As you all know, I sent in a question to Pat and Linda Parelli for their teleseminar that was held on May 27th. My question was unfortunately not chosen to be answered (the link takes you to the full question but in a nutshell I asked why horses bite while mounted and what to do about it). However, Karen Scholl announced her most recent teleseminar (this evening) and asked for question. I decided to send the same question to her to see if I'd get an answer--and I did. But, before I divulge the answer, let me just tell you who Karen is.
From her website, Karen Scholl Horsemanship for Women:
Horsemanship for Women may be just a little different than other approaches you’ve experienced with horses… that’s because it’s not just about the horse… it’s about you and your ability to demonstrate techniques from a position of ‘loving leadership’ with horses.
Karen's formal education began by earning degree in Equine Science. She attended extensive symposiums and seminars from equine professionals and clinicians, eventually landing at a seminar with Pat Parelli in 1989. Because his program was designed for self-study, Karen took off with it! Becoming an instructor in 1995, Karen taught Parelli Natural Horsemanship courses and clinics for over ten years. When Parelli moved his operation to southern Colorado, Karen became President of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, managing a Corporation that doubled in size every year, until resigning in 2001 to regain her focus of teaching horsemanship.
So, are you wondering what her answer was? It is quite simple really and I think I knew it when I asked the question...I knew it somewhere anyway! I knew about the leadership part but, totally forgot about backing--while mounted--I only thought of it on the ground--duh! How simple! This technique will actually help me get leadership while mounted! (The light bulb just went off. LOL)
Karen said the following (these are just my notes, hopefully understandable):
- Disengage the hindquarters (breaking the hindquarters) to break a brace with a horse taking away the power they have, braciness (start on the ground), be sure to give release, horses are bracey—people usually asking too much too fast (rude or abrupt)
- Backing cures biting—it starts on the ground, horses get into habits, try new things all of the time, sometimes a physical thing--problem usually mental, emotional, or physical
- On the ground, backing cures biting for two reasons: 1. Horse backs out of your proximity 2. You back a horse psychologically, you are moving up in the leadership ladder (the pecking order of horses)
- Horses check you every minute and try to challenge when they can, they try new things to see what your response is
- Punishment does not work with horses because if you watch horses (geldings) two, one bites the other, the other bites back, they will do it all day just for fun, when people smack a horse for biting, you agree to participate in their game so this would not work
- On the horses back, back him because they cannot bite you, if the horse wants to come around, (the horse can get lower jaw caught on the stirrup if you remove your foot from it--especially in an English saddle), get your horse busy and back the horse up, give them something else to do
- You could also, move your food forward into the curl of their neck (say if you are bareback), they cannot curl their nose and neck around to get to you to bite (just make it difficult for them—they cannot reach)
- Backing cures biting (ask yourself, how do I change their mind about this behavior and make it not fun anymore?)
- If the horse views you as a leader, they would not do this.
- Many considerations, not a simple question, really.
- True leadership with the horse, the behaviors will go away.
I plan to participate in more of Karen Scholl's teleseminars. She was really easy to understand and listen to. Very nice job. - Thanks Karen!