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Fuzzy Logic Equine
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 Posted: Wed Aug 6th, 2008 08:57 pm
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Oh, sorry about that - I didn't think about it.  Just cut & pasted the info from somewhere else. 

Dawn

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 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 01:30 am
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DrDeb wroOkay Hurley has peeked my curiosity on this, so I'll take a stab, lol.

1. Of the horses on the pedestals, which animal is expressing the most positive feelings? I'm going with the white horse in the middle.  He/she doesn't appear to be threatening or posed to play in anyway.  It's almost as if it's thinking to itself "this game again?".
2. How positive are those feelings in that horse? In other words -- all three horses up on the pedestals have their ears "back". But are there any "modifiers" to the ears, i.e. eyes, lips, posture of the neck? Bottom line: does "ears back" ALWAYS equate to nasty-nasty or angry feelings? No ears back don't (always) equate to nasty or angry feelings.  Horses put their ears back when resting, when under saddle, etc.  The white horse seems relaxed to me.

3. Of the horses on the pedestals, which animal is expressing the most negative feelings? Again, you'll be able to tell this by looking at the "modifiers", i.e. eyes, lips, and posture of the neck (tail would be another modifier but tails don't show in this particular photo). I feel its almost a toss up between the red on the left and the right.  But I'm going to go with this...the one on the left appears to be ready to strike out with its teeth, whereas the one on the right has it's neck posed as if he is trying to get out of the way...almost submissive.

4. Of the two animals on the ground, one has its ears semi-forward, and the other has its ears "back". If you were to translate the expression on that horse's face/body into English, what would the animal be saying? Ack, now that I've left the page I can't see them BUT from what I remember the horse on the left has its ears pinned back.  Me thinketh he's saying to the horse on the pedestal "don't even think about it"!! (Okay, I had to come back and edit as I don't know my left from my right, lol)

I'll be interested not only in your answer to this but that of anyone else who wants to jump in. And after the answers slow down and it looks like everyone who wants to say something has done so, then Allen you please come back and tell us your own "translations" (which will be most authoritative, since you know the horses). -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Thu Aug 7th, 2008 02:28 pm by MyBoyG

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 03:33 pm
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DrDeb wrote: I would like to take a stab at this as well...
1. Of the horses on the pedestals, which animal is expressing the most positive feelings? I believe that the grey in the middle looks the most relaxed and ok with the situation. Ears not pinned and soft eyes.  The chestnut on the right also does not look too bothered, possibly a playful posture as his ears are not pinned right down and the turned neck showing playfulness towards the horse passing on the ground (although this can turn into a threatening posture) - his birdie is on ground horse's butt ??  His lips do look a bit tight.

2. How positive are those feelings in that horse? In other words -- all three horses up on the pedestals have their ears "back". But are there any "modifiers" to the ears, i.e. eyes, lips, posture of the neck? Bottom line: does "ears back" ALWAYS equate to nasty-nasty or angry feelings? No - not always nasty. The grey is fairly positive in that he does not look like he is thinking of fleeing or threatening anyone, although cannot see his nostrils or lips.  And again, soft eyes.  Also looks relaxed through his neck.  The other 2 on the pedestals have their neck muscles "engaged" rather than relaxed.

3. Of the horses on the pedestals, which animal is expressing the most negative feelings? Again, you'll be able to tell this by looking at the "modifiers", i.e. eyes, lips, and posture of the neck (tail would be another modifier but tails don't show in this particular photo).  The horse on the left looks most negative to me.  Ears pinned, nostrils tight, neck ready to reach out and bite the bay coming toward his space.

4. Of the two animals on the ground, one has its ears semi-forward, and the other has its ears "back". If you were to translate the expression on that horse's face/body into English, what would the animal be saying?  I don't think he is too bothered by the one following him as much as the one to his left on the pedestal.  Saying I am coming into your space even though you are warning me not to and we will see who wins this argument in just one or two more steps.  The horse behind is wanting to follow the leader. 

