Thursday, June 11, 2009

Who is smarter, the horse or the rider? The inevitable question!

I was going to do a post on re-schooling the old show horse. But this came up last night and I had to post about it.


CNJ and I were at a equine function or rather and equine disfunction last night, and while there, we heard a hell of a lot of commotion and a whole lot of WHOAS coming from the barn. We went to see what it was and there in the barn was a horse that was tied up. That horse started to pull back. As soon as the horse would pull back, the owner would whoop the hell out of the horse with a rope while screaming "Whoa" at the top of her lungs. When the horse would not stop, she would beat the horse some more and yell "Whoa", there again, at the top of her lungs. The mare never did "Whoa", and the idiot owner damn near got her asshat kicked off!

Sad thing is, now when you get near the mare with a rope, she may start kicking. I'm not sure about everyone else, but at this point, I would rather have a horse that pulls back instead of kicking.


I am not an NH trainer, I just use common sense. I can tell you for a fact, there are better ways to handle a horse that pulls back. And beating them with a rope is not one of them.

When the owner finally gave up on the pulling back situation, she decided that it was time to get on the mare. After having her ass kicked, I didn't think the mare was really in the mood to be ridden much less stand still for her rider to get on.


So as soon as the owner realized that the mare was not going to stand still, she shortened her grip on the lead rope and started to beat the horses side with the stirrup. There again, the mare was in no mood to stand still and in reality, could not stand still because the asshat had her head pulled around.


There are ways to sack out/desensitize as horse without all of the drama. I personally use a saddle pad or blanket, start at the horses chest and work my way to the back. As I am sacking the horse out, I start them out softly, progressively sacking them harder and harder and then when end, I finish up light. I never tie the horse up, I just hold them on a loose lead, that way when they stop moving they can relax. It has always worked for me.


I wanted to go say something to this idiot, but I did not want my Trainers Turrets to come out!


Beside, at that point, what do you say?

87 comments:

Cut-N-Jump said...

I just have to add that when the girl went to jamming the stirrup into the horses side and yanking her head around, the only thing I could figure she was trying to teach the horse, was to move away from leg pressure. She was jamming and whacking away and instead of waiting for the horse to move away from it, she pulled the head around forcing the horse to move.

All I could ask myself and it slipped out loud- "What the hell is she trying to do?"

She only did this with the left stirrup- to which I had to comment to JR about. "Now when she tries to mount, the horse is going to move away from leg pressure. Then she's going to get mad because the horse won't stand still."

Heather said...

I have found it is generally best to keep your advice to yourself in these situations. Even if you know the rider is making the horse more dangerous as each day goes by, you have to be able to let it go and say 'it is their damn horse and their damn problem' and cross your fingers that they ask for help once they get hurt.

Drillrider said...

Truly brilliant horse training there on the part of that woman! When my horses pull back, I just back up and wait for them to stop their "hissy fit" and ignore it altogether. I got a mustang mare for free off craig's list and she came with a new halter. I knew why and sure enough, she's a puller. I could tell it was not from fear, but a habit, so I simply tied her solid and didn't untie her until she calmed down. We slowly worked up to more and more time tied and she's now up to two hours without incident. She seldom pulls now, but still has to give it a good college try from time-to-time.

windingwinds said...

Once there is yelling involved, the battle has been lost. Now mine do have "other names" when they misbehave, but really people the fun is over when that level of aggression is released. Never take what a horse does personally.

JohnieRotten said...

I do agree that sometimes it is better to say nothing. But sometimes people make that difficult.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Say nothing is difficult.

But then when you say something, they usually come back at you trying to hand you your ass on a platter.

By the time it escalates to yelling and screaming the horse has lost the point of the lesson. With the exception of the lesson the aggressive colt learned that one day. There is a time and place for everything.

My early days of horses, I was told to get behind them and make them go forward to release the pressure. Pulling back was not an option. Armed with a whip or even those aluminum sweat scrapers, I went to whacking on their ass, and screaming like a Banshee.

Yeah, I could have gotten kicked, or if the rope broke they would have come over backwards and landed on me. My first horse pulled back a lot. He broke ropes, snaps and finally the bottom ring of his halter. He even bent a bull snap! I have rarely seen those break and have never seen one bend.

Something always broke, so he kept pulling back. I finally just looped the rope over the rail enough that it didn't come undone unless he really pulled hard.

At least once he was loose, he would just stand there. Laughing about destroying something else.

joanna said...

I'm trying to figure out what she was trying to accomplish? I mean, I've had horses fly back on the ties and I usually let them fight it out, as long as no one gets hurt. With the exception of a few bullheaded ones, they usually figure it out on their own. Yelling and hitting just raises the fear level.

I don't really like sacking out so much as showing the horse the blankets, ropes, etc. quietly, with a soft and soothing voice. If you act like it's a big deal, they'll freak out more. I have had way more success this way. Sure it takes longer, but it's a whole lot less stressful, and I have a horse who trusts that I'm not going to smack him aroung with something everytime he sees me!

andalusiansofgrandeur said...

Nothing pisses me off like people telling my horses "whoa" when they don't mean stop. Horsey needs a shot? Vet says "whoa" as she puts the needle in. Time for horsey wormer, friend inevitably croons "whoa" while I administer the paste. Need to slow down from trot to walk or lope to walk? Certain friend always says "whoa" and wonders why she gets a stop instead. am I completely dilusional or does whoa actually mean stop? Mine plant their feet and don't move, and that's how I like it. Whoa only has that one meaning for my horses, and I don't say it any other time.
As for the pulling issue, my black filly wasn't halterbroken until she was two, and I didn't have a safe place to tie her until I moved to a better facility. I trained her to always go forward with a crack on the ass. I tied her up with a strong halter and a neckstrap to protect the back of her neck. She fidgetted, and then I sensed she was getting ready to pull back. She pulled back, got solid resistance and lost it. I saw her brain begin to check out, and before she could really get going, I gave her one on the ass and she went forward. I didn't talk to her or anything; I just retreated and waited. She very slowly eased herself back on the rope. She felt the resistance, sat back a little and then, lowering her head, she stepped forward. To this day she stands on a loose rope. By snapping her out of her panic before it took over, I gave her the opportunity to think about her situation.

