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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all! My horse has a lot of issues currently (that I believe are simple fixes). He was not ridden very regularly prior to me getting him. He's currently pretty rusty in A LOT of areas. I feel that a crop would be helpful in fixing some of the more important issues I have stumbled across.

Some of his current issues include:

-Refusing to move forward without having to circle him.

-Backing up when I ask him to move forward--sometimes he will even back in a circle when I attempt to use a circle as a fix. Usually in this situation, I will ask him to back quite a distance. I've found with a lot of horses that they would rather walk forward than back, and when given the choice, will walk forward--problem solved..temporarily. A smack on the butt helps as well--but I don't like being physical with him any more than absolutely necessary.

-His transitions need work. His walk to trot has gotten nearly flawless--however, his trot to canter is bloody horrid. Instead of transitioning smoothly and fluidly, he merely proceeds to trot faster and faster until it's both silly looking and extremely uncomfortable for the both of us, I'm sure. At this point, It's very difficult to both ride such a trot and continue ask him productively for a canter. He will eventually pick up a canter, and it's lovely! However, this needs work. A pop on the withers will more often than not work--since he was ridden western before me, his previous rider would use the split reins on the withers; unfortunately I can't do that with English reins (though I shouldn't have to!)

-He isn't necessarily refusing jumps, though he slows down drastically and hops over them or even steps over instead of jumping. This problem, I'm not extremely concerned with as I feel that this just needs a bit of work. He is most likely new to even small jumps, so I want to take my time with this. I just figured I would mention it.

Would a crop help me if used properly? I have never had to use a crop on a horse more than once or so, and it was because said horse was just plain lazy. I don't want to be cruel to my boy--I just can't imagine him thinking of me as an aggressive rider. I want to be assertive, but not aggressive. I want him to enjoy our partnership as I do, not fear it and me.

Any and all opinions or input welcomed and appreciated :)
 

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The first two, yes to back up your leg. One good whack along with your leg aid may put a stop to this, not just using it alone. Make sure when you do whack, you are ready for the reaction and don't lean on or pull him back on the reins. That will undo what you taught him.

As for the transitions.. no. That sounds more like he's unbalanced. Lots of transitions down and up will fix that as will time. Horses build muscle memory as we do. Then if he isn't listening to your leg, you can give him a tap on his rump along with your leg aids, but honestly it sounds as though he's dull to your leg, and needs time ridden correctly to improve.

Also lunging trot to canter, canter to trot on the ground will help him get the transition down better. I always slow my horse down, halt halt to balance, and cue for the canter. I refuse to let him do the "tranter" so I slow him down, get him balanced and ask again. Ask him coming out of a corner. Large curves are easier for a horse than straight lines.

As for the jumping, consult an instructor.
 

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As long as you don't become completely reliant on the crop, it can definitely be beneficial. Ask for the upward transition with your leg, and if it's ignored or he doesn't respond quickly enough, re-enforce it with a crop.

I carry a crop with me when I'm competing my TB over fences (eventing and jumpers, not for hunters) or schooling new XC obstacles. I never use one in jumping lessons.
 

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I have half of some 8' split reins draped around my saddle horn. If my mare is afraid of something ahead, I work with her on her fear. But if she just doesn't feel like going further, and she starts backing up...then a quick pop on her butt beats her backing rear first into some cholla cactus...

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have half of some 8' split reins draped around my saddle horn. If my mare is afraid of something ahead, I work with her on her fear. But if she just doesn't feel like going further, and she starts backing up...then a quick pop on her butt beats her backing rear first into some cholla cactus...

Haha!! For sure! My boy almost backed us off a cliff today. And into an electric fence. And a tree. That's when I realized that something had to be done before someone gets hurt!! (Better than cactus butt though!) :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I don't really worry about him being afraid, because as a previous search and rescue horse I was told that he had seen it all and been through it all. Her exact words were "If he acts afraid--he's not." I don't go by this all of the time, but he is a pretty fearless boy (which could be good or bad when you think about it!)
 

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Hmm this is similar to a post I put up and ultamatly decided that I would use a crop and It has worked wonders on our transitions and our "Listen Here" moments- Never had to over assert myself just gave him a tap to get his attention- I'd say try and let us know how it worked out!
 

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Use it. He may even come to the point where you don't have to actually use it, just have it and raise it. When my horse decides he's forgetting himself, out comes to crop and I don't even have to use it - I just have to wiggle it as though I'm about to.
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When you use it make it count! The goal of a crop is to discourage bad behavior, not to make him move. Ask once, if you don't get a response WHACK him and your leg aides too. This should leave an impression that you mean BUSINESS when you ask him to move forward and he won't soon forget what happened when he didn't move. I'd rather see someone get the point across once then gently tap their horse 100 time and constantly have to ride with a crop.

As for your canter it could be a balance issue. Another common mistake I see is the horse having the energy, but the rider not able to contain it. Don't let him rush forward, hold him and bottle that energy up into the canter. Also, make sure your not doing anything that would hinder him, for example posting, leaning forward, etc. Make sure your cues are solid and consistent. Personally, I live verbals (noises) for transitions to make it all the more clear. I finds it helps a lot when training or tuning a horse.
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It is rare to see me riding my 4YO without a crop. When I ask for something, I want it WHEN I ask. So I always carry my crop as a just in case, whether working on transitions in the ring or crossing water on the trail.
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I wouldn't worry about being too dependent on a crop, or being too harsh. When used correctly, they are very good teaching tools.

