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  1. #1
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    Default Is this a common groundwork method to establish boundari

    I
    Last edited by BlueSunMare; May. 1, 2013 at 11:26 AM.



  2. #2
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    I have never hit my horse in the face to get his attention, get his respect, or to get him to move. I've never seen a trainer hit a horse in the face to get his attention or his respect or to get him to move.

    In fact I would say that the trainers I've seen have been very effective, quiet, and have had impeccable timing and sensitivity.


    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).



  3. #3
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    Isn't this a Buck B...."horse whisperer"...approach but he uses the flag instead of a whip?


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  4. #4

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    It is my preference not to touch the horses face when i work on groundwork, simply because from years and years of watching horses they do use body language and they do insist that their space be respected, but they do not target each other in the head but it is more about whose feet move. For example i see people longing their horses, and the handlers feet are moving as much as the horses, this is not a good establishment of boundaries, the handlers feet should be established in the center and the horses feet move around them. Backing the horse out of the handlers space, and having the horse back out of the handlers space any time the handler askes IS good boundary establishment, but it can be accomplished without addressing the head of the horse with a whip in any way


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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSunMare View Post
    Isn't this a Buck B...."horse whisperer"...approach but he uses the flag instead of a whip?
    To my knowledge Buck Brannaman doesn't hit horses in the face either.

    Paula
    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


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  6. #6
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    Call me an old phart, call me lucky, but...I have handled horses for about 50 years now. I have yet to have to hit a horse in the face to establish "leadership". It just seems like overkill to me. Yes, I've shanked a few but very rarely, I've used a chain over the nose or under the chin, but very rarely...and yet I don't recollect a whole lot of problems getting the horse to do what I wanted. I find all this talk of leadership and boundaries to be a bit new age-y or something, but fine, if that's what you want to call asking the horse to be mannerly and cooperative, OK. But a whip to the face? Not a chance.

    Were her under saddle techniques that harsh? Just curious if she was one of those Fraulein Blitzkrieg type riders - they can get results, but it's not fun to watch.

    ETA: I am particularly sensitive to harsh whip use as my breed of choice (Arab) has a long and ugly history of overuse of the whip. You never know when you'll run into an Arab that was trained using the more unfortunate approaches for halter - try to put a whip on the side of that horse's head and you may regret it.


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  7. #7
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    No, I don't start with the face. A horse has to do something really wrong and threatening to me (and I have to only be able to reach his face rather than his shoulder or neck) before I use that "desperate measure."

    But! One of the goals of this kind of work is to "make the horse's mind go at the same speed as the handler's mind." So the calm ones who are a little dull and casual about minding the handler's space need a wake up call. The wiggy ones need a handler who goes slower, asks for one thing at a time, stops in between to let the horse think.

    In the case the OP describes, it sounds like the clinician was in a bit of a hurry to get a casual and unschooled horse to sharpen up his game. Again, no need to go for the face, but so long as all the horse's ended up obedient and calm, I'd say the clinician had some skill.
    The armchair saddler
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSunMare View Post
    Isn't this a Buck B...."horse whisperer"...approach but he uses the flag instead of a whip?
    I just got back from a Buck Brannaman clinic and at no time did he hit a horse in the face or suggest that anyone do so. Yes, the horses are to stay out of your space / bubble, but they are to move back from your energy and from following a "feel." Also, he was very adamant about NOT hitting a horse in the chest, which is a very vulnerable space for them (under their chin/chest area/in front of the front feet).
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


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  9. #9

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    My horse's ground manners are mostly impeccable (I think). He drops his head when he sees the bridle, picks up his hoof when I just look at it, moves over when I tell him to, comes to me every time when he sees me. He had excellent ground manner training from the beginning (not me).

    But over the winter, I shocked him several times by accident (blanket coming off, my polar fleece jacket), and a couple of those times were in the face.

    I felt TERRIBLE. I certainly got his attention, and he was afraid of me. It broke my heart. I would say that he definitely moved away from my "energy;" not in a good way, but in a very sad (for me) way. It took a long time for him to get over that - he remembered. For a long time. I took the suggestions of netg and used conditioner on my hands before I touched him for at least a month.

    Over the summer, a "friend" punched him very, very hard in the side when she wanted him to move over. I was on him at the time. It was before I owned him. Things would go much differently if that happened now.
    LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...



