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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today I was working with Cookie today on standing to be mounted. Every time she started to move I stopped getting on and asked her to back up. The more she wants to move the more she backs up. (at least thats what I've been told to do) Well after a few times of backing up, She decided she wasn't going to back up any more. To the point where I would be standing back and smacking her in chest with my lead rope (Has a leather popper) and nothing .......NOTHING seemed to faze her. It was very obvious it was just a game to her (Thinking "HA make me back up, go ahead try") while I was becoming more and more frustrated. At witch point I was starting to really fumble.

I have only had for for a little less than 6 months, so we are still establishing the respect factor. And I know I could stand to learn a lot!


ANY help or advice would be greatly appreciated, Am I doing something wrong? Please no condescending remarks, I am trying the best I can and if I am making mistakes I want to fix them not be looked down on or pitted.

(P.S: I was using a pretty soft rope halter that she CAN lean into with ease, And have another one thats a bit stiffer I plan to try. But can that really be all it takes to get to to backup with out a big fight? Is it just a pressure issue?)
 

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Been there. Done that. Are you smacking your horse's chest with rhythm? Make sure you are consistant in what you are doing. Make a rhythm while smacking her chest & increase the pressure every four smacks. A thinner rope halter will work & make sure it isnt up to high on her nose because then she wont feel it. Hold pressure on the halter & smack with rhythm. Don't release until you feel a little bit of give. Reward even the slightest try. :wink:
 

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I totally don't get it.

You are working on standing still while mounting. So, when the horse moves while mounting, you get off and make it move some more? That makes no sense in horse language.

Essentially you are teaching your horse that if it doesn't want to be ridden, it can just move and you'll get off. It has also now learned that you'll try to make him move, but instead if he just stands still (which is what you want him to do in the first place....???) you'll quit.

Again, I don't get it. Why would you make the horse back up if it moves while you are mounting? You want the horse to stand still.... not go in any which way. You are confusing him.... he doesn't know if he should back up or stand still or go forward while mounting, and when he moves you get off and make him move some more. Horses can go very fast in reverse, if he picks up the idea that he should move backwards while mounting it could get ugly fast. He's just plain got your number!!


Here is exactly what I posted in another recent thread today, it applies directly to you, as well:



"Take your horse into the arena without any other distractions. No other horses, etc.

Start from the ground. Lead him around, and periodically stop. Use verbal commands. Walk, whoa, stand. Say walk when you ask him to walk. Say whoa when you ask him to whoa. Say stand when you want him to stand still.

You'll have to start very small. Walk several steps, whoa, when he stops, say "stand". Let him think about it for a few seconds. If he moves around, say whoa, reinforce your cue with your body (gentle tug back on the halter), say stand, and you yourself stand stone still. When he stands for a few seconds, give him TONS of praise (not treats) and walk on. Lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over and over and over until he GETS IT. The horse needs to know that when you say whoa, you mean WHOA until you ask him to move. This won't happen all in one session, I'm sure, but you're reinforcing commands on the ground that you'll use in the saddle.

Don't get angry, or push him around or whatever if he's just fidgeting. If he's being dangerous, obviously correct him as needed, and go back to your exercise. So he's not super bored, throw in some backing, some trotting in hand, etc.


Move to the mounting block. OTTB's don't usually understand the concept of standing to be mounted when they are just out of their track life. Same exercise. Ask him to whoa, and stand nicely at the mounting block. When he moves, tell him to whoa, and stand. Reward him for standing even a short time, and continually ask him to stand for longer and longer.



Move to mounting work. Hop on, and ask him to stand still when you first get on. When you've got a pretty good stand on him, reward him, and get off. Move to the mounting block again (as he's surely fidgeted away), and repeat this process. Over and over and over and over.

When he'll stand calmly at the block and wait for you to ask him to move, move to saddle work. Ask him to walk several steps. Throw in a whoa (use your voice commands!!!). When he whoa's, ask him to stand. If he starts to move and get squirrely, ask him to whoa again, and tell him to stand. When he stands for a few seconds, reward him ("GOOD BOY!"), and ask him to walk. Repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat.

It will take awhile. He'll probably get mad. When he gets annoyed, ask him to do something else, move onto some trot work for a little bit. Ask him to whoa at some point, and start the cycle over. Always rewarding him for even a little time standing like a gentleman.


I hope you get the point. You use the same cues every time, on the ground, on the lunge, when mounting, and when riding. Eventually it'll be so ingrained into his brain that you won't need to say the words.



