First horse training question!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Chickerdoodle13, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    This is my first post of many with a question about training. I am going to look up the answers online, but I figured I'd ask here too since I know some of you are very knowledgeable!

    I have a two year old paint mare that we picked up a few days ago. I've been working on getting her to lead and stop, as that is the first concrete thing I want drilled into her head! She's getting it pretty well, but every once in awhile she gets frustrated and rubs her head on me. I know this is her trying to show dominance, so I want to stop the behavior now. How should I go about this without scaring her or frustrating her further? I understand the concept of personal space when it comes to horses, so how should I be correcting her when she over steps mine? Right now she's not doing it to be nasty, but I know the behavior can escalate quickly.

    I'm spending today reading reading reading! I'm also going to buy some books to take with me to school to read for the last few weeks before I am home for summer. My dad is planning to pay one of the trainers we contacted to come over and show us what we should be doing with her as far as training goes. We want to make this horse into a good one!
     
  2. Florida chick

    Florida chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2008
    PLease be very, very careful and find a good trainer ASAP> Green young horse + green horsewoman = Black and blue.
    Seriously the worst thing is for an inexperienced horse person is to get a young, untrained horse. SIGH....
    Goodluck and I am glad your excited, just be careful.
     
  3. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've actually been riding and training horses for about 12 years now. I am not inexperienced, but inexperienced when it comes to babies. The last horse I had was already trained to ride and was about 6 when I got her. By the time she was 13, I had her showing and winning in 4-H shows. I did most of the training myself with a little help ONE summer from a trainer. However, this horse never rubbed her head on me so I want opinions on how to handle this situation now.

    I know several ways I could correct this, but I want to know which one others would suggest. I figured since others on here do have more experience than me, I would ask.

    I seem to be getting a lot of flack for having a two year old and this doesn't make sense to me. I'm not a complete newbie who went out and bought a horse! I'm currently 20 and have been riding since I was 7. I barrel raced competitively for YEARS in county and state level competitions and even in other states! I also used to show extensively in western pleasure, showmanship, halter, and even a little bit of reining. These last few years I've restricted myself to simple trail riding, but before I lost my mare, I was training for a 25 mile competitive trail ride. I've done 15 mile trail rides and benefit trail rides. Granted, I have not worked with horses for about a year because I have not had a horse to work with. I'm sorry because I don't mean to come off nasty, but I figured I'd give a little bit of my background before people judge my horse abilities! I don't claim to be a trainer or an expert...I realize I have a LOT to learn, especially since this is my first baby.

    The first horse my family bought was from an auction. She was what you would call a green broke horse...she knew how to ride, but that was about it. She needed work on stopping, mounting, gaits, headset and she was spooky as all get out. We made a huge mistake bringing in such an inexperienced horse, and at the time the situation was exactly as you described above! However, in the end, after countless mistakes, we ended up with an awesome horse. My plans for this horse are the same, except for one difference. This time I have more experience and I want to do things right.

    I use BYC because it is a forum I feel comfortable with and I figure I could get some really good reassurance here from people who have done this already. I've had the english/western/barrel racing lessons, I've gone to countless horse expos and trainer demos, I am currently looking for a trainer to help me out now....so I think I am off to a good start!

    I really don't want to start an argument at all...this was not my intention for this thread! I figured I would get some criticism though, so I was prepared. I am not upset at all...I get angry as well when I see some new horse person go out and buy more than they can handle in a horse. When we were new, we did exactly that and I would have hated myself for it.

    There I went and typed way more than needed. [​IMG] I hope no one judges me for having a two year old without getting to know my experience first! I mean, I've had chickens for just as long and I still have incredibly stupid questions about them. Its just that new experiences bring new questions and issues that I have not come across before in previous situations! I.E. head rubbing and in the past saddle fitting issues and head throwing.

    ETA: I've had my fill of black and blues. Its incredible I haven't broken any bones yet! I used to fall off doing barrels and I've been kicked, bitten and pretty abused by horses (Usually OTHER people's horses, interestingly enough!) I'm usually one of the people others ask to go with them when buying a new horse. I'm pretty good at determining good and bad conformation, leg issues, and other things you wouldn't want in a new horse. I did horse judging for years in 4-H. My team was really good, but at the time we were too young to go to nationals. I always wanted to get certified as a horse show judge, but have not had the time (with college) to do it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  4. Florida chick

    Florida chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 19, 2008
    Sorry it sounded like you were new to horses or your father was. With years of exp I figured you would now how to deal with the young horse.
    DO you have a round pen? Do you know how to join up? Pressure/ retreat? Start slow from the ground up. We train all of our own horses, they get a better bond with us and trust.
    Maybe you could hire the "John Lyons" trainer you know to come train you to work with your horse. Sorry the head rubbing thing and pawing and stepping in your space is not ok, but I can explain how to train the horse in a page. Goodluck and hope to see pics.
     
