Horse is balking

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Horse is balking

Post by Got_gait on Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:04 am

Hi trainers. I know you have answered this question already from another viewer but my situation is a little different. I have a 4 year old filly that I raised from a weanling. For the past couple of months she has been trying to gain her own opinion. She and I are always butting heads. She pushes my buttons every day. I am a pretty good problem solver and she has not gotten the upper hand on me yet except for one situation. I don't get to ride her much by herself because I am blessed with a regular riding partner. I'd like to though. Ride by myself that is. But when I do, she will do anything she has to do to turn back to the barn when I try to take a path or road leading away from her friends. I disengage her hindquarters, but then she'll sidepass in the direction she wants to go. If I turn her back in the other direction, she'll spin that way and we'll struggle in that direction. I always step up the pressure and literally force her to go where I want her to go but she's getting more and more upset each time I do it. I'm concerned that she will step up the pressure as well and maybe buck or rear. She hasn't yet but she just gets SO MAD. She just won't give up without a fight every time. She meets the pressure I give her with equal pressure until I just get an edge and we finaly go but it just makes me not want to ride her alone. I feel like I would be giving up if I did so I don't want to give in but I don't know how to get her past this. She can hear the other horses calling to her for a good mile away from the house. She just struggles with me the whole time. please help.

Lee

Got_gait

Posts : 38
Join date : 2010-03-06

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Horse is Balking

Post by Nancy Faulconer on Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:55 pm

Hi - I read your post about the difficulties you are having with your filly in leaving the herd behind, and going out alone. I understand your frustration about wanting to have the upper hand, and not give in to her wishes about choosing the direction that you go, however....

I have to think about this situation from the perspective of your horse. Just because you are the human, and the owner, does not give you the leadership role in your horses' mind.

There are lots of exercises you can do to earn her trust and respect. First, be sensitive to her thoughts and feelings. Don't take her out of her comfort zone and put yourself in a situation where you have to FORCE her to comply. Instead, I suggest that you practice having your horse yield to you on the ground, in an area where she is not worried about leaving the herd.

As your relationship grows, you will earn her trust and respect, and then as you become a good team, you can introduce leaving the yard, and then returning to the yard, with staying gone a little longer each time, and maybe going in a new direction each time, but keep returning to the yard where she is calm and confident.

There are many facets to the horse human relationship, and I can not hope to outline the perfect program for you in this format, however, I urge you to listen to your horse, and try to approach problems, like balking, with a mindset to how to strenghten your relationship, and your bond, rather than ways to prevent her communicating that she is unconfident out on the trail to you.
avatar
Nancy Faulconer

Posts : 13
Join date : 2010-03-02
Location : Putnam County, Georgia

View user profile http://www.cloud9ranch.org

Back to top Go down

Re: Horse is balking

Post by Got_gait on Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:23 pm

Hey Nancy. Thanks for the reply. I see your point and have thought a lot about it all. We never had this issue before the other horses came along. It makes sense though that she pays more attention to what they're doing than what I'm doing now. Afterall, she spends a LOT more time with the other horses than she does with me. Its just really annoying that i have to work on this all over again when I took special care to make her confident when I was starting her. Add a little horse friendship to the mix and all of a sudden the humans aren't as interesting or trustworthy to her.


Lee

Got_gait

Posts : 38
Join date : 2010-03-06

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Horse is balking

Post by Jeff Sanders on Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:31 pm

Hey Lee,
Looking at what you have posted it sounds like a typical barn sour situation. Essentially it is like a child throwing a fit because she isn’t getting what she wants. Like a child, if the behavior isn’t corrected the fits will get worse.
First I would not recommend going out alone without having some one around that can come check on you if you don’t come back. I would also not recommend taking the horse out cold. I would makes sure the horse was worked down and listening before ever thinking about going out.
I would start by going out short distances then coming back, then out again, then back, each time going a little further out. If she starts to get antsy I would keep her in place until she settles then go back and back out again. I would not let her return until she settles though. It may take a few min or a few hours but eventually she will.
You can do essentially the same drill with a friend. Ride out, then when you are well away from the barn continue on while your friend stays put. When your horses starts acting up you can work through the same back and forth drill.
If you feel at any time like she is getting dangerous it is time to get professional help.
Hope that helps some,
Jeff
avatar
Jeff Sanders

Posts : 10
Join date : 2010-02-19
Location : Fallon, NV

View user profile http://www.modernvaquero.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Horse is balking

Post by Cheryl on Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:32 pm

Hi Lee,
From my perspective your filly's behavior is telling you she's not feeling good about something. My guess is that she's uncomfortable leaving her buddies. She may feel lonely and insecure. My goal as an attraction-based/clicker trainer would be to help her feel better about what you are asking her to do. In order to help her feel better, I'd start by showing her that being with you can be as much or more fulfilling than being with her buddies.

