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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"And we have to end on a good note".

Two VERY common statements that is heard around training horses over and over.

Scenario #1

Sally wants to have a crisper transition from the trot to the canter and have the horse catch the stride on the correct lead as she changes gaits.
Her 41/2 year old gelding has been under saddle for a year and all the rough riding is mostly gone and behind them.

She has gotten each gait in the round pen both ground work and in the saddle but the transitions are still very rough and she wants more as show season approaches.

She is determined to "Power"her way through the problem.
So as she walks out to get her horse for her training ride she is filled with purpose and determination about the plan that she has formed and is eager to put it into motion.

After all,the saddle fit is perfect,the bit is the same one the that a world champion uses,she is wearing the same boots that her hero wears and the horse wants for nothing regarding health or grooming.

Sally mounts up with the two statements burning in the forefront of her mind,"we will get it today and it will end well"!

There is a real problem here because they in fact have never accomplished the feat at all and have only occasionally stumbled into the gait by chance with no foundation for the maneuver.

The horse is not balanced and sally does not have an extra set of eyes watching and coaching her through the hoped for improvement.
Sally has set the stage for failure and disappointment by her expectations.

As the ride progresses the frustration and lack of success is passed on to the horse through larger and larger corrections yielding less and less results.
Again the statements are brought into action with no results and the horse is showing outward signs of rebellion.

So Sally ends the ride in the way she knows how.....on a good note at the walk around the yard and the horse is put away confused and she leaves frustrated and upset.

So what went wrong and what does Sally need to break the cycle of failure with this style of training?

We need some new sayings!

"We get what we get and we build on what we have".

"We build success on a foundation of success"


Please share your scenario.
 

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I don't agree much with "But we have to finish what we started". Because it depends on what one means by "finish". Although I do agree with "finishing on good note".

First, when something doesn't go right I always blame myself, not my horse (although yes, I do get frustrated). Second I try to re-think what is wrong and how to ask about it in different way. Usually that helps. And if the horse does just one or 2 strides (starts say canter correctly) and we've been practicing for some time I consider it as "good note" and stop. If I completely don't get what's wrong I take a horse to the trainer (well I do it anyway), and ask about that specific problem and how to solve it. I must admit I'm not the greatest rider (I started riding very late), but at least I'm trying to learn on my best and put it back on my horse. Also videotaping helps a lot!

And the new saying... :) "Take things slowly and be patient!"
 

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I've had "Sally" days.......LOL

Let me start by saying I am NOT a trainer....... I've posted a lot about the young gelding that we took in which had been locked in a barn for months.

After he was given 6 months to put on weight and recover from being a stud colt it was time to try and get him to a point where he could maybe have a useful life with someone.

Everything was a struggle. He was afraid of changes in terrain, he didn't lead, if he became scared you never knew where his body was going to end up.

To say the least I was in over my head but I was all this guy had. The "end on a good note" was foremost in my mind, after all it had been drilled into me since the first day of horse ownership.

I had been working with him in an indoor for a few weeks but this day was beautiful so I decided to work him in the outdoor. He was leading well by this time so getting to the ring wasn't an issue. My "plan" for the day was to have him walk/trot out in the open and work on flexion and backing. Little did I know that the sight of a barrel was going to throw him into absolute panic. I mean full blown I'm out of here and you can't make me stay.

Long story short, my "plan" went out the window fast and at first I was a little pee-o'd that he was being such a goof. Funny thing was as I stood there waiting for him to relax enough so he wasn't a danger to me or himself it came to me: Him standing still WAS a good enough note. Who cared if we didn't complete plan A, plan B was just as big of a step.
 

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I have two nice geldings that would be really nice geldings if I hadn't tried to push them faster than they needed to be. I wanted them to learn to spin and I THOUGHT I knew how to teach them. I caused them both to be wringy tailed and spur shy before I figured out that what I was doing wasn't working and I needed to try something new. I educated myself about how to properly teach a horse to spin and both of them will turn around pretty well now but they would have been much better off if I had quit and re-evaluated what I was doing sooner. The young guy I have coming along now is going to be fantastic with a little more consistent riding because I have finally learned that if it's not working then I am doing it wrong or I need to try something different.
 

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I definitely think training is key here. When working with an unbalanced greenie you need to work in baby steps and take what they can give you. And patience and setting them up for success is key.

However...if I'm on a horse that I trained and/or I know what it's training level is and it's blowing leads then I will finish with one good lead regardless of how long it takes. That being said...I won't just continue to run them around the rail and boot them into the canter to get the lead. I will work on bending, flexing, shoulder ins and circles and set them up to get it right and work them through whatever is going on mentally before I re-try the transition and lead work.

