Met her match???

This beautiful 6 year old sorrel mare was rescued from the Yakima Feedlot on 12/13/05. She had a halter that was severely embedded into her jowls, poll and nose.

Met her match???

Postby Juliane on Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:26 am

First of all, I have come to the conclusion that I am *not* the right handler/trainer for Patience at this point in her training. I believe I have caused her bucking issue and because of my emotional baggage and still seeing her as the very traumatized, fearful mare - I have a hard time giving her the 'tough love' that is needed at this time.

Patience is safe and is not at any risk, but I either need to find a trainer that will take her and get her past this bucking stage, or rehome her with an experienced person that can help her. I simply do not think I am the right person. She has dumped me 8-9 times - I am not good at bringing her back under control and getting her to work again. And, I'm too old to hit the dirt each time I ride her! :P

My good friend and volunteer, Jessica, has fallen in love with Patience and has offered to work with her. When she first offered to ride her almost 2 weeks ago, I cringed. I didn't know if I was willing to let someone else get bucked off. Jessica was well aware of the troubles I had encountered with Patience and felt she could work with the issues that Patience had. She also agreed to wear my helmet ;)

So, Jessica rode Patience for the first time in the indoor round pen up at Mt. Si Stables. She didn't ride for long, but had a fairly successful ride. I was impressed and figured maybe it was just me that Patience objected to?!

Then, last Sunday, Jessica came out again to help me with chores and then to work with Patience again. I tagged along as Jessica put her through her paces by lunging her in the round pen.

Then, Jessica mounted up. Patience seemed like she was relaxed and willing to work. However, as soon as Jessica asked her to move out, Patience decided she didn't want to play that game and started in on a bucking spree. She very nearly unseated Jessica, but Jessica managed to rein her in. The look on Patience's face was priceless (check the photos below!). She's definitely never had someone stay on during one of her bucking sprees. (My bad!)

Anyways, Jessica made her work some more, where Patience threw in one more half hearted bucking spree (watch the video), though Jessica was again able to work her through it.

You'll notice that it looks like Jessica has quite a tight rein on Patience's mouth - however, that's not really the case. Patience is constantly testing and the minute she gets her head down, she starts bucking. This doesn't seem to be a fear or pain issue, but instead, strictly a bad habit that she's gotten away with in the past (again, bad me!).

At this point, I think that Jessica is the right person to work with Patience. My hope is that Jessica can get her past this issue, or my confidence will continue to grow as I watch someone else work Patience through these issues, and then I can take over after a certain amount of time.

Unfortunately, at this time, I am simply afraid of Patience, of getting bucked off, and am unable to be 'tough' with her. I believe I have caused these issues and will only make them worse if I continue to try working her under saddle at this time.

I am very, very grateful to Jessica for her willingness to work with Patience. Who knows, maybe Jessica will fall so much in love with Ms. Patience, she'll want to adopt her?? ;)

Here's a short video clip of Jessica riding Patience, Patience throwing a fit, and then later, giving up and deciding to work. Do you see any fear here?

http://www.serenitytraining.com/blogima ... -18-07.wmv

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Feel the Spirit, Keep on Riding!
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Postby Altanera on Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:35 am

Thats great. She looks a little funny on her right hind(one with no white)..maybe stifle area..but it could just be the video.
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Postby Juliane on Thu Feb 22, 2007 12:42 am

Hmm.... I can't quite tell. I have never noticed any weird lameness issues or her being off. The beginning of the video she does seem to be moving awkwardly, though she is fighting with Jessica pretty badly. Towards the second half of the video, she is more relaxed and seems to be moving normally.

I'm not sure what to think...
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Postby red_one on Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:30 am

I didn’t notice anything “off” with her rear…but I’ll admit I was somewhat distracted by her front :lol: Looking at the video again it almost feels like she wanted to keep her rear under her incase she could catch me giving her enough slack to get her head down between her legs. I tried to strike a balance between staying off her mouth while at the same time not giving her enough rein to hang me with :P Unfortunately almost everytime she’d drop her head it was with her nose thrust forward, looking for just that extra little slack that would allow her to drop her head for full bucks instead of just little hops :roll: I did notice that she was the most likely to fight me when we started trotting and I think she may not have liked the sound of my keys. They were quiet when we were walking and would make noise in my pocket when we started trotting. I took them out and I don’t know if that helped or not, but she didn’t try to toss me again after that. She only tried twice in any case. Towards the end she did start to settle down and has a very comfortable jog :D

