Leading Katie for friend? And RE deaf riders! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Leading Katie for friend? And RE deaf riders!

This is a two part post. I also want to say how much I've missed being on here - between boyfriend getting back from holiday and catching up and work I've not had my usual binge sesh on here :'<<<<< Will update properly soon but have two questions for you.

Quick summary: owned Katie 16.2 irish draft X for nearly two months (wow). First time horse owner that can ride. She's a forward, sensitive creature but not spooky thanks to years of hunting. Green schoolie. My friend who has only ridden just under a year tried to ride her last month but could not get her to stop at all - and it scared Katie too. Said friend has been taking private lessons since and has improved MASSIVELY. (This is the wife for those of you that have read my journal). Anyway, she would like to try ride Katie again but I am understandably nervous.

So Question 1: you think it would be OK to get one of those bit connectors and just lead her on a hack. I am really not keep on letting her off especially without an instructor with us.

Question 2 unrelated: I am making friends with a deaf person that wants to get into riding? If I can lead my friend then I will consider letting this person be led on Katie for a "first time sitting on a horse" (but NOTHING MORE) and try help her find an instructor willing to work with her. I only know basic BSL but we could come up with some hand commands to help. Has anyone got any experience riding with or teaching someone deaf? Anything I could do to help?

Love you all as always <3
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 01:03 PM
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Hey! Just want to say that I love what you're doing! Does the person speak ASL? I'm learning the language at the moment and it's not as hard as you'd expect it to be!

Good luck!
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 01:09 PM
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So glad you're having so many adventures with Katie and sharing her with your friends

1. I'd probably be comfortable leading a rider on a hack with one of my horses but not the other. How is Katie out on the route you'd take if you're leading her and something spooks or scare her? My older mare, Isabel, is a horse I'd much rather be riding than leading if the s*it hits the fan on the road. On a lead, she's liable to start thrashing around into your space but when you're on her back she seems more reasonable. Probably also depends on what your friend is going to do if she gets spooked- if she's going to tense up and squeeze, will she listen to you if you tell her she needs to relax or even dismount?

2. I've taught beginner riders who are deaf. Like you said, knowing sign language helps. Here is some guidance from PATH, Intl, which is our version of RDA:
When a rider’s primary disability is deafness or a hearing deficit it is important, first and
foremost, to give visual cues and stay centered in the arena so the rider can always find you
for safety. Establishing a means of communication is also extremely important. Provide
an interpreter or learn the rider’s system of communication so you can teach an in-depth,
effective lesson and get valuable feedback from the rider.

- Determine how the rider communicates at home, at school, etc. Teaching
techniques may include:
Lip reading
Sign language
Communication board
PEC’s system/Icons (Picture Exchange Communication System)
- Train volunteers to assist in communication
- Establish a sign for emergency procedures
- Use other riders for visual demonstration
- Monitor hearing aids for noise, static, dislodgement, on/off

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post #4 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Ty guys- BSL is just the British equivalent of ASL @JoBlueQuarter . She can lip read as well but said that since her eyesight isn't the best it's not going to really work when moving on horse back haha! Currently we communicate more complex things through text. That text was awesome @egrogan I have already sent it to her! Now thinking about it flash cards might actually help if it's with an instructor that maybe doesn't know it.

Katie is a sensible head. I'm more like to spook than her. She has hacked on this trail which requires no road work a few times and I've walked her down it a few times too. The only pain would be that she has a huge stride so even at a slow walk I'm trying to keep up. Good cardio man! My friend can ride school masters as in RIDE them now (thanks to her privates) but I imagine she will still be a passenger on Katie. I don't want her to rely on me so instead of a bit connector should I maybe use a head collar under her bridle instead? That way I'm not interfering with their communication unless I actually need to intervene?
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Kalraii View Post
I don't want her to rely on me so instead of a bit connector should I maybe use a head collar under her bridle instead? That way I'm not interfering with their communication unless I actually need to intervene?
I think the reality is since you're establishing your relationship with Katie, she is going to be looking to you regardless of what you're leading her with...especially since your rider is still building confidence and ability to direct the horse independently.

I'd personally still go with the bit connector- you can be on the end of the lead rope and essentially the rider is "behind the wheel" since a slack lead isn't really engaging the bit in a directive way. The horse will know you're there whether you're hooked on to the halter rings or the bit. If you do use the headcollar, I'd go with a rope halter as a traditional halter can get bulky and irritating to a horse under the bridle.
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post #6 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 02:27 PM
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you say 'lead' her on a walk . . you mean you would walk beside Katie, as you now improved friend would ride her? Would your friend go for this? some adults would not accept this , being too proud.

how are YOUR leading skills? I mean, can you shut down the this horse is she starts to pull back hard, or leap sideways, or thrash her head around?

If you really want to let this woman back up on your horse, I suggest doing a 'lunge line lesson'. have her rider Katie in the arena, with a lung line clipped to the bit rings. have the rider work your horse in circels around you, with control of the reins, and you maintain the hold on the lunge line, but keep it very loose. you would come into control of horse only if she cannot. And, horse going around you will tend to keep it focussed on you, so if she doensn't want to stop, you can get more control with your voice and body positionj.

you have MORE control over stopping a horse from a longer lead than you do from a short lead, standing right up next to her shoulder. the longer lead allows you to position yourself in such a way to pull the head around, with leverage. Sounds harsh, but it works, whereas holding the line 2 feet from the chin means you'll end up being dragged .

As to the deaf person, why not at least start with having her groom your horse. see how confident she is around your horse. It sounds like Katie might be a horse that is scared when humans are scared around her. (a pretty common reaction).

