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Hi All,

I just got my first gaited horse and am in love with her on the trails!

Only issue is she doesn't like to stand when we mount from the mounting block...which we are working on and she is doing really good with that part. But once you are seated she takes off. She is a Peruvian so she feels fast anyway but its almost like a bolt and it is usually before I have a chance to get my other foot in the stirrup.

I'v had her for less than a week and ridden her only once since she has been here. I pull her into a one rein stop to stop her and she responds to that... then I flex her a few times to each side and then we go. I am wondering if this will slowly go away with these tactics or if there is something else I can try?

Thanks!

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I'm the last person that should be answering, but maybe work her HARD far away from the block, then let her rest right by it. Sit on her by it, love on her, let her rest, get down, then back up and if she bolts, make her work again.

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Your response to your new horse's movement after mounting could eventually work, However, I would approach this as if the horse has never been mounted.

Make certain you saddle fits and is adjusted well. Put some weight in one stirrup without getting on and check the response. Do the same with the other stirrup. Stand on the mounting block and lean over the horse rubbing both sides and guage the response. Put one foot in the stirrup with the stirrup under the ball of the foot so your foot can slip out if necessary; step up and lean over the horse so you weight is basically centered over the saddle. Check the response. If the horse moves off during these movements, simply bring her back to the mounting block and try again. Getting upset and rough with the horse will only make things more difficult. It is always easier to learn in a relaxed atmosphere.

If all has gone well so far, step into the stirrup again and swing over her back sitting down as lightly as possible so you don't jar her back or jerk on the bit. Just sit there for a little while as if you weren't going to do anything else. If she moves, stop her quietly and just sit quietly. Get off and try again. When she stands quietly, go ahead and insert your foot in the other stirrup and just sit there. The first time the horse stands still if it has been used to moving off, I would get off after sitting for a short time and call it a day. The next day, if she has learned to stand still, start off quietly and do your work.

Many people act differently when they get on a horse or when they stop a horse than when they are getting ready to get off. When they are ready to get off, they give the horse subtle body language -- think putting your car's transmission in "Park". If you provide this same body language when you mount and when you stop, you should find that you horse is much less likely to walk off.

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Agree with taking the horse back to mounting basics. Be sure she is soft and responsive before starting your lesson, and be sure she stays soft and responsive during. She may never have been taught properly how to be mounted, or she might have had a previous rider who would come down like a load of bricks when mounting.

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The OP provided no details about the age or depth of alleged training the horse has. But the previously mentioned techniques may work if the horse is indeed broke to ride. I would go one step farther though since a bolting problem has already been established. And I first caution if you don't know how to do this correctly, find someone who does who can to assist you.

Hobble train this horse right now. Do it from the ground and repeat the lessons until the horse fully understands the restrictions of the hobbles and does not fight them anymore. Then, before mounting, hobble the front legs with a soft cotton rope tied off in a slip knot, NOT leather or nylon strap hobbles, and practice mounting and dismounting in place as previously described with a green horse. When the horse is relaxed and comfortable with mounts and dismounts while hobbled, have an assistant release the slip knot while you ask the horse to walk on. The horse will step out of the cotton rope after a few steps. Repeat as necessary until you no longer need the presence of a rope around his legs to prevent walking off or bolting while mounting.

Be careful. First time hobble training can look like a very dramatic event for the horse. But, in addition to defeating the practice of walking off or bolting while being mounted, training your horse to stand still when his feet are restrained or tangled in something may one day save him from serious and even life-threatening injury. It's well worth the investment of your time. ~FH

Edited by FloridaHorseman

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A few of my horses had a habit of walking off while I was trying to get on. They weren't bolting or anything, but it still wasn't something I liked. I'm a fan of turning my horses nose into me, like you're flexing them, when I mount. Then I like to get on, flex a few times to both sides and back up so they don't get in the habit of thinking that they can just walk off as soon as they feel a foot in the stirrup.

I had another one who would try to walk off when I was mounting, but he would also get very nervous to have me hanging in the stirrup; so I did the same thing. Only I would hang on him, get off, hang on him, climb on, dismount, and just do that for a few minutes before and after every ride. That seemed to do it for him too.

