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

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  • #41
    Originally posted by KateWooten View Post
    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.
    You have company!!
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

    Comment


    • #42
      You might want to try to teach her a one rein stop and flex your mare from side to side prior to getting submission. When you do the one rein stop ask first with a whoa and if she ignores you then haul her to a stop with one rein letting her circle until she stops. Then once stopped flex her head and neck both directions until she submits quietly. Then try again and again and again. Eventually she will feel your hand on the rein and immediately give. So when you get on ask her to give both directions, then practice your whoa at a walk until she stops on a dime, then try it at a walk and canter. Once she learns this you will find everything much easier. You can even start her on the ground by asking her to give with on one side then the other this might make it even easier when you get on her back. Remember the old saying KISS (keep it simple stupid). By the time you have her completely confirmed in her halt you will be able to raise your hand and say back and she will back for you. (again an exercise you can start safely on the ground.

      Good Luck
      Robin Kelly
      www.TheDigitalHorse.com

      Comment


      • #43
        Originally posted by THE DGH WebMamma View Post
        You might want to try to teach her a one rein stop and flex your mare from side to side prior to getting submission. When you do the one rein stop ask first with a whoa and if she ignores you then haul her to a stop with one rein letting her circle until she stops. Then once stopped flex her head and neck both directions until she submits quietly. Then try again and again and again. Eventually she will feel your hand on the rein and immediately give. So when you get on ask her to give both directions, then practice your whoa at a walk until she stops on a dime, then try it at a walk and canter. Once she learns this you will find everything much easier. You can even start her on the ground by asking her to give with on one side then the other this might make it even easier when you get on her back. Remember the old saying KISS (keep it simple stupid). By the time you have her completely confirmed in her halt you will be able to raise your hand and say back and she will back for you. (again an exercise you can start safely on the ground.

        Good Luck
        Robin Kelly
        well....... "forcing", "hauling" etc are not really the way to get a horse to trust you - which you need for real submission in the dressage sense.

        if you have a horse that does not do as you wish you need to ask why - and usually it is a timing or clarity issue on the riders part.

        things should only ever get ugly when every other tactic has failed. and a rider that yanks, jerks, etc is telling everyone loud and clear they are no rider.

        and finally in dressage we want the horse to be confident and happy to go INTO the contact - not be afraid of it and back off of it. i have never seen any successful dressage trainer use the methods listed above.... so if i were the OP i would stick to more traditional methods of trust, appropriate work for the level and horse etc.

        Comment


        • #44
          the chatting thing .....
          I guess it is true that girls like to talk

          When I have my horses at home the geldings only speak up at feeding time. The girls nicker whenever they see me

          And under saddle, lots of one word commentary.
          "Yes" is a reward (can't say "good" because every horse I own think that means we are finished (operator error)).
          "Really?" is never good.

          I use treats too. I think most mares are sort of perfectionists. They really want to please, particularly if they think you are alpha. Treats are not really bribery, more of a way to acknowledge what they have done so they aren't worrying if they got it right.

          The "my way or the highway" thing, yeah let me know how that works for you with an alpha mare

          I think a better idea when you meet resistance is to try another approach. Sometimes I will go back to something I know she will agree to, get the positive response and ask for the challenging issue again. Sometimes (particularly if she is being evasive or unfocused) I give her a choice of doing what I ask or doing something more difficult.

          But she knows me and how I think. It is like she is actively engaged in the ride mentally. I love that.
          See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

          Comment


          • #45
            READ THE SIGNALS!!! If something's not working, and be prepared to deflect the negative energy into another direction, do NOT use force with them.

            My 3-year-old, who seemed dead broke, went against my hand hard on a slightly downhill circle on a day she was tense, tight in her back, and cranky, all of which I had chosen stupidly to ignore. Like a GD fool I fired a big fat half-halt through her--and got the buckoff of the last 25 years! Which I totally deserved . . . hey, at least it took her 4 big ones and a sunfish to unload me.

            Treated with appropriate respect, she's been a perfect lady ever since!

            Comment


            • #46
              Originally posted by gldprimr View Post
              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...
              This thread is making me LOL and also cry because everything being said is SO TRUE. Your post is pretty much my mare in a nutshell. My mare is so awesome when she is good, and so downright horrible to ride when she's not (which is about 30% of the time). She has taught me a ton though about really being a rider which I will forever be grateful for, despite eating dirt quite a few times through the learning process!

              Comment


              • #47
                Originally posted by nhwr View Post
                the chatting thing .....
                I guess it is true that girls like to talk

                When I have my horses at home the geldings only speak up at feeding time. The girls nicker whenever they see me

                And under saddle, lots of one word commentary.
                "Yes" is a reward (can't say "good" because every horse I own think that means we are finished (operator error)).
                "Really?" is never good.

                I use treats too. I think most mares are sort of perfectionists. They really want to please, particularly if they think you are alpha. Treats are not really bribery, more of a way to acknowledge what they have done so they aren't worrying if they got it right.

