Thursday, August 27, 2009

Does this happen to everyone?


Great blog!

I have been training my own horse for over 3 years now. I show him as a reined cow horse and I have had some success at this in the AQHA breed shows. But there are days that we are working on something be it spinning, stopping or whatever, and we will end up fixing one problem that may come up only to have another problem pop up that is totally different from the problem that we just fixed.

I am not a trainer and have no desire to become a pro trainer. I learned how to train my horse my own by watching other trainers and asking them a lot of questions. And I did take some riding lessons when I was younger.

My question to you and your readers is....... when you are working a horse and you fix one problem, is it normal for another problem to arise from fixing the other problem?

Thanks for your time




Learning to train a horse on your own is a good thing. It is always nice to hear that people take that much of an interest in their own horses. Not to mention that you have accomplished a lot training a reined cow horse.

To answer your question, yes it is normal to have one problem arise out of fixing another problem. Whether it is with the rider or the horse, so do not worry when this happens. We see it all of the time!

When I used to work with behavior problems, this was one of the biggest things that happened because no one realized that a this type of thing could happen. So learning to recognize when it happens is very important and you are lucky that you can.

That is why we always tell our clients that even when we send your horse home, you are going to still have to train him there. Horses get bored very easily, the average attention span for a horse is about 10 minutes. So we get done working on one thing after about 15 minutes, and them find something else to work on or take them on the trail.

You have to remember, horses are creatures of habit, when a problem arises, it means that there is a change in that normal behavior/habit and then when we go fix the problem we are asking the horse/rider to change there behavior/habit yet again. That being said, sometimes you are better off just riding through the problem, depending on what it is, and the problem will work itself out as the horse exercises his own inner demons.

If the problem is sever enough, and you have to deal with it,then do so and move on to your normal training session.


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GoLightly said...

Always look to yourself first, for problems. What has changed?
A never-ending story, training is.
If there were never any problems, what fun would that be?
Often, by over-working/focusing on a particular problem, it becomes more of an issue, not less.
Take a break, do something right, end on a good note, always.

Great response, JR.

and positively First.


Drillrider said...

I've learned that when you work on something and "push" the horse beyond its comfort zone, a problem often surfaces somewhere else that has always been there, but just didn't become "evident" until you pushed the horse in another area.

Perhaps the horse always had a mental issue there, you just didn't know it, or it just wasn't evident?

That's my two cents anyway!

CharlesCityCat said...


Good point there, I was kinda thinking along those lines myself.


I think that being the first voter trumps being the first poster, so there!!

JstPam said...

I always tell my students that training happens 24/7. Every time you ride a horse, it is learning "something", either how to do something the correct way or the wrong way. Every time!

Kinda like saying "whoa" a million times and never making the horse stop. The horse has learned that whoa means to keep moving around, instead of stopping. If this behaviour is repeated it becomes a learned behaviour, learning the wrong response, but a learned behaviour all the same.

So I really stress consistant repetition, of the correct learned behaviour.

horsndogluvr said...

It happens with dogs, too. I think of it as the brain being like a snow globe. Adding new information shakes everything up, and we have to wait for it to settle.

It usually happens just as something new is going from conscious thought to muscle memory. That is, it goes from "Boss said sit; that means butt on the floor," (thump) to "Sit"-(thump).

The cure with dogs is to go back over the old stuff from the beginning, gently and without fuss. It sort of clears the channels for the muscle memory to return.

And, as they get more fluent in "being trained," it happens less and less often.

Hope that helps, Ruthie

Drillrider said...

JstPam: How true. I "accidently" trained my mare that every time the trailer stopped, she immediately got to get out because I was always in a hurry and would just get her out right away.

Then one day I didn't, and she threw a HUGE hissy fit. It dawned on me that had unintentionally trained her, so then I had to "untrain" her. It only took about 3 times of making her wait in the trailer to correct it, but my trailer has some dents to memorialize the events and remind me that our habits can train or untrain a horse.

horspoor said...

I figure everytime I ride a horse it is training. Either I'm making it better or worse. They don't just stay the same. You are either improving, or making something worse.

Sometimes to fix an issue you have to let something else go. You can go back and re-address the 'new issue' without losing the fix on the other. Sometimes you just have to focus on the issue and not worry about where the head is...or if they're coming through the bit, or if the are lateral enough...whatever you have to give up in the moment can be repaired later.

For me, it is never written in stone. If I can't go back and fix the issue, or make a mistake and fix it...pretty fragile unforgiving horse, or pretty fragile unforgiving me.

Everybody has things come up when riding...everybody makes mistakes, or has created issues. The difference is being able to see or feel that you've created this issue. You have to then be willing to take the steps to correct it. Don't get mad at yourself. Don't get mad at the horse. Look at what needs to happen and just do it.