It's super easy and super painless.

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Good advice already given.

You need to make it very clear to the horse that he is not allowed to walk off, until given the right to do so

First, make 'whoa, very definite through ground work, and never let a horse walk through a' whoa

Until you are sure the horse is going to stand, mount him like you would a colt. Hold the reins in your right hand, and use your left hand to hold the cheek piece of the bridle, turning the horse's head towards you.

Once you are mounted with both feet in the stirrups, don't immediately walk off. Flex him briefly to both sides and then ask for his face vertically. After the horse is standing there, without trying to move off on his own, make him wait on your direction and keep him guessing, by not always just riding foreward. You can do a 45 degree turn on the haunches, then ride off, or back him enough to clear the mounting block and do a180 or even a three sixty, before riding off. The point being, he learns to wait on your direction, instead of taking charge

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the objective is too make the horse comfortable while still accomplishing what you expect as a rider. Let the mare know that everything associated with mounting and standing still is good, sugar cubes go a long way with horses. I believe hobbling is the exact opposite way you want to move with this horse, it will create more tension and a bad vibe every time the mounting block is involved. For the first couple times you start mounting with the sugar cubes as an aid, have someone hold her and throughout the mounting give consistent treats, then after you collect your stirrups give another treat and make it clear that waiting for your signal to move is the only way she should be moving, then as she starts to calmly walk on have your unmounted helper walk beside and treat her. As she starts to get more comfortable you can work out the regularity of treats, maybe every other time when she shows that she is now confident and is very responsive and attentive towards you. some more details would have been helpful, but positive reinforcement is definitely a benefit to any horse, especially if this bolting is a result of some previously bad horsemanship.

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great posts, but you need to make sure you're not bashing her in the sides while searching for the stirrup for mounting, essentially inviting her to move off, and when on, are searching for the off stirrup, further inviting her to move off.

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... I believe hobbling is the exact opposite way you want to move with this horse, it will create more tension and a bad vibe every time the mounting block is involved...

Where on Earth did you ever come up with that conclusion? Any proficient horseman knows hobble training is essential to a horse's safety. And beyond initial unmounted hobble training the strategic use of hobbles is not the least bit stressful to the horse, with or without a mounting block. Done correctly the use of hobbles during mounting can be quickly discarded. I've seldom had a horse that needed more than four or five hobbled mounting sessions to stop walking off or bolting.

A horse that walks off or bolts while being mounted is a dangerous situation for any rider who is not yet securely seated. Even more so for a novice and possibly nervous rider. With treat training you have to get the desired behavior BEFORE you can reward it. That can be a lot of trial and error for the horse and take a long time before (if) it ever makes any connection to the desired behavior and the treat. And all the while there is a rider attempting to successfully mount a moving horse. Even if it is eventually accomplished you've created another behavior (expectation of a food treat) it has to be weaned off of. And unless the mounting rider has a ground handler for the entire training and un-training process it will eventually require fumbling for a sugar cube as soon as she's seated, doubling the horse to reach his mouth and giving up her firm seat to lean forward on a horse that may interpret that as a request for forward movement, defeating the desired behavior and possibly rewarding undesired behavior that can put you right back where you started.

The horse trainer's mantra is " Make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy." Making the right thing "tasty" is how you train dogs. Not horses. ~FH

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Yeah that your horse is learning to stand still when you get on!! :yay:

Here is a video from Clinton Anderson that should help.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Clinton+Anderson+Horse+Training&mid=E4FB59F13916F118A956E4FB59F13916F118A956&view=detail&FORM=VIRE1

There seems to be a hole in the training practices of many gaited or saddle horse trainers. Especially horses from the east. My TW didn't know that she was supposed to stand still on her own and everyone I know that has bought a gaited horse from the eastern side of the U.S. has the same problem.

I'm not sure if they don't think standing still is important or they have extra people/assistants around all the time to hold the horses each time they get on. So they just don't bother to train them. :confused0024:

Or some idiot who doesn't know that the wild take off shown in cowboy movies isn't done by real horsemen owned the horse long enough to mess it up.