Basically you and your filly have different goals. You'd like her to leave the barn happily, and she like to stay at the barn or return as quickly as she can. This is because being at the barn feels better to her.

I like to break things down very clearly into what you both want so you both can feel good. My question to your filly would be to ask her what you could do to help her see that being away from the barn can be much more fun that being at the barn. Chances are she views the barn as the source of all good things; food, shelter and companionship. What she doesn't know, is that you can offer those same things away from the barn, and you, can be the source of all good things too.

So from your filly's perspective what would make leaving the barn fun? Right now she has a negative association of leaving the barn. I think if you can change that association, you'll have a happy filly on the trail.

I like to give my horses things to look forward to. So for the barn or buddy sour, I find something that's more attractive than staying with their buddies to motivate them to leave, and usually it's some type of food reinforcement. As a clicker trainer, my horses know me as the source of all good things, and when I'm on their back, that puts them really close to me. For each happy stride away from the barn I'll click and treat. This serves as a fabulous way to distract them from their buddies. There's no place my horse would rather be, because everything it needs is on its back!

If you're not familiar with clicker training, you can always pack a picnic! Bring a few thick handfuls of your filly's favorite hay or her ration of grain for lunch or dinner in a saddle bag. Ride out a short distance and before she gets worried you could stop and have a picnic. Each time you could venture out a little further for your picnic. This can take place under saddle or simply leading her in hand. This will help her develop positive associations for leaving the barn. You can also do the same thing returning to the barn if you see that she's anxious to return.

The point is show your filly that being with you is the best place in town, and leaving the barn can be a blast. You're making the right behavior (leaving the barn) so wonderful that it never occurs to her to give you the wrong behavior (whirling and twirling) because she's so secure and thrilled to be with you. When you see your filly behaving the way you like, (leaving the barn, ears forward, relaxed) make sure to praise and reinforce anything that resembles your goal, a happy filly leaving the barn.

After a while you will have created happy associations with leaving the barn and picnics will no longer be necessary. However, you may find them so much fun that every day will be some sort of picnic!

Have fun!
Cheryl

Cheryl
Guest


Back to top Go down

Horse is balking

Post by Nancy Faulconer on Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:19 pm

After reading all the responses to this question, I was left thinking, wow! There sure are a lot of ways to approach solving this problem. ==!

From a relationship perspective, I always ask myself, "Are you building it up, or tearing it down?"

If you are thinking of ways to "WIN" the battle of wills, dominate your horse into doing things because he is more afraid of you than what ever he was concerned about before, then you are tearing it down.

Natural horsemanship is one of the most challenging disciplines because it motivates you to be the best YOU you can be, and to think about things like a horse would.

It's best to choose a strategy, or a trainer, or a program, and stick entirely with those principles. Otherwise, you get a muddy assortment of techniques that are sure to be confusing to the horse, and the rider. Kinda like making dinner from a recipe. Best to choose one and not combine multiple variations.

For me, horses and horsemanship are a recreation. I want to enjoy it, without fear of getting hurt or being hurt. I want my horses to view interaction with me in that way too.
avatar
Nancy Faulconer

Posts : 13
Join date : 2010-03-02
Location : Putnam County, Georgia

View user profile http://www.cloud9ranch.org

Back to top Go down

Re: Horse is balking

Post by Got_gait on Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:15 pm

Now see, I looked at all the answers and thought, "what, out of all of the suggestions fits my lifestyle, my beliefs, my situation, and my time constraints?" I'm not sure that any one philosophy has all the answers, but I agree- when you aren't sure in what direction to turn, pick one and stick it out until it either works or doesn't, but give it a fair shot and then customize it from there. Im at that place. The customizing place. I have read all of your responses so far on this board and respect all of your opinions. I have no doubt that if I followed any of you exclusively that I'd have some measure of success, if not a complete turnaround of my issue. I am at a disadvantage though, with trying Jeff's idea because I rarely have the time to try the go-out-come-back-and-go-out-again method. I'm an afternoon rider- after work and before dark. This time of year it seems that as soon as you tack up, you're taking it right back off again. Until the time changes, or until I have more time on the weekends, I'll try the Parelli suggestions until I feel confident that I have more of his attention and respect away from the company of his buddies. When we manage to get in the saddle and I dont' have much time, I'll take some treats and reinforce in Cheryl's way. We should already be one step ahead of where we were before due to however much my Parelli preparation has advanced our relationship. When I've got time to kill, we'll try going out and coming back if we still have an issue, but I feel really good about all of this. I feel empowered, which is the whole point of me coming here for advice. Thank you so much, all of you, for sharing your expertise and your time. You really are appreciated!

Lee

Got_gait

Posts : 38
Join date : 2010-03-06

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Horse is balking

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum