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My Join-Up® Experience

Join Up Problems

Please upload your photo 100 lessons completed

I have a six year old mare who has had very little training.

Some of the time she is as sweet as pie. She is quite good in the stable, she's good for the farrier, to load, to clip etc. However, she is quite dominant and HATES being told what to do. I have tried the Join Up procedure twice with her. I have been able to Join Up with her but with difficulty. She often tries to change direction herself, (and i have checked by positioning and i can't see how i could be causing it) Every time she changes direction, I block her movement and ask her toe change back again. She doesn't really respect the long line that i use to send her away though. When i do ask her to go back after she tries to chance, she pins back her ears and snakes out her neck at me and looks as if she is about to charge. She has charged once but i managed to send her away again before she could reach me. She has also pawed the ground and once she reared as if trying to hit me. SHe doesn't do it often and as I said she can be very sweet and affectionate. But she does really want to control the relationship when it comes to work and her behaviour has been dangerous. I will keep trying Monty's training methods but it can be quite frightening when she has her tantrums.

Any comments or advice?

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Once I had a similar problem with a horse, and here is what I did. First I had to take a good look at my movements if they were all right. I realised when the horse tried to change direction my eyes were not on his eyes. I just took my eyes off him for a sec, and that was enough to break the communication and let the horse do whatever he wanted. The second thing I observed was that he was doing the turns right at the gate. Always. So I had to listen looking in the eyes hard,and make "go away" and "move forward" movements just before reaching that turning spot at the gate and not let the horse think anything else but my communication. It worked! Afterwards he still had a couple of tries , but by looking in the eyes hard and making him move forward harder before the gate really worked out perfectly.
Well, I also have a mare, 2 and a half year old, that I have a problem with. In our horsefarm I did join-up with all of the horses and they all reacted perfectly as Monty has written in the big book. Except this one little lovely 2 year old mare. I got her when she was very young, never had a bad experience with human. That is whay I wanted her so young! He was raised by me in her presense but among other horses, so he must know hes own equus language. She is very kind, with the ferrier, when I leading her attached to my older horse, and she lets me to do everything with her, like throw plasticbags around her head and body... Not affraid a bit. She is also very wild, spooky and the boss among the other horses. Out on a trip when she is free to follow us she is alway in the front leading us, in trot and canter also. Even when she gets scared of something never affraid of human, she runs to me almost jumping into my neck instead of running to the other horses. My problem is, I cannot do join-up with her. I tried one movement and than another and all the predatormovements together even throwing the lead by touching her back, but instead of moving she stoppes and stands still like a rock, like a statue. I could throw the whole lead on her bach and still did not move. She just sticks her head up high and lookes at me from the coorner of her eyes. Not moving a bit what ever I do. Sometime I make fun of myself trying so hard. I think she knows I would never hurt her. And when I finish my hard efforts and turn away she immediately comes to me, touches my shoulder, follows me. I do not what to do to send her away for a proper join up. I am helpless about that! How to get respect without join-up??

vicci - UK (North Wales)
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Hi Fuenta: If your horse is never afraid of humans, always wants to be with you, does whatever you ask of her, is not afraid of plastic bags, farrier etc. why on earth do you think she is not 'joined up' with you?? Your horse clearly trusts you, build on your leadership/groundwork training and ork from there. Unless there is a serious behavioural problem that I'm not seeing, enjoy the fact that you have a lovely youngster who trusts you and move on with her training :-) Best wishes.

Equus student: I'm sorry to say but I know you may think your positioning is not an issue but I am pretty sure it will be - please don't think I'm being rude but 'the devil is in the detail'; trust me, I know from getting it wrong many times :-) I think there are bigger issues going on if she is "having tantrums" and I recommend some professional support from someone who can objectively assess the inconsistencies in the day to day relationship between you that may be causing the problems. Good luck :-)

