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I am a beginning rider. I have been riding a 18 year old mare for some time at a woman's barn that I've been volunteering at. Well things were progressing ok, but I wasn't able to get out here for 6 weeks. Well I got on her recently and she was spooked by some birds in the arena and would not "turn left." We had to go around the opposite end. I felt like such a moron. Parelli says that some people are too forceful or are "wusses," and I am a wuss. I wanted her to go left, and she wouldn't. So I pressed my right leg into her, no luck--then pulled the left reign--she resisted--I pulled harder--and that didn't work. I even tried just stopping and standing there and trying to wheel her around by the reign. It was irritating and I was upset. I was told that if I used a crop with her she will pay attention, but what if I don't have a crop?

Can someone tell me how I can get her to turn the way I want her to without hurting her? I don't want to kick a horse in the ribs. I've seen people do that and I disagree. We have had really nice moments, this mare and I, but how do I correct something like this?
 

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First off, a nudge in the side will not hurt the mare. I think she is taking full advantage of you, not being scared. The birds initially scared her and now she's using it as an excuse to take advantage of you. I don't personally agree with Parelli. You need to assert yourself and be the dominant one if this is the case, and let down your fear of hurting her. I see this sooo much in people. The "oh I don't want to hurt him!" or "I don't want him to hate me" etc. It's all a load of crap. Horses don't hate, and they don't hold grudges. I use the ask, ask, demand method. Ask once, if you don't get a reaction, ask again. If you STILL don't get a reaction, demand. I'm not saying be downright nasty or anything, but you NEED to assert yourself if you want the mare to stop taking advantage of you. I've kicked my horses. Hell I had to use blunt spurs on my gelding for a few months because he was dead sided and would ignore my leg. Guess what? He doesn't need them anymore.
 

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It would help to see a video of this, because I don't think you are pressing hard enough let alone pressing too much. If you were pressing too much, your horse would give a pain reaction or spook. She seems to be ignoring your aids, therefore you aren't pressing her enough. If she doesn't move left off your right leg, you are going to have to keep pressing until she does. A crop would probably help if your leg aids still aren't enough. When she ignores your leg aid, you can give her a tap on the hind so she will listen to your leg. Remember to remain calm, assertive, and persistent. You don't want to feel hesitant or doubtful but you definitely don't want to feel angry either. She will learn that once she does what you want, you will take off the pressure and both of you will be content. If it helps, you can lunge her down in that end before you get on so both of you are more prepared to ride in that end of the arena.
 

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The ask, tell, demand rule is very good because your giving the horse a chance to do what your asking with increasing amounts of pressure.

Lunging is a very good idea. Sometimes horses(just like us) have bad days and sometimes youve go to accept it, and not be upset.

It does sound like she is aking advantage of you, and you may have to be more assertive. but remembre you cant out muscle a horse so you may have to try such things as lunging or having someone lead from the ground.
 

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Welcome to the forum!

My suggestions is to take some lessons. Learning to ride on a forum is like learning to ride a motorcycle by reading a book. There are way too many things going on that we have no idea about as we read your post and the description you give is that of a new person to horses.

You can get an enormous amout of information - both good and bad - on a forurm but there are some things that a pro needs to see first hand.
 
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