Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"When I sez Whoa, I means Whoa ya !&^#$@%* mangey fleabit varmit!"

So often I hear about the same problems that owners have with their horses. And it is usually the problems that are caused because of the owners not being consistent in their training with their horses and they are not setting up the boundaries that tell the horse that he is not a pocket pony.

The horses are not listening on the ground nor are they listening while they are on the horses back.

One of the most important things we can ever teach a horse is that 'Whoa' is not just another 4 letter word, and that has to be taught form a early age. And no, we do not go shouting 'Whoa' that the mares belly when she is in foal. Though there have been times that I have wished we did!

I like to say 'Whoa' as quietly as possible to get he horse to stop, I never want to shout it at them because I want them to stay soft and relaxed. When I say 'Whoa', I say it the same way every time.

I like to start teaching that foal 'Whoa' as soon as we put a halter on them. I have found that he best way to do that, is to teach the foal that when we stop moving, he is to stop moving. I always lead the foal on a loose lead line so that he has room and when I stop he will not have a reason to fidget and he will relax.

When I stop that foal, and he relaxes, I will brush him and work on picking up his feet. If he moves when I start to brush him and work on him I will stop, say 'Whoa' and continue on as soon as he relaxes again.

After the foal has been brushed and he has picked up his feet and stood quietly for a few minutes, then we will move on.

By working the foal on a loose lead line and asking him to stop when we stop, it will make it easier to teach him to ground tie, lunge and later, when he is 3, it will make it easier to start him under saddle. It will also help in teaching the horse boundaries so we do not have problems with things like biting.

Teaching a horse to stop on a lunge line is much the same, when we stop he stops.

One thing that drives me insane is seeing people put their horses on a lunge line and stand in the same place while the horse runs around in a circle. As the horse goes behind them, they just raise their arms over their heads.

I like to be a little more proactive when I lunge my horse. I will walk a small circle in the center diving the horse forward so he keeps moving. That way, when I stop walking and say 'Whoa' the horse will stop because I stopped.

After the horse stops, I will walk out to him and approach his shoulder, not his head, and pat him on the shoulder.

Teaching the horse to 'Whoa' when I am on their backs is also done by teaching the horse when I quit he quits. I am sure that many of you have heard the phrase 'just quit riding to get the horse to stop'.

What that means, is that, when we want the horse to stop, we cease with our light but steady leg contact and roll back onto our seat and say 'Whoa'. We do not lean back in the saddle to get the horse to stop as that will make the horse stop on his front end. I never want to pull them into a stop, as I prefer that they learn to stop when I sit and quit. When they do stop, I drop my hands on their necks and let them relax and stand.

That way it is all nice and quiet the way I like it!

There really is no great secret to teaching a horse to stop and stand when we say 'Whoa'. It is all in how you approach it. I like my horses to stay as quiet as possible when I handle them, that way, I am not always having to yell at them to get them to do what I want them to do.

91 comments:

windingwinds said...

My fav is the owners whom think their horses are deaf.. WHOA, EASY and NO!! I know I'm annoyed after 15 mins, poor horses. I'm probably known as the one to watch out for to my horses, I ask nicely first time, then I tell much more firmly..but rarely YELL!

sweetlillena said...

JR,

Very timely, and a critical subject!

Do you have any experience putting a stop on OTTTBs during retraining? I now own one and am faced with that (my background is more reining/cutting). It should be interesting-very nice horse, good ground manners/general behavior, but a HUGE motor. Knows some words like "back" quite well, but I'm thinking he has not heard "whoa" yet (or enough to equate it with anything).

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Yeah my biggest pet peeve is a panicked horse with all the people around it screaming whoa.

Or someone racing around the arena out of countrol gripping the saddle horn with a death grip in their lower legs and screaming whoa.

But I don't even think that many people know what a real stop is anyway. The horse hesitates for a second or two, decides to walk off and the rider thinks they just got a stop.

The word gets so misused. People say whoa, get nothing, say it over and over again and get nothing - soon the word is no longer a cue.

But, I agree it comes back to not "quitting riding." They say whoa and their body is still engaged so the horse feels forward. IMHO what the horse physically feels takes presidence over what they hear, usually.

monstersmama said...

I just bought my mare...and when you ask her to whoa she whoas...but she hollows out and tenses up. So we stand and I pat her until she relaxes...someone must have done her dirty

JohnieRotten said...

Sweetlillena

My background is also the reining and cutting. But I have been asked to put a stop on the OTTB.

What I like to do with them , is take a little more time on the ground teaching them 'Whoa'

Then on their backs, I like to work a little more at the walk and trot on as loose of a rein as I can and ask them to stop. The thing to remember with the OTTBs is that the more you pull on them the faster they will go.

I will not ask them to lope until the are slow and relaxed at the walk and trot, and there again, they have learned lateral flexion.

Remeber, I always say that I like them nice and soft and supple. Being that way helps the reiners, cutters and the OTTBs and every horse that you will ever ride.

The track horses can be a project the moment you get them and will take a little longer in most instances.

JohnieRotten said...

Drivers

I hate those idiots that keep yelling Whoa over and over because the horse took one extra step and then when the horse does not stop, they whack them over and over with a lead rope.

