I've recently bought a 3 1/2 year old Percheron colt. I've been very excited about getting started with training..splurged on the Dually halter, got a round pen set up, etc.
I tried Join Up several weeks ago with him and it didn't go so well. He trotted off OK at first but after a couple of times around the pen he stopped. Dead stop. Wouldn't move. No matter what I did I could not make him move. He just stared at me like I'd hurt his feelings! After a while I decided to try again another time. Last week I tried again (I had him gelded so I had to give him time to heal). Same thing. He moved out OK (no hurry to leave me)and after a couple of laps he stopped and refused to move. I tried EVERYTHING, including yelling, flailing my arms with fingers open, staring him right in the eyes, squared myself to him, tossing the lunge line at his rear, flicking his heels with the tip of the whip, I cracked the whip on a metal roof right next to him, when all else failed I even threw a broom toward him! NOTHING. Didn't even lift a foot. He just stood there, planted, and looked at me. This is also a horse who when a large tree branch fell on his back recently after a storm he didn't even flinch, just turned his head and looked at the branch draped over his back walked to me and waited for me to drag it off of him.
I'm wondering how I can get him to join up if I can't get him to leave me! He does follow me around already in his pen. Can I proceed to further training without successfully having a join up? Any advice about how to get him to move?
Really, this horse isn't afraid of anything. His previous owner had a lion and a bear living with him (separate pens, of course). He has scars from an alleged attack by a Mastiff yet he has no problem with dogs running around him. He had never been in a trailer before and when I bought him he walked in my trailer the first time as if he'd been doing it for years. I'm starting to think that he is too smart for this stuff! Help would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance.
I had the same problem with Princess. Never did get join up. She followed me everywhere from the day I got her. Princess is doing great under saddle now, and like yours, isnt afraid of much of anything. So just maybe, your guy is already joined up without having to DO join up. She sure was.
Sydneycare - if your horse is this quiet. layed back and already so trusting of you I do not believe there is much you can gain from join up. Your persistence in trying may just damage that very special bond your horse already seems to have with humans so just forget about join up and progress on with the dually training. Later if your horse does become pushy or unrespectful in anyway then you may wish to try join up again.
I have a three year old welsh cob mare who is exactly the same, nothing worries her at all. We tried join up, which was fine at first, sent her away and she trotted round the pen, then stopped her and asked her to come which she did willingly, now she won't leave my side! Tried long reining, she wont go forward unless I go first, Two rein lungeing, only if I run around beside her, am now really stuck! She has bit and side reins, saddle and stirrups,doesn't object to anything as long as I go first! Any suggestions
This same problem has come up in the past on forum so you may care to check out some of the old threads. Remember that her head should be at your shoulder in the sweet spot when you are leading her so that you shouldn't really be going first. Practice with the dually at leading her in the sweet spot - don't allow her to lag behind. You may then try making her go past you with the dually in a circle around you. Or stand about 2 metres from a wall or fence and then ask her to move forwards past you with the dually. You may need to have a wand to touch her very lightly on the near side of her rump with as you ask her to move forward with the other hand on the dually. Take it slowly and gently and try not to alarm her in anyway. Make sure she is introduced to the wand first and accepts it all over her body. Clicking with your tongue as you ask her to move forward should help her make the connection betweem the clicking and moving forward. She should then associate the tongue clicking with moving forward. Once she understands this go forward lesson then try with the long lines again.
This is the problem about not getting a proper join-up if the horse will not move forward for join-up, they will not move forward to do long lining which is a crucial element of training. Remember that the one who controls the feet controls the relationship, so if you have to be running around behind your horse or going first, your horse is controlling you. Without seeing first hand how you're doing join-up it's difficult to give you really sound advice as to how to get him to move forward. Make sure that you're always in a driving position and not stepping in front of the horse that would cause him to stop. If I were having this much trouble moving the horse I might consider tying plastic bags to a stick and see if that could spur them into going forward. I know the horse isn't spooky but plastic bags always seem to do the trick, I don't know if this will work but you never know. I hope you can resolve this issue.
Thanks for the replies. I'm not sure what to do with him. Plastic bags? He thinks those are cool He wants to check them out. I'm pretty sure I could shoot a gun off next to him and he would just stare at me.
I was very careful not to step in front of him. He just made his choice to stop (before showing any of the 4 signs) and refused to start again. He knows I'm not going to hurt him so I guess he sees no reason to run.
I'll just keep working with him. I just don't see join up happening with him. I'd sure like to see someone else try!
hi sydneycare sounds like a very similiar story about not being able to get them to move just turn and stand and stare i now am having stubborn bossy issues with my horse for not being able to push him away when trying join up oscar is 18mths old 14 1/2 h and a big boy I am really beging to think the stance the body language should have been my cue to try a different tack to get him to move of .I use to think also that he knew how much i cared for him and was not going to hurt him i now feel i have lost the respect to lead im still trying to figure this out and i am now bringing in another trainer to help . I think also allowing oscar to make descions instead of me making them that he could stop when he did is not good form anyway just thought i would share some of our journey goodluck !
