View Full Version : Grumpy pony!
5th Dec 2004, 11:14 AM
I went to ride Drummer yesterday and he was sooo grumpy!
I haven't ridden all week, as its to dark in the evenings now, but I've been doing Parelli and very lightly lunging him in the gravel car park (only place thats lit, lol).
When I groomed him he was OK but as soon as the saddle appeared he stood there with his ears back looking grumpy.
Riding him wasn't much better, I didn't work him hard but he just sulked!:(
Looking at it from a different point of view, he was very good when I rode, do you think it could be that the Parelli is starting to change our relationship?:confused:
5th Dec 2004, 02:48 PM
The Parelli should in theory be making him more cooperative, as you are showing him gently in horse language that you are the one in charge of his space and his feet. Has he been like this before? Not saddle related is it?:eek:
5th Dec 2004, 03:56 PM
The problem is that he has not been motivated to accept that you and he will be working together; so he resists.
When I groomed him he was OK but as soon as the saddle appeared he stood there with his ears back looking grumpy.
This is an indicator of his resistance. He's telling you "No, I don't wanna…[what comes next]"
At this point you should have immediately taken him back to the lunge area and required him to do the Circle Game hard and fast, with many changes in direction; say for about five minutes. (Seriously, FIVE minutes.) Send him around one full circle, stop him, and immediately send him back the other direction with no resting at the stops. In five minutes he should do about 50 complete repetitions. Get him to do this briskly and fluidly.
Your demeanor should be very "demanding" that he do it correctly and briskly. It is a mistake to be timid or un-demanding (or to quit too soon), as that will only teach him that you are not confident and commited; and he need not change his attitude.
Use the Circle Game to have him practice his lightness and responsiveness to your cues, his trot, his hindquarter breakover (at the stop), and his departures. The Circle Game (in its various forms) is the correct exercise to hone these skills, and to change his attitude. He should do this at a fast trot on the end of the twelve-foot lead rope. He should be working very hard at it.
Then, after about five minutes, and he's performing the Circle Game well (light and energetic departures, brisk stops with good hindquarter breakovers, no leaning on the lead rope), have him stop and you just stand there looking at him: He should be huffing and puffing. This is good, as he is having to work is cardiovascular system, which is a physical motivator to change his attitude. If he is not huffing and puffing, then you quit too soon to engage the motivator; begin again and work him longer.
Look for a change in his demeanor, indicated by blinking and softening of his eyes, and licking and chewing. This will be his way of saying "Oh, okay." (I.e., acceptance). His change in demeanor -- and attitude-- is directly driven by his cardiovascular system motivating him to change his attitude. If he is not required to work, then he is not motivated to change his demeanor; and attitude.
If he is not licking and chewing, and his eye is not soft, then you have not completed your ground work. (You have not "brought him through" his resistance to acceptance.)
Get good licking and chewing in the ground work, or don't move on. If you have to work him an hour (or more) with ground work to get good licking and chewing (i.e., acceptance), then work him an hour (or more).
If, at any time, you get new resistance, then put him to work to engage the motivator. Work on any drill or exercise that he knows and which requires practice to remain proficient, such as any of the Seven Games or school movements while mounted.
Nowadays, I never move on to the next activity with any horse (brushing, saddling, mounting, riding) unless and until the horse demonstrates acceptance via a soft eye and licking and chewing at each and every activity. In the past, when I did move on without these indicators, I quickly got into trouble.
5th Dec 2004, 04:08 PM
I think you may actually be having some problems with your saddle. I know it's a treeless, but a treeless doesn't fit *every* horse. It's entirely possible that this one isn't suited to the two of you, for some reason :(
Getting antsy when the saddle appears is a major indicator of saddle related discomfort.
5th Dec 2004, 05:24 PM
Gal: Not sure about saddle, he was fine today!! Might be the new gel pad though! We had some quality time today, just the two of us, nobody else around and I tacked up no problems and just ambled round the orchard, had a trot and a short canter, it was lovely and he was really responsive and relaxed.:)
Harry: He didn't pin his ears back, just looked grumpy! We are not advanced enough to get changes of direction at the circle game, I am just getting 3 circles in trot and I can bring him in. I am learning that Drummer is VERY stubbern!
What does yawning mean? He does this loads when we are working on Parelli. He sometimes licks and chews, actually, he did it today wen I was bringng him in. How can I be tough and dominant, I think he thinks I'm a joke!!:rolleyes: He plods at the circle game and gives off an "if I must attitude!" The only thing he does well is go back if I point at his chest!
Thanks for your opinions everyone!
5th Dec 2004, 05:43 PM
Hi Drummers Mum!
