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How To Stop Horse From Backing When You Don't Want Him To?


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#1 JenniferLVAQHA

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:21 PM

For some reason, my gelding is really funny about walking through small streams. But yet, he will walk into a lake or in a ditch full of water. When I walk him up to a stream, he stops and then backs up. I apply immediate leg pressure and even smack him on the rump &/or neck with a crop but that doesn't phase him. He almost gets to the point of rearing it's that bad. What can I do to put a stop to the backing and get him over this weird quirk of his? It's really frustrating when he does every other thing I ever ask of him!
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#2 Suniac

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 11:46 PM

The olny thing I would do would be to just keep telling him to go forward untill he finaly takes one step forward and then stop asking and pretty soon he should give it up. Like if he starts backing up when you are asking him to go forward into the stream keep asking him to go forward and don't let up untill he stops backing and takes a step forward. He should soon realize It's not going to work and walk into the stream.

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#3 manesntails

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:13 AM

Horse have very bad depth perception so are unsure about water when it looks "strange to them" You know it's only a trickle but to them it could be a shining sword ready to slice them to ribbons or a dep well they are going to be swallowed up in. He is backing away out of fear. Not to try and be "Bad" but to be far enough away to feel comfortable with it.

Instead of hitting your horse and trying to force him through. You can, when he stops, turn him away from the water and walk back slowly towards it, letting him look . As soon as you get close enough that you feel him tense up again, turn him away and circle back to it a bit closer the next time.

Let him lower his head so that he can see it with his head down where his vision in the upper portions of the eye can get a better view. Let him relax there and look. If you try and force him to do something he is fearful and uncertain of he will rear or turn and bolt and not only ruin his confidence in you, his rider, but also in the water crossing.

When you hit him you are reinforcing that water crossing is dangerous. He got to the water, he was afraid and then he felt a whip, yep, water is dangerous! Give him time to look it over and let him get closer and examind it in his own time. The time you take to allow him to feel comfortable with it will pay off in the long run with him gettng more and more confident with different types of water crossings and more and more confident in you in that you will not ask him to put himself in danger.








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#4 JenniferLVAQHA

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:28 AM

Thank you guys!! Manesndtails, you have made some excellent points that make a lot of sense. I will approach it in a different way the next time I try this. I'll try to be as patient as I can. Thanks again!
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#5 Rockinrider

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:52 AM

If the other suggestions don't work here is something else you can do..

I was working with a horse with extreme water shyness. It would do the same thing but it wouldn't go even half the distance the second approach and would get even more panicky. I decided to spend a couple days just "hanging out" by the scary source(a fast flowing stream) with her tied as close as I could get her. a little while later closer, then closer, then finally I tied her next to the river (no bank). I ate my lunch and pretty soon she was playing in it. Snorting the whole time but it was a step in the right direction it took about a month to get her to ride through it though. She was not a very trusting horse to any human. She had been abused.

Long story short if you have some time just chill out where your horse is balking. Then they see there is really nothing to fear in that area.


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#6 Wild Rose

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 07:34 AM

Does this stream have open areas on the shore, where there is room to work with the horse?

You could try what Clinton Anderson says. I'm not sure if I'll get it right, but it goes something like this. Walk the horse back and forth along the stream, do not attempt to get the horse to cross. As you walk him back and forth, each time get closer to the water, until his feet have to touch the water.

Keep doing this, getting closer and closer, until you are actually walking him back and forth IN the water.

Eventually, he should get where he doesn't mind being in the water one bit. I'm not sure what Clinton does next, to get the horse to cross. Maybe others have a better description of this method.

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#7 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:30 AM

I do not know where people get it that it should take forever for a horse to obey a very simple command like "go forward". I cannot understand why I would have to compensate for his so called vision problems. (I don't believe he has vision problems inherent to horses.) I've run too many horses across terrain too rough for me to walk on and they never stumbled or had to stop to examine or get a closer look at anything. I think they have excellent vision.

This is just simply a disobedience that 'people' have made complicated and made excuses for. Your horse should go where you point his head and should not hesitate - period! I have colts with 10 rides on them and they never hisitate at any obsticle I ride them towards. I do not ride them towards anything I do not think they are ready to go over and then I do not accept anything less than full compliance. It is this attitude on my part that gives them the strong leadership that they need. They willingly go anywhere we point their heads.