Hi Unicorn. My boy is a 16.2hh growing Percheron and I, too, think that there is a huge lack of respect for me on his part. I am planning now on sending him to training before he gets out of hand and does something dangerous.
It would be interesting to see what Monty would do with a horse like this. I wonder if he has some trick up his sleeve or if his body language is enough to somehow get what he wants from them. I don't know..
Hi sydneycare if you are planning to send your boy out to a retrainer can I suggest that you try to find one that uses natural monty type techniques if you are unable to find a Monty re-trainer. I also think it is very important for you to be present as well if you can possibly do so. If you can watch then you can pick up the techniques used so that you can follow up on them in the future and be consistent which is important for your horse. Plus you know what your horse has experienced and if the training is not what you expected then you are in a position to have it stopped. This last one takes gutts especially given you have agreed to the training so do try to find out as much as you can about the methods used beforehand. If the trainer asks for you not to be present then that is a good que not to proceed with that person.
I agree with all of the previous commits and I to would love to see what Monty would do with a horse like this. I have had my share of stubborn Horses but with time and patience they all came around fairly quickly. Knowing and being able to speak and listen to their language is and it does take time to learn. Since I can't see exactly what is going on I can't tell if it might be miscommunication or if maybe the horse is to smart for his own good. Not saying that I am perfect I still have my share of miscommunications and what not. But I do know i would love to have a chance to work with this horse. I'm always up for a good challenge. Personally I think Join up is possible even with this horse it may take more time and allot more patience but I'm sure it can be done. And perhaps, this is just my personal opinion, if there is a lack of respect on his part for you then maybe you should figure out what it is going to take to earn his respect. I have had that particular issue with a horse before. My thourough bred is 17.5 hands and extremely intelligent. When I first got him from a friend of mine that could no longer take care of him, He would not come to me or anyone else. He would high tail and run as far away from you as he could and stay there. He is so smart that he can open a chained gate on his own when he wants to. He'll pick your pocket to take your wallet keys gloves anything that is sticking out just a bit and then he'll play keep away. He's a brillant horse but when I frist got him had no respect for me or anyone else. So I took a few days observed him in the field watched his habbits what he did, his movements. After I did that for a few days I decided to give join up a try in the middle of a 40 acre field. I went out layed in the middle of the field and minded my own business until he decided to come investigate when he got within 40 feet I jumped up squared off to him until he decided he needed to go the other way for away, we stood each other off for nearly an hour the first few times, then the time of stand off started to get a little shorter each time. eventually he finally decided hey we need to renegotiate this arrangement. Took all day from 5 AM till about 9 or so but it worked. to this day I am the only one that this horse repects he will allow me to do anything to him with no problem. I can walk right up to him give him his medicine wormer shots anything and he won't flinch but if anyone else tries he won't allot it. He won't move when i saddle him anything I want he wants. Unless I tell him to go away in the field he is always right there by my side his is always at my shoulder and he won't move from that spot. He's only ever moved from it once and thats when he stepped in front of a bull and reared up to stop the bull from charging me. Bandit and I have built a trust and a bond that can't be broken since those days when we first met. So I would say its possible you may have a very similar horse. I have no idea what your experience is with horses or anything but if i were you I spend allot of time with that horse and learn what needs to be done. But that does depend on your experience the more challenging the horse the more experience you need. But it sure is fun learning and getting that experience. Just remember the key to training and riding any horse is a good sense of humor and an extreme amount of patience. They will test your patience they still test mine from time to time. But patience is one of the biggest keys if you feel yourself getting frustrated and up tight the horse will sense that and they will get uptight to and not understand what your trying to communicate. Better to walk away and come back calm.
I went to stay with Jo Bond (MR instructor) in France and she has a long thin ish rope (bout 2/3 ft) with bottles, cans and plastic bags attached all the way down like a noisy, rustly snake. It worked with the most energy-conserving arabs and you only have to shake it a few times before they get it and you can drop it. She also had children's toys like clackers and wind socks etc so maybe try some noisy things.
Got a large tarpaulin sheet? I've been wondering if it would work with one person on the long-lines and two helpers approaching with the tarp. Would love to know what ends up working for you as I've got loads of nappers/baulkers here! Good luck.
DC - I loved your comments here. They make so much sense. It is really worth persevering with horses like this if you feel able too. The horse, Banjo, I dealt with recently was like this. Because he had learnt to be so disrespectful he really needed to do join up. It was great when once when I did get him to join up with his owner in a small paddock as the grass in it was very tempting for him. It was hard work but I am pretty determined and stubborn too and he finally did a pretty good join up. A few more join ups in a round pen and consistent work with the dually could have turned him into a respectful horse on the ground and hopefully that would have transferred to when being ridden too. When I read a post like yours, DC, I regret not taking him on when his owner offered him to me. I think I could have made the difference with him however my age was against it!
