Monday, February 15, 2010

For Paigeley

Here was a question she left me on the last post...

trainer x i have a question about lunging
we have a roundpen at my barn so i usually lunge in there without a lunge line. my horse continually cuts the circle and stops. when she stops if i get close she tries to kick my head. I've had a couple of close calls with that one. when she does stop i go to her side then use the lunge whip to get her moving again. When she cuts the circle nothing I've tried can get her back on the circle until she gets to the other side of the roundpen, she always cuts at the same spot in the roundpen. I've tried running towards her, whipping her over, getting really close to her on that side, none of it has worked. help please???

OK, some of you may not like the answer I'm about to give. If you don't that's fine get your damn head kicked off. Anywho moving on.

So, Paigeley, this is what you need. A halter preferably a rope halter but anything can work, a lead rope, a crop (short whip) and your lunge whip. She needs and MUST learn to respect your space.

So lesson 1. Get her the HELL out of your space!!!! Inside the round pen with her in her halter and lead rope and you holding your crop take a step towards her. If she does not move out of your space poke her with the butt end of your crop. Still no move??? Poke harder. Still no move??? Give her a nice smack. When she moves, praise and do it again. Do this from all areas. Step into her by her shoulders, from her front facing head on and the hind quarters. She MUST yield to you when you move at her.

Lesson 2. This is the one that can be tougher. Still in her halter and lead rope begin to lunge her, while your holding the lead rope and your lunge whip. When and if she stops attempt to use the lunge whip to encourage her to move on. If she won't and she begins to charge or kick at you, You have every right to kick her ASS. OK, here is an example. Your lunging to the right and she stops and turns into you, you are holding the lead rope with your right hand and the lunge whip in your left. Start hitting the ground on the left side (your left cause she's facing you, her right) if she doesn't move hit the ground harder, if that doesn't get her moving then start hitting her in the rump and side to get her to move away from it and moving on in her circle again. IF and this is a huge if, she dares to charge or kick out at you, smack her in the sides and rump with your lunge whip until she moves on again in her circle. If she charges you swing that whip in front of you at her chest as hard as you can. If it hits her OH WELL. Charging, rearing, kicking, biting, etc. Is grounds for you to kick some serious ass!!!! Once she backs off of you, begin again calmly. Get her moving into the lunging circle, if she stops, encourage her to move with the whip and repeat the process. The reason, by the way, that you are keeping her in a halter, is because it is easier for you to control her head and hopefully teach her to round pen properly.

OK, now because there is not really only one way to things let's say this doesn't work. So she's lunging and she stops and turns into you, yank on your halter and back her up fast and hard and at least a quarter to half the round pen in length. If she doesn't want to move forward then we'll make her move backwards, either way she's going to learn to that she is going to move come hell or highwater. After you've backed her up ask her to move on again if she stops, repeat. The idea is to make the wrong thing 100 times more difficult than the right thing. Horses hate backing up, going forward is much easier, but sometimes your horse needs to make that connection in it's own head.

OK, always start at the walk and when she lunges correctly at the walk then ask for the trot and etc. both ways. Once she is doing well on the lead rope, use a lunge line and then nothing, just the normal round pen. IF she goes back to her old ways, use the lead rope again. She HAS to know you mean business and kicking is a huge NO NO!! I hope some of this helps. Let me know how it goes and if you need anything else. If this doesn't work, I've got more tricks up my sleeve. LOL


kestrel said...

Excellent answer! Another horse would doublebarrel kick her for challenging so blatantly, and I would make sure that I started with the rope halter. A horse that kicks at you needs a serious 'you better mind the momma meeting!' A direct challenge will usually involve some smacks, because it hasn't been stopped while it was still subtle. Remember John Lyon's saying, "you have 3 seconds to convince them that you're going to kill and eat them, make it count!'

Horses have an instinctive pecking order, so you'll never have an equal relationship with your horse. Your horse cannot understand the concept, so trying to establish a relationship like that drives horses crazy. Be stronger and your horse will peacefully enjoy hanging out under the protection of the herd boss (which has to be you!).