When I ask the horse to stop, if he takes a step, then I just say it again. No big deal!

JohnieRotten said...

monstersmama said...
I just bought my mare...and when you ask her to whoa she whoas...but she hollows out and tenses up. So we stand and I pat her until she relaxes...someone must have done her dirty
+++++++

Prime example of what happens to a horse when you keep screaming at hi all day!

pedfjords said...

WHOA is the cornerstone to a driving horse.
My pet peeve is people who use WHOA to slow down. It means STOP and plant your feet. Not to check forward motion.

I have been asked many times how to get a driving horse to stop pulling and dragging people forward when hitched. I always tell the same sad tale. Unhitch and fix it on the ground. If you do not have a PERFECT 3 step WHOA and STAND ( bring a book and read 3 chapters out and about ) then you have missed something in the training process.

Of course, since they already bought that cheesy e-bay harness and junky cart and have given every kid in the neighborhood rides, the chances of unhitching to fix it is rare to raw.

Oh well. The carnage will begin shortly.
Lisa

sweetlillena said...

Thanks JR,

This was about my thinking exactly. although, a lot of the NRHA guys I know do not utter the "W" word except when riding, and use it to mean one thing. Personally, I've always started using it in groundwork (but I just train for myself).

Stop is essential it is the most basic command, and as for time-no hurry. Fugly held forth yesterday on the relationship of weight and starting (rescues/rehabs) back riding, and that is important, but I was looking for attitude adjustments like relaxed and settled in to a new home and routine too.

We have that now, so soon we will start. I may need remedial, I will let you know! Unfortunately I cannot just haul over (way distant)! Thanks again.

windingwinds said...

I've seen ponies rearing while lined up fully hitched, glad it's not me! If mine fidget, then we work on it some more, and more. I'm too chickenshit to handle that crap. As to harness, education helps even if they appear to ignore you.

fernvalley01 said...

Well said .Whoa means stop , not slow down not calm down STOP. And therefore should only be used when you want STOP. I get so frustrated with people who are nervously trying to transition gaits with whoa , I would lovew it if they said whao at a gallop and the horse did what they are supposed to and stopped!

fernvalley01 said...

spell -fail sorry guys

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

JR said

"I hate those idiots that keep yelling Whoa over and over because the horse took one extra step and then when the horse does not stop, they whack them over and over with a lead rope."

Or how about kicking the legs to get the horse to back up!!! WTF if someone ever kicked my horse's legs, we might have to scrap.

sweetlillena said:

"This was about my thinking exactly. although, a lot of the NRHA guys I know do not utter the "W" word except when riding, and use it to mean one thing."

Under the same principle I do not teach my customers to use whoa until after they have the visual, body, legs, hands and seat under control. Then when we add whoa, it means plant your butt.

Some reiners only stop that way - I like a horse to be able to do more than one thing, so I often add trail to the agenda for learning (it's just easier - and when the horse is old and unfit for show, they can maybe be a trail horse).

I do not want a horse to try to sit anywhere but an indoor with good footing. So I don't use whoa for the rest of it and it takes the urgency out of the stop.

I don't use whoa on the ground either, but to each their own. There are at least a couple hundred different ways to train a horse.

Who Said That? said...

Body language goes a long ways in training horses. Dressage is supposed to be about subtle cues and quietness.

Yet I see many riders with swinging and sloppy lower legs, knees digging into the horses side, a death grip on the reins, horses being pulled into a stop with a loud "Halt!" from the rider and other such attrocities. What has this become?

Often times a trainer gets a horse in with no manners. Without the luxury of raising them the right way, they do not come with a respective 'whoa' instilled.

Establishing this on the ground and getting a horses respect comes long before getting on their back.

JohnieRotten said...

Drivers

I am not sure I understand where you are going with this.

Are you saying you never say whoa to a horse when you are working with them on the ground? Just curious.

As far as reiners go. I never ask a horse to sldeunless tegu are shod for it. The last thing I want is to blow a stifle.
When we do ask for that type of stop we do sit and quit and ask the horse to shut down their hind ends.
Every Reiner that I know including me uses whoa as well asour seats when we stop. That way their will not be any confusion from body language in the run down causing the horse to scotch. I just do not yell whoa at them in the stop. I say it softly.

As far as the urgency of the whoa. When we say whoa there is an urgency for them to stop.

When it comes to cutting, we expect the horse to stop when the cow stops and not off of the rider.

Like I said I was not sure where you were going. So I feel the need to clarify. I am notbeing argumentative.

Cut-N-Jump said...

SLL- When our OTTB mare came to live with us, she had been off the track for a couple of years. She had done nothing but stand around or get turned out. She was not unmanageable, but 'whoa' wasn't exactly anything special in her world.

We started with lunging to get her into shape for riding, let her go until she relaxed and slowed down, when she was tired and ready to stop, I would stop moving and ask for her to do the same. She had learned to keep her ear and attention on me. It took a little time, but we got there.

Ground driving and long lines brought her the idea that 'whoa' also doesn't always come with bit or rein pressure and that the reins can mean turn this way or that too.

Our first ride- she walked off as I settled into the saddle. No biggie, a lot of racehorses are mounted while walking. I just sat still, kept my legs on her sides but quiet and asked for a stop. It did not come right away and I had to keep asking, but when it came I let her stand for a moment or two, praised her, scratched her neck and got off.

