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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone.

So I have had my gelding about 2 months now, he is 5. We have been working on ground work, I have been following the CA method. He is beautiful free lunging in the round pen, quick turns of direction 95% to the inside (if it isn't, it is usually my error) quick departures all that. So we moved onto yielding hindquarters, also picked it up quickly. He is a little slower with yielding his forequarter mostly because I don't think I'm very good as getting myself in the right position for it, but we have been doing much better. We do desensitization and he doesn't spoke at the stick (or spook at anything really... he is amazing on the trail) on either side or in front.

We started Lunging for respect with his lead rope and he fights SO MUCH. I'm not sure what it is, he will go once around maybe and when I ask him to stop and turn directions he just backs up and basically glares at me. I ask him with pointing, then click, then stick and then bump on his neck and increase the pressure. He starts moving off and we go for a little while again and then I ask him to yield and face me, which he does, but same fight getting him to move his feet again. Sometimes he will move off, but makes a stink face and starts to crowd me like he wants to bite me. I push his face away and then he stops moving forward and then the whole thing starts over again. I had a friend come and help me, she stood to the side behind me with the stick so she could really move his hind end and body away and out which worked well and he finally got the idea of what to do. So we work on it for a few days straight (for maybe 15 min at a time) gradually removing my 2nd helper and he was good for about a week or so, until a few days ago. He reverted completely, fighting again and this time he bit me >.< hard enough for it to leave a NASTY mark.

I'm not sure how to move forward, I don't want to keep fighting with him, (he knows how to do it since he will track both ways for the first few times and then shuts down) but I know with him trying to crowd me he doesn't respect my space at all and I can't keep a second person with me all the time to just work on his lunging. Just wondering if anyone had suggestions, I am going to talk to my previous trainer whom I took lessons from as well. He doesn't have the best attitude with other things also sometimes, like he use to kick out a lot when I first started riding him we have worked through it, but he still kicks out sometimes. Yesterday I got on him bareback and he started rounding his back and acting like he was going to kick out. I have had him checked by a couple vets, a chiropractor, got his feet checked, everything so I don't think it is from pain, I think my pony has a bad attitude about things. I also spoke with his previous owner and she did say he kicked out a bit with her under saddle as well, WHICH she didn't tell me of course when I went to buy him, so yay.
 

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Sounds like he's tired of going around in circles every day. Lunging every day gets boring for horse hard on their joints also.

Just because you had him checked by a vet had chiro work done. Doesn't mean his attitude isn't from pain. Take him out on the trail give his mind a change of scenery, let him move out going down the trail.

In my book lunging can be way over done there are other ways to train a horse. Line driving riding out on trails thats where all my horse's training is done. Gound work here is making him backup and move his different body parts when asked.

Hardly ever lunge and my boy is respectful good ground manners. And when I do lung he's very responsive. To me sounds like lunging burn out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@rambo99 i completely agree he is probably getting tired. go on some trail rides! :)
We do go out on the trail everyday, well just about anyway :) I mainly started with lunging before our rides because he kicked out. Wanted to get respect from the ground to see if it helped, but he doesn't kick out as much anymore, which changed from me riding him through it. I don't really have him go in a circle a lot, it is more changes of direction than anything, but I will reduce the amount that I lunge him and I will try for just a few turns before he starts to shut down.
 

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Groundwork doesn't automatically equal endless circles. I did 5-6mos of groundwork with my mare, and she didn't get burned out because I changed it up. Even when I do lunge, I do a LOT of straight lines, not so many circles. It's better for them. Constant circles aren't good, in fact they're pretty uncomfortable for them.

Make him back up, walk next to him, but not directly on his shoulder, teach him space, etc. Change the scenery a bit. Make things interesting. Let him know he can't get in your space. If what you are doing now isn't working, change it up.
 

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It doesn’t matter what you do, if the horse doesn’t respect the handler, it is useless busy work. To get the respect of a horse, they must KNOW that silliness will not be tolerated. Horses do not tolerate nagging. Make sure your punishment is strong enough the first time. Teach the horse to ground tie, and work around it. This seems to give it some responsibility.....when it RESPECTS you enough to think about standing still while you walk around, and are not paying 100% attention to it, you will be on your way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
It doesn’t matter what you do, if the horse doesn’t respect the handler, it is useless busy work. To get the respect of a horse, they must KNOW that silliness will not be tolerated. Horses do not tolerate nagging. Make sure your punishment is strong enough the first time. Teach the horse to ground tie, and work around it. This seems to give it some responsibility.....when it RESPECTS you enough to think about standing still while you walk around, and are not paying 100% attention to it, you will be on your way!
He actually does tie really well. He is pretty patient and doesnt dance or do anything silly when I do other things the only time he shows sings of disrespect is when I try to lunge him on his lead or when he kicks out when Im riding. I have tried in different places over objects and all sorts of things to keep his mind engaged. I dont just lunge him in circles for hours on end, we back up through poles, yield his hind and forequarters and other things besides just circles. He follows me around also and we have been doing liberty type things as well, not much, just starting. I do think that I push his limits a little bit on his lead line, which is where the shutting down starts. So I will start with disciplining myself and stoping before I see him shutting down.
 

