I ran Rusty into a tree - Page 5 - The Horse Forum
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post #41 of 73 Old 08-06-2019, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
You're right to some extent @Yogiwick , that I don't immediately get harsh with a horse - or any other animal for that matter. But I'm getting more confident with Rusty. The issue is that Kodak destroyed all my confidence, so I'm just getting it back. What I've realized with Rusty is that he'll do things like shy away from something, or launch into an unasked canter, but to my amazement, I don't fall off. My heart still beats a little faster, but it's easy to stay on Rusty no matter what he does, even at full gallop down a hill. He just keeps me in the saddle, I don't know how else to explain it, whereas Kodak wouldn't stop until I was on the ground. So I'm learning to up the ante with Rusty because it works. And it's true that I didn't try a lot of things before running into the tree. I should have tried other things. But it did happen very fast, and Harley and DD were behind us so I wanted to stop Rusty fast. My first attempt was turning him into a tight circle, but he only turned about a quarter of the way in then took a stride or two and I let him go into the trees (I mean, I was pulling back the whole time, but he went forward anyway). It literally happened in seconds. So it sounds like the best course of action is for me to work at developing a quicker response in him, and for me to hammer it in my brain as well so it becomes second nature. But really, I don't mind disciplining this horse because I know he needs firm boundaries. Just like a toddler. The difference is that if I tried to discipline Kodak, she exploded even more, but when I do it with Rusty, he does respond, eventually, and I don't come off him. This is what leads me to believe I can deal with him.

Sure, it sounds worse that he decides to ignore me in some ways, but having dealt with a mare who totally lost her mind in a blind panic anytime something was slightly out of place, I'd rather deal with a stubborn horse than a panicked one any day.
Yes and I know you completely understand when "harsh" is appropriate so I don't hesitate to tell you to be meaner lol! Definitely better to have to work on being mean then the other way around!

I completely understand about keeping you in the saddle. I rode a mare that was NUTS, completely randomly explosive under saddle, every few steps even. However, she was super sweet and she WOULD NOT let you fall. I never felt unsafe riding her despite BAD spooking every 30 seconds. Definitely a good horse right there!!! He looks like a portly little fellow too, some are easier to hang on to.

I also understand everything happening so quickly, it sounds like you did what you could at the time. That's also why (in addition to working on reflexes in both of you) I say prevention is so important. It's important training wise, but the time to respond is a split second and if things were to go bad obviously you want to prevent that too.

Do look into a Kimberwicke, they are good bits. Have a curb type of feel bit can be ridden with the sort of contact you describe and are customizable in a sense. Most horses like they but they also work well for control. Very commonly used on bratty ponies, also should work well for green Appaloosas lmao!
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Last edited by Yogiwick; 08-06-2019 at 05:26 PM.
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post #42 of 73 Old 08-06-2019, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
...There is no place around here that looks like what you describe. Nowhere he can run for half a mile in an open area. It's all woodland with the odd field, but even those are littered with groundhog holes so I'm hesitant to let him run much in them.

I agree his canter needs tons of work. And yes, he's only cantered outside the arena a few times.

There is also no other horse I can use for brakes...
That makes things trickier. Maybe you could practice cantering in an area very close to home where he feels safe and is less excited?

I was thinking of an analogy for horses that are green.
It would be like a driver that was doing a driving course following signals they were just learning. Like if a blue light flashes, it means turn right, if a yellow light flashes, it means turn left. If a green light flashes once it means go faster, twice, it means slow down.

The driver could practice following those signals at 10 mph and do great. But in order to remember what the signals meant at 50 mph, they'd need to also practice at a faster speed. The first few tries they might go off course or try the wrong thing. It would be much easier if they were able to follow another driver who knew the signals, and that would help them choose correctly and reinforce what each signal meant.

It's quite normal to feel like a green horse steers like a big truck and needs strong cues. Harley might have started out that way too. Many times training is a progression toward lighter cues. Even my most sensitive mare required strong plow reining at the beginning when she didn't know cues.
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post #43 of 73 Old 08-06-2019, 08:06 PM
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^Completely, it's about being SUPER direct and clear and often incorporates "incorrect" riding. Some things you have to remind yourself the horse doesn't even understand what you're asking. And oftentimes that translates to stronger cues, and if the horse is intentionally misbehaving sometimes it means doing what it takes to get them in line and reevaluating your approach.
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post #44 of 73 Old 08-06-2019, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post
But sometimes, he decides he wants to run and it's not always in a place where I can allow it.

As soon as we left our usual trail to go on this new one, he started to trot, then canter.
So as he took off, I did the usual fruitless attempts to stop him.
Ok, so lots of things to clarify here. He doesn't decide what gait we go on a trail. He decides to take off on me, and I pull him back in. In other words, I correct it. Twice, I was unable to correct it immediately, and this last time I used a barrier to stop him. Granted, maybe not the best barrier, but I didn't think he'd actually hit it - I figured he'd stop. But to be clear, at NO POINT do I just let him go whatever speed he wishes. I do let him walk fast as opposed to walking slow, but as long as he walks, I'm ok with that.

Okay, good clarification but still: Regarding the most recent incident, in my mind, he should have never gotten to the canter at all. You said he started to trot FIRST and then canter. What did you do when he started to trot? Were you asking him to slow down and he just ignored you anyway? Or did you wait to do anything until he was cantering?