I was so happy when my MFT from Louisiana not only stands still, she moves next to anything handy for me to get on. She was started in a Western bozel, so that might be the reason her owner/breeder trained her to be good when being mounted.

FloridaHorseman- your right that teaching a horse to be hobbled is a skill that needs to be shown how to do it correctly step by step. Otherwise, there will be a huge wreck and injury to the horse & a frightened owner who rushes in to save their horse. Horses trained correctly, will be calm and relaxed when hobbled.

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Hi All,

I just got my first gaited horse and am in love with her on the trails!

Only issue is she doesn't like to stand when we mount from the mounting block...which we are working on and she is doing really good with that part. But once you are seated she takes off. She is a Peruvian so she feels fast anyway but its almost like a bolt and it is usually before I have a chance to get my other foot in the stirrup.

I'v had her for less than a week and ridden her only once since she has been here. I pull her into a one rein stop to stop her and she responds to that... then I flex her a few times to each side and then we go. I am wondering if this will slowly go away with these tactics or if there is something else I can try?

Thanks!

I don't know if this will help with your problem, but, I had a horse that would do the same thing.....he just took off as soon as I got in the saddle, one time, he didn't wait until I was all the way in, just had one foot in the stirrup and was in the process of swinging my other leg over, when he took off...I ended up in the dirt, on my face.

His problem wasn't exactly HIS problem, his headstall was too tight and, I guess, causing some discomfort in the area of the bit, once the headstall was loosened, the problem stopped.

I have not read the other replies, so, if you have resolved your problem, feel free to disregard this post......

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Where on Earth did you ever come up with that conclusion? Any proficient horseman knows hobble training is essential to a horse's safety. And beyond initial unmounted hobble training the strategic use of hobbles is not the least bit stressful to the horse, with or without a mounting block. Done correctly the use of hobbles during mounting can be quickly discarded. I've seldom had a horse that needed more than four or five hobbled mounting sessions to stop walking off or bolting.

A horse that walks off or bolts while being mounted is a dangerous situation for any rider who is not yet securely seated. Even more so for a novice and possibly nervous rider. With treat training you have to get the desired behavior BEFORE you can reward it. That can be a lot of trial and error for the horse and take a long time before (if) it ever makes any connection to the desired behavior and the treat. And all the while there is a rider attempting to successfully mount a moving horse. Even if it is eventually accomplished you've created another behavior (expectation of a food treat) it has to be weaned off of. And unless the mounting rider has a ground handler for the entire training and un-training process it will eventually require fumbling for a sugar cube as soon as she's seated, doubling the horse to reach his mouth and giving up her firm seat to lean forward on a horse that may interpret that as a request for forward movement, defeating the desired behavior and possibly rewarding undesired behavior that can put you right back where you started.

The horse trainer's mantra is " Make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy." Making the right thing "tasty" is how you train dogs. Not horses. ~FH

Ditto this ^ you want a conditioned ingrained response in training, not a bribe. If that horse bolts and has a come-a-part it don't care about a sugar cube.Also, a horse that is savy in hobble training is not going panic if it's legs are tangled in anything.Alot of trainers don't train this and it can be a very useful tool.

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Where on Earth did you ever come up with that conclusion? Any proficient horseman knows hobble training is essential to a horse's safety. And beyond initial unmounted hobble training the strategic use of hobbles is not the least bit stressful to the horse, with or without a mounting block. Done correctly the use of hobbles during mounting can be quickly discarded. I've seldom had a horse that needed more than four or five hobbled mounting sessions to stop walking off or bolting.

