When my horse is done and I'm not.

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by MuckMuck, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member

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    Lets go to the fair with three screaming grandchildren wanting just one more ride or maybe if they could just get 2 more runs on the ski slope and you are done.

    You are hungry,tired and stressed out with company coming for dinner and the neighbor needing you to pick up their kid while you are coming home.

    When we as humans are done we start to shut down to sight,sound,smell and feel but somehow this is never supposed to happen with horses.

    When we as humans are overloaded,over exposed or over stimulated we naturally want to sleep and we seek quiet.

    We want food,soft music and an understanding ear.

    Horses are supposed to take on some kind of superpower like a Kawasaki dirt bike and ignore all physical feelings to please their master that they owe everything to.

    I approach the problem knowing that "training" is all about expanding the mental focus of the horse by just a few more moments if I can on a given day also considering that grandma just wants to go home and put her feet up.

    How do you do it and why? :redhorse:
     
  2. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    When I was taught to ride I watched my Uncle ride a Mustang that we just got from the Auction.

    These Mustangs had been broke by being snubbed to a pole, saddled, bucked out, mounted while roped and while being held next to a ridden horse by another outrider rider. The person who was going to back him, rode double with the Outrider. He'd ease off the back of the horse he was riding double on, onto the horse's back, and buck him out.

    When the Mustang was too tired to fight any longer, he was bridled by the roper and then ridden out to push cattle around with a group of other horses with riders.

    My Uncle said, when I asked: “What should I be mindful of with these Mustangs?“

    “Whatever you do, he said, make it subtle.“
    If the horse resents how you ask, and protests, you are not being subtle enough. Don't push him too much. Five good minutes is worth, to the horse, Five days of training. Get five minutes, then rest him. Let him have time to think about it. Let him soak up how nice it just went. The better he feels about it, the more he wants to give you. “

    And believe me, that was a Book for my Uncle~!!
    Normally he spoke in three word sentences and you got only ONE of those~!! :rofl:
     
  3. MuckMuck

    MuckMuck Senior Member

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    Your Uncle was a wise man but you were smarter to listen and remember.
     
  4. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

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    I think there’s a difference between a horse being tired and overwhelmed and one that’s being ornery. And it’s up to the rider to know the difference.

    My horses are both in good shape and plenty used to working for the hour or two that I generally ask.

    So when Sparky starts his beeline to the arena gate thing with his new leaser I know it’s because he’s trying to intimidate her into letting him get out of work. I ride him at least once a week to make sure he’s not sore or sour and still has his manners. He’s a good kid but he will mess with a novice (but never a beginner).

    I don’t tend to overload my horses mentally. I’ve never showed either of these but when I did show I started small with only a couple of classes and went from there. I’ve scratched out of classes because my horse was done.

    At one point I let a friend use Spark for beginner lessons. I trusted him because he wouldn’t use him beyond his capacity. He’d alternate with another horse so Sparky did 2 or 3 lessons in a day. That worked well for him.

    I absolutely agree they’re not machines and it’s up to us to figure out their limits.
     
  5. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

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    That can be a tough one, for sure!

    The fun show I had Brandi at in He spring had all kinds of gaming classes. Brandi loves gaming! Barrels and poles are her favourite, but she’s down for anything and has so much fun.

    It was a long, long day and we were both getting tired. She got a second wind on poles, though, and fired back up with enthusiasm and so much willingness.

    I think there was one more class after that we did and then the last one was coming up. The rescue race. I hadn’t entered originally, but on a whim I found a partner and entered. And while we waited our turn, tired caught back up to Brandi and she was done. Honestly, I was too tired myself, but I hadn’t paid attention. Too caught up on the fun of it all.

    Oops.

    She was so polite about her, “Please, I’m tired, and I don’t want to.” But that’s kind of a tough place to be. There we were, our turn. The gate is open, and Brandi would prefer not to go in.