If Drummer is only just 'plodding round', you may have to move up a phase to get him trotting out smartly.
How big is your 'send'? If your body language and 'life' is even slightly halfhearted, then Drummer may be picking up on this and making him think he doesn't have to work properly.
How long have you been getting 3 circles? Your next move might be "right this time you [Drummer] are going to do 4 circles, even if it means we stay out here all afternoon"
During the circle game Drummer has the responsibility of circling round you until you tell him otherwise (by asking him to come in). If he breaks stride after 2.5 circles, and you have to correct him (asking him to move on again), you should start counting from 0 again. Only correct him once he has broken his stride though - this isn't lunging;) If you have been asking him to come in after 3 circles for a while, Drummer will begin to think that is all he has to do before hiswork is done, so the first time you want to go for 4, he may end up circling for 15 or 20times (or even more) before he stops anticipting the signl to stop :p
What apparatus are you using? Do you have a carrot stick, or are you using something similar? How do you correct him? If you are correcting by pointing the stick at his HQ, you may hve to move up a phase, and slap you ground with the string.
I hope everything goes well for you :D
5th Dec 2004, 06:19 PM
Yawning can be a sign of stress - this isn't necessarily a bad thing in the circumstances, as your newfound position may be giving him plenty to think about. There are different schools of thought on licking and chewing, it's normally considered good in groundwork as it shows thought, acceptance or submission by the horse.
5th Dec 2004, 06:59 PM
Thanks yann and casey, you have given me loads to think about.
I do have the use of a carrot stick but get in a knot, lol! I tend to use my hand and with the circle game I swing the end of the rope at his bum! We have only been doing the circle game for about a week.
I'm having a problem with my body language, even though I think I'm being very purpousful Drummer seems to think I don't mean it. This can lead to me getting frustrated which is no good what so ever!
5th Dec 2004, 07:04 PM
It's not necessarily you, some horses are a lot more stoical than others and need a lot of energy to get them backing up or moving away. Usually cobs or natives... you only have to flutter your eyelashes at an arab to get them going:D
5th Dec 2004, 08:04 PM
Harry: He didn't pin his ears back, just looked grumpy!
Understood; but that makes no difference, because the problem is that he's NOT accepting and soft (rather, he's grumpy).
The thing is, he's got a sour attitude (i.e., grumpy), so we train for the attitude that we want (i.e., accepting, not resisting, and willing.) Saying this another way, anytime he doesn't demonstrate acceptance and softness, then train him for it (by putting him to work on an exercise) then and there.
More than anything, you are training him to change his attitude, so you must motivate him to change his attitude anytime he has an improper attitude; such as when he's grumpy (and I'm assuming he's a sound, healthy horse). Otherwise, you are training him (by omission) that grumpiness (or other unacceptable things) are okay.
As Parelli (and others) has said: "Ninety percent of the time it's a mental problem that causes an emotional problem that causes a physical problem." Natural-Horse-Man-Ship, page 24.
You need to get to his mind and change his attitude.
The only effective method to motivate a horse to change its attitude is to put it to work on some exercise, such as I posted above.
We are not advanced enough to get changes of direction at the circle game, I am just getting 3 circles in trot and I can bring him in.
Please don't be offended, but the Circle Game, with direction changes is basic, and is the basis for much intermediate and advanced work. (This is why most natural horsemen start with some variant of it first and foremost: Join-Up, Round Pen Reasoning, etc. are all variants of the Circle Game; there are many more.)
I suggest that you and Drummer focus on learning the Circle Game really well. He (and you) will only get better with movements and cues by getting good with this game. And this will serve to resolve the other aspects of his fundamental problem as articulated below:
I am learning that Drummer is VERY stubbern!
That is to be expected, until he learns to accept and not resist.
"Stubborn" is first and foremost an attitude: an unacceptable attitude. Hence, why we "work the horse through" to acceptance.
What does yawning mean? He does this loads when we are working on Parelli.
It means the same thing that it means if your significant other yawns while you're talking to him/her.
It means Drummer is near asleep and isn't attentive; he doesn't have enough to do to keep his energy level up (just like dogs, humans, etc.), so he's about to doze off. Nor will he be interested in what you're doing if he's near asleep.
Have you ever noticed how a horse (or dog, human, etc.) that is moving with energy doesn't yawn? It's because their energy level is up. And they are attentive and interested in things.
Get him busy doing something and he will not yawn; he'll be attentive.
He sometimes licks and chews, actually, he did it today wen I was bringng him in.
So, he accepted that you were bringing him in. Very good. Now he needs to accept every other thing that you wish him to do.
