Thursday, May 7, 2009

Answer TIME!!!!

OK, here are the answers to all of your questions going in order... And it's a long one LOL

Long Island Five: Ahhh a horse that will not lunge! Here are a few things I would do. FIRST if he isn't afraid of the whip, try poking him with the other end of the whip on his shoulder or behind his shoulder OR find something he is afraid of. Tie a plastic bag on the end of if that will get him to move out. Then start him on his lead rope, it's small and keeps you at close range for prodding him LOL! If that still doesn't work take 2 lunge lines and hook them to either side of the halter, almost like ground driving, and then stand where you would as if you lunging normally. SO what it will look like is one line coming straight from his halter to you, and another line going behind his rump and back legs coming back to you so you're making kind of a 'V' with the lines. Let's say he's facing left. Then he goes to turn into you you can pull on the right line to re-straighten him back out. Also the rope behind the rump MAY encourage him WANT to go forward LOL!!! Also keep your longe whip on hand to get him moving. Last resort, free lunge him for a couple days in an enclosed area, just get him used to the idea that when you say go, he needs to go!!!

Texasnascarcowgirl: GROUND DRIVE HER! Practice backing when you're on the ground, but still using the same techniques. Soft hands, no see sawing, just some direct pressure. The truth is, is that backing is hard for horses and semi-un natural. They position their bodies different and have to use different muscles in order to back up. If you have no issues with the saddle fit or her teeth and it's just her, then backing up MAY have been a punishment for her in a previous life. So ground drive her in her tack and ask for baby steps. When you apply pressure to the bit and ask her to back even if she moves a little, stop and praise her. One step is GOOD for the first couple days. Then ask for 2 and so on. Let her see that backing isn't that scary and that she's still a good girl! If she starts tossing her head or trying to evade what you're asking put a simple running martingale on her when you're working. Next once you get on her keep the same ideas, soft hands when she moves release the pressure, praise her do something else, then come back to her backing lesson, repetition and praise will fix her up nicely!!

Wazzoo: Sounds like you have a heck of a nice horse so congrats!! It sounds like working with him is the same as me working with Acacia. OK, so here's the easy way first. Try brushing him while he's doing something relaxing like grazing, or eating hay or grain. He's relaxed and eating so give it a shot, if that's a no go then we move on the the harder way LOL!! So, to keep yourself and him safe get an "arm" extension. ie: a longe whip, he may be terrified at first, but he WILL get over it LOL! All you are trying to teach him is that whatever you touch him with WILL NOT KILL HIM! You MAY have to tie him up if he's just way too freaked, you do NOT want him to think that running or getting away from you is OK. Tie him to a solid pole or something he can't get hurt on and tie his nose as close to the pole as possible, you don't want him to move away from it like he has been. Let him smell everything you touch him with first and then start at the neck and shoulder, then stroke his back and his rump down to his legs. Once he's fine with that use something shorter like a dressage whip and touch him and love him with it. Next bring a brush to him and let him smell it then try to touch his face or neck with it, if he's way too much of a nervous horse to attempt the touch right away then let him smell it and then walk away. Soon he's going to realize that A. whatever you have in your hand is merely an extension. And B. That you are not trying to kill him. Which they all think at first. Keep praising him and don't be surprised if he tries to get away and pulls with all his might. It's OK, let him regroup and try again. Small steps, lots of praise. He will learn he isn't going to be able to run away more either, which will benefit you when he's broke to ride LOL! If you're stroking his neck with a brush, but he doesn't want you touching his back, that's OK, brush his neck for a couple days and then move on to the back. Do this with EVERYTHING he needs to get used to! Brushes, hoof picks, blankets, clippers, you name it! Pretty soon he'll be able to be brushed and introduced to new things without being tied up at all! :) That's how Acacia started and now she's amazing! OH and when you go to try picking up his back feet don't use your hands at first, tie him and then take a second lead rope and put it behind that leg under his fetlock and gently pull up, so you need to be facing his rump and have ahold of either side of the rope. If he strike out or kicks you want him to do that with the rope and not your face or hands or arms!!

Jillian: Herd bound horses are hard to break of that habit, but the best thing that could've been done would have been to isolate her so she couldn't see anyone. Typically that's not something I'd ever suggest as horses are very social animals, but if she was hurting herself than that's the way to go.