I used to ride a paint gelding, laziest horse I have ever ridden, no joke. Some people can't even get this horse to walk, let alone canter or gallop.

I started riding him, and I used a crop to get him to listen. I do the same for any horse that is ignoring my cues, but I always ask in the same order.

1. Ask normal for a trot/canter or for forward movement. Soft cue with your calf/rein

If no response:

2. Ask harder, a sharp jab in the ribs with your heels is usually what I do.

If no response:

3. At this point I am determined to get this horse to move, which is where the crop comes in. He gets a hard, quick whack on the butt or shoulder, depending. I've never had to go past this step to get a horse to move.

When he does move, I take off all that pressure and let him move.

The next time I ask for forward movement, I do the same 3 steps in order, always assuming he will just listen with the first step, and never using the crop until I give him a chance to listen to my slight cues. With most horses, just knowing that you are serious and will use a crop is enough to get them to move off the slight cues, step 1.

I had that paint gelding cantering, bareback in a halter without a crop after only a few weeks, off slight cues. Other people still have trouble getting him to just trot, but if you prove you are serious to the horse, they will take you serious and eventually, hopefully, you won't have to use a crop anymore. The whole goal of a training device, to me, is to get to the point where you no longer need to use it, and the horse still listens to you, that's when you know you've used it properly.
 

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using riding whips

I got blocked from Rick Gores channel for (correctly) saying to some kid that whips weren't invented for desensitizing horses to loud popping noises but for encouraging horses to go forward. The fact that some people use them for abuse is neither here nor there and I would rather see someone give a horse/pony a quick tap than see a rider constantly banging away at its sides which is actually just going to desensitize them to that so they turn into 'go slow plugs'
I would suggest you introduce your horse to a whip first to see his reaction - just in case the very idea of you carrying one sends it into a mad panic attack (been there, learnt the lesson when I was about 12) If all seems to be OK then get yourself a long schooling whip so you can use it behind your legs while still holding the reins and not yanking him in the mouth. Start gently until you see what sort of reaction you are going to get - you might go off like a rocket or he might need a harder tap. I used to school my horses that were aimed for dressage with a long schooling whip in each hand so that they stayed really light to the leg aids.
Our Irish Draft gets lazy if she has a break and just carrying one works for her - never had to use it
 

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When used correctly, they are the opposite of cruel. What's better, being told once and then firmly backing it up? Or the nag nag nag nag nag nag (you get it) you see so many people doing with their heels or spurs to get their pony to move.

My childhood trainer (good ol' Max von Blucher from Austria) told us that getting on your pony without a crop was like going in to battle without your sword. There was one pony in the barn that was the exception to the rule, but like I said, he was the exception! If you had not had the "pleasure" of being run off with that pony, you hadn't lived :)
 

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Ever hit yourself with a crop (like you would if you used it properly)? It doesn't hurt. Makes a good smacking noise though. Old style racing whips are a different story but a smack with the crop on the shoulder when needed is better in my book than letting the horse get away with not working and making a habit of it, or putting a pair of spurs on. So long as you use it as an aid to get his attention on you when he's ignoring your leg, and not as a punishment, I don't see it as cruel. Be aware that some horses are whip shy though.
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Interesting thread, since I just started using a crop myself a couple of weeks ago. Usually my horse is pretty sensitive to the aids, but once in a while, he just doesn't feel like working and ignores them. My trainer hates the nag nag nag someone mentioned above, and gave me a crop. I am sure that they *can* be abused, but what I was taught then is that the right use makes a nice popping sound - I tried this out on my own leg, and it didn't hurt at all.

The process Lakotababii described above is the one I was told to use. Works well, so far. My horse was shocked when I started carrying the crop, though! He didn't believe I'd actually use the thing, so I had to demonstrate that. Now it seems to be enough that he sees me with it, and I don't have to actually use it very often.
 

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whips - when to use

It really is to me one of those 'safety net' things that is there if you need it and if you don't need it its not such a big hassle to have in your hand. Its a shame that those of us who carry a whip like this have to take all the flack for the minority who use them in temper mostly because they either don't have the patience or someone couldn't be bothered or didn't know how to train the horse right in the first place.
Every young horse that we bred was so well handled and confident around people from the very start that having a saddle put on and then a rider after the basics were sorted was like just another step along the way, they had nothing to fear so lots of people get hold of a horse like this and then think there are going to be some sort of magic buttons on the horses sides that you can just touch and he will jump the corral fence and gallop safely off into the sunset. WRONG!!!!!
There are lazy horses and then there are the ones who just don't understand what you're asking them to do - thats when the whip shouldn't be used and you have to go back to basics and educate them
 

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Crops are only cruel if the hands that use them are cruel. After reading your issues, a crop would be most beneficial. Just remember to use leg too. Last year I got too dependent on the crop and my legs weren't getting worked. It took me this past year to correct that mistake.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks everyone! I really appreciate all of your input :) I'm definitely going to start carrying a crop, and using it only when I absolutely need to. Hopefully that will fix any respect issues and get this awesome boy to his fullest potential :)
 
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