Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yes, Horses Are Smart

So I acquired a new client who will be starting with me soon, but first she needed me to come out and evaluate her horse. A BEEFY monster of an animal. He was a stallion until 2 years has been broke and ridden a lot, but one day the current owner loosened the saddle after a ride and the saddle slipped under his belly causing an insane blow up. Ever since then the horse will blow up once the saddle is on OR one the rider has gotten on.
So I went out today and we took him to the round pen and tacked him up and it was good, no blow ups, so I took the saddle off and re tacked him and we were good, no blow ups. So I put one foot in the stirrup and hung off him and no blow ups. I was impressed at first. So I repeat that a few times and then I start to get obnoxious, kicking out my legs and hanging off his side (If he started bucking I didn't want to actually be in the saddle) and sure enough he goes to blow up. So I push back, grab the lunge whip and chase his little honey buns around the round pen until he stopped bucking and was gasping for air.

Once I asked him to whoa I brought him back into the middle of the round pen and we started over with no problems. I was swinging off his sides and kicking out my legs, just as I did before he blew and you know he just stood there. Why? The owner was baffled... Why the sudden attitude adjustment?? Because when he bucked with her or around her she stopped him and put him away. There was no repercussion, with me it was that he was going to be gasping for air. John Lyons put it best when he says that a horse may not listen to you, but he will listen to his lungs. And when the lungs start burning they'll do anything to not have to run around like ever again. And you know what, it works almost everytime. Bucking=running til I say he's done.

I Told her everytime he bucked no matter what, if he was in that round pen, to chase his buns around and around and then start back over rom where he started bucking. If she stayed on top of this for about a week straight she'd probably never have another problem like that again. Horses are very smart. His saddle fits perfectly, she's a good rider, it's just that he got away with being a stinker beasue he got scared once and then learned it meant no work. Not anymore buddy LOL!! Not anymore....

9 comments:

FlyingHorse2 said...

Nice post and very accomodating of you as a trainer, to explain these things to a client. A lot of trainers would have taken on the horse for an extended period of time and only shared tidbits of info to an already anxious owner. That's how they reel them in! Good job! It may take some work but it's obvious that the horse is willing to change!

openhorseshowjudge.blogspot.com

SolitaireMare said...

Love this! Thanks for posting. This was similar to issues that came to me with the new horse I have now. I have a great trainer who has helped me work through it.

It's so true, everything you do with your horse is training, and sometimes it's what you don't do - like put the horse away when you should work through the problem - that trains them to do just what you DON'T want them to do!

peaches1111_00 said...

But he has such amazing form in that picture. Beautiful arched neck, wonderful leg extend...purdy.

Way to show 'em! And in an English saddle to boot. (I doubt I could stay on for anything more than a tiny crow hop.)

OneDandyHorse said...

Great work! I have learned from quite a young age to never let the horse win, therefore, wether on the ground or on the horse, nothing disrespectful or dangerous is accepted. My horses or even boarders horses get quite the chase if they ever strike at me, kick at me or otherwise be disrespectful to me. They are big creatures and nobody will be able to hurt them substantially. I have kicked my mare on the butt when she used to kick out at me or pretend to kick out at me, when I had a whip, she would get smacked for being disrespectful or pointing her butt at me. She needs to move when I am walking, unless I have different energy and invite her / want her to stay near me. Energy is a big thing with horses, as well as emotions. You learn to stay calm even if the barn was coming down, you teach them to respond to your voice, like a quick and loud"er" "Back!" Gets 'em backing quickly, believe me, when I came accross a whole in the trail as big as a Volkwagon, that "back" saved my tush! Everything learned on the ground should apply to saddle, hence the great importance of ground work... a round pen works miracles too, if we take this situation, you can hardly get to the horse from its back, so you get to him from the ground, he can't run off from you, but I have seen horses (very bold horses) attempt to jump the round pen fence... unsuccesfully... let me tell you, she learned her lesson and behaves herself now. I have gotten to a bucking mare the same way, you could not get on her back at all! You would just be lifting your foot to put in the stirrup and she would explode. I made her work for every time she did it. He ground work was completed (more than completed) and she was ready to be broke to saddle (she was 6, but was unhandled until 5 y-o), she just wouldn't let you get on her back. Although still nervous about riding, I can ride her (I'm the only one who can get on her... or will) and she is quite reliable. I still need to get after her sometimes, to remind her... Never leave your horses unhandled past 2 years of age!

Paigeley said...

wow i love this blog!!!
yes i totally agree with you, one of my trainers told me to always do the opposite of what the horse wants to do ie: they want to bolt = halting, they want to blow up = running. i just love it!!

Equus said...

I find it depends on why they're doing it; if they're doing it because they're scared, then making them run might take longer, or not work at all (in extreme cases - I had one such case this summer, where having him run had little effect). If they're doing it because they're being disrespectful though, then running them is a great idea. John Lyons always also says "make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy" - another quote I love and use and that is applicable to what you did! Sometimes I work at bucking from another angle, other times I will do it from this angle and/or from a few angles (if that made sense) - great tip though ;)

www.theperfecthorse.blogspot.com

CCH said...

oh, Honey Buns!! It was the perfect word choice.

Union Square said...

When being a snotty dork is the problem, this is such a good solution. It always gets such a nice response from the owner. "You just - got back on him?" Yeah - once he was exhausted and feeling pretty ashamed of himself.

NICE picture. I need a staff photographer taking shots of me when I start my babies, lol. We could make a calendar: "Sitting the Buck for Fun and Profit."

unionsquarestables.blogspot.com

Jane said...

Just so you know, that is not Trainer X in the picture