David Genadek
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 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 04:23 pm
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Me thinks everyone is fine with what they are doing. The issue seems to be the herd dynamic. Some of the horses are encroaching on the other horses space. Dude your in my space!!
David Genadek

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 05:19 pm
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David Genadek wrote: Me thinks everyone is fine with what they are doing. The issue seems to be the herd dynamic. Some of the horses are encroaching on the other horses space. Dude your in my space!!
David Genadek

So....would you only want to use horses that are ok with having another horse in their space?  Such a fluctuating thing isn't it?  At least in my little herd. 

David Genadek
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 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 06:07 pm
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Think about a car full of kids. You throw them in and everyone is pissing and moaning. Mom Billy did this or that. Did not. Did to. Mom told me to sit here. After a while they work it out and enjoy the ride and become best buds. 

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Thu Aug 7th, 2008 06:30 pm
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But Dr. Deb is asking us to point out what each one is specifically feeling at this moment in time.  Teaching us to learn to read key signs. 

I agree Kindred, best buds can turn to get away from me, with a swift kick or bite, very quickly.  It fluctuates constantly depending on what pressures they are feeling at the time. 

Just the other night my gelding was telling one of the yearlings to get away, I saw it but the yearling did not listen, the gelding swung around and gave him a good bite on the shoulder.  Then, all was well again. 

I am learning to see it coming sooner !!

Callie
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 Posted: Fri Aug 8th, 2008 12:03 am
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I think what the horses are trying to figure out is how to balance the different issues that are going on.  On the one hand, the horses are doing as Allen directed them, and on the other hand they have to learn to work together as a group and deal with the personal space issues.

I don't think there is anything wrong with the horses working out the space issues and "reminding" one another where the boundries are.  I wouldn't expect to see a group of horses working together without some reminders.

I happen to know some of these horses a smidge, though I haven't seen them in a while, so I have some opinions about the individuals that I am going to refrain from shareing.

But one other thing, is that Allen tends to "mix it up" with the horses more than I have seen/heard of with other liberty trainers.  In other words, not all the horses always do the same parts of tricks/ work together in the same way all the time.  So while a circus troupe basically has the horses play the same individual role all the time, and therefor there is very little "reminding" needed from one horse to the other, when you change it up all the time, I think you see more of the horses telling each other what needs to be done.  I also think to some extent that means they are more engaged both with Allen and the group than a group that always does the same thing.

So while I want my horse to be all ears up and willing when I ask him to do something, I am not always ears up and smiling towards him if he isn't doing what I want.  So the horses on the pedistals need the horses that are weaving not to run into them as they rotate, so they are not smiling when the weave horses get to close, and the weave horses need the pedistal horses to rotate at a specific speed so there is a clear space for them to pass, so if the pedistal horses get off on their timing, the weave horses remind them to get out of the way.

That was probably a little overkill, but that's how I see it.

Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 02:37 pm
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Hi Folks and Dr. Deb,

 Ok seems as if everyone that wanted to comment has done so ..

 My general take on the situation is that regardless of the expressions the horses are showing, each and every one of them is doing what they have been trained to do.

 I really don't see any 'negative' expressions. What I do see are horses talking to each other in a way that helps to define their space or intention.

Bear in mind that this ring set up (i.e.pedestal placement) was arranged for photographic purposes. The ring is a mere 42 ft in diameter and unlike the picture of the  Fijords and elephants which was taken from outside the ring I took the picture from inside while cueing the horses at the same time. This is not always an easy task.

In order to get all the horses in the frame the pedestals had to be placed a bit closer together than normal. This may be why the horses are makin' faces. The Lusitano/Arabian chestnut on the right is a gelding that has a very expressive way of showing his concentration.  He naturally tucks in his nose, lifts his neck when he is really thinking about his job. The gray Arabian mare in the middle is doing what alpha mares do, tell everybody else that they run the show. She is the oldest and most experienced member of the troupe and has always shown the most expressive presence of any horse I have ever presented. The Arabian gelding on the left is merely asking the lead bay to proceed so that he can swing his rear end around.

