Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Horses › Trouble with New Team
- November 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm #86410
I’m bummed to be writing this email… When My brother and his friend went and checked this team out we thought it was a pretty good match.
I recently purchased a beautiful team of Mares and their transition to my farm has been pretty rough. Its the classic story of on the home farm they were great and under a new handler in a new home shit starts to hit the fan.
I’ve discussed my struggles with the younger of the two with several of you. I want to say again how much I appreciate the help and wise words. I have tried the past month to turn my relationship with this horse around and have learned a tremendous amount in the process and dare I say it made a little bit of progress. The sad fact is she is perhaps slightly more trusting and just as aggressive if not more so than our first morning together on my farm. I can lead her to and from pasture, harness her (very carefully), hitch her (she and her mom drive pretty good), get her to move her hind end over and away from me, and wait patiently while I walk her hay in towards her. But between these huge successes we still have moments in which she threatens to bite and kick me and others(professional trainers) who have worked with her. I’d never worked or seen anyone work with a horse that exhibits its distrust, anxiety, and unwillingness violently towards a human.
She is extremely sensitive to a flag (a plus) though I feel I currently lack the tact and subtlety to work her safely. And that is my primary concern. This horse could easily hurt me and change my life forever. I became extremely aware of that after she went to kick me the first morning. Its been on my mind a whole lot.
I don’t think that she is a mean or extremely aggressive horse and neither do the friends and mentors that have been helping me to work through this. She is a bit spoiled, extremely bonded to her mother, and has found that by threatening to kick and bite she can get out of what is asked of her. I definitely helped to teach her that the first day she kicked at me. That is what kills me… If I hadn’t been so shocked by the extreme response from trying to pick up her hind foot and had my flag, aluminum shovel, or whatever to let her know that that wasn’t OK, I think I would be in a very different situation right now… It kind of kills me.
So, after that longwinded explanation I’m looking for potential offers. These could be folks looking to purchase her single or with her mother or more creative.
Honestly, I’m trying to decide if I should stick it out and try to truck her and her mother to a mentor and friends to have them worked in the round pen but I’m feeling substantial pressure to get a team going for the coming sleigh ride season. I also consider every day the potential to get seriously hurt.
I paid $2500 for this horse. I have $160 invested in a vet check (totally clean) and another $350 in trucking. While I recognize I will probably have to take a hit and loose some money this $2500 is a little less than half of what I made this summer. I know and have been told that this 6yr old horse in experienced hands could be turned into a really nice mare. Right now I’m on the fence… I need to make the best educated decision possible and that sadly includes the economics…
Words of wisdom, please post here. Offers and more questions, please call twoO7 319 nine77two.
Thanks so much. This horse has truly helped me to realize what an extremely supportive and generous community I am a part of.
Carl JohansonNovember 16, 2015 at 6:57 am #86411
Sorry to hear about your troubles with your horse. There are many on this forum with more experience than me but I will put in my 2 cents because I had an experience very similar to yours. We bought our current team of bay geldings 6 years ago. They were 5 at the time and very well broke when we went to drive them with experience on a lot of different farm equipment. The fellow who sold them to us reaffirmed that they were well trained but still just “colts” and to be careful.
For the first few weeks this team was great for us, but slowly things started to break down due to our lack of experience. Pretty soon they were no longer the “dead broke” team that we purchased but a few rogues occasionally taking our suggestions, but mostly not.
The first more submissive/fearful gelding went like a champ in the round pen. We thought we were pros. When we put his brother in pen he wanted nothing to do with moving on our command and proceeded to drive me out of the round pen. Charging and kicking he was moving me instead of vice versa. Very humiliating! We stuck with it for weeks and finally were able to exert our leadership – dare I say dominance? – over this horse. I learned so much from those experiences in the round pen. For me, it was a safe environment where I could engage my horses and learn to read them (and vice versa). It was a venue in which we learned to start communicating with each other however crude and facile. Pressure, release, approach, and retreat – I was learning the first moves to the intricate dance of equine communication. I was able to develop a modicum of confidence that I could then apply to working situations.