A horse that walks off or bolts while being mounted is a dangerous situation for any rider who is not yet securely seated. Even more so for a novice and possibly nervous rider. With treat training you have to get the desired behavior BEFORE you can reward it. That can be a lot of trial and error for the horse and take a long time before (if) it ever makes any connection to the desired behavior and the treat. And all the while there is a rider attempting to successfully mount a moving horse. Even if it is eventually accomplished you've created another behavior (expectation of a food treat) it has to be weaned off of. And unless the mounting rider has a ground handler for the entire training and un-training process it will eventually require fumbling for a sugar cube as soon as she's seated, doubling the horse to reach his mouth and giving up her firm seat to lean forward on a horse that may interpret that as a request for forward movement, defeating the desired behavior and possibly rewarding undesired behavior that can put you right back where you started.

The horse trainer's mantra is " Make the wrong thing hard and the right thing easy." Making the right thing "tasty" is how you train dogs. Not horses. ~FH

Absolutely love that last summary! I don't know how often people want to treat a horse like a dog, or even suggest there is no difference!!!

Almost got crucified on another board by even suggesting that horses were not pets, with many seeming to equate love of their horse with food rewards

As you might guess, I'm no advocate of clicker training either!

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And will ditto Dondie's posting of the CA video.

That's what I did at the clinic I went to a couple weekends ago.................and that's what I CONTINUE to do when Jack doesn't stand still.

Works like a charm.

One other comment, the clinician ALSO said (as a general concept) that horses REALLY understand NOT having to work as being a reward. Ergo: we need to spend more time doing that after they have done something correctly.

He said that we as humans feel we 'aren't doing anything' if we are just sitting there quietly in the saddle, but that we need to learn to chill.

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One other comment, the clinician ALSO said (as a general concept) that horses REALLY understand NOT having to work as being a reward. Ergo: we need to spend more time doing that after they have done something correctly.

He said that we as humans feel we 'aren't doing anything' if we are just sitting there quietly in the saddle, but that we need to learn

^

This is so very true. Watch a working ranch horse stand or be tied after working cattle. Quiet as can be. I often stop and gab with my one neighbor for a good while if she comes over to the fence. Invariably my horse will soon rest her one leg and almost go to sleep. I sit there lop sided most of the whole time we are talking. Horse-loves seeing my neighbor.LOL.

Edited by Floridacracker

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You guys are just full of great info!!

It's been super HOT/Muggy here in NE Ga and we have had RAIN like no bodies business!! It has been crazy!

So I haven't gotten to work with her as much as I would like but let me tell you what we did.

I lounged her until she was sweaty,(didn't take long..lol) then would stop her by the mounting block and let her rest. Then once that was fine, my sister stood beside the block and I did the same thing, Then she stood on the block... that took quite a bit longer but finally she would stand still but as soon as my sister moved towards her she would walk forward. (would like to point out she stands fine for my sister to mount her from the ground though she still wants to walk off once mounted. She hates the mounting block though and is not wanting to stand to even mount and then the bolting thing once you get on.)

So anyway we started working on my sister just reaching out and petting her and once that was good I went up and held her for my sister to get on and she stood completely still and didn't bolt.

I realize that's not really a victory but we were all exhausted and pouring sweat with the humidity and I was determined for one of us to get on her back at least. Next time we will start from the beginning again and see how it goes. My goal is for her to be able to get on and get off without her moving or acting scared of us. A lot of work I know:)

Thanks again for all the info! I am going to use this whole page as a reference as we go through the process!

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.....only thing is Meghan......lunging to tire the horse (I have a different opinion on it since being to that clinic) is not the correct approach.

Lunge or ground work your horse to engage his MIND.

I can't emphasize enough the difference it made in my horse. If you want to LUNGE the horse, have some meat in it rather than just having it be a mindless running of circles. Lunging over objects, changing direction..........

Just some vids to have a lookee at:

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Great Video Links CR!

The only thing I'd change about the second one with the lady & her horse is that she keeps turning the horse in the same area. Once a horse gets the concept of "when I step in front of your drive line your job is to roll back on your hocks and turn the other way". We need to mix it up and have the horse doing roll backs in a different place each time.

I might have Sienna circle once, then have her roll back by the gate and fifteen feet later roll back in the other direction then half way around have her roll back again. Then circle one & a half times around and do a roll back. Mixing it up keeps her attention on me and her mind engaged since she has to be ready to turn any time I move.

