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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 1999
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    Concord, California, USA
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    8,485

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    Yeah, I have considered that he may just "be that way," but he wasn't as bad when I first took him out as a 4 year old. It's only since he was laid up/hand walk/walk only under saddle for nearly a year (tweaked his MCL, then got an abcess in the hoof in the same leg just as he was supposed to return to full work - so vet treated as if he had reinjured MCL) that he decided trail riding was either too exciting, or so boring he wanted to go home in a hurry. Sigh. I understand the great show jumper Touch of Class "hated" trail riding. I've just NEVER had a horse I couldn't safely trail ride and this is really giving me angst!!! LOL



  2. #42
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2003
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    4,735

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    Sandy,

    Until about 2 years ago, my horse was good on trails -- alone, with other horses, at home, trailering out. No problems.

    Then he had two meltdowns when we were out alone. Then he colicked three times in one month and started acting out under saddle. Treating him for ulcers made the colic and under saddle issues go away, but the meltdowns on trail did not.

    I can get him around, but my god he's not fun. Not at all. One time it took us 20 minutes to go <100 yards. He was sure he had to RUN back to barn and I was sure he could WALK. And once you get into that kind of pi$$ing match, you cannot let him have his way or he'll be worse by a factor of 10 the next time.


    I thought it was my problem and that remembering his bucking, farting meltdowns were making me tense. Then my young, fearless, seat-of-glue friend who rides him for me occasionally took him out on the trail and he acted like an idiot with her, too.

    So ... now we toodle around the turnout pens, go visit his brother in the pasture and do what I call bridle path stuff. Just where I'm pretty sure he'll be OK. I think John Lyons calls it "riding where you can, not where you can't."

    No help, I know. But I feel your pain.
    __________________________
    "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
    the best day in ten years,
    you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."



  3. #43
    Join Date
    Jan. 11, 2012
    Location
    High Desert, SoCal
    Posts
    424

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    I have a spooky mare and I have found that if her brain is fully engaged, she is way less likely to behave badly. If I am out on the trail and her head starts to come up and back starts to get tense, we do shoulder in, travers, or whatever movement is just difficult enough that she has to focus on her feet instead of her fear. I also focus on where we're going and not what she's afraid of. She looks at car on right and lifts head, I bend her left and push forward, eyes on the horizon, always careful to keep my hips swinging forward and not locked in tension. It works very well for me in and out of the arena.
    Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse. Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword, O, Horse!
    Anonymous Bedouin legend



  4. #44
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 1999
    Location
    Concord, California, USA
    Posts
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    mp - It sounds like we have a similar situation, thought I feel that IF the landscape were more friendly, I could ride him forward out of his behavior. Interestingly, while I was on vacation, I left him with a colt starter/trainer and her assistant rode him all through their property, into the hills, and worked cattle on him, and he behaved just fine. He didn't know where "home" was, perhaps? But when the cowboy I hired rode him on his home ground, he behaved the same as he does with me on the trails- not well.

    Sorrelfilly - I Do do shoulder in, legyields, all sorts of stuff to keep him from totally blowing - and he does in all in an agitated piaffe or passage or tries to go sideways (in an unsafe direction). Tellingly - if I reverse directions (i.e., go AWAY from home) he drops into a walk. ONe day I spent two hours going up and down a hill - turn back up the moment he jigged or spun. He neer gave up. I did.



  5. #45
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
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    8,702

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    Quote Originally Posted by mp View Post
    I can get him around, but my god he's not fun. Not at all. One time it took us 20 minutes to go <100 yards. He was sure he had to RUN back to barn and I was sure he could WALK. And once you get into that kind of pi$$ing match, you cannot let him have his way or he'll be worse by a factor of 10 the next time.


    I thought it was my problem and that remembering his bucking, farting meltdowns were making me tense. Then my young, fearless, seat-of-glue friend who rides him for me occasionally took him out on the trail and he acted like an idiot with her, too.

    So ... now we toodle around the turnout pens, go visit his brother in the pasture and do what I call bridle path stuff. Just where I'm pretty sure he'll be OK. I think John Lyons calls it "riding where you can, not where you can't."

    No help, I know. But I feel your pain.
    This sounds very similar to where I am with my 4 year old mare. She's either REALLY good and you would think you were riding a made 15 year old horse, or she is just melting down about something.

    Fwiw, she is also half-Arab.

    I had one trainer very experienced with young horses just tell me to give up, that her personality is her personality. But I have other trainers tell me the fact that she is sometimes super means there is hope.

    She's moving this weekend to a new barn where she will have direct access to miles of trails, and I will have someone help get her out every single day. We will see what happens!

    But...sadly...there are horses that are just reactive and spooky and get worked up. There are also horses that are easy from the start. And no one thing works for all of them, and some never get over it to the point that we want them too



  6. #46
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2002
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    5,748

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    So, right ... yes, it's a rider issue.