Andalusians of Grandeur said...

I know this sounds mean to some, but this was an adult horse who would be nothing but a danger if she didn't learn to tie up propperly. Also, by eliminating the resistance before she hurt herself or had a victory, I set her mind up to be more accepting and willing to give to restraint or pressure. In my limitted experience the first chance is the best for teaching these essentials.

Dena said...

It is safe to look at my avatar JR and CNJ.
Not only is it Bay. It is skeered of cattle.lol

Pulling. Second favorite bad habit after rearing.
It never ceases to amaze me how people leave their brains in the truck when they decide to be a cowboy/girl.

JohnieRotten said...

joanna said...
I'm trying to figure out what she was trying to accomplish? I mean, I've had horses fly back on the ties and I usually let them fight it out, as long as no one gets hurt. With the exception of a few bullheaded ones, they usually figure it out on their own. Yelling and hitting just raises the fear level.
_____________

We have know idea what she was trying to do either~

------
I don't really like sacking out so much as showing the horse the blankets, ropes, etc. quietly

_______________

We do not usually sack out a horse unless absolutely neccessary. But there are times for sacking out a horse and when that time comes we will do it. We will never use a whip with a bag tied to the end of it. That as far as I am concerned does very little. Just had to poit that out!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

andalusiansofgrandeur said...
Nothing pisses me off like people telling my horses "whoa" when they don't mean stop. Horsey needs a shot? Vet says "whoa" as she puts the needle in.
______________

Totally agree. Whoa means only one thing and that is stop. Nothing more!

Dena said...

AofG that isn't mean. That is timely intervention.
Mean is giving them bag after bag of treats and telling them how good they are for being bad!

fernvalley01 said...

"Beside, at that point, what do you say? "
truer words never spoken ! there are times when all you can do is close your mouth and walk away !

fernvalley01 said...

Although I would have paid money to see /hear what you would have said if boundaries had not been an issue(lol)

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

LOL Trainer Turrets! I may have to repreat that.

I did not read all of the comments, I am a first time reader but I loved this post.

This is the thing of morons and makes me want to QUIT QUIT QUIT.

However, my training came from my love of horses and actually morphed into teaching. I found teaching the people from beginners to reriders to experienced-older-than-me is what helps the horses.

Not that I can save the world and not that I know everything. And I am not an NH trainer either but I do believe in picking up a little from everyone.

I see moments when "trainer turrets" could come out (God, I love that term) often enough. When I see these moments and I am away from my home barn and do not know the people, I turn around and walk away.

For a few reasons, one being that I don't want to get into the middle of bad situation where I am not in control. I am not a control freak, but if there are random people doing random things in a random situation where I jumped in, I put myself at risk and I don't care to do that.

Another being that people don't listen to advice unless they are at least asking for and even better PAYING for it. Even when they are paying, they aren't always able or willing to listen...we've all had THOSE customers. Thankfully, they are few and far between.

The last being that I don't want to get into a lawsuit. So if a person or horse gets hurt or property gets damaged, I don't want to be the one explaining ANYTHING. I am fully willing to defend anything I do or don't do when I am in charge, but in random situations - you can't be sure of what will happen and judges don't know horses from cats.

I've never actually been in a lawsuit or even close to one...btw.

I just live and work knowing that some people would be better off with bicycles and expecting to see them around from time to time.

http://jellopeasandcarrots.blogspot.com

EveryoneThinksThey'reGoodDrivers said...

In fact, I should add, I train my customers to maneuver around these people. LOL We see it enough.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Fern Valley- Tempting as it is to go off on someone in a moment like that, it does no more towards accomplishing anything, then what they just did.

Still it is tempting...

Awfully.
Damn.
Tempting!


Just like their horse has stopped learning and began to ignore them, they will tune you out and close their eyes to become invisible in their own little world. Fingers in their ears, la la la la la la la la... not listening... blah, blah, blah... I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!


I agree with AofG. Catching it the first time around and squashing all ideas of bad behavior before it starts- You nailed it. Literally! LOL! Makes them think twice before trying it again.


Tess thought she was a princess. She pulled back, but went about it differently. She waited until you were under her. Like cleaning her feet, wrapping her legs, putting her splint or bell boots on...

Just as you were finished and putting the hoof down, still bent over and in a vulnerable position- she would go off. Dangerous? Ya think???

In extreme cases, you sometimes have to take extreme measures to keep anyone from getting hurt.

The first time she sat back, she broke her leather halter. We went and got a web halter and a thick lead rope. Tied her up and started throwing stuff at her sides and butt. Bell boots, splint boots. Rolled up polos. Everything one at a time, nothing that would hurt her, but something to set her off. One boot flew at her side. Whap. KABOOM! when she settled down- the other boot flew- Whap. Kaboom.

We kept it up and let her fight it out until she just stood there as stuff flew at her and over her. It didn't take much until none of it was a big deal anymore.

She was fine for some time before trying to sit back again. I reminded her what happened the last time. That was the end of that.

SFTS said...

It is fairly tough to keep your mouth shut. I generally do in situations like this, but there are those few times I just HAVE to speak up. Usually when a horse is about to get badly hurt. I don't give a damn about the people. Just the horses they happen to own.

Andalusians of Grandeur, whoa indeed. With my horses, that means complete cessation of all forward motion, no if's, and's or but's. PERIOD. That's another of my peeves. LOL

The Turd Burglar said...

Greetings, JR. If you need assistance with your training turds let me know. Nothing my dungbuggles can't handle.
Regards,
your Friendly Neighborhood Turd Burglar

JohnieRotten said...

Turd Burgler

ROTFLMFAO!!!!!!!!!!

I taken too much shit over the years and welcome your expertise.

charlienchico said...

