When my horse is done and I'm not.

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

  1. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2014
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    Nonsense. If that we’re the case, any horse could and would happily do any discipline. They don’t and won’t. No matter how well versed the rider.

    You always jump to extremes. I’ve trained practically all my horses to jump. Most of them have enjoyed it. I have never in my life jumped and jumped until the horse was sore and miserable. I don’t work that way. I know how to ride jumps - I evented and foxhunted for years.

    I started B the same way I always do. Poles, little grids, cross rails. Short sessions, mix it up, make it interesting and fun.

    She doesn’t mind but is very obviously not enthusiastic. I have no interest in forcing her to do something she doesn’t enjoy. We jump just enough to add some variety to flat work and to negotiate trail obstacles.

    It is beyond ridiculous to assume that horses can’t have likes and dislikes about the work they do.
  2. bellalou

    bellalou Senior Member

    Dec 27, 2014
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    I’m enjoying the injection of German. It’s the best language ever for really expressing yourself.
  3. tlwidener

    tlwidener Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2008
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    Interesting question :)

    I have a few thoughts but no hard and fast rules... and a few anecdotes.

    I think much of the "I'm done" attitude horses get comes from a lack of work ethic. And I think that work ethic is something they have to learn as youngsters or from a very consistent competent trainer. In my experience it is very hard to develop work ethic in the older project horse type that got a iffy start and then did nothing for a few years. Nearly impossible...

    Here are some of my experiences, and I think they show that in work ethic correlates with the whole "I'm done" attitude:

    1. Coal. Bought him when he was 12. He'd been shown and ridden very consistently as a youngster and then off and on ages 8-12. He'd been hauled. He'd done lots of different things: WP, reining, gaming, jumping, trails, gathered cattle, even ICHA shows. When we picked him up he was out of shape. He was lazy, but he never not once in almost ten years of ownership has said he's done. He's never quit on us. He'll definitely show signs of being tired, but he keeps trying... though not always very hard. He's stoic, and he's super broke. He was started right. He can sit in a pasture for six months, and you can load him up and go show him. We did have some issues when we first got him, but after a few months of riding 4-5 days a week he quit the BS.

    2. Demi. Bought her as a four or five year old. She'd had good ground manners installed as a baby. Then she was ridden maybe 90 days kind of rough, in that they rammed and jammed her and fought with her about her head. Then she was put out to pasture with broodmares and was going to become a broodmare. She did NOTHING until I bought her. I sent her to three different trainers and could get no consistency with her. She argued with you about everything. I hauled her, trying to get her used to being out and about. She just never got broke. She questioned everything. She forgot stuff she had learned. One day she ran off your leg, and the next she did a cow impression and leaned into it.

    3. Jake. Bought him as a four year old. He'd had some consistent riding with a trainer as a three year old, and then he just sat for about a year. The woman I bought him from was afraid of him. I had a trainer evaluate him for 30 days, and he was just so very green and didn't try very hard. Things that should be easy like walk in a straight line from A to B or lope circles to the right he just couldn't master. He'd try different things to tell you he was done; he'd crow hop, he'd just stop and refuse to move, he'd get ****y... like he might kick at you when you were grooming him after a ride but never before. He also had little patience for the mundane things horses have to do like stand tied, and no amount of practice seemed to build his patience. I banded his mane once, and halfway through he decided he was done. He started pinning his ears and shifting his weight around. I took him out of the cross ties and walked him around and then put him back in the cross ties. It was a struggle to get him back where I needed him. He tossed his head around and leaned into me. I just gritted my teeth and finished as quickly as I could. The thing that was so frustrating with him was that some days he'd give you and hour or two, and some days you got five minutes. If you rode him for a week straight, on the eighth day he might morph back into your day one horse or he might decide that day was the day you got five minutes.

    4. Jesse. Bought him as a four year old with over two years of consistent training. Lightly shown. Until he started having health issues he was a very very willing horse. Much less lazy than Coal with the same kind of try. He'd do anything... and happily. He loved to work and be messed with, loved learning new things, loved showing. As he started to develop health issues, he started to develop attitude; he got gate sour, he occasionally bucked, and he just lost his happy spark.

    5. Willow. Bought as a coming three year old. Had been shown in hand as a yearling and two year old. Maybe had 45 days of riding when we picked her up. We immediately had a trainer put 60 days on her. Then my daughter took over her training. We've had her almost two years, and for the majority of that time, she's been worked 4-6 days a week and shown 1-2 times a month. She LOVES to work. LOVES to show. Hauls like a champ. Same horse every day. Same horse after having a two month vacation after a big show.

    6. Lucy. Started as a two or three year old. Never really got all the way broke, still green. Was a broodmare for a few years. She's now 7. She's super green.... and very pushy on the ground. Her attitude when she doesn't understand something is to get mad, so if you're on her and asking her to move off your leg, she'll kick out. If you're on the ground and asking her to maybe drop her head, yielding to the halter, she'll brace and throw her head into you. If she's somewhere she doesn't want to be, she gets physical and will slam into gates, and if you're not careful she'll come over the top of you. I haven't done enough with her at this point to know if she can be "fixed." Right now I'm inclined to say she's a broodmare (she is proven at that.)

    Long post... but the point is... In my experience consistent work by a competent person from a young age makes the best horses. It develops a try and want to. They never learn they CAN quit. That is the best way to prevent a "quitter." I'm not sure there are very many skilled horseman today that can develop project horses into good horses... I don't think I'm one of them. I haven't met many trainers who are willing to take on projects.