I do this with all fidgety horses, especially when saddled. I'll stand there for 20 minutes at a time if the horse doesn't get mad. Whoa is whoa. I ask them to stand, they stand. If they move one foot, I'll reinforce the whoa by feeling their mouth again, and ask them to stand.


whoa, stand
whoa, stand
whoa, stand
whoa, stand


Repetition is all you need. Don't get bored with it and think you need to stop. You need to fix the habit, even though it isn't as fun as loping around.

Good luck."


I hope it makes sense. It is very simple. It can be draining though, walk, stop, etc etc etc, mount, dismount, mount, dismount. Do it. Stay calm and cool and collected. Don't get ****y with the horse, don't yell, don't hit him unless he is being dangerous. Ask for the behavior, reward then the behavior happens.
 

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by the way, that wasn't meant to sound condescending or rude at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you! Your suggested makes a lot of sense And I will try it. Thank you very much :)

But the strategy behind trying what I have been trying is supposed to be For everything she does that is something other than what I asked she is made to do something she DOESNT want to do. Until it clicks as "alright, I was asked to stand still but I walked off and had to back up witch I did not like so I should stand still" With praise for every time she stands still, praise for little bits of standing and then ask for more standing to get praise until she understands we stand until she is asked to move. Witch in my opinion still makes a lot of sense but then again so does what you suggested, obviously what I'm doing is not giving me much success.

Your technique is saying this is what I want and just asking again every time he hasn't gotten it until he gets it and then you praise v.s asking and punishing anything other than is what you asked....I think xD Correct me if I am wrong
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
And she does know how to stand, She didn't used to have this problem thus the reason it gets so frustrating because she knows what she should do but is just like "toying" with me I guess
 

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Thank you! Your suggested makes a lot of sense And I will try it. Thank you very much :)

But the strategy behind trying what I have been trying is supposed to be For everything she does that is something other than what I asked she is made to do something she DOESNT want to do. Until it clicks as "alright, I was asked to stand still but I walked off and had to back up witch I did not like so I should stand still" With praise for every time she stands still, praise for little bits of standing and then ask for more standing to get praise until she understands we stand until she is asked to move. Witch in my opinion still makes a lot of sense but then again so does what you suggested, obviously what I'm doing is not giving me much success.

Your technique is saying this is what I want and just asking again every time he hasn't gotten it until he gets it and then you praise v.s asking and punishing anything other than is what you asked....I think xD Correct me if I am wrong

Essentially, no, but also yes.

I'm not saying punish, I'm saying correct the horse. Your horse obviously knows how to stand, as you said he's toying with you. Basically you ask until you get the correct result, and reward.

Horses don't get trained on punishment, they are trained on the release of pressure, which is the reward.


Lets say I'm with my horse in the arena. My horse won't stand for mounting, here is exactly what I would do (and have done with many horses).


I'm at the mounting block. My last clients horse would stand like a rock at the mounting block, but the second you got on, he'd move. So. I'd get on, and be ready for him to walk off. Most of the time my feet weren't even in both stirrups yet, because he'd walk off while you were putting your off foot in the stirrup. I'd get up, sit, and take hold of the reins, fully prepared to pull back and say whoa the second I sat my butt down in the saddle. If he stood, i'd release pressure on his mouth, give him a "good boy" after a few seconds, and walk off. If he didn't stop when I asked, I continue to ask with bigger aids until he stops. I'll tell him good boy, but instead of walking off right away I stand there. I'll stand there until he goes to make a move of any sort without me asking. I'll reinforce my whoa again, and ask him to stand. I'm not going to ask him to back up, or spin in circles, or do anything other than stand. He knows what it means, but he is being naughty. Instead of get mad and flip out, which he'll just feed off of and get worse, I'll simply ask him to calmly stand.

Don't get me wrong, if he goes to take a step when we're 4 repetitions into the exercise without me asking, heck yes I'll growl at him. I never stop asking him with my hands, seat, and voice to do what I'm asking him to do until he complies. I'm the alpha horse, always. Just like the alpha horse in the field, I'll ask and ask and ask until the horse answers correctly, and when he does, I'll release pressure with my hands, relax my seat, and I'll tell him he's a good horse.


It's like training a fresh greenie out of the field for the first time. How do you teach them to whoa? You wouldn't just say whoa, and then slap the horse into reverse when it didn't get it. You want to set the horse up to succeed, not try and scare it into maybe thinking the right thing.


