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Do y'all think a horse with bad ground manners will be difficult under saddle?

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  • Do y'all think a horse with bad ground manners will be difficult under saddle?

    Warning- today's slice of Pepperoni.

    I just watched a Pepperoni trainer scare the crap out of a timid rider. Ptrainer took timid rider's dozy little horse and, after about twenty minutes, managed to pick a fight with said horse.

    Horse was being poked in the butt with a kohlrabi stick as a cue to go forward whilst her head was in a rope halter and the lead rope firmly anchored six inches below her chin

    After about twenty minutes, (understandably frustrated) horse started cow-kicking at Ptrainer. I say "Good for Horse".

    But timid owner was horrified because she thinks Ptrainer just unearthed some latent tendency in Horse that would have reared its ugly head one day when Owner least expected it.

    Why does Owner think that? Cause Ptrainer told her. "You're braver than I am. I'd never get on a horse I couldn't control on the ground."

    Who's read Elmer Gantry?

    Anyway, I got to thinking. The best schoolie I ever rode would strike, bite and kick. But once you managed to get on her - and one did this by making a leap from a safe distance - she was the best, most responsive ride in the barn.

    I've also known some horses with lovely ground manners whom I wouldn't ride on a bet.

    Do y'all think ground manners=under saddle manners? I've never seen the correlation.
    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

  • #2
    Unfortunately I see that quite often with Parelli folks, specifically. The other NHers don't seem to prescribe to the method of "irritate the heck out of the horse until you incite a negative response". I think if you go to youtube and watch a lot of the Parelli videos, A LOT of the horses have their ears pinned while performing at liberty and such.

    As for the correlation between good in the saddle and good ground manners.. it depends. I think it is very important to get respect on the ground before you get on and ride.. but I have met horses who were bad on the ground but good in the saddle. I'd never tolerate that myself, but hey, different strokes for different folks.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


    • #3
      Yes and no. I've seen a lot of horses that question constantly on the ground, and continue to question once someone is on their back. But there is a difference between a horse just having a poor bedside manner and a horse that is constantly challenging a person.


      • #4
        I have one of those.... she is horrible on the ground, which is the whole reason I never take her or have taken her to shows because she is soooo gawd awful on the ground. Under saddle she is an angel and completely trust worthy. I'm lazy, she'd be fine to ride, I just don't want to deal with her crap about tacking up.
        If i'm posting on Coth, it's either raining so I can't ride or it's night time and I can't sleep.


        • #5
          Hmm. I think sometimes. It depends on the horse's training. If they've been trained extensively under saddle but the handler never cared if they pushed through the door or dragged them around to graze while being led, then no, there's not usually a correlation. Or likewise maybe the previous handler insisted on ground manners but was a clumsy rider or the horse got ridden by a lot of ham-handed beginners and might develop bad habits under saddle that don't happen on the ground.

          With a horse that has overall minimal training at all and is pretty green, I think the reactions do tend to correlate - it might be the type that when uncertain or nervous tends to rush forward, or the type that tends to balk. And that might show up in training on the lunge line or in ground work, and then show up again during early saddle training.


          • #6
            Not necessarily. My horse has terrible ground manners. Although he is not as confident undersaddle as I would like him to be he is not dangerous at all. He is headstrong though and sometimes forgets who is driving but I keep a length of rolled leather with a popper on the end (barrel racers call them "over & unders") attached to my saddle and sometimes have to actually use it to remind him who is driving
            "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."


            • #7
              Nope. When I got Ted, he was very defensive on the ground. In the saddle, not. In fact, that is where we worked through many of the issues.
              a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues


              • #8
                No. I had a wonderful field hunter originally off the track with the manners of Attila the Hun. He was hardly halter broken. When he was "in a mood" I couldn't handle him with a chain shank. He was the kindest, bravest, most generous horse under saddle you could ever want.

                What a great guy. I miss him every day.


                • #9
                  It depends.

                  Are the bad manners defensive in nature? Or is horsey pulling rank? I've known a lot of defensive horses that were lovely to ride. But odds are that a horse who asserts dominance toward its handler on the ground will try to do the same under saddle. Not always, but usually. It helps to know the hisotry behind the behaviour.
                  "I did know once, only I've sort of forgotten." - Winnie the Pooh


                  • #10
                    I think a horse with bad ground manners has a hole in his/her training that may or may not rear its ugly head in another spot somewhere else along the way. I insist on decent ground manners before I consider a horse ready to be ridden, because respect is respect is respect and rules are rules are rules - and I'd rather the horse learn that lesson while I'm still on my own two feet.

                    Of course, that has nothing to do with the Parelli-ite method of pissing a horse off until s/he finally misbehaves. I follow the principle of making the right answer easy and the wrong answer hard, which is apparently the direct opposite of what most (not quite all) of those people believe. While I expect my horses (once they are trained) to behave under ALL circumstances, I also don't consider them to have "bad manners" if someone provokes the hell out of them and they finally can't take it anymore. Expecting any living creature not to have a breaking point is just absurd.
                    Proud member of the EDRF


                    • #11
                      I don't mean to hijack, but I need to tell about the above horse and his Natural Horseman session.

