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Your pet peeves over horse handling.

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  • Your pet peeves over horse handling.

    I again, still today, when we should know better, read a top trainer talking about starting colts oh so carefully, with two people, to get a saddle on them in the round pen and then ... yes, still today ... "let the horse play around until it gets used to the saddle".
    No, folks, we know better today!
    Don't do that, spend all that good training time to get a horse to accept a saddle and all we do without a care or stress and then ... "let them PLAY?"

    Colts are not "playing", they are resisting a new strange feel and learning the motor memory to resist a saddle by "playing", that for most means either running scared around there or bucking.

    You don't want that colt scared or bucking any time ever while training or riding!
    We don't want to teach a horse to resist at any time.
    Resisting should not enter their vocabulary.
    We want a horse to work with us without stress, amenable and understanding all we do together is ok, nothing to resist any time.
    We want to train installing in horses a cooperative work ethic, loving working and getting things figured out and doing things with and for us.
    Sure, those colts started "letting them play to get used to carrying a saddle" will learn eventually, most of them, not to act up just because something new happened.

    BUT, why go there AT ALL?

    Ease your colts out, lead them around, do other they have learned previously like turning around this and that way, walking over logs, whatever, but don't let them learn to and practice acting up in any way that is a resistance, that may later become a go-to resistance.

    We had one such horse that never did quite get over it, Hoppy, after being started by being bucked out with the saddle and then kept letting him "warm up" before you rode him, every day of his life, by bucking when first saddled.
    Not only could a horse injure itself bucking around wildly, but why teach a resistance we don't want in a riding horse, bucking?
    There are still many old ranch horses like Hoppy.
    We should not keep thinking teaching that is ok, we know better today.

    Every one of us has our own pet peeves and, once in a while, those make us grind our teeth, get on our soapbox and just let the world know about it.

    Which ones are yours?

  • #2
    Pet Peeve: not being willing to mete out *appropriate* discipline. Can't count how many horses I've handled who just walk all over you, because nobody ever told them NO. Even a small pony can mow you over pretty severely.

    Working in a boarding barn, and the owners just expect staff to be able to handle whatever tantrums their precious snowflake throws on any given day. I am not your trainer.


    • #3
      I see so many people at my boarding barn leading their horse with the leadline in a loop around their hand. If it’s a kid, I’ll say something, but I’ve given up on the adults who just look at me like I’m speaking a foreign language.
      "Dogs give and give and give. Cats are the gift that keeps on grifting." —Bradley Trevor Greive


      • #4
        Not walking the horse fully into the stall. They are prone to whack their hips on the metal door. Stop being lazy and walk three more steps into the stall.

        Over bathing then wondering why the horse has scratches, fungus, soft feet, and a dull coat.

        Those two really grind my gears.


        • #5
          The other side of letting a horse run over you: Mindless repeated shanking. Those owners that, either with a chain over the nose or a rope halter, bump, bump, bump on it "to keep the horse's attention!" and then wonder why the horse is tense and over-reactive. (To which they often respond, "See? I told you he is so nervous and flighty!")


          • #6
            Head rubbing on humans --more than a few of my horse owning friends allows their horses to rub heads on them when done riding --one even brings a towel so her horse can rub (she puts it on her chest). Hey, your horse, your rules but a horse that head rubs on me is going to be corrected. Those metal parts on the bridle and/or halter can hurt a human, and at 1000 pounds or more, a horse needs to respect personal space.

            Second one is one I've posted about before --riders who stop at every poop pile because their horse "likes to sniff poop." First, it's annoying to ride with someone who randomly stops, two it's disgusting to watch a horse nose through feces, three it can spread parasites. That nose is going to riding in a trailer with my horse on the way home . . .


            • #7
              Like the post above, letting a horse rub on you! It drives me crazy. Also, letting a horse walk in front of you when leading, cutting in on the lunge line/round pen with no corrections. Feeding an already mouthy horse lots of treats by hand.

              Also over drilling a horse. I see this mostly in the ground. I am a big fan of all types of ground work and spend a lot of time on the ground with my horse. But my goal is to make any pre riding routine shorter as time goes on. And only do as much as needed. But I see people lunging or roundpenning or even disengaging the hind quarters for 15 to 20 minutes before a ride for YEARS. On a horse that looks bored to death and dull. Not to mention, most of them look unsound at that point from way too many circles.