A solid stop at 'whoa' was the end of the lesson. I get off and you're done working was part of the reward. The quiet stop and stand on a gently stated 'whoa' was our goal.


Pedfjords and Winding Winds- I learned early- the horse learns stop at 'whoa' above and beyond anything else, before they are ever put to a cart. Stop, stand and be patient for however long it takes until the driver to asks you to move again. And not one step any sooner.

Redsmom said...

This may sound goofy to y'all, but in addition to the training and discipline about which I agree 100%, if your horse is from Texas or anywhere in the South, try saying "ho" without the "w." I don't know the origins of it, but our horses always worked off the word, "Ho" instead of "whoa." I'm kind of glad for the distinction since the world is now full of surfer speak (Whoa, Dude!). When I (reemember to) say "Ho" ever so quietly and with a short syllable to my old schoolie, its like he recognizes it as the "insider" language as opposed to all the people screaming "Whoa" on his back for 10 years.

CharlesCityCat said...

Redsmom:

Not goofy at all, I say Ho instead of Whoa myself. It could well be a regional thing, all of my friends say Ho as well.

JohnieRotten said...

As far as reiners go. I never ask a horse to sldeunless tegu are shod for it. The last thing I want is to blow a stifle.
+++++++++++++

Good Gawd I cant type.

I never ask a horse to slide unless they are shod for it!

Redsmom said...

JR, I figured it out, but only cause you were talking about reining.

CharlesCityCat said...

JR:

I thought one of the twins was helping you type. LOL

JohnieRotten said...

Redsmom

I usually exhale and while I am exhaling I just say 'OOOOOO' quietly.

Also by exhaling and letting all if the air out of my lungs it causes me to sit and relax in stop.


____________


CCC

I have to take the credit for the bad typing today. The girls are at daycare!

Drillrider said...

My mare was tangled in barbed wire during a trail ride in the mountains. I was sure glad that "Ho" (I use the shortened version here in Idaho) was listened to. I had an urgency to my voice too, which I know she picked up on because she is usually not one that will plant her feet and leave them there. She tends to be the hot, antsy, worrier type.

Trainer X said...

How about when people don't think their horse stops well enough so throw themselves to the back of the saddle and RIP on the horses face? Or put a stronger bit in the horses mouth? UGH! Some people just don't get it. LMAO!

PrairieFarmer said...

Great topic. I've been working on retraining the "whoa" myself as well. These are great tips.
Also, like that you mentioned about teaching horse boundaries as to "not be a pocket pony." Everytime I read a craigslist ad for a horse that is "in your pocket" type, I think - uh-oh - that sounds like a big problem. But I see it listed as an attribute so much that I started to think I was the only horse lover left that preferred a horse respect my personal space!

PrairieFarmer said...

Great topic. I've been working on retraining the "whoa" myself as well. These are great tips.
Also, like that you mentioned about teaching horse boundaries as to "not be a pocket pony." Everytime I read a craigslist ad for a horse that is "in your pocket" type, I think - uh-oh - that sounds like a big problem. But I see it listed as an attribute so much that I started to think I was the only horse lover left that preferred a horse respect my personal space!

Cut-N-Jump said...

PF- I don't care so much for 'pocket ponies' myself.

For one they are too big to fit and for another they are too damn heavy. They have four legs compared to my two. They better be able to carry themselves!

Another issue with 'in your pocket' type horses, if I put something in my pocket, it is not theirs, they are not to go after it. Trying to do so can end up with me getting bitten and them in trouble. Neither of us favors that.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Redsmom- really the word doesn't matter, its what you 'condition' the horse to as it's meaning.

You could teach your horse Bam! means take off by saying it and laying into them asking for them to run like hell.

One guy who used to run speed events here used the word "Pickle" to rate before a turn. He sure sounded funny running the patterns, but how many other riders would be using it in the same arena with you?

The words don't matter, it's often the body language they read and ultimately the response you get that does.

Dena said...

JR I agree with you. The whoa should be instilled from the ground.
And carried on to saddle training.
And I don't care how hot the horse is in a retraining situation.
They are still going back into a snaffle, a ring, pen, arena, and doing circle work and flexion to learn to give.
Slow to fast they need to learn to give.
In giving the whoa is the next step and not so unanticipated.

I think the ideal in all training is to get to the point where you are thinking it, your body is expressing it, and the horse is receiving the message loud and clear.

And I agree that there must be a couple hundred ways to train a horse.
Which leads to the question upon mounting, "Now how is this horse geared to cue?"

JMO

sweetlillena said...

CNJ,

Thanks for the description of your OTTTB's progression. I actually think this guy has lunging training-we shall see, and I'll let you know how it goes or will beg for help.

How is the shadbelly project going?

I am lucky to fit into kid show clothes (at my very advanced age), so I can take advantage of all the parents of A circuit kids here and buy their show clothes at the local show/consignment venues!

pedfjords said...

I dont say
HO.
I live 3 hours drive from Las Vegas.....
Dont want to risk the HO's comming up for a visit.
Lisa

Drillrider said...

Pedfjords: Wouldn't the "Ho's" only come out if you paid them? Oh wait, Ho's are freebies!