Sienna likes to anticipate me. We play a game when I'll act like I'm going to move and then change my mind. She will start to collect for the roll back and then loosen up and go forward. She will arch her neck or toss her mane as if to say "Ha! You didn't fool me"! Her eyes fairly sparkle with enjoyment. I love owning a smart horse!

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I agree that lunging should be work and a learning experience,versus just something to do to try and wear ahorse down before riding-all you get that way, is a horse more fit, that will take longer and longer to lunge sown before riding

I also think lunging is way over done in many cases. Once a horse is broke, I very,very seldom will lunge him. You can get so much more done riding, plus I don't want a horse that I HAVe to lunge before riding.

In fact, my older horses that I showed in reining and working cowhorse, don't even know how to lunge!

Free lunging a green horse is great, for that initial respect and join up, on a horse that has seldom been handled

Now that I ride pleasure/all around horses, I also use lunging to bit the horse up, when first started

It is nice to be able to lunge a green young horse before riding, for those first shows under saddle, but my older horses are warmed up ridden, and I certainly don't expect to need to lunge a horse I'm riding in the mountains, even after he has spent the night being tied up

While some respect issues will transfer nicely over to being ridden, some things just won't automatically do so. For instance, many horses will lunge great, but will still chellenge the rider when asked to ride beyond their comfort zone. You need body control on a horse to succeed under saddle

Edited by Smilie

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the objective is too make the horse comfortable while still accomplishing what you expect as a rider. Let the mare know that everything associated with mounting and standing still is good, sugar cubes go a long way with horses. I believe hobbling is the exact opposite way you want to move with this horse, it will create more tension and a bad vibe every time the mounting block is involved. For the first couple times you start mounting with the sugar cubes as an aid, have someone hold her and throughout the mounting give consistent treats, then after you collect your stirrups give another treat and make it clear that waiting for your signal to move is the only way she should be moving, then as she starts to calmly walk on have your unmounted helper walk beside and treat her. As she starts to get more comfortable you can work out the regularity of treats, maybe every other time when she shows that she is now confident and is very responsive and attentive towards you. some more details would have been helpful, but positive reinforcement is definitely a benefit to any horse, especially if this bolting is a result of some previously bad horsemanship.

I don't think treats have anything to do with good horse training. Food bribes don't create respect, and if something un expected happens, where food cravings are over ridden with flight response, you are literally left holding that food bag!

A horse that bolts,walks off when being mounted, has holes in training, and like any hole in training, you go back to basics and fix it.

Horses are creatures of habit, and good ingrained responses take time and repetition.negative actions occur the same way. Eliminating any pain issue, or the rider jabbing the horse when he mounts, a horse learns to move off and eventually even bolts, because he is not corrected when he first even moves off a little bit, thus learns to take the 'proverbial mile

Many riders think it is not big deal when a horse takes those first steps , after the rider mounts, without having been asked to do so, and the horse is not corrected. That reaction just accelerates over time

Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard-thus there have to be consequences for walking off without being asked. Stp him dead in his tracks and back him up hard with your legs, then ask him to 'whoa',and expect him to stand there, giving at the poll, slack in the reins, until you ask him to move Do NOT under any circumstances, jsut because you find that second stirrup, let the horse continue on. There has to be zero tolerance, far as letting the horse 'take you for a ride, versus you taking the horse for a ride!

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While some respect issues will transfer nicely over to being ridden, some things just won't automatically do so. For instance, many horses will lunge great, but will still chellenge the rider when asked to ride beyond their comfort zone. You need body control on a horse to succeed under saddle

I'm going to say unequivocably that respect DOES transfer 100% from the ground to the saddle...........if you do it right.

AKA Clinton X PP methods

Now does that make a person a better rider?

Nope.

Does it give a person the knowledge to handle every horse situation that comes UP.......from the saddle.

Nope.

Does it tip the scales of possibility for the horse being more of a partner and more likely to believe in the rider and do what's asked of him?

Yup.