  10. #10
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    A trainer with a larger toolbox wouldn't have to resort to bopping a horse in the head to try and gain respect. A good rider or competitor doesn't necessarily make a good trainer and, of course, the reverse is also true.
    "I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted". - Anonymous


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  11. #11
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    I’m not a pro trainer, but I’ve put a lot of great groundwork on the horses I’ve owned. I’ve even had people ask me to work with their horses on such things. There are times when you need to use a “shock factor” of sorts to get a horse’s attention, but I’ve only ever done that when I’ve asked for movement a couple of times and have been more-or-less ignored by Horsey.

    I have *never* used any technique like you’ve described, OP, to get a horse out of my space. No matter whether they’re being stubborn, dangerous, or even just lazy – there are other ways that are just as effective. But I try to always stay away from the face because I don’t want to create head-shy.

    I have no idea whether doing such things would eventually create a head-shy horse (it sounds logical that it would), but I know that I’ve never created a head-shy animal using what I do, and I’ve also more-or-less cured my pretty head-shy gelding through my training with him. Never would I use anything to hit him about his face – I feel like that’s just asking for issues.

    Edited to Add:

    Even when I was dealing with the mouthy/nipping stage of my baby horse, there was no hitting her in the face. When she nipped, she got a swift slap on the shoulder. End of story. It gave her enough "shock" value to make her stop and show her that nipping is *not* acceptable, but didn't scare the be-jeebus out of her. We've only rarely had to have that discussion because it was quick, effective, and didn't invite other issues.


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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    No, I don't start with the face. A horse has to do something really wrong and threatening to me (and I have to only be able to reach his face rather than his shoulder or neck) before I use that "desperate measure."

    But! One of the goals of this kind of work is to "make the horse's mind go at the same speed as the handler's mind." So the calm ones who are a little dull and casual about minding the handler's space need a wake up call. The wiggy ones need a handler who goes slower, asks for one thing at a time, stops in between to let the horse think.

    In the case the OP describes, it sounds like the clinician was in a bit of a hurry to get a casual and unschooled horse to sharpen up his game. Again, no need to go for the face, but so long as all the horse's ended up obedient and calm, I'd say the clinician had some skill.
    One of the ways I evaluate a handler's techniques is to consider what will happen when the least skilled person who observed the lesson goes home and tries it. Or explains it to a friend who didn't see the demo. It doesn't take much of a mental leap to see, 6 months from now, a bunch of people randomly whacking their horse in the head to get its attention and establish "leadership". It might work in the right hands, even though I really disagree with this approach, but in the wrong hands?

    And it's just not necessary to use this much force.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by right horse at the right time View Post
    But over the winter, I shocked him several times by accident (blanket coming off, my polar fleece jacket), and a couple of those times were in the face.

    I felt TERRIBLE. I certainly got his attention, and he was afraid of me. It broke my heart. I would say that he definitely moved away from my "energy;" not in a good way, but in a very sad (for me) way. It took a long time for him to get over that - he remembered. For a long time. I took the suggestions of netg and used conditioner on my hands before I touched him for at least a month.
    I keep a can of Static Guard at the barn to avoid shocks during the winter. I missed netg's tip, and I'm glad to read it now.

    I've worked with many horses in my lifetime, some of them quite disreputable, and in my opinion there's no reason to hit a horse in the head unless you are defending yourself from an attack. I would steer clear of this clinician. She was agressive without reason, and that's not a good thing, especially around horses.
    Quote Originally Posted by Linny View Post
    Those martingales were so taut, you could play Ode to Joy on them with a comb


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  14. #14
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    I won't aggressively go AT the face but I do expect an 1,100 pound horse to keep his 200lb (?) head out of my space.

    One of the places this comes up is self-trailerloading.
    The first thing every horse tries is to leave away from you. Handler tugs on rope to say, "Nope, stay aimed at the trailer, thanks."

    The next thing every horse tries is to leave over top of you. They try to come off the left side of the ramp ON you instead of going onto the trailer.

    The second someone tries that $h*t with me they get a good crack.
    I like to think of it as "WHOOPS. GUESS YOU RAN INTO MY HAND, HUH?"

    If the handler sets up a "turn on the haunches away from me" by pushing energy at the front of the horse until it steps over and around first, the subsequent trailer loading lesson is easier. Yes, I might gently bump a cheek with the heel of my hand to insist that I get an answer.