The "if you do it wrong, you'll do something you hate" rule only works in a few situations. Most of the time it is just confusing, and the horse will forget what it is being punished for in the first place in all of 10 seconds. And anyways, backing up is easy. Backing isn't punishment.... I'd only use backing in certain situations, like with a horse that lunges at people or something. The only situation I can think of with that whole scenario that actually works is when a horse doesn't want to be caught in the field, or if they are lunging around like a lunatic not listening to cues on the line. Fine, you can run around like a lunatic, but you can only stop when I say you can stop. Wait for them to get sick of playing games, keep them moving. Then, when they are very done with it, ask them to stop. Chances are good that you'll catch the horse, or that they'll start listening to you better on the lunge line.


Just get on, and when the horse walks, with a regular "whoa" pressure and verbal cue, ask the horse to stop and stand still. If he stops right away, get excited and say "GOOD BOY!". Then just stand. Stand until he gets antsy, and the minute you feel him move, ask him to whoa again. You are just blocking forward movement with your reins... like closing a door in front of him. When he'll stand nicely, longer than he usually does for mounting, let him walk off and go do something else, but always come back to stopping, and standing. Get off at random times and get back on, asking him to stand every time.

You just don't have to wrestle with him to get him to stand while mounting. He'll win the wrestling match every time. Ignore the little petty stuff. Just get up there and don't take no for an answer (unless there is danger, of course).


Ugh this has turned into a novel again. Sorry about that.
 

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Whoops, your horse is a girl. Sorry about that one.
 

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Also, frankly, many people actually cause the horse to walk off or inadvertently ask the horse to walk off when they mount.

Are you 100% sure you aren't bumping the horse when you mount or try to get the other stirrup? Are you an advanced enough rider that you can simultaneously ask your horse to whoa with the reins and mount? Be prepared for her to walk off, and block that door before it happens. Don't yank her mouth around, but gathering up your reins and applying pressure while you are mounting isn't the end of the world.

I went into novel mode, and I started typing without considering your skill level. Either way, what I'd suggested isn't hard, just time consuming and a little boring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you so much for all of your SeWHC! I can't tell you how grateful I am for all of your help and advice. I feel much more confident now about this, Thank you again.
 

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Hey, no problem! It's easier to just calmly ask a horse something while setting it up to succeed than it is to fight with a horse... the horse always wins!

It'll save you frustration and he won't get the satisfaction of a reaction from you when she's being a punk.

Just be confident, hold your ground, and reward the heck out of her when she does it right. Maybe an occasional treat... that wouldn't be the end of the world either. Just change your mindset and her mindset, that's all!
 

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You know it is funny because I totally disagree with seWHC. I have never had a horse that was a problem to mount however my sister bought a SB which was an absolute dog when it came for her to try and get on. Arlia is a lovely horse she is very sweet natured and ameniable, unfortunately my sister was nervous about mounting when she first got her. Arlia learnt very quickly that all she had to do was swing her bum away from the mounting block everytime my sis went to mount. My sister ended up beside herself with frustration, in every other way this horse is great and once she made it on to her back Arlia is very easy going. She asked me to help.

I lead the horse to a mounting point and as soon as she did her normal trick I got down and kept her moving. She thought it was reasonable to swing her hind quarters away to avoid mounting so I thought it was reasonable to continue to make her bum move around and around. The point behind the lesson was that standing still at the mounting block is the easy thing to do. Arlia learnt that lesson in about three minutes and now stands politely while my sister mounts. Having said that my sister had to go through the same process briefly (once she knew how) to show Arlia that this is now a hard and fast rule. Everything is now roses and chocolates with their relationship.
 

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Eh, glad it worked for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Kinda helps to know that I am not completely insane for trying what I have, I have seen others use the same method with much success.
 

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I mean, I get the concept, but I've seen it used very poorly and without proper execution so many times, it makes my head hurt. Usually the horse just fights back. Things like that need to be done without any thought to it in a split second, or it takes too long and the horse does not associate what you are asking them to do with the act you really want them to be doing instead. Frustrating all around.
 

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Also-- I want a calm, compliant horse. If I can get the same results with a calm session, instead of getting the horse all worked up and lathered up-- I'll take the calm way above all else.

I also don't want to punish a horse by lunging or backing or circling.... as I will use all of those maneuvers in the future for training/suppling. If I effectively train the horse that any of those things are punishment, I just have to undo that training in the future.

Backing isn't a punishment. Lunging isn't a punishment. Why would I use it as one?
 
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