When he's soft, accepting and willing, he'll lick and chew with some energy; and often, on a regular basis: licking and chewing while being groomed; licking and chewing when saddled; licking and chewing while traveling in the Circle Game; etc.
How can I be tough and dominant, I think he thinks I'm a joke!! He plods at the circle game and gives off an "if I must attitude!" The only thing he does well is go back if I point at his chest!
He knows that you have not been assertive. And that you will not push him too hard; so he's just being a horse, and getting by with minimal effort. He will continue this until you cue him assertively.
But, don't be "tough"; be assertive. Tough means "insensitive"; assertive means emphatic, decisive, persistent (among other things). The horse will not respond correctly to "tough"; but, it will respond correctly if you are assertive.
Notice I used the word "make" in my description of the Circle Game in my first post. When you make the horse do something you are being assertive, rather than tough. Parelli likes to use the word "cause", as in "cause him to move". Whatever. Make/cause the horse to move with energy, as I described above, and he will view you as the boss/leader/alpha/dominate party, and respond appropriately.
When he is moving too slow, go after his hindquarters "assertively" with your Carrot Stick and motivate him to move faster. (I should hear the "whack" over here in Montana. Nothing personal and no hard feelings; but "MOVE faster.") The sooner you assertively demonstrate that you mean business, the sooner he will take you seriously. (Physical force is natural behavior among horses; it's one of the tactics they use to resolve the social hierarchy and dominance issues. If you are not ready, willing and able to apply force to your horse appropriately, then you may very well teach the horse that you are the subordinate party.)
You can practice being assertive with the Carrot Stick on a bale of hay, or other object.
Learn to do the Circle Game as I described it above (assertively) in my first post, and he will take you seriously. (But, if you are not assertive, he will yawn, be slow and sluggish, and tend to ignore you.)
6th Dec 2004, 06:30 AM
Thanks Harry! I was a bit unsure about using the carrot stick too much but tonight I'm off on that circle game! lol! Wish me luck!
Incedentaly(sp) you might like to know that our halts are improving!
Yann and Harry, I understand what you are both saying about yawning and i think its a bit of both!
Yann, native through and through!:rolleyes:
14th Nov 2007, 10:25 AM
My daughters pony has started to get a little above herself, we have had her for 6 years, always has prefered me to the girls and I can understand that as they are young. however my eldest could go out and catch her but now its all becoming dangerous as the pony charges her. We have a donkey we got about six months ago she is dominant with him too. She is o.k in stable and being mounted, little grumpy but put that down to being chestnut mare.
14th Nov 2007, 02:47 PM
Firstly, if she's becoming dangerous for your daughter to catch and she's ok for you, then I'm afraid you'll have to do the catching. However, when caught, you daughter should do all the handling, grooming etc (if possible). She should do this confidently and leave the pony in no doubt that she's not scared of it. (Perhaps, she is a bit nervous of the pony so he behaves the way he does). Maybe you could go out and catch the pony together and let your daughter put the headcollar on and lead him.:confused:
28th Nov 2007, 08:58 PM
i have been doing parelli for about five years with a nervous welsh and stubbon fell. i think harry has not given up the aggressive bhs ways yet. you dont lunge a pony for fifty repetitions, especally on a twelve foot as this may strain his legs, definatelynot fast, and he does not have to work hard. your pony does need to accept you as boss, but you need to step up the levels a little, and OUT PSYCHE HIM. THIS IS WHAT PARELLI IS ABOUT NOT LUNGING FOR FIFTY REPETITIONS AND OVERUSING THE CARROT STICK
28th Nov 2007, 09:08 PM
We have been riding my pony, daughters and i, for five years. We got a sharer three weeks ago because my daughters have stopped. She has very high energy and aggression problems at school. My pony did not trust her to let him clean his feet. Pushed her gently past the hay net and us, and rigt out the stable door. For the first time in five years, he also went to the back of the stable when she came in with the saddle. He has never behaved like this before. We use a cashel soft foam saddle bitless bridle. He has no pain anywhere because the rest of us can ride him fine. I was shocked at him resisting the saddle, until i put the whole picture together of other behavior. Needless to say the child in question, after three weeks of sharing, got expelled from school for fighting. She is only eleven, but the pony could feel her vibes, personality, intentions, whatever you want to call it. She got grounded and had to stop the share as well. We were all very relieved. I listened to my pony and found out what was wrong. If yours is avoiding the saddle then he has a reason. Think Parelli and out of the box.
29th Nov 2007, 11:31 AM
Blimey, I thought we were honoured to have DM back and posting:D This is a 2004 thread! :p
30th Nov 2007, 11:55 AM
Perdita.M i noticed that too. i member DM too :p
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