Allowing a horse to back up is extremely dangerous. They DO NOT have good vision of what is right behind their back feet. If they have a hind foot hang up on something and their energy is going backwards, they will roll up-side-down. I have seen it happen and saw a rider injured badley in the process. And "Yes!", this will escalate into rearing.

The very first time this happened, you should have spanked his butt hard enough to make him 'want' to go forward. Since you didn't, it will now take a more severe spanking to convince him that he just cannot 'stall out' when he wants to. What you asked him to do was reasonable and he should not have refused to do it.

Many of the middle aged geldings (actually most of them) that I buy to put into the trail riding string will not cross water and I do not think I have bought more than 1 or 2 that will cross the bridges we have on the Turner Falls trail rides. We have one little wooden foot bridge that is 5 feet wide and about 60 or 70 feet long. There are 1 inch cracks between the boards and it is pretty high above the dry creek below. The sides of the creek are solid rock and straight up and down so we have to cross the bridge. I ride each horse on the trail before I let anyone else ride it. I always ride it first -- never let it follow another horse. The young horses I have trained only hesitate and then step right on to the bridge when I ask them. The ones I buy usually put up a fight. I just take long harness leather reins and over and under their butts until they go forward. Then, I go back and forth as many times as it take until they just step onto the bridge without hesitating. They are good from then on with any rider. They have learned that they have to go forward when asked and that obedience is not optional.

That is exactly what you have to do if you want a relaxed and compliant horse. Horses do not make very good bosses and are really lousy decision makers. They get nervous and edgy when they think they have to make adecision. They sometimes get so nervous that they wash out (break a sweat) even thinking that a big decision is in front of them. The more quickly they learn that their rider makes all of the decisions under saddle, the more confident they get . They are more relaxed and a lot happier. They need a strong leader -- not one that is wishy-washy and changes their mind and lets them take over. You will not believe how much it will change your horse for the better to 'make' him mind unquestionably.


#8 ShelleyC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 08:53 AM

QUOTE
Your horse should go where you point his head and should not hesitate - period!



Although I agree with the concept of following the leader when it comes to the horse,..I do not agree that a horse should NEVER make a decision on his own if he can sense there is a reason to question?

I can think of at least 5 situations in the past(years ago) that my horses's THINKING brain saved my butt on a trail from a really bad accident.

I understand they should be willing and obedient but speaking in absolutes about how horses should NEVER question an obstacle,...scares me for trail riders who with this kind of absolute authority over a horse could get into potentially DANGEROUS spots!

To say a horse should ALWAYS go where a rider points his nose to me says that the horse is expected to never use SOME of the GOOD instincts that nature gave him and personally,..I wouldn't want a horse that can't sense true danger.

Suppose I want to enter a water area and my horse sense before I do that there is an alligator in that water. I don't see it because it popped it's head below the surface as I approached but my horse saw it and is refusing to enter the water.

Do I still want him to enter that water at my command???


Perhaps this sounds kooky to some of you from where you sit based on YOUR surroundings,..but I can tell you,..down here in Florida,..there are gators in virtually every body of water in this state including man made retention ponds without fences(yeah yeah it's the law to have em but believe me there are some that don't)and if my horse who is normally really well behaved and forward on the trail balks? I am gonna listen,.investigate and give him the benefit of the doubt to at LEAST check it out.

Just another perspective as I do not agree with placing absolutes on horses.



#9 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:27 AM

Horses do not lose their instincts when they are well trained and obedient. They do not become mindless robots. If a horse is that well trained, they don't stop for no reason at all.

I was riding a very well trained home-bred 4 year old gray gelding about 4 years ago. We were riding off trail through tall mature grass that was knee high or taller. This horse was totally obedient and never needed urging forward. All at once his head came up and he stopped and took 2 steps back. It was so out of character for him that I backed him a couple more steps and tried to figure out what was in the grass. About that time we heard the buzzing sound and the biggest rattlesnake I have ever seen raised up with his head above the tall grass. His head was over 3 inches wide and he was bigger around than my arm by quite a bit. I would have just left him alone but the man we were taking out wanted his rattles. He and my husband killed him with a stick and some big rocks. He was 6 feet long and weighed at least 25 pounds. He had 9 rattles and a button. Did I say he was huge?