Drillrider said...

Question: My older gelding is getting bitten alive by bugs. I spray him regularly (which he hates by the way), but last night he was covered in welts. My other horses are not as bothered by bugs, but for some reason they LOVE him. Anyone know a surefire was to get the bugs to leave him alone?

Drillrider said...

"was" = "way"

cattypex said...

"HO" is very common around here, too (all types *snork*).

I'm guilty of laxness when I ask for a "stop" and get a "pause." (I also tend to rooolllll through stop signs on country roads where I can see forever, so at least I am consistent!)

Except on the ground. I *hate* it when horses try to fidget all over the place. Heh. Not that I ride much these days, but I need to get a little more stringent I see....

Ever try explaining a "half-halt" to a farm-bred, country-schooled 13 year old kid? Oops.

Drillrider: What about a feed supplement? I know I've seen 'em advertised... or that stuff that's like Advantage for horses? Might be a helpful adjunct...

PrairieFarmer said...

I use "whoa" and not "ho" around my horses, because it is too easily confused on my farm with the ever important "hoe!"
Which has seen A LOT of use lately...And now back to the fields.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Drillrider-

Try Shoo Fly one of my favs! Know Knot is excellent too!

From the website-
Shoo Fly is an effective all natural fly and tick repellent combining selected biological oils and extracts. Shoo Fly is easy to use and is non-toxic. Shoo Fly has an non-irritating formula and does not contain any pesticides.


I have even diluted this a bit to stretch it's use even further. If your horse doesn't like being sprayed, buy one of those painting mitts at the dollar store or the hardware store. Spray that and wipe him down.

Cut-N-Jump said...

SLL- the coat is coming along nicely and I am suprising myself, having never sewn a coat or anything lined for that matter.

My mare gets very 'strong' on the lunge line and will pull you everywhere in her excitement. We are still working on that, but in the mean time I wrap the rope over her nose, give it a tug or two and off she goes in the prettiest hunter movement ever without a problem.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

JR

As for the reining (and even not reining), we are speaking the same. Absolutely no sliding without sliders.

Okay so I use the word "whoa" when I want a horse to have urgency into the stop (I don't use urgency in my voice) as in hit the stop hard/sit down. I also use my seat (quit riding) and will follow through with my hands if necessary.

"Whoa" is the cue to stop hard.

But if I just want the horse to come down to a stop, it's all weight (quit riding), once again following through with my hands if necessary. Here I do not use "whoa" in the verbal sense.

Okay so the reason I started doing this is because other people have to ride the horses and they often don't have as much practice with "feel" through their bodies.

Furthermore, the majority of my customers have primarily been very recreational - so they also like to hit the trails or go bomb around *shutter* on cattle.

Like you said, a great way to lame up a horse is to stop them hard or have them slide on poor footing and/or without sliders.

A person can tell people this over and over and over again and you will still see them riding at a campground stopping crooked and stopping hard. Now, I don't think it's because they don't want to listen, I think it's because they can't physically get their bodies to be specific. Eventually, maybe.

So I just tell them not to utter that word unless they mean to get a business stop.

So for the sake of the horse and also for the customer, I like to give them that "whoa" only for an urgent stop. The rest of the time, they get to practice feeling through a correct stop.

I actually have a customer with an ex-show horse (reining) that is fabulously sound and quiet at the age of 18. His ten-year-old owner has had to learn to become careful stopping him because he wanted to stop so hard every time, no matter how light she got, "whoa" or no "whoa." The concern with this horse is that he wouldn't stay sound for long if he kept doing that. So I rearranged the cues a little on him.

I worked for a trainer in his 70's whose biggest challenge to me (and others) was to get every horse ridable by the client. He said you can be a great rider, start colts, show and win. But, if other people can't ride the horse, then you are not a trainer...just a great rider.

He was a very tough old bird to work for and never minced words. :) I learned a ton from him.

I found it an interesting concept and because I was required to do so (in this apprenticeship) I've started coming up with ways to make the horse more ridable for the owner. It has been interesting to say the least!

I put a TON of different kinds of stops on horses, depending on the owner.

Holey hell I ran out of room!

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Continuing on...

This same trainer also had a real hate for the word "whoa."

Okay, I don't hate it. I think a horse should have that put on, if only because the rest of the world expects it and to some, a horse isn't broke unless it knows that word.

Working for said trainer, I learned another way to start colts with less time on the ground and more time in the saddle that actually didn't take away from the learning of the horse and actually moved a horse along quicker. I really like this way and I use it whenever possible.

I know a guy that is so good at this method, he can be up and riding anything in three days or less - once again, not taking away from the learning or mental/physical soundness of the horse and also not putting himself in above average harms way. And I mean ANYTHING - I have seen some very interesting horses come through his roundpen. In fact that is what sold me on the method.

I'm not that good. I'll take more time, some horses I can't do that method purely.

I am a slower starter of horses that would like to speed up but not wreck anything in the process.

Some say 30 days of groundwork is acceptable, the guy I worked for would have fired me for taking that long.

So, actually no, I do not teach whoa from the ground, usually. And yeah it's not because I don't believe in it and I certainly won't say I'll never do it again.

