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How does Submission happen? (Calling all riders/owners of alpha mares :))

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  • #21
    Be fair. Be consistent. Have a sense of humor. Rinse, repeat ad nauseum.


    • #22
      Gosh. I've never discriminated between the sexes when riding. I've just ridden the horse in the moment and left abstract concepts, such as submission, to the theorists....which horses are not.


      • #23
        Originally posted by BEARCAT View Post
        Never mind I found it:
        Submission: the horse’s attention and confidence. Harmony with rider, lightness of movements and acceptance of the bit.

        I guess it is just a poor choice of word. Carry on...
        If I were in charge, I would drop the term submission from the test.


        • #24
          Alpha mares question, answer, and debate everything asked of them. You repeat and enforce a steady command/aid until they work it out and then accept it. You can't force it. They will wiggle, niggle, whinny, pout, and then reach down and carefully negotiate the deal. At first you may accept ONE STEP of shoulder-in. You don't force 20 steps of shoulder-in.

          It's all about insisting quietly on the right thing to do. Alpha mares (especially many Arabs) will test out everything--THEY need to realize what is being asked of them, and they learn that by leaning on your hands, going upside-down, and eventually gently lifting their crest and accepting whatever you are asking of them.


          • #25
            Flame suit on. I feed sugar when I ride. My very alpha mare understands that there is a tasty, tangible reward for the good work. She can be a handful on the ground, but is a pussy cat under saddle. She is interested in the work, and looks to please. The sugar comes with the difficult work, and only is given in the riding, not in the barn. I back up the sugar with lots of verbal cues when she is right on. On the ground I have utilized some of the stuff learned from NH people... Some of the stuff they teach is useful. I watch Clint Anderson on RFD TV. She continues to be a handfull sometimes on the ground, but she respects my space. Under saddle, she is sweet, forward, willing and trys so hard to please.


            • Original Poster

              So the general consensus seems to be that if your mare is improving (by your own and onlookers standards) with her attention, trust and listening ability very steadily, and that trust shows on the trail, when you pop over a litte jump, as well as when asking basic (trainin/first level) dressage work etc. then one is on the right path? It seems then that there is no need to change the game to force a sudden "my way or the highway", there's a good chance the progress will lead to ultimately being confident that she can work relaxed for longer periods of time under saddle... Yes?


              • #27
                I cannot remember which instructor I rode under that drilled ...

                "The horse should not be submissive, but rather obedient."

                I stick with that adage. I actually, mistakenly, thought it was on the dressage tests somewhere, but it isn't/wasn't.


                • #28
                  My best horses have been alpha mares and my worst horses have been alpha mares. With that being said, I just love these types of horses. They will do anything for you, when they are on your side. I have found that keeping them thinking they are doing a great job, building their desire to work is the best approach. Know when to get off and walk away...


                  • #29
                    For the most part I agree with answer A, except that I am not convinced horses actually exercise what I understand to be "free will." To the best of my knowledge, horses are ruled first by their herd leader and second by their appetite.

                    I don't really get the hang-up about the term "submissive." It's an appropriate term for a safe, healthy relationship between horse and rider -- so long as the horse is the submissive one. I've seen too many friends get hurt when it's the other way around.


                    • #30
                      Interesting discussion - friend sent the link to this thread to me so I could see that I'm not the only one dealing with the special 'hell' that is an alpha mare. When my mare is good she's the best horse I've ever ridden, without a doubt the most talented. She is however never 'fun' as there's never, ever, ever an instant where she's not looking for the opportunity to one up or bust your bubble. From what I read here, it's obvious that I can look forward to many years of this. I've always had geldings before. If I was as smart now as I was when I was younger I would still be riding a gelding...


                      • #31
                        Not too much to add to the great contributions by everyone else, but I just had to throw in my .02 cents!
                        I am a complete mare fan, I think they can be a little trickier to ride than a gelding, but totally worth it. From my own mares and seeing other people ride, I am of the opinion that most mares go better with a quiet, sensitive ride rather than an aggressive one. I'm not saying that you should let them walk all over you, but tact is necessary with a mare. None of mine have responded well to "my way or the highway"! They let me know that IMMEDIATELY.


