I've got zero bad habits! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 29 Old 10-02-2015, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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I've got zero bad habits!

Hello. Well, I suppose I should begin by explaining that title, eh? I've had the opportunity to teach a number of disciplines over the past fifty years and have often thought to myself that the process would be so much simpler if I didn't have to teach folks who had already acquired bad habits they needed to unlearn. Today, I am the student.

My wife and I were hired as hands on a horse ranch three months ago today. I've decided that feeding, mucking stalls, mending fences and all that other ranch stuff is fine, but I'm prepared to invest more deeply. I'd like to learn more or less everything.

What I've got going for me is that I've got sixty-five teachers here and I get along just fine with all of them - even the 'mean', 'damaged', and 'dangerous' ones. While I'm cognizant of their strength and their potential for inflicting damage, I've got no fear and a lot of love for them and the horses seem to 'get that' about me.

I got on my first horse today, rather unexpectedly. Seemed to me that he was asking me to...ridiculous as that may sound, so I did. It was an uneventful few minutes...a little walking, a lot of standing around - but he seemed happy with the exchange and so was I.

Well, perhaps I've one bad habit. Apparently I get on horses that haven't been ridden before...I didn't know. Anywho, I am ready to begin my equestrian education. Suggestions on how to begin?
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post #2 of 29 Old 10-02-2015, 11:31 PM
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That's fantastic! Well, I guess get a riding instructor right?
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post #3 of 29 Old 10-02-2015, 11:47 PM
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You're doing fine on your own. I do know about a horse inviting you to get on. I have a tall qh that does the same. I have only to stand on a stool and at liberty he'll line himself up and wait for me to get on.



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post #4 of 29 Old 10-02-2015, 11:56 PM
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You are not crazy.....

One time someone asked my DH if I was scared to ride the colts for the first time, and did they not buck me off? He said no, they TELL her when the time is right. She won't get on until then. And they do.

I am glad you are following your dreams!
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post #5 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 01:06 AM
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First, by saying you taught a number of disciplines over the years, I assume that they were not horse disciplines, or are you having fun, pulling a leg here???
Sorry, had to ask.
If you truly are new to horses, then sorry, and I will try to be serious also-and yes, welcome to the forum!
You have heard the saying that ignorance is bliss, and you are lucky that the horse never ridden before, also was very' forgiving'
Yes, you have no bad habits to un learn, which is great, but you can also get hurt by completely just trusting the forgiving nature of a horse, without that horse or you having any idea of mutual basic understanding or any cues, ect
You will also learn bad habits, if you don't take some sort of basic instructions, thus needing to 'un learn them, once you become serious about riding.
I am happy that you and your wife achieved your dream or working with horses
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post #6 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 02:05 AM
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I , too , was curious what "disciplines" meant.
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post #7 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 10:22 AM
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Just keep in mind, that for now, those "teachers" know a lot more than you do. Yes, sir, they do. There are ways to ask a horse for his cooperation, and ways to really screw up the works by thinking you will make him do things your way when you don't know what your way is.
It takes a lifetime...that's all I can say. But it's a great adventure. And this is a very good forum. Lots of very experienced peeps here who will willingly give advice and sometimes it may be not what you want to hear but it comes from years of experience.
Welcome!
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If you ever find yourself in a fair fight, it's because your tactics suck. ~ Marine 1SGT J. Reifinger
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post #8 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 10:35 AM
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And there are those lucky people who have a wonderful sense of tuning in to an animal. I've seen it in action only a few times and it's incredible to watch. There's a calmness to it because there's a real connection.



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post #9 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 12:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the kind responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
First, by saying you taught a number of disciplines over the years, I assume that they were not horse disciplines, or are you having fun, pulling a leg here???
Sorry, had to ask. If you truly are new to horses, then sorry, and I will try to be serious also-and yes, welcome to the forum!
Your question is understandable. I am new here and was unclear. That is not to say that my sense of humor will not raise it's head often...but yes, I am new to horses.

By disciplines I was referring to other skills. For instance, I have taught chess in the public schools for a spell. Too, I was a professional poker player for twenty-four years who opened a poker school in Las Vegas many years ago. Trying to teach someone what cards to play after they have decided that some abominable hand is lucky for them is a great deal harder than teaching someone what cards to play who has no idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
You have heard the saying that ignorance is bliss, and you are lucky that the horse never ridden before, also was very' forgiving'
Yes, you have no bad habits to un learn, which is great, but you can also get hurt by completely just trusting the forgiving nature of a horse, without that horse or you having any idea of mutual basic understanding or any cues, ect
I've given my response to this some significant thought in an attempt to not come across arrogant...I hope I'm successful, but please forgive me if I fail. Arrogance is not what I am going for here...

My education in body language probably began as a young child. Learning when to duck and run before the abuse began was a life saving skill and there's very little that motivates better than fear of death. The military came next and reading the signs that animals gave often alerted one to the presence of people who wanted to kill you before you saw them. Another great motivator to become proficient at reading body language.

Twenty-four years as a poker player honed my body language skills further, and that section of a book I wrote got me invitations to speak to both the FBI and the American Psychiatric Association. I am also Native American; still speak my native language and was taught and learned that dumb animals are not dumb from my earliest childhood.

If I must place a label on myself, then I am Buddhist. I mention this only because if our religion has an overriding principle, it is likely to be 'pay attention'. So, as a whole, my ability to read and understand body language is probably fairly considered to be world class. I said all that to say this:

I believe I did have a basic understanding with the horse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
You will also learn bad habits, if you don't take some sort of basic instructions, thus needing to 'un learn them, once you become serious about riding.
*nods* *nods* and more *nods*

I'll be frank here. I chose to come here rather than find a real life instructor because I can ignore things here that will be troublesome to ignore with an instructor standing next to me. For instance, we have a full time trainer here on the ranch (who mostly works with the show horses) but has given me a list of things I need to smack the horses for doing. It's a short list, but it's not going to happen. I will not hurt anything on purpose. If hitting a horse is ever required, then I simply will abandon my interest. I want no part of what I perceive to be violence.

I'm sure there might be other trainers who would not advocate such methods, but there is the political aspect of finding a coach or trainer off the ranch.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
I am happy that you and your wife achieved your dream or working with horses
It's my wife's dream actually, but she is my dream. Been that way for thirty years and her dreams have a way of becoming mine.

Thank you - and everyone for all your responses!
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post #10 of 29 Old 10-03-2015, 02:26 PM
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Native American, really? What tribe do you affiliate yourself to?

Horses can be read if we take the time to do so, a shift in weight, ears, nostrils, even the eyes will tell you much, and let's not forget the tail...lord do I know when my Quarter Horse gelding Terry is mad....

This place you work at, will they help you go further with your riding skills and ability since you are, as you say, a clean slate with no misconceptions or bad habits? Do you know if you will pursue english or western riding? As for coming here, no offense, but half the people who post here have no earthly clue, are young, new owners, etc. and I would rather be working with a competent horse trainer and talk to them about my misgivings than say oh that sounds like sage or sound advice, do it and really muck up my horse or myself or both.

There is nothing wrong with asking, but how will you know what to throw out with the bath water and what to keep and learn if you have no real basis to compare it to? And you do know that horses do need structure, a good strong leader and discipline at times don't you? It doesn't mean beat them or abuse them, but there are times a smack is the best method to get across to a large animal you mean business and to pay attention.
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