                      I did seek help after he yanked away from me at turnout and sprained my fingers-I had to get my wedding ring cut off because of the swelling. After an hour in the round pen (he was hunting fit) the cowboy got finally got on. You know that one rein stop where you pull the horse's head around to your knee and hold them there until they give? When the cowboy pulled Scotty's head around, my horse grabbed a big old mouthfull of the cowboy's chaps!

                      Sometimes it's just best to learn how to live with a good one.


                      • #12
                        My young horse can be horrible on the ground (and forget lunging) but he's fabulous under saddle. (We're working on it!!) I figure we were made for each other because I'm a more confident horseperson on the ground and less confident in the saddle -- and he challenges me on the ground and is a very forgiving, submissive horse to ride.
                        Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**


                        • #13
                          The quote "you ride the horse you lead" is pretty accurate in my little horse world and experiences. If the horse is always looking off on the horizon when your leading it, it will probably do the same when you ride it....unless you teach it to focus. If the horse ignores you and drags you on the lead rope, it may bully you once your on it's back. This has nothing to do with the horse's athletic ability under saddle, just trust, respect and focus.

                          And if you ask a horse to a job it is not suited for, he'll rebel at some point. Last weekend I did an extreme cowboy clinic with two of my horses. The gelding has a "three tries and your out" rule. He is not a patient horse so repeating drills drives him crazy. After two hours he was "done." I could have waited out his frustrations but his real job, fox hunting, requires forward moving then waiting. He does that perfectly.

                          In the OP's example, the horse was just smarter than the pepperoni trainer.


                          • #14
                            I'll take a horse with bad ground manners and easy to ride over a "sweet" in your pocket horse that is an absolute Sh****t while being ridden. I've got one and if anybody ever wanted him, he's theirs.
                            Hillary Rodham Clinton - the peoples choice for president.


                            • #15
                              The only horse I've known with truly hideous ground manners was a great ride. Most people didn't want to ride him once they tried to deal with him. He definitely had riders he liked and riders he didn't; I was one of the ones he approved of. However, I didn't tolerate any of his crap on the ground and I think that translated to the actual ride.
                              I love my Econo-Nag!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' View Post
                                Horse was being poked in the butt with a kohlrabi stick as a cue to go forward whilst her head was in a rope halter and the lead rope firmly anchored six inches below her chin
                                What do you mean by the bolded part? I assume one end of the leadrope was attached to the rope halter. But the other end of the lead rope was "firmly anchored" six inches below her chin--to what?
                                I have a Fjord! Life With Oden


                                • #17
                                  I have a horse who is afraid of everything- especially having his ears touched- but once i put my butt in the saddle he is golden, does anything i want, goes anywhere.

                                  Work on the ground has SOME correlation with under saddle, but not much.


                                  • #18
                                    In my experience ground manners and riding manners can't be assumed to be consistent. Many horsepeople do work on both for a more unified relationship with the horse. But some people don't. Some riders, even trainers, with excellent riding skills just don't see the importance of ground manners and don't ask for them.

                                    Have also known horses to be completely wired while grooming but settled during the ride, and vice versa.


                                    • #19
                                      My darling 4 y/o gelding is prone, especially when we're not on his home turf, to being extreeemely nervous and insecure(even blatantly upset ...often shaking like leaf) on the ground, sometimes to the point of being quite a challenge to control, because he is in a constant mode of "fight or flight", even if there's nothing inherently scary about the situation. He forgets everything he knows about personal space and gets nippy; if you reprimand him for running you over or nibbling frantically at your shoulder, he starts leaping around everytime you make a movement, because then he doesn't feel safe w/ you or w/ all the "terrifying" things around him. BUT. Take this terrified horse and hop on him(probably against the better judgement of anyone who doesn't know him)and he is always 75-100% better within 5 minutes, because he derives a great sense of security from having someone on his back to direct him. I know that this transformation happens, and it still surprises me a little every time. It's truly crazy.
                                      Such a wierd quirk.

                                      I know that's not necessarily "bad manners"(well, it is, but as a result of fear ...he's an angel on the ground when he's comfortable), but citing Rileigh as an example, I certainly do not think that misbehaviour on the ground necessarily translates to misbehaviour under saddle. It may in some cases, but definitely not all.


                                      • #20
                                        I hate to say it, but all of the best horses I've ever ridden were smarta$$es on the ground! I would NEVER let a horse kick or run over me, but these horses were pushy, silly, and stubborn on the ground. I think it comes from an inner confidence that they have that translates into wonderful riding personalities.

                                        The one horse I had who was an ANGEL on the ground was tough under saddle. He was always mistrusting and fearful of people, so he was super compliant out of fear. But that same fear made him very tough to ride.