Dear Friend and Horseman,
Welcome to another Horse Training Tips Newsletter.
This particular issue is probably one of the most important ones I’ve ever written. Because the message here is so critical, I hope you read it a couple times over.
I’m going to start off with several questions that were sent in by my subscribers. If you pay close attention, you will notice a common theme.
I’m going to give just a short individual answer to each question and then I’ll get into the big topic of discussion that I feel is so important.
You may notice that a couple of my answers are a little, shall we say, BLUNT. Well, what can I say, sometimes I just can’t help myself.
Okay, let’s get started…
I’m working a filly who was abused and is very dominant towards people. I have worked many ground hours with her and she has joined up, if I may say so, quite well.
She saddles fine and is very supple. I have been walking and trotting in arena doing circles. Today as I trotted around in a semi-small circle, she stopped and reared.
After she reared I asked for a trot again and exaggerated my posture forward. When I could feel her begin to stop and rear again, I would round my back more and lean further back.
How to correct and am I doing the right thing. I thank you.
I wouldn’t worry about your posture when the horse rears. I’d be more concerned with knowing WHY she reared in the first place. There is always a reason for bad behavior.
Knowing “why” is the key to permanently fixing the problem.
Usually, a horse rears as a result of balking or refusing to go forward. And is usually a sign of disrespect toward the rider or a lack of discipline.
In your email you said this mare is very dominant toward people… well, there you go. You need to change that. She needs to learn to respect people, not dominate them.
By the way, I don’t buy the “she was abused” theory. If that was true, she would be afraid of people, not pushing them around.
I also don’t believe that the
mare “all of a sudden” just started rearing. This has been coming on for
a while, you just haven’t recognized the warning signs.
Now, the other possible reason for a horse rearing is when the rider has a death-grip on the horse’s mouth, so make sure the reins are loose.
You can counter the rearing by going forward.
A horse can’t
rear if he is moving ahead. When she begins to stop to rear, make sure
the bit isn’t restricting her and then spank her butt to make her go.
Don’t be timid with this, get her going.
Larry Trocha Training Stable
I have never had so many problems with my horse since he got gelded.
Now every time I ride him he bucks for like 10 minutes and I thought that gelding was suppose to mellow a horse out and I am having lots of problems.
He doesn’t respect me anymore, and I really miss our bond.
He was awesome before and now it seems like he don’t trust me once the saddle is on his back. Its hell.
I haven’t fallen off yet but he’s going to over power me one of these days.
Now when I lead him he rears but I don’t want to send him to a trainer that’s going to beat on him. So what should I do?
Let me see if I’ve got this right.
You say your horse has no respect for you.
You say he is getting to be dangerous to handle.
You say you know it’s just a
matter of time before he hurts you.
Then you say, in spite of him being extremely dangerous, you don’t want to discipline him. Hmmmmmm…
Hey, it makes perfect sense to me… NOT.
You talk about how your horse doesn’t “TRUST” you any more. Well, since you don’t beat on him and only show him loving kindness… Why would he lose his trust in you?
Here’s the answer:
He never lost his trust in the first place. He only lost his RESPECT.
You haven’t learned enough about horse nature to know the difference.
Connie, here is my question
Besides disciplining him, what could you possibly do that would motivate your horse to behave?
Horses like this don’t care if they hurt you.
This horse is having a great time pushing you around and using you for his personal entertainment. He’s having fun doing this, what motivation does he have to stop?
Connie, it’s time to get real here before you get seriously injured.
First of all, gelding him had nothing to do with the way he is acting.
This behavior has been building for a while (it’s probably the real reason why you had him gelded in the first place). But his behavior now is so bad
The bald face truth is that you need to make “bad behavior” uncomfortable for your horse or he’ll only get worse. And if you can’t do it, send him to somebody who can.
The consequence for not taking the appropriate action is a trip to the hospital.
SIDE NOTE: According to the latest statistics, approximately 80,000 people each year are taken to the hospital emergency room because of horse related injuries? After reading this issue of the newsletter, are you at all surprised?
I have been receiving your emails and I was wondering if you could give me some advice.
I have a 6 year old gelding who was only broken in the summer of last year. Its a very slow process. My main problem with him is that he tries to bully me.
He rears and tries to scare me, when we are going forward he would stop and refuse to go on. he is making me very nervous. HELP
Your problem is a common one.
I’m impressed that you recognize what your horse is doing to you. Many riders seem to never have a clue.
Anyway, the root of your horse’s belligerent attitude is that he doesn’t respect you.
He’s testing your authority. He sees no reason why he should cooperate. After all, nothing unpleasant is happening to him for exhibiting his bad behavior.
You need to apply some discipline to get him to understand that you expect him to be good. He needs to realize there is a price to pay for bullying you around.
First, you need to make him behave and do exactly what you want on the ground. If he gives you any attitude or refuses to try, discipline him.
Once he has respect for your authority on the ground, it will be much easier to get him to do what you want when you are on his back.
Take care and good luck to you.
Larry Trocha Training Stable
There are several more emails I’d like to address here.
One is from a 14 year old girl who’s mare kicks her on a regular basis (great kids horse, huh).
Another is from a guy who’s horse is gate sour and won’t leave the company of other horses either. When he tries to press the issue, his horse starts rearing, lunging and bucking.
A third question is from a lady who’s horse won’t respond to her leg cues and viciously kicks at her spur.
Her horse also runs backwards when she tries to get him to go forward. And when leading him, he pins his ears and gives her threatening looks like he’s going to bite her.
As I said earlier, all the horse behavior problems listed above have a common theme. The ROOT CAUSE of the problem is the horse’s lack of respect for the people who handle them.
