Becky asked in PetsHorses · 7 years ago

Was my horse trained cruely!?

Um, there are so many different point of views and ways that people are training horses these days. Longgg story short, my 5 year old horse went to a trainer and I was closely involved...of corse I wouldn't stand by and watch my horse get abused ...but the training is over (1.5 months) and I am confused.

His methods were to treat the horse as a heard member and boss the horse around to get him to listen and think. problem is my horse is now home. he is respectful and not pushing me over...but instead is very uninterested in liking me. Seems very standoffish unsless if i have food for him.

this is really sad because although he is working (riding and driving) well, he seems to have a dull spirit. I want him to like people, not just work for them!!

What do you say i should do/ the problem is? I want him to be my partner not just my vehicle!

i also dont want him to get spoiled and push me around either! So where is the balance.

He is very well mannered, but not social with people. You tell him to put his head down and wait for his grain or move his hindquarters and forquarters and he obeys but acts as if he doesn't want to mess up or else....

so whats going on here...

4 Answers

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  • Bliss
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Best Answer

    There's a continuum of approaches and attitudes toward training horses. There's flat-out abusiveness - like that committed by Big Lick TWH trainers, many race trainers, macho cowboys, those who want to starve a horse into submission, etc. There's the Amish and some of the better cowboys, who tend to think of horses as pieces of equipment - You have to provide fuel and basic maintenance like gasoline and replacing brake pads for a car, but kindness and gentleness aren't really part of the equation. There's Natural Horsemanship, which tells you that you need to be the boss and the way to do that is to chase the horse around and around, aggressively threatening to eat it for lunch if it doesn't figure out what you want and submit, and pretend that the horse is too stupid to know that you're not a predator that can suddenly morph into another horse, and that by you learning a few little tricks you're actually speaking horse language. Then there are the methods that are looking for the most effective, clear, and fair ways to learn to communicate *with* the horse - mutual communication, learning to *listen* to the horse and express yourself in ways that the horse can understand without getting stressed out or feeling threatened.

    I'd say your trainer falls somewhere between the Amish and the NH types - He knows how to make a horse submit, and he has no interest in the horse's spirit or opinion or attitude. He just wants to *make* the horse do what it's told to do. I wouldn't necessarily say it was cruel, though he might have used some rough methods to achieve this dull, lifeless imitation of performance. I've seen LOTS of cruelty committed against horses, and lots of simply not respecting or caring about the horse's opinions and mind and emotions. I would not say that he "got the horse to think". More like, he forced the horse to give up any notion of thinking, and just become a machine.

    Since your horse is only 5 and he only spent 6 weeks or so with this person, it's not too late for you to help him learn that you're not that way. Spend time with him without asking anything from him. When you do ask him to do something, *ask*, don't tell. Let him know that it's OK for him to say 'no'. You might ask again and again, always allowing him to think about it and decide if it's worth the effort, but try to never force him to submit unless it's an absolute necessity. Don't run him in circles in any form, as that trainer likely used a round pen to drill him into this state of learned helplessness and distaste for humans. If he lives in a stall or dry lot, take him out on a lead line and let him graze. If he lives in a pasture (ideal lifestyle for a horse), try to just hang out with him for a while. He has suffered a lot of damage to his attitude toward people, and it's going to take some time and work to undo that damage and build a positive relationship. Yeah, it's OK to be the bearer of good things. It's a good start to use treats as an incentive to being caught. The greater,more meaningful incentive will be what happens AFTER the horse is caught - do you treat it with respect as another living, thinking, feeling being, or do you treat it as some *thing* to be made into a vehicle (that "trainer's" approach).

    I've been working with 6 horses that had a range of bad treatment in their pasts and a range of responses to it. One gelding was labeled "mankiller" and a mare "would kick your head off". After a few sessions, they were easy to walk up and catch them in the pasture, and starting to ground drive and ride in a sidepull with a flat, smooth leather noseband.

    If a horse is treated with respect, it will learn to trust and respect and care about and even protect its humans. There's no need at all, for pushing a horse around to subjugate it, as a way of preventing it pushing you around! If you go to the Friendship Training Facebook group, you can read dozens of stories of horses that have gone out of their way to be with their humans, respond to them positively, and be very careful of the humans' safety.

  • Angela
    Lv 6
    7 years ago

    You don't describe any cruel behavior from the trainer, and it doesn't sound like your horse is in any way afraid of people, so I don't have any reason to think there is a problem here. A lot of people like to spoil a horse like it's a dog. First and foremost you want to be the leader with your horse. You don't make a horse like you by feeding him treats and spoiling him. You do it by treating him fairly and earning his respect.

    But I do know how nice it is to have an affectionate horse. I have two horses that I ride regularly, and while one is more talented, she really couldn't care less about me. The other is less talented, but she'll stop grazing to come to me in the field, and acts affectionate. It's sure nice to have a sweet horse who clearly loves me! I think you should spend more time with your horse besides riding. Groom him, take him out to graze, etc. This will help build the bond between you. But always demand respect above all else, and don't try to spoil him with treats.

  • Linda
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    My horses are hobble trained and I love it and so do they. When we trail ride and get to a nice pasture where we want to take a break or set up camp I hop off hobble them and let them roam. The people I ride with whose horses are not hobble trained either have to be tied. Then they can't graze because of rope safety issues or they have to hand graze them which is especially inconvenient if you are attempting to make camp. You need everybody pitching in to get setup not hand grazing their horses. When my horses see the hobbles they know they are going to get a break and they are going to get to graze. As long as a horse has been properly trained to be hobbled and you are using hobbles as they should be I think it is less cruel then leaving a horse tied for long periods of time. Also like Elizabeth said a hobble trained horse won't panic if they get their legs caught in things so if something gets tangled they will wait until you can get them clear instead of hurting themselves.

  • 7 years ago

    well if your options are to stick with this trainer or leave, just leave him, and who is this trainer exactly? whats his name? cause I could know a guy like him, who treated my horse like a peice of ****, and actually made my pony go incorrectly with hyperflexion, and asked my pony to jump way bigger than my pony could handle, anyway the guy ended up sexually harassing me, these types of people who are hot headed male trainers who think they can boss a horse around to get what they want are people that are just not worth dealing with, get a trainer who communicates with a horse thorough effective aids, not dominance! if only you lived in germany and got training from them (mee too) they have the best training techniques because I don't know they just magically make horses look fantastic, no force needed! force is never needed with horse back riding, it just stresses you and the horse out, Maybe I am way to lax with my horse because I let her have her head to much when I should keep her more in a collected frame, but I havent had a lesson in freaking years, or consistent ones I guess. I need good german training but I live in america now so boo hoo

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