A good rider/trainer can adjust to the horse and rides to the horse's level, while still riding to improve the horse mentally and physically with each ride. I try to live by this motto.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
"Ending on a good note"

Scenario#2


Billy is a pretty good horseman and always rides finished horses and knows how to buy a well trained horse.
As a result he cuts a fine picture as he enters any arena and his friend is quite impressed with Billy skill as a horseman.

The friend thinks that he has made a good choice in asking Billy to help him with his 31/2 year old gelding at the first show of the season.
Even though this is his first horse he makes sure to ask lots of questions and surround himself with quality help.

The horse sports a new(perfect fitting)saddle and is fat from an easy spring filled with sweet feed and oats.
The gelding had a good 30 day start last year by a top named trainer that is highly thought of in his new circle of horse friends.

Billy is anxious to show his friend that he is up to the job of getting the horse ready for the first rides of the season.
Billy knows that he has to finish what he starts and has to end on a good note and all will be well.

The mid morning sun sparkles off the spurs and they give a little jingle as Billy mounts up and he has been careful to finish off the tack with his favorite curb bit that works so well on his horse and has solved so many problems.

The young horse moves out briskly into a forward trot on the rail of the working pen and a small crowd gathers to witness the skill of the horseman and his green colt.

Billy is anxious to do a good job and get the gelding through the high head set problems and to get him lopping with more of a sweat then his friend has been able to do.

Billy woke up in the hospital room surround by family and his close friend and there to lend comfort in a time of need.
His friend was sure to tell billy that he had set the record for altitude gained at that arena off a bucking horse.
He was sure to include that everyone helped to end everything on a good note after they gathered up all the tack by walking the horse out around the show grounds after the life flight helicopter left.

You got to know what you don't know!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
"You have to end on a gooid note Becky"

Scenario#3

Becky is very involved with horses and considers them " her life ".
Her friends have horses and she grew up around horses.
She loves barn chores and all the sounds and smells that go along with the life.

Her bedroom as well as all other thing in her life is decorated with the primary theme of her life and there is no doubt that she is horse crazy.
Her mother still rides but is not as active as she use to be.

Becky is part of a group of young ladies that all ride at the same barn,with the same discipline,and all grew up going to horse camp together.

The girls spend hours talking about each other horses a as they groom them to perfection,adding creative braids and colorful tack and ribbons.
The entire group has been under constant supervision by professional riding instructor since a very young age.
They have all sworn a secret allegiance to each other and to horses and promise not to get married and move away from each other.

"Becky wants to distinguish herself among her friends as she agrees to take on the "Rescue" horse that has been long neglected at the barn where she rides.
She does not really care that her(now very occasional) instructor and mother both think that it is not a good idea at all.
Her mother has promised to talk about it more when she get back from her business trip to New York.

After all,she has been riding for almost 9 years and this is the best barn in the area and she will be going to collage soon and she is becoming a woman.

Becky enters the 60 foot round pen with the 17 and a half hand OTTB that has long been abandon by his wealthy owner and has spent the last 2 years in a 12x24 stall with occasional turn out.

Becky has a plan and will start with lots of ground work and progress to saddling and than soon show the other ladies that the Royal Thunder can really jump like she knows he can......But that will be later as this is the first lesson.
She is armed with the knowledge that she MUST finish what she starts and also it is very important to end on a good note.

What Becky is not aware of is that the new barn help that was hired last fall to clean and bed their beautiful 40 stall barn that everyone calls home,is in fact afraid of Royal Thunder and has done everything in his limited power to protect himself as he cleans the horses stall each day.

Roberto needs his new job and his English skills and education are a bit lacking and his family needs his contribution to the household income to get by in a new country.
Roberto does not want to make waves and not get a job done so he has handled the situation the only way he knew how.
Royal Thunder was moved by any tool that Roberto had in his hand at the time and sometimes he even took off his belt to move the horse out of his way.
The barn owner was always pleased with the way the stalls were bedded.

The barn owner and head trainer met in the hospital lobby and waited for the phone call from Becky's mother.
They stood by the coffee machine and wondered out loud how the girls were able to get Royal Thunder the 80 yards to the round pen where the tragedy occurred.
The full effect of the event had not set in yet and it would be some time before it did.

Assessment is the first step in training!
 

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These scenarios happen all too frequently and the only thing that keeps more of them from ending in the hospital is luck.
 

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Yeah, 2nd and 3rd scenarios are very unfortunate.

From my own experience...

I called couple trainers "dealing with problem horses". "You have to be safe, horse has to be safe, and it should finish on positive note" one of them told me like 5 times. By the end of 2 hours horse was in sweat, reared like crazy and was all around ****ed off (while she was somewhat OK in the beginning). If THAT called the "positive note", then I don't know what the negative is. :shock: Second trainer as long as she started to misbehave was obviously afraid of the horse and quit after 30 mins or so. Needless to say I never called either of them back (wonder why, huh).

