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Another discipline question. I promise I'm just not going around beating the horse, in fact I have the opposite issue. But I do have the understanding that correcting/discipline is very important. Especially when I'm the type that horses are constantly testing! I know this because I work part time at a facility and watch how they react with others and then me. Its because I'm too soft. And my horse is still getting finished and I see how he acts differently with his trainer and me. She actually owns him, although my payments are getting down there, I own more than half now!


I've found because I am soft in the discipline department that now when I'm trying to stay on top of it, it freaks out my horse that I'm doing it. I used to discipline too softly and he'd basically laugh at me. Now when I do get on him, he jumps quite a bit because its surprising to him that I'm doing it. This is just from the ground. And I'm not over doing it, I'm probably still too soft, just harder than before. So my main goal right now is to keep progressing as a new owner and rider, but also really focus on the correcting/discipline because I notice how different he is around me than others. But it worries me to correct him, because he reacts so much to it now. It causes me to sometimes have to hang on to him better to keep 'control' of him. And then when I go to approach him after, and get close to his side, he back away from me when I'm not even going to do anything to him. And again, disciplining too hard is not the issue. It kind of sounds like it could be, but trust me, I'm not beating him. Its new that I'm staying on top of this, do you think I just have to give it time for him to adjust to my new found confidence?
 

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Maybe you could get the trainer to give you lessons. To me, without seeing a video, your timing may be off. A horse must be immediately corrected when they break the rules. If you wait too long, the horse no longer associates the behavior with the correction. Then he doesn't understand what the correction is for. This can cause the overreaction you describe. Also the force of the correction must match the bad behavior. In other words invading your space should get a different correction than trying to kick you. Reading a horse's behavior before they break the rules is very important. A very light distraction can be more useful to prevent the bad behavior in the first place. Without anyone seeing what is happening, I would suggest hands on experience with a trainer. They will teach you assertive body language, timing, and appropriate ways of correction.
 

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As above - your timing might be out. When you discipline it has to be immediate and just enough for the horse to know he’s done something wrong. Even a few minutes late is enough time for the horse to have forgotten and have no clue why he/she is getting disciplined. They live in the moment.
You also need to be sure that you aren’t correcting the horse for doing something wrong when the cause of the wrongdoing was a break down in communication because you weren’t clear enough in your instructions.
 

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I am going to ask you a question, and before you read on I would like you to answer it clearly – to yourself.

Question: “Why does a horse stop or go slower if you pull on the reins?” If you answer, “Because it hurts the mouth,” I am sorry to have to break the news to you – you have failed.

But no, I'll give you another chance: “Why do you jump up instantly if you sit on an upturned tack or drawing pin?”

If you answer again: “Because it hurts” - you really do need to read every word in this book!

The horse stops – and you jump up – not just because it hurts, but to stop it hurting. By no means the same thing.

And there isn't any doubt: if jumping up didn't stop the pain, you would try doing something else. So, too, eventually, does the horse. These are not trick questions. If you really believe in and act on the answer you gave to the first, then you think that all you have to do is to hurt your horse's mouth and he will stop.

On the contrary, the important thing is to let him know – to teach him – how, by doing what you want of him, he can avoid any pain, irritation, inconvenience and discomfort the bit (or whip or spur) might otherwise cause. Good trainers do everything they possibly can to avoid hurting the horse or even letting him hurt himself. Our real goal should be never to have to hurt our horse.

Reward and punishment is often cited as the secret of successful horse training and undoubtedly both rewards and punishments have their place. But – we should seldom, if ever, resort to punishment when teaching our horse anything new.

Punishment, when we use it, should be reserved for exceptional occasions. Don't think “Reward and Punishment.”

Encourage and discourage is a better guide, as it drops the term “punishment.” When riding a young horse we alternate from encourage to discourage very frequently and quite often change from discourage to encourage several times in a matter of seconds.

But the term “discourage” still has the drawback that it can include punishment; and we should discard any term that could include punishment as a normal training procedure. Punishment and teaching are “divorced.”

It is to avoid using any expression that could possibly include punishment as a normal teaching procedure that I suggest you think in the terms:

“That will profit you – that will profit you not.”

These terms mean exactly – exactly – what they say.

“To Profit” is to benefit or gain: to be better off. The profit to the horse can be any reward or encouragement the trainer may think his pupil should receive – and it must, of course, be available to give.

“To Profit Not” means that the horse will gain or benefit not at all. Just that. It certainly does not mean that he will suffer a loss or be worse off – as he would be if he were punished.

This is what is so important about these expressions – and why I use them. By no stretch of the imagination can “Profit you not” be construed as punishment.

It consists of withholding any gain, reward, encouragement and profit. That, and only that. - Tom Roberts, Horse Control - The Young Horse
I would phrase it "No, that is not helpful to us. Please try a different answer." And when the horse gives the right answer, "Why, you amazing horse! You figured it out!"

"Admire the horse for the good things he does and just kinda ignore the wrong things. First thing you know, the good things will get better and the bad things will get less." - Ray Hunt

If the behavior is dangerous - biting, for example - punish. For most anything else, Tom Roberts goes on:

Quiet Persistence

“It will profit you not” means that the horse will not be encouraged to follow a line of conduct other than what we have in mind for him. We withhold any gain – which means we quietly continue with our demands, whatever they may be.

We persist. We quietly persist with our demands.

This gentle discouragement of “quiet persistence” is something that horses seem to find irresistible. Whenever you are in doubt as to what course to follow, mounted or dismounted, revert to “Quiet Persistence.” Your quiet persistence is the real “That will profit you not.” It discourages the horse without punishing him.

Punishment does have its place in the training scheme, with some horses more clearly than with others – but even then it should be used only occasionally. Do not revert to punishment when you are trying to teach the horse something new. It upsets the horse and destroys the calmness so essential to his taking-in a new lesson.
“That will profit you – that will profit you not.”

"Quiet Persistence"

If in doubt, remember those. Then try to apply them to the specific situation.
 

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Without seeing how you are interacting with the hroses, it's super hard to say what is going on. However, if the horse reacts in a big way, this isn't always a sign that you've done something wrong. It is often a sign that they are surprised at something.


It COULD be that they are surprised becuase they are used to you behaving one way, and you are shaking up their world. Or, it could be becuase you are being inconsistent enough that they are never sure HOW you will react, or , it could be that your timing is off, and you are catching them too late, AFTER they have started to do what you asked them to do. In which case, they may be a bit 'insulted' that you are punishing them when they ARE doing what you asked, but that is becuase you are just too late in your responses.
(meaning: you asked them to move forward, they resisted, you got ready to swing the rope , or raise a whip, to get them to go forward, they came forward but you had so much momentum you went ahead and applied the correction. you were LATE)


Knowing when and how much of a correction to apply is something that takes feel, and attaining 'feel' takes quite a long time . Some get it faster than others, but I think all of us can improve in the area.
 

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Sounds to me as though your horse finds your reactions to him to be unpredictable and has become defensive. I also bet that your absence of confidence becomes apparent when you do ratchet up your response, and you become more "predator-like" in the horse's perspective.
 
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