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Ground Manners - Help

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  • Ground Manners - Help

    I kinda can't believe I'm going to write this. but in my 30+ years in horses, I've either taught leading and ground manners to babies, or all the adult horses in my life came with decent enough ones. Fast forward to today. I bought an adorable 3yo who is large, not only is she 16.3+ (still growing) but she's built thick. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body but I swear absolutely no one has ever told this horse, hey we're going here, now and you need to listen. It's like I'm a gnat buzzing around her, she completely ignores me and does whatever the bleep she feels like.

    If she wants to go where you're headed, life is good. otherwise good luck! So it's currently -1 with real feel of -16. She is up from Florida so I can't take her outside to the round pen. She is NOT food motivated. I don't want her to be afraid of me when I get close, but I also don't want to be trounced by this very large baby. So some good reading, or personal experience would be helpful on where to start.

  • #2
    Warwick Schiller has some great videos on YouTube.
    I really like his approach.
    He is a western rider but he works with horses and riders of English disciplines.

    "They'll be no butter in hell."

    Comment


    • #3
      Wowzer, you've got your hands full with a bigee-big unbroke three year old

      My grandad started me training his horses when I was 12 --- it hurts to say that was 60 years ago, Lollol

      my first question is always about diet. My 24 yo TWH has been with me since he was two. I blamed ALL of his pig-headedness on his family until I discovered he has serious grain and soy allergies. Getting him off all grains and anything with soy as the protein source made a huge difference in his attitude regarding work. he was already a broke to death, tough as nails trail horse but could be a real SOB to take him out alone.

      Do you have a decent length barn aisle? If so, I would clear everything out of the aise and use it for ground training. If you have an arena, all the better.

      As as long as you only discipline her when she is wrong, believe me she won't be afraid of you <-----that is based on my horse who would much rather ask forgiveness than permission for any of his sins --- which used to be many. I have laced him pretty hard on the hind end and made him "walk up here" without ever having used a chain on his face ---- grandad was death against chains on the face and never even used one on the stallion.

      Your filly is a big girl and not used to rules. The other option, which I wouldn't care to do and maybe you won't either, is to secure the help of a fair-minded trainer, if they would come to your barn. Except for my granddad, the other person in this life I would trust with my horses, is my current farm neighbor who is older than me and only has a couple of his own youngsters to start.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have dealt with two like this recently, both about the same size. One came at 3 barely knowing how to lead, but being very friendly, so she'd follow you like a dog, until she didn't want to. The other at 7 is just large and in charge when she gets even a little bit up, former owner used a chain frequently. The first one, my husband had to do quite a bit with, as I couldn't even get her attention. Looking back, I'd probably have used a chain shank on her if left on my own. The other I use a chain, but also a pocket full of her favorite cookies--I had to use a chain on her basically for all handling when I got her, and we are down to only once in the last 3 months! I keep it with me, just in case. Luckily mine were both food motivated--you say she is not, what does motivate her? Is she just not interesting in regular food? Any type of cookie?

        I have my 7 year old walk, halt, if needed pop with the chain to establish the halt, and then a treat for standing, repeat. When we get to a new place, I do the exact same thing walking around for a little bit, and it really seems to help her settle.

        I'm not a big fan of a chain shank, but I'm a small person, and have got to be able to get their attention. The giant 3 year old is now 17.1 and coming 7 (still growing), and I haven't had an ground manner problem with her in over 2 years. I'm sure my new girl will get there too--we are only in the 6th month together and already went from chain shank for any activity, to only in extreme circumstances.
        www.LastingStarEquestrian.com
        https://www.facebook.com/LastStarEquestrian/

        Comment


        • #5
          Besides the above, I would also suggest using words. Horses can get a decent vocabulary if you are consistent.
          Pick your 'whoa' word and also a 'slow down' or 'wait' word and use them every time you do those things in hand.
          Yo/Yousolong April 23rd, 1985- April 15th, 2014

          http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2012/...m-a-sanctuary/

          Comment


          • #6
            I know a lot of people don't like him but I do suggest looking up some Clinton Anderson videos. He's got a free series on a rescus horse on YouTube. Here's the first one. I do feel he can be too aggressive at times; however, you can still listen to what he's saying and watch what he is doing with his body, and incorporate it in your own way. I like him because I feel like he explains things very well as far as the TIMING of what you are doing. It makes sense to me.