I usually add the word "whoa" after our stop has really refined. And the last thing I put on a horse is neck reining.

JR I hope I don't sound argumentative either, because one of my favorite things to do is talk horse training theories. I find it fascinating and I like to hear others experiences and opinions.

Except if someone wants to start talking Parelli because I do not have time to argue with that dirty rotten magician selling his cheap gadgets to good unsuspecting people who are just looking for help.

After Parelli, I can't stand the Aussie either.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

CnJ said
"Redsmom- really the word doesn't matter, its what you 'condition' the horse to as it's meaning."

Conditioned response - Oh I absolutely agree with this. I wish more people understood and stuck with this concept.

I use it to taylor some other kinds of stops for the customer.

Like teaching them stop when I lean off to one side or the other (for people with too much green horse and not enough skill to ride it). It is annoying at first but it teaches a person to stay squared in the saddle the easy way (stopping more than they'd like) vs the hard way (losing control and biffing it).

I have another client who has epilepsy. I mimicked the seizure as a cue to stop. The horse has actually gotten so good, it senses when she is about to seize and stops before it starts.

They are amazing animals to say the least.

CharlesCityCat said...

ETTGD:

That is really amazing about teaching the horse to stop for the lady with seizures.

horspoor said...

A couple years ago, one of my beginner students was riding Cami. Student is a very kind woman, not particularly brave. We were in the roundpen. She was trying to get a more forward movement out of Cami (not exactly the epitome of ambitious and forward).

Well, the student would give her a little squeeze...Cami would engage nicely forward and round...and the woman when she felt the 'carrying forward quality' would feel a little startled and say "OH!" Cami would halt. I'd tell her, "Okay ask her again...just sit quietly and send her." The woman would...and "Oh!" Cami would halt.

This went on to the point that it looked like a new driver popping the clutch when learning to drive a stick shift. I of course,being the epitome of the absolute professional, am dying laughing. Thank goodness the woman saw the humor in it, and was also laughing.

It was pretty funny. The woman (a teacher said, "Okay, no 4th vowel sounds. I have to remember this."

I think it got to the point that even Cami thought it was funny, like a game.

cattypex said...

(I think that riders' freaking out over the "forward" feeling is what fed the whole WP slooooooow thing.)

"Some say 30 days of groundwork is acceptable, the guy I worked for would have fired me for taking that long."

Those old-timey guys are the REAL DEAL. Somehow they can crawl into a horse's head and get real understanding turned on in a heartbeat!

Cut-N-Jump said...

HP- I knew a woman once who was cantering her horse around and he started to do something wrong. She told him "No."

He stopped dead and she almost went over his shoulder.

After that her 'knock it off' sound became Aaa, aaa, aaa. Short a sounds. She found humor in it later when her composure was regained.

Cut-N-Jump said...

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...
CnJ said
"Redsmom- really the word doesn't matter, its what you 'condition' the horse to as it's meaning."

Conditioned response - Oh I absolutely agree with this. I wish more people understood and stuck with this concept.

----------------

I was thinking other languages actually. Each one has a different word for stop and horses ridden by a rider who speaks that language, probably uses those words.

CharlesCityCat said...

CNJ:

That is my knock it off sound as well. Works really well on my crew, equines as well as canines.

horspoor said...

I use the 'aahh ahhh' for my knock it off sound too. lol I'll also say "Quit". If they are in the field, I'll holler a name, and say, "Quit" or "knock it off"...always get the big innocent eyes, ears pricked forward look in return. The 'What, I wasn't going to bite her? I'm innoncent.'

cattypex said...

I have a short low gravelly haaAAA(p) (I just sat here for 45 seconds trying to spell it) or HEY that works to get the attention of horses, dogs and sometimes kids.

I had a cat who scratched furniture. So I got a spray bottle. Soon I could get her to stop just by making a Psssss sound.

Now I use it to get my animals to move out of the way... along with arm motions that sort of scoop up the "chi" .... or even physical pokes or pushes.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

CCC - yeah I was not sure it would actually work. I did not do this with a young horse, I did it with a teenage show horse.

I can take credit for the idea and teaching it to the horse.

But I truly cannot take credit for the horse sensing them coming!

I also taught a visual stop (arms outstretched) from the ground in conjunction with a verbal "whoa" from the ground, just in case.

And we practice these stops on a regular basis. She does each a couple times once a week.

He just started sensing them about 6 months ago. We still practice but we haven't had to use the ground stop since he started sensing them.

I know people use dogs to sense seizures - it isn't a far stretch that a horse can too. But the horse doesn't warn me. He just quits work and stops - sometimes he seems to be communicating and others he just seems like a horse following orders.

horspoor said...

I don't know about the seizures. But most of my horses stop if someone is out of balance, or losing it.

The 'more trained' ones will stop, or slow if someone is out of position. Like..."Homey don't play this, sit up and ride."

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Cattypex said:

"I think that riders' freaking out over the "forward" feeling is what fed the whole WP slooooooow thing."

Oh, absolutely! We needed a way for people to ride and show horses for people that can't ride. *snark*

CNJ - I guess I just meant that you can pair just about anything up with an exercise or move and turn it into the cue. Conditioned response training. I think the same thing you said, but you were talking about other languages?