                The "my way or the highway" thing, yeah let me know how that works for you with an alpha mare

                I think a better idea when you meet resistance is to try another approach. Sometimes I will go back to something I know she will agree to, get the positive response and ask for the challenging issue again. Sometimes (particularly if she is being evasive or unfocused) I give her a choice of doing what I ask or doing something more difficult.

                But she knows me and how I think. It is like she is actively engaged in the ride mentally. I love that.
                LOL Sophie thinks "Good" is short for slam on the brakes and look for a mint so I sorta hum.

                I don't know if it's Irish horses but for her the best reward, other than treats is to do something else. She HATES repetition. But if I reward this, next time I ask she'll give me THIS!
                I wasn't always a Smurf
                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                Comment


                • #48
                  My alpha mare is a good girl, but she's constantly, subtly, testing me, which gets annoying at times. E.g. she has become a bit ring-sour as we've been trapped indoors for months, but rather than run to the door or halt and refuse to go, she'll throw out a tiny slow-down. And if I don't correct her immediately, she'll slow down a bit more the next time and the next time and the next time. She's always asking "do you really mean it?" She has opinions and is just polite enough about expressing them.

                  I have to limit the use of force, too, although sometimes when she Just. Won't. Listen, I end up whacking her rather than just tapping her with my dressage whip, and growling at her, and after that (and often an annoyed crow-hop or two) she's MUCH better.

                  When she's really throwing a fit about something, though, it often behooves me to listen (e.g. the old trailer I once had, which she would NOT go into.... she reared, she tried to pull away, she twisted and it only got worse when I turned over to a more "forceful" friend. Well, it turned out, when I traded the trailer in, that it was really unsafe!)

                  I have never met a horse with a more acute sense of self-preservation. She's on-guard much of the time, and when she lived in a herd, was second-in-command, in charge of keeping the younger mares and fillies in line.

                  I work with her, and I take things slow... for all that she's an alpha, she's not very brave, and I find the more I put us in situations where she's challenged, but can cope with a little help, the more she trusts me.
                  You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                  1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                  Comment


                  • #49
                    Originally posted by nhwr View Post
                    Horses become submissive by accepting your judgment. That develops because the horse habitually says yes to what you ask them to do. Part of it is trust, part of it is preparation, part of it is consistency.
                    I love what you have to say here! I think this goes hand-in-hand with what my instructor just tried to impart to me last week.

                    She explained to me in my last lesson that my job is to make my horse think everything is her idea. I had to mentally giggle a little, because when it comes to dealing with people, I completely lack this skill. I am supposed to ask for something, then shut up and give her a beat to respond. For example, send her forward to a trot lengthening, then "allow" it to happen. Or "play her down" with subtle wrists for long and low - then "allow" her down. If I have set her up correctly, I usually get what I want - and she is happy because she thinks it was her idea. Even in the short-term, her responses get more immediate and the best part is that her trust in me increases. It's a win-win cycle.
                    "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                    Comment


                    • #50
                      I have found with my very alpha fire breathing chestnut mare (of 14 years) that they do learn despite their objections. I do a lot of transition work and ride every stride always aiming for lightness through clear half-halts. I try to completely relax when I manage to obtain a fraction of a second submission and hope the next stride in not a spook at the ghost in the corner. Plough away with the basics on days when they do not wish to cooperate. Try to get it right and wait for a better day. When they are ready all is there. I find anything else I ride after her is easy.
                      This mare is the subject of my blog:
                      http://discussionswithamare.blogspot.ca/
                      \"Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.\" Charles Dickens

                      Comment


                      • #51
                        I have a firbreathing redhead mare now 26 years old. She would win in the dressage ring, where you would have to be very careful and precise when negotiating the ride. One hair out of place and she would try and launch you. In one test she bucked all the canter work. BUT you could hunt her ladyship on the buckle. She loved it, and was an excellent fieldmaster, whip or field horse. She could actually remember the sticky places or holes in our regular territories. She would lead the field with the most amazing extended trot, and had favourite places where she would squeal while jumping. She is retired now and rules the roost here on the farm. When it is eventually her time, we will all miss her terribly and I will have lost my best companion and supporter.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._

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                        • #52
                          \"Have a heart that never hardens, a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.\" Charles Dickens

                          Comment


                          • #53
                            My mom's horse was both a trail horse and a beginner hunter lesson horse before I started working with her. She hated arena work as it had meant kids who didn't know what they were doing and I suspect draw reins, and on the trail it was "get out of my way, and let me go!" She was a major alpha; to the point when we picked her up for trial every other horse she was out with was underweight and she was obese - she wasn't letting them eat enough despite multiple feeders. (The implications about the horse management going on there are a different thread!)