    I see this scenario on this forum a lot, and it rarely works out ideally, though many times valuable lessons are learned. I learned a lot of things from my projects...Most importantly consistency matters! You've got to put in the daily rides. You've got to hold them to a standard... even if that is a low standard. Don't make excuses.
    Sam C., Alsosusieq2, Arem and 2 others like this.
  4. equinitis

    equinitis Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2011
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    There is always temperament to consider also.

    A person has to know when to let the animal decide and when to make sure it is your decision. Sore, tired, over stimulated are for sure reasons to NOT pick a fight when the animal wants to quit. Lazy, bored, poor work ethic are reasons to enforce the rules.

    Never a reason to beat one but I am not against a spank with the reins or a "pop" with a spur on occasion when my leg is being ignored by a cranky animal. I don't leave marks and, when I get physical I am very clear with my reinforced signals and I try very hard not to do those corrections in anger.

    A person has to know the animal, the conditions and what the animal is capable of before standing their ground with a balky or pushy animal. You have to be able to read the critter and know what is going on to pick the right response to a refusal.
    doublelranch, Sam C., DelP and 3 others like this.
  5. Binca

    Binca Senior Member

    Mar 18, 2014
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    I 100% agree with this.

    I am a dressage rider at heart, it's what I grew up with. Admittedly I don't actually compete. I still train it a lot. But I do a lot of it out in the laneways, on the quiet roads, trails, etc. Josh will spend as long as I like in the arena without any protest, but there is a massive change in how he moves when I take him out the arena. He loves it. He is so much happier. So I include our dressage training out there. Obviously high level stuff or specifically measured 20/15/10m circles would be better done on the even surface of a good arena, but it's perfectly easy to keep a good balance of trail and arena work. My BO is a high level dressage rider - every ride she warms up around the lane ways and then does the serious stuff in the arena. Because I don't compete, or ride with a standard in the arena dressage instructor any more, I am finding I spend more and more of my time out of it where Josh is happier. I'm pretty sure he has spent most of his life in arenas, he deserves to have fun.

    On the other hand, Josh loves jumping. He is pigeon toed and can't go too high, but he REALLY loves it.

    Weirdly enough, considering how much I don't enjoy jumping (I pop the occasional 30-50cm jump for fun and that's it), every single one of my horses LOVES jumping.
  6. StraightandTrue

    StraightandTrue Senior Member

    Mar 19, 2010
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    Over-facing a horse is not something that only happens in show jumping. It can also happen when you work a horse for too long or increase the difficulty too rapidly.

    In endurance training you have distance, speed and difficulty. You only ever increase ONE of these things at a time. So if I am going to increase distance to 25kms instead of 20kms, I am definitely not going to push my horse to increase it’s average speed, and I am also not going to make it tackle a steep technical track if we’ve only been doing gentle hills.

    The same logic should follow with other disciplines. If you’re working on something your horse will find more difficult (mentally or physically) do not increase the length of your training session at the same time. Keep it the same, or better yet shorten it. It happens all the time, a person is working on a difficult exercise so they drill and drill as the clock ticks away. The horse is cooked after 45mins but they keep pushing for another 30mins to try and get it 100% perfect. Eventually they realise it’s not going to happen and finish the session feeling like a failure instead of celebrating the progress they did make. 2% improvement is still improvement! As long as you’ve got a better horse at the end of the session than you had at the start you’re winning.
    tlwidener and ginster like this.
  7. slc

    slc Senior Member

    Feb 19, 2004
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    Oh ok. Nobody ever trains a horse wrong, loses their temper, can't ride perfectly, doesn't understand what they're going for, doesn't notice their own errors or overfaces/overworks a horse or tries to overwork or over-challenge a horse. Nobody ever has a bad seat and hand, and annoys the horse to the point where he doesn't want to be ridden on a contact. Nobody ever makes a mistake or makes the work unpleasant for the horse. Nobody ever makes an unsound horse do things that hurt it, and doesn't get the horse vet care.

    It's all due to divine providence.



    Got it.

    Horses don't hate anything until it's ruined for them by incompetence.

    Friend of mine could take any horse and do dressage with all of them, because she worked with the horses based on their conformation, natural balance and abilities. Every single horse she got did dressage, and loved it. Loved it.

    One might be taking beginners around at a slow trot doing tiny leg yields or little turns on the forehand. One might be bangin' at training level trotting around the ring in 3 strides, in a horizontal balance, and another doing 4th level or Prix St Georges.

    She was brilliant at keeping horses sound by understanding their mechanics and not expecting too much.

    Every horse did what they could do comfortably, happily and easily.

    And they all loved doing dressage.

  8. NBChoice

    NBChoice Senior Member

    May 15, 2014
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    Okay slc. Maybe those horses loved it. That doesnt mean every single horse will be destined to love every discipline they are thrown into just because they are trained correctly. I dont even understand why this is an argument.
  9. Rhythm 'n Blues

    Rhythm 'n Blues Senior Member

    Feb 23, 2007
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    Can someone please pass this memo onto Gala.......she didn't get it...

    She dislikes dressage....and well umm....I'm pretty **** competent at it, if I do say so myself! She LOVES to jump.....and I'm not overly competent at that. I can jump, but everyone knows that's not where my forte lies. :rofl:
  10. Arem

    Arem Senior Member

    Dec 17, 2009
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    Oh, no, RnB. Evvvvvverrrry horse LOVES Drrrrrressage. It was simply your incompetence that ruined it for her. I think you need to recognize that you are secretly a jumping enthusiast and much better pursuing that. The horses have spoken. It’s your true calling.
    endurgirl and Rhythm 'n Blues like this.

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