We acquired a a psycho arab gelding project about 10 years ago (back in the days when I thought every horse could be fixed). I think he was 10 when we got him, story was teen boy wanted a horsey, parents bought him baby arab, teen boy played with him a little bit, but then high school and college came along, boy checked out, parents were scared of horse, horse ended up with us.
He would pull back. We went through so many snaps, halters, lead ropes, ties and even (yes)posts. We just kept going bigger and bigger (bigger snap, bigger chain, bigger post...). He was never really 'cured', you could never predict what might set it off. We tried making him jump forward, letting him fight it out, trying to sooth him. Thank God he is out of our lives now (after 2 near death episodes with my husband). My question is; is there something we could have done different that might have worked?

charlienchico said...

Whoa, major issue with me, I almost get preachy "say what you mean folks". 'Easy' for slow down, 'whoa' for cessation of movement.

JohnieRotten said...

Charlienchico

You actually had pretty much done all you could do at that point. Uaually, that kind of problem amounts to a temper tantrum more than anything else.

I have had horses like that in the past and usually of took them actually going down and getting stuck a few times to cure them. But that can be dangerous for both horse and owner. When it comes down to that point, you are best off sending the horse out to try and get him fixed.

The cold hard reality of those kinds of problems, any fix ends up being more of a deterent than a cure and are rarely permanent. When it comes down to it, if the horse gets into an uncomfortable situation, those old problems tend to resurface.

I hope that helps!

Deb McKay said...

Just started reading your blog and find it refreshingly honest and to the point.
I am SO tired of trainers whose main goal seems to be to "train" the owner to spend their money needless items.

sandycreek said...

Oh so many thoughts so little time. thankfully I own my facility, so I would NOT have to say nothing when I see crap like that going on. She may not like it, but she is sure as hell going to hear it!
I have found that an older horse that pulls and fights whilst being tied has figured out that it is a very nice way of having it's way. Usually by the time I get one like that it is really set in to the mind as acceptable behavior. Teaching a puller not to pull is time consuming and can be dangerous to horse and handler. I use a very heavy THICK cotton rope and a very nice large tree. Needless to say the horse gets to know the tree very well!
True pullers can take a several "get to know the tree" sessions before they get the idea that they are not going to win. There is no yelling or screaming allowed, which means I send the owner home or to the house to drink a glass of tea.

The whole stirrup in the side train of though evades me though. I would have to ask her what the hell are you trying to do?

milwaukeecob said...

I don't know if the reverse is worse: when you're the owner and the trainer is out there working your horse badly and everyone there is watching it. It happened to me. The trainer wasn't overtly abusing, but he was riding her HARD--and she didn't need to be. I didn't walk out to stop him and now I know that I should have. But at the time, the other breeders who use him were standing right there, and I didn't want to embarrass him. It was a bad deal. And I learned a lot from it.

JohnieRotten said...

Deb McKay said...
Just started reading your blog and find it refreshingly honest and to the point.
I am SO tired of trainers whose main goal seems to be to "train" the owner to spend their money needless items.
_______________

I appreciate your comment.

I am not here to sugar coat anything, I just want people to use common sense. Sugar coating anything will not help anyone.

As far as selling anything, all I have are a lot of overused saddles bridles and bits that I have had for many years and they are pretty well worn.If you want a carrot stick, we don't have those. You are welcome to purchase them, but after you pay for shipping, they are not worth what you paid for. Same goes for some of the junk that I have seen people buy from some of these trainers. If you have to sell product as a trainer to get people to use your methods, then maybe you need to work on your methods.

______________________

Sandycreek said:

The whole stirrup in the side train of though evades me though. I would have to ask her what the hell are you trying to do?

-------

I was at a total loss on that one. It was like a train wreck waiting to happen and I wanted to say something but knew better.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

milwaukeecob said...
I don't know if the reverse is worse: when you're the owner and the trainer is out there working your horse badly and everyone there is watching it.
___________

We see that at a lot of horse shows, and I am guilty of it in my past.

All you can hope for is that not only you learn from that, but the trainer does as well!

JohnieRotten said...

Firday night Rotten neighborhood blog party at 6:30PM.

charlienchico said...

Is that PDT?

sandycreek said...

JR, OMG a carrot stick! LOL don't get me started!
I have several really used safe saddles for sale, if anyone needs one in SE Georgia. My ass keeps getting wider so I have to get a bigger saddle!
No carrot sticks though. sorry.

PrairieFarmer said...

What brand of witty repartee would you like me to bring? I have locally-grown!

JohnieRotten said...

That is PMT for sure.

The only carrot sticks we have are in the fridge. And they look more like carrot shrivels!

JohnieRotten said...

PF

Locally grow is the best.

Arab-N-OTTB said...

*head desk*

Seen this more times than not. Currently working with a Missouri cross that started doing the stupid pull back while being tied. Owner being new (but so willing to listen and learn I love it) would grab the halter and pull foreward. And heres a big kicker the horse always seemed to do it when I wasnt around. So I told her dont touch him keep away and just tell him "Easy" as "whoa" will only screw up his training. He got better (after 2 halters and a lead rope) but on some days he would still do it. I finally told her buy a bungee tie with quick release as he is only doing it to get away breaking something. Well he pulled only once with the bungee, once he realized "well shite" its giving. He hasn't pulled since and has honestly improved in many ways. Part is too his owner is starting to not anticipate "bad" things happening.

But I also fully agree with the using "whoa" for everything. Anytime I am trying to talk down a horse I always say "easy" in a firm, but a calm confident tone. As thats the best way to get my TB to come down on her gaits (barely use bit contact with her) and I have a performance Arab that amazingly can halter out beautifully, and obviously when he hears whoa... that means STOP. So I know in my world and thoes who work with me know Whoa means stop.

CharlesCityCat said...

Yea, Party at the Rotten's!

Had beer give away at Hubby's work so I'll bring the brewskeys.

Land Shark JR?

JohnieRotten said...

Land Shark CCC!

CharlesCityCat said...

Loading it up right now!

Heather said...

Two words: Rope Halter

Not because it's a warm fuzzy NH "Trainer of the Day" approved training device, but because they work. Horsemen were using rope halters long before they became a NH staple - and for a good reason. A rope halter made from relatively thin, stiff rope and a nice heavy lead rope is exactly the kind of tool you want. Several of you have mentioned the "tie 'em up and let 'em figure it out" approach. Add a good rope halter to that equasion and they figure things out a lot faster - especially if they're used to a web halter. They'll sit back that first time, like they do with the web halter, but when they hit that rope and it starts to take a bite, they start to think about it.

The only time it may not entirely work is if the horse is truly "checked out" and that's because a checked out horse doesn't neccesarily feel the pain. But, frankly, if the horse is already checked out, you've got bigger issues to deal with than standing tied.

However in most situations, the horse is pulling because it's worked before and they think they can get away with something (as mentioned by many of you already.)

The only thing about a rope halter is that you have to make sure it is TIED PROPERLY. If you miss-tie it, you'll have to cut it off, and that's about the most dangerous thing I can think of.

If you don't know how to tie a rope halter, ask around or go to any of the NH websites. There are plenty of correct diagrams online. You might also want to practice your halter tying skills on a well mannered horse before you try them out on your puller.

Anyhow, I think you'll find that a rope halter will convince any reasonably minded animal that, perhaps, sitting back and pulling isn't as good of an idea as it used to be. We use rope halters on all of our horses exclusively. Most of the time, they just hang there - a halter like any other, but on those occasions when things aren't quite what you want them to be, a little pressure on the lead rope will bring that horse's attention right around to you.

Drillrider said...

charlienchico:

I watched a video where there was a severe puller. The guy used a long rope, made a loop on one end and wrapped it with electrical tape so that it would slide easily, put the loop around the horses flanks and then took the other end up through the bottom of the halter and wound it around a hitching rail. When the horse pulled back, the loop tightened around the horses flanks (and we all know horses hate that). The horse immediately lunged forward and the loop loosened, giving the horse it's reward.

This method was not pretty and the guy stood back, but kept tension on the rope that was wound around the hitching rail.

This method took about 10-15 minutes and after he was done, the horse, that was a SEVERE puller (he showed how bad at the beginning of the tape), stood stock still and didn't pull.

He did say that you might have to repeat the method a time or two for it to become permanent, but after that, problem solved!

I asked a trainer for mounted police horses and he said to put the loop around their girth area. This guy said NOT TO do that because it could make the horse "cinchy" and I agree.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Milwaukee Cob-

There are a few things I can comment on from your short post.

First I'm sorry you went through this experience with your horse. But you learned a lot from it and sharing, means hopefully some of us can too. I'm glad you posted, since this is a great topic for discussion, from another angle.

At the end of the day- it is still your horse. Feel free to speak up in their defense at any time. Of course you know that now and hindsight is a PITA, that leaves us all with the guilty feeling of "I should have..." I think we have all been there at some point. I know I have.

There were other breeders present that use him. Perhaps there was a little bit of subconcious 'showing off' going on. It happens and people often don't realize they are doing it. Sometimes in a public setting, they don't realize just how many people are really watching and how each one perceives their actions. Abusive beyond all measure- to the other end of the scale- that's just how you do it...

Could the other breeders have thought he was being a bit harsh as well? If so, maybe they wondered, "If she's the owner, why doesn't she say something?" They might have agreed and backed you up- you never know. Or they could have thought it was all fine and good with you, or perhaps thought your silence meant that you didn't know better. Who knows what they were thinking. It happens, no biggie.

They might have been a bit embarrassed for him too. By now they have either forgotten all about it or still talk about what he did in front of you. Who knows?

In situations like that, don't be afraid to sacrifice his feelings for the sake of your horse. Sometimes trainers can use a gentle reminder to "Knock it off, you aren't impressing anyone or accomplishing anything by doing that."

Even if you stop everything by stating loudly, "I have a question." Walk out to them in the arena and quietly address it between the two of you. He's still on your horse and your dime.

Maybe others have ideas of what to do and how to diffuse the situation?

I'm sure open to suggestions...

Cut-N-Jump said...

"Whoa" at our house means STOP EVERYTHING NOW!

Not just stop moving forward- but stop everything you are doing NOW!

This comes in handy in situations that can go from serious to dangerous in an instant. Which is how it usually happens with horses.

JohnieRotten said...

Drillrider said...
charlienchico:

I watched a video where there was a severe puller. The guy used a long rope, made a loop on one end and wrapped it with electrical tape so that it would slide easily, put the loop around the horses flanks and then took the other end up through the bottom of the halter and wound it around a hitching rail. When the horse pulled back, the loop tightened around the horses flanks (and we all know horses hate that). The horse immediately lunged forward and the loop loosened, giving the horse it's reward.

_______________________

I have done that in the past with the severe pullers, it did work for a while. I still have that rope out there!One horse in particular I remeber very well that it worked on for a while. But like everything else in these types of things, when the the horse was sold, he started pulling for the new owners. Infact, the horse got progressively worse over time and would throw himself down and pee all over.

Charlienchico, try using whatever method you are comfortable with. But remeber,it is like we always say out here and like DR said. It may not be pretty, but it may work!

Dena said...

I want to know what everyone really thinks about craigslist as a means of advertising for sale.

Anyone care to shar their opinions on that?

I have to date not ever advertised a horse there.
My personal snobbery on that. I may be changing my mind.
But what do you guys think of it?

Cut-N-Jump said...

Sometimes tying a horse to something higher up works. The resistance of the rope and knot are coming from a different angle.

A lot of horses go back and round their neck and back as they fight, pulling up and back. Hard to pull up on a rope tied up high. A tall branch on the tree?


Whenever using a bungee type tie, always check your bungees regularly for wear. When they break it does nothing for you teaching your horse not to pull back. Especially when it snaps and gets them in the face.

Now while they are mid pull and everything breaks- it attacks them. From the front, where release should come from.

Cut-N-Jump said...

Dena- I am seeing more and more horses on CL. With any advertising- I think the quality is in the text and the pictures chosen to represent the horse and the seller.