OK, the little bucking horse, this could be tricky because if the he gets angry because kids used to lean on his face then that is definitely what you don't want to do! However, I trained a haflinger that had the same problem, she'd buck when cantering and this is how I fixed it. Assuming you're using a snaffle, use 2 pairs of reins attached to the bit, one set preferably nylon. Ride in a western saddle and then tie up the nylon reins semi tight and hook them over the horn of the saddle, lunge him first and see if he bucks when you ask him to canter all tacked up. The idea is, is when he goes to throw his down to buck he's going to pop HIMSELF in the mouth and learn was kind of a dumb idea and that he did it to himself because you're on the ground!! When you ride him keep it the same. So if he goes to buck he'll pop himself. You want the reins tied up semi tight because you don't want him to be able to get his head down, but you don't want his head cranked up either so he's uncomfortable. If this is not possible, due to lack of tools then do this. When you ask for the canter hold your outside rein up high. say shoulder height. If you're going to the right, bend your left elbow up to your shoulder and hold the rein there with light contact. It'll produce the same idea, if he goes to throw his head down, your arm should brace against that and again he'll have to keep his head up. When you ride him stay relaxed and walk and trot on loose rein for the first couple rides so maybe he'll get the idea that you're not one of those riders who want to lay on his face.

Ponykins: Ahhhh mares, Picky little creatures aren't they LOL?? You pretty much nailed it. She's in foal and feeling protective and hormonal. Mares in foal are concerned about a few things, eating, staying safe, protecting their unborn. If the mare feels like her position, food, baby is being threatened by another, even if she's not, she may FEEL that way, she'll attack. She knows her job is to eat and keep that baby healthy and she'll do it no matter what the cost. Your little filly could just be curious about her, yet that's enough to drive the pregnant mare bananas. You did a good thing by separating them!!! It'll keep them all safe and happier!

Crashedintoblack: First off, get the mare all tacked up like normal, but leave the halter on, use a long lead rope or a lunge line and practice ponying her. Basically, you or someone else rides a well mannered calm horse and you with lead rope in hand make the mare go wherever you go. You do this without a rider for the first couple times so no one gets hurt if she does happen to freak out. Pony her to places that normally make her scared, with her in your hand YOU have control, the owner can even walk beside with a crop in hand to just tap her along if she tries to back away or run from you. You don't want to get pulled off your horse either!! Then do this with a rider on, pony her to all the normal spots, but have the owner giving the cues. You're just holding onto the lead rope for extra protection!. ALSO it sounds like the mare may have some underlying training issues she's trying to avoid. Have the owner practice doing simple things such as halting and walking forward. With a crop in hand if the mare tries to back up the owner needs to smack her HARD, right behind the owners leg. The crop is used to reinforce the leg aids, not to abuse the horse, but you need to get your point across. Also if you're somewhere safe such as an arena and she starts backing up then make it your idea, back her up and keep backing until she never wants to back up again!! Stay relaxed and drive her forward if she dares to back up without you asking for it. Again a lot of reassurance and praise will be needed :)

Sterling: I've known too many horses that were trained that way, with the head held up too high, OK, so here you go, use a running martingale and full cheek snaffle. This martingale isn't as restricting as most others, and will encourage instead of force his head to go down. The full cheek I like because I think you'll need to start doing a lot of circles. Keep his nose slightly to the inside and your hands low, keep good contact on the reins and when he goes to drop his head relax your hold on him if he picks up his head, then again tighten up your contact, putting just enough pressure on his mouth that he'll want to get away from it and drop his head. Lots of circles and drive him forward using your outside leg and use your inside leg to keep the circle nice and round. Keep your hands low and soft, even play with his mouth a bit using a very SOFT jiggle of the reins. Circles will be your answer in getting that head down. Once you take the running martingale off, keep to the circles to get him to relax his head and drop it. Soon it'll be no big deal to him!!

Golightly: Backing is always a challenge LOL!!!! And yes no more RAIN!!! A lot of shows call for backing, so a nice straight, collected back is required to learn.

Heather: My gelding is the same way, he thinks he's mister macho stud horse and he tries to scare off all the others. One thing that I have learned about herd animals and dominant ones at that is if when they are all out in the herd together and you see the gelding chasing the pony, then you go after the gelding and chase him away. The other horses will see that and say "Hey, he isn't so tough anymore! Mom scared him away!" Do that a couple times and should at least help. Your pony will be fine and I understand your worry, however it's all apart of the fitting in and dominance process. Soon your pony will just say "Hey buddy, you can be the boss, but I'm done running!" It can be a waiting game for a bit though...

