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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2007
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    2,539

    Default I'm in charge here!

    One light bulb slowly brightening in my brain is just how important it is for a rider to be able to clearly communicate to his/her horse that he/she is in fact, in charge of the ride. Might sound obvious, but horses are big, intimidating animals and it can be a difficult thing to walk the line between discipline and abuse. I have tried the easier, softer way and found that it can get me into trouble. Problem is, a good trainer is necessary to do the education. Even then, having that confident, "calm assertive" energy and being able to smack him with the whip or give him a sharp kick at the appropriate time and not lose my cool can be tough. That kind of benevolent dictatorship, as Mark Todd says, seems to be a quality that I've noticed in really good riders. I don't know if their insides match their outsides, but they sure look confident on the outside!
    Last edited by riderboy; Apr. 16, 2010 at 07:48 AM. Reason: grammar,punctuation



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 30, 2002
    Location
    Looking up
    Posts
    6,129

    Default

    Good for you for expressing this important concept.

    Knowing when to say when is different with every horse.

    But life it too short to go around waiting for a horse to come around. When I taught beginner lessons to kids who rode once a week for 30 minutes, they impressed me, at age 8 and 9, and 10, at the conception of time and the urgency of life they had. They sucked up every single minute at the barn, and knew, the minute their little bottoms touched that saddle of that nasty little school horse or pony, this was IT, what they lived all week for. They were out on the rail and practicing two point and ready to go trot within three steps of the mounting block. I learned a lot about life from those kids.

    Get going to the thing you love and don't waste a second.
    "Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring." -- Emerson
    www.eventhorse.wordpress.com



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 17, 2009
    Location
    Unionville
    Posts
    1,071

    Default

    I like the premise of your post. I think of it more as a parent-child relationship. You have to respect and care for them enough that they are willing to keep the channels of communication open. But, you also have to set clear boundaries.

    Not to derail too much, but I love the title of the thread. My 1st pony, fittingly named Scooter, was an arab-welsh pony that my father bought for me for $200 when I was 10 (after over 6 years of incessant begging). Scooter ran off with EVERY TIME I rode him: head so high in the air that I practically had my hands on the bit rings! Every time that happened my father would yell "You're the boss, kiddo! You're the boss!!!" which would encourage me to hang on for about 2 more laps around the ring..... at which point I would do a flying dismount. I would venture to posit that in that case I really was NOT the boss!!!
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals" Immanuel Kant



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 23, 2004
    Location
    Camden, De
    Posts
    3,603

    Default

    I found that I had no issues asserting myself while on the ground and installing the I am a boss attitude but when riding I wasn't quite being strict enough.

    One day my trainer said- "we only ask for an hour of their time a day so make it your hour." That really stood out to me because I had found that I wasn't getting or asking for good enough work. Once I started to focus more on making my hour truly count my horses changed for the better. She is also so strict on making every single movement count and never throwing away a transition. Duh, so easy right! If only that was the case



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 29, 2007
    Location
    Middle TN
    Posts
    470

    Default

    I was thinking about this same thing yesterday. Any good leadership books to recommend?
    Hillside Haven Farm
    From starting gate to start box!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2009
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    204

    Default

    I have been struggling with this concept a lot lately. I have a very dominant BOSS mare who is the herd leader in her field. I used to basically let her dictate the ride as long as she was giving me some decent work w/out her typical drama. Recently I've realized that this is my horse and the only one I'm going to have for quite some time and I need to make it work. I've stepped up the work load and have been riding her 4x a week for an hour or more.

    At first I thought she'd resent me and become sour because my role to her was basically Passenger and Treat Dispenser. Truthfully, she is coming along by leaps and bounds and when I went to retrieve her from the field last night she actually nickered and came trotting to me!! I think maybe she was looking for leadership all along.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2007
    Posts
    191

    Default

    I think it is mostly about body language. Horses respond to other horses mostly by body language. A lead mare in a heard isn't kicking the crap out of all the other horses everyday. But, she IS letting them know through her body language that she CAN and WILL if pushed.

    I am only 5'2" and barely 110lbs. I can look a 17 hand horse square in the eye and let them know if they want to kick me they better hit me square on, because if they do, and I am able to get up it is not going to turn out very well for them.

    I am always surprised how much internal attitude and body language play a role in working with these big beautiful creatures.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2002
    Location
    Fairfax, VA USA
    Posts
    5,649

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by acking01 View Post
    I have been struggling with this concept a lot lately. I have a very dominant BOSS mare who is the herd leader in her field. I used to basically let her dictate the ride as long as she was giving me some decent work w/out her typical drama. Recently I've realized that this is my horse and the only one I'm going to have for quite some time and I need to make it work. I've stepped up the work load and have been riding her 4x a week for an hour or more.

    At first I thought she'd resent me and become sour because my role to her was basically Passenger and Treat Dispenser. Truthfully, she is coming along by leaps and bounds and when I went to retrieve her from the field last night she actually nickered and came trotting to me!! I think maybe she was looking for leadership all along.
    Yes, exactly

    I think this is *especially* important when it comes to mares!!
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 2007
    Posts
    2,153

    Default A very timely thread for me!

    Just got my new guy in November - and even though we had a very successful first show this past weekend - I suddenly realized this week (duh!), that I need to be more assertive. He needs a leader and I need to step it up. He has lots of potential and is looking for me to show him the way!



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