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halting while ground driving.

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  • halting while ground driving.

    we had one of those ugly training sessions yesterday while ground driving where my mare, 18 years of age, apparently forgot what it means to halt. she would just take tiniest little steps forward until finally she'd loose all momentum. i probably should've left it for another day, but hindsight is always 20/20. so i we worked at it and worked at it. with my asking 'whoa!' and halting with the lines and her leaning on the bit and disregarding.
    we never had to work at it, she normally listens. so i'm wondering what would've been the best approach? we've been ground driving since november, btw. no issues until yesterday.
    TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique

  • #2
    Well, I'd take the direct approach if it were me. I'd have set her back on her butt in no uncertain terms. Whoa means whoa, not sidle forward until you feel like stopping. This is especially important if you're planning to actually drive this horse to a vehicle. The horse must halt and remain immobile until she's told otherwise.


    • Original Poster


      i thought that maybe i was too rough.
      i just held the reins and she pressed against them and then she'd take 2 strides back and go forward again.
      we finished on a good note with her stopping for me on the way out of the arena and again by the barn.
      TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


      • #4
        Repetition is the key and good for you for ending it on a good note! I wouldn't "set her on her butt" by being overly agressive, there are other less heavy handed means to teach your mare that when you tell her or ask for a whoa you want it. No taking a step, no leaning, but to stop and behave. Training a draft takes time and your doing it the right way.

        What do you do when she takes a step or doesn't do what you ask? Do you have someone who is training you both or no? When Smoke does this I make her do what I want to do till she tires of that and then do it some more, meaning we work till she WANTS to stop and whoa. Works for me as I don't like to see people be heavy handed with their lines. But, that is only my .02 worth.


        • #5
          I have taught several horses to ground drive and I have had this happen before. If you were getting into a steady pull type situation then she was doing the thing like when you pull on their tail in a nice steady pull, they just lean against you. I never like to snatch a horse in the mouth but sometimes it is all you have. I will sometimes run them into a fence and ask them to halt right as they near it. But then it is hard to keep them straight. If I had to take a guess though. Your mare was bored. You might liven things up and build a little obstacle course to take her around with lots of transitions and turns and hard things to go over. Usually that makes them want to take break when you let them rest. Which ever tactic you choose just remember to make your actions with your hands quick and then release. I think of it as turning up the volume. If you can't hear at this volume I'll keep turning the knob until you get to a level that she can hear. Don't feel guilty about asking for what you want from her. So think of many small half halts until she stops. Squeeze release squeeze release. OR hard pull release hard pull release... Other times I will spread my hands or lift them to get a different angle on the bit to get their attention. So as she drifts just lift your hand and pop pop pop really quickly and not so hard. Just a little wake up. IF she starts to turn lift the outside hand and pop pop pop and let go. Don't let her pull against you. I know this was rambling sorry.
          “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
          ? Rumi


          • Original Poster

            thanks everyone

            on my way to the barn this a.m. and i'll keep all theses suggestions in mind.
            she may have been bored. i'll try just working her between the jump course today and see if that makes for a different attitude.
            i do work with a trainer but we took a break from our lessons b/c this is the time of the year when we also do some distance riding and i neither have time nor can afford both at the same time. like i said, this was a new issue, never before did she pull right through the lines and lean against pressure like that. if we don't get past it, i will certainly have the trainer address it at our next lesson.
            TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


            • #7
              According to the OP, this is not a green baby in training. It's an 18 year old mare that's been ground-driven since last November. This is not the time to let that mare begin making the decisions, especially if the goal is to hitch her to a vehicle. It's not heavy-handed or overly aggressive to clearly communicate to a driving horse that 'whoa' means stop moving your feet. One would of course adjust her tactics if dealing with a youngster but that is not the case here. I would rather have one unambiguous moment with this horse than several tentative ones and I bet the horse would appreciate the clarity too. Horses usually do.

              Originally posted by Belplosh View Post
              Repetition is the key and good for you for ending it on a good note! I wouldn't "set her on her butt" by being overly agressive, there are other less heavy handed means to teach your mare that when you tell her or ask for a whoa you want it.


              • Original Poster

                well she was much better today.

                i tried doing some unboring exercises, then did a couple of minutes on a circle, then asked for a walk on a straight away and she did braced against the bit. i was firm, got my point across. then asked again, same thing. asked her to back up. we went through couple steps back, then she'd try to move forward on her own, so we'd back up again. second time she stood still once asked for to halt while walking backwards.
                we tried couple more times on a circle and straight away and although it wasn't perfect, she was paying more attention. and then finally at the end she halted quickly when asked to so i decided to leave it at that and go to teh barn. we walked in and i asked her to halt at cross ties w/ just the slightest amount of pressure and she did a lovely square halt (she usually tries to continue walking on towards her stall).

                she is not green. she knows what i'm asking. i just don't understand why all of a sudden she decided to have an argument about it.

                anyway, looks like i'm getting across to her. i have to admit, i hate yanking on her mouth, and i feel that with driving lines i have so much more leverage to pull, i'm almost afraid to do it. but i did it today
                TQ(Trail Queen) \"Learn How to Ride or Move Over!!\" Clique


                • #9
                  Don't know if it will help but I was taught to have 2 different commands, halt which means stop now, and stand which means don't move a foot. If she is halting when you say halt, then add the stand and expect her to stay put. Stand is taught at lots of times, when you are opening a gate, putting to, etc.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by marta View Post
                    we walked in and i asked her to halt at cross ties w/ just the slightest amount of pressure and she did a lovely square halt (she usually tries to continue walking on towards her stall).

                    she is not green. she knows what i'm asking. i just don't understand why all of a sudden she decided to have an argument about it.
                    This is a clue to me. Usually problems don't just pop up in isolation, out of nowhere and this appears to be no exception to that. You say she usually tries to continue walking on to her stall when you want her to halt at the cross ties. What she is doing in the long lines in the arena is simply an attempt to expand her 'sphere of influence' from the cross ties to the arena. She didn't just wake up yesterday and think "I'm going to be a pill in the arena today." Her thoughts were probably more along the lines of "I've been shoving my way on past the cross ties so I'll try that maneuver out in the arena too." Some horses are constantly looking for a sign of weakness on our part and then exploiting it for what they perceive to be their own gain. I have a very clever one like that. If today I say, "awwww, it's OK that you were a pushy little snot while I was trying to (fill in the blank)" then I can be sure that tomorrow he'll be pushy about the (fill in the blank) item as well as looking for something else to be pushy about. I love him but I don't cut him any slack because he'll take the slack and then some.

                    I think you are on the right track with being firm with her and it sounds like you had a very productive session today.


                    • #11
                      Jsut another thought, but...

                      Has anything changed with her equipment? I've heard more stories than I can count about days when someone's horse suddenly wouldn't steer or seemed reluctant to move forward or leaned to the left or WHATEVER and then it turned out someone had forgotten to fasten a rein or a friend had accidentally tied the overgirth in a square knot around the shaft or some such thing. Sometimes it's naughtiness, but most of the time when behavior suddenly changes they're trying to tell you something!

                      Hey look, I joined ANOTHER forum! And you thought horses were addictive.


                      • #12
                        If there's nothing new, different, or wrong with the equipment, I think RidesAHaflinger would be on to something - for *our* horses, at least. I love mine too, but if given an inch, she'll first measure it, then run off with it.

                        I try to be consistently firm with her and rarely have problems to where I have to get down hard on her. I hope you find a solution. You're being proactive with the problem, so no doubt you'll work it out.

                        "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx