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I just began leasing a 24-year-old gelding named Duke who may have a bit of Missouri Fox Trotter in him. He's pretty much bomb-proof and totally kid-safe. There is a round pen available at the barn. Should I try Join-Up with him? The barn manager has no problem with me doing round pen work with him but I'm just not sure what kind of reaction I should expect from him. What do you all think?
 

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Yes, he will "join up" with you. If you or the horse lacks confidence it can be a valuable thing. I think it also accelerates the bonding process. An older trained horse that's been there done that might not really need it but it doesn't hurt anything.
 

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Depends how you do it. Depends what you want to achieve. I prefer methods along the lines of Carolyn Resnick's way, for eg. of bonding with a horse. I don't agree with chasing a horse around in circles to supposedly achieve that - I don't believe that's what you really get from that anyway.

However, if you're teaching an already desensitised & trusting horse to turn & face you when you ask, to come to you, follow you, whatever, then I think MR's 'Join Up' or Parelli's 'Catching Game' for eg. (a rose by any other name...) can be a handy exercise. I wouldn't treat a horse to this procedure if he was afraid & don't try to make them run from me.
 

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Personally I always try to do ground work with a horse, its a great evaluation tool. You'll be able to see what he's been taught, how he reacts to different things. You didn't mention whether or not he's a dominant type, but if so it will be great for asserting your dominance over him. Remember though, if he is new to you, and/or he has never joined up before, it might take a little time to get him to take the first step.
 

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Join up will always work. Remember that the goal is to allow the horse to choose to be with you. Once they make that choice the rest is simply a process of helping them understand the right choice from the wrong one for any given stimuli.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you everybody! Unfortunately, the round pen at the barn has about four inches of standing water in it at the moment (N. Texas has been very wet lately). So far Duke has been a bit standoffish with me. When I go to pet him he kind of turns away like he's just not interested. I've ordered some Perelli DVD's hoping to make a real connection with him. Thanks again for the advice!
 
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