              • #8
                Over treating which usually corsponses to no corrections or discipline. These horse do not listen and are always in my personal space. Not safe.
                Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
                Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter


                • #9
                  Originally posted by showy View Post
                  Not walking the horse fully into the stall. They are prone to whack their hips on the metal door. Stop being lazy and walk three more steps into the stall.
                  That drives me crazy and I see it at every barn I've been to around here. Except my own!

                  Not snapping up the throatlatch on halters so the snap is swinging free.

                  Tying or crosstying a horse with a chain over the nose.

                  I'm sure I have more but those three I see all the time and bite my tongue while I go about my business. Long as it isn't MY horse.


                  • #10
                    Over-correctors. The brash, abrassive type that could out-shank parelli. They seem to flock to the local dressage schooling shows. Woe be the horse that missteps. I have nothing but sympathy for the horses and spouses of the yelling Nellie's.


                    • #11
                      The rider, who finding that their horse has a talent for a particular movement,such as the spin some western horse are trained in, and then proceeds to execute that movement needlessly, ad infinitum to show off.

                      Makes me want to damage to their smug faces.
                      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.


                      • #12
                        A lot of what I see and don't like is coming from "natural horsemanship" training. I've watched plenty over the years, and what too many people are missing is knowing and understanding how horses learn. Too many trainers don't spend any time on that. Many owners have no clue about the attention span - about 3 seconds (the "3 second rule"). They develop a level of intensity that upsets the horse. The head goes up, the eyes show their distress. A constant barrage of cues confuses the horse and they can't figure out what they are being asked to do. The pressure is never released so the horse's question is never answered. Their flag is at their shoulder ready for action, and they keep after the horse with the flag snapping constantly. They never soften, they don't make any effort to cut back using the flag in favor of quiet soft cues with a hand or a lead rope.

                        When I watch the "big name" trainers I don't see that intensity. Too many of the student trainers don't pick up on that. One of the best examples I've seen was auditing a Julie Goodnight clinic. Her flag was on the sidelines most of the time. She did a trailer-loading demo. Keep the head aimed into the trailer. If the horse stepped to the side or off the ramp she snapped it enough to get them back to where they should be. That was it. Buck is also very quiet, There are a couple of people at the barn who have worked with him out west, but still lack the softness and the flag is still busy.

                        I watched a woman bring a horse in a couple of months ago. It was about 50 feet from the gate to driveway to the barn. The horse wobbled a couple of times, nothing extreme, but her response was intense. When she got to the driveway she had her hand on the knot (rope halter) and started yanking down very hard and very fast, tugging as hard as she could. I don't know what he did, but his head was up so high, he was terrified and confused. She kept at it 15-20 times. Unfortunately, that's when I have t keep my mouth shut.

                        We had a teenager new to the barn with a mustang mare. She was on crossties but the owner was asking her to move her butt over, back, go forward, don't step back, unrelenting. After about 10 minutes I asked her if I could share a few hints which she welcomed. Ignore what you don't want. When she is standing quietly love on her, tell her she's a good girl, maybe give her a treat now and then. Same thing when you ask her to do something - one cue only, remember the 3-second rule. Repeat and reward. The next weekend was amazing, the mare standing quietly while she groomed. A couple of weeks later the owner could step away and the mare still stood quietly. I saw them doing ground work recently. A soft cue with the lead rope got a few steps of the shoulders to the left. She understands softness now, and you can see it in her riding. She has a seat glued to the saddle during the canter and they are moving together.. I've complimented her several times. She is going to be really good at this. Many of the adults around her could learn something.

                        I'm still a John Lyons fan: Conditioned Response Training. You need a horse, a halter, a lead rope, and a dressage whip as an extension of your hand. If you can't access a round pen there are other options. Training isn't linear: Three steps forward, one step back, you are still two steps ahead. The 3-second rule, release the pressure. Work out a lesson plan. Little steps. Repetitions. Don't keep pushing them beyond their comfort level. If they struggle or are confused, go back to a point where they are comfortable and start again.

                        People say my horse is so good because we have been together so long - almost 19 years. No, it's that for the whole time we've been together I've been telling him that he's a good boy.
                        "With hardly any other living being can a human connect as closely over so many years as a rider can with her horse." Isabell Werth, Four Legs Move My Soul. 2019


                        • #13
                          I hate people that let their horse walk off as soon as their butt hits the saddle, or that let the horse root the rope out of their hands to snatch at hay/grass while leading.

                          I would irritate a few of you apparently: my mare can rub on me once her bridle comes off and before the halter goes on. It's honestly the only time she really welcomes human contact. Only her though...not my pushy gelding. If I don't want her to rub, I just put the halter on right away.
                          Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                          • #14
                            Sitting on the ground next to a horse , especially children !


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by CHT View Post
                              I hate people that let their horse walk off as soon as their butt hits the saddle
                              I am guilty of this. I never bothered retraining my Ottb mare to really stand at the mounting block. Sometimes she does, sometimes she (calmly) walks off as soon as I step into the stirrup and swing over. I don't mind it and I don't think it bothers anyone else as I am the only one riding her. ( on the plus side, that horse can be brought right next to any makeshift mounting block so I can get on more easily. Jumps, boulders, trucks, tables, etc.)

                              Most of my pet peeves have been mentioned already

                              A few more:

                              - people leading horses while in flip flops / sandals.

                              - people putting their horse in the cross ties and then disappearing to who-knows-where for a looooong time.

                              - people leaving their horse standing in the aisle with the bridle on while they "just put the saddle away - he won't move". Invariably horse put his head down, walks on a rein, hurts his mouth, freaks out, breaks the bridle... *sigh*

                              - people who are too loud when riding / longing. As in, clucking loudly, talking to Horse non-stop, yelling GOOD BOYYYYYY on top of their lungs, etc. It's a pet peeve of mine because I have a very sensitive mare who doesn't like loud noises and who thinks any clucking might be for her...makes for a stressful ride.

                              - people who don't warm up / cool down their horses properly. Especially if the horses are older.
                              Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!


                              • #16
                                Over-lunging. Not lunging for "too long" but lunging mature, quiet horses every single time before they ride!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                                  The rider, who finding that their horse has a talent for a particular movement,such as the spin some western horse are trained in, and then proceeds to execute that movement needlessly, ad infinitum to show off.

                                  Makes me want to damage to their smug faces.
                                  Ay yi yi! One year John Lyons came to the Minnesota Horse Fair and did this spin thing for so long - like an entire song - and the audience clapping in time to the music, and hooting and hollering. Poor littlle horse just working its heart out.


                                  • #18
                                    Dropping a halter on the floor while it is still attached to a cross tie. Too easy to get a foot through that (horse or human).
                                    People sitting on their horse for hours at a show gabbing or just watching classes. Your horse is not a sofa. Give him a break, especially if it's hot.
                                    Last edited by cayuse; Feb. 1, 2020, 08:28 PM.


                                    • #19
                                      I have a lot of blanketing pet peeves:

                                      -Sliding an open front blanket into place, then pulling it forward against the grain of the hair to close the front buckles. We don’t do it with saddle pads, why do so many do it with blankets?

                                      -Buckling surcingles and leg straps before buckling the front of an open front blanket... and unbuckling the front prior to undoing the surcingles and leg straps. It often doesn’t end well for horse or blanket in the unlikely event the horse gets loose with leg/belly straps fastened but the front open. Best case scenario, the blanket gets a few tears or hardware breaks as the horse slips it off his hind legs. Worst case scenario, you have a panicked animal running with his legs tangled.

                                      -Spring loaded snaps on blankets that face outwards (mainly happens with front closures and hood attachments). It’s amazing how many things those can get stuck on when the horse rubs. Most of the times they spin so you can turn them inward, but so many people don’t. This goes for other tack and equipment, too. The same can happen.

                                      Ok, off my soapbox.
                                      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                                      • #20
                                        Looping a lead or lunge line around a hand. Not wearing helmets. Sandals or flip flops. Over horses little kids. Anthropomorphizing. People who want their horse to preform an action (like loading or standing for clipping, etc) and have never spent the time to train it
                                        Wouldst thou like the taste of butter ? A pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?