I am new. Horses don't listen to me. Keep testing. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 09:16 PM Thread Starter
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I am new. Horses don't listen to me. Keep testing.

Horses don't listen to me. They keep testing. Don't walk. Keep stopping. No matter how much I kick them. But if someone they know get on them they will follow commands like a robot. My question is if horse is testing me,what are few methods to get the message across to it without being painful or hurtful. Please give me as many tips possible. Thanks.
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 09:37 PM
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Can you be more specific? What type of riding are you doing? Have you ever taken lessons? There is much more to riding than kicking a horse and if you are not giving clear signals and riding in the method the horse was trained, then it is likely confused as to what you are asking.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 09:37 PM
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You must be someone that the horses LOVE to be around. My neighbor has this same problem. The horses adore her, but she has a hard time getting them to do things.

You must raise your inner toughness. Get a little mad. You do not need to beat the animal, but they KNOW what you are feeling, so you need to feel BiGGER.

You can do it!
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 10:03 PM
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Maybe you are giving signals that you don't recognize. There is a horse at my barn that if the rider tips in the slightest bit forward the horse stops. Maybe he is just trying to protect you and feels like you are going to fall off. It's probably you, not him. You might need someone else watch what you are doing and give you some pointers.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Inexperienced Rider View Post
Horses don't listen to me. They keep testing. Don't walk. Keep stopping. No matter how much I kick them. But if someone they know get on them they will follow commands like a robot. My question is if horse is testing me,what are few methods to get the message across to it without being painful or hurtful. Please give me as many tips possible. Thanks.
Rather than approaching the situation from the viewpoint that horses are "testing" you, consider the fact that they may simply not understand what you want. In addition, the horses may not consider you a proper authority to be telling them what to do. The people that you mention who get a positive response from the horse have probably developed a common language with the horse that the horse understands and, also, represent a position of authority.

Some people think that a kick here or a pull there is communication which every person and every horse understand. They think that one person presenting a cue is the same as another person presenting a similar appearing cue. The problem is that they are only concentrating on one piece of information.

For example, one person is sitting in balance with a horse's center of balance, is holding the reins lightly, and moves with the horse if it starts to move after a light squeeze and release of the rider's legs. Another person may think he is doing the same thing. But he may be lifting his heels to apply pressure to the horse rather than using his lower legs. When applying this pressure, he may be leaning forward and becoming unbalanced. At the same time, he may be applying pressure with the reins. Are these two people sending the same message to the horse? I don't think the horse would understand it as the same message.

Next, consider that two riders are the same size and weight and all the things mentioned above are the same. Does this mean that the horse should be expected to respond in the same way? What about the relationship each of these riders has with the horse?

You would probably turn you vehicle to the left if a policeman directed you to do so. Would you respond as readily if a child indicated that you should do so in the same way?

If a stranger tried to guide you through an unknown passageway, would you respond in the same way as you would if a trusted friend tried to do so?

How a horse responds to a person is more complicated than many people think. The cue -- or combination of cues -- is one factor. The established -- or perceived -- relationship is another.

When trying to direct a horse, consider the situation from the horse's point of view. Get guidance from a good instructor who can help you do this. Learn various methods that people have developed that seem to work. Experiment and be willing to alter things if you do not get the response you desire.

Training riders and horses to work in harmony.
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post #6 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 11:15 PM
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first of all, be patient. every inexperienced rider goes through this. you have to go through the time, not leap frog over it.

however, the long and the short of it, those horse KNOW that the experienced rider can back up what they say. they also KNOW you cannot. you eventual job will be to convince them. if you lack the self confidence to project real intent when you kick the horse, he will feel it. the fact that you are internally "begging or hoping" they go, yet externally hitting on them like you saw others do, creates a schism in communication and beleivabilty , and a lack of clarity. horses hate that.

once a person can convince a hrose that they mean what they say, and their intention is to get it, not just HOPE they get it, the horse will say, "ah, someone who is clear about things", and go.

and yes, I agree that it's important that you aren't unknowingly contradicting yourself by saying GO with you feet while holding back and saying NO with the reins. horses hate that.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-13-2015, 11:44 PM
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Hi Inexperienced Rider. I'm also pretty inexperienced, so I have been in your boots recently.

This weekend I had the best ride ever, though, on the horse I always ride. I have been reading a lot about various ways that we communicate with the horse through our body language and their training. Then I tried some of those things during my lesson this weekend. Some of them seemed to confuse my horse, but then I hit on the things he really understood and we had a blast together for the rest of the hour. I think it takes some time and practice to really start to understand how easy it is to confuse a horse. Rein placement, leg placement, leg pressure, reining and legs at the same time, reins too tight or not tight enough, then add to that that some horses know different ways of responding to the reins and the legs, and it's not hard to see how they (and we) can be confused.

Are you learning with an instructor? If so, ask her to be very specific about what your particular lesson horse is expecting from you. You can practice the motions of riding (direct rein to turn, leg pressed, etc.) so that when you get on the horse the next time you have an idea what to try and how it all fits together to signal the horse. Also, don't forget to let up on the cues when the horse has responded correctly.

And I did have to assert myself a few times, because once we got into sync this horse was having fun too, and he was hot to trot. I had to make sure he understood to trot when I asked for it, not when it was his idea. By the end of this lesson he was listening and behaving like my best buddy.
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Last edited by elle1959; 09-13-2015 at 11:52 PM.
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post #8 of 21 Old 09-14-2015, 03:21 AM
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I'll tell you something I learnt the other day, my friend was helping me canter on my TB and I was accidentally jabbing him in the mouth as I am not used to asking for the canter. My horse started to get frustrated as my friend said 'You are asking for him to go but scrunching him up from the front and he is not sure what you want!' Eventually I loosened up and just relaxed and just focused on wanting him to canter and surprisingly it worked !
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-14-2015, 10:04 AM
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Can someone take a picture of you riding? It is surprising sometimes how much a single picture can reveal.

Added: A lesson horse often gets tired of the contradictory signals all new riders give, and has also been trained by previous new riders to just ignore a new rider until the rider goes away. They find working with a new rider unpleasant, so they shut down when a new rider gets on. If you are taking lessons, talk to the instructor.

Trail rides can get you out of this rut. A horse who doesn't want to deal with a new rider will still walk out or trot in order to stay with the other horses. That gives a new rider time in the saddle to learn balance while the horse is more motivated to move. IMHO. Our BLM mustang Cowboy was a lesson horse, and I've seen it with him many times. He sucks in an arena, but is a good trail horse.

I've read the old cavalry technique for instructing new riders was to give them 5-10 minutes of instruction, then have everyone go out cross country. Students were expected to apply what was discussed while riding miles cross country instead of doing laps.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"

Last edited by bsms; 09-14-2015 at 10:14 AM.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-14-2015, 10:09 AM
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It's usually down to a lot more things than kicking.

All horses work differently, maybe seeking an instructor to work with you or asking its regular riders for tips?

But don't worry... Nobody just hopped on and went. Everybody has to learn.
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