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Honestly, I thought this was going to be a simple task.. but when riding my prospect mustang last sunday we realized, she would follow any human around while one is on her back but when asked her rider to go.. she seems confused.
I watched her current trainer try to get her to go with some squeezes, clucking and eventually a few kicks.. she went but hesitant and it was obvious she was confused. He is a big believer in natural horsemanship and does not want to use any kind of spur unless neccessary and merely enough to let her know they are there...
He also mentioned a plastic bag on a stick.. but I'm nervous about the fear that might raise!
Like I mentioned she can be easily led around and will follow anyone walking around on the ground - from this point what would be my best bet? I plan to use her on trails and I'm most certain she will follow others - would putting her in that situation be best?
THANKS!!!
 

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What about having the rider give the proper signals while a person leads her from the ground at the same time. That way you can use what she already knows to teach her something new. I definatly don't like the idea of useing a plastic bag. I would go for spurs or a whip before I resorted to fear tactics. As a trail horse you want her to learn to be brave about things she might see on the trail, not teach her that the right thing to do is run away.
 

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What you need to do is link rider cues with movement in her mind.

Have a handler on the ground walking next to her, perhaps with a halter and lead rope in addition the bridle at first. The person on the ground and the person in the saddle need to communicate:

"Okay, now I'm going ask her to go by squeezing her sides. Can you lead her with the lead rope?"

"Okay now I'm going to turn to the left and cue her with my rein, can you turn to the left?"

Okay now I'm going to ask her to stop by pulling back on the reins. Can you stop walking when I count to three?"

Once she starts linking the cues that you, the rider, are giving her with what the handler on the ground is asking her to do, you can try it with a handler and no halter and lead rope and then eventually with no handler at all.
 

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(I'm not a trainer) But if you're using western tack, how about a light pop with the reins on the butt to initiate forward motion?
 

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Are you taking on this girl to train yourself? Are you sure you're experienced enough to deal with a barely even greenbroke Mustang? Make sure you think long and hard before entering this situation, because from the sounds of it, you don't sound qualified to be taking on a project of this magnitude. I mean no offense, only that moving a horse out is a very basic step that every trainer knows how to do.

Do not allow her to follow the trail horses - the idea that you would take her out on the trail before she's trained to obey your commands is alarming and dangerous. This little lady needs months upon months, if not years, of work before she will be a reliable trail horse for you. A professional trainer can probably get it done quicker, but you need to make sure she's safe.

I work by lunging my horses and round penning them. They are taught voice commands for all their gaits, as well as commands for speeding up or slowing down a gait. I find it much easier to train my horses to voice, and then teach them their leg and rein cues from the saddle by associating them with a vocal command. Some horses may be confused by you being on top instead of in the middle, and this can easily be rectified if you have a helper by having them stand in the middle of the round pen. Often they don't even need to do anything, it merely creates an environment the horse understands while you work on associating your vocal commands with leg commands.

Spurs will not help you at this point because this filly has no idea what a leg squeeze means.

Please be careful and I wish you luck.
 

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Seems like I have been telling everyone lately, but seek an experienced professional. Specifically one experienced with mustangs.

If you cannot get her to go, a very basic concept, you do not have what it takes to train her and it is not fair to her...

Sorry if that sounds harsh, but is the truth. It could be very dangerous for both of you, especially without proper guidance.
 

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I agree with the two posts above me. Please don't take offense. We mean none, but you need to be working with this mustang on the ground until she is super confident in you and knows all her voice commands without hesitation. Once she knows those, it will be much easier for her to associate "walk on" with a leg squeeze. Use "walk on" on "walk" or whatever voice command you teach her in tandem with a leg squeeze and when she walks forward praise her gently and quietly with a nice scratch so she knows you're pleased. You will eventually be able to just give her a squeeze once she associates "walk on" with the leg squeeze and that they mean the same thing. The same will hold true for all the gaits, but I think you may need some help with this ... it's going to be a huge project and Mustangs can be harder to train than the more domesticated breeds ...
 

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If you don't want to seek a professional (or can't afford one) I would suggest going to your local library and borrowing any books or DVD's regarding horse training/colt starting. I would also use the internet to your advantage. Youtube has some good videos regarding colt starting/horse training/ground work/round pen work.

Wishing you the best of luck.
 

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No kicking and more spanking on the butt. A spank will always get the forward motion you want. Just be sure you have their lateral flexion soft enough to pull them around if they really take off. I trained a mustang last year and she was the same way the first ride, she was really unsure about going forward with me up there. But this is really the case with most horses. Just stick with it though you'll really enjoy the mustang when you get her going.
 

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Hah, my colt is the same way. The last time I worked with him he was just starting to understand that he was supposed to listen to the person on his back and not the one on the ground. He doesn't know a thing about what my legs are telling him, yet. He is not quite there, but we are making progress by the day. All I can say is just be patient, do not lose your temper, and reward any try.
 