Just another thought, Sydneycare. Does your fellow trailer/float OK? If so perhaps you could take him to a monty trainer who does clinics in join-up as Lynn Mitchell does so that you can both learn together. Not sure where you live but it may be worth checking out if there is a Monty Certified Instructor in your area.
I have two principle rules for this type of horses. The one is to start slowly and be satisfied first with a contineous movement whatever slow it is. Second principle: Avoiding a desensibilization by a gradually growing pressure. If the horse does not react to 20% go immediatly to 100% (for instance plastic bag), and then turn to 20%. The horse should learn that 100% follows when there is no reaction to 20%.
Reading the initial text I think you may have asked too much and you should go ahead more slowly, there is no hurry.
Thanks for all of your comments and suggestions. I will let you know how things turn out. As things stand now I plan to have a trainer start with him ASAP. I will be involved in his training. I am in SC and have no knowledge of a Monty Roberts certified trainer near me.
It seems me there is a Monty Roberts trainer on the East Coast, but I don't know if they're in SC. I'll have to check into that.
I had the same problem with an ex-racer, as he was already backed, he didn't need to establish the groundwork for starting, but I did want to long-rein and school him, as he would only ever follow another horse!
Rudi's advice is good, we had a bombproof horse, so densensitisation to a moving-forward stimulus would have been quite likely. As it was, we cured the problem by someone leading him as he was being long reined, and dropping back slightly. We then 'irritaed' him if he stopped (three people behind constantly fidgetting with the plastic bags, flapping long lines, other visual or noisy stimulus) and crucially, getting the timing right and stopping the irritation instantly if he even thought forwards. We fixed it in one determined twenty minute session.
In this case, I would be tempted to do the same. Get two helpers so there is someone to walk at his head as you are sending him away,and someone to make it uncomfortable behind him if he stops.
I am about to try this method out tomorrow. I am in the process of starting a 4 year old Oldenburger x Shire/TB, he too is hard to make move forward, though he has got the idea of long reining in walk. I want to do a Join–Up before I back him, so I need to get him into trot.
Glad I'm not alone in this. I thought Lily was /is a challenge. Well she is but we 'll get it. Sometimes she'll run only on a lunge line until she's done. Then she's done. Oh well. Good thread.
Hi, I'm no professional, just a student of the horse, and I'm also in SC, Where are you? This sounds like a great horse!
Acton where are you?
I'm in upstate SC and I have a wonderful farrier/trainer who follows Dave Seay who is very Monty-like, he does Progressive Horsemanship and has taught me so much, all using horse psychology.
South Carolina? Sorry geographically challenged. Looking up Dave Seay. I love research. Especially when if comes to communicating with my animals. Thanks.
sydneycare I've only achieved join up with our BamBam twice, both times he was in a field not round pen. Now however when I've tried join up inside a pen, he stands and looks as me as if to say, I already trust you, know you're my leader so why try to join up with me again? so I don't join up with him anymore, before any workout we do a bit of socializing with grooming etc, then he is ready for any work I ask.
Actually one of the join ups in the field was because he was being aggressive,(thinking of your Unicorn now) with a friend who was chatting with us as we tried to groom him. He took a disliking to her, not his fault I'm sure he picked up something in the body language that he felt threatening, but he needed to learn it wasn't acceptable.
I let him into an acre field with no other horses along with stick with plastic bags on the end. On releasing him, I raised the stick above my head and sent him away, then applied pressure eye on eye etc exactly the way you would do in the round pen, his pace picked up to a gallop before his ear started to lock onto me, then to change his direction as I couldn't step infront of him over an acre, I swapped the stick with bag into the opposite hand. So if I wanted him to turn left I'd switch to the right hand and stretch it out and moving my left shoulder forwards as if I was trying to step infront of him and visa versa for changing right. After 10 mins of a very fast pace with ear locked on, he started to lick an chew so I took the pressure down lowering the stick to the ground and only raising it when I wanted him to change direction. He then went into an extended trot, but never less that that. I took a stance to invite him to me, but he didn't but he now stood still and you could see that he'd just learnt that he wasn't boss. I joined with him and he calmly returned to the yard and didn't show any more aggression to the person I was with.
This field join up was just the start. Another thing we found with pushiness was that we were invading his space first. You know when you walk up to a horse in a stable and you stand at his/her door with your arms on the door. It's invading their space and we are pushing ourselves into their space. Anything outside the door where their head would reach would naturally be their space. So to combat this, we stopped going into BamBam's space when he was in the stable, and also when he was in the field if he came to the gate to meet us, we'd stand back so he could reach over to us first, because we gave him his space, he started doing this with us. After a while if we were at the gate first, we could then lean on the gate and he would approach, but not try to push us back. Sometimes it can be us that is teaching them to be pushy and just stepping back to look might be the start of resolving that problem. Remember Monty's training of forward and retreat.