Ally mentioned that copper can be soothing for mares and I really don’t want to cause her pain when I’m riding her. I stopped at Reber Ranch and picked up a copper snaffle with a link. The third one down here http://www.freedomrider.com/bits1f.html . I was also looking at the link that shwung posted http://www.sustainabledressage.net/tack/bridle.php and I thought that the kineton noseband might be a good option to try since it can take some of the pressure off the mouth and place it on the nose. If anyone has any experience with that I’d love to hear about it and I’m fully open to suggestions for working with her. I’ve been riding since I was a kid and I can stay on a horse but I’m by no means a trainer and there’s so much more I could stand to learn :)

Patience is such a sweet horse that it’s impossible not to fall in love with her. Even after seriously butting heads during our ride she was sweet and affectionate on the ground. There doesn’t seem to be any fear in her behavior and fortunately there doesn’t seem to be any malice in it either. She strikes me as the type of horse that will test you, dump you, and the walk back to you while your on the ground with a very curious look, almost “Hey what are you doing down there? I just wanted you off. Would you get up and scratch that spot again?” :lol: She is such an absolute love and if I lived somewhere I could keep her or had the money to pay for boarding I’d adopt her in a heartbeat. As is I’m working on making that happen and hopefully she’ll still be around when I’m in a position to offer her a home. If not I hope she finds a home where she will be loved, appreciated, and doted on :)
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Postby RockinCircleC on Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:48 am

Juliane and Jessica,

After watching that video I think what that mare needs is more forward. And LOTS more bending laterally. I have a couple of videos I would like to loan to you to watch. I will try and find a good time to head up that way and get them to you. This weekend is booked already, but maybe the following weekend. And maybe I can even haul Buena up there and we can all ride together.
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Postby tmoore on Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:19 am

I had a mare who was very similiar to Patience...sweet on the ground, but with that intimidating attitude when you were on her. I love the look on Patience's face after she bucked and Jessica was still on! I agree with Liz that she needs lots more forward so that she won't be able to buck. Plus it will help her to relax her topline more :) If you haven't already, I wonder if a chiro exam would be good for her just to rule out any back and/or pain issues. Love the picture of Jessica and Patience walking together..... two red-heads.....it looks like they belong together :D
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Postby Altanera on Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:26 am

Yea I was kinda thinking it was just the way she was going cause she was fighting, but just wanted to point out what I saw.

She just looks like an extreme green bean that does not understand what the bit is or what foward is. She will get it though and I think the key is not to fall off and then they realize that is not a trick they can use to end their displeasure.
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Postby shellyr on Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:24 pm

Juliane, do not beat yourself up for having fear. That is what will keep you safe! I have never understood this "Cowgirl up" thing and get on anyway. Always sounded like a good way to get yourself hurt to me! :D
Not to mention ruining your confidence. I've never seen any good come out of getting on a horse that you are afraid to get on. The horse knows!

Jessica, way to ride 'em girl! :D
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Postby red_one on Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:26 pm

Liz

I'd love to see the videos and I'm open to anything you think might help.

She has figured out that when she is frustrated or doesn't feel like working tossing her rider is an effective tool. If nothing else the fact that I can stick to her while the does that will be helpful. She did give up fairly easily once she discovered I was still up there after 2 tries. Which is nice since we were able to end on a positive note. I will say she got her licks in even if she didn't toss me. I've never been that sore after riding...even after eating dirt. Hot pad and liniment for me that night. It will be so nice when she settles down and decides that we can work together and have a good time. She really does have a very nice jog.
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Postby RockinCircleC on Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:29 pm

I will get together a package of my videos to loan to you guys for a little while. I think most will be DVDs. Once I get the new computer that I have coming I am hoping to get the rest of my VHS tapes converted over to DVD, too.
Liz Clark
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Postby schwung on Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:45 pm

I just want to commend you Juliane for having the humility to publicly say that you are scared of her, that you may have caused these issues (and maybe not - pain is still a possibility here, or saddle fit...hard to say), and that you are not the right person for her.

The sign of a true horseperson is one who doesn't think they know it all, but in fact one who recognizes all they have yet to learn, and constantly seeks that knowledge.