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There is a gelding on the property where I keep my horses that is a real bad actor. I think that I have mentioned him before in another post. He was an orphan who was bottle fed and coddled, he wasn't gelded until he was six and the first six years of his life he was either in his stall or his pen. He never had any interactions with other horses and a jerk with people.

I was asked help with him in the round pen and that was the first thing that he wanted to do was come at me and bite. Lunge whips can do wondrous things to make a horse believe that is a bad idea. Seriously, it took about five minutes of making him move his feet and keep his distance and he decided that behaving would be good for him. A couple of days later he forgot but at least his owner is not as afraid of him and makes him listen now. He's getting better but I wouldn't completely trust him either.

It sounds to me that he is telling you that he is the leader and you are letting him. No way can you allow him to move your feet. If he comes at you, you need to be pro active and get him back before he is close enough to bite. You need to use that whip on him if he is going to bite you.

I can understand a horse getting tired of running in circles forever but that doesn't sound like what you are doing. And even so, a horse that bites is a dangerous horse. Have someone show you first hand what to do, how to move his feet and get him out of your space and when to release pressure for it to be effective.
 

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I will be upfront here in that I am not a fan of CA's approach. I don't see the point in chasing a horse and making demands that he whip around when changing directions, and leap out and go the other directions. And, the focus on 'chasing' the hind end leads to a horse that will often want to stay facing you as much as possible, becuse it makes his hind end stay out of your reach. He may even try to maintain that 'facing up' position in a defensive manner, becuase he knows the instant he turns to offer you his 'side', you will put pressure on to make him leap off into forward movement.



This builds resentment in a horse, and eventually, in some, aggression. He is very sulky about pressure on his front, becuase he does not want you to be able to reach his hind.


I believe that a hrose should be taught to yield it's front half BEFORE it is taught to yield its hind quarters. And, if you plan to do 4H with this horse, you will want a really good yield of the face/ shoulder, so you can excell in showing in hand.


I would investigate how to approach teaching the hrose to yield the forequarters, just with a halter and lead, and NOT as a percurser to making them go around in circles.


I would also teach this horse to back up away from me, ( and I know people laugh at this , but . . . ) from a wiggle of the lead rope. I would work with the horse where I back them off from me and ask them to stand out 'there', away from me. THEN, you can learn to make them step away, step off to the side.
THEN you can make them back away, step to the side (so that the driveline becomes available to you), AND ask them to begin circling.


Each step , one at a time. get the horse thinking through each thing you are asking them to do., No rushing them into the next step.
 

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So we moved onto yielding hindquarters, also picked it up quickly. He is a little slower with yielding his forequarter mostly because I don't think I'm very good as getting myself in the right position for it, but we have been doing much better.

This here tells me that he doesn't want to move forward and out of your space. When you ask him to, he resents it. Or, you are doing it wrong and he doesn't know what you are asking and resents it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I believe that a hrose should be taught to yield it's front half BEFORE it is taught to yield its hind quarters. And, if you plan to do 4H with this horse, you will want a really good yield of the face/ shoulder, so you can excell in showing in hand.

I would also teach this horse to back up away from me, ( and I know people laugh at this , but . . . ) from a wiggle of the lead rope. I would work with the horse where I back them off from me and ask them to stand out 'there', away from me. THEN, you can learn to make them step away, step off to the side.
THEN you can make them back away, step to the side (so that the driveline becomes available to you), AND ask them to begin circling.
He does know how to yield his forequarters away from me (we need to practice because he is slow) and we also back up a lot with the wiggle of the rope so I am in front and he moves away from me. I back him from the hitching post to his stall. I back him in his stall before I take off his halter. I will sometimes get off him and back him up on the trail too. He backs up a lot, because he has been mouthy since I bought him.

Yes @LoriF he is VERY slow with it, he does not like to move out of my space. And while he does back up a lot it is also slow. So he is always reluctant to move out of my space.
 

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when you back him up, are you going with him? or, do you stand in one place and back him away? Are you using the stick, smacking it on the rope?


I think that if a person walks with the horse, snap snapping the line rythmically, the horse gets no reward for backing up. He doesn't get any farther from you, and the pressure just keeps happening, with each backward step.