Like you can teach a horse to lope off the word "whoa." Now that would be ridiculous, but a person could.

Some day I want to get a horse I plan to keep forever and train it with all kinds of backwards words (like "whoa" for the lope, "run" (in a panicky voice) for the stop, "jump" for back up, etc.)

lol

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

horspoor - yeah the only difference with the seizures is that her body gets stiff - like REALLY stiff.

That changes a bit with the kind of medication she is on.

horspoor said...

I wonder if you could teach the horse to sense before the seizure occured. You know, those dogs that sense it, and either sit and stare at the person as a warning.

I saw a thing a few years ago on some tv program. Don't really remember the whole gist of it.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Oh but the best lesson horses are the ones that stop when things aren't right. IMHO

cattypex said...

Yup, a growelly "QUIIIT" works too!

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

I don't know if you can teach the sensing.

This horse DOES sense it now, in the last 6 months. (see previous post)

He now quits working just before she seizes.

I did not teach that. That just came up and has been wonderful.

There must be something he feels and associates with stopping before we see it.

SHE can't always feel her seizures coming on!

cattypex said...

"Like you can teach a horse to lope off the word "whoa." Now that would be ridiculous, but a person could."

Two words: SPUR STOP.


I remember reading YEARS ago about a circus horse trainer who had an act where an acrobat did stunts on a horse circling the ring - this fully depended on the horse's consistent speed and cadence, or the acrobat would fall.

Well, someone in the audience yelled "WHOA" and the horse stopped. The acrobat got injured, and the trainer had to come up with a different word for STOP.

I wonder if vaulting trainers do that?

JohnieRotten said...

Drivers

I think we are on the same page, but something is getting lost in translation.

When I was younger and apprenticing under the trainers, that was what we were taught. And I apprenticed under all reiner and cow horse trainers. Of course, that was almost 30 years ago, I do not think things have changed that much. And yes, I am a very old school trainer.

I always use 'Whoa'. It is a universal and I do not want to stop the horse by saying 'Shit' instead. Because when we sell the horse, the new owner will more than likely use the word Whoa to stop. Whoa only means stop. We do use it on our reiners as a re-enforcement to a physical cue.

As far as using it as a hard stop, the only time a horse will slide even with sliders on, is if there is some speed involved. ie the rundown. But even the sliding stop has to be soft, that is why when we ask for it, and say Whoa along with out sit and quit cue, we do not yell Whoa. We exhale and softly say 'OOOOOO'. If you do yell Whoa at a horse that is going to slide, then they will stop on their front end and that is the wrong way.

As far as using a visual cue on the ground, our visual cue is, ther again, when we stop they stop!

In most cases and that is usually about 98.9% of the horses that I have ever used to give lessons on, stop or slow down as the rider ends up getting off balance or out of position, as that tends to be the natural response by the horse.

I have had epileptic clients in the past and had never had one have a siezure on a horse. So sensing in horses as far as that goes is not something that I have ever had to deal with.

As far as the cattle horses are concerned, we teach them to rate off of the cattle and thus the cow becomes the visual cue for that horse, be it cutting or working cow.

As far as starting young colts, we are on them the first day that they are under saddle. I am not a big fan of ground driving before I get on. Normally what you teach them on the ground goes right out the window on those first few rides.

Nicole said...

I found with my rescue horse re-inforcing the whoa with food worked well for her. I dont like using food for everything but it helped her hand-shy issue and she really looks forward to whoa. She only gets one once in a blue moon now (maybe once a month) but such sporatic food reinforcment can actually increase their desire to do the behavior.

horspoor said...

I'm going to have to disagree on the ground driving. I think it does make a difference. At least in my experience. The first couple rides are always the figure out how to balance the weight, move forward with the person etc.

But after the first few rides the horses that have been driven seem to 'get it' quicker. JMO.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sensing seizures-

I seen the companion dog program on TV, and I think they attributed the dog smelling a chemical change in the persons scent, shortly before the seizure happened.

Possibly what is signalling the horse as well? Not like we can just ask them. "Hey, what is it that tips you off to the seizures? Could you please explain that for us?"

I think there was a similar dog with a diabetic human, but I'm not sure. Still, it's mighty useful.



Stop, go, turn- pretty much any word could be used I suppose, just consistencey in use with accompanied body language for reinforcement until the animal puts the two together.

Gee and Haa are used in sled dog mushing and also sometimes by mule skinners when driving. No HP, I don't Gee and Haa the truck for cornering. LOL! That would be funny though.

I've alwasy wondered while mule folks are called skinners? Did they ever actually 'skin' one for misbehaving? Maybe they were the one skinned?

Whoa, Hey, Quit, Knock it off and sometimes Damn It! Seem to be universal. I have heard all of them used in combination too.

Whoa. Hey, Quit! Knock it off, damn it!

Kinda like hearing your mom call your first, middle and last name. You KNOW you are in trouble then.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

JR

Okydoky :)

"1 think we are on the same page, but something is getting lost in translation."

Agreed! I think I am jumping subjects too much.
-----

"When I was younger and apprenticing under the trainers, that was what we were taught. And I apprenticed under all reiner and cow horse trainers. Of course, that was almost 30 years ago, I do not think things have changed that much. And yes, I am a very old school trainer."

Not sure which part you were talking about here - assuming the command "whoa." Agreed. I don't know a western trainer that does not use it.
---

"I always use 'Whoa'. It is a universal and I do not want to stop the horse by saying 'Shit' instead. Because when we sell the horse, the new owner will more than likely use the word Whoa to stop. Whoa only means stop. We do use it on our reiners as a re-enforcement to a physical cue."

Agreed. The cantankerous older trainer I apprenticed with is an oddity (albeit a successful one) in his hate for the word "whoa." I rode with him for 4 years and learned a lot...but went back to teaching, training and using "whoa." For the same reason you mentioned - everyone uses it!
---

"As far as using it as a hard stop, the only time a horse will slide even with sliders on, is if there is some speed involved. ie the rundown."

Do you mean they can't slide w/o sliders? If so, then unagreed. They may not go very far, but they can definitely create some lines in the dirt. I believe the horse can choose to stop like that or not.
---

"But even the sliding stop has to be soft, that is why when we ask for it, and say Whoa along with out sit and quit cue,"

Agreed. Without the whoa and "sit and quit" it would be unfair to the horse (IMHO) to just yank them to a stop.
---

"we do not yell Whoa. We exhale and softly say 'OOOOOO'. If you do yell Whoa at a horse that is going to slide, then they will stop on their front end and that is the wrong way."

Agreed. I have never in my life yelled "whoa" at a horse - for someone watching, they can barely hear me. Agreed, getting louder does not reenforce the cue!
---

"As far as using a visual cue on the ground, our visual cue is, ther again, when we stop they stop!"

Agreed. The horse is all about the body language.
---

"In most cases and that is usually about 98.9% of the horses that I have ever used to give lessons on, stop or slow down as the rider ends up getting off balance or out of position, as that tends to be the natural response by the horse."

Agreed! These are good horses! I was referring to non-lesson horses. The kind that people bring in for starting and 3 months of training and then leave.
---

"I have had epileptic clients in the past and had never had one have a siezure on a horse. So sensing in horses as far as that goes is not something that I have ever had to deal with."

Me neither. This is a first! It has been interesting. So far I have observed the horse "sensing" the seizures on it's own.
---
TBC...

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

"As far as the cattle horses are concerned, we teach them to rate off of the cattle and thus the cow becomes the visual cue for that horse, be it cutting or working cow."

Agreed! I have been riding with a cutting trainer the last 8 months (loping and turning back - occasionally I get to whack one with a show horse too). He is a very good, reasonable trainer. So far LOVE the sport - very challenging and that's the best.
---

"As far as starting young colts, we are on them the first day that they are under saddle."

That's great. I can do easy ones that way but I typically take around a week otherwise. I second guess my decision they are ready to get on. I want to get better.

I quit colt starting two years ago in favor of a corporate job and teaching lessons. Got laid off, I start my next colt on July 6th. Previously I have started about 75-90 from scratch, a couple hundred from 5 or less rides and a couple thousand in the "other" category.
---

"I am not a big fan of ground driving before I get on."

Agreed. I haven't met one that I've ever wanted to ground drive. I just don't like ground driving. It seems harder than just getting on.
---

"Normally what you teach them on the ground goes right out the window on those first few rides."

Agreed and why my old boss was adament about getting on as soon as possible and not next week!

---

Did this help? Whew!

JohnieRotten said...

Drivers it sounds like are on the same page.

Horses can slide without sliders but like u said there needs to be a little speed involved. However I prefer sliders to avoid injury.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Agreed! I *cringe* when people do it without! I worked with a trainer that did them down the gravel road... :(P

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

CNJ said...

"Not like we can just ask them. 'Hey, what is it that tips you off to the seizures? Could you please explain that for us?"

LOL if that were possible, no one would need horse trainers lol.

yeah, no idea what it is...but it is so cool. :)

horspoor said...

Hell, I don't think I've even ridden 'thousands' of horses. I must be slacking.

Cut-N-Jump said...

HP- I know I haven't. Don't care to either. Especially some of the horses I have seen around here...

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

I worked for a horse trader for around 7 years or so. From highschool until I was about 22.

JohnieRotten said...

HP

I am 45 and I have nor ridden thousands. I have ridden a lot of horses thought.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Good Driver- traders are know to have a high turnover rate. As I am sure you have lived to tell- not all of the horses being 'good ones' either.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Oh yeah, God. The goal per horse was less than a month. Sometimes it never made sense, we'd buy a bunch only to turn them around for not much more - just others bidding up. They really work together, but if anybody ever gets screwed over by a horsetrader, don't feel too bad they do it to each other too.

I kind of am glad I did it - it helped me pay for college. I could not own a horse as a kid...did actually not own my first horse until I was 21. I still have him (I am 31 now.)

I am thankful for the equine education too.

But sometimes I think of all the times those assholes almost killed me and I get a little bent.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Ha! CnJ that is one for No Parental Discretion! Just because somebody has good manners and wears a cowboy hat does not mean they are watching out for your kids... *headdesk*

Dena said...

CNJ the Gee and The Haw are funny!!!
I use that with the dogs and the horses when using the dogs to bring in the horses.
Occasionally loudly and somewhat drawn out.
you will have mail shortly.