Looking back I feel like Clinton Anderson’s approach is a bit rigid, sequential and lacks subtlety, but at the time it is what I needed having little experience with horses and no mentors to guide me. This round pen work coupled with changing to leverage bits were some key tools in getting us started on the right track with these “colts”. Note the term “tools”. It’s hard to build a house without hammers and saws but those tools don’t make you a carpenter. The rest was just hard work. Fortunately my wife and I make our full-time living off the farm and there has always been plenty of work to do with these horses.
6 to 7 years in, we have a great team and I am constantly learning and trying to refine my craft. Incidentally, the uber-dominant horse who tried to kill me in the round pen has turned out to be a fantastic partner. He has unflagging determination and is super-responsive both in and out of harness. He can still be a bit of a handful at times, but I have come to appreciate that spirit and use it to my advantage.
I have been following the “Command vs. Communication” thread with interest as I tend to be a bit of a dominator. This is partially due to the aforementioned experiences and partly due to my personality. I have a fairly rigid set of expectations in out of harness and I enforce them consistently without fail. The results have been very good, but my current work resides in developing a more subtle approach. I currently see myself as a benevolent dictator and need to become more of an empathetic leader.
I encourage you to stick with this horse. As mentioned before, I think a lot in terms of pressure/release when I work with my horses. I try to exert as little pressure as possible to get the desired result. Once that desired result is accomplished I try to provide immediate release. I believe that clear communication is based on (1) the amount and speed with which you apply pressure; and (2) the ability to immediately release upon achieving your goal. In my head I envision a “pressure gauge” that may go from 1 to 100. Ideally you start low and increase accordingly and this can happen in a matter of seconds. Depending on the behavior, I might start at 50. In the case of this mare biting and kicking, a response in the 110 range would be appropriate.
No mentor can do the work for you. It is you and your horses working it out together, coming to an understanding where you all can feel safe accomplishing meaningful work. It is this shared endeavor that makes this work so meaningful and fulfilling.
Good luck and be safe.
GeorgeNovember 16, 2015 at 7:38 am #86412
Carl. Sorry to hear the struggle continues. I think we spoke on the phone recently? I can’t add much to that but I might summarize it this way. Make yourself safe, make yourself feel safe; make the horse safe; make the horse feel safe. Start to ask things of the horse in situations where you know how to get the thigh you have asked for. I know this sounds overly simplistic, but let me try to make an example (others may not agree with). I am not sure I understand the hay in the stall thing, but if I do the horse is tied by the head, and you walk into the stall from behind with an arm of load of hay. This seems so simple and it should be easy, no one wants to give up this simple thing; but the reality is you don’t feel safe (and may not be), and the horse tied by the head may not feel safe (certainly feels something – not sure what).
I am not going to suggest what you should do now, beyond what I have said above. I think the above suggestions may require that you look at all the current situations and interactions with a new perspective.
It is so easy for any of us to fall into a situation where we say, “But, this should have worked!” or “this worked before”. I am working with a young mule today that has caused me to go “backward”. Bummer for me but is it really backward? I can reconsider anything I choose as I proceed. No great answers unfortunately. feel free to give me a call. DNovember 16, 2015 at 9:54 am #86413Carl RussellModerator
Hi Carl, I just want to paraphrase some of what we spoke about last night.
I also have a sense of challenge here, and I an not going to outright suggest that you give up on this horse, but clearly you just want to work horses, you have a lot of work to do with horses, and this horse has become dangerous. I for one will not judge you for passing her along, whatever that looks like.
I will also not try to suggest any exercises, as I am not going to open the door for you to get seriously injured. Truthfully a $2500 loss is cheap compared to the possible alternatives.