The thing is, if a horse is very well trained and very obedient, you know when to take them seriously -- kind of like the story of the kid that kept crying "wolf!". If an absolutely obedient horse stops, you know he is not crying 'wolf'.

When I lived in the mountains in Colorado, a similar thing happened on a horse I loaned a friend that wanted to go elk hunting. They were on a narrow trail with a steep bank up on one side and straight down on the other. There was a fallen tree sticking out over the trail on the up-hill side. He said he was looking down at the footing as it was rocky and very rough. All at once the horse snorted, stopped and starting backing up. It was too narrow for him to turn around. He looked up and a mountain lion was laying on the tree they almost walked under. They don't know if he would have jumped on one of them or not, but he said they were about 30 feet from him when the horse stopped. This was a very well trained ranch horse and I had ridden him on that same trail several times. He would have never just stopped without a good reason.

Another friend of mine forced a really well broke ranch horse into a little grassy meadow that just looked like any other grassy meadow right below a little beaver dam. The horse stalled out which was really out of character for him. After spurring him hard several times the horse kind of jumped out in the grassy spot and poked four holes in the sod and fell through into a peat bog. The rider stepped off onto the grass and abandoned the horse to fight his way out. It took him several minutes of thrashing in the mud and fighting for his life that he finally got turned around and came out. He lost his bridle in the process -- pulled it off when his feet got tangled in the reins. He was skinned up where he stepped on himself in the fight , but was otherwise allright. We found out later that a man had lost a D-8 Cat in a peat bog near there. It completely disappeared never to be seen again. This guy was just lucky that his horse did not disappear. A pete bog can be just like quicksand.

But, when you know a horse is completely obedient, you know when to take them seriously. Horses that just stall out every time they approach something they are not comfortable with or completely at ease with, never get confident enough in their rider to go where they should.



#10 ShelleyC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:47 AM

Agreed. Thanks for clarifying!
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#11 kitten-kat

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 12:53 PM

we have a mare who had water issues.. took a year to get her through it.. her mom did what you were..

so we changed thigns up.. when the pasture was flooded, we walked intot he pasture with her on a lunge line.. walked through the dry spots to get where the water would close her in.. then we started lunging her in circles, as the water filled the area we kept lungeing her.. yup we got very wet too.. anwyay the next time we had a stream situation, we used another horse wo lead her through.. took a few times, but after a few minutes of doing it without the rider, cause her rider had inadvertantly taught her that water ment a rump smack, or worse, the other horse was a confidence, we went backa nd forth till she did it calmly and easilly then we put the rider on her and ponied her accross several times till just letting go of the rope and walking accross, this took several efforts, but we now have a mare who crosses water without getting upset..but we do have to reinforce our work with her, cause over the winter she will forget..though this winter we cheated and we walked accross very shallow icy spots where she would break the ice and find the water.. she is doing great now doesnt mater.. just let her get a good look first and ask her nice and off she goes pelased as can be she learned to cope with the water.. this mare was bad, she would actually get violent..now she is a puppy!!


Oh and before we changed our tactics and tried a different approch, the mare smashed her head into her riders face a few times cause she didnt want to do what was asked.. once i had the riders approach changed the horses attitude was a lot easier..

now sometimes we do stil have to work with her, but what i do is pretend i am reaching for the lead rope now, and she thinks she will be led, i dont actually have to take hold anymore cause she thinks she is being guided by the other horse..

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#12 JenniferLVAQHA

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:21 PM

Just to clarify, my gelding will walk in rivers/lakes and even in huge ditches full of water, its these tiny little streams that he hesitates with and I don't know why. He is a very well-minded horse and will do anything else I ask of him. I will just keep working with him, but I have spanked him HARD and it does NOT phase him. This is where I don't know what to do to KEEP him from backing. What if he were to back into something dangerous? It's not just the refusing at the stream I am worried about, it's the uncontrollable backing. Do I just turn him in little circles instead of spanking him?
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#13 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:54 PM

You just have not spanked him hard enough to make him want to go forward. I have run into some spoiled horses that I COULD NOT make go forward. I considered them extremely dangerous and would not ride them. I put them in driving lines and attempted to get them over it. A couple were so bad that I ended up with 2 people doing it. One stood on the far side of the ditch or whatever and held a longe line that did not let the horse back up or rear and spin around. The other person kept putting a LOT of pressure on his butt until he went across.

Horses that I have had that did this took a huge leap across the first few times but I just kept going back and forth until they stepped in the middle of the ditch and then they were ok with it. I could get on and they would ride across just the same.

Remember that any and every time you turn a horse away from something they don't like they are winning. It is horse-1; cowgirl-0. When it hits horse-10; cowgirl -0, you can forget the horse having any respect at all. You will never know why this horse decided that a tiny stream is not to be crossed but somewhere he made that connection. After that, it did not have to make sense to him. He is a creature of habit and he is now doing it only because he did it before.

I consider uncontrolled backing to be so dangerous that I would use 2 people and drive this horse forward. I would not use the long rope to lead the horse over. I would only use it to keep the horse from backing or turning around. I would use pressure on his butt to get the forward movement.

#14 historyrider

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:03 PM

For that part of it I think that I would use his backing against him. When he wants to back take that and run with it saying, "Oh really? Sure let's back alot." and then while backing, start steering him with your legs on his flank to move his hips around. Stay in control and back him much more than he wanted getting his focus back on you. Show him right off that his backing evasion is not going to change your leadership but work with him instead of trying to work against him until you are leading again. A "trick" that I suggested on a horse like this for the same trouble at a very small creek crossing was to actually back him across the creek. This horse had refused for his owner at this same spot many times before I worked with her and the horse and that SPOT had become a source of anxiety for no good reason. He just knew that he should be nervous there and backed away. So I asked the rider to let him back, turn him around and back toward the creek. He went right across it perhaps just because the view had changed? On the other side I asked her to turn him around a few times and go back and forth. Problem solved. He was just stuck mentally. You might try it but remember that each time he refuses something and you quit asking, he will believe he did the right thing and the problem will be there waiting for you next time. Another idea that might help you is other horses. If you can find a few friends who ride seasoned, confident trail horses, let them cross first. I would bet your horse goes right along after them. If this happens, ask your friends to stop and wait while you cross back and forth to put an end to this fear, hopefully for good. If he's still nervous have the others ride back and forth and just hang out there taking turns. Make it into play and that will really help him. Turn his fear into curiousity.

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#15 JenniferLVAQHA

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:42 PM

I will see if my friend and her gelding will come out and help us this weekend! Wish us luck, and thanks for all the good advice. jump.gif
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#16 MizParker

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:20 PM

I'm with Cheri Wolf on this one. It should not take 10 years, 1o months and 10 days to get this horse across a bitty piece of water. Especially since he crosses large water easily.

I ask you to consider what you do different. I think you think this horse will have a problem...so he does.

Ride him like he's going to cross, no exceptions. Stop letting him tell you what he doesn't want to do. He has a job. If he wants a paycheck, he'd better do it.

Spank him and mean it, if he backs up. If you aren't the rider who can stick out, find someone who is.

Sandwich him between two horses that are willing to cross, and don't even give him a chance to protest. Don't give yourself a chance to worry that he won't do it. like Nike says. "Just do it"

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#17 Bayfilly13

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

I agree with Cheri and Miz.

If your horse is broke. If he goes through big water fine. If you don't have any hang ups.

Then this horse has no excuse. I sincerely doubt this horse has sight problems. Imagination problems, maybe, but not sight problems. I might buy into a horse needing to look at something the FIRST time they are ever exposed to it. Not after they have seen it several times and gotten out of going through it.

Historyrider, I will respectfully disagree with you on this one. The horse's ability to back up is not at question here. I don't believe he is afraid at this point any more either. He is using backing as an evasion and allowing him to continue to indulge in his favorite evasion I don't think will be a successful resolution to this issue. The problem is his ability to be a believer and to go forward. I believe that the use of backing up to go forward may not be successful here and may indeed be a danger. This horse is already getting light in the front (rearing). I think that it is entirely possible that using backing as a punishment will result in this horse either rearing up and going over, or him catching a rear hoof and falling. Using a back up in the manner which you are suggesting may cause the horse to find a worse habit than refusing.