  5. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    503
    2
    141
    Jan 4, 2009
    indiana
    Do you have a round pen? If not put her on a lunge line and work her till she is tired...walk,trot,canter,back to walk,etc....I would have a riding crop in your hand while you are working her...flag it for her to see and she should respond by speeding up to a trot,canter,,,whatever. Then allow her to rest...she will almost certainly look towards you and approach. When she comes near you praise her initiate contact by scratching her or whatever she likes but when she invades your 2 foot personal bubble, push her back off with the crop...don't hit her just flag it again and start the working process again...walk,trot,etc....Eventually she will understand that if she stands by you with you contacting her she will be free to take a break but if she initiates the contact she will have to work.
    This problem needs to be addressed ASAP...Unfixed someday she may put you in a bad spot....Eg: you and her in the stall and she decides she wants to show you who the boss really is....and that would be bad.
    Remember you aren't being mean to her you are just showing her Who gives the orders...Exactly what a young horse needs...Don't believe me....throw her into a herd of horses and watch how they treat her until she knows her place.
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks florida chick. Its definitely difficult to know someone behind a computer screen! I am not a newbie to the horse world, but I am a newbie to young horses. I know I will have lots of questions...not necessarily because I don't know how to do things, but because I want reassurance that I am doing things right.

    DO you have a round pen? Do you know how to join up? Pressure/ retreat?

    Yep, we do have a round pen. Its somewhat of a new thing for us as my dad bought it back in the fall. However, the concept of round penning is not new to me. I had a friend once let me work with her horse so I could get the idea of how to do the things you just mentioned. Her horse was an old pro at it [​IMG] We didn't have a round pen when I was working with my other horses.

    Now when you round pen your horses, do you keep them on a line or do you work off a line? I've had different trainers tell me different things. Some of them say you have more control holding the line and others say it is easier to let them off and work them that way. I haven't yet decided which method I like best, but I do know I would like her to lounge (Join up, change direction, etc) when there is no round pen present. This would mean doing it on a line.

    Relics,
    Thanks for the advice. I do have a crop so I can try that. When I'm leading her around now, I try to catch it quickly before she head rubs I say NO and I push her out of my space. Then I let her compose herself again and I continue what I was working on.

    My dad has much less experience than I do as far as riding and training goes. However, with this other horse we have, he's been able to learn a lot just working with him. He's hoping to get into a little bit of hobby horse training when he retires in a year, so that's why we thought this horse (Cheyenne) would be a great project for us to work on. It is going to be a ton of work, but it relaxes him and I have fun with it.

    Edited to fix stupid mistakes.​
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  7. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    503
    2
    141
    Jan 4, 2009
    indiana
    In a round pen to exercise I don't use a line....just drive them around with your crop or flag behind them...Stop flagging step in front of them and restart flagging to change directions...the pace of their circle should be dictated by the pace of your flagging...when you stop so will they. Later when you are working on ground skills a line is needed to act as a reign to teach a horse to turn ,stop,whatever with pressure.
    You said the other horse(s) you had worked with were "green broke" meaning someone else taught them the basic things that now you must teach this philly...Now is better than later...
    How is she developed? Do you think you will try a saddle this year or next?
     
  8. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

    6,820
    324
    331
    Mar 5, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks for the advice!

    Yeah, my first horse was green broke, so I didn't have to teach her basic riding skills. We will have to do that with this girl now, but we do not plan on doing that by ourselves.

    She's pretty well developed now, but she will most likely grow another few inches by the time she is three. She's about 14.1 now and I expect she'll be about 15 hands or so.

    I think we are going to give her another year to grow and develop before actually riding, but we plan on getting her used to wearing a saddle during the summer. By the end of the summer, we might be able to get her used to a little weight in the saddle, but I certainly don't want to move too fast. Then next summer we can start fitting her for a saddle (We'll have to see how that goes! I know young horses backs have a tendency to change!) and hopefully training her to ride.

    The farrier will be over during the coming week and the vet will have to come soon to give the other horses their shots. She will get a good check over then. She's wonderful with her feet though...which is a definite plus! She gives them up so easily. She does need a good trimming though.

    I will not be doing anything riding wise until I get her ground manners perfected. That's one thing I KNOW I want...is a well mannered horse on the ground!
     
  9. ()relics

    ()relics horse/dog shrink

    503
    2
    141
    Jan 4, 2009
    indiana
    I have a Qhorse philly that will be 3 in May...The only thing she needs is Me...or my son...its his horse...in the saddle. I waited the extra year because there is no hurry and I didn't want to risk injury.
    [​IMG]

    jess in the snow and mud

    she was clean until she wanted to play outside
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    85
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Chickerdoodle, if you are as experienced as you're describing, I don't know why you're overthinking this so much.

    It's a horse. Young or old, they're all roughly the same between the ears. This one it's actually a little easier because you KNOW she doesn't know much (as opposed to older horses where people often get into trouble making assumptions about what the horse 'must surely' know).

    Just do it, you know? She rubs her head on you, don't worry about what it means or represents, just do what has worked well for you all these years when a horse rubs its head on you.

    You want to roundpen her, do it the way you are most experienced and comfortable with. If you do not actually have much experience roundpenning a horse, I suggest you find someone to teach you, in-person at your place with your horse because it is mostly a matter of judgement and body language (which canNOT be learned very well from books or videos or internet forums).

    Just stick with what you know works.

    Really.

    And don't be afraid/reluctant/ashamed to ask for help -- not internet forum help but actual 'have a trainer come over' type help.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by