Which Training Method?? Serious help needed

NoviceNic

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I bought a slow, lazy, bad mannered cob 2 yrs ago. I know have a forward going, strong, bad mannered cob who gets very anxious in new situations. He wouldnt mean to hurt me but he has no idea of his size and quite often barges past me. I am in a new yard and I have a fantastic RI that is teaching me how to progress and improve my riding dramatically. But I need to improve other areas especially his manners and herd, seperation issues.

The main problems for starters are:

1. Nervous in new areas and runs off at the first chance. Knows his strength and can run away and run to any horse he can get closest to. Leading him from stable to alloted individual grazing areas and vice versa are impossible without putting a bridle on him at present. He has started to bite me when I lead him to try and get away from me or show his displeasure at being led to his grazing area and not just let off at the main field gate.

2. When we get to local Shows. I am nervous, excited and completely making a hash of riding him about and enetering clear rounds. RI can help me with clear rounds and riding postion etc but need advise or help with keeping me calm and Captain calm. PLenty of RR rammed down mine and Captain throat to calm us both down.:eek:

3. Gets anxious when away from herd although on inidivual grazing and whinneys constantly, ignore leg aids and direction given by myself on solo hacks, at shows etc. Often bolts to first horse that canters passed him in opposite direction.

4. Has no respect for my space on the ground. He will barge passed when he is scared, when he sees another horse he can play with.

I am sure there is more but these are just for starters. Feel free to ask me any questions and I will reply honestly. I am not an expert and I know it. ;) Serious advise would be appreciated to get me started on helping Captain in these circumstances so we can continue our life's together safe and happy. Thank you. :)
 
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cloang

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definitely not experienced enough to give you advice but re the trying to bite you, when Auds did this to Clo we put her grazing muzzle on before leaving the yard to go to the paddocks:)
 

teabiscuit

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what's changed in his life?

has this change in captain happened at a time when other changes were happening?

i'm thinking about the individual turn out, i know he can see and hear other horses, but maybe not being able to play, mutual groom and socialise is causing him to become insecure?

this is a suggestion not a criticism, :)
 

KateWooten

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I answered on your other thread ... just wanted to say ... well, you know whtat I'd recommend - commit to a step-by-step program and just work through it, you'll be learning all the while, and he will be - build your relationship from the ground up. All these behaviours are just natural symptoms of the horse not really needing, or believing, that you are his natural born leader. He's just taking more of the responsibility for his own wellbeing, than you would like him to have !

Any of the NH-type, move your feet type of programs will work. Obviously I vote for Clinton Anderson via his book, but Parelli would work if you have excesses of cash to part with - or Kelly Marks if you have a local RA that can help ( I find the books a bit thin, lacking in any cohesive from the start sstep-by-step instruction - a bit too much just patchin over the holes for me - but would work if you have someone to take you through it).
 

teabiscuit

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hmm Kate, he sounds a little out of sorts with himself too, may not all be down to this herd leader thing.

I truely believe it's worth considering if anything else could be unsettling him.
 

NoviceNic

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His seperation anxiety happened 2 Summers ago when I took him to local shows for the first time. I managed it by carry on taking him and not being so competitive and just walking around with him all day. Ridden or on the ground. I stopped taking him with the herd members and take him on his own.

The leading issues have always been there. We then did a little groundwork ie. Walk on, stand , back and if he wasnt listening I make him turn tight circles. This he does very well in the manage but when I put it into practise when leading too and from stable he ignores me and whinneys to the other horses. I tell him off by smacking his chest if he is walking all over me and then growing in size and shouting at him. By not tolerating him not standing still whilst being tied up or when he is draggin me to another horse or to his grazing area. This time none of the above are working.

He moved yards in Sept this year. Firstly he went purely onto grass livery and was very well behaved considering none of mine or his creatures comforts were there. By that I mean no where to tie him for tacking or grooming. I had to lead him past the others as they ran up to say hello or put their ears back. He was nervous at first in case he got his bum bit. But he never ran off and never pushed me around.

Then in Oct I moved him onto the yard. We now have a stable, concreted yard, and own grazing. Creatures comforts and security of fencing around the yard but no fencing towards the walkway to the field. He has never got off at this point it is always in the field he runs off. Prior to the new yard he lived in a herd of 8 mixed sexes and was No 2 in the herd.
 

KateWooten

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Yeah - I see the training method itself as a more 'holistic' thing .. that's really the point of the NH step-by-step things .. they work 'from the ground up'. I mean, I don't know anyone who has followed any of the programs who hasn't looked at the whole way their horse is kept - I certainly don't know an NH'er who would advocate individual turn-out for example. Natural herd living, with me as natural herd leader, is all part of the methodology ... as is barefoot, and the conditions necessary to make that work. I think you're right, something is not right with Captain's world ... but to develop an understanding of what's not working for him, to my mind, NoviceNic ccould do that by learning to read the horse better, understand how herds function better etc etc.

of course, everyone has their own circumstances and restrictions on what they can do so you have to pick and choose what bits will work for them .. but I think it's all there in the theory if you want it. The 'step-by-step' program approach just seems to me to be most effective in getting people starting thinking 'horse'.
 