The horse must learn that there is salvation in going forward. By letting the horse "win" by refusing, she has created a bigger, but not insurmountable problem.

Edited by Bayfilly13, 22 January 2009 - 03:36 PM.


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#18 Wild Rose

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 07:52 AM

As far as spanking hard enough, I really don't think you CAN spank them hard enough if they really don't want to go forward. What are you going to finally resort to? A baseball bat? You'd end up hurting the horse.

Also, if the horse leaps the stream onto someone holding a rope on the other side...well, a thousand pound horse on top of you isn't fun, either.

Nope, these techniques sound too dangerous to me.

My old horse, Chief, would do the backing every so often, if he didn't want to go. I would turn him in tight circles and only stop when he faced the way I wanted to go. Eventually, he went that way. Chief was generally very willing though, so this might not work with other horses.

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#19 Merry

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:07 AM

Depending how well broke your horse is and how well you ride, you could turn the horse around and back him over that little stream. smilie.gif

Now, are you leaning forward as soon as you get close to where you think the horse is going to balk?

Try not to act like anything different is coming and definitely don't lean forward, even if you are expecting the horse to rear and that your seat keeps saying go forward may keep the horse going on.

Worth a try.

#20 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:26 AM

I've had 1300# horses finally give it up and jump a ditch and I was on the end of the 30 foot longe line and had pleanty of room to stay out of his way.

My husband and I have both been able to make all but a couple of rearing horses go forward without a baseball bat (not a very effective way any way). You warm up their butt and all but the real spoiled dinks and idiots will want to go forward and get away from it. Most riders that cannot get this done are either pulling on the horse's mouth at the same time or are just 'pecking' at the horse. Tapping a horse on the shoulder is not even a reasonable way to get forward motion. Pecking on their butt just makes a horse spin around and head the wrong way. The most effective way is to take heavy 8 foot long harness leather reins and 'over and under' his butt. It won't 'hurt' or injure him and if you are not pulling on the reins and give him a place to go, he will go there. Then you go back and forth several times until he walks quietly and willingly. The problem is fixed and they seldom even hesitate after that.

I think the main difference between many recreational riders and us is that we want the behavior to completely go away. We need it 'fixed' where it will never return. We turn out well-trained horses and are not willing to put up with horses that occasionally decide not to go forward. I make a living selling well trained horses withuout ANY problems. Horses with problems have owners trained. We just cannot do that. I could not sleep at night if I had a 'trained horse' that had to be sold with a list of what it would and would not do. I just could not make myself do that. I used to buy a lot of dinks (before I decided to raise all my prospects) that people told me how great they rode, BUT, when you encounter this or that they do this and you have to do that and on and on. These are not trained horses. They are horses that have trained their riders. When I hand the reins to someone, I want to be able to say, "Here he is. Enjoy your ride." I have sent many horses by van all the way across the country and said nothing more to the buyer except what kind of bit I have been using on him.

Go to our web site and read what our definition of a trained trail horse is.

Here is the link to that page:

Wolfe Ranch Trail Horse page

These are horses that are trained and do not have their riders trained to get along with them.

#21 historyrider

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 10:30 AM


I've always liked another line that either you or your husband have reputed to warn new riders to one of your horses Cheri. " Don't point his nose toward a cliff unless you plan on jumping off it it."

That always puts it into perspective for me.