    To answer my question about how to develop the appropriate skills to be the leader, I'm finding that groundwork that requires patience and acute attention (which I have not typically pursued due to the patience and attention) are really helping *me*.

    Turns out that when we work at things like opening and closing a gate (which we have been doing), I have no expectations and can break it down, stay calm and positive with good results.

    That stupid "Stand, no... really, I mean stand. On that mat. Not next to it, not in front of it. Right there." ... "There." for more time than I want to, every day, is clarifying my difficulty with consistency. And helping me resolve the difficulty in a way that is productive. DCM stands longer and we both get practice paying attention and me learning what my horse needs to experience to believe in me and how to deliver. It's difficult work for me ... so many mistakes that I have to forgive and move through (mine) and not give up because I'm useless at it.

    Yes ... I see what I wrote and understand what's been going on.

    Most people who say "horses are therapy" probably don't know the half of it.

    In more fun news, we're scheduled for the obstacle clinic on Saturday and I cannot WAIT!

    But back to you ... how have YOU overcome your leadership challenges?
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #47

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    For me the biggest break through was when I realized that it was not about the object or noise that the horse was spooking at, but about how it responded to it.

    The first response is usually to ignore some aspect of your leadership. Ie, take the rein away to look, push the shoulder through the inside rein, bulge against the leg.

    So, i ignore the object of the horses attention and simply ask that it return its attention to my leadership.

    In some ways i want the horse to think of my hand in the same way as they think of a cross tie. It is soft, almost not their so long as they do not resist it, but its as solid as something tied to a wall if they try to move it. I can yield my hand any time, and I do , many times, but the horse may not move my hand. Whether i am leading from the ground, or riding.

    There is not need for abuse, if you step wise and kindly teach the horse that principle, then you can deal with nearly any normal level of spooking


    1 members found this post helpful.

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    17,092

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    Major kudos to you, AWG! I'll still reiterate what I said about getting outside the ring for desensitization.... of yourself If you can find a seasoned trail buddy to get out with, do it. Just as the horse takes the cue for nervousness from his/her rider, so the rider can take the cue from a stronger/leader riding buddy.

    I'll give myself as an example: If you came to ride with me, we'd be on The Silver Comet Trail, a busy and multi-use access trail, with both concrete/flat for the walkers, bikers, etc. and wood-line trails for us on the horses to share with the mountain bikers.

    We would encounter every variety of bi/tricycle, a 4-wheeler or electric "Gem" Car (used by the Sheriff to patrol), bridges over roads & train tracks, tunnels, dogs, strollers (replete with screaming wee ones), overpasses busy with traffic and the occasional bulldozer.

    To me and my mare, these are normal everyday things we don't blink at. To a friend riding with me, they're full of moments that would shake them to their core. But they look to me and my mare and "borrow" a bit of confidence. "Hmmm, it didn't freak out Susan's mare. Susan didn't freak out. In fact, she's smiling & chatting away. Guess, it's no big deal." And so the confidence grows little by little without you even being aware.

    So if your travels ever bring you to Georgia, look us up
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
    Location
    Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
    But back to you ... how have YOU overcome your leadership challenges?
    I agree with you when you said it is a rider issue. Granted, some horses do have their problems (I had an aggressive horse who bit people), but most often they mirror our problems or issues.

    I've seen horses who are spooky with one rider but not another, horses who get wound up because their rider/handler gets wound up, horses who are wound up get calm with a different person - mostly it is a different version of the same story. The horses feed off of us and our energy. My mustang is a very obvious example to me of that - when I've had him around people with crazy nervous or loud energy, he is easily startled and backs away from them, moreso than any other horse I've had. He picks up on it from a distance, too, the person doesn't have to be right in front of him.

    He has been challenging to me and working with him has forced me to become a better leader. My other horses are super easy and mostly obedient, but he is another story and every day is a new day.

    I am not ashamed to say I bought a flag and watched Buck Brannaman's "7 Clinics" DVDs and practice the techniques in there (and I've been riding over 30 years, so it isn't like I'm a total newbie). I also attended a clinic in person for a real-time BB experience (and yes, now I'm a groupie). It did so much for my confidence and skill level in developing feel and communicating a message to my horse and being there as a leader whom he could depend on. The feeling of riding him at the clinic in our practice/after-clinic-homework-time and being "one" with him was a feeling that I will forever chase.

    Working with those DVDs really showed me where my weaknesses were (temper, impatience) and gave me a visual example of how to be a good leader. They also calmed me down somehow, so that when I am with my horse and he's acting up I can be chill and zen-like about the situation. The only thing my anxiety does is make a bad situation worse, so I've really learned how to be mellow. The ground work calms me as much as it provides mental and physical exercises for my horse.

    I applaud you for coming to this realization and asking the hard question of how you are contributing to the problem. Most people don't do that and just want to blame the horse.

