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Discussion on Pulls back / rears while leading

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Mary Persons
Member
Username: unity

Post Number: 12
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 - 12:56 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lately, my horse has taken to pulling back, sometimes rearing while I'm leading her and she doesn't want to go (leave her buddy, leave the pasture, etc.) I am using a Clinton Anderson rope halter on her, and yesterday when she did it, I pulled hard down on the lead rope and she pulled even harder, then reared (about 2 ft)- the rope pulled right out of my hand. I then got the rope and proceeded to back her up about 30 feet for about 15 -20 minutes.
I am not sure what to do, or how to handle it when she is actually in the process of pulling back, and/or rearing.
She doesn't do it all the time, but enough to cause me concern.
Please help.
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2212
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 - 1:20 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

When your horse goes back, Mary . . . go with her, keeping the same tension on the lead . . . until she stops and/or comes forward with her nose, head/neck, takes a step toward you . . . whatever stop and forward movement . . . and then IMMEDIATELY put slack in the lead rope for her. IMMEDIATELY. After a couple of seconds, take the slack out and give the mare a cue for "forward." I use a kiss sound, and my body language tells the horse what I want, too . . .
and this is just for your present emergencie, BUT what you and your horse need are some lessons on going forward whenever you ask . . . not some of the time, but 100% of the time, and that will take some good ground work. You can do it in a round pen or on a longe line more safely than on a leadrope, but in any case, your horse is being stubborn and resistant and is trying to call the shots.
With all the talk about Frank Bell training recently, and with past discussions of natural horsemanship training, I know you will find some good help here. The key is that we have to have movement in order to train. And it is good that your horse went backward when you asked, but she, just as importantly needs to move forward when you ask, and it all has to do with a horse moving AWAY from pressure instead of INTO pressure. It has to be taught and reinforced throughout the horse's life. Do a search and I know you will find some other discussions on this topic. It seems that I remember Ann (the Ann with Spots)but I could be mistaken, starting a discussion about a similar problem with her filly that was pulling back when she walked her to turn out. For the immediate solution, in a nutshell, don't give up . . . and unless you are in an unsafe position, don't let go . . . just keep the tension on the lead the same and move with the horse if she is backing up . . . and only release and give slack if she gives to you first. For the long term solution, do more ground work on having a consistent forward cue and get the forward movement every time you ask.
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Melissa Boschwitz
Member
Username: amara

Post Number: 383
Registered: 7-2000
Posted on Thursday, Sep 6, 2007 - 9:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

when i have a horse start to pull back like yours mary the thing i do is immediately step to the side and ask (in whatever way necessary) that the horse step the hind end over.. i keep the head and front end facing me, and keep the hind end disengaging correctly until the horse is no longer so intent on leaving and i feel the horse is paying attention to me.. this may take 2 steps or 22 steps or whatever...then i stand with the horse until the horse processes what has happened -which can take 2 seconds or 2 minutes or 22 minutes or whatever!, while the horse licks and chews and relaxes.. this helps the horse to think of being with you as a good thing...
the reason i do this is because the crossing of the hind legs encourages a relaxation of the spine which gets the brain to think again.. by keeping the horse's head and attention on me i get the brain thinking about me, not about leaving me...
the sudden spiking and then lowering of the central nervous system has an affect of encouraging the horse to accept whatever is in around him at the time of its relaxation...
i dont like to follow the horse backwards because i am only teaching the horse that it can go backwards when it wants to leave... even if i stay with the horse, the horse is still going backwards away from where i want it to be... the disengagement keeps the horse right where i want it to be when we're done...

when you yank on a resistant horse you only encourage reflexive brac.i.e. the horse will pull back with equal or greater force against the resistance applied to it...you also add brace to the horse, so in affect you are adding resentment that encourages the horse to want to leave you in the first place...

if the horse is pulling away from you then you need to get to the original problem which is "why does the horse want to leave you"... my above solution is only a quick fix to a problem, but the real fix lies in figuring out why the horse wants to leave you and what you need to do to change the relationship with the horse..

good luck
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2218
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Friday, Sep 7, 2007 - 1:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Melissa, I respect your methods and your expertise, and as in anything, there is "more than one way to skin a cat," and I want to respond to a few of your points about going back with the horse.

By going back with a horse that pulls back, he isn't getting away from you. You are maintainint the same distance and pressure until he gives . . . and it's the same principle as the Blocker Tie Ring or any kind of exercise in teaching a horse to give to pressure.

If a horse decides to pull back while tied, he is not going to naturally move his hind quarters over to prevent the pulling. In most cases I've seen, the horse will break the hardware and run, skid under and sit down, break the hardward and go over backwards, pull the post or hitching rail off and drag it away, do some damage to his neck as he shakes and pulls, or will try to relieve the pressure by coming forward and putting slack in the rope.