For the most part, what you see though is folks just trying to ditch their horses quickly, with no thought going into the ad. It does get a lot of attention, but unlike some of the horse only websites- there's no thumbnail pic's to draw you in.

horspoor said...

Saying whoa for anything other than come to a complete halt doesn't really make much sense to me. My rate for barrels is "Here", or when it seems a little out of control sometimes a panicked..."Wait wait wait" which of course disolves my friends into fits of laughter.

I was giving a girl a lesson on her horse. She would say 'whoa' for downward transition, or to slow the horse. Seemed like she was constantly saying 'whoa'. So, I asked, "What do you say when you want him to stop?" Very blank look. lol

JohnieRotten said...

Whoa is a large four letter word!

Whoa is actually short for 'STOP YOU IDIOT!"

I am amazed how often I say Whoa to my truck when I come to a stop light.

Pathetic really!

horspoor said...

Ever lean forward when you're driving up hill?

horspoor said...

Stop and think about it next time you're coming up Black Canyon Jr. lol

JohnieRotten said...

horspoor said...
Ever lean forward when you're driving up hill?
____________

Yep and I have even caught myself clucking to my truck on several occasions!

CharlesCityCat said...

I am forever saying whoa to my dogs and I used to do it to my daughter to. I have been known to cluck when I want something to go faster.

horspoor said...

Yeah, my son pointed it out to me. Kind of like...'get a life mom' lol.

fernvalley01 said...

Whoa is stop , easy is my "slow down word" Use it on my truck all the time , never works!
Whoa on the other hand seems to have become Hubby's mare's new name , she will dink around ind the pasture till I growl "Whoa bitch " then she walks right up to be haltered ,Who knew?

Cut-N-Jump said...

HP- I take it one further.

When going around corners I turn my corresponding heel and push with a seatbone... LOL!

Leaning into hills- ever watch people leaning damn near out the window making a left? Or halfway into the passengers lap for a right? Cracks me up every time I see it.

I have been known to tell the dogs Whoa, when I wanted them to hold still for grooming. Like I expected it to work, too.
_________________________

JohnieRotten said...
The only carrot sticks we have are in the fridge. And they look more like carrot shrivels!


PROOF that I am NOT consistent with treats! They rarely make it to the barn.

SFTS said...

charlienchico wrote:
We acquired a a psycho arab gelding project about 10 years ago (back in the days when I thought every horse could be fixed). I think he was 10 when we got him, story was teen boy wanted a horsey, parents bought him baby arab, teen boy played with him a little bit, but then high school and college came along, boy checked out, parents were scared of horse, horse ended up with us.
He would pull back. We went through so many snaps, halters, lead ropes, ties and even (yes)posts. We just kept going bigger and bigger (bigger snap, bigger chain, bigger post...). He was never really 'cured', you could never predict what might set it off. We tried making him jump forward, letting him fight it out, trying to sooth him. Thank God he is out of our lives now (after 2 near death episodes with my husband). My question is; is there something we could have done different that might have worked?

- - - - - - - -

Some of them you _just_can't_tie_ if they've been through so much and gotten something ingrained into them. Most horses with tying problems ARE fixable. Some, you just don't tie them. If that's a horse's only problem, I don't worry about it.

SFTS said...

Deb McKay wrote:
I am SO tired of trainers whose main goal seems to be to "train" the owner to spend their money needless items.
- - - - - - - -

As a trainer myself, here is the question I always wanted to ask those owners who complain about being taken advantage of by trainers? Why do you put up with it! There are plenty of good trainers out there who don't only seek to part owners from their money on needless garbage masquerading around as tack, among other things.

SFTS said...

milwaukeecob wrote:
I don't know if the reverse is worse: when you're the owner and the trainer is out there working your horse badly and everyone there is watching it. It happened to me. The trainer wasn't overtly abusing, but he was riding her HARD--and she didn't need to be. I didn't walk out to stop him and now I know that I should have. But at the time, the other breeders who use him were standing right there, and I didn't want to embarrass him. It was a bad deal. And I learned a lot from it.
- - - - - - - -

Here is a perfect example of why I continue to train horses myself. Well, one of the many reasons.

I have said many times before, if I didn't train horses, I no doubt wouldn't own them. There isn't one trainer out there whom I'd trust to send my horses to.

Owners ~ DO NOT put up with abuse in any form toward your horses by someone claiming to be a "professional trainer". EVER!

JohnieRotten said...

SFTS

The thing about horses that pull back, is that they tend to have other issues as well. So, if we have a horse that pulls back, we are going to deal with it as it is a safety issue that has to be dealt with.

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
If you have to sell product as a trainer to get people to use your methods, then maybe you need to work on your methods.
- - - - - - - -

Well said, definitely well said.

I am waiting for my book to be published, though. LOL It's a collection of columns I have written over the years for various magazines, put into book form. Common sense training for the "regular folks". There isn't a whole lot of that going around these days. ;)

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
SFTS

The thing about horses that pull back, is that they tend to have other issues as well. So, if we have a horse that pulls back, we are going to deal with it as it is a safety issue that has to be dealt with.

- - - - - - - -

I was referring to those who's only issue is the pulling back. :) I've actually encountered a LOT of those.

However, you're right ~ if there are other issues, you definitely must address them as well and sometimes in conjunction with the pulling back. You've also got to ascertain if the pulling back is caused by some other trigger which can be rectified.

But I stand by just not tying certain horses. It's worked very well for me for years. :)

JohnieRotten said...

SFTS

Every horse out here ties without exception. If they come in as pullers, they will learn how to tie. And that goes for every horse out here!

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
SFTS

Every horse out here ties without exception. If they come in as pullers, they will learn how to tie. And that goes for every horse out here!

- - - - - - - -

Oh, I agree fully that they should be taught to stand and tie. However, if you encounter a horse that would rather injure itself or hang itself rather than stand tied, sometimes you've got to think outside the box. :)

CharlesCityCat said...

It is so interesting to hear what professional trainers do with problem horses and even that there are so many problem horses to deal with.

My four and the few that I have worked with over the years had some issues but they are really minor compared to what I have read. I guess I am spoiled or that I take certain things for granted.