Both George and Donn made some points above that I see having good bearing on this situation. I agree that some of the round pen exercises could be a safe place to start, and as I described last night you may need to find 110% energy to overcome her attitude. Also finding safety for you and the horse is paramount.
I will though, repeat something I told you. I have no bearing for this, but from what you have told me I think this is close. I have found in my experience that when the interaction between horse and handler is defined by correcting bad behavior, it is very hard to develop trust. I try to find ways for the horse to do what she wants to do under my direction, then take credit for allowing her to do it. Of course when she is trying to bite and kick that is not desirable, but focusing on correcting that can be distracting from the good things that she can be rewarded for. I also think that it is very difficult to ever correct behavior if there is no trust, and that trust may need to be built in ways that do not seem obvious.
I have to say that I have never had a horse demonstrate that level of aggression toward me, so my thoughts are entirely theoretical. (Well not entirely, they are based on similar, but less intimidating circumstances). I have some suspicion that this horse trusts her mother more than anything, and may actually never had much if any work with understanding how to work with humans. From your description of how she acts with her mother vs without, I suspect she may have just been conditioned to go along with everything the mother did.
I personally would start trying to figure out how to use the mother as the primary comfort, and find ways to work with both of them to build trust with the younger. Your exercises of leading to and from pasture sound like a good place to start. If they are comfortable together, lead them that way. When you try to separate them to address issues with the younger, you have found that it is one long string of corrective battles. That is not the lesson you want to teach her. I think you want to teach her that you are comfortable around them….. They may be comfortable because they are together, but you need to take credit for making that be the comforting situation it is. By that I mean express comfort in the way you step, the way you hold your head, and the way you use your eyes… don’t be constantly “checking” to see how they are acting, just act like you expect this to be the very easiest of things they could ever do.
If you have someone with a round pen and advanced skills who can help you work with them like that, then it may be the way to go, but as George points out it needs to be you working on this….. and it seems to me that as soon as you have that young mare by herself you will be needing to address her aggression…. I see that as the first lesson you have taught her…. You are purposefully creating the aggressive response because you have changed her comfort zone without allowing her to accept it….
Again, if this mare (and her mother) came to me as a freebie, and I thought she would fit into my operation, I would start as I described above. However given your situation, financial, experiential, and emotional/intellectual, I would support you moving back to the free lease team that allows you to get the work done that you want to do. If you have the time to dive into this, because you see it as an investment, and you want to go down the rabbit hole, then find a way to be safe.
Tools are important, and you may need some time to get them, and to refine your use of them, but also try to delve down into the situation and find the blocks in the foundation that need attention before you can get up on the roof.
CarlNovember 17, 2015 at 11:08 am #86415
I have a few more thoughts on this, which may help with some insight, but I don’t know how much practically. We also have a horse we bought as an 8 year old, we took him from his mother for the first time and he had not had a lot of work prior to that. He also had a bit of an aggressive nature which maybe had served him well in avoiding work or interactions that made him nervous, I don’t know. I do feel that aggressive behavior is not because they are mean, but because they are insecure, and our new horse had a great deal to be insecure about, having moved, meeting new horses for the first time and starting training. And some horses handle things they are afraid of in different ways, most try to get away from the situation and others try to battle it. I remember doing a repair to the horses waterer with the electric drill. My original 3 horses are a little wary of the drill so decided to leave the shed. The new horse was wary of the drill so charged me with teeth bared!
I’m very grateful he was not a kicker because that is just so dangerous it would have been difficult to proceed, so I feel for you. Our guy was a front end aggressor, he could charge and take you down and I lost some skin to his teeth a few times, no fun and worthy of caution, but it seemed unlikely I would end up with a life changing injury if I was careful.