    Is there a good answer in the moment? On one hand, I don’t want to take advantage of her willingness and sour her so she no longer finds gaming fun. On the other, I don’t want to let her learn that refusing gets her out of work. She can be a stinker, and, even as much as she enjoys working, if you let her get away with laziness and refusals? She will. Just because. Honestly, I’m not too much different myself.:rolleyes:

    Anyway, there we were. And in that moment, I chose to urge her in just as politely and quietly as she had objected. I understood. But it was a little too late to change our minds. So in we went. I didn’t push her or expect anything of her beyond the minimum. Slow was acceptable. And as soon as we were done, I got her unsaddled, cooled out, brushed, and turned out to just be a horse as quickly as I could. And I gave her some extra days off for good measure. I don’t know if that made a difference to her, but it made me feel better.

    I did feel bad about adding that one last class that I didn’t need to. The best I can do is to limit what we enter the next time and not add anymore after. No more, “Just one more!” End on a high note.

    Live and learn.
     
  6. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    HaH~!!
    I have never been the type to assume I had god-given majikal horsemanship knowledge.
    Ya gotta LEARN it.
     
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  7. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    I always worked really slow in beginning training, more gentling than training really and getting a feel for them. You learn a lot just by paying attention.

    For me just quitting on good notes and never turning a lesson into a battle. If it's a bad day, just quit the lesson, leave it on a high note and do something else. I never understood force, never.

    They're sentient beings and you need to respect that. That's my humble opinion.
     
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  8. Binca

    Binca Senior Member

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    My mare gets overwhelmed and mentally drained pretty quickly, especially if she has had time off work. She needs lots and lots of consistency - lots of regular short, consistent sessions. The more I do with her, the longer she can do things for. She is an amazing, solid, level headed horse provided she isn't pushed too far.

    But then again, I am easily the same. I have to know when to put a horse away early and end it on a good note before my brain gets too tired/overwhelmed/cranky. :sleep::sleep:
     
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  9. foxtrot

    foxtrot Senior Member

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    I think this can be summed up as why the "show em who's boss" mentality or cowboying a horse around is so counterproductive.

    My spooky shetland was cowboyed around by """trainers""" before me. They actually proudly told me if he gets nervous that all I need to do is jerk his head and he'll stop fidgeting. Funny thing is he's actually trained to death. He will do absolutely anything you ask. But he was totally and completely shut down mentally by the time he arrived in my care. He did it all, but he hated it all.

    And whenever he was being worked with you could see his tension slowly building. He'd be okay at first, then get more and more tense. He never really acted out in any dramatic way but he'd reach a point where he'd just be "gone" and totally dull to aids, when he started the session being very responsive and soft.

    I learned more from this tiny, spooky, nervous creature than I have from any other horse. I thought I was subtle with my aids--turns out I was wrong! I thought I was patient, turns out I was wrong about that too. He taught me the meaning of "quiet" and I know I still have a long way to go. He also taught me that you can in fact have a change of plans and concede to the horse without "losing". It's not a war.

    Over 3 years later and the impossible to catch spooky pony walks right up to me and puts his head in the halter because he knows the halter is a good thing. I pretty much attribute all of it to coming to terms with the fact he doesn't have to exist on my terms. He has good days and bad--on those bad days we just don't do much. On the good days, we do.

    IMO it's all about trust. If the horse is communicating with you and you ignore it in the name of showing em who's boss, the only one who's really losing is you.
     
  10. PyroTekNik333

    PyroTekNik333 Senior Member

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    When the horse is done I am done.
    No point in trying to train a horse that has mentally checked out. They're gone and not going to learn anything positive anyway. Keeping on with a horse that is physically done is only going to sour them to the whole thing.

    In a perfect world we are able to see the done-ness coming and head it off.
    Sometimes we miss those cues but its important to know and acknowledge the mistake so that it isn't made again.

    *Grain of salt* I'm not some guru trainer turning out world beating horses in anything.
    I take "problem" horses on for fun, not for money and I have no time constraints.
    I just want to turn out soft willing horses.
     

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