***Runs out to turn on fans and kiss good little ponies on their noses for being good little campers***

JohnieRotten said...

SFTS

There again, out here there is no thinking outside the box. I have too many to ride and I will tack two ride one while the other is tied.

And with all of the commotion around here with cattle and horses. The horses do not have a choice. I love my horses, but they have to learn their job.

And then when we sell a horse,we ate selling one that ties.
CCC

I am spoiled too. And when we get a horse that does not tie it throws me out of the loop for days.

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
SFTS

There again, out here there is no thinking outside the box. I have too many to ride and I will tack two ride one while the other is tied.

And with all of the commotion around here with cattle and horses. The horses do not have a choice. I love my horses, but they have to learn their job.

And then when we sell a horse,we ate selling one that ties.

I am spoiled too. And when we get a horse that does not tie it throws me out of the loop for days.

- - - - - - - -

I have a friend who trains Quarter Horses and Paints ~ she does that. Sometimes those tacked and standing around horses will stand there, in cross ties, tied to a snubbing pole, or go round and round on the hotwalker all day, until she gets around to them. But see, that one always floors me. When I have so many horses to ride in a day that I have to let them stand tacked, I have an assistant who does the tacking and grooming for me, and sometimes the longeing if they need to be longed.

Either that, or I need to lessen the number of horses, because I'm not giving them all the attention they (or their owners) deserve on a daily basis. For years I have limited the number of horses I take in. I can only reasonably ride about 14 horses in one day, giving them each ample time and my undivided attention. Maximum. That's with 2-4 lessons per day AND with someone grooming and tacking for me.

I don't believe in making horses stand tacked and tied for long periods. I don't believe in "patience poles". That's just asking for trouble, in my experience. I also don't believe that a horse who doesn't tie because of some idiot human being, some horrific (generally human induced) trauma or severe (generally human induced) lack of proper handling or training in the beginning necessarily needs to learn to stand tied at all costs when they've shown a propensity to hurt themselves when tied.

It's those differences in how we all do things and the differences of opinions that makes the world go round, eh?

JohnieRotten said...

SFTS

Here's the thing.

My horses learn how to tie and they learn patience. The last thing I want is to have a horse dig a hole while they are tied to the trailer at a club cutting or a small open show. So if they have to learn to stand tied at home for a while at home,so be it. Bottom line, all horses learn how to tie here.

Like you, I am limited to how many I take in, even so all of those horses know how to be tied and how to stand tied.

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
SFTS

Here's the thing.

My horses learn how to tie and they learn patience. The last thing I want is to have a horse dig a hole while they are tied to the trailer at a club cutting or a small open show. So if they have to learn to stand tied at home for a while at home,so be it. Bottom line, all horses learn how to tie here.

Like you, I am limited to how many I take in, even so all of those horses know how to be tied and how to stand tied.

- - - - - - - -

I agree I don't want my horses to dig holes, whether they're tied to a trailer at a show or anywhere else. I just don't like the tying for hours on end. That's all :)

When I am confronted with a horse that I've deemed it's just not going to be worth it to try to teach to tie without #1, breaking things repeatedly; #2, hurting itself; or #3, hurting me, I'm not going to risk it.

It doesn't happen very often, maybe three or four in 30 years? But every once in a while they do come around.

JohnieRotten said...

SFTS said:

When I am confronted with a horse that I've deemed it's just not going to be worth it to try to teach to tie without #1, breaking things repeatedly; #2, hurting itself; or #3, hurting me, I'm not going to risk it.
_________________

Unfortunately when I was taking on problem horses, they came around all too often. The horses were not givena choice as to whether or not they tied. They just did and that was it!

SFTS said...

JohnieRotten wrote:
Unfortunately when I was taking on problem horses, they came around all too often. The horses were not givena choice as to whether or not they tied. They just did and that was it!
- - - - - - - -

Like I said, luckily I haven't had to deal with that many really severe cases. And I don't deal with bad problem horses anymore, I just don't have the desire for that kind of challenge anymore. ;)

To each her or his own!

SFTS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicole said...

I used a rope halter on my horse, because she did lean on the web halters. But I don't use it to tye anymore. Last week when tied a dog came out of the bushes barking scared the daylights out of her and she fought the rope badly. She ended up laying her nose open from the thin rope. I will not even use a rope halter to tye her again. Neither the halter nor the cotten lead broke so she paniocked for a good 10 minutes before I got the dog away and she calmed down. VERY SCARY. The unexpected can happen at any time. I work in the veterinary field and have always been someone who thought of wrost case "what-ifs" but this was a new one for me.

Kallista said...

I'm late getting in on this subject, the week was too long and not a very pleasant one for me at all. So relaxing and trying to catch up a little bit.

My two questions: So basically tie them up and let them just learn to deal with it for the most part? I have one that unties a quick release knot. Should I just tie a regular knot? I do have one of the blocker tie rings and love that for fast "holding them" but he just learns to keep backing till the rope comes all the way out (15' rope). Just a 3 year old and just getting him started.

The other question is more general. How long is good to work them? I usually do an hour, by the time I get going and finish up. Gather my stuff, give a quick brush and a fly spray while I'm about it so we are both comfortable and relaxed, about 40 min of work, another brush down (fast) for their reward and sometimes a peppermint or alfafa pellet or two if they were really good for me.
Does that sound like a reasonable plan?

And thanks, Johnnie, for doing this blog. I feel like I can come here and ask questions and not be mocked or told I'm doing things wrong. I try and take a little bit from everyone I see working horses, everyone usually has some little gem that I like or that makes things easier, but love the common sense approach. Thank you, again!

JohnieRotten said...

Kalista

There is no set training session time in which we work the horse. We go by when the horse is done than we are done. Usually if you want to put a time on it, I would have to say you may get about 15 minutes in which you have that horses full attention. After that you just have to see how the horse is responding to what you are doing.

Never use a regular knot when tying a horse!

What I do is wrap the lead rope around the hitching post twice and then tie them. If they undo the knot then at least the are still somewhat tied to the post and probably will stay there. If they are just untying the lead rope than that is the best way to go.