The path to a pleasant demeanor with him was giving him is confidence and gaining trust. This started in the paddock with him and most importantly about food. I never pushed him away from his food or made him wait when he exhibited bad behavior. I tried to make it a non issue, I deliver the food, he always gets it and it is no big deal. I ignored his snapping and threats(meaning I did not punish them but I did not back away readily either, if anything I’d give and extra pet), the key is you have to do it safely, but the message needed to be that there is no reason for defensiveness about the food. For me, this slowly progressed to being able to walk up to him in the paddock while he was eating his hay and give him a scratch or an apple and walk away, ignoring his half charges when I turned my back. It is a really tricky business, because it is bad behavior that is dangerous and shouldn’t be tolerated, but punishing the behavior, in my horse’s mind, sort of justified it.
We have had this guy for 3 years now and things are worlds better and I feel quite safe with him. It is still a work in progress and I know he scowls at me sometimes when I turn my back, but he has so much more trust in me and he is now willing to face new things without slipping into attack mode.
It seems like there are a lot of good things with this team in that they drive well together and you are figuring out how to handle her safely. If you decide to move forward with them you will have to watch your back for a very long time, but you may be able to develop a system in which you can and still make things work.
Now that 3 years has past I am glad I put in the work with this horse to make things right, but I can tell you at year 1 and 2 it was quite discouraging to feel like I was doing a good job but still dealing with the same old shit.
Good luck with your decision. Again, I am very grateful hooves weren’t flying at me, it would have made things much more difficult.
KristanNovember 18, 2015 at 9:08 am #86416mitchmaineParticipant
george, did you ever think that if all you drove was good sound horses for thirty years, you’d end up fifty years old and still not know much about horses?
i wonder about that. its good to have a challenge now and then. maybe in the end, its the problem horses that end up teaching us, and we end up learning more from the horses than they do from us.
mitchNovember 18, 2015 at 2:08 pm #86417
Its great to hear others experiences in working with these challenging horses. The timescale is something I’ve been finding myself wondering about often. If its yrs before I can be confident this horse will not kick at me or others who approach her I’ve got a lot of thinking to do.
George and Kristan, I’d be interested to hear what your experience has been with having apprentices or employees work around these horses.
We are hoping to hire another teamster this summer similar to the tractor/equipment operator we hire now for tractor work. Can we expect this person be tested in a similar aggressive way? How do I avoid that? Will the farrier be tested in a similar way?
I’m searching for and finding many positive moments. The past couple weeks its been pretty calm and simple.
Lenny Kelly came over for a visit yesterday and we worked with the mare on a lead rope for about 30 minutes. He said that we had definitely made some progress since his first visit. She was still quite “crabby” throwing some pretty awful looks around. She also swung her back end around towards him at one point. Lenny commented on the fact that she was still afraid of the flag and I needed to invest more time desensitizing her to it. He said a lot of this fear comes from me thinking about the flag as a means of protection and subsequently using it towards that objective.
I’m going to truck her and her mother over to his place this Saturday afternoon. I’m a little nervous about the loading to be completely honest. If her mom is in the trailer I’m positive she will hop right on. Lenny just had heart surgery a couple weeks ago, so its sounding like I’ll be the one in the round pen with him coaching me either at my side or on the edge. He has talked about working the team together at first and then removing the mother and moving to work the younger mare single.
Also got to hear a cool story about this one horse Lenny’s father picked up. They ran a 40 horse logging business not twenty miles away from our farm. He called him a “rebel” (thought of you Carl) and was a terrible kicker and wouldn’t let anyone near him. Somehow they were able to get the horse in the barn and cross tie him. Lenny and his brothers climbed up in the mow and started to throw hay bales off of either side down onto the horse. This horse was pretty wired and was kicking at the bales but they just kept throwing them down until they were well over his back. After they had effectively immobilized this horse they climbed down from the mow and started to brush, groom, and pet him all over. They got a harness and threw that on him, all the while slowly removing the hay bales until they were all back up in the mow. He said that horse was in wood lots working the next day and didn’t come back to the home farm for 2 yrs. Said he was one tough SOB.