                            She's a Friesian cross who traveled with a stiff hollow back as she'd never been taught anything else. When I started riding her she challenged everything - until she started to realize that doing what I asked felt *good*. Her body felt more comfortable and she developed an athleticism (aka ability to evade predators and blowing things!) she had never had. Since she realized that, all attempts to fight and evade went away and she became a very agreeable partner. She put all that previous fight into trying to learn and improve. To me that's what "submission" as requested on a dressage test should be - a horse trying because it wants to do the work, rather than a horse who has been browbeaten into submitting like the dictionary definition of the word might imply.
                            If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.
                            -meupatdoes

                            Comment


                            • #54
                              sometimes ya gotta share the "tiara." ;-) Or...one day she gets to wear it longer than you. It's a running joke with regards to one mare I ride, however, really and truly, with her, it is about the tiara. She, over the years, has been plagued with this or that and finally we are having some consistent success with her. Her life is carefully structured to keep her happy with gas in her tank at the end of a ride. So, in reality, it is ALL about her. ;-) She didn't choose her owner, she didn't choose her rider...she is stuck with us, so we do our best to ensure she is "handled" properly and consistently. Structure seems to help her so she knows what is coming. She can be a stinker, but for the most part, she keeps my riding very sharp and my toolbox open to new tools and new ways. Oh, she annoys me, she aggravates me, but this mare speaks volumes to her rider about my lack of knowledge! A great humbling ride 3 days a week, keeps me in my place, makes me check my ego at the gate! ;-) But, when I get to wear the tiara....oh my, what a ride she gives! ;-)
                              Bethe Mounce
                              Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                              https://www.facebook.com/AmericanRomanceEquestrian
                              Brentwood CA

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                Originally posted by gldprimr View Post
                                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...
                                I disagree that alpha mares can't be fun just because they test. Earn the trust and respect of your mare and they can be tons of fun! Mine has me laughing and smiling every day, even on the days she feels like testing.

                                While its important to always "win" with an alpha mare, I also think its important to play and let them show their personality. They usually have a lot of heart and joy if they trust you and you focus on doing things with them instead of to them (a subtle but important difference!)--the thing with an alpha mare is you really have to earn their trust and heart, and it can take time to figure out the right approach to do that.

                                Comment


                                • #56
                                  ^^^

                                  This. When my alpha mare is testing me, that's is a signal to me that she is engaged in what we are doing. And I am convince she wants to get things right.
                                  These days instead overt resistance, her testing is couched more like a "helpful suggestion"

                                  The funny thing is I have her daughter too. She was started last year. She has a very similar personality. I can't wait to see how good she is going to be, thanks to all the lessons her mom taught me
                                  See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

                                  Comment


                                  • #57
                                    My favorite instructor used to tell me to force a big grin and lol when I was starting my little wannabe alpha pony mare. It works!
                                    On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

                                    Comment


                                    • #58
                                      Originally posted by Lilypad View Post
                                      I disagree that alpha mares can't be fun just because they test. Earn the trust and respect of your mare and they can be tons of fun! Mine has me laughing and smiling every day, even on the days she feels like testing.
                                      I so agree. I don't think I have yet earned my mare's full respect, but even still, her "testing" and opinionatedness makes me laugh. She has a face as expressive as I Love Lucy and it makes every day a joy with her. I wouldn't trade her for a less-opinionated horse, not any day of the week.

                                      Comment


                                      • #59
                                        My lady will be 18 mid April and she is still firmly holding on to her alpha tiara.

                                        I am tense and nervous, she is opinionated and hot. It is a match from hell but she's stuck with me so we do our best.

                                        Ultimately it comes down to my skills as a rider. I know her well enough to know that she will test me every step of every ride. If from her first step undersaddle I ride every.single.step with relaxation, focus, and fairness, she will give me 110% every time. If I lose any of these elements she will smack me upside the head with her tiara and take over the show.

                                        My trainer back home is the most focused, relaxed, and fair rider I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Watching her ride my mare was truly magical. It was like my mare was saying "thank goodness you are here. I am sick of wearing the tiara. Please have it."

                                        Comment


                                        • #60
                                          I happen to run a home for wayward girls - uh, mares. Only three have actually been purchased by me, eight others given to me for a variety of reasons such as training issues, career ending equine injury, health issues or death of owner. I am fascinated by the heirachy of alpha mares. My oldest mare is the alpha mare. I have seen her kick backwards all the way across the pasture at another mare who irritated her. I am not allowed to pick her feet or treat her seasonal face fungus, but others can. She is, however, thinking of retiring her tiara at 22. Nearly all of the other mares pastured with her are bucking for the promotion. I believe that any one of them will attempt the nomination for alpha mare. I separated pregnant mares from non-pregnant mares this weekend and all the mares were not having it. I manage to chase them away from the gates long enough to bring in the next victim. I demand their respect on the ground and 99% of the time I get it. When I change things up, change stalls, change pastures, take them on a ride to the vet, it rocks their world. Under saddle, they know immediately whether the rider is confident and competent. There is only one gelding, an 11 hand pony who would love to tell them all what to do and who would not survive it.

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