just another morning at the rescue - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 20 Old 10-11-2014, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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There are a few overall issues I face that might not be entirely common.

1) I only work with these horses 4 hrs a week, on the weekend

2) I'm really only there to help move the horses as needed and help feed and water them. The owner of this rescue doesn't expect and really doesn't want me training these horses and there is no time for much of the training discussed here anyway.

For example taking a misbehaving horse to the round pen for some training work isn't in the cards. I'm there to get the horses fed and go, and I'm probably too green to do this now anyway. I'd probably end up causing more harm than good.

3) The other 5 days the horses are handled by all sort of volunteers, some who've dealt with horses their whole lives, and others, like me, that have about zero experience with them. I have no control over what these others are training or untraining the horses to do.

4) The owner isn't overly concerned about issues such as biting and bolting.

The advice I've been given re these are "be careful around Nuki, he bites" and "if they take off just drop the lead, they know where they're going."

Now the owner has generally had more time with horses in one or two days of her life than I have in my entire life so it's difficult and rude to just brush off her advice. As yet though I haven't dropped a lead rope as I've come to understand that will just train the horses to understand all they have do is bolt to get to run free. I should have been more careful w/Nuki, I let him get away with 3 or 4 bite tries with only mild correction before he got me on the 5th. That won't happen again.

Maybe some of you will be tsking the owner at this point. I don't, she's a wonderful person with a huge heart and more horse experience in her pinky nail than I have overall. So for now I do, for the most part, what she says.

4) Oh well it's only been a month and I can only get better.

Re the bolting issue. I gave this some thought yesterday and my conclusion was that my main mistake was in not being attuned enough to Gracie as I was leading her to realize she was about to bolt. I should have seen/felt that coming and stopped it before she had a chance to accelerate. I admit I haven't been paying enough attention to the horses as I lead them and of course my reading of horses is still poor at best. Things to work on.

Last edited by EncinitasM; 10-11-2014 at 11:54 AM.
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post #12 of 20 Old 10-11-2014, 01:06 PM
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Mark Rashid talks about the true alpha leader in a herd being the 'passive dominant' - the one that the others want to follow because they trust it
The aggressive dominant is the horse they all avoid and stay away from
Something worth thinking about.
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post #13 of 20 Old 10-11-2014, 01:10 PM
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no tsking from me.
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post #14 of 20 Old 10-11-2014, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaydee View Post
Mark Rashid talks about the true alpha leader in a herd being the 'passive dominant' - the one that the others want to follow because they trust it
The aggressive dominant is the horse they all avoid and stay away from
Something worth thinking about.
The best alpha mare I've ever seen is also the one I have NEVER seen act aggressively in any manner whatsoever, yet have also NEVER seen any other horses question her. She walks through the herd and they part ways no questions asked and calmly.

My horse IS a true alpha, but he is very aggressive. While "alpha" I would not consider him a "leader".
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post #15 of 20 Old 10-11-2014, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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much better this evening. Gracie was ready to test me but I was on top of her this time. A couple quick cues to slow down and she settled down just fine.

Why I behaved so well she even presented her face to me to take off her halter and fly mask once we got into her night pen. First time ever she's done that!
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post #16 of 20 Old 10-13-2014, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkInEncinitas View Post




I should have seen/felt that coming and stopped it before she had a chance to accelerate. I admit I haven't been paying enough attention to the horses as I lead them and of course my reading of horses is still poor at best. Things to work on.

bingo!!!! Hey, your're "getting it". The only time in recent years I've had a horse bolt on me was when I got distracted by an incoming text message and glanced down to to read my phone... and the horse took off fast!

If I hadn't been distracted, I would have seen it about to happen.

These are big animals, they are strong, heavy, and powerful, we need to remember to give them our constant, undivided attention at all times.

Next time you will know, and if you see her getting ready, you can interrupt her thoughts by either quickly turning her around, or interrupt her attention.

Also, are you wearing leather gloves, the lead rope won't hurt so bad and you'll have better grip.



As far as the biting horse, keep your eye on him at all times. He's not being playful, and he needs correction every time, even if it is a sharp verbal correction the second you see his eyes or ears move in the direction of thinking about biting.
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post #17 of 20 Old 10-13-2014, 09:09 PM
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It sounds like you are learning fast! Good on you for watching and learning and practicing what you learn! It sounds like you have a good opportunity at this rescue.

I figure if a girl wants to be a LEGEND, she should just go ahead and be one. ~Calamity Jane
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post #18 of 20 Old 10-15-2014, 05:43 PM
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A common misconception is that horses will continually test you to see if you are the leader.

No, they won't. The only time they continue to test as you describe is when they are not being handled correctly.

A well trained horse, even if just handling horse only, as in one that is not being ridden for one reason or the other, ever, will go along with the program, and not act like the village idiot if handlers have worked correctly with it.

And it does not take constant reinforcement of what they are supposed to do either.
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post #19 of 20 Old 10-15-2014, 06:05 PM
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A fun game to play when you are around horses is the , "where is his thought now?" game. you watch a horse and try to guess where his/her thought is going at any one time. and, as you start handling them you get better and better at telling when their thought is on you or somewhere else. It's much easier to get compliance with any request if your horse's thought is fully on you. that can require you to be really big, or can take very little on your part, to get them to give up outward thoughts, and come back to you.

if they start to go away, the sooner you interrupt that thought, the lighter it is and the less it takes to interrupt it. soon, they'll stay with you , even if they have some amount of their attention elsewhere, they'll always have you on their radar, so to speak.

sometimes you'll see someone leading a horse or riding one, where it's painfully obvious that the horse hardly even knows the human is there, and the human is oblivious to that. in such cases, the fact that they don't get hurt is pretty much a matter of luck, good luck.
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post #20 of 20 Old 10-15-2014, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palomine View Post
A common misconception is that horses will continually test you to see if you are the leader.

No, they won't. The only time they continue to test as you describe is when they are not being handled correctly.
Or could we say the only time they keep testing you is when you're not being a good leader? So this is an indication of the person doing something wrong, rather than the horse... which strikes me as a more helpful way of thinking about it, to work out how you can become a better leader. What am I doing/not doing that has caused/allowed this behaviour...
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