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  1. #1
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    Question Tips for getting a yearling to yield to pressure...

    My yearling is going to his first show in march. I am just starting to put a bridle on him and trot. He is great at walking, but he does tend to invade my space.

    Now that we are trotting a little, he always wants to trot into me which then makes us go in a circle and not straight. I tried lanes today which made it better, but I still ended up aborting over a rail a few times to avoid bumping into him.

    Any tips and what are some things to help that I can do with him so he stays a good distance away from me?

    Also, backing him up can be an issues, again not wanting to yield to pressure. We practiced going in and out of the trailer today, but he refuses to back up. We just turned him around for now, but its obvious I need to work with him more on the ground about yielding.

    He is not sensitives so a little push or tap won't usually move him over.



  2. #2
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    If I don't have any tools handy, I good jab w/ the elbow into their shoulder will typically get their attention and move them out of your space. And when turning you want to turn into him, not away from him and circling that way. That's complete space invasion. Put your hand up to his eye and "push" him away to make that turn away. If he's not in your space at that moment, it'll make that movement a lot more fluid.

    It's not all about yielding to pressure, but respect of space from both aspects. Yours and his.

    If you turn and face his head, he should back up when you move toward him. Jingle the lead shank and jab your thumb nail into the muscle off the point of the shoulder. Any movement backwards gets a pat, step forward and repeat until he's taking steps. If he refuses to move backwards, step out aways in front of him and swing the lead like a jump rope in front of his nose. Mine usually respond really well to this. I do the same sorta thing for sideways movement, too. Turn on the forehand and haunches. Stand at the shoulder and swing the end of the lead near the side of them (not hitting them w/ it) until they move. Praise, repeat. I don't do this w/ the bridle on though, I want them to learn this w/ a halter first.

    It takes a lot of practice, consistence and praise, but he'll catch on eventually. Once he gets the hang of it, you'll have him heeling like a big dog and he'll work off your movement and cues w/out having to touch him.

    Showmanship type stuff is great for youngsters. Keeps their minds busy and makes them think.

    Have fun!!
    A Merrick N Dream Farm
    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique



  3. #3
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    If you don't have any thumbnails, hold an oldfashioned hoofpick in your fist. Use it in a way analogous to a spur on your boot.
    Janet

    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).



  4. #4
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    I'd suggest picking up a copy of the USDF's video "Showing Your Sporthorse In Hand". Lots of helpful instruction on everything from foals to older horses.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samotis View Post
    My yearling is going to his first show in march. I am just starting to put a bridle on him and trot. He is great at walking, but he does tend to invade my space.
    What are you currently doing to get him out of your space? You may need to hold your lead arm with the arm up so your elbow is pointed at him. That means he will run into your elbow if he strays.

    Also, you should be doing all this work with a dressage whip. If he ignores your elbow, reach back with your outside hand and tap his shoulder. Or, stop the walking, get him moving away from you (use the whip) and start again.

    Now that we are trotting a little, he always wants to trot into me which then makes us go in a circle and not straight. I tried lanes today which made it better, but I still ended up aborting over a rail a few times to avoid bumping into him.
    He's teaching you well

    NEVER avoid him in this situation - it means he is moving you, and that's what he wants, that's what tells him he is dominant over you. From now on, for as long as it takes, any time you lead him anywhere, for whatever reason, turns are made away from you. Don't turn him into you. You need to do this from both sides as well - will make ridden work easier

    Any tips and what are some things to help that I can do with him so he stays a good distance away from me?
    Dressage whip. If he starts crowding you, start waiving it, in your outside hand, in his face. Bump his nose if he's ignoring you. Turn him away from you, then continue what you were doing. Keep your elbow up and pointed at him. Jab his neck/shoulder with it if you need to. He needs to be with his shoulder roughly at your shoulder for this to work properly, but that's not a bad idea anyway for future work. It's hard to in-hand work a horse who has been taught, or thinks he can stay behind you

    Also, backing him up can be an issues, again not wanting to yield to pressure. We practiced going in and out of the trailer today, but he refuses to back up. We just turned him around for now, but its obvious I need to work with him more on the ground about yielding.
    For now, don't work on the trailer issue until he's reliably backing up without it. Again, use your whip. Light backward tug on the halter, but do NOT pull - pulling makes him tense. Tap his chest while you maintain light pressure on the halter if he's not getting it. Make SURE you stop the tapping and halter tug when he even shifts his weight back. Only ask for more when you get a reliable response to the previous stage.