On another note…
A local horse dealer said he would take the younger mare for $1,500. I told him I would have a better idea come Sunday if I was going to try and find this horse a new home. Just weighing the options.
I’ll let folks know how Sat goes,
CarlNovember 19, 2015 at 9:11 am #86420wally bParticipant
I would seperate her from her mother for an extended amount of time like months and really seperate them. Then I would go to the very basics. Start with things she can do and that you can do with 90% assurance that you are going to succeed. You need to get your mind and body language in a place that will help you convey the message that you arn’t scared. Her mother needs to be so far away that you might need to board her away for a while.
I had a horse like this that I got for free–spoiled, kicker, biter, but had some attributes that i thought might work out. She had turned out to be a fantastic horse with alot of training.
I am willing to speak to to you if you want by phone and try and help. To set up a time email me: email@example.com. I am in Oregon.
WallyNovember 19, 2015 at 9:30 am #86421Carl RussellModerator
Mitch brings up a good point. I was thinking the same thing, but also listening to Carl, and having some background from a short face-to-face horse-in-hand session last winter, I have a sense that Carl is nibbling around the edges, sort of parked at the intersection trying to decide which fork to take.
My first horse was a challenge, and in fact nearly every horse after that has been untrained and compromised in some way. That has been my journey, and I feel that I have gained tremendously. I can honestly say that I had no intention to take that course. I was much more interested in working horses.
I have known folks who have wasted a lot of time looking for the perfect team, never becoming successful in that search. I think some of this is part of learning how to be a teamster.
There were none of the resources there are now when I was at these cross-roads. There weren’t many work horses, and there weren’t very many folks to talk to or learn from. Part of my choice had to do with my innate bull-headedness, part of it had to do with not seeing any alternatives.
From what I know about Carl, he is not trying to avoid working with the issues in his horses, but is also looking for something more comfortable. I just don’t want my own personal curiosity and tenacity to be a guidepost for choices he is facing.
I do however suggest that this is not a team, or horse at least, to hand over to a hired driver….. Unless it is someone like Mitch, or Lenny….. This also gets back to some of the discussion in the training thread. Even if this was a bombproof team, I would question that work model.
Matching people to horses where the relationship is solely based on a requirement of work, seems a bit like hiring drivers for sleigh-rides, and I have seen and heard of many troubles in that scenario…..
Have fun on Saturday Carl…..
CarlNovember 19, 2015 at 6:12 pm #86423
Hi Carl J:
Regarding the biter, I am careful having others work around him. We had someone visiting our farm last winter and he reached over his stall, bit through her jacket and broke the skin. That said, he is boarded for a couple of months during the winter so my wife and daughter car ride in an indoor arena. The staff gets along with him fine there.
I concur with Carl about having other folks drive this horse. I had an experienced driver drive my horses once and they ran away with him. It was deep snow thankfully and he was eventually able to stop them. Oddly enough (we were very green at the time), I could see it unfold before it happened as we were both in the forecart together. I didn’t say anything b/c I had little experience at the time, but even at that point in my budding horse career I knew the horses well enough to know what he was doing wasn’t right. Long story short, no one drives my horses except my wife and I.
One last thing regarding the round pen. I have never used a “real” round pen made of wood. I have always used a temporary poly wire set-up. I have worked with half a dozen horses this way. As long as the horse is fence trained and you don’t put too much pressure on them, you should be fine. I encourage you to try it if you move forward with this horse.
GeorgeNovember 21, 2015 at 11:31 am #86433
George, Interesting comment about the “poly wire” pen. I have always talked about the limitations and drawbacks of a round pens (as well as the potential uses and benefits). I have usually not had one which was another reason I have learned to work with out one. Some of you may remember “Bob” the mule attempting to go over the pen at the field days. While he ended up having a very positive experience with Neal and Beka; that moment showed one of the limitations a metal portable round pen. Not much of a mental barrier if the animal decides they want out and there wasn’t much (any?) pressure on him at the moment.
I have had one of these pens at home for the last year as we used it to corral some cattle and other purposes. About two or three weeks ago we set it up to see what “Pete” would do in there. His reaction was much like Bobs; only with a bigger, stronger mule he almost cleared it, messed up a panel (like Bob) and ended up on his head, neck, and shoulder before standing up on the outside. “what’s up?”
Needless to say I won’t be doing that again for a while. I took me a few minutes to decide what to do next. I had also set up an apx. 200 foot diameter round paddock with lots of tread-in posts and thick poly wire. I had a few obstacles in it. A plastic barrel, stone boat, forecart, big tire, small logs. Clearly if Pete wanted to return to his group from here he could have, but the larger size, helped contribute to his ability to choose to stay. In this pen in the following couple weeks I was able to: work him loose, making him move and stand. Work at lunging with a rope halter to regain some yielding of the head from him. Harness him standing loose in the middle. When I first dropped a tug and attached a long chain he attempted to bolt (which is were I had been stuck for the last month), I was able to keep up with him, steer him around the large paddock and bring him back to a walk. Step one! Obviously because he had gotten away a few times, it was going to take a few times (many?!) with him repeating this attempt and finding me going with him and controlling him before he would stop. This large poly pen has given us just enough restraint as well as freedom to work in.
Could this have back fired? Easily. There were a couple times when I thought he was going through the fence and that would have made a bigger mess than if I had just kept working him near the barn. Just clipping a tread-in post while moving too fast around the paddock could have done that as well.
The first time working in this pen he was dragging the poles, and was driven out of the pen for a long drive with nothing behind him or on the ground. This is where I used no hames rings to give myself a lot of leverage should I need it. The next time we were in the pen, or round paddock, he pulled the two poles out and went for a good while in a clear open field but I was very careful where I went and which way I pointed him.
After a week of jury duty, yesterday I decided to hitch him with his mother, (the only horse I have right now) and give him something that would be both new and also possibly comforting. They went into the round paddock and pulled the poles. At the first hook, he tried to jump pretty good, but as before the paddock was a small aid in me keeping him at a walk and helping him quickly relax. One big difference between this time and the one before was that by himself after hooking to the logs once it was hard to get him near them to hook again. By his nature he stands exceptional well for a young animal and with his mother we were able to hook, drag, do a few figure eights, unhook and come back and hook again. he was much more relaxed, but still threw in a few random attempts to “be out of there”. He is slowly figuring out that that has been taken away. They finished by dragging the poles through the field for a while. I will work single again next and perhaps continue to switch back and forth. This week I think he will be pulling a stone boat I can get on.
Short answer, I have used poly paddocks of different sizes for training before, and will in the future. PS. one slightly used portable round pen for sale – cheap!November 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm #86453
I’m still processing this afternoon so it may come out a bit jumbled.
Loading was pretty uneventful. The younger mare was much more willing to follow me into the trailer than her mother. Totally opposite what I expected…HA!
So there were a couple things that made the experience a bit unique:
There was a pair of stocks and tire in the middle of the round pen.
I was one of two people in the pen. Another man who Kenny had helped earlier this spring was over as well and kind of lead the charge.
We began simply by running the younger mare at a steady trot. I was surprised by how little energy I had to send in her direction to get her to get her to move her feet. She displayed very little aggressive behavior toward me or the other individual while in the round pen. She is pretty out of shape so Lenny told us to stop and rest her periodically (This was a bit inconsistent with what I have been reading). I was struggling to keep my shoulders at a 90 degree angle to her hindquarters and keep her to the outside edges of the round pen. We invited her into the center of the circle when she began to lower her head. The joining up was extremely loose and I was struggling to navigate the stocks and tire while keeping the correct body position. She really did appreciate just being allowed to hangout.
By the end we were picking up her front feet and I was rubbing her all over, including her hind end! I was instructed to stay close and square to her while I was doing this. She pinned her ears once while I was coming around her back end. Lenny said this was because I wasn’t embodying the confidence and trust necessary for her to fully trust my intentions. I’m struggling with this because simply don’t trust her and wont for a freaking long time. My confidence did grew substantially while we were in the round pen despite this one moment. I worked around her a little bit more, picked up her front feet, wrapped her up in one of Lenny’s horse blankets then lead her out to the trailer.
We then proceeded to work the mother in the round pen. I wanted to see how the response would be different and it was substantial. In the 30 minutes we round penned her she never showed any signs of “submissive” behavior. She kicked out multiple times at both Lenny, myself, and the other man. This is something the younger mare never did. It reminded me of a story I once heard from Mitch about one of Donny Webb’s horses getting worked in the round pen. Donny’s horse who was really super mellow, broke broke, was being described by the trainer who was working her in the round pen as an absolute rebel. This was lenny’s description of the older mare who I have found to be pretty damn steady, responsive, and willing in everything I have asked of her up to this point. I’d love to hear peoples perspective on this…
We worked this older mare until the sun was pretty low and then decided to call it and lead her to the trailer. While tied to the I began to work around the young horse exactly how I did in the round pen i.e. rubbing her down and circling her entire body with mine tight to hers. The first trip around her went great, i didn’t notice any behaviors I would interpret as aggressive. The second trip was not quite as affirming. As I rounded her left side she went for me hard with her hind end and pinned me up against the trailer…
Lenny responded to this behavior saying simply that “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and that it would take time. He said the next time this happens I need to shoot straight for her head rather than letting myself be pushed by her hind end. You have so much more power at their head… He also said if she tries to bite me leatherman work really well at biting them back… After that he really didn’t give me anything else. I would love some more ideas…
I feel that the round pen is totally a viable, productive, and safe way to work this mare. Making the transition out of the round pen is going to be a bit of a challenge which was totally displayed. I would love peoples perspectives on this. The round pen work in conjunction with the exercises I have currently been doing while she is tied to the wall and leading I’m hoping will help bridge the gap.
My experience in the round pen was all in all pretty positive. It felt extremely loose. I don’t know how much of that was lenny instructing me to reward her attempts or just sloppiness of communication (probably a mixture of both). I’m going to try and make a large poly-wire pen and see how that goes. If she goes through it then I will go from there and start looking for other options.
I’m going to purchase the Clinton Anderson DVD and see where that gets me. The snippets I’ve watched on youtube make a whole lot of sense with my prior experience. I’d love to talk with folks a little bit more this. I’m excited to pursue something with a bit more structure. Today seemed very fast paced. I felt like we were maybe skipping some steps or letting some things slide in the interest of time. Perhaps I just can’t read the more subtle changes. I would have liked to have her join up more strongly than she did today. But perhaps we were just rewarding the try.
Its very interesting to see where the terminology or academic language of teamsters overlaps. Lenny has used that term. I’m going to call him tomorrow to talk a little bit more about it all. Just need to formulate some solid questions.
After today I will be just as vigilant but substantially more confident in how I move around the mare. I also have much more confidence in my ability to read my horse. Lenny said that I was a bit paranoid (which is probably true). For me this result is enough for me to proceed. I’m actually kind of glad she went for me at the trailer. It would have been way to easy!
I’m hoping to team Emma up with one of the Percheron mares I was working this summer for the sleigh rides. I’m going to pasture the younger mare separately with a steer on the property and put Emma with Abby in the primary pasture. My plan is to work Princess single all winter grooming trails and pulling out firewood. I’m just hoping I can provide consistent enough work for three horses.
So I think I’m sticking it out. Lenny thought I should based on what he saw.