Clara: Glad to hear your horse is doing better! OK, place ground poles out in the arena to lope over. It will force your horse to pick up his front end and lean back on his rump. Also YES circles are good, if when he 4 beats and you ask him to move out of it he goes faster then pick up your inside rein almost like you're holding him and then when he slows down release the pressure. If he still tries to go to fast keep a hold of that rein and make your circles smaller. Not only will that teach him to get back into frame, but it will stop him from cantering instead of loping. Use a running martingale to remind him where his frame is too. Ride in the round pen if you can and set poles out in there to lope over. In time he will get the muscle back. Walk him up and down hills if possible, even a small hill will make a huge difference. Circles, lots of jogging and trotting will build up some nice muscle and stamina too. If he still won't slow down then ask him to gallop for awhile and then bring him back to lope, if he 4 beats push him out again so he gets tired of galloping and realizes proper loping isn't so bad!! He knows what he's supposed to do, it just may take a little bit of time to get him physically back to where he was. Sounds like your doing good though!!!

PHEW!! That was a long one! If I left anything out, you're confused or need more help or understanding let me know, sometimes I think it's hard to describe certain things as well as I think I do!! LMAO!!


Long Island Five said...

Thanks! I agree that free longeing would be the last resort in this case, alas we don't have a round pen and our paddocks in Long Island are fairly rocky because we are on a glacial moraine.

Pressure at the shoulder is what didn't work. Though I love the idea, I'm not sure that the double longe lines would work in this case, because he wasn't impressed by usual stimuli, but I can see using that solution in another case.

I think that if I were working with the horse regularly, going back to the lead line would be the way to go. I left out one detail, his "trainer" gets him to longe by getting extremely tough with him. I can usually get tough without being as physical, so I was sort of at a disadvantage because he knew I wasn't going to wail on him. I think that your idea fits with my instinct that I needed to get him to lower his head, in other words, get some sort of reaction... anything! Really, even a buck would have been fine, because at least he would have been moving his feet.

It really bothers me when I come across a horse that, for whatever reason, has shut down, mentally and emotionally.

Thanks again for your input. Hope that you do this again.

kestrel said...

TrX, you are great!

wolfandterriers said...

Trainer X, I had two finals yesterday and didn't leave my question!! :)

I would like to try and get an XC schooling in at the Kentucky Horse Park in August or Sept. this year. It will be the little cannibal's first time in a "show" atmosphere, and my goal is just to cruise around and pop over a few jumps if she's up to it. Do you have any advice for me as far as avoiding wrecks? My monster would definitely LOVE the excuse to act ferociously toward someone (read: lunge, strike, kick at some other horse) and I have no problem disciplining her for acting bad, but what are some things you would keep in mind for that XC trip?

I've done some showing before, and volunteered at a bunch, but it's been a LONG TIME since I've gone out there by myself. I'm going to stick out like a sore thumb in my tan suede Ariat Parelli tall boots (hey, they are super comfy and soft against my horse and were only 70 bucks!!) and black breeches, so to *ell with any formality. :)

I have access to a lot of conditioning areas once I move, so Kit will be in good enough shape (IMO) to tool around and look at stuff. Gotta love that half TB--it's not that hard to get them fit! I don't have any under saddle issues with her--I just want to go and have a good time, since I'm on a serious budget and the KHP schooling dates are really reasonable and affordable.

texasnascarcowgirl said...

Thank you. I have done the one step and reward. I really have. I think you are right that somehow she was abused by backing up. She will back up all day when you are on the ground with her, I praise her and all of that. Get in the saddle and she will not back. She will go to her elbows before she will take a step back. I had my hubby pop a whip in front of her, not hit her, to make her move and she did but it was sideways. I have tried everything I could think of.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!! I really appreciate that. The rope with the back feet is something I've used before =)I can't wait to get this going next weekend...gotta fix fence this weekend :(

Like the way you did this too =)

Jillian said...

Thank you for the advice!!

My instincts told me isolation from other horses was the thing to try for the herdbound mare. Unfortunately I wasn't getting much support from the other people involved with her.

Your advice for the bucking mare is incredible. I hope I can find a Western saddle for the girl (she lives at a dressage barn) but regardless, amazing advice that I will definitely be storing away for future use. Thank you!

TallDarkAndSpotty said...

Great idea! I have a question/subject suggestion... how did you get into training? What was your path, what did you do to become the rider/trainer you are, and what have you done to develop the credibility to train and teach others? Especially being young and poor (apologies if thats not the case, but those words usually go together!) how have you found a facility to work out of, and developped clients, etc. Sitting in an office everyday is draining my will to live, and I think I'd be nothing but happy teaching kids to ride for the next 50 years of my life even if they were snot-nosed brats on devil ponies! But with no show record to speak of, no big name trainer on my resume, and no facility, I'm keeping my office job... So I'd love to know how you started out, and how you balance it all, work, training, personal horses, etc.

Heather said...

Thank you much, and an extra thank you from a pony named Pirate. :)