    I can't say that all my problems are magically solved, because they're not - I consider it a lifelong process that is never "done." But I now have tools to use as needed, to set boundaries, to establish my leadership, to calm my nerves, to supple my horse, to improve our relationship.

    I do believe that horses look to us to be the leaders (really, they look to whomever they are with at the time, deciding who is the leader) and if we're not taking over that role they will either do it themselves or look to someone else to do it (horse or human). They draw their confidence from us and also draw their insecurities from us.

    Yes, horses are therapy in many ways. And they are also the biggest mirror that we could look into.
    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



  10. #50
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2001
    Posts
    11,403

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    My approach is pretty simple;

    The horse has to say yes (almost) all the time. I'd say all the time, ideally. It's a goal.

    I always get that last word.

    And when struggling with a particularly hard concept, an honest effort is all I expect and is immediately rewarded by terminating the lesson.

    Practice that looks like the following;

    If a horse can't (or won't) do something, I drop back to something I know they can do to re-establish confidence and submission. If I have asked for something she isn't ready for, I go back to something she knows well. If I've asked for something she perfectly capable of but just doesn't want to do, I lunge.

    I've mentioned lunging as my favorite tool before. I use it especially if the horse is being disobedient or obstinant. I keep the line on the outside of the arena gate. If there is a problem, 3-5 minutes of forward transitions and try again. If she is still giving me the horsie finger, I do it again. Rinse repeat until I get what I want then we are done for the day. I started this approach about a year ago with my older mare. We went through a couple of weeks of testing and I haven't had to do it since. My younger mare is dealing with a trainer and me. She is smart but less experienced. That means she is more inclined to test me than her mom (who knows how stubborn I am).
    It has been a good solution for me (a 50 something woman who doesn't bounce well )
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #51
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    Nov. 1, 2001
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    In more fun news, we're scheduled for the obstacle clinic on Saturday and I cannot WAIT!
    So ......details?
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.



  12. #52
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2002
    Location
    Central FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhwr View Post
    So ......details?
    Thanks for asking!

    Here are photos from the website (click on the first thumbnail to open a slideshow of larger photos) http://trotranch.com/photo_gallery#Next

    Not sure I can articulate details but I do have many impressions. In no particular order ...

    DCM gets startled but isn't scared of much of anything. She's reluctant to do things that are clearly not in the realm of natural horse activities but quite interested in watching the other horses perform. Not scared or startled when they did drags, made crunchy sounds, mounted and stood on tiny platforms, lifted scary stuffed toys by pully into the air ...

    She did get wound up and I realized it was a lot more standing around than she's ever been asked to do. When I decided to take breaks from the obstacles and trot some laps/circles, she relaxed very quickly. Could have been the opportunity to "return to center" with the arena-like work, could also have been MY "return to center" breathing, checking my aids, and so on.

    I was using too much rein and not enough leg through most of the exercises, especially when she started backing away from things.

    She (we) did many more activities and obstacles than anyone expected ... RIGHT over all the different colored tarps with and without water, poles, and odd things in the bottom of the "boxes." Bridges were a non-issue. Easily persuaded through the "curtains" of streamers, around scary things, up-and-over obstacles, dragging bouys, and moving a plastic rain coat from one pylon to the next.

    Teeter-totter was okay on the way "up", not so good with the "step to make it go down" parts.

    Walking over cut up rubber hoses, not so much ... ditto with the kiddie pools filled with plastic milk jugs or water and floaty toys.

    I did have an opportunity to respond correctly to a big spook by sitting up and keeping my hands down, which was a nice confidence builder for me.

    We're going again next week and I'm going to stay on the ground and do more "us" work, rather than riding stuff. I need to get some waterproof boots
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=


    2 members found this post helpful.

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Apr. 26, 2000
    Posts
    3,240

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    [QUOTE=AllWeatherGal;
    But back to you ... how have YOU overcome your leadership challenges?[/QUOTE]

    Wine & an excellent trainer...



  14. #54
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    Apr. 26, 2000
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    Yes, horses are therapy in many ways. And they are also the biggest mirror that we could look into.
    ^ Couldn't agree with this MORE!



  15. #55
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2002
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    Central FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Finzean View Post
    Wine & an excellent trainer...
    Mine keeps threatening schnapps!
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Dallas, Georgia
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    You go girl!!!
    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.



  17. #57
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
    Location
    Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
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    AWG, that looks super fun! Good for you!!!
    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



  18. #58
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    Nov. 1, 2001
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    Very cool pics, AWG
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.



  19. #59
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    Nov. 7, 2002
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    Central FL
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    In which DCM proves she's not the one who needs de-spooking and AWG's confidence grows exponentially:

    http://www.mightythoroughbredclique....ummerVacation/
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
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    Oregon, sitting on my couch looking out the window at a mountain
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    LOVE it! What is picture 34? Looks like piles of ice in water? Also, what kinds of pants are you wearing?
    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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