question from the monty roberts website

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question from the monty roberts website

Post by fin on Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:52 pm

Would anyone like to have a go at answering this one? I would suggest converting to bitless but wouldn't be confident about backing this up. If anyone else gets regular emails from this site perhaps we could all send in our replies. The Idea is that people post their replies and at the end of the week Monty writes his answer.

Monty,
I rode horses as a young person until I graduated from High school.
Everything as far as tack was provided or came with the horse I bought.
Now I am 50 yrs. old and am trying to get back into riding. I recently
bought a 4 yr old horse that has been trained for trail riding. I saw
pictures of my horse doing trail exercises and I think it had a western
bit, but the lady who sold me the horse gave me an English saddle and a
snaffle bit with no curb chain.
Everything has been fine for 4 months until last weekend
when we were riding and we came upon a pasture with 2 burros. My horse
freaked out and was terrified by the burros even though they were in a
pasture and could not get to him. He tried to run away and the only way
I could stop him was to keep turning him in tight circles and not let
him get going at all. I would get him stopped and try to talk calmly
to him and then the burro started braying loudly and he freaked again.
This whole process went on for at least 45 min. while I worked with the
horse to keep it from bolting and trying to get it to calm down. I did
not feel safe or in control of the horse.
He would just shake his head and keep trying to bolt. I
am just glad I thought of the tight circle maneuver or I would have
been a goner and I am too old for that!! Now I am wondering if I need
more ofa bit in his mouth and more of a saddle to hang on to. How does
one determine the proper bit and curb chain or not etc.? Any advice is
appreciated. If this is addressed in one of your books please let me
know and I will get it.
Thanks,
Missy Beach
Beaumont, TX
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by Cyndi on Fri Jun 05, 2009 6:22 pm

I get those newsletters via email too, and the first thing I thought of was to go bitless!
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by lightertouch on Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:32 am

To me this is a training issue. This horse seems very fearful, possibly phobic, of the burros, which could be addressed, and seems not to have the training in place to deal with new and frightening experiences, which is the most important aspect.

I would either try turning this horse out next to, then in with, some burros or instead or as well, the owner could work in the school on techniques for maintaining or reestablishing calm in her horse. This all presupposes the owner has a good relationship with her horse, which she may not have had time to develop in a month. Their relationship could be improved through groundwork and leadership exercises.

Lead horses could also be used re. the burros - to turn out with the frightened horse to lead by example, showing that they are unafraid. Also, the same thing could be done leading the horses up and down the fenceline of the burros' field.

IMHO, converting to bitless would not improve the horse's response in this situation, without the basic training in place to help it overcome its fears.

That's my tuppenny 'orth!
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by lightertouch on Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:35 am

Of course, being bitless may ensure the horse experiences less or no pain in this situation. Pain from the bit probably contributes to the horse's fearful experience.
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by lightertouch on Sun Jun 07, 2009 8:36 am

Embarassed Ooops, my bad, she's had the horse for 4 months. I stand by my analysis tho!
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by Cyndi on Sun Jun 07, 2009 12:41 pm

I do agree with you fully! My first response is usually to go bitless, just for the sake of going bitless and getting that metal out of his mouth, but when I wrote my earlier note I was going to mention the fact that she'd only had the horse four months, and that she should somehow introduce the horse to the burros. But not feeling confident enough to say so, I deleted what I wrote and left it with only the bitless comment Rolling Eyes
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by fin on Sun Jun 07, 2009 1:57 pm

Great to hear your views. This situation reminded me of something I had to deral with. My lovely pony Connor, has only one weakness: pigs. He was truely terrified of them. I 'cured' him of this before we went bitless by showing them to him etc. I found olbas oil on his nostrils to be the most effective thing as he used to freak out before he saw them. so i use the oil when approacjing places where pigs are kept. Then once he couldn't smell them he was happier about approaching them. I wouldn't say his phobia is cured but we have learned to deal with it. I have found that with this, as with everything these days, he is calmer in his bitless bridle. (Actually he's so good generally the differences are quite subtle most of the time) so I suppose it does come down to training first, which builds trust. I was wondering if this person's experience could be similar to Connor's with the pigs. I know that fear of pigs is atavistic in horses and if a horse has this particular phobia it is not the same as other fears.
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by Cyndi on Mon Jun 08, 2009 7:41 am

I did not know that horses had that fear of pigs! Wow, you learn something new every day.

I'm glad you found a way to deal with it. Makes both of you happier, I'm sure.
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by lightertouch on Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:48 am

OMG... I just read Monty's response... *sigh*

Monty's Answer: Congratulations Missy. The dangers you have averted have, in the
past, caused injuries to many people who were less effective than it seems you
were. Perhaps good common sense and an ability to remain in control of your
emotions helped you through this dangerous episode. I am a bit puzzled as to why
you didn't ride away from the frightful burros in less time than the 45 minutes you
mentioned. Perhaps it was significantly less time but seemed forever given the
circumstances.
Turning the horse in a circle was very appropriate and, given the results, quite
effective. The fact that you had a snaffle bit with no curb strap certainly left you
with very little in the way of control. I am not a fan of the snaffle bit without a curb
strap even when a horse is quite controllable as they will tend to pull in to the
horse's mouth instead of remaining properly in place. It is my opinion that you
needed a curb strap on a combination Pelham or a Western bit.
The combination Pelham is an English style bit which allows one to use a set of reins
in the snaffle position or a second set of reins in the curb position. They are
generally equipped with a smooth curb chain in the English discipline. The Western
bit might well have been a low port curb with Western reins. These bits can either
have a curb chain or a curb strap. The key here is to be safe and, nearly as
important, comfortable.
It is my opinion that one should school your horse with scary things while in a
controlled environment. Good footing and fencing are essential to create an
educational atmosphere that is safe. The use of a stimulus that is frightful should
always be utilized in such a way that it should be taken away before one loses
control. This will allow one to realize the potential dangers and how to control
them before confronting them in the real world.
If you are properly equipped and you have rehearsed dealing with scary objects,
your chances dramatically increase for a safe and comfortable ride. Remember that
there are old heroes and bold heroes but there aren't very many old, bold heroes.
Those of us that are super cautious and mindful of being safe at all times are likely
to enjoy our horses for many more years than those who ride unprepared. I hope
this answer will help you ride safely well in to the future. Please stay in touch and
let us know how it's going.

Bleah. How disappointing.
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by lightertouch on Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:49 am

Didn't even know you could use a curb strap on a snaffle!
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by Sydney on Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:55 am

You can but it is not effective on the mental nerve. It's used to keep the bit from sliding through a horses mouth.

Wow, I don't think Monty himself wrote that. I just...wow...what the heck!?
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by HorseHippie on Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:10 am

[quote="Sydney"]Wow, I don't think Monty himself wrote that.[/quote]

That's what I am thinking.... scratch
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Re: question from the monty roberts website

Post by Sydney on Wed Jun 10, 2009 11:11 am

Doesn't sound AT ALL like something Monty would say. Not at all.
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