Bayfilly,
I want willing forward motion and understand it's importance like everyone else. I also agree with you and the others that uncontrolled backing is dangerous and should be avoided. What I do like to do is take a horse's energy and redirect it, getting control of their feet back to the rider. In the example I offered in my previous post, the horse in question had been brought to the "scarey" creek and refused many times. His rider did not have the tools to get the job done and quit asking, each time. Whatever it was that started the problem on that first day could have and should have been dealt with precisely as Miz, Cheri and you have described. What my friend was up against on the day that I helped her was the reinforced opinion (from multiple failures) that this particular crossing was a bad place. His perspective looking down the slight bank into this now familiar "danger" spot was totally in his head but well rooted there. After watching his attempts to dodge left, right and back up but not panicing about it, I suggested she turn him around and back across. The look on his face from the other side was priceless when he realized where he was and he calmly looked around sniffing and honestly let out a sigh like he was thinking, "Oh, that was nothing." It was a mental hurtle he needed to jump, not so much a physical barrier any longer. Had this horse been light on his forehand, panicing or moving about in such a way that gave me the impression he was going to "lose it" I think I would have suggested she stay on the same side and just work on controlled movement NEXT to the creek and addressed his fear of it. As it was on that day, he didn't seem afraid but more like "But? We never cross this creek?" and was refusing as though it was what he was trained to do. Once we got in there (it was only about 3 inches deep) and his perspective on the scene changed he would calmly walk back and forth or stand still in it. It is pretty easy to "accidentally" train our horses the wrong things or things we don't even realize we are teaching them until they bear fruit and we are faced with a problem. We planted the seed, nurtured its growth and then gawk at this deep rooted tree that now stands in our path. Oops.


William (historyrider)


#22 Wild Rose

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:18 AM

Well, Cheri, I've had horses jump a small stream with me holding the line on the other side, too. And, I've had a horse land pretty darn close to me. It seems they want to land where you are.

Just because it hasn't happened to you, doesn't mean it will never happen to someone else. Especially someone who might not be as well versed in horse training as you are.

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#23 Trailboss46

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 12:03 PM

Whipping a horse when he is scared is only gonna make things worse. Ease him as close as you can to the stream and give him some time to check it out.Like Manesntales said let him get his head down and check it out if he will. Make him relax before trying to cross.If he starts to back up just turn his head and do a small circle comming back to the stream. DO this until he relaxes. Hard to teach a horse something when they're all stiff and tense.

#24 JenniferLVAQHA

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:31 PM

I have tried standing on the other side of the creek with a longe line and he landed right on top of me and I got hurt pretty bad. I won't do that again. I am getting some help from a good friend tomorrow on this issue and I will update you. I think he is refusing due to stubborness, not fear. If he were fearful, why doesn't he hesitate going into ditches full of water. If anything, a ditch full of water would be more scary than a little stream. I am not going to let him get away with this again. We plan on doing lots of trailriding and I don't want to have to worry about him refusing to cross a creek in the middle of a trail ride.
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#25 Honey7

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 01:45 PM

The reason he dosent want to go through the stream but will willingly walk through a lake or a ditch, is that a stream is moving. He has no idea why it is moving and is unsure about it.

It would be better if there was a stream/creek that he could not jump and would have to place at least one foot in.

Go out one nice day when you have a few hours to spare. Bring along a nice long book or something to entertain yourself. Sit on his back and just wait until he wants to move forward. He will get bored. If he backs, give him a squeeze or a little whop with the crop (NOT HARD!!!). Smacking your horse with the crop will not solve anything. He will get bored of it though and want to go forward if you reward him when he goes forward.

That is how you train a horse to be willing and sure and trusting of it's rider.

Edited by Honey7, 23 January 2009 - 01:48 PM.


#26 Bayfilly13

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 07:24 PM

To the OP, if you have the capability, perhaps try ponying him across a few streams. He has some safety in numbers, he has encouragement to go forward and you have someone else there.

Historyrider,

I agree with the controlling a horse's feet to get to his mind. Essential. I believe that the "uncontrolled" backing would be the problem. I think that most people have better control over their horses going forward rather than going backward. Safety for the rider and horse is more important to me. I believe that safe and controlled can happen together. Things that work good in the arena for correction, may not be the best idea for out on the trail. We don't have any idea of what kind of "little stream" we are talking about here or what kind of terrain is on either side of that stream is.

Miz and I have worked for a trail riding company for a few years. We occasionally get new horses in that don't want to cross water. Since we cross a river 2 times in our trail with people who are inadequate riders at best, refusal for the horses or other bad habits during the crossing is a bad thing, as I'm sure Cheri would agree. Our training time to get new horses up to speed is limited, nor are the conditions ideal. Depending on the horse, we have had to try a few things. Some just needed to follow another horse a few times to get confident. Some just needed a rider that had more confidence than they did. Some needed a new religion.



