Tuesday, June 8, 2010

OK, Let's Do Some Answers!!!!

Rachel~First off if, He's only been under saddle one month he may still be getting used to the bit in general. Also, make sure the bit is not to thick in his mouth. You can try tightening up the bridle a notch or two, or begin to experiment with other types of snaffles. I like snaffles with copper rollers in them it gives the horse something to do without chewing per se'. He may just need time to adjust to the bit also :)

Tangerine~ Rope Halter!!!!!! Use a rope halter on her and a nice strong lead rope Take her to a round pen and hold on to her with your equipment, saddle, pad etc, in the middle of the pen. While holding her, slowly begin to re-desensitize her to the equipment. Get as close as you can and when she stands still walk away and get closer than walk away until you can get the results you want.

If that doesn't work then snub her up close to something very sturdy and safe. Somewhere she can not hurt herself. and Slowly begin to re-desensitize her. The closer her nose is tied to the post, the less likely she can hurt herself, because she can't get the ooomph behind her to hurt herself. It's very frustrating when you know your horse is used to these things and suddenly refuses. The idea is to NOT get mad or react to the mare. Make it seem like it's no big deal. Not stressful just a simple saddle pad getting put on. If that doesn't work take her to the round pen and try to get the saddle pad on her, if she still refuses, make her work and hard, let her know that standing and getting a saddle pad put on is easier than working.

Ashleigh~ Oh that's a tough one but no worries. I have a gelding who is similar to that. Many options for you though. he Might need 24/7 turnout with just a shelter or at least don't lock him in his stall anymore, or try putting toys in his stall, lick-its or a jolly ball. He may need more work, it is possible. Also try tying him in his stall and keep him tied until he relaxes, you know leg cocked, licking lips, lowered head. This will teach him that standing can be relaxing also. Give him lots of praise when he stands quiet, but also don't be surprised if he paws, whinnies and isn't to crazy about it first. It can be time consuming also, he may need to be tied for a half hour to an hour. Maybe longer. The minute he gets quiet and relaxes though, he gets praise and reward! When he's quiet go ahead and let him loose again. Or try locking him OUT of his stall for a few days. Sounds like your guy may just be very bored.

Check his grain too and hay, make sure he's not getting anything too "hot."

Rebecca~ Do a lot of desensitizing work on the ground and in the saddle. If you use a grain bag to sack her out on the ground then once your in the saddle sack her out again. Do small little things, like walking by a pole with a plastic bag on it, walk her over poles, make any obstacles you can and work with at home. The truth is, is more miles and more desensitizing will go a long way. Also remain confident in the saddle, she'll read it and also be more confident. Baby steps will go along way too, lots of praise and always set her up to build confidence no matter how small the task you're asking. Lots of riding miles will go the farthest, she needs experience. Lots of trails rides will help to, go out with a more confident, seasoned horse and that will help a lot!!

Grocery Girl~ You're on the right track. But instead of his stall, take him to an arena or round pen or even the field where he gets turned out and work with him there. Swing the lead rope all around him touch him if you can, Desensitize the heck out of him with the lead rope. ALSO!!! Have a halter on him and use a second spare halter to practice de sensitizing him with that. On and off, touch him with it. If you have a halter and lead rope on him already while working with a second set of halter and lead rope, it's much easier on you. Bring treats out with you and give lots of praise when he relaxes. The reason you need to get out of the stall, is because he knows he has to be caught in his stall, he has no where to go. But, if not fixed soon, his anxiety could become dangerous especially in closed quarters. lots of on and offs, and swinging it around and touching him with it. And lots of patience.

KL~ Ooooh my mare HATES CLIPPERS LOL!!! You are absolutely on the right track though. Love your round pen!!! Ahhhh for a ticklish horse, like my mare is I simply twitch her. I grab a little bit of her nose, just enough and hold onto it. It's a distraction more than anything. Gets her mind off the clippers. Once you clip her and she stays still for say a minute, then slowly begin to loosen your twitch, or grip, if she won't stand still tighten up again, Do this and she'll soon learn to stay still. Unfortunately it's hard when they're ticklish, just like it is for us. She can't be punished, or trained to not be ticklish, BUT we can definitely teach her to hold still for a few minutes while we clip. :) Stay consistent and you'll see results in NO time!!!!

7 comments:

Rachel said...

YAY! Thanks. I have already found that tightening our nose band 1 hole helps. AND before I even read this, I bought a D ring snaffle with copper rollers :)

OneDandyHorse said...

Great tips!!

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The Pale Horseman said...

Damn, missed a chance to question you... perhaps you can still help me? I'm having a bit of trouble lunging my mare. I'm new to it as is Nell but we have the general idea. Nell is bolshy and has often run off with the lunge line so I now lunge her in a bridle. My problem is that although she knows the cues and is somewhat willing to move up a gear she has no respect for my personal space or lunge whip and often turns the other direction half way through a circle to face the field entrance and despite my best effort to send her back the other direction she just steps towards me or goes through the lunge whip. I'm also not completely sure how to teach her to slow down as her voice cues are a bit vague. I've tried hitting her on the shoulder to make her turn but it doesn't work. Any ideas?

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KL said...

Thanks, TX, for the clipping tips! I'll give that a try.

Pale Horseman -- I have a few tips, which you're welcome to take or leave as you see fit :) I adopted my current horse with absolutely ZERO training under her belt (she wasn't even touchable), so I've had to teach her everything myself from the ground up. One thing I've discovered is that some horses have a harder time than others with the whole "giving to pressure" piece -- most of them start off thinking they can lean into it. I lot of my own lunging issues with her were improved by teaching her a better understanding of that and also making sure she understood her cues.

I've practiced a lot with my mare about what each cue means, establishing each cue and the desired response using the "pressure and release" system. For example, when I taught her to yield her shoulders (which is usually harder for most horses to learn than yielding the hindquarters), I'd start off lightly and continuously tapping on her shoulder, getting stronger each time. Most horses will try to find the answer to what you want by trying out different things to get the pressure to stop -- backing up, moving INTO the pressure, etc. Just keep on doing it until the horse gets the correct answer and immediately stop, give the horse praise, and let her relax. Then repeat. Reward even the slightest try at first, then begin expecting more from your horse as her learning progresses. The important thing is to be vigilant and consistent, because if you quit too early, your horse will learn to ignore the cue, and if you're not consistent, your horse simply won't know what you're asking.

My mare used to be similar to yours -- she wouldn't turn well on the lunge line and was somewhat disrespectful of space -- but she improved when I really worked with her to establish each cue on the ground, outside of her lunging session. So, by making sure she clearly knew (and would immediately respond to) yielding the shoulder, yielding the hindquarters, stopping, and backing, all just while in a halter and lead, she become much easier to work with.

The other thing I've found is I prefer the "carrot stick" type of lunge whip (like the ones Clinton Anderson uses) instead of the more traditional, less-sturdy lunge whips. The stick-and-string variety that have recently become popular make a better extendable arm, and if your horse gets too close to you, they work better for giving your horse a poke in the side to say, "hey, get out of my space!"

Hope that helps :) Good luck!