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Old 11-20-2011, 02:52 PM  
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My mare is SO stubborn!

With hubby gone hunting, I had the whole day to myself (again) so I decided to ride my mare today (rode my gelding yesterday). Both were boogers on the trail ... going at some unknown speed between a walk and trot the whole way so they could get the ride over with as quick as possible to get back to their buddy. They know if they trot they'll get shut down so they don't quite break into it but the fast walk isn't much fun either.

Anyway, when I got back to the pasture Katie was still being a knucklehead so I decided I'd work her in the round pen and teach her to sidepass to the left. I had taught her to sidepass to the right earlier this year and, even though it took some work, she got it and now will sidepass to the right all day long if I ask her too.

To the left ... not so much! lol ... she just wasn't grasping the concept and when she gets confused she either backs up, flexes her nose to my foot (she thinks that's the answer to everything), or rears. I hate it when she rears but I worked her through it and after oh, I don't know, about an hour and a half, she was making a small attempt to sidepass to the left. Too bad I can't do a refresher tomorrow because she'll probably forget everything by the time I get a chance to ride her again. I hate this time of year.

Oh well, it was nice being in the saddle even though it was a training session.
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:14 PM  
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Left brain/right brain stuff,...,
Do you take your foot out of the stirrup and touch the 'body part' that isn't moving??
John Lyons said, at one of his symposiums that I attended,
that a horse can feel every part of its body,
just like when a fly lands on a specific spot on their body.
He said, if you want that 'body part' to move, just keep applying steady pressure to the specific area that isn't moving (ie. stuck in place,.., brain is stuck), until it moves.
If you want the butt to move, or the shoulder, apply pressure (your foot, or tap with a crop) to that body part until it moves - over.
Open up the other side, with the reins, so as not to apply conflicting aids,
and make moving OVER easy.

Does that make sense ??
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:30 PM  
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Yeah, that's exactly the cue I give. For going to the right, I open up the right side (leg completely off of her and loose rein on the right) then apply pressure with my left leg and body weight and she goes right over.

I use the same cue (but opposite) for going to the left and she just doesn't get it. It's like she doesn't think she can move that direction ... but she can do it just fine from the ground. Stuck is a good description. We did make slight progress today but hopefully she retains a little of it because who knows when the next time I'll be able to work with her.

It's the steady pressure that gets her when she doesn't know what the right answer is ... that's when she tries whatever she already knows to try (go right, go back, or flex) to get it to go away ... and when it doesn't she rears. She's just a stubborn alpha mare but she's learning (slowly) that I'm just as stubborn as she is and we don't stop until she gives me the right answer or at least makes the slightest try. And when she does I immediately release the pressure.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:58 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valerie62 View Post
Yeah, that's exactly the cue I give. For going to the right,
I open up the right side (leg completely off of her and loose rein on the right)
then apply pressure with my left leg and body weight and she goes right over.

I use the same cue (but opposite) for going to the left and she just doesn't get it.
It's like she doesn't think she can move that direction ... but she can do it just fine from the ground.
Stuck is a good description.
We did make slight progress today but hopefully she retains a little of it because who knows when the next time I'll be able to work with her.

It's the steady pressure that gets her when she doesn't know what the right answer is ...
that's when she tries whatever she already knows to try
(go right, go back, or flex) to get it to go away ... and when it doesn't she rears.
She's just a stubborn alpha mare but she's learning (slowly) that I'm just as stubborn as she is
and we don't stop until she gives me the right answer or at least makes the slightest try.
And when she does I immediately release the pressure.
Can you get your hubby to help you from the ground??
Sometimes, once the light comes on, they get 'unstuck' and they're good to go.
But, maybe if somebody assisted from the ground, the light would come on without the anxiousness and rearing.
Also, just try to get sideways movement without being blocked in front by the fence.
Horses can get claustrophobic, if they feel boxed in.

I've experienced that same behavior before, and it just takes consistent cues, and I've taken them off the fence just to get the sideways movement concept in their brain.
JMO

Good luck
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:40 AM  
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During this training session, did you get off and show her what you wanted from the ground, then remount and repeat the cues right away?

I would also wonder if there is something uneven in your posture that is causing her to be confused. It is very hard to self assess straightness as most people are naturally crooked, but to us our crooked feels normal and therefor correct.

I do feel that if you are already having a less than ideal ride, it is likely not the best time to try to teach a new and complicated skill. Rather I would want to find something the horse can be successful at so you can end on a good note.
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Old 11-21-2011, 02:50 PM  
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During this training session, did you get off and show her what you wanted from the ground, then remount and repeat the cues right away?

I did dismount and show her what I wanted from the ground -- a couple of times. She does it well from the ground.

I would also wonder if there is something uneven in your posture that is causing her to be confused. It is very hard to self assess straightness as most people are naturally crooked, but to us our crooked feels normal and therefor correct.

I do the same cue (except opposite) for going left as I do for going right. And I even exaggerate the cue so that she can tell it's different. She has no problem knowing what I want when I ask for her to go right.

I do feel that if you are already having a less than ideal ride, it is likely not the best time to try to teach a new and complicated skill. Rather I would want to find something the horse can be successful at so you can end on a good note.

I knew that the trail ride was the way it was because she is overly buddy sour and her buddy was back at the barn. I can't really complain about the trail ride except for the speed. Also, with the shorter days and the limited time I have to ride her (especially without someone - *cough hubby cough* - there trying to tell me the 'right' way, I wanted to take advantage of the chance since I don't know when I'll have another opportunity to focus just on her.
Thanks for helping me try to work this out. She is such a difficult horse to teach anything...but once she gets it, it stays. This is just taking a little longer. We did end on a good note though -- I could tell she was starting to get it and was giving me slight tries. They were not perfect by any means but it was better than when I started.
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Old 11-21-2011, 03:10 PM  
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I think you are not understanding what I meant by you possibly being crooked.

Green horses are great for showing rider's flaws as they are so honest in their answers, whereas a well trained horse will often compensate for a rider being crooked. It is impossible for a person to self assess their own crookedness, so while you may think you are using the same aids (opposite), it is possible your one side naturally collapses more than the other, or you hip is tighter on one side, making it so your body is actually blocking her slightly the one way.

I have no way of knowing if that is true, but may be worth considering. One way to check is to have someone video you riding from behind/infront and to look for both sides of your body to be even, and for both hands to be mirror images of each other.

Yoga is another tool to check for innate crookedness.

Of course your horse can learn to counter balance your crookedness if that is the case, but inate crookedness can cause physical issues later in life (for you).
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