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Yann

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It does very much sound like a lot of his issues relate to the company of other horses, or lack of it. Is he able to socialise with anyone over the fences where he is or are they always out of reach? If not it sounds like the failure to meet this basic need for company is stressing him out, and the answer might not be easy but it's obvious.

As far as his behaviour in general goes you need to become a reliable and effective leader for him. At the moment he is making all the decisions for himself, ideally you want him to feel able to look to you for guidance when he gets worried first rather than reacting instinctively. Doing NH type groundwork where he learns that you move his feet and he has to respect your personal space is very important in establishing yourself in that position for him, and it's certainly where I'd be looking to go with a horse like this once I'd sorted out any other obvious issues :)
 

teabiscuit

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NN i don't know you or captain, from your posts you sound very capable and not the sort of person easily pushed around.

my gut feeling from miles away over the internet may be way out, but i feel that the separate grazing is causing him to be anxious and might be the root of his worsening behaviour.

as i say, could be miles away from what's going on.
 

NoviceNic

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Got an EDT, proper back person and farrier booked. I am concerned he is tense and that if she can try and loosen any muscles up or pick up on any pain issues that I am not aware of then that is a bonus. :)

Sorry I am not sure if it is optimitrist that you call the back person. Just know that she is highly recommended qualified equine back person.:eek:

Anything I do will need to be self taught as we are too rural and current have OH out of work. I believe there is someone in the village who does Parelli. But I am not sure if they are qualified teacher or just someone who is futher on in the book, if you know what I mean.

I will stick to this plan so need something that I can get more support from you guys about...:)
 

KateWooten

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I tell him off by smacking his chest if he is walking all over me and then growing in size and shouting at him.

Growing in size - generally being big sounds like the right sort of thing. Have you thought about, ok, offer him the chance to take one nice calm step forward on a loose line. Now he either chooses to do that - accepts your leadership, or he chooses not to - in which case, woo hoo, 5 minutes of good hard work, circling, changing direction, backing up moving sideways... on and on and on relentlessly... then 30 seconds standing still calm, soft eyes, breathing .... then offer him the chance to walk forward one step ... etc etc

Of course that only works if you can already ask him to circle, sidestep etc - which is why the step-by-step ness of a program is so good - it keeps you in a comfort zone, gradually extending the sphere of things you can do safely, calmly and in control.
 

KateWooten

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Anything I do will need to be self taught as we are too rural

Hey ! me too ! In that case, I'd really recommend Clinton Anderson's book even more strongly cos it's so cheap, and can really get you started with a bunch of real easy to follow, just get out and start moving his feet type of exercises.

I just started the first of them yesteday with the new pony who has been wild, terrified and uncatchable for as long as anyone knows. Now she's turned out in my big field with the others and I'm 'confident' I can just go and walk up to her and catch her for the first time ..... Hmmmmmm..... watch me fall flat on my face right now :D
 
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NoviceNic

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He cant and wont be able to touch another horse till there are other liveries on the yard. It is a newly managed yard that is trying to fill up. The YO has her own horses but they are kept out 24/7 at the bottom of the field. If I put him in with her horses he would get stressed when I brought him into his stable overnight or during lousy weather. Plus I do give him a small amount of feed each night. Just for the sake of getting garlic into him as there are a huge amount of flies around his eyes and biting him at the moment.

2 weeks ago he settled. The factor that changed then was we loaned a pony for my daughter. They grazed at the side of each other and could touch and groom. Unfortunately this pony has gone home as my daughters interest dwindled. Since Saturday I have seen him lapse into his bad manners again. He is tarty around girls and clingy to geldings. Although when he grazes in a herd he is never with them always on the side lines. :confused:
 
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Yann

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If the company issue is a big part of the problem then it's going to be an uphill battle sorting everything else out.

If you're having to deal with this DIY then I'd personally be cautious about following something like Parelli without expert help, aside of the fact that it's a big financial commitment anyway. The ante is really upped in the early stages and if you don't get it quite right you risk making things even worse.
 

KateWooten

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He is tarty around girls and clingy to geldings. Although when he grazes in a herd he is never with them always on the side lines
That's normal. If he's an insecure horse - they often seem to get a raw deal from others, yet can't bear to be parted from them. Likewise, a real confident self-reliant horse, can look like she couldn't care less about the others, when in reality she's keeping a careful lookout from a distance - overseeing things. It's just natural herd behaviour. Sounds like there's a limited amount you cna do about the circumstances ... but it's not a despairing situation .. the bigger, stronger leader you can become (in his mind) the more confidence he will have, the less his mood and behaviour will be influenced by his herd situation.
 

teabiscuit

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thanks Yann, you put things so much better than me, i just get in a flap.

the herd leader respect thing is all well and good, if everything else is in place. however it is a theory, and theory is all well and good until you put it into practice.

admittedly it's a sound, well developed theory, but as we cannot actually get into the horses head, we cannot take it for granted that this is what's happening,

and it drives me up the wall when this is presented as the holy grail answer with no other thought being put into it from someone who hasn't even met the horse or handler.

if this not what is going on, you are not being fair to the horse or yourself, further more you're wasting your time and may make things worse.
 

KateWooten

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... but we can't meet the horse or handler can we ? She's out there on her own, without a stack of money to call for an expert to come and tell her ... getting pulled and pushed all over the place, not knowing how to get this horse's attention back ... surely thinking it through from the horses' point of view is a good place to start ? yes, upping the ante, parelli-wise can be dangerous - so can getting dragged all over the place by a big horse. And she's not quite going it alone - shes got all the rest of us here.
 

Mehitabel

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i think that rather than 'a training method' to follow, you need to really understand what he is doing, what he is trying to achieve by doing it, and how you can effectively keep yourself safe and turn the behaviour patterns around. you need to know how his mind works and how to communicate with him in ways he understands and wil respect. this is the theory behind all the training methods and they all act on the same principles.
they are all manifestations of the same root cause - so you can treat the symptoms until the cows come home but if you don; sort out the cause you will never stop them.

1. Nervous in new areas and runs off at the first chance. Knows his strength and can run away and run to any horse he can get closest to. Leading him from stable to alloted individual grazing areas and vice versa are impossible without putting a bridle on him at present. He has started to bite me when I lead him to try and get away from me or show his displeasure at being led to his grazing area and not just let off at the main field gate.

so here, he is craving company of other horses - you are not 'good enough' for him. rinzarider who sometimes posts on here says 'the horse isn't on its own, it's with me and i am good enough company for any horse' - and she is right. you need to get his focus on you and teach him that you are his company andwith you he is safe - this is the important bit.

2. When we get to local Shows. I am nervous, excited and completely making a hash of riding him about and enetering clear rounds. RI can help me with clear rounds and riding postion etc but need advise or help with keeping me calm and Captain calm. PLenty of RR rammed down mine and Captain throat to calm us both down.

this is a problem with you, not with him. he cannot take confidence from you unless you have it yourself - he wants a leader, and you are not being one for him in this situation. again, he needs to feel that you can keep him safe.

3. Gets anxious when away from herd although on inidivual grazing and whinneys constantly, ignore leg aids and direction given by myself on solo hacks, at shows etc. Often bolts to first horse that canters passed him in opposite direction.

exactly the same -you are not good enough company, he does not feel he canrelax unless he is with another horse.
4. Has no respect for my space on the ground. He will barge passed when he is scared, when he sees another horse he can play with.

and again - he is in charge, he is not seeing you as the person who will make everything ok. he doesn't feel he can rely on you.

so, you need to change that view of you that he has. he needs to (in no particular order) 1) know that when you are around you are the boss and he must always have some attention on you. 2) know that he never ever invades your space no matter what else is going on. 3) know that when you are with him he has no need to worry about keeping himself safe - that is your job and he can concentrate on what you ask, not on the outside world. you will not let anything dreadful happen to him.

so - have a think and see what you think would be the first step to any of these things. what you need to do to teach him that, which you might want to work on first, and which would come as a result of the others. also think about what kind of behaviour from you will give him these messages ,and what message he is getting from you at the minute.
think both on the 'meta' level, in terms of attitude and expectations, and on the practical level - how you make sure that you don't carry on giving him the wrong messages and what you need to change on a physical and practical level.

post what you think, and we can discuss it and break it down. once you understand the principles, the training methods are much of a muchness really.
 

Peace

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2 weeks ago he settled. The factor that changed then was we loaned a pony for my daughter. They grazed at the side of each other and could touch and groom. Unfortunately this pony has gone home as my daughters interest dwindled. Since Saturday I have seen him lapse into his bad manners again. He is tarty around girls and clingy to geldings.

Dang - the individual grazing arrangement sure sounds like the problem then, doesn't it. And the flies, too - they always put Quanah in a bad mood. There's no way to change this?
 

Mehitabel

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i'd missed that he is on individual turnout. this can be a huge factor - most horses will fret when not getting any equine company at all, and while you must maintain basic manners and personal space, it is unreasonable to expect him to be happy alone. can he not go out 24/7 until other liveries come? he is not a delicate stick-legged pony, is he - he ought ot cope out happily.

while i will never tolerate being run over, i would not expect a happy and willing horse if it was stabled alone and turned out alone and it would be a matter of urgency on the level of needing veterinary attention to get him some company. i'd cut a fair amount of slack on the manners i expected if the hrose was alone 24/7 and *never* had a friend. if it is for the hour a day i want to ride or a day at a show going back to friends that is a different kettle of fish.
 
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