    He is not sensitives so a little push or tap won't usually move him over.
    If he ignores the first cue, then ignores the "little push or tap", then you HAVE to escalate. Horses don't just accept a non-answer, they don't just keep badgering the other one with a "little push or tap", they escalate, to include biting if the other horse is just doing "duhhhhh, what?" So, the dressage whip has to "bite" him if he's ignoring the little stuff
    ______________________________
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  6. #6
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    I'm having a similar issue with my 18-month-old filly not respecting my space. Three days ago she decided she wanted to try to ram me out of her way with her shoulder - when I disciplined her, she decided to rear and try to pull away from me. One session with a chain lead over her nose and a crop, and she's leading like her old puppy dog self again! I just put her where I want her - when she invades my space she gets hit on the offending body part with the crop (usually her shoulder, but sometimes her chest if she decides to try and dart out in front of me) and then is only allowed to move away from me to an appropriate distance, which I maintain with use of the chain lead. When she's nice, I'm nice and give her praise. The corrections are becoming fewer and further between, but I still make sure my tools are available and ready to use whenever I'm leading her. Try this first at a walk (it takes a little bit of coordination on your part!) and then progress to the trot. Give them an inch and they'll walk all over you...literally!...and you definitely want to put an end to this behavior before he gets any bigger. Good luck :-)



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    If he ignores the first cue, then ignores the "little push or tap", then you HAVE to escalate.
    I absolutely agree with this, as well!



  8. #8
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    Who is the bigger and more important member of the relationship between the two of you? Who is the "big dog"?

    Hint: The correct answer is "ME, the human".

    Do you move from him to get out of his way, or does he move from you to get out of your way?

    Hint: The correct answer is "he stays out of my way, keeps an eye on me that he is not infringing on my space."

    Walk forward with him on the line. Turn one way, away from him, he should follow you without being pulled. Turn towards him and walk into his shoulder. He should yield and GET OUT OF YOUR WAY, so that you don't run into him. Make sure he does. Be the big dog. Trot with him, beside him, and stop suddenly. He should stop at your shoulder, watching you, without the rope even tightening. You walk towards him, into his space, he should back away to allow you to continue walking forward, without you putting pressure on the rope, just to get out of your way. He needs to pay attention to you, watch you for cues as to what you want him to do next, respect you as a being in an exhalted position compared to him. He needs to see you as a benevolent dictator, a mentor, someone he wants to be with and please. He needs to think this way, it needs to be important to him. You don't get this through beating him, or hitting him with a stick. You don't get it by NOT hitting him with a stick, being afraid that you might hurt him or make him mad. You earn it over time by showing what is acceptable and what is not acceptable to you in an unemotional way, always being fair with him (he knows what it is that you are asking him to do), and doing those things are important to him to please you.

    So far, you have evidently shown him that it is OK to move into your space, and he does not respect you, since he does not move for you or from you, or stay out of your space. That you will accept this behaviour from him. You need to make some changes in his opinion of you.



  9. #9
    Samotis is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    I do carry a dressage whip and I do use it when he gets too close or opens his mouth to nip.

    His first issue was walking forward next to me and he is doing quite well at that now. He has always had issues with personal space and I suppose most of it is me just not getting it into his brain that it is not acceptable.

    I do put a halter over his bridle for now until he is trotting in hand better.

    I will work on the backing up and also on his space issues.

    By the way, I don't have nails and I have used the hoof pick and I think I will go back to that.

