless I have either taught it to him, or confirmed his knowledge.

Once you KNOW the horse understands, and the horse refuses, then punishment can be an option. But we humans often give conflicting or confusing cues (particularly when we are starting off) and then blame the horse for being "disrespectful". If we worry the horse won't stop, and tense up our legs, and then pull on the bit, we are giving inconsistent cues. The error is ours, not our horse's.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-12-2014, 02:27 PM
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Wonderful posts!

I would like to mention two things that occur to me.

1) There is a danger that "quiet persistence" can turn into (ineffective) nagging.

2) There was a horse trainer, a trick-trainer actually, old Mr. Cameron, who told us that, contrary to common opinion, when a horse was working really well, he'd work him longer! He said something like: "When he feels like working, it means he's happy at it, and I can get ahead with his training. But on some days, when he doesn't want to do anything, I just quit early. No use fighting with him when he's like that."

Just something more to consider.
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post #13 of 21 Old 08-12-2014, 05:01 PM
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I'd go back to lunging and groundwork - I use voice cues to use alongside the ridden cues for a horse that doesn't seem to understand.
I'm not sure what sort of riding school your horse was in but I've seen lots of riding school horses that either followed the one in front and did whatever they did or did whatever the instructor in the lesson told them to do. If you removed those things they were clueless - basically they don't mind someone sitting on them but don't know what the ridden cues mean
Get the horse perfect on the ground so the moment you say whoa it stops and then use that whoa at the same time as you resist with your hands when you're riding, eventually you can stop using the verbal cue because he'll learn to know what your hands mean - the same applies with walk on, trot on, canter on.
Pulling really hard might get results but you also run the risk of getting a horse with a very dull, dead mouth instead of one that responds to a light touch
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post #14 of 21 Old 08-12-2014, 10:20 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much for all the replies and ideas. I will definitely be giving a few things a try.

Quote:
One of the biggest problems I had with Mia is that she was sold as "perfect for a beginner", yet she had little or no training. I was counting on HER teaching ME, and the reality was that she often had no clue what I was asking! It took me ages to realize that I should never assume the horse knows what a given cue is asking for unless I have either taught it to him, or confirmed his knowledge.
I think this is very true for my situation also, I've come to discover his training seems to be VERY basic despite being 12yo. Honestly, I feel like my biggest issue is lack of belief in myself - I didn't even try bridling him with a bit (used a bitless bridle the first couple of times) for ages just because I dismissed the problem as "too hard" and that I was too inexperienced to deal with it. When I actually did make the effort, it took me three sessions over two days to get the bridle on, just in the round yard without him tied up, and I'm proud to say I didn't use a pressure halter like was suggested to me by the girl who lives at the place where I keep him. (She first bridled him using the pressure halter, but I wasn't comfortable with that)

After that little success, I was even more determined that that was the way I wanted to work, the "quiet persistent" method, only it just doesn't seem to work in all situations, and then I do end up feeling like I'm nagging. I thought I had pretty good knowledge and decent skills before becoming a horse owner, but in fact I have realised how little I really do know, which is perhaps a good thing! So much learning to do!
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post #15 of 21 Old 08-12-2014, 10:49 PM
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Old Hat is one I was reminded of by my horse. When working a horse at liberty it is seldom necessary to repeat an exercise if it was done willingly the first time. For the horse it becomes Old Hat and he seeks new challenges.



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post #16 of 21 Old 08-13-2014, 12:44 AM
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Hey Beling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beling View Post
Wonderful posts!

I would like to mention two things that occur to me.

1) There is a danger that "quiet persistence" can turn into (ineffective) nagging.

2) There was a horse trainer, a trick-trainer actually, old Mr. Cameron, who told us that, contrary to common opinion, when a horse was working really well, he'd work him longer! He said something like: "When he feels like working, it means he's happy at it, and I can get ahead with his training. But on some days, when he doesn't want to do anything, I just quit early. No use fighting with him when he's like that."

Just something more to consider.
Re your first point: Yes, and TR deals with that in the other 200 pages of his manual on training young horses, plus in two of its three companion volumes. Not everything is covered by the tiny excerpt I quoted! And that's why I'm always on about reading this sort of thing completely and widely.

Re the second point, end-of-lesson is usually not end of work day, or even end of exercise - although it's always great for you and the horse if you can end with a real breakthrough! So TR here is, in my view, totally reconcilable with Old Mr Cameron's wisdom. You really do have to know where your horse is at, and employ a lot of tact.

SueC is time travelling.
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post #17 of 21 Old 08-16-2014, 09:56 AM
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the word whoa sounds a lot like the word go,when you want him to stop.try using the word whee,a stone quiet pony once trotted away with my daughter,cos she kept saying whoa
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post #18 of 21 Old 08-16-2014, 11:40 AM
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I would just not teach a horse to go by "Go!". If I use any verbal cues at all, it would be "trot on" or "walk on", or "get up!" or "Gee up", or just a kissing or hissing sound.
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post #19 of 21 Old 08-16-2014, 01:11 PM
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No I avoid using 'go' for forward movement but I will admit that 'No' has brought Looby to a total stop on a few occasions when I didn't expect it!!!!
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post #20 of 21 Old 08-16-2014, 11:45 PM
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I agree with others here that "whoa" should be taught first from the ground. there are many ways to do that. You just work til one of them clicks.

Regarding SueC's informative post, I've used "end of lesson" to great effect teaching horses to stand still for, and after mounting.

Those books do sound like a really good investment.
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