Problem on the trail - I Could use a Pep Talk :) - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 48 Old 05-25-2015, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
"worrying about what to worry about next" must be a pretty serious issue with you.
......
2. One thing you haven't talked about, nor has it been mentioned, is connecting and building confidence from the ground. I'm not talking about disciplined drills in the round pen or arena. I am talking about very informal but well mannered "doing stuff" on the ground with her....
.
Yes, I am in a profession where I have to think ahead and anticipate issues... It's a bit hard to totally shut that off!

It's nice actually to see the relationship building part... I'm looking forward to getting out there several times this week and just be with her. I've been squeezing time in for that even though riding has been limited. We've actually come a LONG way, and I'm much more confident around her and horses in general now. I can move her front or hind ends, or back her with a finger. I love being with her, and she's respectful and doesn't try to intimidate on the ground fortunately. She's easy to catch, and puts her muzzle right in the halter. Funniest thing - when I 'run off' the boss mare ... my girl will walk up and ever so gently rest the bridge of her nose against my arm... no pushing, just a gentle almost "thanks for protecting me" - or at least l like to think of it as that!

Last edited by Folly; 05-25-2015 at 09:08 PM.
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post #22 of 48 Old 05-25-2015, 09:42 PM
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OP -- As an adult, very green rider myself, I think what you have is a Pretty Good Fit For You Horse who is pushing to see what she can get away with. Because mares, and because she can.

That doesn't mean you're a bad rider. It means you're a green rider, and this horse, while generally quite awesome, has just discovered she might be able to get out of doing work if she's a sh*thead to you. Alas, this is not uncommon.

Do you have the option of having someone with more experience ride her once or twice a week to remind her how to behave, so YOUR rides will be more productive? This is worth 10 lessons, honestly, so if there is anyone you TRUST, be willing to pay for this. Ultimately you need to learn to ride through it, but right now it sounds like your mare is well on the path of HA HA I CAN GET AWAY WITH THIS. I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard "ounce of prevention, pound of cure"! Well, we're past the ounce, so onto the pound.

Consider even spending lesson dollars just asking your trainer to ride. Mind you the trainer will balk (mind did) but explain your rationale and usually an understanding can be met. For mine, it was she would get on if and only if Horse was Dangerously Stupid. And this happened exactly ONCE, and I can tell you my poor gelding never knew what hit him.... ;)
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post #23 of 48 Old 05-25-2015, 10:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Folly View Post
Yikes - I should be that aggressive even when she's done nothing wrong? Just walking down the trail nicely?
Before she gives you any trouble, nicely ask for her head (never jerk her mouth) and nicely squeeze an inside leg against her to ask her to move her hind quarters over for at least one full revolution. Then let her continue standing perfectly still for another 15 or 20 seconds and release her head ONLY after she completely relaxes and stands still.

If you take her head away and nicely ask her to yield her hind quarters and she argues or tries to take her head back or refuses to move away from light leg pressure, try to kick a rib out the other side. Be prepared to go for a ride in some fast circles and through some mighty head fighting. Just keep her nose all the way around and out-last her. She will give a big 'sigh' -- that means "I give up!" in horse talk. Then, just ride her on like nothing at all happened. No praise, no petting no anything. Just let her think about it and digest it.

Go a ways farther and do the same thing the other direction. Let her know BEFORE any problems arise that you are in charge and she needs to listen the first time you ask her to do something.

We have taught a lot of novice and timid riders to do this, and about 75% of the time, their horse does not even try to stall out any more or take them off in a different direction.

It is simply called 'getting one's attention' and respect. Give them one chance to respond correctly to a very light aid. Then make them wish they had responded the first time you asked them nicely. Nagging at a horse and pecking on one is your worst enemy. It strengthens a horse's resolve and makes them argue or fight with you 100X worse than if you explained to them how it was going to be in the first place. It is just simply how they think and work and learn. You want one to learn to respond correctly and not learn to fight until they win or get you to get off (a big win for a horse). The longer you let one argue, the tougher it gets and the more difficult it is to win - You need to win a battle that would have been easy to win when they first tried it.
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Last edited by Cherie; 05-26-2015 at 08:19 AM.
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post #24 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 11:09 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone - so here's my summary as I understand it, and an action plan:

What I did right-
- did not get off when she acted up. Rode it out and pushed her forward until we could get to the round pen. Did not get off when she resisted in the round pen... until I had some compliance, and we went around the directions I wanted to for a couple of times.
- I pulled her head around, and put pressure on her with my heel, to do circles.
- I hate to 'be in her mouth' and have been working very hard to communicate with her by the lightest cues possible and loose rein... and it's been going very well.

What I did wrong:
- I was NOT NEARLY aggressive enough with pulling her head and kicking her... Mainly out of surprise at the new behavior and not knowing what would escalate it.
- I didn't act quickly to take control... trying to give her the 'benefit of the doubt' I guess. By delaying, I gave her power.

My plan:
- Since I won't be able to ride this week, I will concentrate on working with her from the ground when I'm there.
- When I next ride, I will try to keep it non-confrontational for a while... easy ride . Frankly, I could use the confidence. Then will venture out more
- At all times, I will be aware and try to catch a balk before it happens as Cherie described. I'll be aggressive... my trainer has taught me how, I just need to apply it (his teaching was much as you described... I just hadn't needed to escalate my level of intensity that high, since she had responded to much lower in the past).
- If she gets ahead of me and goes up, I will probably pop her on the shoulder or between the ears with the long reins... since that is the one thing that did work somewhat when I managed it before (and now it sounds like it won't probably send her over the edge). But again, I'll try to head this off by keeping forward momentum at the first sign of a stall.
- If I can't resolve it quickly, I will get the trainer out to work with us... so she doesn't succeed in turning it into a permanent behavior. I won't put up with that.