If you send him backward, but you stay in one place, and you always start with the softest ask, and reward after one decent step , he should get better at it.
Also, make sure he is actually looking right AT you, right down that line, two ears and two eyes on you before you ask him to back up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I started out with wiggling the rope and then progressed to bumping on the rope with the stick if he needed some more encouragement to move backwards. Once he moved a step back I stopped and praised him. I do go with him, but I let him move back first and then praise, we have started to string at least 5 or so steps together now backing up before I stop and then follow him as well. Basically I try to let the lead rope (14ft) move out all the way until I move forward to praise him, his steps are SUPER sluggish though still. Eventually I would like to keep it continuous, but I know that doesn't happen over night.
 

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You mentioned that you are lunging him in his lead rope. I assume lead rope and halter? I wonder if that's uncomfortable for him. Have you tried with a proper lunge line and cavasson, or lunge line / bridle?
 

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How long of a rope are you lunging him on? You say a lead rope.

Personally, I hate watching people lunge their horses with lead ropes on tiny 10-15m circles. It's hard on the horse, their balance, their body. I wouldn't be surprised if he's protesting going in small circles. You said you had him vet checked, but he could still be bothered by something when he has to turn like that. Wouldn't be the first time a horse has a subtle or situational lameness missed. Or he finds it mentally unpleasant.

Try a longer lunge line so he can travel on a circle closer to what he free lunges on.
 

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Hi,

Starting from the start, reading & responding to your first post first...

I am not a fan of CA or of running a horse around a round pen for 'respect'. I am big on 'groundwork' though. I'd be teaching the horse to yield in all ways, including forehand & hindquarters, before I'd start 'lunging', as I see it as just an extension of what is taught up close with direct pressure. Lunging to me, whether on or off lead is to teach/confirm those 'cues' working at a distance as they do up close.

We started Lunging for respect with his lead rope and he fights SO MUCH. I'm not sure what it is, he will go once around maybe and when I ask him to stop and turn directions he just backs up and basically glares at me. I ask him with pointing, then click, then stick and then bump on his neck and increase the pressure. He starts moving off and we go for a little while again and then I ask him to yield and face me, which he does, but same fight getting him to move his feet again.
So I'd ensure he knows up close what it means when you ask him to turn & go in the other direction, then ask for it/teach it at increasing distance. But what do you do when he *does* do as you ask? It sounds like you just continue making him move, don't reward him for doing it? Then you ask him to stop, then you ask for more... You have to reward what you get, if you want to get more of it. Give him some reason to want to do it.

One thing I don't agree with is the big focus on Making a horse Work as punishment - and providing only a respite to this punishment as the 'reward'. Sure, in most cases, done well, it works, to 'break' the behaviour, to train a horse to do what you want. And I'm not at all doubting the validity of using negative reinforcement(removal of Pressure). But it doesn't help the *attitude*, the *motivation*. And in many ways, can damage it - I for one try my hardest to ensure the horse enjoys their 'work', and using it as punishment doesn't help that. So give them reasons to *want* to do what you ask, not just do it because things will get ugly if they don't.

Sometimes he will move off, but makes a stink face and starts to crowd me like he wants to bite me.
I would be punishing that, strongly and quickly.

I push his face away and then he stops moving forward and then the whole thing starts over again.
Of course, maybe completely wrong idea, but sounds like you're a bit... wishy washy. Not clear, sharp, concise, maybe too slow in your responses. I'd also, considering his obvious dislike for the activity, be working on things like this for no more than a minute or few, before going back to something he enjoys.

I'm not sure how to move forward, I don't want to keep fighting with him, (he knows how to do it since he will track both ways for the first few times and then shuts down) but I know with him trying to crowd me he doesn't respect my space at all
Yeah, I think continuing to make it a fight, you're not likely to win... at least without major battles & 'breaking' him, which IMHO if you break a horse's spirit, you don't win either. IMO what you want to set up is win/win situations. He might know how to do it, but he needs a reason why he should. & again, I personally don't believe "because it'll be worse if you don't" is a good enough answer.

As for crowding & biting, 'respecting' your space, I would absolutely have been teaching him clear boundaries & in that situation. Being potentially dangerous, this is one instance I'd use punishment. Definitely "it'll be (very much) worse if you do" ...as well as rewarding him for 'respecting your space'.

like he use to kick out a lot when I first started riding him we have worked through it, but he still kicks out sometimes. Yesterday I got on him bareback and he started rounding his back and acting like he was going to kick out.
Inclined to say I'd keep looking for physical reasons, tho I acknowledge you've had him checked out before. But it could well be 'just attitude'. Without further details on the whens & wherefores though, don't know.
 

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I back him from the hitching post to his stall. I back him in his stall before I take off his halter. I will sometimes get off him and back him up on the trail too. He backs up a lot, because he has been mouthy since I bought him.