With scenario #3 I've met a wonderful huge qh gelding. Nice looking, great bloodlines. BUT he was hit in head twice in stall by say Robertos, who should clean it but were afraid of the horse. This incident left permanent bumps on his head and permanent mental injury so even after over year I spent with him working and making him trust people he'd rear and flip over in complete panic any time someone would wave a hand 10 feet away. After he sent a rider to the ER I decided it's just not worse it safe-wise (he was not mine anyway). This is a scenario I REALLY feel sorry about, because some POS can do life-long damage to the horse (and as well innocent owners/handlers) "just because".
 

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Scenario#2


Billy is a pretty good horseman and always rides finished horses and knows how to buy a well trained horse.
As a result he cuts a fine picture as he enters any arena and his friend is quite impressed with Billy skill as a horseman.

The friend thinks that he has made a good choice in asking Billy to help him with his 31/2 year old gelding at the first show of the season.
Even though this is his first horse he makes sure to ask lots of questions and surround himself with quality help.

The horse sports a new(perfect fitting)saddle and is fat from an easy spring filled with sweet feed and oats.
The gelding had a good 30 day start last year by a top named trainer that is highly thought of in his new circle of horse friends.

Billy is anxious to show his friend that he is up to the job of getting the horse ready for the first rides of the season.
Billy knows that he has to finish what he starts and has to end on a good note and all will be well.

The mid morning sun sparkles off the spurs and they give a little jingle as Billy mounts up and he has been careful to finish off the tack with his favorite curb bit that works so well on his horse and has solved so many problems.

The young horse moves out briskly into a forward trot on the rail of the working pen and a small crowd gathers to witness the skill of the horseman and his green colt.

Billy is anxious to do a good job and get the gelding through the high head set problems and to get him lopping with more of a sweat then his friend has been able to do.

Billy woke up in the hospital room surround by family and his close friend and there to lend comfort in a time of need.
His friend was sure to tell billy that he had set the record for altitude gained at that arena off a bucking horse.
He was sure to include that everyone helped to end everything on a good note after they gathered up all the tack by walking the horse out around the show grounds after the life flight helicopter left.

You got to know what you don't know!
Sad thing is you usually don't realize you don't know it until you come to a point where you need to know it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
"But we have to end on a good note"

Scenario #4


John is kind of a guy's guy and has a deep male laugh that matches the rest of his rough demeanor.
He likes to do very masculine type sports so it is no wonder that he was drawn to team penning and cattle work.
He like the clothes,the outdoor setting,and the good conversation.
He like the guys and their no nonsense attitude and practical approach to their lives.

When they are not talking about their trucks or trailers they can always change the subject to guns or cattle.
Most of the guys "Just get the job done" and are not all about clinics and touchie feelie training methods that are just miking some guy rich somewhere.
John has a couple of dollars stashed away and is comfortable in life and feels that he can make up for the late start he had with horses by purchasing good,quality tack and horse flesh.
His new friends seem knowledgeable in the area that he is interested in, successful in the arena,and are eager to help their new member out.

John had a great day on his new colt and he got lots of compliments about the good choice he made in buying one of the other members young Quarter horses.
The horse was flashy,with a lot of chrome and would grow to fit him well in the future.

The day had gone well and it was time to load up and head for the barn as John had finished what he started and was looking forward to a cool one at home so he could end things on a good note.

Bud the 4yo gelding that he was about to load was "a little sticky" on loading so John was ready with a couple new tricks to make it go smoothly.
So were 3 of the other fellow that wanted John to finish his day right.

As the tired gelding took his third tentative step into the new aluminum trailer John was sure to show the horse that he(John)was still very much in control of what was happening.

One fellow yelled "Load up",another cracked a whip with a plastic bag tied to it ,and a third threw an empty beer can just for good measure.

Johns trailer still has the dent in the roof of his trailer where the horses skull was crushed and neck was broken.
The good note is that the ranch where they were at had a backhoe to off load and clean up the mess.


Don't ever walk behind me or my horse when I am loading up and don't ever help a loading uninvited!
 

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While these scenarios all end in the worst case I can think of at least once that each of these have happened and usually several times. It never ceases to amaze me that some people think that yelling "load up" or some equivalent at a horse that has never been in a trailer will magically make them step in. I have told more than one client to shut up and go somewhere else while I get thier horse loaded. I generally try to do it in a nice way (especially if I haven't been paid yet) but some people just refuse to take a hint.
 

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Very interesting, informative article - as always - Marecare. I will ponder and reply when I feel that I can make any sort of a contribution to this thread, but I wanted to bookmark it :)
 

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The last scenario just made me sick. I can deal with people being hurt by stupidity, but when an animal is hurt due to owner mishandling it just makes me mad.