In going with the horse, the human is teaching the horse that he CAN'T get away and that the only way to relieve the pressure is to give to it.

While it is good to try to understand the whys of a horse's behavior, the whys can't supercede the whats . . . and whether my horse has been abused or frightened or is just plain angry at me, he still has to obey . . . and when I say, GIVE TO PRESSURE, by applying pressure, my horse needs to do it. By adding the cue, move your haunches and give to pressure, it is actually a more advanced technique because the horse has to know two cues.

So, my conclusion is that a person needs to do what works to keep him and his horse safe, but if he chooses to do the "move your haunches over and stop pulling on me," he still needs to teach the "come forward to the pressure because giving to pressure is the name of the game."
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Mary Persons
Member
Username: unity

Post Number: 13
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Friday, Sep 7, 2007 - 11:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the help.
I think the reason she pulls back, is (yes, disrespect), but also because she has decided that she would rather be back in the pasture with her buddy, rather than work, or have me ride her. She's not afraid of me; but she does have a stubborn streak, and she can be just a brat sometimes.
I will NOT yank on her the next time she pulls back, but try the methods suggested.
I love her dearly, but I do want her to do as I "say". She is a smart horse, and learns quickly, and I do believe she is "testing" me.
I really do appreciate the help!
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Cynthia G
Member
Username: cgby1

Post Number: 156
Registered: 5-2006
Posted on Saturday, Sep 8, 2007 - 7:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Mary, I would teach the forward cue using a training stick. Clinton, Parelli and Dennis Reis all use them. When I have a horse that does not move forward with me, I do not pull on their lead. I reach back and use the stick to tap them on the rear or on the side where you use your heels to tell your mare to go. I have a arab that had a pull back problem and I learned to drive him from the rear. If you can, get Clinton's book " Training on the Trail" it's only $10 and lesson 4 - 6 teaches longeing for respect. I also use John Lyons cue to drop their head to teach them to give to pressure on the poll. You can do that in her pen or stall. You do not need to pull hard just a little pressure but when she gives give a big release. Then when she gives every time do a harder and more sudden pull so that if she steps on her lead she won't react the wrong way and flip over backwards. I have found that you need to keep reminding them or they go back to instinct. Don't go too fast and be ready to go back to the softer cue. I taught my filly when she was only a few days old to lead by putting only a little pressure sideways so that she felt off balance and stepped toward the pressure. Lots of petting and praise and soon she was stepping more and more towards the front. But I also taught her to move forward from tapping on her rear or belly and I cluck whenever I want them to move something no matter what direction (forward, back or sideways). Try to make the lessons positive, I think Parelli has the right idea to have a positive attitude.

Cynthia
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Stacy Upshaw
Member
Username: 36541

Post Number: 340
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Saturday, Sep 8, 2007 - 9:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I would add that while you are working this out, whatever skinning method you employ, that you wear gloves and carry a dressage whip or the "handy stick" type version at all times. I have found it takes 10-14 days of iron consistency to retrain an issue like this, and your horse will count it as extra points any time you are not prepared to address the problem. A firm "I mean business" attitude, even leading for the shortest distance, is also one of your tools. Think of your mare as a wayward two year old girl, that might help if you're a human Mom too!! Stacy
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Angie J.
Member
Username: ajudson1

Post Number: 1364
Registered: 6-2003
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 9:40 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I also second the idea of making sure you wear gloves. I "always" (I'll get to the exception in a second)wear leather gloves to handle horses on the ground or handle hay. I wear a thinner pair when riding.

Just a few days ago I decided to just go bare handed to do a little bit of handling. Of course that day the horse pulled away and the rope whizzed right through my hands. So my exception of it was just going to be a few minutes of work, nothing exciting, it'll be o.k., proved to be a big mistake.

Good luck with the puller, all these ideas given will work just be consistent and put as much time as needed.
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Gwen Robison
Member
Username: gwen

Post Number: 514
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 9:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Oh, that burns so badly when they pull through your hands! Just thinking about it makes me cringe. My question about tapping their hind end when they pull back is: How does that teach the appropriate response to tension? I am truly asking out of curiosity and don't want that to sound confrontational-because I REALLY don't mean for it to. I am just trying to think it through.
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 1952
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 11:55 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What if the person stays by the shoulder? and when the horse resists the person backs with the horse (to stay beside the horse instead of in front) with a tap on the behind?

I've seen people think "ok, you want to back, let's back up!" they then proceed to back the horse up for many feet while staying in front of them... and it does seem to work... But if the person is aware enough, shouldn't the body language at the side of the horse -- instead of in front -- encourage circling instead of backing? Not that you want circling, but that's easier to fix I think?