            His methods have been very useful to me over the years - particularly with trailer loading. But general ground manners as well.
            It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.

            Comment


            • #7

              Along this line...
              Wasn't there an old cowboy method where you would tie the halter of a pushy horse to a mule and let the mule teach the horse manners? I am not suggesting that in this case, but was that just a tall cowboy tale or was it actually done and if so, did it work?


              3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375 10582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706 79821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081 284811174502841027019385.....

              Comment


              • #8
                5, yes, I've seen it done. Apparently it does work.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
                  Wowzer, you've got your hands full with a bigee-big unbroke three year old
                  In below zero temperatures with no turnout (or so it appears?)

                  What facilities do you have available to work in? What is the footing in the round pen? (I mean, if it's sand, why can't you blanket the horse and use it?


                  Comment


                  • #10
                    With respect ot walkinthewalk I'd use a chain over her nose over "lacing the hind end" < which, IMO could have the disadvantage of making her scoot forward, taking you with.
                    It usually doesn't take more than a couple times for a fairly intelligent baby to decide listening beats getting shanked.
                    I do NOT approve of chain under the lip, way to easy to bruise or break the skin.

                    My experience was with a ginormous - 17h+ & thicc as a brick - IDH that walked all over his owner.
                    Trainer usually handled him for her, but he had 3rd degree burns on both arms, so I volunteered to walk Big Guy out to turnout.
                    When he decided he'd drag me down the aisle, we stopped, chain went over his nose, he made one false start, got shanked, went all big-eyed & decided maybe he needed to let me make the decisions.
                    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by phoenixrises View Post
                      I kinda can't believe I'm going to write this. but in my 30+ years in horses, I've either taught leading and ground manners to babies, or all the adult horses in my life came with decent enough ones. Fast forward to today. I bought an adorable 3yo who is large, not only is she 16.3+ (still growing) but she's built thick. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body but I swear absolutely no one has ever told this horse, hey we're going here, now and you need to listen. It's like I'm a gnat buzzing around her, she completely ignores me and does whatever the bleep she feels like.

                      If she wants to go where you're headed, life is good. otherwise good luck! So it's currently -1 with real feel of -16. She is up from Florida so I can't take her outside to the round pen. She is NOT food motivated. I don't want her to be afraid of me when I get close, but I also don't want to be trounced by this very large baby. So some good reading, or personal experience would be helpful on where to start.

                      If it is just that she doesn't have much of a coat and you are worried about her being cold in the round pen v. the round pen footing not being safe at the moment, you can get a blanket designed for that type of situation. I have the one linked here and it works just fine.

                      One thing that I do with horses like this - and I have one at the moment, a former stallion who can be a bit of a PITA on the ground - is they WORK when they get pushy.

                      For example, with my guy, he wanted to dance around and drag me on the way to turnout. I am 5'3" on a good day and he is over 17 hands. He is also quite sensitive and I would say, over-reactive to discipline, so the usual go- to stuff (chain shank etc) can make him worse, not better. So instead, the second he gives the slightest indication of failure to attend to me, his feet are moving and they are moving at my direction. Making circles, backing up, whatever... all done calmly and with an attitude of, "dude, I have all day for this."

                      If he didn't "come around" pretty quickly, then instead of going to his paddock, we went down to the arena, he got the longeline put on, and we did some WORK for 10-15-20 minutes. When he takes a breath, gets focused, is paying good attention to me... THEN we went back to walking over to his paddock. At first, I then spent *another* 10-15 minutes hand grazing him on a shank in the paddock. I cannot stand horses that push through a gate, or whirl around and bolt off when you release them, or other nonsense. They do learn pretty fast that the routine does not allow that sort of behavior and it's just easier for them to be polite when being handled!
                      Keep your horse covered while cooling out on the hot walker or while lunging. If you need to cool your horse down on the hot walker or warm him up on the lunge line, make sure he is comfortable and
                      **********
                      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                      -PaulaEdwina

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                        In below zero temperatures with no turnout (or so it appears?)

                        What facilities do you have available to work in? What is the footing in the round pen? (I mean, if it's sand, why can't you blanket the horse and use it?

                        The round pen is on grass. And no this filly starts shaking at these types of temperatures. I do have access to an indoor but it's huge.

                        Today i used a rope halter and we worked on her following at a safe distance and not crowding my space. She did really well. Hopefully it continues in this vein.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by phoenixrises View Post

                          The round pen is on grass. And no this filly starts shaking at these types of temperatures. I do have access to an indoor but it's huge.

                          Today i used a rope halter and we worked on her following at a safe distance and not crowding my space. She did really well. Hopefully it continues in this vein.
                          So is she going from stall to leading and back to stall - or does she get some turnout? If possible I'd throw her into that large arena for a while before trying to work with her. My horses would be terrible without any turnout, but my TB mare would probably be more like a kite. And she just turned 24.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've had a few OTTBs and they are amazing horses. It's important to remember that their life on the track is really different than her new life as a pleasure horse. She will need to work off that baby and cold weather energy before you ask her to work, for her safety and mental well-being as well as yours. I am a fan of a rope halter because it will ask for attention without a harsh chain over the nose. If you do use the chain, please make sure you loop it over the halter's noseband so the chain doesn't sit directly on top of the sensitive nasal bones, and never under the lip which is just cruel. TBs are really smart, but in my experience, some are prone to a brain holiday when overstressed, so be patient, consistent and make sure she has a way to burn off some of that energy, even if you double blanket her and give her plenty of t/o with hay to keep her busy and warm. Also, make sure she has a balanced diet and avoid high-energy feeds which is like giving a TB rocket fuel. Best of luck. Please keep us posted on her progress.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Is this horse an OTTB? I didn't see that in the OP.

                              If so, it's likely that she's had a chain over her nose before. Sometimes, I found when working with my own TB mare, just putting the chain over the nose was enough; I never had to shank at all.

                              If she's not an OTTB, she may not in fact have any experience with a chain over her nose, and I would be very careful about using it. Horses that are surprised and scared can go straight up, and with a horse as big and as inexperienced as yours probably is, that is not something you want to see.

                              You say she's not food motivated, but I'd personally try to clicker-train her. It's a great method for getting the horse to focus on the handler, and it would give you another set of tools to use as you train going forward.
                              "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
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                                She is a TB not a OTTB. I did turn her out in the indoor to get her jollies out and all she did was this:

                                Honestly I think we're gonna be ok. Once I get her over just wanting to stare at herself in the mirror.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I confused on why it's a problem that the indoor is too big? Are you not allowed to longe in there or something?

                                  Being a little cold won't kill her. Shivering for 20-30min won't kill her (and she'll warm up once you get her working). Or if it's that bad, why can't she wear her turnout while you round pen her? My horses trot, gallop, buck just fine in their blankets out in the pasture.

                                  Before I spent time longeing though, I'd do a bunch of in-hand work on a leadrope
                                  .
                                  First, a couple of things to check yourself on:
                                  Are you holding the leadrope too short, so your R hand is close to her chin or otherwise under her face? This makes your hand completley invisible to her, and deprives you of an important visual aid. From her perspective, the first indication she gets that you want her to do something is a surprise tug on her face. If you keep enough slack on the lead that your hand or at least lower arm is in her line of sight, you give her a chance to anticipate the coming pressure and comply before it hits. I realize she's not yet to that level of responsiveness but that's where you want her to be, so train her that way.