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No kicking and more spanking on the butt. A spank will always get the forward motion you want. Just be sure you have their lateral flexion soft enough to pull them around if they really take off. I trained a mustang last year and she was the same way the first ride, she was really unsure about going forward with me up there. But this is really the case with most horses. Just stick with it though you'll really enjoy the mustang when you get her going.
Can you please clarify this? For someone promoting "natural horsemanship" I fail to understand completely why the first step would be to lay into your horse for being confused. I have no opposition to disipline, in fact my young filly caught the end of my reins across her rump within her first few rides because she decided she'd rather crowhop at the gate to avoid my commands. My point being, she already loosely knew the commands and was being blatantly obstinate about leaving the gate and her friend. One wallop was all it took for her to realize we weren't doing this her way and she settled down and listened to me.

I do not think walloping a confused and nervous youngster across the *** because you couldn't be bothered to take the time and patience to give a clear signal is the answer. The discipline should come down on the head of a horse who is understanding your signals but deciding to test your leadership, not the horse who has no idea what you're asking because they've never been given the foundation to perform it. Spanking a youngster isn't going to teach it forward movement, it's going to teach it to flee forward in fear which is the complete opposite of the ultimate goal you want to reach, especially with a Mustang.

My apologies if you weren't clearer in your message and I missed something, but when talking to an inexperienced trainer it's best to make your message clear so that no confusion ensures. Telling someone who's never handled a Mustang or even greenbroke horse before to spank it on the butt is liable to get someone severely hurt or killed. I'm not assuming the OP has never done either of these things, but the tone of her message was inexperience, and thus why I have replied as I have.
 

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Can you please clarify this? For someone promoting "natural horsemanship" I fail to understand completely why the first step would be to lay into your horse for being confused. I have no opposition to disipline, in fact my young filly caught the end of my reins across her rump within her first few rides because she decided she'd rather crowhop at the gate to avoid my commands. My point being, she already loosely knew the commands and was being blatantly obstinate about leaving the gate and her friend. One wallop was all it took for her to realize we weren't doing this her way and she settled down and listened to me.

I do not think walloping a confused and nervous youngster across the *** because you couldn't be bothered to take the time and patience to give a clear signal is the answer. The discipline should come down on the head of a horse who is understanding your signals but deciding to test your leadership, not the horse who has no idea what you're asking because they've never been given the foundation to perform it. Spanking a youngster isn't going to teach it forward movement, it's going to teach it to flee forward in fear which is the complete opposite of the ultimate goal you want to reach, especially with a Mustang.

My apologies if you weren't clearer in your message and I missed something, but when talking to an inexperienced trainer it's best to make your message clear so that no confusion ensures. Telling someone who's never handled a Mustang or even greenbroke horse before to spank it on the butt is liable to get someone severely hurt or killed. I'm not assuming the OP has never done either of these things, but the tone of her message was inexperience, and thus why I have replied as I have.

He didn't say wallop, he said spank. I would just wait the horse out if I could but if you need to it is fine to give the horse a little spank on the butt to bring thier energy up and get them to move thier feet. It may get the OP dumped in the dirt but it will most likely not get them severly hurt or killed. It realy is no more dangerous than what the OP could think up herself. The whole situation is far from ideal but using my reins a little is about the best way I can think of to get that horse to turn loose of it;s feet. As far as using fear, that horse is going to be scared regardless of how you get it to move. It has never felt anything like that before. It's when the horse gets comfortable moving under saddle that it might blow up and buck. I have ridden many many young horses and very few buck during the first 3-5 rides. The trouble comes when they decide they don't like you up there but they are comfotable enough to move.

The best advice I could give is If you have to ask you shouldn't be doing it. Find someone to help you or your liable to ruin yourself and/or the horse.
 

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When I first broke my gelding, he did the same thing. He was just uber confused. I also agree with the other posters about seeking assistance. When training a colt you need to have the confidence and knowledge to deliver the correct cue and to be able to read their body language. You need to know when its time to encourage them forward with a pop in the rear with the reigns or to wait it out and with light encouragement. I would also suggest more ground work with the colt saddled up and desensitizing for things that pop out on the trails.

In any event, things to read up on and look for when breaking are open reigns, getting them to turn will also encourage movement, and believe me.... kicking and squeezing until your face turns red will get you no where fast. The colt will relate the forward movement with a squeeze of the leg only once it understands that you want it to move forward. So the best thing to do would be to speak their language about what "walk on" means.

Sorry if that didn't make sense, I'm tired. When I got stuck with something, I sought out help and then moved on to the next thing I could do. Good luck!
 

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I agree with a lot of the posters above, and I hope you will continue to work with the trainer.

You don't mention what discipline you're planning on for her, that would be helpful.

My personal method was to always use 1.) voice commands and 2.) a stick. And no, I don't mean thrashing or beating the horse with a whip. When I worked with the horse on the ground I always used the stick as an aid esp. if the horse didn't respond promptly to the voice command. It's worth mentioned that I desensitized the horse to the stick early in ground work and they were not afraid of it. When the horse responded promptly and correctly to voice commands on the ground and on the lunge, they were ready to mount. Even though it takes some time to acustom themselves to the rider's weight; once you were mounted, it's the same voice and the same stick. If they didn't respond to a voice command and a tap-tap with my legs, I added a tap with the stick.