Kyra said...

Agreed! This is exactly how my coach (and I for that matter!) would handle our naughty, challanging horses. Horses understand it very clearly, and often after this respect is established, other things fall into place too.

GoLightly said...

Oh, wait, you mean no waving a stick in her face?
Making her move her feet? Asking her what's wrong??

How crewel.

Paigeley said...

Thank you so much this makes a lot of sense!!
i can't wait to try it today!! I'll let you know how it works.

OneDandyHorse said...

Great answer Trainer X and Kestrel, I like the way you think. I've seen horses that were being smacked for not being good and, on the other hand, horses that were given treats when they asked for them... and I'd rather not have to deal with the latter. They are dangerous and would run you over for treats, because THEY SAID SO!

Horses are big, they need well defined boundaries or otherwise, they will injure you one day or another.

My horse, just like Paigeley, is a complete jurk on a lunge line, she cuts the circle, and used to strike at me with both barrels (as Kestrel would say). I felt threatened, so as soon as she rose her butt towards me...and I was close enough that she would've kicked my head off, I took my whip and smacked her 2-3 times on the butt... yeah, it rose welts, but I couldn't care less and was happy that my head was still quietly resting on my shoulders. She was pissed at me for a minute, then forgot about it.

Sure I felt bad that I smacked her hard enough to raise welts, but hey, I'd rather keep my head on and raise a few welts (even if it was on my own butt!) Than getting kicked in the head or chest. She still loves me more than ever and there is much more respect and teamwork now that I've set her straight. I can completely trust her and she does the same with me.

Paigeley said...

hey i used it today and it worked great!! i still need to work with her on not cutting the circle but its much better.

Trainer X said...

That is really great! I'm glad it's starting to work for you! Give it time and it'll get much much better!!!!!

kestrel said...

I've always found that horses are happier with distinct and clear cut boundaries. They can relax, because they don't have the stress of being the horse in charge!
1DH, good for you. Problem solved.
Paigley, I'm proud of you!

The alternative is a dead horse, because a disrespectful horse that kicks or bites will eventually hurt or kill someone, and then it's off to the auction or euthed. By enforcing proper discipline we actually ensure that that horse is going to be a horse that people want!

I once rehabbed a 16h 3' rearing striker, and I used a correction halter and a lunge line, dared him to go up, and raised welts on his belly with a carrot stick when he came after me. You can actually hit a horse harder with a carrot stick whip...! Ugly, oh hell yeah. I was way madder at the people who created the problem than I was with the horse though. 2 sessions and miraculous cure, go figure. The horse is now a sane member of the horse working community, and has a home for life. It was a situation of fix him or he's down the road, and frequently it's a bold smart horse that will even figure out how to be such a jerk! With that type of horse you have to be fair, stern and consistent, and they LIKE it that way.

Holly said...

Also, anytime you're in a safe environment is a good time for a 'talk with the alpha mare.' If I had a horse try to kick me? Ohhh, little snot is gonna get moving.

With my babies it usually only takes once. My now 2 year old, when on pasture with older mares and a weanling (the two y/o is the alpha) decided to threaten to kick me as I walked grain out to them. She got a grain bucket to the butt.
I surprised my stud colt with a rope smack to the butt when he was paying attention to everything but me. One leg fired straight back (I was off to the side) and then he listened. Only time he ever offered to kick or strike.

Barb said...

Sorry this is off topic, but I feel like it needs to be addressed.
You should do a blog on horse scams. I have a small barn and recently was contacted by a scammer trying to board their horse with me. They would send me a certified check for the amount of board for 8 weeks. Included in the certified check was also the fee for shipping the horse. I was suppose to deposit the certified check and send a payment (from my person account)to the shipper?! Crap like this needs to stop. I will be more then happy to send the email, however if you google "horse boarding scams" you will find several very similar emails. The funny part was the horse was a paint buckskin, registered thoroughbred, with a bay base color.