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CA and Parelli aside, I would have to disagree, concerning that 100% transfer of respect I.ve seen lots of horses that lunge with 100% respect in the roundpen, but can't be ridden out of their comfort zone

I agree that done right, it will make you better partners, and certainly if you don't have respect on the ground, you sure as heck won't have it in the saddle- no argument there-but i have also seen some Parelli trained horses that have played all 7 games yet never have been ridden

In fact, here is an ad that has always amused me, whenever I think back on it,

'Want to trade a Parelli trained horse, played all 7 games, for a horse anyone can ride!

I was giving a clinic once, just for the local light horse club. There was a father riding a horse in a parelli halter, that was supposed to become his daughter's horse. That horse was dangerous, far as any control on him, and I had to ask that father to please leave. CA is okay, but I have zero use for Parelli!

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I can see how this discussion is morphing away from directly answering the OP's original question about curing the mounting problem. But there IS a logical progression to what happens on the ground as to what does or doesn't then happen in the saddle.

Everything you do on the ground; handling, training, grooming, bathing, etc., needs to be done in a fashion that communicates your leadership to the horse. Continually displaying good leadership is how you develop respect from the horse. And when you're on the ground you are constantly in the horse's eye, allowing him to easily recognize and respond to your leadership posture and actions. When you swing a leg over his back things change. You've taken up residence in his blind spot. Even suppling the horse in both directions so he can see you there does not automatically give him an 'ah-HA!' moment that transfers all your ground leadership to the saddle because the horse now sees you through a new and different part of his eye at an elevation where you now appear strange to him. And that can make for a worried horse. When your feet leave the ground is where the change in behavior takes on a new definition that leaves the boundaries of respect and enters the category of developing trust. The difference? You can teach and instill respect on the ground. But trust must be earned from the saddle. No matter how diligent you've been on the ground teaching all the away-from-pressure cues your horse needs to instinctively perform properly, they can be trumped as soon as the horse starts to worry.

Just like training all sides of the horse you also need to train for changes in visual perspective. Horses cannot 'reason' like we humans do. If they could you would only have to train them to pick up one foot to get a yield on the other three. They can't make the connection "if nothing bad happens when I give the left front then nothing bad will happen when I give the others." The same thing happens when they see something otherwise familiar but in a different part of their eye. To the horse brain it becomes new and worrisome.

There IS a way to help transfer respect from the ground to the saddle. I've only seen two well known trainers who teach that transition. Buck Branaman and the late Ray Hunt. They both work a green horse while sitting on top of a fence using a longe line or lead rope, directing the horse in basic yields with a longe whip or training stick. That habituates the horse to seeing the handler higher in his field of vision but still having to maintain the respect achieved from the lower ground perspective. Repetition of that exercise also allows the horse to make a better visual connection with the mounted 'leader' when suppled (viewed) from the saddle.

Granted, training the horse to see and accept the rider/handler in a new visual perspective will not automatically cure all ills experienced in the saddle... or while mounting. The basics of respect and proper response to cues still need to be in place from the ground. And I still recommend hobble training the OP's horse as I suggested in a previous post. But covering all the bases in anticipation of new experiences for the horse will significantly reduce the amount of worry and allow better focus for responding to cues from the saddle. A good horseman has a responsibility to give the horse every opportunity to succeed rather than set him up for failure and frustration.

The partnership between horse and rider only really starts to occur in the saddle. That's where the horse's respect for leadership has a chance to grow into trust from the rider's ability to continually keep the horse out of trouble, assuage him at the first sign of worry and continue to reward (release of mental/physical pressure) even the smallest successes.

Teaching and getting respect from a horse is not that hard to do if the human is properly informed. But developing trust from a horse must be earned little by little with every good ride. You cannot teach or demand trust. But if there are gaps in the level of respect a horse demonstrates you will never achieve it. ~FH

Edited by FloridaHorseman

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i agree-great explanation FH. this also applies to playing polo (swinging mallet), using the garrocha when working cows (LONG wooden pole), or carrying a torch through a dark arena at night while jumping small obstacles for a little circus show. (maybe also roping?? doesn't the horse have to get used to that thing swooping around like a bird of prey??)

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