OK, I’m done tuckered out…
November 21, 2015 at 11:42 pm #86455mitchmaineParticipant
- This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by Goranson Farm.
hey carl, glad you had a good day. sounds to me like emma is queen, and probably has her way with princess and the pasture, the feed, and anything else she wants. princess is the subordinate that has to do the dirty work for mom, by kicking the crap out of any other horse that ends up in the herd, including you. MAYBE, (just maybe), you have to jump to the front of the line and work with mom, and if and when you win her loyalty, you are number one and princess falls into her role further down the line. two birds with one stone. sounds easy doesn’t it? when you go in a bar room, smack the biggest guy in there and you never have any problems ever again.
keep up the good work, carry on, mitchNovember 22, 2015 at 7:25 am #86456
Carl, Nice work and fascinating stuff, isn’t? I think there are some trick dynamics going on here. I think Mitch hit it on the head with the relationship between toe two mares. In my experience this can make them hard to drive together initially. I have a few questions from your description of the day and they are not judgments at all but just curiosity. And maybe a few comments or suggestions.
First, when you brought them out and tied them to the trailer and the mare “pinned” you, was has tied next to, or near her Mom? realize that what I say next is easily said and not always easily done, it won’t be done perfectly by any of us every time, but when an animal starts to invade your space like that you need to fight back with the first step and not allow her to put you in that position. Examples: was there ample room for you on that side of the horse when you went in? Folks will try to squeeze because they don’t want to ask the horse to move, or don’t know how to ask the horse to move over. You you are along side of the horse and in no way pinned, any half step, sway or but moving my way is an unwanted invasion from her will be met with a finger, thumb nail, four fingers, knee, something direct and to the point aim into a flank, hip leg, with some controlled energy, get the “f” off of me.
The reason I ask about where the other horse was is, was she tied on the other side?
A small round pen with obstacles is very difficult. It sounds to me that this horse will link up very easily and this is a good thing. Don’t keep demonstrating this fact to yourself.
When she was trotting around the pen you commented on how little pressure it took to make her move. Could you have used less pressure and had her walking? How would this have changed the dynamic?
Getting everything out of the pen is the most important part. I will suggest that with a rope halter and a lead rope she can come out of there that day. be asked to move around you. Be asked to stand while you move around her. Pick up her feet.
I mentioned the thing above about the horse pinning you for another reason. Lenny mentioned a pair of pliers for a horse that bites. I see some flaws in that response? If a child was going to bite you what are some of the thing that we might do? First, see it coming; if this is not the first time I know I will. Second address their open moth head with my hand in a way to protect myself and send a message I will not tolerate this behavior. Right on their chin, right then, hopefully without getting bit. How would I use pliers? If they are in my pocket I would have to get them out. Now in that time did I get bit? Am I really going to bite them back? My point is timing is everything. Anyone that keeps getting bit (or kicked) by the same horse doesn’t need to increase the strength of their response, but improve the timing.
I once had a friend who asked me to look at the younger, newer horse (gelding) being teamed with the older “solid” mare. My friend was so frustrated – the younger horse didn’t want to lead, didn’t want to pull, didn’t want to turn in certain directions; etc. I got that mare so pissed at me that day, because she had been running the whole show. You will slow down, you will keep you head in your lane while turning, you will not rush through the turn. you will start together with everyone else. A little line adjustment and bitting down of the mare and these two worked great together. My friend had miss read where her problems where. I find this is common for the “horse behind”.November 22, 2015 at 11:09 am #86457JaredWoodcockParticipant
“I’m going to try and make a large poly-wire pen and see how that goes. If she goes through it then I will go from there and start looking for other options.”
That isnt an option. You need to be the leader, and know what you are asking will work out fine. If you think the horse might jump the pen, it will. If you have all of your ducks in a row and you know that everything will go fine, then it will.
You can accomplish the same goals of the round pen in many different ways. It sounds like your day to day routines are the issue considering the older broke mare is now acting up as well.
Its all in your head, sounds like you are figuring it out though, keep it up!!!
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