Riding for a while and feel like a bad horse person - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Riding for a while and feel like a bad horse person

So I have been riding for a few years and I don't have my own horse and I am not sure when or if that will ever happen. But some times I feel like I am a bad horse person or that I don't listen to them as well as I should? I only ride about once a week and because of working full time, I don't get to visit the barn as much as I want to.
I don't want the lesson horse I am riding to run me over, figuratively, because I know I am not as assertive as I should be, and sometimes I find it hard to find a balance? I feel like that sounds stupid but, there it is. I don't want to be overly harsh? So should I let him eat grass after lesson even though I am turning him out into a field? I feel like a jerk yanking him up constantly when he wants to eat the grass that is on the way to turnout. Help?
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:16 PM
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Kick the back of his chin with the toe of your boot when he goes down, before he grabs that first bite. Don't kick hard, more of nudge with enough force that he knows you mean business.

Horses are large animals that could hurt you if you're not harsh enough. A well timed correction is never something to feel bad about.
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amethystdreams View Post
So I have been riding for a few years and I don't have my own horse and I am not sure when or if that will ever happen. But some times I feel like I am a bad horse person or that I don't listen to them as well as I should? I only ride about once a week and because of working full time, I don't get to visit the barn as much as I want to.
I don't want the lesson horse I am riding to run me over, figuratively, because I know I am not as assertive as I should be, and sometimes I find it hard to find a balance? I feel like that sounds stupid but, there it is. I don't want to be overly harsh? So should I let him eat grass after lesson even though I am turning him out into a field? I feel like a jerk yanking him up constantly when he wants to eat the grass that is on the way to turnout. Help?
I was a bit like that. What you are basically doing is thinking of them in human terms, trying to understand how they think through your own experiences. But they aren't not like humans. You will not hurt their feelings if you don't let them graze. Well, you will **** them off, but think of it this way: if you let a human child do anything they want, you are doing them a great disservice because they will grow up to be unprepared for the real world.

The domescated horse's real world is different from their natural world. It must be governed by the rules we prescribe for our and their safety. If you let a horse do whatever they want, they will become dangerous and will have to be it down. I'm sure you don't want that for the horse. Basically, yes, we are bending them to our will, but the alternative is for the horse to be put down.
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:26 PM Thread Starter
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Ok but is there is a difference between this and just letting him hand graze? Sorry for any confusion. Its lunch time and my blood sugar is a little low.
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by JCnGrace View Post
Kick the back of his chin with the toe of your boot when he goes down, before he grabs that first bite. Don't kick hard, more of nudge with enough force that he knows you mean business.

Horses are large animals that could hurt you if you're not harsh enough. A well timed correction is never something to feel bad about.
I do this as well, timing is important, but I put my foot out, heel down and let the horse run into my booted toes as they put their head down. As far as they are concerned they did it to themselves and this usually works great for me. Once they figure it out, a word is all that's needed.

A week ago my great niece, 4 yrs, was leading the mini and he was taking advantage of her to reach down for grass, I showed her how to correct him with a jerk on the lead line, this little guy knows he's not supposed to do this but figured he could get away with it being as she was so small. I was pleased to see her able to do the correction and her timing was right on and he quickly decided that she was in charge.
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by amethystdreams View Post
Ok but is there is a difference between this and just letting him hand graze? Sorry for any confusion. Its lunch time and my blood sugar is a little low.
When you want to hand graze him, let him. If you are taking him to the turnout, don't let him graze. For example, if I wanted to allow my gelding to graze, I stopped, told him to wait, and then said OK! He knew it was ok for him to graze.
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! That really helped to clarify things.
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 01:38 PM
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Exactly what brightspot says.

It's not that you CAN'T let him hand-graze, it's that YOU have to decide when he can and when he can't, not him. My gelding is a pig and a little food-aggressive. So I make a point of leading him around the yard and not letting him eat grass. I want to be able to take him outside, tie him to a hitching post and brush/wash him without him thinking that he'll be able to eat everytime he sees grass. Otherwise, he is constantly yanking the lead rope out of my hands to grab some. I started by using a lead rope with a chain and putting that under his chin so I have more control. You will never out-pull a horse so you have to out-wit them!

If you let him eat whenever he feels like it, and never tell him no, this horse will just take advantage of you every time. They're like children. So he has to learn that there are times when he will not be allowed to eat. Make a point of it. Use a cue, or set goals (I will not let him stop and eat until I reach turnout and he quietly waits until I remove his halter/unclip the lead rope). You have to be assertive with horses. He won't see you as the bad guy, no more than kids resent adults who have rules and structure, as long as they're fair.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 03:21 PM
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I also make it a point not to hand graze in areas that are on the way to or from work (barn/arena) or rest (pasture/field). I find an alternative site and lead them there then they get the "Graze On" command. It doesn't have to be be far off, just enough that they recognize it is different.
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-18-2017, 03:25 PM
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Like some of the other said, it's not that you can't let him hand graze sometimes, but he needs to earn the privilege. So the days that he's making like a submarine and diving for the grass, he'd get the side of my boot under his chin. First time would be a nudge, 2nd would be a firm whack on the chin bones and a yank to stop his head from going down. The 3rd time all Hades would break loose. On a day when he's walking beside you and not diving, then you can stop and say, "OK and spend a few minutes letting him graze, IF YOU want to.
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