Lastly:
- I'm determined to enjoy this grand adventure! ...regardless of what challenges it throws me (within reason - I intend to be smart and stay as safe as possible). That's how I will grow.

How's that?
Thanks!
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post #25 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 02:57 PM
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Every horse is going to have some issue. I wouldn't give up on her just yet. But for sure I'd work on this before it gets any worse and you get hurt. This is a bandaid, not a fix, but there's a guy at the barn where I am that has a very hot horse that had a bad habit of rearing over everything and he used tie-downs on the bridle to the cinch to keep him from being able to lift his head high enough to rear. I always saw it as a mistake to use that as a permanent fix (like he did), but maybe as a temporary measure, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Obviously, ask your trainer about it. That's the only person besides you actually seeing what's going on. We can only guess!

“When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ” ~ William Shakespeare
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post #26 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 03:12 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecasey View Post
..... This is a bandaid, not a fix, but there's a guy at the barn where I am that has a very hot horse that had a bad habit of rearing over everything and he used tie-downs on the bridle to the cinch to keep him from being able to lift his head high enough to rear. I always saw it as a mistake to use that as a permanent fix (like he did), but maybe as a temporary measure, it wouldn't be a bad thing. Obviously, ask your trainer about it. That's the only person besides you actually seeing what's going on. We can only guess!
Hi ecasey - I sure wouldn't call what she did even close to a 'rear'... but maybe I'm in denial. She would just pop up a few inches (no ear pinning or undue head tossing or dancing). Then back down, and with an almost non-nonchalant attitude keep on going the direction she wanted. I'm definitely taking it seriously though - it's a nasty habit I realize could escalate if she finds it's working.

So, never thought about that... I can't imagine doing it permanently, because I always assumed frustration would come out in other ways (and she's never so much as hinted at a buck, kick, bite, or bolt... for which I'm very grateful).

Other opinions? is a tie-down a good 'crutch' temporarily as I apply the other corrections?
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post #27 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 06:38 PM
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I'm allergic to tie-downs and would prefer they didn't exist. I don't think you have a rearing problem at all. I think you have a one-rein stop that needs some refinement. To Cherie's excellent advise, I would add that the two mistakes I see beginners make over and over are 1) not reaching down far enough on the rein to really get that nose all the way back to your knee, and 2) not allowing COMPLETE slack on the other side. If you try to pull a horse's head around on one side and you have a tight rein on the other, the poor horse doesn't know what to do, and he's likely to improvise.

If you do it right and do it fast enough, there is no way your horse can pop up, let alone rear. If you practice it, your horse should give its neck with light rein pressure. Your reaching down to get the rein closer to the bit is enough of a signal that the horse knows what is coming, if you do it often enough.
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post #28 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 07:26 PM
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I don't know about thinking about "keeping it non confrontational". that's one way of doing it, and waiting to see if you will HAVE to become firmer.

or, you get on, and right away you change up the way things are, between you two. you ask for a big forward, and if she reacts sluggishly, you get right in there with a pop of the reins or crop. I mean, you make your very first interaction be all new. so , it may surprise her, and really change up her mind, before she has time to start thinking about resistance.

years ago I rode a lazy warmblood, and you'd get on at the mounting block, and then it would take two or three times of putting a leg on and he'd amble off. I took a lesson with a local dressage clinician, and she got on him, asked once with a polite ankle on him, and then took the dressage whip and whacked him hard, three times, really fast ; whap! whap! whap!. man, he jumped out of his skin, which she shut down, and then she asked him soft again, and he moved right off! you betcha!

she said, think of it this way, "There's a new captain on board. this is your captain speaking!"
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post #29 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I don't know about thinking about "keeping it non confrontational". that's one way of doing it, and waiting to see if you will HAVE to become firmer.
Point taken... in fact, when I re-read my post after it was too late to edit I realized that sounded silly. When I wrote it, I was envisioning this one small fenced pasture we ride in that has lots of interesting obstacles and such that we've never had problems in. But I get it. Outstanding advice and I will heed it.

Joel, Thank you - a lightbulb went on. I'm sure I don't reach down nearly far enough typically and am positive I didn't that day. That's gotta help. As for keeping the other rein slack, I'm actually VERY cognizant of that... because that's a mistake I made a couple of times early on and when it was pointed out to me it made so much sense. I remember concentrating on that during her tantrum... but needed to combine it with MUCH more assertiveness as Cherie pointed out. (BTW thanks for saying it doesn't sound like a 'rearing' problem... I think that word alone is the source of some of my anxiety! I understand it can lead to that though).

My horse isn't at all lazy... nor too forward. She's really excellent at moving out at the speed requested - whether it'a a slow walk, faster walk, foxtrot, or canter (I haven't cantered her yet, but my friend has). She's also good at staying at the right pace. Our arguments so far have only been about her wanting to 'Zig' when I want to 'Zag'.

I do appreciate all the input. It makes sense.

Last edited by Folly; 05-26-2015 at 08:37 PM.
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post #30 of 48 Old 05-26-2015, 08:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
she said, think of it this way, "There's a new captain on board. this is your captain speaking!"
.... meant to add to above post.... Great story :) different problem, but I understand the concept is the same.
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