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Hi Viccihh1,
Thank you for your quick respond. I am so glad that somebody is helping me with this problem, thank you!! You are right about how much trust my horse (Spotty) has in me, and also about the unseen problem. She has no respect keeping distance. Not from human, not from horses she trust. She does not go near the horses that ever hurt or threatend her, she respect their area. But with the one she trust (like my old mare, I always take them out together for a run or walk) she thinks she can do everything. She is not mean, she is lovely and never want to hurt anyone on purpose. But this little appaloosa thinks she is the princess of the Earth, and no limit if she wants something. For example when I tried to chase her away from an other horses food (while poor other one was still eating), I could not. I stand next to the other horse so when my Spotty comes I can send her away by moving my armes, faster and faster, opening my fingers, waving,tutting. All the other horses run away with fear in their eyes, but Spotty does not even notice me, just walk by me so close to reach the food that I was frightened, what if she walks through me?? Even my dog was so worried as watching the situation that he cried and barked. Spotty did not respect to my message that I wanted her to go away from me. She knew I do not hurt her. I grabbed a bit of bale string and circled with it like a propeller front of me to keep her away from me. When I moved it slowlier she stick her nose through to see if it hurts her, so I had to move it very fast to keep her away from coming closer. When I let my hand down she almost stepped on me to quickly get to the food. Or an other day she got scared of her reflection of the window glass and jumped into my neck, I almost fall on the ground. Or sometimes she thinks she can play with me like I was a horse rearing just behind me. If I take a horse out of the pen and ask somebody to keep her in behind, it is very difficult to do, because if she wants to get out of the pen, she pushes people away without hurting them, like not take a notice they are there...Sometime this no respect for the area is very scary. When I see a galopping horse rushing towards me and thinking if she will stopp or runs over me?? Because waving my hands does not make any changes. This is why I want to do join up with her. To send her away if I do not want her near me. I do not want accidents because she just want to have fun and play with me.. Or if there is an other way to let them know how to respect my area, I would be happy to hear it! She is working good with the dually halter on, but when I do not look, she plays behind me and jumps into my neck when frightened of a bird or something. And I do not know an other way to send her away. Please help me!! Thank you forward!!! :-)

Equus Student
Please upload your photo 100 lessons completed

Thanks everyone for your advice! I'll try it out

vicci - UK (North Wales)
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Hi Fuenta

Without seeing exactly what is happening it is difficult to respond to your whole message. However, if I take one piece of it and see if then you can expand the idea to other areas. So I'll look at the feeding issue, some thoughts

1. If she is in a field with lots of other horses let them sort it out between themselves (as long as its not getting out of hand, one is not getting starved or hurt etc.) If one horse needs its own food, that the others musn't have bring it out to have its food; but if its just a general haybale etc. that they can all have leave them to it. Put four or five batches of hay around the field so if she 'takes over' one the other horses can move to a different one. By stepping in you risk getting yourself in a difficult situation.

2. The dog getting upset makes matters worse, so try to teach your dog to 'stay out of it' or put him away while you are dealing with a group of horses unless you are sure he can be quiet.

3. I can see a bit better now what you mean about Spotty being pushy and barging everyone out of the way - she must not do this and you are quite right to want her to respect yours and everyone elses space. I know you said she doesn't bother about plastic bags but try a few very crackly ones tied to the end of a stick and 'rattle' them at her to keep her away from her food until you tell her it's ok to eat it.

As I said before, it's good that she sees you a a safe place but it doesn't sound as if she respects you quite enough, so more calm assertiveness, stronger body language, some sort of 'rattle', and ensure you are both focused on each other all the time; there shouldn't be any time where you are "not looking" or she is "behind your back". Remember that every single encounter with her is a training/learning session.

I hope this helps a bit but it's not easy to give exact answers without seeing the detail of whats happening. If it feels too much and it's not working, find a good trainer in your area to give you some help, one that is supportive of Montys methods of course!

Best of luck :-)

Hello! 100 lessons completed 150 lessons completed 200 lessons completed 250 lessons completed

Thank yoy Viccihh1 for your advice!
Yes, it is true I tried to write my story with Spotty so long that even I had lost the clue. Though you have read it, thank you for that! :-) In one sentence I would describe the problem: How can I teach my horse to show respect for my space (and anyone's space) and to go away when I do not want her close?
I have tried crackly plastic bags tied to the end of a stick as showed and she did not care, she was just standing ok. I have no idea what to do to send her away. My body language was clear I guess because all the other (about 20) horses reacted perefctly at join-up. Even in the field they all ran away when I wanted to send Spotty away. She was the one that did not move a bit. My dog is always with me (even when out ridding) and all of my horses got to like him, sometimes they even give each other a kiss. But he does not come into the yard, always stays outside and waits for me. He was crying from a distance at that one time. But Spotty does this pushy thing all the time when she wants something. Like to go out of the yard after an other horse... Only 4 horses are out with her on the yard now, and the rest of the horses are all over in the farm, in stables, other yards. Spotty and the other four have an open stable where they can go in if the weather gets bad, and they get their water and the oats inside. Oats twice a day. Spotty eats hers very quickly and go to have the other one's. And that day I gave my older horse a medicine on her oat and I waited for her to eat it. Than I saw Spotty eat hers and came over to have that one too, and I wanted her to go away and than I realised I could not do anything to keep her away except that propeller movement with the sting in my hand.
I have been working with lots of horses for 22 years now, and this problem never happend before. I teach them, I train them, and that is why I love MOnty's methods so much! Makes everything so simple!
I wish I could explane this problem to you more understandable. Well, my English is not that good either, I am Hungarian. I would like to estabilish my little appaloosa breed over here in Hungary.
The reason why I am helpless about Spotty is I know I can only use body language. No other environments can be involved for respect, she should respect the human being, even if she finds so much trust in me.
Thank yo for helping me, I am very thankful for your time you give me!