horse anxious in round pen

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horse anxious in round pen

Post by Admin on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:39 am

I have a problem to pose to our experts: Traditional round-penning seems to make our Paso Finos act worse, not better. It hypes them up, makes them wary, and "teaches" them to run from us. I know your first reaction is that I am too aggressive in the round pen; too intent. I am aware of that, and try to make all my actions casual, low-key, and inviting. We bought an unhandled 3 year old, I took him to the pen and gently taught him to move his feet when I ask, and make inside turns. He licks and chews, looks at me, but will not approach. My actions of just staying with him (even slightly ahead of him), to show him that he can't leave me makes him only more determined to try to leave. When I completely shut down and stand in the center, looking at the ground, he keeps running until he is dripping sweat. If I try to halter him when he is eating his grain he pulls away and runs around the pen. How can you work with a horse that you can't even catch or touch? I have had similar experiences with Paso Finos in the past. No matter what I try to teach in the round pen, they get worse. They just don't give up and say "you're right; you're the leader." We have overcome this problem in the past by avoiding the round pen, and can get our horses trained just fine eventually, but not using ANY round pen techniques taught by the professionals in their books or videos. This current youngster is a real challenge, since he just won't give up!



Thank you,

Julie in Michigan
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Re: horse anxious in round pen

Post by Paul Williamson on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:06 pm

PAUL- Not all horses responds well to the same training style. Most horses will, however, respond well to the style of training that suits their trainer because in the end it is the trainer's confidence and attitude that does the job. If you're not completely convinced that what you're doing will do the job, it won't. But the thing is, there are no laws or rules saying a horse must be taken to the roundpen. I'd say train your horses your way. Use patience, care, and common sense and you will have harmonic and trusting horses in no time. The most important thing in horse training is to proceed with confidence and this will automatically rub off on your horse once he discovers that you know, what you're doing.



Wishing you well,

Paul
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Re: horse anxious in round pen

Post by Jeff Sanders on Tue Mar 02, 2010 9:15 am

Hi Julie, One of the things that we do with horses that are hot in the round pen is to keep them on a long line while working them. This gives us the ability to stop them, turn them, and slows them down if they start getting to fast. The real key though is good timing and reading the horses. The ability to read the very subtle changes in the horses and timing the release of pressure is critical especially for horses that tend to get too hot. Using your body position to stop him and turn him in the opposite direction can also be a useful strategy. This keeps the horse paying attention to you and after a while they get tired of stopping and turning and will begin to relax.

As for getting your horse haltered, it sounds like you are doing the right things, it may just take longer that you expected.

We have had quite a few unhandled horses in training, some as old as 6. Often times we will work those horses in the round pen from the back of a good saddle horse but this does take more experience than just working them from foot. Having another horse with the green horse does help them relax. There are a lot of old Vaquero techniques that are easy on the horse and work very well on really hard horses but they take a LOT of experience and are probably best left to folks how have done this kind of thing a lot.

No matter what strategies you decide to use just be patient, persistent and as quiet as you can and you should see progress but it may take a while.

Jeff
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