Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Jayme_Alaska

Laying Down A Horse

141 posts in this topic

Hey all,

I've seen conversations about laying down a horse for a long time. I've been wanting to do this with Tucker for a very long time for many reasons from desensitizing to more trust to just being able to ask for it when or if I ever needed it.

Well! Today we did it and he did great. The first time we did it, it took him a minute or two but he did it nicely without panic. The second time was much faster and even better. He closed his eyes and quietly laid there as I stroked him and talked with him and when I let him get up, he slowly and quietly stood up and was very calm. It was a great and almost easy experience for everybody. The goal is to teach him a cue which would eventually end up being taps on the leg and the word "down".

IMG_0945.jpg

Relaxing with his eyes closed

IMG_0946.jpg

IMG_0942.jpg

This is me just before I knelt down. I didn't hover over his head like that for long at all.

IMG_0943.jpg

Edited by Jayme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's recommended by clinton (who's my favorite) to lay down your horse. It just gives them that extra smidgen of trust in you. If you can move their body/feet and put them in situations that may be something they normally would be worried about and show them it's ok, it's always a good thing. Desensitizing. The more desensitizing, the better (IMO) We didn't have a battle, he was very willing, quiet, and calm and practically fell asleep.

I'd love it if he could trust me enough to lay down flat on his side anywhere when I asked; who has a horse that's so trusting and calm that they can have it lay down in a new place? That's part of my goal. To work up to that, we'll do normal desensitizing with ropes and bags.. There are some horsemen that have desensitized their horses so much that they can ask them to lay down, they'll stand on them and shoot a shotgun off from them. If your horse can trust you that much in that situation, just think of the trust while seeing something "scary" on a trail ride! I'd rather get my horse used to me doing ANYTHING and everything I can think of that would normally make him spooky or uncomfortable. Isn't that the goal anyways?

Naturally, they only lay down when they feel very safe and/or when they have another horse to be a lookout to keep them safe. Today we were able to show him that it's safe to have me as that lookout, he can trust me. Sometimes to learn that something is safe, you have to be guided through it. He was extremely calm after the whole session was over, no tension or jumpy stuff.

If Clinton and Parelli do it as basic training and John Rarey did it to gentle a horse, I'm definitely going to follow their lead. They have wonderful methods. I want my horse as desensitized, quiet, confident, trusting and calm as I can possibly get him... For his sake and my own.

Edited by Jayme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing.

You should not be doing that with a bridle on until he is extremely good at it, even then, if something startles him, a foot in the rein will be a bad thing.

For teaching that you should not have him in tack until he can do it repeatedly naked and in just a halter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i have been to the wahl walkabout tour, took my horse to one of the 3 day clinics in march(with ian francis), own his books and dvds etc and have never seen or heard of clinton anderson laying down a horse. i do agree with manesandtales, doing this with tack on is pretty dangerous.

edit: upon thinking about it, i have seen him lay mindy down, but he dosent suggest that just anyone do it, and he was personally helped by the famous circus and trick trainer tommy turvey

Edited by Tigger'sGotGame

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That doesn't look very comfortable for the horse to be made to lay down with his saddle on, laying on those big stirrups. I don't know, I just don't see the reasoning behind this, but then I've never fallen under the clinician-guru-for-hire spell. I've seen most of those public clinicians do things that I really don't agree with, though they do make the crowd oooh and aaaah.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

---"I'd love it if he could trust me enough to lay down flat on his side anywhere when I asked; who has a horse that's so trusting and calm that they can have it lay down in a new place? "---

You asked: :tongue9:

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a298/Rob...pg?t=1243426388

This older broodmare given to us was too crippled to stand long enough to trim comfortably, so I taught her to lay down on command.

You can see the ground around her was not disturbed, she laid down on her own for me.

I think that some that lay horses down against their will, on the theory that the horse will be submissive, that is the reason many give for it, may not be understanding how horses think.

Do we really think that getting a horse down, not as a trick you teach, the horse a willing participant, but against the horse's will, results in a horse that now thinks humans make any sense?

By TRAINING a horse to lay down on command, the horse is showing true willingness to submit AND understands what is going on and is being asked of it.

There are several ways to lay a horse down, but I think that it is better to have a horse cooperate and learn what you want, lay down and stay there and get back up on command and even better if you also teach a trick done laying down, to pull a blanket over themselves.

For that, you have previously taught it to grab things and pull gently on them.

We don't just tie a horse to a pole and let them fight it out the first time, we work with a horse to give and by the time we tie them, they may feel in a new situation, but they learned before how to respond and will try the rope, give in and stand ther, if we did our work right.

A horse laid down against his wishes is not understanding, other than people really are goofy.

Some will fight it, others, if they are accomodating, won't, but making sense to a horse?

I doubt it.

Always, when you do something, whatever you do, study the situation from many angles, don't take anyone's words as gospel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think its great you area able to do this. but i have to say also, the tack looks like it would be uncomfortable. when i first saw the pics all i could picture was the horse standing up, and onto his reins.

i used to train a couple minis and the smallest would 'play dead'. he was a 23inch dwarf STALLION (guess how much of an idiot the owner was!) and he did all sorts of tricks. he was not exactly taught to lay down before i started working with him, he was blind folded and basically pushed down. but i spent time working with him so he knew that if i turned his head one side and lifted the oposite leg he would lay down on his belly. and if i turned his head in the other direction and lifted the other leg, he would lay flat on his side and 'play dead'. he was a very smart little horse, very easy to work with. he would climb stairs, pull a cart, jump in hand, he could 3 out of 4 very short legs on a little bucket lol. also rear on command, propably not the best thing to teach a stallion. the girls who 'trained' him before me used to like pick him up by his halter and encourage him to rear. i eventually got him to rear up with a tiny tug of his halter and the flick of the lead line he would stand up. it wasnt a very safety consious barn, i was probably 12 when i started handling the little guy. luckily i(and no one else) was nver hurt. he was SUPER quiet for a stallion and followed me around like a dog.

anyways playing dead was always one of his best tricks. except sometimes he'd lay down and not want to get up, he loved dirt, alot! im sure this poor horse layed down (along with many other things) because i was asking/telling him to. im sure he really thought i was a lunatic!

*eddited to ad his laying down did come in handy for trimming his feet aswell. he had real bad arthritis, plus its not that easy to get anyone to trim a horse that small. so we layed him down on a cooler and made it easier for everyone.

Edited by FraggleRock

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

---"anyways playing dead was always one of his best tricks. except sometimes he'd lay down and not want to get up, he loved dirt, alot! im sure this poor horse layed down (along with many other things) because i was asking/telling him to. im sure he really thought i was a lunatic! "---

Sounds like you had a very smart little horse there.

He probably didn't think you were a lunatic just because you laid it down in itself, but if you had done it in a way he would not have understood it, then yes, he would have been puzzled.

BUT, it sounds that you both were on the same page and he knew what you were asking of him all along.

That is the difference in training with the horse, or training the horse, whatever way we want at the time, without much other consideration that the horse does what we want, not that the horse be comfortable and learning so it will keep wanting to work with us.

A smooth trainer works with the horse, a rough one kind of likes to get in fights with them and then thinks the horse is submitting, when it is really sulling and not understanding what is going on.

Both ways get a horse trained, but I know which way I prefer.

How would you feel if, say, math teachers would, once in a while, decide that you were not being good enough and just throw you down, sit on you and keep you there?

Would that make much sense?

What do you think that would teach you about math, about the teacher?

Do we really think that throwing a horse down makes much more sense than that math teacher throwing the odd student down, so it learns to be submissive in math class? [Crazy]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How would you feel if, say, math teachers would, once in a while, decide that you were not being good enough and just throw you down, sit on you and keep you there?

Would that make much sense?

What do you think that would teach you about math, about the teacher?

Do we really think that throwing a horse down makes much more sense than that math teacher throwing the odd student down, so it learns to be submissive in math class? [Crazy]

I've been tempted to try that with some of my hyper band students. I have a few kids that could use some throwing down...maybe some rock grinder spurs and a bicycle chain bit also [ROTFL]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've never laid a horse down.

I had a willful mare sent to me who would FIGHT at the drop of a hat no matter what you asked her for. I tried to lay her down and failed miserably. Oddly after three days of the BIG FIGHT we were both beat up, bruised and tired. I just sort of offered to be done with that and asked her if we could?

She calmed down and went to riding and trying to please me. I don't have any explanation for it.

I know you think you just deepened your relationship with this horse, but if that was your goal, I too would like to know why you did it with him tacked as that had to hurt some.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey all,

I know the laying down thing isn't always a popular subject for some folks. I did read in Western Horseman in December or January about Clinton going back to Austrailia to help his original mentor with 15 untouched horses for a 3 day clinic. They had every horse laid down, but Clinton said that he doesn't do it in the American clinics because some people would think it was cruel for making a horse lay down. They also did an exercise where one hind leg is tied to a post by a 5 or 6 foot rope (which I won't be doing), the end result in the photo showed the horse calmly accepting it's back leg pulled straight and being touched everywhere and accepting that someone else is in control of his body.

I look to Clinton, Parelli and other trainers to learn so I don't have a jumbling mess of stuff that may or may not flow well together or have consistency. With these trainers, you can see their wonderful results time after time, learn their consistency and then you get to learn the entire method and eventually get the same results if you do it correctly. Not too bad, in my opinion! I'd rather have a few great teachers and of course horse savvy mentors than to scrape my knowledge up in tiny pieces from random sources till I can figure everything out. These guys have it all written out for a person to learn and I really like that! [Jump]

Next time, with Tucker, since he's done it twice already and is great at giving his head, I'll just use the halter. He did look stuffy with both halter and bridle on, but if he truly was not comfortable, I don't think he would have relaxed and closed his eyes and laid there so calmly and for so long both times. We didn't have to pull very hard, he didn't try to get away and we used the verbal cue "down". Anyway, the final cue will be holding or tapping his leg and saying "down."

Look at this dude!

ShotgunandHorse.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man, I could tell you stories about Clinton Anderson that might change your mind. People attending the clinics only get to see what they want you to see. It's not that cut and dried.

I've seen Clinton bloody a horse up something fierce in a training exercise that I've done my whole life and never had an issue with. Please don't blindly follow the public-mass horse trainers that think their methods are the cure-all for every horse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, back of your mind, is this a solution to help keep Tucker from bucking when asked to lope?

The laying of a horse down was orginally done when rank horses had to be made submissive

The horses were not taught to lay down, but were laid down (there is a difference)

The idea behind the entire concept, is that since horses are a prey species, taking away their option of flight will make them submissive to the person that not only lays them down, but allows them to get up again

To me , outside of trick training, this remains a method for rank horses and has no place in a good training program on a good minded horse

Is this another short cut ground technique, just like the driving with draw reins and dead weight???

I only laid a horse down once, to fix a specific problem

My hubby only trail rides, and always with me or other horses,thus his horses get very used to all type of trails but are never really asked to ride out alone.

In the days when we sold our older broke horses and always moved on to the young horses that we raised, we decided to sell "Moose"

I thus started to ride him out alone from home. Second day I asked him, he balked at the barn, then laid down on me. I got him back up, then laid him down , yes, at that point with saddle and a snaffle bit, and then I held him down by taking his head away.

Let him back up after some time, got on and rode off. He never tried to lay down again, nor balk at riding out alone

Apparently the lesson stuck, as the new owner e-mailed, concerning what agreat trail horse he was. laying down to balk had a connection to the entire process

I do not see where it fits into a good training program. Some things these NH types teach are not the best for routine application by the masses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

CoolRabbit- The same goes for all the clinicians. I have friends that saw Parelli bloody one up behind the scenes and completely lose his temper. It happens.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wanted to say good job and next time just take off the tack. lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also just wanted to congradulate you on a job well done. I'm sure its not easy to teach a horse to lay down and not make him lay down and he must trust you to do it willingly. I have a friend who taught her horse to lay down and she has some pics of him laying down in a field of tall green grass just laying down with her with his head on her lap, halterless and no lead rope. Now thats trust. I wish I could teach my horse the same thing. Just because some people think that its useless doesn't mean that it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just think you need to have a purpose when you teach your horse things. I could teach my horse to carry his own leadrope, but that would have bad effects later on, as would laying down if he is getting rewarded for laying down. I could see a horse using that new tool to your detriment!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see it in today's society more as a trick like teaching your horse to bow. I haven't figured out a point for that really yet either although I'd like to teach one sometime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always though that teaching your horse to bow in order to mount put a LOT of strain on the horse's front legs and they had to lift their body weight plus yours in order to stand. I think a mounting block is easier for everyone LOL! I never go anywhere without my 3-step stool!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ditto for the mounting block. With two bad knees I always need one , or a facimalie thereof, like ground advantage, wheel well of my trailer, a stump, even a fence.

My question remains-this is a horse you do not trust to lope without bucking, thus is laying this horse down supposed to insure that he will not buck when loped?

To me he has a major hole in basic traIning, so why are you on to laying this horse down?"

I would work directly on the riding issue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I always though that teaching your horse to bow in order to mount put a LOT of strain on the horse's front legs and they had to lift their body weight plus yours in order to stand. I think a mounting block is easier for everyone LOL! I never go anywhere without my 3-step stool!

I've heard that too but I'm not sure how often you'ld have to do it to cause damage. I know they say the same thing about parking them out to mount. I can really see it for parking out because of the strain on the spine.

I know people that have their horse bow while they are mounted on the horse so maybe in moderation it's not too horrible on them. I don't know. It's probably not much worse than some of the impact sports we play with them. Gaming and jumping and things like that are also hard on a horse in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I always though that teaching your horse to bow in order to mount put a LOT of strain on the horse's front legs and they had to lift their body weight plus yours in order to stand. I think a mounting block is easier for everyone LOL! I never go anywhere without my 3-step stool!

Wait a minute there, I think that some of you don't know how a horse moves when it lays down and does tricks.

The standard series of tricks, that build on each other, are bowing, kneeing, laying down, SITTING up and THEN standing up.

Horses, unlike cattle, get up front end first, so if you want to teach a horse to get down so a handicapped rider can get on, the horse lays down and the rider gets on and hangs on, then the horse sits up, raising in front and then heaves up it's hind end, the last with the rider on board.

You can also wait until the horse is sitting up and get in place and then go up as the horse raises from behind, which is no problem for a horse with the extra weight of a rider, they are very powerful behind and well braced in front.

For comparation, here is a heifer, Bitsy, I taught and is laying down and about to get up, that is why I am braced like that, as she will raise behind and throw me forward and then heave up in front:

http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a298/Rob...pg?t=1243464701

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well i personally love laying a horse down & have been doing so for years. i first saw it done from a shiek in arabia do it to his top endurance horses (he also fed them goat milk) its called thinking out side the box. why do we ask our horses to do differant stuff? because we can, WE are the head boss & if we say its safe to do something 'unnatural' & nothing bad will happen & you the follower must trust me the horse accepts alot of other 'unnatural' things as well. its a great tool when done right. bravo! [Yay]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have always been a firm believer that anything we took the time to teach our horses was well worth the time spent. That it builds the rapport we have and our working relationship in which I am the director of. It really doesn't matter what you teach your horse...how to count to 10 by tapping the hoof if you want. Teaching a horse to do what we want, simply because we asked them to is a good thing and it incrementally builds on our leadership and the horse's acceptance. Each thing, every time they attempt to please us by doing what we want them too, serves to underline and accentuate that we are dominant and superior to them. By submitting to our will, even just standing still to get a halter put on, they let us know that they buy in to our abilities as a leader. Being a good leader is more than just telling a horse what we want them to do. We need to be consistent and fair. We need to have a care for their health and well being. Yes, to a certain extent, we need to move their feet, so that we are speaking in terms that they may understand. It's not just that. If we lounge a horse for hours without asking them to do something besides go in a circle, they will shut their brains down, go on power saver mode and tune us out. Did you teach a horse anything beyond how to ignore you in 3 easy circles? Sure, the horse got fitter with better wind, but beyond that what benefit was that lounging for 3 hours good for anyway?