Let me make this perfectly clear…
You won’t have any luck training a horse that doesn’t respect you.
Because this concept is so important, I’ve addressed it below. My goal is to try to give you a better understanding of “respect” issues and what to do about it.
Does your horse have any of these problems?
Barn sour or refuses to leave other horses
Runs over the top of you
Pushes you around and won’t behave
Bad manners and general lack of respect
Takes off with you for no reason
Balks and refuses to go forward
Out of control or no control at all
Stiff, heavy and hard in the mouth
Won’t stop, turn or go where you want
If your horse has any of the problems listed above or is just difficult to train in general, then the following information may be just what you’re looking for.
You see, what every single one of these behavior problems have in common is that their ROOT CAUSE is the horse’s lack of respect for the people who ride and handle them.
As a horse owner, this type of behavior can be hard to figure out. That’s because its kind of like a “catch 22″ situation…
The horse misbehaves because he doesn’t respect you. And he doesn’t respect you because you can’t control him. And you can’t control him because he weighs 1000 pounds and is misbehaving.
It’s a vicious circle and a tough combination to deal with if you don’t know how to handle it.
In the beginning stages, many horse owners aren’t even aware that their horse is being disrespectful toward them. They have a hard time recognizing it. That’s because this behavior starts out very subtly and gradually gets worse over time.
This “respect” thing is a natural part of a horse’s instinct and is related to dominant or submissive behavior when relating to other animals.
In a herd of horses, every member has his place in the pecking order. The top horse is dominant over all the other horses. And, the horse at the bottom is submissive to all the other horses in the herd.
The dominant horses have the respect of the submissive horses and always get their own way. The submissive horses get no respect from the dominant horses and are always being pushed around.
The horses in the middle will be dominant to certain members and submissive to others. It’s the natural way of the horse. In all relationships, in all encounters with others, a horse will be either dominant or submissive.
How does a horse become dominant?
He becomes the dominate horse if he can CONTROL the other horse and MAKE HIM MOVE out of his way. If he can control the other horse, he in affect, becomes the submissive horse’s leader.
A dominant horse will be the one who kicks or bites any horse who crowds him or invades his space.
He will also exhibit his dominance by crowding, pushing or invading the space of other horses. He’s exerting his control.
Read the paragraphs above again. They are key.
Now, it’s not always the biggest or physically strongest horse who is dominant. Sometimes its a small horse. But it is always a horse that is willing to “impose his will” that wins dominance over the other horses.
When I was a kid, I had a little 14 hand tall palomino stallion. He ran with all the other horses out in the pasture. Even though he was the smallest horse of the bunch, he ruled over every single horse in the herd.
Why? How? Because he really wanted to and was willing to fight for it.
You see, he had the willingness to fight for dominance.
He certainly wasn’t the strongest horse in the herd. But he was the one who, “in the blink of an eye”, would turn and kick the heck out of any other horse that tried to push him around.
Now, the vast majority of horses prefer not to fight.
They are timid by nature. They may put on a good bluff but when their bluff is called, they back right down. So, any horse that exhibits even a little bit of aggressiveness is usually the winner.
Okay, so how does all of this relate to you and your horse’s behavior problems?
Well, like it or not, the horse sees his relationship with YOU the same way he sees it with another horse.
One of you is going to be dominant and the other is going to be submissive. Naturally, the horse would like to be the one who is dominant.
Now, if the horse insists on getting his own way and you don’t correct him, you are in for trouble. He’ll get bolder and bolder and that’s when the behavior problems start.
Be aware, bad behavior doesn’t happen over night. It comes on little by little.
To have a good relationship with your horse, you have to be the dominant partner in the relationship. You have to make sure the horse sees you as his leader. This is what wins his respect, trust, and willingness to please you.
How do you go about this? Well, there are several different methods to get this done but in reality there is a definite “right way” and a definite “wrong way” to go about it.
One way is to just do what another horse would do out in the pasture — turn around and “whomp the bejeezus out of the horse every time he does something wrong.
This will gain his respect… and it will get him to mind you.
However, there is more to it than that.
There are usually other ways of dealing with this type of problem. (Of course, with really bad or dangerous horses, a GOOD, HARD SPANKING is a lot better than doing nothing at all).
Usually, thoroughly teaching a horse to move out of your space will go a long way in gaining his respect.
Ground exercises of moving the individual parts of the horse’s body works great.
On the other side of that coin, trying to “pet” the horse into respecting you definitely won’t work. Feeding him cookie treats won’t do it either. You have probably already tried both and found they only make the horse worse.
Gaining your horse’s respect and trust requires the proper balance of training, discipline and rewarding the horse’s willingness to try for you.
Read the above line again.
Knowing how to do this is the key to transforming your problem horse into a dream horse. The kind of horse you have always wanted. It’s also the key to maintaining a good relationship with your horse. Keeping a good horse good.
I just can’t emphasize this “respect and trust” enough. Without it, you just don’t have a good horse. You’ll have hell training him. And you’ll have hell handling him.
The techniques used to gain a horse’s respect and trust are not complicated or difficult to learn. Just about anybody can do it if they know what to do.
To achieve good results, a horseman needs to know what training methods to use, HOW to apply those methods and WHY those methods are appropriate.
Want to see video examples of exactly how to accomplish this?
You can see a good example of this in my online training course titled, “Groom, Saddle, Ride & Fix Bad Behavior“.
In the course, you’ll learn how to deal with just about any problem you can imagine.
Including horses that rear, buck, balk, kick, bite, spook, are barn sour, buddy sour, won’t cross water and won’t go where you want.
Well, this wraps it up for this newsletter. I hope you liked it.
Until next time, have fun training your horse.