    I will really crack down with him this week. He is very smart, but as you all have said, he is my boss and that needs to stop. He is very smart, so as long as I go about everything the right way, he will get it fast.

    thanks! Keep the tips coming.



  10. #10
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    Someone gave me a 3 year old a month or so ago that never learned respect or learned about space. Believe me when I tell you we are not having fun. He is a right little asshole.
    You need to fix it now.
    "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by seejp083 View Post
    I'm having a similar issue with my 18-month-old filly not respecting my space. Three days ago she decided she wanted to try to ram me out of her way with her shoulder - when I disciplined her, she decided to rear and try to pull away from me.
    Yes, this is one problem you can easily run into, especially with a horse who is actively looking to dominate you, when you suddenly change the rules - they get pissed!

    One session with a chain lead over her nose and a crop, and she's leading like her old puppy dog self again! I just put her where I want her - when she invades my space she gets hit on the offending body part with the crop (usually her shoulder, but sometimes her chest if she decides to try and dart out in front of me) and then is only allowed to move away from me to an appropriate distance, which I maintain with use of the chain lead. When she's nice, I'm nice and give her praise. The corrections are becoming fewer and further between, but I still make sure my tools are available and ready to use whenever I'm leading her.
    Very important details here - make sure you reward for the good behavior, and never be without a "weapon".
    ______________________________
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaegermonster View Post
    He is a right little asshole.
    lmao! I have never heard that expression, I love it!

    The longer a horse has been allowed to get away with behavior like this, with a particular person especially, the more likely they are to test you over and over and over, at least for a while. This makes it even more important that you (the OP ) get it in your head that this is the change you make in *all* your horse management. NO horse gets to play Space Invasion, ever. It will take work, but that mentality needs to become 2nd nature for you. The sooner you can show a horse, any horse, that you are NOT going to be walked over, the sooner your good relationship can get down to fun business
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  13. #13
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    A very good tool in dealing with disrespectful horses is a fiberglass pole. You can get them at Farm Stores like TSC, Farm Fleet, etc. I believe they are called "sorting poles". They are about a 5/8" in diameter and come in different lengths. The one that is about 25" to 30" is great for teaching my space, your space. You can "wave" it by his eye as a reminder, give him a poke in the shoulder or a good bump on the nose with the rubber handle if needed. The pole has more "maneuverability" and more "umph" than a dressage whip.
    Last edited by NoDQhere; Jan. 26, 2009 at 09:03 PM. Reason: spelling



  14. #14
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    My colt was about 17-months when I bought him, and all he had done was lead in and out of the pasture every day. So when I started to do a bti more with him, he said "NO". When he caught me off-guard and kicked me in the legs, knocking me down, then took off to assault a pony mare, that is when I got tough with him.

    What worked for my boy, who was a stud at the time, was some work in a small arena with a lunge whip (or lead line used as a lunge whip). I turned him loose, and worked him briefly like you would in a round pen. I only had to do this twice before he picked up on things a bit. Once he stopped being a complete brat, then we went back to work in-hand.

    With my boy, I couldn't use a whip with him because he got very excited with me just holding it, and then he really couldn't pay attention to me. So I just used my long cotton lead. If he refused to walk forward, then I swung it behind me while I was walking. If he invaded my space, I would quickly stop and face him, and send him backwards by swinging the lead at him and walking towards him. If he ignored a request, I swung myself around in front of him and sent him back. I only disciplined him like this if he ignored me, so he soon figured out that if he payed attention I would not make him back up quickly.

    Because he was a stud and could be a touch nippy, waving the lead kept me out of reach of his teeth when I backed him up. I didn't have to get in his space and push on his chest. He was in no way nasty, he just didn't know better.

    He will now back up to the verbal command to back with me standing in front of him. Even in the pasture. If I poke his hip, he moves it over, and if he ignores that, he gets a quick smack with my hand. Because I have not been cruel to him, just firm with discipline when he is rude or ignores me, he is not afraid of me at all. He respects me, and I can walk right up to him in the pasture and pet on him without worrying that he will run over me. I can trust him around older children who know a bit about handling a horse. He was not quite 2 when a 12-year-old girl took him into a showmanship class at his first show, and he behaved perfectly for her.

    You just have to be firm and quick, but fair. I prefer to use only a lead and halter because I don't want them to figure out that without a whip I cannot make them behave. Use your body language and voice, and don't be afraid to make yourself seem big and scary for a couple seconds to get a message across.



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Samotis View Post
    I do put a halter over his bridle for now until he is trotting in hand better.
    It really has to be *perfect* with a halter and lead before you start with the bridle. Leading with a bridle is not only brand spanking new and unpleasant for a young'un, it's pretty counterintuitive to everything they've done in their life up to that point. So you want it to be 110% with the halter, and by this I mean they are really responding both to your body cues and verbal cues without you nagging at them with your voice, lead shank or crop/whip.

    Then you put the bridle on and for a few days it feels like you never did any of this stuff before. But they get into the swing of things much faster because they do have a base to understand what you expect of them, it's just that their tiny pea brains now have to process bridle + command.

    I agree with the escalate idea. "Ask nicely, tell firmly, demand without alternative" is my mantra. If your horse isn't responding to your tell or demand, you have to make sure you aren't nagging him (poke poke poke move over, pull pull pull slow down) and that your level of response is apropriate to his personality. "Tell firmly" for one of my horses is a whole 'nuther level than my other. If I told Robbie firmly like I tell Lido, Robbie would die on the spot. If I say "ahem" he is quaking in fear ... meanwhile Lido's going "take you ahem and stick it where the sun don't shine!"

    The escalation has to be well timed, very short in duration and get that individual's immediate attention. And if he has been jerking you around for a while, you might need to skip "tell firmly" and jump right to demand a fe times before taking it down a notch (recognizing you must ALWAYS ask first).
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DMK View Post
    your level of response is apropriate to his personality. "Tell firmly" for one of my horses is a whole 'nuther level than my other. If I told Robbie firmly like I tell Lido, Robbie would die on the spot. If I say "ahem" he is quaking in fear ... meanwhile Lido's going "take you ahem and stick it where the sun don't shine!"
    No kidding! If I "demanded without alternative" to my ottb mare the same way I do with my wb gelding, she would be on the West Coast and not buying a ticket back!

    The escalation has to be well timed, very short in duration and get that individual's immediate attention. And if he has been jerking you around for a while, you might need to skip "tell firmly" and jump right to demand a fe times before taking it down a notch (recognizing you must ALWAYS ask first).
    Amen, this cannot be emphasized enough. The only time you do not ask first is when he has done something dangerous to you - biting, kicking, striking, etc.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  17. #17
    Samotis is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    He actually loves his bridle. I tried it on him while I groomed him in the crossties. He was in awe of the bit and just stood there. He doesn't mind it at all, if he does, I certainly can't tell.

    I have a blue whiffle bat that I used to use when he was biting, maybe I could use that instead of the dressage whip?



  18. #18
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    To teach them to move out of your space, do lots of leading exercises making him do "turn on the hindquarters", away from you. Alternate good forward walk, halt, 1/4 turn, halt, pat, forward, halt, 1/4 turn, halt, pat, etc.



  19. #19
    Samotis is offline Grand Prix Premium Member
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    I have just started to really work with him with backing and moving off pressure. We will see how he improves this week. I have to say I just started a new job and have been so busy I have only worked with him minimally.

    Thanks for all the tips and I will work on him this week!



  20. #20
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    ...a luck would have it... I have a five month colt. He really is a darling, but started getting tough around supper time, so I had a little showjumping bat in my hand. When he pinned his ears and turned his bum at me I was going to smack it - but this time he lifted his leg. Just as he kicked out and hit the wall, I was perfectly timed to smack him but laid it down pretty hard at the exact moment he hit the wall. He was so startled and humbled he's never tried it again. Can't believe my timing was so perfect! Feed times are a pleasure for me now.



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