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Horse Behavior and Training

disrespectful round pen behaviour

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Hi All
I recently received and email/news letter from this site,which are regular,on the subject about Disrespectful Behaviour in the round pen,an interesting read,and a subject i can relate to.
The question to Monty was,is it disrespectful for a horse to turn its rear to you in the round pen?
From my own personal experiences,it depends on the horses attitude,if he /she is a well mannered horse and just needs some extra attention,and then turns its rear in the process,i would firstly try and find out why?is there something bothering it round the head area,or maybe there is an issue with its rump or tail that is irritating it,or its just playing hard to get,but i certainly would not punish it for doing so.
I have never lost my temper with any horse while training,i have seen people punch slap shout and strike with a stick,out of impatience,usually round the head if its trying to dislodge the handler or if it just will not stand still to have its feet trimmed,this act of violence really annoys me,as i know the horse is behaving the way it is out of uncertainty of what i am doing,repetition and calmness for how ever long it takes,training should never be rushed,being calm and patience,is 100% the key to success.
If i knew the horse well,then i would say it could be anything,to try an avoid head contact with what ever is being used to turn it,a friendly trust worthy horse would turn head inwards out of trust,and probably wandering why he/she is in a round pen in the first place!
Secondly,an unhandled horse that has had no contact or very little contact with people would most certainly turn rear first to flee from a situation it is not use to,if i tried this in a paddock or corral outside,it would jump the fence,and i would never get near it again,so trust is the starting point,and i would never ever punish a nervous horse for turning.
Most head shy horses that i have tried to put head collars on have had some bad experiences,i say this,because if they did not have a bad experience,they would have nothing to fear from a head collar,and would allow you to put it on them,out of trust.getting them to walk with it on how ever can be a challenge,as i have found out.
Its not much of read,i hope i have written some good points in there.
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Hi Micheal. Well said! But let's address a few points. Firstly, respect needs to be earned. In a herd dynamic the lead mare has the respect of the herd members. She maintains that respect by applying pressure, when necessary, not by routinely inflicting injury. Other members of the herd are part of a hierarchy. Horses naturally flee from the unknown, the dangerous. They travel fastest going forwards so it makes no sense to their instincts to present head first to a driving force, whether it be danger or trainer. That is, unless they are trapped & have no other options ( which is when the last option available to them, turn & fight, applies ) Horses naturally only face danger as a last resort. That changes when trust has been fully established. Trust is NOT established by applying pain & fear. Trust comes from the release of pressure & the horses understanding that together is better ( herd instinct ). It NEVER FEELS BETTER when pain is a factor. That's why humans try to stay out of a horses kick zone! They fear the horses back end. So, the logical option is to find the most permanent alternative, not just smother the problem. The horses have the right to defend themselves so until the trainer addresses that issue they will NEVER be truly safe. It's only when the horse no longer feels the need to defend itself that the human is safe ( from being kicked at least ). So, to sum up, horses will naturally turn away & the human can only fully successfully counter that response by taking the time & effort to build trust between horse & human. Horses cannot be blamed for their instinctive reactions & inflicting fear & pain will only serve to fuel natural distrust, enhancing the unpredictability of the flight animal. Violence may cause the appearance of subservience but there will always be an underlying volatility that will come to the surface, usually at the least most appropriate time for the safety of both human & horse.