Lastly, while I totally understand your interest in sharing your new horse, and I applaud your generosity, please remember that every rider on a horse has a wee , tiny effect on that horse. So, if you are often throwing new riders up on her, they will have an effect on her. it could be not a bad thing; she become able to handle a lot of changes, such as a school horse does. or, it could be a bad thing; she become confused and upset and unable to maintain training that you've worked to put in her.

If I had a quiet horse, I , too, would put up friends and such. I'm just that sort of person.
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 02:27 PM
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I would say put the head collar under the bridle and you lead from the head collar. When I am messing around with kids, I don't even put the bridle on . . . then they won't pull on the reins when I don't want them to. Also teaches them to have an independent seat.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 02:32 PM
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Hearing impaired in competition use a interpreter to sign commands from a judge.
That for some is the only concession given them is to be able to turn their head and see the interpreter giving the signed signal, they peek not gawk for those commands or are given time and spot in the ring where changes are made ahead of time.

As for allowing a nervous rider who could not handle Katie before try again...
Sorry, my answer would be no to the independent ride on your personally owned horse.
There is so much liability for you, Katies owner to have.
The woman is riding in lessons, if she wants extra practice time she should work with her lesson program to purchase ride time...not expect you to give on your horse.
Yes, I am super protective of my horses to riders who think they are better than they are.
Privately owned horses are sometimes very different to ride with sensitivity than a lesson horse is, less forgiving and more strong minded than the lesson horse who takes care of their riders day in an day out..
You want to take a lead shank and halter and take Katie around for a guided "pony ride" is one thing...handing over the reins and full-control is another and the full-control thing would be my no.
Remember Katie is a highly trained horse and will respond as such. Sometimes that means they are not so tolerant of true beginner riders who use of aids is not great.
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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@tinyliny and @horselovinguy thanks again for the feedback - helps when some know the trials so far. First just want to get this out of the way as I possibly didn't make it clear: I would not be letting friend ride her independently and not for a VERY long time and never without an instructor doing a proper lesson. When I mean by lead - I mean literally with a long lead rope attached. Not just me walking by her side giving her full control, nope nope nope. Nope.

I forgot something very important - this isn't about riding Katie specifically although that is a goal, to a lesser degree, for my friend. She wants to ride at this school full stop but the instructor told her that all her lesson horses are sensitive and/or forward. That if my friend went there from the start it would have been easier but now that she's in the habit of kicking and hard reining it will be difficult as her horses react strongly to... strong cues. And now that Katie ran away with her she's fearful, compounding things further. But you all know what it's like to ride a plod horse that makes you want to pull your hair out. That's the sort of horse friend has been learning on. But watching other people ride Katie AND being told that she's not good enough lit a fire in her. She has only been doing privates since. She WANTS me to lead her for safety and to only to to get to feel what it takes to make Katie go forward and to use her seat to slow her down - nothing more. Because last time she was on her she kicked Katie like a normal lesson horse despite being warned, got run away with, braced and got off the first chance she could. Now she knows better. So I can't really blame her for wanting a positive, learning experience and a chance to gauge what sort of control will be required of her for something as simple as a walk and halt. I walk Katie down the trail and she's been hacked out down it - she's used to it and it requires no roadwork. I imagine my friend will be more relaxed knowing that I'm in charge (she still is a bit naive but I'm not about to actively scare her by listing off worst case scenarios). We are both insured. The aim is to get to the point she can ride at the school, not ride Katie specifically (but she represents the bar, if you know what I mean) - I made it clear that Katie will never be a "Freebie" and a time will come where I won't do working livery and to not expect a time where she can ride Katie willy-nilly just because we are friends. She has requested if lunge lessons are an option as well, so will see.

So, knowing that, how do you feel now? I really like the idea of staying in a school and letting her ride Katie but with me at the center with a lunge line attached - not literally lunging her, but being present. My only concern is that if my friend drives Katie forward that she would NOT be able to relax to the point I could override the forward cue - if that makes sense? Katie is very good to lead - very good. She listens to me and we are at the point she stops, waits and comes verbally - even while hand grazing I only have to say "come" and she will lift her head and begin walking towards me. I have handled dominant/pushy stallions and panicked horses on the ground and am confident in redirecting energy though let's face it, none of us enjoy it. I actually think in my personal situation that I would have MORE presence and control when leading but I do agree that it is safer and more controlled on a lunge line IF* things get sticky. I think Katie will be more confused on the lunge line and if she goes she GOES. I personally would enjoy a wild ride, my friend, not so much >.<

My gut says that Katie will listen to me, that my friend now knows better than to kick. That if I get worried at any point in time I will not let it escalate and get my friend off. But I think that Katie and she are BOTH better prepared now, compared to last month.

I did not know interpreters were used in competitions. I think that's WONDERFUL. Because my friend was incredibly put off as an adult now she has to go out and find help on her own. The RDA instructors I know only know a few signs but it was mainly physical disabilities that I came across in my time working there- any that were on the spectrum for example had their own personal assistants present at all time to interpret. But my friend wont have that - which is off putting as she also can't afford to hire someone in addition to lessons. Am hoping to find a workaround and its great that some of you have actually been fortunate enough to experience, work with or witness such empathy!
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-13-2018, 05:16 PM
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if you have doubts, then it's too soon. I mean, if your friend was, say, on Katie, with you having a lungeline attached to the head collar, under the bridle, and your friend was going in a circle around you , and Katie got hot, and you couldn't shut her down quickly, . . or . . in doing so, Katie jumped around a bit and your friend came off . .

then, her confidence would take a nose dive.

If she is really up to the risk, then let her, but she must take it all; a bolt, a jump, a spin, or whatever.

I think this is a cool idea, BUT . not yet. wait a bit more until there is less concern .

there's your black and white answer on my part.
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