                                  Are you leading from out in front of her? This sets up a dynamic where you are pulling her forward rather than sending her forward, and puts you in danger if she barges ahead into you. If you keep yourself at her neck, you can easily put your R hand on her shoulder. to keep yourself out of harms way if she jumps sideways, and you can better pick up the early signals about where her attention is.

                                  Are you using your body language consistently? Sending mixed signals such as looking back at her when you're asking to walk on). Is your own fitness sufficient that you can walk off briskly and sustain a good steady pace without pressure on the lead?

                                  Have you developed a habit of pulling on the lead in response to several different behaviors, rather than having crisp, distinct commands that specifically address what she's doing? This one is really important. Make sure you are correcting her in specific, consistent ways. Don't use the same corrections (such as pulling on her face) for a whole host of behaviors.

                                  Honestly, I think she needs to feel an attention-getting thwack when she ignores you. So in practical terms, this means: Have a rope halter or chain on her, and this is the correction when she's barge-y and too forward. And carry a long, thin dressage or buggy whip, held in your right hand along with the lead rope, with whip facing backwards. Keeping slack in the lead as mentioned above, and having a long enough whip, means you can just quietly flick your wrist to tap her with the whip-- so you're not moving your arm position or tugging on her face in order to use it. You'd apply the whip to her barrel or shoulder if she's pushing into your space. If she's balking, your tap would be further back on her HQ (If you are leading from the correct position at her neck, you can easily reach the HQ.)

                                  And with each situation, follow the ask-tell-command sequence. So for instance if she's balking and not walking when requested:

                                  Ask - with voice and your body language. Combine a clear voice aid "Walk On" with moving your inside hand and lead forward, taking a clear step forward, your shoulders and eyes facing the direction you're going. Don't pull, or look backwards at her, just move hand forward in a way that she can see it.

                                  If you don't get a response, now you Tell: Stronger voice + light flick of whip to tap near her HQ. Tap 5-6 times in quick succession, lightly but insistent. Again, no pulling on lead--she needs to learn to do this on a slack leadrope. If she takes even a step or two, immediately remove the pressure and praise.

                                  If she doesn't comply, now you Command: Sharp voice + crisp thwacks in same place. Get her attention until you get her feet to move, even if one step. When you do, remove the pressure and praise. She may overract and jump forward, that's ok. Just ignore and walk on.

                                  Walk 10 steps or so, whoa and repeat the sequence starting back at the Ask level. I'd spend 10 min or so on this-- don't drill her to death, and then move on to something else. And at the end of the session, another few repetitions of the Walk On skill.


                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by phoenixrises View Post

                                    The round pen is on grass. And no this filly starts shaking at these types of temperatures. I do have access to an indoor but it's huge.

                                    Today i used a rope halter and we worked on her following at a safe distance and not crowding my space. She did really well. Hopefully it continues in this vein.
                                    That's exactly what I would've suggested. And no wonder she is fascinated with her reflection - what a pretty girl! Sounds like you and she are starting to get along fine.
                                    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by phoenixrises View Post
                                      Click image for larger version

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                                      She is a TB not a OTTB. I did turn her out in the indoor to get her jollies out and all she did was this:

                                      Honestly I think we're gonna be ok. Once I get her over just wanting to stare at herself in the mirror.
                                      Wowza!
                                      She is one hunkahunka TB beauty
                                      Can't blame her for admiring the view...

                                      Careful with the mirror.
                                      Even if it's not glass, if she rears or strikes at it, could get hurt or cost you a new $$ mirror.

                                      I had my TB at a barn where they had roller shades to cover the mirrors when horses were turned out.
                                      Mr Studly (gelding) learned to poke his nose under the shade so he could squeal at the "other" horse
                                      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                                      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                                      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                                      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by phoenixrises View Post
                                        [ATTACH=JSON] Once I get her over just wanting to stare at herself in the mirror.
                                        If you were that pretty you would stare too.
                                        3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375 10582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706 79821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081 284811174502841027019385.....

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