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No Respect-Help

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  • No Respect-Help

    I just recently bought an OTTB mare who is 9 years old. She has had ample time off the track, two years, and been given time to settle into her new stable. However, I've noticed that she has little to no respect for me. She will walk ahead of me if I'm leading her, push through me, while lunging she will make the circle smaller until she is shoving me towards the wall and won't keep her attention on me during groundwork. I'm not a new rider (12+ years) but I am a first time owner. I could use some help on how to go about correcting these problems. For reference, she is 16.3 hh while I stand 5'2 so the shoving usually leaves me on my ass.

  • #2
    This is not something that can be solved over the internet. It's too complex a problem, and there are no quick fixes.
    Likely there are many different signals that she's sending you, that you don't see. Please enlist a qualified trainer to help you in person, to learn how to see them.

    Horses ask among each other (and they ask us) "Are you in charge" in hundreds of subtle little ways. A flick of the ear, pursed lip, shifting her weight, etc. And those questions, if you recognize them at this stage, have subtle answers. And it will look like there's an "invisible bond" or seamless communication, and things look effortless. They're not, but that's how it looks. So it's easy to think, well that horse is just well-trained, as if his behavior is automatic no matter who's handling it.

    But if you don't recognize and correctly answer the subtle questions, the horse will ask "who's in charge?" in more and more overt ways, until finally the horse is invading your space, ignoring your commands, and putting you in harms way. That's where you are. In danger.

    Please get a qualified trainer to assist.

    Comment


    • #3
      If they exist in your area look for a trainer who specializes in groundwork, usually from a western background.

      Many English riders in particular can reach a level of proficiency in the saddle through lessons without ever learning how to handle a horse well on the ground or to solve training problems on the ground.

      In general, while OTTB have some manners instilled, in general the professional grooms that handle them do not expect or need the level of ground manners that we expect in the ammie friendly lesson horse.

      An OTTB is not a blank slate but still should be approached like a very green horse so that you find a fill the training holes.

      At the moment your situation sounds dangerous and if you don't have the skills to teach a horse to lead correctly, you do need a trainer to help ASAP before you are trampled and hurt.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by .stitches View Post
        I just recently bought an OTTB mare who is 9 years old. She has had ample time off the track, two years, and been given time to settle into her new stable. However, I've noticed that she has little to no respect for me. She will walk ahead of me if I'm leading her, push through me, while lunging she will make the circle smaller until she is shoving me towards the wall and won't keep her attention on me during groundwork. I'm not a new rider (12+ years) but I am a first time owner. I could use some help on how to go about correcting these problems. For reference, she is 16.3 hh while I stand 5'2 so the shoving usually leaves me on my ass.
        I agree that you need a trainer to work with you.

        A lot of horses don't know how to lunge. You can't just start lunging them and expect them to know what to do, so you have to imagine that she is entirely ignorant about lunging and start from the very beginning. I used to have a book about lunging and the first 10-15 exercises were all leading exercises (not lunging) that slowly introduced the concepts of moving away and toward; pushing the horse forward as you move behind it, etc.

        As for walking/pushing through you - it's hard to know if that also is a lack of training or a lack of respect. Most racehorses are led a LOT. My OTTB has the best ground manners of all my horses. If she was raced until 7 she should be amazing on a lead rope. But until someone watches you - it's hard to know for sure.

        "Won't keep her attention on me during ground work" - what are you asking her to do? She might just be bored with mindless exercises. Groundwork and lunging are useful training tools, but once a horse is trained the can be pointless and boring which could lead to other problems. Same with lunging - what is the purpose of lunging her?

        Are you riding her at all?

        Comment


        • #5
          Great posts from HungarianHippo, Scribbler and S1969.

          Heed their words:

          ​​​​​​Likely there are many different signals that she's sending you, that you don't see. Please enlist a qualified trainer to help you in person, to learn how to see them.

          In general, while OTTB have some manners instilled, in general the professional grooms that handle them do not expect or need the level of ground manners that we expect in the ammie friendly lesson horse.

          A lot of horses don't know how to lunge. You can't just start lunging them and expect them to know what to do. She might just be bored with mindless exercises. Groundwork and lunging are useful training tools, but once a horse is trained the can be pointless and boring which could lead to other problems. ​​​​​​​

          Comment


          • #6
            In addition to the recommendation to get help.