Same with laying a horse down. If all you did was create a physical response to muscling them out of balance to the point that he fell down, however gently it happened, what really did you teach that horse? That you can create a situation in which he can no longer keep his feet underneath him. A down horse is a dead horse. That's why laying a horse down is so successful with rank horses. Their bodies tell them they could have died and we "saved them" by letting them gain their feet again. This is a somewhat over-simplified version of what goes on, but it gives the general idea. Horses that get into trouble and throw themselves down will also stay down for a while and may appear calm, with their eyes partially, if not all the way closed. It's not because they trust the situation. They are preparing to die. It is a biochemical response to a situation.

A horse mentally preparing to die is not a foundational block that I want to build my horse's training on. You want some really cool things to do that will teach your horse to trust you? Teach him how to lead with his feet. Teach him to sidepass towards a fence you are sitting on. Those are some cool things that have real world usefulness. Teaching a horse to lead with any of his four feet teaches a horse how to deal with pressure around his legs. Same goes for hobbling. Sidepassing a horse into a fence you are sitting on forgoes the need to carry a mounting block with you.

I think about the hundreds of horses I have seen trained. I have only seen one laid down. She bucked a LOT. I believe she still does, so I would not trust that laying a horse down will actually be a fix for that one.

I'm not going to congratulate you on this. Best of luck though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear ya Bayfilly. Seems there are an awful lot of more important lessons to be taught than forcing a horse to lay down and holding him down. But then since I don't ride with sheikhs or anyone like that, I'll just stick to my own methods that make sense in my building-block training regime. :winking:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Look at this dude!

ShotgunandHorse.jpg

Yes. Let's really look at this dude.

I would hazard a guess that this photo is a "historical recreation". What is it re-creating? A situation in which the horse is sacrificed for the preservation of human life. That horse is a bullet-stop for his human partner. I sincerely hope that I am NEVER in a situation in which my horse would even need to be asked to give his life for mine. To some, horses are tools. In this case, the tool could bleed, feel pain and even die.

Again, thanks, but no thanks. I have taught horses to bow and lay down, to sit up and stand up. That's the progression that can make the most sense to a horse. It wasn't arbitrary and it took weeks, if not months before I felt the horse had the strength and understanding to lay down without hurting himself or me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes bayfilly im sure sitting down & playing beg make MUCH more since then laying down :rolleye0014: & im pretty darn sure my horses know their not dying when i lay them down. & are you saying when horses are laying down in pasture they think their dying? ha. [ROTFL]

also coolrabbit, i dint say i ride with sheikhs (whatever) i simply heard about it from him first. sometimes its good to learn alittle from somebody then to just be closed minded.

Edited by fastfilly79

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yes bayfilly im sure sitting down & playing beg make MUCH more since then laying down :rolleye0014: & im pretty darn sure my horses know their not dying when i lay them down. & are you saying when horses are laying down in pasture they think their dying? ha. [ROTFL]

Um... the difference is FORCING a horse to lay down. A horse napping in his pasture is obviously doing so on his OWN accord.

To me, laying a horse down is a useless tool flaunted by clinicians for show. The pictures posted in this thread made me cringe. I have no doubt that the OP is trying to do right by her horse (that's why we come to Horse City!), but in this case she has been mislead. I have always thought that the eye closing demonstrated by laid down horses is simply a "shut down" effect, a survival technique similar to a chicken "fainting" when you turn it on its back. There are several species that respond to being laid down or turned upside down in the same way.

I just don't get it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I only have one thing to say about the war renactment photo. Im sure he ISNT sacrificing his horse. Back then the easiest way to dismount a rider was to shoot his horse. In most situations that would lead to a rider using a horse as a shield was when the horse was already 'dead' killed in the line of fire. Its not like he said 'ok horse I need you to be my shield so be a good horse and lie down infront of me' doubtfull. anyways thats just my 2cts.

Congrats on getting him down, it takes alot of trust for a horse to lay down. He must trust you alot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0