View Full Version : Unrealistic expectations
9th Jun 2003, 02:53 AM
Just wanted to express my frustration about the unrealistic expectations some people seem to have about their horse's training\development (bit of a vent but more in disappointment than anger).
Offered to help a fellow owner with some float loading as I happenned to have a float during the weekend. I know that the young horse has refused to float previously and was thinking 30 mins - 1 hour of leading and general manners training and perhaps we may get him near \ on the float (or maybe not).
So I watched the owner work for a few minutes and it was obvious the horse wasn't going to go in (and didn't really give a toss about what was being asked of it) So I started some very basic exercises - leading, respect my space, concentrate on me type stuff. We had a couple of attempts and got a couple of feet on the ramp which I thought was good stuff and the horse was beginning to pay some attention and wasn't frightened - then the owner gives up and says 'got to go back to work now' ... we'd spent maybe 15 mins ?? and I got the distinct impression that this seemed like a long time to the owner... her comment was that she'd get a trainer in to 'sort him out'. I was already thinking of several simple exercises the owner could be doing each day and was a little flabbergasted. Has anyone else had this sort of experience ?
9th Jun 2003, 06:20 AM
not directly with someone else but i can never understand why people aren't prepared to spend the time with their horses. I have spent a long time training my horses to load - my first mare probably took me a good year to get to the stage that i'm at now - ie. she will pretty much load/unload without hesitatetion and do so politely. If she stops, it's generally just a momentary pause. My other mare that i've had just over a year, i've only just really started "seriously" training to load on the trailer - i allow myself all day to do so - somedays are good, some days not so - the last 3 days its been 1hr to load, 2hrs to load then 15mins to load - when she's in she's happy to have the trailer shut up and we've had little trips round the garden just to make her feel comfortable. I'll continue this process until she starts to load without hesitation. I'd rather spend the time now and know that i have a well mannered and polite horse whenever we go anywhere!
9th Jun 2003, 08:24 AM
I was trying to get my horse on the float to go to the trainers the other day and he would not load. We were haveing great fun trying to get him to go in as when he stands for a little while Then panicks and runs back out. A guy came running up and grabed the lead rope of me and was hanging on for dear life as the horse just pulled against him.
I never do this as it is a little preshure untill he take one steep then let go and let him be for 5sec and then another steep but this guy just hung on. And i had no idea who he was just someone pasing by whos brothers friend had two horses that he had meet a few times. Wow What An Expert.
I managed to prize the lead rope from him but then he stated waking my horse on the bum where by he was told for the tenth time he was not needed. so then he says i whould blind fold him and get him in that way. Still he would not go away and had to be told very firmly that we were ok by our selfs. There were after all three people helping me that were very experienced with horses. We got him on about 10min later. and he travelled and unloaded realy well.
But where do total stragers get off by bossing people around and trying to handle there horses. I was shocked. He just grabed the rope from me and started to pull after he had been told we did not need any more help. :mad:
He seemed to think that mear girls could not handle a horse as well as him who had met Wait for it his brothers friends horse.
9th Jun 2003, 10:58 AM
I'm still trying to get my horses confidence in the trailer and I've had him about two years. We think he was beaten to get in. I wouldn't like to think of how many hours we have spent grooming eating and just playing around and inside the trailer. He still has his days where he just won't go in.
Patience is the cure, and so is preparation. So many people decide to go to a show then spend hours trying to get there horse in, saying "but he loaded ok last year". The problem is there is no shortcut or gismo to get a calm load.
9th Jun 2003, 10:28 PM
I was beginning to think I was some sort of oddball nutter to be constantly 'training' my horse (who everyone sees as having perfect manners, as if by magic). Some people look at me very strangley, when I suggest that they can use the walk from the paddock to the barn to 'train' or use dinner time, grooming time etc etc yet all these little 2-5 min 'sessions' make so much difference and are incredibly easy to do...not to mention free! Perhaps it seems more prestigious to send your horse off to training camp or bring in a well-known trainer (or perhaps even to have a problem horse??) ahh well rant over :)
13th Jun 2003, 03:58 PM
Perhaps it seems more prestigious to send your horse off to training camp or bring in a well-known trainer (or perhaps even to have a problem horse??)
I've wondered about this phenomenon a lot. Here's why I think it happens with some people.
First, I think some people don't think they've had a success until the horse is offering the desired behavior. They don't understand the thing Mark Rashid calls "getting to the try." Your friend sounds like one of these - you understood that getting feet on the ramp was a big success, but all your friend saw was a horse who still wouldn't trailer.:)
I also think some people just have a rotten sense of timing. You know how it's really important to reward the instant the horse gives you a try? But I've seen lots of people who, through bad timing, will wind up correcting the try - horse does something undesirable, but then realizes its handler disapproves and corrects itself. But by the time the handler's reflexes kick in, the person is correcting at the time of the try, not at the time of the undesired behavior. The horse, naturally, doesn't continue to offer the try.
Then the person starts thinking the animal's just being defiant, forgetting the cardinal rule that "Wrong is not bad, it is just wrong." Person gets frustrated, critter gets frustrated, and nothing good happens after that.
And some people just don't realize what it takes to communicate without a common language. At dog training workshops, we used to play a game where one person tries to get another to accomplish some behavior without telling the person what the behavior is. The "trainer" can only reward efforts in the right direction by blowing a whistle. It's an humbling experience to be the one trying to figure out what is wanted, given such scanty clues!
Also I think you might be right that some people, subconsciously or not, do enjoy having a "problem animal." Never quite figured this one out, but I've sure seen people who were rewarding exactly the behavior they claimed not to want. :confused:
13th Jun 2003, 09:17 PM
I think you're right. I absolutely delighted by some of the 'tries' my horse gives me and I've found that the more you reward 'tries', the more your horse really gets into the whole thing. They'll start making up exercises on their own to see if its something you want - or something they can get goodies for :D
Now while this isn't strictly what some of the trainers advise, its so easy to channel a behaviour that's offered and then ask again for whatever you wanted in the first place. Its also a lot of fun to have a horse that isn't scared of getting the answer wrong - which I think happens - instead they're constantly thinking about things that might please you.
I started training him to bow, he knows this is his best cutest (most complex) trick and will offer it whenever he thinks he's due a treat or will try it if we're training something new and he doesn't know what it is. I never get mad at him for offering at an inappropriate moment (like being asked to pickup a front foot) - its just too sweet and more importantly it shows he's thinking about things and trying to work it out how to please. If you get wires crossed like this its easy just to ignore it and he soon realises that he needs to try something else, its also a reality check on how accurate my cues are (you're right Peace I'm sure that lots of problems are the people not providing clear cues or rewarding bad behaviour)
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