            Here's a simple question that is not meant to be rude: Why do you let her? Get after her. And you may have to get after her hard in the beginning. Don't ever lead her without a chain over her nose. Back her up a few steps before doing anything. The saying is do as little as possible but as much as necessary to get a response.

            You'll get it

            Comment


            • #7
              You need someone to work with the horse, and then you and the horse, because what you are describing is an immediate danger to you.

              stop.

              get help.
              Let me apologize in advance.

              Comment


              • #8
                I also really liked Hungarian Hippo's post. Respect from a horse is something that is earned by a human, through clear, concise communication with the horse, and "fair" treatment (that is "fair" in the horse's opinion). "Fair" means that you show him what you want before expecting him to perform for you, that your pressure and body position is consistent over time and through repetitions, and that he gets the release he needs when he responds correctly to the pressure you put on him. If you make mistakes, he loses respect for you. If he does not respect you, he will be forced to take over as leader in your relationship, because you have proven to be not "worthy" in the horse's opinion. So if your horse does not respect you, it is not the horse's fault, it is yours for failing to communicate your wishes clearly, and failing to gain his respect in a way he can understand.

                Learning correct and concise body positions and responses (learning the horse's method of communication with each other) is key to becoming a true horseman. How you do it is up to you, your intrinsic level of talent in understanding horses, and who is available in your area to attempt to teach you this stuff. First hand, hands on coaching is the best, of course. Watching others who are skilled work with horses will be helpful. Videos, I suppose, are a cheap secondary choice. Try reading Monty Robert's book, "The Man Who Listens to Horses". He taught himself, just naturally open to learning from the horses themselves. I watched him work with a horse nearly 40 years ago now, and it was indeed pretty impressive. The book is more than just a training manual, it is an autobiography and full of a lot of other things that may be distracting to your education, but still worth a read.

                Good luck! When you find the key to earning a position of respect in your horse's eyes and two way communication between you and your horse, you open up a whole world of partnership in your work that makes things so much more interesting, as far as riding and training horses goes.
                www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  I once watched an interesting demo. A group of soldiers were at the ranch of a friend who was using horses to work with soldiers with PTSD. Most had NO experience with horses. He demonstrated some basic round pen work with an older, well trained QH and then invited the Colonel (who had no experience with horses) who was in command of the unit to try his hand. The Bird said, "walk" and the horse just stared at him. No matter what he did, the horse did not move. My friend intervened and showed how to use body language to get the motion he wanted. The next person he invited in was the command Sergeant Major. He gave him the same instruction. The SM stood tall like he was in front of a formation and his best command voice said "WALK!" The horse immediately stepped off. My friend then used this as an example of using body language to create a "presence" that the horse will respect.

                  My friend is also a former enlisted Marine and later in private he admitted to me that he thoroughly enjoyed embarrassing an Army officer.

                  So two entities need training, here: the horse and the handler. A horse that does not respect their handler is dangerous.

                  G.

                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's likely that she's only been lead with a chain over her nose, so I would definitely start with that. Stop with the groundwork/ lungeing until you get help, right now you're reinforcing that she can do what she wants.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Please get help IRL, internet wisdom is not going to work here unless it points you in that direction.

                      For reference:
                      Once watched a petite rider get bullied by her equally petite TB mare.
                      Mare would lunge at her, ears pinned, from the circle when longed.
                      Finally ended when mare slipped & fell while she was riding, resulting in a broken leg for the rider.
                      That was the Final Straw & mare got sold.
                      Don't let things go on until you get hurt!
                      *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


                      • #12
                        What general area are you in? Someone here may have a recommendation for a trainer.

                        Brent Graef in Texas (he travels for clinics) and Ed Dabney in Georgia are two I highly recommend.

                        This is not a situation where I'd recommend DIYing with videos, but if you absolutely can't get a good groundwork trainer, Ed Dabney's 'Six Keys to Harmony' DVD set is very well organized and safety focused.

                        You might also want to watch a few of Tristan Tucker's free videos. He is often working with big warmbloods who are tense and reactive, and the first thing he does is gently "show them where not to be" (gets them out of his personal space.) Just that one idea may give both you and your horse some peace while you decide on next steps.

                        --
                        Wendy
                        ... and Patrick

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I agree you should get some trainer help and if you watch videos, watch the humans, not the horses but do lead her with a chain over her nose and work on making her back up. Carry a whip to tap her chest if she ignores you but she must (MUST) back up a few steps. If she pushes past you turn her at once and back her up.
                          And keep your shoulders square...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I agree with the above about enlisting an experienced trainer.

                            I will also give my experience and knowledge of racehorses.

                            Many racehorses are 'partially trained'. Having worked with many on the track, coming off the track, and off the track for a while, there is great variation. There are personalities, of course, but there are also some horses that were broke just enough that they will not throw a rider while they are running in a straight line. Ground work is not always emphasized as running fast is the goal and if they are doing that a LOT of bad behaviors are forgiven.

                            Also, not all racehorses know how to lunge. Some racehorse breakers just toss them on the line to get the bucks out the first few times they are in a saddle but don't really teach them how to lunge. We have gotten a few that would lunge one way but not the other or just run like a nutter on the line.

                            My only other temporary words of wisdom - as a likewise short person, I often put a chain over the nose of the bigger ones just because I don't have the size/strength to kick them into shape like my trainer does. Most racehorses are routinely led with a chain so they are used to it. Also, carry a crop - there is no way that horse should get in your space. If you watch a herd, you will see the more dominant horse quickly corrrecting the more submissive one that gets to close - you need to do the same or you are telling your mare she's in charge. Right now, she is.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Just to give you heart and hope, my Mom was 5'2" and no horse got into her space - particularly the stallions. She could free lunge. That takes time. You will be taking your horse back to basics and yourself at the same time. All good advice here. You do want to find a trainer. Hope that's in the pocketbook. Good luck!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Every time you interact with her you are training her.

                                Everytime afterwards she is either better or worse than when you started.

                                If she is worse each time then after 7 days you have a much worse horse than you started with.

                                You have a horse that is knocking you down. Get help now. You don't want another 7 days of her getting worse.
                                It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I second the recommendation to watch some of the good groundwork videos that are available while you search for a trainer to help (or at least a knowledgeable friend.) Tristan Tucker has good ones and in this situation, you might consider buying a subscription to his online program or one like it if you want more information and detail.

                                  The general idea is that you dictate the horse's behavior in a fair and consistent way so that the horse always knows what is expected and that there is a consequence for stepping out of line. With a pushy horse, especially a pushy mare, I'd be very particular about where she puts her feet 100% of the time when I was around her. I would never be around that kind of a horse without a means of control, which could mean haltering her and doing a bit of ground work every single time I saw her, even just when filling a water bucket or putting some hay in her stall. I would also be extremely disciplined about where she could put her body vs. mine - with a chain over her nose and a stick in your (gloved) hand. And BTW that has to be reinforced every.single.time she is out of her stall, whether just to the grooming stall, turnout, or the ring.

                                  If you are not familiar with educating a horse to the longe, then get some help as there is a fair amount of nuance to it. If she is able to spin and face you / push you / threaten you, you are either out of position (slightly behind her midpoint so you can drive her forward effectively) and/or you are too slow to react, including the use of a longe whip. Make sure you have the horse in the proper longeing gear, wear gloves, wear a helmet and put her to WORK.

                                  Oh and by the way, all of this must be done with a very unemotional, professional demeanor. The horse has to learn that around you, there are rules and that when the rules are followed, life is pleasant and rewarding. Rules not followed = you are the alpha mare that is going to tolerate zero disrespect. Then - and this is super important - you go back to being in nice normal unemotional leader mode.
                                  **********
                                  We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                                  -PaulaEdwina

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I am another vote for get a trainer. Until you learn to read her signs when she is asking if she is in charge, she will stay in charge, which makes for a dangerous situation. Get help now.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by TCA Arabians View Post
                                      Just to give you heart and hope, my Mom was 5'2" and no horse got into her space - particularly the stallions. She could free lunge. That takes time. You will be taking your horse back to basics and yourself at the same time. All good advice here. You do want to find a trainer. Hope that's in the pocketbook. Good luck!
                                      Well, being 5'10" wouldn't really give you much more of an advantage. You're still outweighed by 1000lbs.

                                      The horse will either respect you, or it won't. It doesn't respect someone because they are 6" taller. It's training, body language, and consistency.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        When asked why she allowed a horse to walk all over her, a friend replied that " she wouldn't like me, if I used a whip."

                                        Reading horses is an art. But it is a teachable art. It can be learned, But the OP needs hands on help from a knowledgeable trainer.
                                        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

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