    So, while in general I avoid it, I am not going to say never. If somehow a horse's head is barreling at me for whatever reason (spooking, going after a fly, wanting to avoid the trailer, whatever), I am not just going to politely step out of the way and give him room. Homeslice is going to run into an unpleasant consequence when he makes that decision.

    His call.
    My consistent and non-negotiable consequence.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by CFFarm View Post
    A trainer with a larger toolbox wouldn't have to resort to bopping a horse in the head to try and gain respect. A good rider or competitor doesn't necessarily make a good trainer and, of course, the reverse is also true.
    This^^^



  16. #16
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    I never have hit my horses in the face but once. One horse bit me on the arm when hosing him and the closet thing was his head, because he was biting me and I smacked him on the cheek. He never tried to bite again. That said my horses have great ground manners and I've never once had to hit them in the face. Not my cup of tea. I have a head shy pony that came that way to us. After 8 yrs it's still there but not as extreme. I would never want to make another horse this way nor make him worse. I see no reason in smacking them in the head.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  17. #17
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    There is no way for me to tell what the person was doing from this explanation. If I had a horse that was constantly swinging it's head into my space (and I did) and risking bodily injury doing so, you bet that horses head would run into something (whether it be my hand or the end of a whip).


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  18. #18
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    In this context it was probably not the best technique to use, since people participating in the clinic would not have the time to be well schooled in when and how to use it. I would judge the "correctness" of the approach by the results. If the horses were not head shy and had a calm and friendly demeanor after the session...it worked. That doesn't mean that it would work for some one who tried to do it after watching it done.
    Years ago I attended several clinics with Linda Tellinglton Jones. There were a few disrespectful horses who invaded the handler's personal space with their head A LOT. After trying a few other things, she turned the whip (excuse me: "wand") upside down and popped them on the side of the face with the side of the butt end (just above the nostril and below the cheek bone). It was FAST and done with no emotion. She was VERY explicit about the placement and context. The horse was to perceive that they had chosen to put their nose somewhere that was a "bad choice". When they put their head in their own space, she stroked their face.

    This worked very well and did not make the horses head shy. I have since done this a few times and have had very good results with a few horses who were pretty hard cases. It shocked them, for sure! But did not make them head shy at all.

    HOWEVER: it could could be a train wreck, and I could see a situation where some one lacking experience could start a thread stating "LTJ whips horses on the face!"

    So...I wouldnt pass judgement on the technique that the OP saw....However, the clinician possibly did not provide an adequate disclaimer or explanation.



  19. #19
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    Meup and Arlosmine - in the cases you cite, the horse has done something wrong, big time wrong. I wouldn't gripe too much about a well placed crack in those examples. But for a horse who's just a little slow on the uptake, nope, too much without much provocation. A big difference.



  20. #20
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    I don't know what method this woman is using, but if a horse is getting in my space when I do ground work by leaning on the bit/hand, nibbling on me, etc, I will give it a pop under the jaw to get it OFF of me. I have NO place for a horse that is leaning all over me.

    I do have to say, though, that I always find it rather amusing that people will be shocked by different ground work/training/"NH" methods that use pressure release (ie, putting unwanted pressure on, taking it off when the horse does what is wanted) when in fact the entire way we ride is dependent on such pressure release - and, indeed, a LOT of the time on just PRESSURE and no release (for instance, we think it's totally OK to jab a horse with a spur in its side or smack it with a stick because it's being slow to respond but not to "bop" it in the face? The only reason we think the spur/whip thing is OK is because it is widely accepted).
    This isn't a judgement on anyone on this thread or anyone specifically but in fact all of us horse people generally (because I do the very same thing).

    (PS: I recently saw a clinic by a very well-known top-level dressage rider/trainer/clinician from the US who I saw WHIP a horse as hard as he/she could across the hindquarters (just one whip, and out of absolutely no where) because the horse was learning piaffe and being slow/unenthusiastic about it. I came away from the clinic absolutely disgusted and I still have the image in my head because that, to me, is abusive behaviour. However, I'm sure the girl riding the horse didn't think so since she paid $300 or whatever for the lesson and I'm sure most of the other people at the dressage clinic ALSO didn't think anything untoward happened at the clinic. Because THAT kind of whipping is "ok").



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