JR I have never been on a horse that if you did not train and set for a sliding stop that you would ever get one.
And I completely agree that hollering a whoa will get you a startled mess of a stop on the forehand.

It seems to me that in order to train a horse that anyone can ride you would want to train with the cues and words that are most universal.
And no offense intended unless I am working with special needs folks the rider will be trained to ride the horse not vica versa.JMHO

Dena said...

ETTAGD
Was it a dealer from MN? And if so can I ask which one?
I only ask because I am a dealer brat.
And I am curious to know if you are referring to who I think you might be.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Dena said...

"It seems to me that in order to train a horse that anyone can ride you would want to train with the cues and words that are most universal."

Agreed if for nothing else than to help the horse.

And no offense intended unless I am working with special needs folks the rider will be trained to ride the horse not vica versa.JMHO"

Ideally Agreed

I primarily worked for JM, but there were many times I'd ride others at the sale.

Who is your dad?

Which rescue is yours? I can thoroughly understand going into that work after the amount of sale barns you have been through! NOT because of the dealers and other professionals but because of the random crazy people that bring horses through.

To quote a favorite comment:
"There's nothin' crazier than people."

And my own:
"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

Dena said...

Big Ed.

The rescue that is our's is WMS.
And yes, the sales barn can change a persons perspective. A lot.

JM? I was thinking JS. Can I have a nother clue please?

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

A friend of mine worked for JS and he paid very well, I didn't live near him.

We dealt with Ed - how is he doing?

Jack M. is now doing a lot of leasing, last I spoke with him. Central MN.

Dena said...

He is alright. Totally out of the trader game on horses though.

You talking about Jack by SD and ND?

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

You got it!

I thought it was really cool when he won horseperson of the year! (your dad, not Jack)

Dena said...

I actually thought it was kind of strange.
Normally a dealer isn't well liked enough to be considered for that.
It made him happy.

Jack really ran you through that many colts?
And green shit?

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

He bought a lot of loose and he also bred some of his own so yes. He is a mostly really nice guy - he grew up that way.

"Normally a dealer isn't well liked enough to be considered for that."

I agree strange for that to happen, but I think there is a place for dealers in this industry and perhaps it should be recognized.

horspoor said...

Man, I worked for a trader. I rode the new stock from PLA every week...and I haven't ridden that many. Bobby would bring in 5 a week on average. I didn't work for him long though.

HA! I'm older than you JR. lol You better be kind to your elders. lmao.

I was thinking, I'd have to ride 10 new horses a month every month, for 30 years to get to 3600. I'm not up to that. lol I'm busted up enough. The odds would have surely gotten me by now.

Watch yourself Drivers, the odds are not in your favor anymore. I decided along time ago, I wasn't going out on a $250 dink.

JohnieRotten said...

Hp

I have ridden a lot of em and for the most part lost count.

The most I ever had in training at one time was 33 head when I was in flagstaff. I leased Hartmans barn off of Lake Mary rd.

I had groom that worked the ones I did not ride. But like I have no idea how many I have ridden. Iknow I hVe started a hell of a lot of them

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

Okay here’s some math

20-50 horses per month (low end for riding in the winter)

So let’s average 30 (I’ll be low on it)

30 x 12 months = 360

360 x 6 years (I’ll take a year off the time I worked to factor in holidays, freezing MN temps and random other shit) = 2160

If a person were talking about horse training, then no, not doable.

But, we bought, we tried, we sold. My numbers don't even mention auctions where I only in the ring.

QUOTING MYSELF IN MY ORIGINAL POST:

"a couple thousand" - I did NOT SAY tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands!

In fact, HP, working with your math for the trader you worked for:

5 a week = 20 a month

20 x 12 = 240

240 x 6 = 1440 - so hey! If you would have stuck with it, you would be right there with me.

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

JR - OMG! 33 a month IN TRAINING!

That is hell on earth I am sure.

Myself, when I apprenticed (post horse trader) the most I ever had was 8 - 5 full time and 3 part time, plus lessons - I have never had more than 5 full time horses.

Now, getting back into things, I am going for a few full timers that will be in it for the long haul and then some tune ups and as many lessons as I can do.

JohnieRotten said...

Drivers

the only time it really was hell ws when I had to go the the shows and during the winter. But we had a covered 90' round pen and lots of mountain trails.

kestrel said...

I work a lot with handicapped riders, and I have one horse that really bonded with a young epileptic and autistic girl. He'd just stop and stand braced right before she seized (she had HUGE seizures), and by watching him we figured out that one of the girl's eyes would start blinking erratically a few minutes before a seizure. Great boon to her parents!
The whoa thing...on the lunge whoa means plant them feet now, not stop and then spin around to face the human. I make everything on the lunge lead directly into what I want under saddle, and it's pretty funny to see an NH horse hear whoa and wonder where the human went the first few times they're ridden! I absolutely hate it when people take the whoa off a horse by using it to rate speed. Good brakes are pretty important in my world, lots of steep and narrow mountain trails.

JohnieRotten said...

Kestrel

I agree that whoa means stop now.

While our horses are taght to stop off a cow in the pen. Our of the pen if you say whoa they stop.

SFTS said...

There is some really great reading and really good info in this thread. Sorry I missed it earlier! :P