As far as pullers go, if they pull back, I never release the knot because they will learn that they can still be released if they pull back. I usually just stay out of the way and let them pull, usually they will quit pretty quick as soon as they realize that they are not going to get loose.

PrairieFarmer said...

Kalista -
Hey, I was just reviewing this post! On the safety knot thing - I was taught to always, always, always tie any large animal (horse, cow, whatever), with the quick release safety knot. And many times I've been glad I did. But I've also had the "un-tiers" (look, I made up a new word!). In which case, I put the end of rope back through the loop. Yes, if the horse pulls on the end a lot with their teeth they can essentially "tie" a knot. But usually they don't pull it tight, at least in my experience, then if you do get in a dicey situation you can still just quickly pull the end back through the loop and pull to release the safety knot.

cattypex said...

JR.... we need to download your brain into an army of clones, then deploy them to the outer reaches of asshatdom. With extreme prejudice.

Heh, my pulling mare taught me that

a) it's good to have a non-cramped, uncluttered area to tie, because if they do sit back and pull, you can step aside and let 'er rip without worrying about it

b) solid brass is breakable

c) don't tie your horse in your pretty new leather halter you got to show her in (No silver, only a "sovereign" style braided detail, but $50 was a lot of money for me, and I only showed Western showmanship/halter a couple times a year)

d) that crappy old halter she came in is pretty damn strong

e) teaching your horse to ground tie and STAND is pretty handy

f) why didn't I ever translate that into making her NOT PULL is beyond me....

cattypex said...

And is it just me (haven't been halter shopping in awhile) or are there too many halters with non-adjustable nosebands?

Drives me NUTS trying to help these 4H kids with their showmanship!! The cheekpieces are too short, and the nosebands too loose.

SFTS said...

cattypex wrote:
And is it just me (haven't been halter shopping in awhile) or are there too many halters with non-adjustable nosebands?

Drives me NUTS trying to help these 4H kids with their showmanship!! The cheekpieces are too short, and the nosebands too loose.

- - - - - - - -

Cattypex, I like the Valhoma halters and Big D as well, you can find them both in adjustable styles. But I find most often the "Arabian" sized halters are the ones with the adjustable nosebands, in a variety of brands. :)

cattypex said...

Valhomas are NICE halters!!

I like Hamiltons, too.

I think there are just too many cheap people who don't care if a halter fits. ; )

See, JR, part of why I never ended up a trainer is that I'm too much of a "Oh, whatever" hippie.

Except that now I have a kid, and... that just don't fly.

MaybeI just need to raise a kid or two before I start a horse! ha ha

LizBeth said...

Interesting topic.

When I started working with my mare over a year ago, and I was still in a lease agreement for her (didn't fully own her then), I was told her two biggest issues were she pulled back, and she was cinchy.

I still work for the lady that I leased / aquired her from, she's still on the same property (just for what its worth.)

I started by thinking, well any horse owned by my has to tie. I won't tolerate a non-tying horse.
My boss was afraid of tying her up because she'd 'pull' ... so when I was working with her and KK would be out there as well, I was never 'allowed' to tie her up. Very frustrating for me. I would wrap the rope around the hitching bar multiple times, and hope she didn't try to walk away on me when I had my back turned.

So, instead of being so afraid of tying her up, when KK wasn't around, I started to tie her in her stall for 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. While I was cleaning her stall, I'd tie her up. The rail we use is about a foot too low for most stock type horses, which is perfect for a good puller to get a nice neck arch on. In her stall, the top rail was almost 2 feet higher, so I'd tie to the corner post and wrap it around the top rail so it wouldn't slide.

I did everything I COULD to get that mare to pull back.

I tied her to everything I could think of ... trees, the arena railing, the round pen, outside of her stall to the top rail/corner post, odd places in the ranch. Never once did she ever sit back. Most of the time she would do everything she could to watch me work, cause I'd tie her up and walk away.

The ONLY time she ever pulled back was MY fault. I was using a saddle that didn't fit her perfectly, and the more I used it, the more 'cinchy' she was getting. I lost patience with her one day, smacked her on her chest, and wha-la... back she went.

I calmly walked to her butt, smacked her again, and she shot forward and hit the rail with her chest, the saddle halfway down her sides, and she turned her head and looked at me with the perfect "Well, what did you do THAT for?" expression.

I started out with a Weaver nylon 1 inch wide halter, but about 4 months ago I found a black Professionals Choice 'trainers rope' halter with the knots across the nose and have been using that ever since. Its not for ground manners, she doesn't need it for that, but I do a LOT of ground work with her - I'm teaching her to move her shoulders, body, hips and all that... so the nylon doesn't do the job as well.

LizBeth said...

Oh, also, if I might make a request?

I have seen a lot of you comment that whoa means 'plant feet don't move or you die' kind of thing.

HOW do you teach that to the horse? I know its in the ground work, but all I've gotten so far is a half hearted "ok, I'll stop". Mare is a 13-ish ex brood mare that was ridden at some early point in her life, but I'm starting from scratch and she has no 'stop' on her at all. She'll do it under saddle by my body shifting backwards, but thats all I have been able to do, and even to me that seems a bit backwards to teach under saddle first, then ground second?

Maybe a good topic choice soon? *hint hint*

JohnieRotten said...

LizBeth said...
Oh, also, if I might make a request?

I have seen a lot of you comment that whoa means 'plant feet don't move or you die' kind of thing.

HOW do you teach that to the horse? I know its in the ground work, but all I've gotten so far is a half hearted "ok, I'll stop". Mare is a 13-ish ex brood mare that was ridden at some early point in her life, but I'm starting from scratch and she has no 'stop' on her at all. She'll do it under saddle by my body shifting backwards, but thats all I have been able to do, and even to me that seems a bit backwards to teach under saddle first, then ground second?
_________________-

The way I usually teach them to ground tie is to get then to stop on the lunge line and I let the line go slack. All of the lunge rope between me and the horse is laying on the ground and I will then approach their shoulder not their head. I will not hold on to the end of the rope, just walk up tp their shoulder. If they start to move I stop walking towards them and say Whoa!

