Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Consistency Kills...

When you don't stick with it...
It's the one of the keys to all horses and training and riding everywhere... Consistency. Without it your horse could could care less what you're asking, but with it... you are in the running for Gold.

So why is it so damn hard?? Because WE hate being consistent. Some days we get in our moods and say "Oh I don't care what Cuddles does today, she's so cute." or "I'm pissy and the normal things that I wouldn't care about, suddenly I do and Cuddles is in BIG Trouble!" OK, but that's just not fair to our horses who only look to us for guidance.

When training or schooling a horse you must set your boundaries and be consistent with them... It's like Wash, rinse, repeat, EVERYDAY! Of course you want to do different activities with your horse but ALWAYS keep the end result of your lesson the same.

Cuddles KNOWS that in order to canter you slide your left leg back and squeeze and voila she's going to the right. BUT if you suddenly changed that cue and Cuddles got confused and then you get pissed off because Cuddles isn't listening...Well my friends, that's when your horse gets sent to me, because you have confused the bloody hell out of the poor thing.

You aren't doing ANY favors to yourself or your horse if you do NOT stay steady and consistent with them. If you need help with a game plan, get together with a local trainer. It either has to be right 100% of the time, or wrong 100% of the time. No wishy-washy, well it depends on my mood BS. You will be AMAZED at how well your horse will respond to everything being consistent. hey will perform better, and be happier because there will be NO confusion as to what's right or wrong and on what day... Everyone from World Champion, to trail riders will reap the benefits.


Trainer X said...

Not in the mood for this today 'eh?

SammieRockes said...

I agree, I had a great day, and my, horse was the best., surprisingly. For one, before the ride, he knows that If I walk away nad tell him he is tied, he wont move. tied or not. and, i use to be, "I dont care if you dont stand still, I just want to ride. After just a few days of making him stand. Bam he does it. and I gotta say, for being the big beast he is, he is gentle. I took my 11 yr old arthritic dog out (the dog does not know he is old or hurts in anyway, but today I was pretty sure he was on a sucide mission) He would run ahead, I would call him back, and to get to my coreect side, he would walk under the most dangerous horses legs. Thnak god she was in a good mood. At one ponit he was walking directly under my horse as we were going, finally he realized that I wanted him behind me by a few feet. At one ponit though he was ahead of us while we were standing, the horse ahead of started moving but my dog didnt.

My Big guy, instead of just plowing over him, reached his head down and nudged him! I couldn't believe how sweet he was to the dog.

ridewithjoy said...

Ha that trueism bit me in the butt. Joy the wondermustang was "trained" by a very sick, weak me. She was amazing, she took care of me ( God looks out for fools) but as I got strong and regained my old riding skills we had quite a few mare"ish" discussions. She still is amazing with any child or handicapped adults.

paul_linn_is_a_jerk said...

ITA - I ride with a friend and she is always amazed that my green broke gelding ALWAYS listens to me. She says I am OCD -probably true - and I say she is ADHD - also probably true. LOL

Anyway, her horses are always trying her and 99% of the time she lets them get away with it. The problem is that 1% of the time she gets real pissed and takes it out on them (nothing major, one slap or a jerk of the rein). I have given up trying to tell her the 'consistency' secret. It really is the key to a well behaved and HAPPY horse.

It's always 'fun' when I ride her horses and spend the first 10 min. making them remember that it is ME riding and you don't get away with ANYTHING. After that, they are wonderful to ride.

kestrel said...

Every move we make is being recorded for future reference by our horses. Just like kids....give them the candy because they threw a fit and you just want to shut then up, and they'll throw a bigger fit next time!
Research shows that horses learn best when you reward good behavior with inconsistent treats, it keeps them guessing and paying attention.
Oh god, and the flip side is that if throwing a tantrum gets them a reward, they'll go for the tantrum first! That's why I prefer starting horses that haven't been messed with, spoiled horses are the pushiest and become dangerous horses.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh - this is SO close to my heart!
People totally don't get the whole idea of "pick something and do it".

There is a woman in my barn with a tricky TB. The woman is afraid of the horse, and doesn't do much training with her. The other day (inspired by the transformation of my rearing, fighting, kicking, pawing 'cause the crossties are gonna kill me horse into mr-nap-in-crossties), she decided she was going to work on her horse's pawing in crossties issue.
In 10 minutes, the variety of consequences for pawing in crossties were:
1-yelling from across the barn
2-small tap on but
3-medium wack on shoulder
4-"please stop it" to the horse's face (yup).

I finished my stalls and left.

kestrel said...

Oh, that'll teach him to stand quietly. My old guy is so freaky smart that he had work days all figure out, and would run off in the huge pasture. We went from calm, come here (which is where he looked at me with glee and took off) to face me or I'll throw a pine cone at your butt! After a couple of times of that all I had to do was pick up a pine cone and ask you rEALLy want to go there. Sheepish look from horse, walk over and don halter. Easier than going to work after running from pine cones! I really disagree with the whole 'never let your horse know it's you that whacked them' theory. I want my horse to have fair warning and a reason to avoid the consequences, rather than wondering why whenever the human is near strange painful whacks come out of nowhere.

GoLightly said...

Hey, you know I always agree with kestrel..

Yes, indeedy.

I think spring's coming TrainerX. Different rhythms comin'.

Gr8 Post!

JohnieRotten said...

Thanks Trainer X

Unfortunately, however, no matter how often you point out that training is consistency and common sense. The more they refuse to listen.

It has, so often in the past, for me, when I take a horse that has become a problem, that ususally the owners ego gets in the way. And very often that was what created the problem to begin with.

horspoor said...

The new horse kicks the front of the stall when I putting his food together. Usually he stops with saying his name. He's a pretty willing guy.

Some days, I'll be mixing up his bucket food, and 'bang, bang, bang'. Say his name. He bangs some more. Say his name mean, tell him to knock it off. If he doesn't quit I'll walk away and do something else. He quits. Then he gets his bucket food. He already has his hay...the bucket food is just too exciting some days.