It helps to have a ground person with you're riding youngsters, but I want the horse listening to *me* when I'm on his back, not the ground person. The only time that's not a bad idea is a beginner riding lesson where a good school horses pays attention to the instructor.
 

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I also wanted to add that I strongly disagree with popping on the butt or the shoulder with the reins, or anything that stimulates a flight response.

First of all, don't introduce something under saddle that you haven't at leaset prepared the horse for on the ground. Second, if you're trying to reinforce your leg aid, the reinforcement for that aid should happen in the same place on the horse's body. Would it work for you if your riding instructor slapped your hand when he/she wanted you to pull your lower leg back, or corrected your hand position by pulling on your stirrup.

I won't comment on the use of spurs on a newly broken horse. I have a legitimate philosophical difference about their use with many horseman (meaning, many good, thoughtful, educated horseman use them in a way very different, or for different reasons than I do.) Personally, though I wouldn't in this situation.
 

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I agree with the swat on the butt with the reins. Not abusive by any means. Just a little motivation to get the horse to move away from the pressure of the swat. I'd much rather use my reins than go to a spur. Spurs are not for increasing speed, but that's a whole 'nuther discussion.

I don't think anyone has suggested this yet.....ground driving. I never start my horses with someone leading while another person is in the saddle. I want my horses to move forward confidently as a lead horse. They can't do that when they have a person there to rely on. With ground driving, you can teach them about steering, stopping, backing, etc., but they will also learn to move when no one is leading them. They will move at your command still, but since your command comes from behind them rather than in front of them, they grow more confident. Everything taught while ground driving transfers quickly & easily to the saddle.
 

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My only point is that this mare IS broke to ride. Somebody did the training on her, and didn't bother taking her any further. Invoking a flight response by spanking her on the butt because nobody bothered teaching her the cues is not good training in my opinion, especially with a more inexperienced trainer. I can understand it as a last resort, but to squeeze a horse who has no idea what leg pressure means and then immediately reverting to spanking her is connected in the horse mind as punishment for having no clue what to do. This filly is already accepting of a rider and the motions, she just needs someone to spend a little time relating the aids for her. The jist of my post was not being against going for your reins if necessary, but it shouldn't be the first thing you go for before even giving the filly a chance to understand what you want. Moving out isn't the issue here, the issue is nobody has taught her the cues to go, they just taught her to follow a human like she's been doing since she was first worked with.

Creating resentment and fear in a horse that's already quite willing and accepting is two steps backward.
 

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The horse is NOT broke to ride. She's not even what I would consider green broke. She's a quiet gentle horse that will allow someone on her back, thank heavens. Now the real training needs to start. The progression of using a swat with the reins needs to be - cluck, squeeze, swat. This will teach her without fear or resentment. She'll have her chance to move, and if she doesn't take those chances, then yes call it a punishment if you want, but it's a punishment for not doing the right thing. Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard. If she moves her feet, it's easy & no punishment. If she doesn't move her feet, it gets harder for her to stand there. If the trainer keeps the progression of cluck-squeeze-swat consistent each & every time they ask for the horse to move her feet, the horse will know that if she doesn't move after the cluck, she's gonna get a squeeze (kick) to her ribs, and if she still doesn't move after that, she's gonna get a swat to her butt. Soon enough she'll figure out that it's much easier for her to move when she's clucked to.
 

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First of all welcome PS. One thing for sure is that there are a lot of opinions from a lot of folks--some good some not so good so hang in there.

Getting a horse to move out during the first few rides can be a little tricky for sure. There are lots of ways to accomplish it--which one to use really depends on the horse, the situation, the training methods and such. Throw in the wild or mustang deal and man o man.

Sounds to me like the trainer who is working with the horse has done a pretty good job so far--just getting a hand on one can be a real challenge sometimes--so I would stick with his methods and techniques. Just because the horse is having a little issue like moving out shouldn't result in questioning or asking him to change his methods for sure. Let him do his job.

Depending on your experience--i would agree that it doesn't sound like you have had much in the way of starting--i prefer this word over breaking--a horse be sure that you understand that mustangs are not the horse to learn on for sure.
 

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I've seen this in a number of young horses and it is by no means un common. I prefer the no go horses to the all or nothing horses.
Try as one of the first responders suggested, if she follows someone then help her link the process.
Tell the person on the ground your intentions and when you sit on her go button, say walk and squeeze with your legs... they aid her by asking her to walk from the ground. Like wise, tell her person your going to ask her to stop, when you say whoa and pull back if she needs the help they can ask her to whoa. Eventually work towards the ground person taking several steps away from the horse and you asking her to walk to them. Soon you can replace the ground person with a horse to follow and one good trail ride usually connects all of the dots. I would also carry a crop to tap the rear end asking for some forward motion. Just be patient and help her out, if she is sweet and willing she'll come right around.
 
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