When I finally get to their shoulder, I will rub their necks. After I pet their shoulders, I will approach their heads.

The main reason that I do not approach the horses head first, is that the closer I get to the horses head, the more of a blind spot I am in. If I am in the horses blind spot, he will move to get a better view and to see what I am doing. If I approach his shoulder first, he can just turn his head and look at me an not move his feet!

Then I will switch directions and repeat the process. Before you know it, when you say whoa and let the line go slack, they will stop and stand.

Cut-N-Jump said...

I can't stand the Hamiltons or any other halter with the metal tip or grommets. They get bent and it's a bitch taking of off the horses head. The one Hamilton we had barely fit on the last hole, but get it wet and it grew six inches in every direction and nearly fell off! Hey thanks. That's helpful. /end sarcasm/

BMB has a big buckle JR likes- I do not.

Adjustable noses and throat snaps? You can keep 'em. I like simple, web with no adjusting other than the crown with the 'melted' holes.

And yes plenty of room to move around the horse or get out of their way, but them shifting around, back and forth, go for a rear hoof and they move all the way around parallell to the rail... Not so much a fan of that.

SFTS said...

LizBeth wrote:
I have seen a lot of you comment that whoa means 'plant feet don't move or you die' kind of thing.

HOW do you teach that to the horse? I know its in the ground work, but all I've gotten so far is a half hearted "ok, I'll stop". Mare is a 13-ish ex brood mare that was ridden at some early point in her life, but I'm starting from scratch and she has no 'stop' on her at all. She'll do it under saddle by my body shifting backwards, but thats all I have been able to do, and even to me that seems a bit backwards to teach under saddle first, then ground second?

- - - - - - - -

I always start on the ground, preferably from the time they are babies. I say preferably, because too many owners DON'T insist on them learning what "Whoa" means from the start! But it can be taught at any age, and you can also fairly easily re-train a horse who's heard "Whoa" so many times that they tend to ignore it. Pet peeve? Using that word for EVERYTHING having to do with your horse. It's like saying "No!" to your child, then giving in when they beg or cry. What does that teach them? That "No" doesn't necessarily mean NO. Your horse learns the same way.

What I do is ask the horse to halt, simply on a leadline snapped to the halter. When I say "Whoa", and I halt, I will expect the horse to cease moving as well. If the horse doesn't stop, I'm going to give a slight, little downward snatch on the lead and say "Whoa" firmly again. Generally it doesn't take much for them to understand that they will get the little jerk on the lead when they are expected to stop and do not. Once they have that down, I'm going to begin to move away from them and around them, all while expecting that they will stay put. The moment they move, they get the same snatch/jerk down and a firm "Whoa!" If they take more than one or two steps, or if they turn, I will move them back to the starting point and give that snatch on the line. Soon they're standing as I walk to the end of the line when I tell them "Whoa", and I can walk all the way around them without the horse moving.

This then translates to work on the longeline and beyond, including under saddle. If they KNOW what the word "Whoa" means, it will mean the same no matter what you're doing with the horse. Once in a while you'll get a horse who 'forgets' because of one reason or another, spooking, being amped after a layoff or not being worked/ridden for a while and so on. However, even in extreme cases where they just flat ignore you, all it usually takes is one little, short lesson on stopping (as explained above) to bring it all back.

Major peeve: Saying "Whoa" to merely slow the horse down. My word is "Here". Communication and the horse understanding what basic terms are is key!

Hope this helps, and JR, I hope this isn't too long. :)

SFTS said...

cattypex wrote:
Valhomas are NICE halters!!

I like Hamiltons, too.

I think there are just too many cheap people who don't care if a halter fits. ; )

- - - - - - - -

You know, I like the way the Hamilton halters are constructed and how they fit, but I don't like the brass tips on the buckles (they tend to fall off, and the ends aren't very well cured so they ravel...I've also been afraid that they might poke a horse's eye when the horse gets unruly for haltering) and those brass grommets tend to fall out, too, also causing unravelling.

But you're right, there are a LOT of folks who just don't know how to fit a halter properly. Even show Halters, yikes.

SFTS said...

Cut-N-Jump wrote:
I can't stand the Hamiltons or any other halter with the metal tip or grommets. They get bent and it's a bitch taking of off the horses head. The one Hamilton we had barely fit on the last hole, but get it wet and it grew six inches in every direction and nearly fell off! Hey thanks. That's helpful. /end sarcasm/
- - - - - - - -

That's one of the things I forgot about, yeah, those tips do tend to get bent (or worse, crushed) and then it's a real bitch to get them through the buckles.

But I find that about EVERY web halter stretches out when they get wet. I'd love to find one that doesn't...

Adjustable noses and throat snaps? You can keep 'em. I like simple, web with no adjusting other than the crown with the 'melted' holes.
- - - - - - - -

I like the adjustable chins, because many halters, even so-called "Arabian size" halters, do NOT fit a finer small, tapered Arabian head. They just...don't.

The throat snaps? Not so much. I don't use those snaps on the halters I have with them, so to me they're essentially useless hardware.

cattypex said...

Oh yeah! The metal thingies on a Hamilton... never thought about them being hazardous, but I can totally see it.

I never used my Hamilton as a Daily Driver... it was for show (back then you could do open shows in a nice, fitted nylon halter and still win) until of course it got pulled on and broke.

I just like things to fit. A little kid with a full-sized horse has much more control if the noseband isn't flapping in the breeze right up under the horse's eyes, or hanging off the end of his nose.

A side note... I use a Gentle Leader on my dog, who's a puller. SOO much better than a collar or choker!!! It's a halter for dogs.

cattypex said...

Oh, and teaching WHOA and ground tying is just one of those things that requires time and effort and repetition. Can't be in a hurry....

I always said "HO" in the Firm SLightly Sharp Voice for stoprightnow, and "eeeeeeasy" in the Soft Soothing Low Voice for slowdown or calmdown, with appropriate physical cues for each case.