Just thinking out loud...I am not sure about this at all, but once in a while my horse will resist and I round my shoulders and don't look him in the eye and get back to his shoulder, then he relaxes and all is ok and off we go...
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1312
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 12:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Gwenn I think that the purpose is to not have any tension when you lead a horse, they should follow you willingly every step. I think the Parelli games are great for this, especially the yo yo-game. My horses stay at my shoulder and never pass me, or pull back, if I stop they stop. If I back they back. They even do this in the pasture.

My neighbor was to the point she couldn't even turn her horse out anymore he was being so rude. I went and taught him AND her the friendly and yo-yo games.

She said she couldn't believe the difference...he was like a new horse. Here is a video of the friendly and yo-yo game....they are very easy to teach.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtGYxBLGrCs
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2221
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 12:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

That will work, Aileen . . . It is helping the horse to learn "forward" with a tap on his back end PLUS the pressure on the poll . . . and it is teaching the horse to yeild to pressure FROM BEHIND.
My issue is that a horse has to know to give to the pressure that pulls on the poll and face, too . .. and you might not be able to get behind him fast enough to give him a move forward cue and if you are on the end of a lead and working with a fractious horse, you can get kicked . . .
The solution is to do lots of "give to pressure" and "drop your head" lessons before you have the problem, and then, if the horse does pull back while tied or when being led, he will already know to give to pressure and you shouldn't have a fight on your hands.
Good groundwork will solve lots of problems.
In the case of Mary's horse, I think Mary's horse probably understands the whole "give to pressure" thing and is just being a bully . . . and I am assuming there is no safety issue or physical reason that Mary can't maintain pressure on the rope (Just in case anyone has misunderstood me in past posts, I am not talking about jerking on the rope) and go with the horse, in a very matter-of-fact way, until the horse realizes that he's not escaping from the pressure or the person and that he needs to drop his head and then move forward on cue.
If the horse is backing over a cliff or into the road, then, for heaven's sake, for your own safety, let go and let the horse win . . . work on the problem later, knowing that once the horse escapes that it will take more training to break the habit.
There are different ways to get the horse to stop pulling immediately, but the horse still has to be trained to give to halter/neck rope pressure and to come forward in his mind because it is what the handler is asking . . . Keeping pressure on the rope and moving with the horse is helping to train the horse to that kind of pressure.
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 1956
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 1:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I understand now Holly :-) So if I were working with... let's say a horse who has recently been gelded, very well behaved EXCEPT leading him to his turnout, and he started to pull back and rear, would I turn to his shoulder, not squarely facing him and go with him? that would give him an out to choose to turn slightly and go forward instead? I'm interested in this because this horse 'may' come to board with me... Thanks!!
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2222
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 2:44 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I don't suppose it really matters where you stand, Aileen, although a bit off to the side might be safer in case the horse decides to obey the cue in a violent leap forward onto you, but if a horse is pulling, he is probably going to pull straight back against the pressure, not sideways against the pressure, . . . in other words, if he is really serious about getting away, he will be flying backwards, and not sideways, and if you try to position yourself to the side, he is probably going to straighten out and still go backwards. (or if he feels you weaken, he may try to just drag you away and turn and run.)
In order to rear, he will normally have to stop his hind feet (I don't say "always have to stop;" I know better than to speak in absolutes with horses)and at that point, you do have an edge because you can hold the rope and pressre off to the side.
Do whatever works to stay safe, Aileen. Get in touch with your neighbor, Ann, because I'm sure she had the rearing problem with a filly when it was turnout time, and I remember a lot of discussion about that rearing issue.
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Ann
Member
Username: dres

Post Number: 1452
Registered: 10-2000
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 3:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Diane, thanks for sharing the Utube video.. you can tell this is new to the horse and owner, part of the steps..
When i teach my horse to back up i also ask for the head to be down so that the hind end is more engaged and not dragging their feet.. but that takes practice of course..
My colt will now do the yo yo game with out halter or lead rope.. its a hoot!~ He will also disengae his hindend with what ever lean i do with my body again at liberty..
The 'games' are great fun with the young horse or the older 'out of control' horses..

On the first day God created horses, on the second day he painted them with spots.
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 1314
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 5:18 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

The games are a great teaching tool when done right and do make the horse "light" I can point a finger where I want Hank to go and he will...with or without halter. When leading him I don't even know there is a rope there he just follows my every move.
It is a hoot!
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Aileen
Member
Username: sunny66

Post Number: 1957
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, Sep 9, 2007 - 5:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Holly, I'm pretty sure his owner wouldn't mind me doing the give to pressure with her boy. I'll see what happens, my common sense approach seems to work with all the horses that have come into my barn to board, but if this gelding does come and my approach and using your suggestion to teach him to give to pressure consistently doesn't work, I'll try to convince Ann to pay me a visit :-)
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