Jessica, good luck with her!
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Postby Nickie on Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:18 am

I agree with everyone else that she does look very green. I would say that first off a LOT of ground work and ground driving with and without the bit would be a good idea to teach her to accept and not resist it. She looks like she doesn't know why that stupid thing is in there and why people keep pulling on it. Once she learns to give to the pressure and understand what you are asking, I think you'll have a lot more luck controlling her and preventing her when she decides to buck.

As far as when you are riding her, I would shorten the reins up even more, but keep your arms extended so that you are not any tighter on her mouth. That way when she does decide to buck or bolt, you will have a bit more control. I would also recommend keeping light contact, but not pulling at all times, it'll help you to sense her wanting to put her head down faster so you can catch her before she gets it down far. I would also make sure that when you are pulling, you are releasing on and off as well each time she even slows a little. If you haven't read it, Mark Rashid's book "Finding the Try" is excellent and I think it would really help with her.

Whenever she does put her head down, I would pull up, cluck to her and give her a hard squeeze of your legs. To move forward she has to have her butt underneath her, so that effectively cuts off the attempt. If she does manage to get some bucks in, don't stop her, keep her moving forward and working. The reason she is bucking is because she doesn't want to go forward/trot/work, so by stopping her when she bucks, she is accomplishing her goal.

My gelding was a BAD bucker, but we eventually got to the point where I knew he was going to buck about the same time he decided to. I'd check him with the reins a little and give a hard squeeze of my leg, and poof, bucking attempt thwarted. He did usually get in a little bound though. :roll:
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Postby red_one on Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:58 am

Nickie

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll work on keeping the reins shorter. The problem I run into there is that with my arms further out I have trouble keeping my arms steady and I feel like I'm pulling on her mouth everytime I bounce, which has got to be confusing for her. I agree that she's very green. She's very bright though and I think she's already picking up on the fact that bucking isn't going to shorten a ride. She only tried the 2 times and after that she settled down seemed to pay more attention. She was still pulling her nose forward and tugging at the reins, but she didn't seem to be trying to get her head down between her knees. Unfotunately if I can't catch her before she bucks and push her through it...I don't have the skills to stick to her if she really gets going. Right now I think it's really important that she learns she may be able to stop for a minute but it won't end the ride and we'll go right back to whatever it was she didn't want to do. I'm hoping that so long as I'm just matter of fact about it and as soon as she's done we go right back to work that she'll get through it.

There seem to be lots of books I need to read and videos I need to watch...this could take a while :) Oh well...she's such a sweetie I certainly won't complain and she's going to be fantastic when she gets it.
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Postby Altanera on Fri Feb 23, 2007 9:59 am

Always remember a FORWARD horse can NOT buck. SO actually letting her stop is reinforcing the main issue of foward. You should pull her head up and kick kick kick and send her on because when she is going foward she can not buck only crow hop if anything. Then after she goes foward pull her back down to a walk and reorganize if nessary.
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Postby cat_67 on Mon Feb 26, 2007 11:19 am

Altanera wrote:Always remember a FORWARD horse can NOT buck. SO actually letting her stop is reinforcing the main issue of foward. You should pull her head up and kick kick kick and send her on because when she is going foward she can not buck only crow hop if anything. Then after she goes foward pull her back down to a walk and reorganize if nessary.


That is exactly it. When I was your age I had the guts to kick them on and make them gallop if they felt like bucking. Nothing like 5 minutes of having to blast around the arena whether or not they want to stop or slow down to make them rethink their high spirits. I have gotten too chicken to do that in my old age, LOL, so now I won't ride anything that will do more than a crowhop.

That look on her face IS priceless. It's like HUH, she's not gone?

I don't think anybody caused this horse to buck. I think she's a bratty bucker who needs to get ridden by someone she can't pitch. A good point to remember is that every abused horse is not a saint who doesn't need anything more than love and patience. Some of those feedlot horses ended up there because they throw people. Sometimes you encounter a bratty/stubborn horse who was inappropriately disciplined and/or abused. They are still a bratty/stubborn horse but now have issues due to the improper corrections applied to them, so you have to figure out when they're scared/confused and you should be patient, and when they are being resistant and you can (appropriately) discipline them without traumatizing them. No, not easy. I wouldn't want to be responsible for having to ride this mare, I give you guys a lot of credit for trying to work with her.
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