I have to move horses frequently as they come into the rescue. It never fails- any horse I pick up has never been taught to gently trailer load. I always go about it with the idea that I have all day to load. It might take me 2 hours to get the horse to load willingly, without being beaten and minimal use of ropes etc. I don't have a problem with taking one step and standing until the animal is calm before making one more step.

If people would just SLOW DOWN they would accomplish much much more. I remember when I picked up my AQHA mare her owner was in such a tizzy the mare was feeding off that energy and reacting. I asked the owner to leave and go in the house and I'd load the horse myself. She was rearing up and very scared, and owner thought I was insane- but I was safer with her owner gone. I just backed her up and talked to her and calmed her down, then we slowly took one step at a time. If she got scared, we stood still. After about an hour I had her loaded quietly, gently and willingly. It was babysteps. Now, she will hop in and out with no problems.

I get tired of seeing horses that have been manhandled and forced into a behavior, where if a person just stopped, thought about how the animal would feel trying to learn the behavior, and proceeded slowly and gently that they would be so much more willing and happy to work with you.

I guess what I am saying is In order to accomplish a behavior, you must slow down and let the horse understand what is expected of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
For two days I watched owner and horse enter the large arena and present themselves to the trainer.
They were always met with "Good morning,how can we help you today"?

Then would begin this long list of complaints that had obviously been building for some time.
I felt like I was a fly on the wall of a marriage counselors office witnessing a persons most private moments and I was a bit embarrassed.
The resentment had built and the complaints were very long.
Owners were frustrated,at their wits end and even depressed.
How had they gotten to this place?
Why were they having so much trouble with such basic handling skills?

Each person had brought quite a bit to the table.
Their horses were well cared for,in good health,and the tack was of high quality.

Many people brought friends and family to support and cheer them on in a time of need.
They were dressed well and had made a financial commitment for the three days of the clinic.
The one common thing that they all shared was that their connection with their horse was not working.
Many stated in their intro that they always tried to finish what they started and and end on a good note.

I watched as the trainer got them working with their horse and lowered the goals and expectations and each time the result was the same.
He was like an old pal that had come back into their life to help solve the problem that they were having.
Owner after owner,horse after horse,they began to work together.
I realized that he was teaching them to not end on a good note but to BE the good note.

The sense of starting and ending was different also as the lesson never really "started"or "ended" in the classical sense.


The work never really stopped,it just changed places.
 

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Scenario#2
Billy is a pretty good horseman and always rides finished horses and knows how to buy a well trained horse.
As a result he cuts a fine picture as he enters any arena and his friend is quite impressed with Billy skill as a horseman.

You got to know what you don't know!
This is an unfortunate reality in the horse world; there are so many people who have been around horses their entire lives, but does that mean you know how to train a horse? No.

I had a friend who went through this kind of thing when she bought a green gelding. Everyone had forewarned her that the horse had issues undersaddle, but her eyes were too caught up in the 'feeling' of love she had for the horse. Well when the horse started bucking her off, and refused to be saddled, she blamed the horse. She didn't realize that the horse's issues stemmed directly from her lack of experience to handle those moments when the horse needed confidence from his rider/handler. And when she did encounter issues, she tried to rush him through them, causing further confusion and chaos in the horse's mind.

By the time I went out one weekend to evaluate the horse, as she wanted some opinions on where to go with him, she couldn't even put the saddle pad on him before he was lunging, rearing, and bucking. I worked him from the ground, and got him moving out nicely in the round pen, listening to my cues, and when he was doing that well, I pulled out a bareback pad, and started desensitizing him to it...at first, he panicked, and started around the round pen again (I was working off lead). Rather than try to stop him, I pushed him to go faster, and did some swapping directions, then stopped him, and invited him back into the center of he pen. This time he stood as I rubbed him all over with the pad, and slung it over his back several times. I put it on, and tightened it. I then pushed him out of the center of the ring and asked him to move out...no bucking, rearing or nonsense at all came out of him. Brought him back in, and did the same with the saddle; by this time he didn't even bat an eye, and cocked a leg as I saddled him up. The next day I went out, did a bit of round pen work, and saddled him up without incident. I told his owner that she needed a trainer to help her with the horse, and that his problems were stemming from her own lack of confidence in him.

This owner never did seek out consistent help with the horse, and wound up selling him less than a year after she bought him. Just goes to show that years of experience simply riding horses, doesn't mean you will ever know how to properly train one.
 

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It is always a pleasure to read your posts MareCare. with just a little common sense, humility and patience all humans can find the way to form a proper relationship with the noble horse.

Too bad greed, ego and stupidity get in the way so much.
 

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Many people brought friends and family to support and cheer them on in a time of need.
They were dressed well and had made a financial commitment for the three days of the clinic.
The one common thing that they all shared was that their connection with their horse was not working.
Many stated in their intro that they always tried to finish what they started and and end on a good note.
Just wondering what you mean by that?
 
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