Or..... did you feel him *think* about start to trot? Really, that's where it should begin by recognizing that he's about to go faster. You don't describe that he is suddenly bolting (which is different) but that he slowly increases his speed. You should immediately be giving him that half-halt slow-down cue before he really gets going much at the trot. If at this point in a time, a "bigger bit" is going to accomplish that for you so that he can't ignore you, so be it. If you prefer a snaffle you can move back down to that later on.

I get that you are taking a relaxing ride on the trail, but with an issue such as this, it really is important to pay attention at all times. Because no one wants to be cloth-lined off their horse by a tree!!!

Originally Posted by Acadianartist View Post

You are absolutely right that he needs to respond to leg cues better. He's really hard to steer. Getting better, but still, if riding Harley is like driving a Ferrarri, riding Rusty is more like a 4 x 4 without power steering. Yes, I know training can improve that, but he's just a far less sensitive horse. So while I don't nag him endlessly, when I ask for something and he doesn't cooperate, I am not afraid to lose my cool and go bananas on him

Shotgun is also a "less sensitive horse" (AKA lazy!!!!) but with training, you can easily make that type of horse into a sensitive horse too. Just remember to NEVER nag him. Give him one chance to be asked nicely, and if you do not get a prompt response to your request, use the crop. (if it applies for what you were asking for) Every single time. (And of course, never "end" with the crop being your cue. Always re-ask and give him a chance again to respond to the aid properly.) If you are totally consistent with this, you can now make him into a responsive horse that listens the first time every time.

I get it - I'm totally guilty of being too nice to Shotgun most of the time. But when I get my bananas on a branch, he's really a nice and light responsive horse and he can be that way no problem.
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post #45 of 73 Old 08-07-2019, 01:18 AM
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I am a western trail rider who normally rides in short shanked curb bits. I recently tried a kimberwicke on my mare (just to try) and I am amazed how well she does in it. Even though it has very little leverage compared to nearly any western curb in existence, I am amazed and the finesse and control I have. It's actually my favorite bit to use on her at the moment.
I second (third, fourth, fifth) going up to curb or kimberwicke bit. Using a stronger bit and having a horse that respects it is much better than using a milder bit and having a horse that doesn't respect it.
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post #46 of 73 Old 08-07-2019, 01:58 AM
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One rein stop is meant to be practiced in an arena starting at a walk. Bring the nose to the horses shoulder and hold until he comes to a stop. Repeat as many times as necessary. Then try it at a trot. If the horse keeps going with his head turned you want to practice moving the hindquarters as well. So turn the head to the right shoulder and kick with the right leg and move those hind feet over.

Never run a horse into a tree. Someone's horse died from that- ran headfirst into the trunk. Another person I know had her horse impaled by a tree branch. The horse had a 6 inch branch in it's neck. Not a small branch either. That was a pasture accident.

If a snaffle is not enough, try a curb bit with a curb chain.
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post #47 of 73 Old 08-07-2019, 01:54 PM
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Acadian I understand you don't want to be more harsh with Rusty than you need to but have you ever ridden with a Pelham and double reins? That way you can ride on the top rein, either a snaffle or plain and if you need more you can switch to the bottom rein. I like that because I don't have to use a curb unless I need to and the horse quickly learns it's best to do what is asked before the curb comes into action. The one thing is to let him know and learn about a Pelham and a curb in an arena before going out anywhere so he knows what to expect.

I am riding a mare right now that my niece bought. She is very forward and not too responsive to seat legs aids (altho she is improving rapidly on that) and very hard mouthed. I don't know any of her riding history and I had to ride out by myself at times and I put a Pelham on her. She was better out on the trails(so far) than I expected so maybe soon I won't need the curb rein but for me to feel safer I will continue to use it.

When we are trotting along I am aware of how she is going and if I think she will try to speed up too much I check her back with the curb and as soon as she responds I release it and back to the snaffle, she is catching on and is relaxing more with me. I guess we are both learning to trust one another. I just want to be sure she doesn't learn any bad habits and I want to be able to shut down anything right away.thumbnail_AuntBonny-Summer-may-26-19-3.jpg

She is a very nice horse just came with some bad habits, leading, rushing through the barn etc and we have dealt with all that successfully and I think it won't be long before I can ride her on a snaffle only. with a new horse I am always a little more strict about manners and behaviour then usual, I want them to know who is the leader here and after we have that settled I will relax a bit but by then they know what is expected of them and I think they are actually happier to have these rules and no guessing games about what is expected of them.

A kimberwick is also a good go to bit for more control, and I think having control with Rusty is important right now to prevent a bad habit from starting. Rusty is a very nice horse and I would like to hear that you are having some lovely rides together in the future.
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post #48 of 73 Old 08-07-2019, 03:03 PM
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Whatever bit you decide to use, I think you did a creative, and successful thing ; to turn him into a tree to stop him. Of course, if he's really going fast, it could end up bad for both of you. But running pelmell through the trees is also bad for both of you.

The trick will be getting him connected and paying attention to you before you enter places where you know he's going to try and take over, and shutting that down the minute you feel himn even THINKNG about it.
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post #49 of 73 Old 08-07-2019, 03:05 PM
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@tinyliny ! I want to hug you and kiss you and fart on you!

Oh sorry guys... back on track.

I'm very interested to see how this progresses and how his re-training go's.
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post #50 of 73 Old 08-07-2019, 10:13 PM
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I have a thoroughbred who I noticed can get a little crazy either in the round pen or if I don't walk him round a little before a canter. So I looked it up - found that hot blooded breeds are used as race horses because they have a quick adrenalin burst. If a horse is not eased into a trail ride or whatever they are doing - the adrenalin can take over and they run randomly...for example, into trees. Hope this helps?
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