                        • #32
                          oh hey carol o are you me?

                          i agree with pretty much everything said. trying to force is only makes it worse. bribery can be a great tool, although i try not to use it too much. mine gets frustrated the most when she doesn't understand what i'm asking (especially with the in hand laterals we've started) and will throw a little temper tantrum if she can't figure it out. in these cases, i use those little after dinner/pillow mints because like carol said, a tangible reward seems to encourage her to try more/longer/new/different things.
                          Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                          Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010


                          • #33
                            I've never really distinguished between the sexes when I ride.

                            My general strategy when riding a horse is to apply an aid and wait for an answer. If an aid goes on I wait (without escalation on my part) for an answer. When I get an answer, I release. On the more advanced horses aid-> answer happens within one stride, on the green beans it can take a few laps around the ring. Either way I keep whatever aid on without escalation and wait for an answer.

                            Wash rinse repeat.
                            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                            • #34
                              When I get the right answer I actually say, "Thank you." Out loud. Quit often it at least lets the pony know that his effort is going in the right direction. And the next time I ask, I often get the right answer with some gusto.
                              Last edited by BaroquePony; Mar. 12, 2013, 10:27 AM.


                              • #35
                                We chat .


                                • #36
                                  My mare does what I ask because she wants to. If you try to force her to do anything you are asking for an explosion. She will try her hardest (most of the time) if she understands what you are asking. You must be patient to get that understanding, though. You can't just force her to go where she doesn't want or understand to go. If she misbehaves, a light correction is the best one. Really get after her and you are making a mountain out of a mole hill. 99% of the time a light correction and she straightens right up, more then that and you are asking for trouble. Definitely pick your battles. But, she is not overly alpha and is pretty laid back and happy to work overall. It took me a while to figure out exactly how to handle her and it's different with every horse and definitely with every mare. You just have to figure out what works for your mare.


                                  • #37
                                    I cannot remember which instructor I rode under that drilled ...

                                    "The horse should not be submissive, but rather obedient."

                                    I stick with that adage. I actually, mistakenly, thought it was on the dressage tests somewhere, but it isn't/wasn't.

                                    Which is why you do well with Welsh Cobs

                                    My daughter tried the force thing with her alpha Welsh mare a week ago and ended up eating dirt. I rode her and no problem. Asked DD what she did. She informed me that as her instructor advised she forced her into the outside rein. We had a little discussion about asking and giving them the opportunity to give the right answer (make it all black and white) as opposed to forcing and of course, lots of positive reinforcement. She's ridden said mare a few times since then keeping all that in mind and what do ya know? No cranky mare antics and progress as well
                                    Ranch of Last Resort


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by QuestionsEverything View Post
                                      So the general consensus seems to be that if your mare is improving (by your own and onlookers standards) with her attention, trust and listening ability very steadily, and that trust shows on the trail, when you pop over a litte jump, as well as when asking basic (trainin/first level) dressage work etc. then one is on the right path? It seems then that there is no need to change the game to force a sudden "my way or the highway", there's a good chance the progress will lead to ultimately being confident that she can work relaxed for longer periods of time under saddle... Yes?


                                      • #39
                                        I also have one of these. I bought her as a 2 year old and she was almost nasty on the ground. She was 2, so we started with groundwork. She is actually a very sweet mare who sometimes forgets I'm the boss. Under saddle she tested me like crazy. She is very very smart, though. When she did something good, lots of praise. I do not drill her at all. You really have to praise the attempt of trying wi these types. Lucky for me, the harder the work gets, the more she is interested. I also keep our sessions fairly short. My biggest reward is getting off!


                                        • #40
                                          I usually attempt to gain submission by shouting "Po, stoppp, PO! PLEASE STOPPPPPPPPP!"

                                          But usually my words are carried away by the wind rushing past.