Yes @LoriF he is VERY slow with it, he does not like to move out of my space. And while he does back up a lot it is also slow. So he is always reluctant to move out of my space.
I don't get why you back him up so much? Just because he's 'mouthy'? So is it as punishment that you're doing this, because he's being mouthy at the time? Or are you doing it lots because he's been mouthy in the past & someone told you lots of backing up will stop that?

As said, I don't generally use any 'work' as punishment, but if a horse for eg. put his mouth on me, I might react with a short, very sharp 'get the hell out of my space!' which may cause a backup. If you're doing that sort of thing, or any punishment, and the horse continues to do the Wrong Thing, so you feel you have to do the punishment again & again, then you're not being effective somehow. Perhaps too slow, not clear, not strong enough, so it's just 'nagging'...

As for doing it 'just because', the horse would also learn to back off when I asked and 'look sharp' at it, or else I might just march into him, arms flailing. They tend to want to avoid being... flailed upon! I do this when walking in front of them too. If you're walking ahead on a narrow path & there's a snake in front of you, you want to know that your horse will get out of your way if you suddenly hit reverse, not push you forward into the snake.

And again, what's in it for him, to *motivate* him to *want* to do the Right Thing? Rewarding the little things will get you everywhere!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
His lead rope is 14ft and when he actually moves out and away from me I let him use the entire amount of rope so idk however big a 14ft diameter circle is. I don't do it for a long time, like I have said, the majority of our ground work sessions have to do with him yielding his forequarter and hindquarters. When we are "fighting" on his rope I tend to go back to him yielding his hindquarters because he is good at it and he really gets it, so I as thinking that he might "like" or have "fun" doing that, I always try to end on a positive note so I don't ruin our relationship. We also almost always end our sessions out on the trail, because that is where I believe he is happiest so he gets to do what he loves everyday after we get in some training. We also train while on the trail too so he isn't stuck in the arena or round pen all that much.

He has been checked by vets, teeth done, has had xrays, we have also done lots of sensitivity checks while he has been in movement and otherwise, I also started him on a joint supplement just incase. The only thing it might be is that he needs to develop better muscling in his hind end, because he was never really asked to work with his. Which might be where his kicking out comes from. He also crossfires a lot with his right lead. We are working slowly with building his muscles with hill work and such.

Also, with the method that I use I reward for the slightest try. Ya'll make it sound like I run my horse to death, really I don't. He is rewarded for when he tries. When we first started if he moved off correctly for a few seconds I had him yield his hindquarters to look at me and he got to sit for a few moments while I loved on him. So we moved on and he was good for a few rounds and then the attitude started. You are 100% right and I do realize that I am "wishy-washy" as you called it. Part of the issue I think is that he has realized that him bringing in his head towards me intimidates me, so he does it. I back him up for this reason also. I want him to learn to move out of my space and backing him up is moving him out of my space, it isn't for a punishment.

I didn't lunge him yesterday night, we just worked on flexing and other ground work things before I got on him and we went for a trail ride and he was great. I know that he is probably the type that won't need a lot of lunging (he isn't a very "hot" horse) and I don't plan to make it a daily thing, but he still needs to learn it I think. We have a lot of training ahead to get him to move out happily and I would like to introduce things to him from the ground first so he doesn't buck me to Neverland.

My big fear is that he just doesn't have the willing attitude I thought he did when I first went to try him. He wasn't on the best food then and was pretty lethargic when I went and tried him. So I think he is still getting use to actually having good meals and such also so with that comes a change in attitude. Which I thought would be happier, but I am thinking happier also means more energy, which means more behavior/personality either good or bad. We have only been working together for a short time and now with my trainer coming to help I am sure we will be able to work through it. I do appreciate the suggestions and about trying a longer lunge line. I will get one and see how that works for him and I will continue to work on him yielding away from me on his forequarters.
 

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I never have been and never will be someone who would advocate abuse and its a good thing that in general the horse world we want to live in agrees with me
I do think though, that we might have moved too far in the opposite direction and while on one hand we've got people screaming about that horses need to live natural lives those same people are often guilty of humanizing them where punishment for bad behavior is concerned.
Nagging at horses achieves nothing but at times one really good hard whack at the moment the bad behavior happens will save you and the horse from a whole lot of arguments as time goes by.
I've done it in the past to horses that were biters and they never tried to bite again.


One of our horses has a very annoying habit of trying to wander out of her stable when she's being skipped out, if the wheelbarrow is placed across the door she'll push it out of the way or tip it over. Training sessions where she gets backed up and made to stand have never worked, shouting at her, even a sharp slap the same failure.
A couple of weeks ago I was emptying the scoop of muck into the wheelbarrow and swung around not realizing she was right behind me and accidentally banged her right across the head with it. It terrified her and she was very wary of me but she wasn't physically damaged. The next day she'd forgotten that she'd got a concern with me and we were right back to being friends again but she's never tried to set foot out of her stable again unless she's been clearly told she can.
 
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