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#27 manesntails

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 08:47 PM

http://www.myhorse.c...esight.aspx#top

Here's an article on the horse's vision if anyone is interestel

Cheri, Your methods of beating the horse to make him comply is the old method used by the Cavalry. The cavalry horse had to stay up with the Army and most men were not capable horse trainers nor did they have the luxury of time to train their horse to not fear but to trust in their rider.

Many of us today do not want to beat or force our horses into doing something they are obviously fearful of doing. Do you also beat them if they refuse to enter a trailer? Your methods, IMHO on this subject are outdated and not the preferred method. Beating the horse could very well end with you on the ground and severely injured, not to mention the horse not wanting you on their back again. Too many horses' minds are ruined by just these type methods.








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#28 Running_Free

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 09:03 PM

Jenn, we could try and pony him across. Or I can use Cloud to pressure him from behind?
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#29 Cheri Wolfe

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 10:22 PM

I do not believe in 'beating' horses to teach them. I train literally dozens of horses each year that are never spanked or spurred, ever. I don't believe horses learn new things well through pain or discomfort. I believe in instant relief from all pressure when the horse does the correct thing. Most of the horses I train from start to finish never get hit or spurred. Most of them go from step to step of their training without so much as an arguement.

Now, spoiled horses are a completely different matter. You are not teaching a new lesson -- you are stopping a horse from doing something you don't want him to do -- in this instance you want to stop a horse from the dangerous habit of backing up when you asked him to go forward. Remember, going forward is something he already knows how to do. When horses have been asked to do reasonable things that they are able and have been fully prepared and are ready to do and they chose instead to do something terribly wrong, like backing up, they should find out in no uncertain terms that it is unacceptable. When weak or non-confident riders ask a horse to do something reasonable and the horse refuses to do it and instead does the unacceptable behavior and they accept that, they are training the horse to not obey and training it to do the unacceptable behavior. Not obeying is not an option for a well trained 'finished' horse. There are many times when a spanking is absolutely the best way to prevent further dangerous behavior in a spoiled horse.

This horse in question is not a baby. It is a 'broke' horse that crosses other water and goes every other place. It is NOT afraid of the little stream. It balked once and it worked and now it is going to fight to be able to continue the behavior. As 'creature of habit', the horse no longer needs a reason or an excuse to continue with it. Spanking its butt to keep it from becomming a more spoiled horse is perfectly appropriate. Horses that back up when they are asked to go forward are just one step from rearing and that is one of the most dangerous behaviors they can learn. Spanking is a very appropriate way to stop other unwanted behaviors like kicking at other horses under saddle. If it was not a good way to correct spoiled horses, why has it worked so well for me for so many years? Why is it that when I correct a horse in this way, they go on happily and the problem never comes up again? Why are they not basket cases? They are never nervous. Quite the opposite. They quietly and happily go along everywhere I point their heads. They are so confident in my leadership that they just drop their heads and go forward. They are just as happy going somewhere they have never gone before as they are in familiar territory. The proof is in the puddin'.

Many riders with good intentions do not realize that the poorest performance that they accept is the very best performance that they have any right to expect.

Many riders make excuses for their horses refusals, but the bottom line is that they are spoiling their horses badly and setting them up for a life of optional obedience. Horses should not have to stop at look at things. They should not have to drop their heads and sniff things. If they are well trained, they go because their rider says it is ok to go and they go immediately.

Have you ever watched wild or domestic horses run full speed across mountains, gullies and canyons. They are as sure footed as deer. They run with their heads in the air. They don't stop or hesitate to 'look' things over. They go because it is the thing to do. The herd leader goes so they don't question the wisdom of the decision. Only the leader makes decisions. Foals follow their mothers just hours after birth through the same terrain. I have found that if a person is a strong and decisive leader, horses have the same unquestioning loyalty that the herd has for their leader. If this is not 'natural horsemanship', you tell me what is?

#30 Bayfilly13

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 11:15 PM

Cheri... notworthy.gif

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