 The lead bay, a Lusitano/Arab gelding is announcing his intention to pass inbetween. The following bay, a Veiga-Lusitano/Egyptian-Arab filly is observing the interaction and happy to follow along.

What I find most interesting about this style of schooling horses is how natural herd behaviors affect the correct execution of learned behaviors. Many of the learned behaviors are contrary to what horses would do on their own. What is meant is that as Callie mentioned that I like to "mix it up" by getting multiple horses doing different behaviors simultaneously. This strategy is the basis of creating 'a thinking horse', one that pays more attention to the handler than to the other horses and its own instincts.  

 Horses are copy cats by nature and so in the beginning this is a great strategy to teach them by having a more dominant member of the troupe set (or show) the example. Once the horses fully understand the movement working along with the lead horse then they are asked to perform it on their own. Then they are expected to do it regardless of what the other horses are doing. It is the changing circumstances that really educate the horse and create reliability.

Allen

Attachment: The troupe.JPG (Downloaded 217 times)

kindredspirit
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 Posted: Thu Aug 14th, 2008 04:28 pm
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Allen Pogue wrote: Hi Folks and Dr. Deb,

In order to get all the horses in the frame the pedestals had to be placed a bit closer together than normal. This may be why the horses are makin' faces.

I would say that explains it all.  Thanks for sharing, esp the awesome photos. Always a treat.

Best,

Kathy

Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Sat Aug 16th, 2008 05:21 pm
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RE: Improvisational moves

Hello Kathy,

 Sorry  for the slow reply to your quite valid question. I was waiting for the other message thread to run its course.

The attached picture  is a good example of an 'improv' on the part of the horses.

 Typically when called to attention with the command "Line Up" they have been taught and are expected to move to the perimeter of the ring and stand shoulder-to-shoulder and wait for the cue to proceed forward as a group. Not long ago following Navegador's lead, they lined up as shown in the photograph when he stepped up on the revolving pedestal.

 I immediately saw the possibility for a new behavior and stepped forward to gather their attention by creating a big 'V" by outstretching the ring whip in my right hand and the guider in my left.

 As I approached the group I very lightly flicked the ring whip in a horizontal motion to indicate to the chestnut on the right to move his rear end around backwards. The vocal cue to Navegador on the pedestal  was "AROUND" and I looked at the bay on the left and said "With me" .

 So what happened was the chestnut on the ground backed around in sync with the horse on the pedestal as he rotated and the bay walked forward.

We repeated this move three times and then went on to the normal routine. From that point in time this trick has been a done deal. They quite willingly added it to their repertoire. When I decide it is time to change up the current program we will nail it  together as a finished trick with the handler remaining in the center of the ring instead of closely walking at the head of the horses.  

I am getting used to the concept that the horses will create these opportunities on a regular basis. One night they came up with 12 new moves or positions in the course of a couple hours. This many variations, albiet some minor, is a bit too many to try to add to a routine so I just try to remember them or better yet take a quick snapshot for future reference.

Allen

Attachment: Gater_rev_2byside.JPG (Downloaded 169 times)

Allen Pogue
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 Posted: Sun Aug 17th, 2008 05:00 am
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ER: a discarded improvisational move

 The picture attached to this message is an example of a discarded improvisational move.

 The chestnut horse is trained to hop up onto a rather large pedestal (approx 33"x66") that has a bean bag placed at one end.

Once on the pedestal, he does a half turn and then settles his rear end onto the bean bag and then will sit for as long as required and observe all sorts of activity in his vicinity. This picture was taken when he thought that he could in a similar fashion turn around on the smaller pedestal and sit down on top of the bay horse sitting on the bean bag that was placed on the ground next to the pedestal. This would not have worked at all, way too many possibilities for things to go wrong, so I quickly snapped the picture with a pocket camera and then stopped the action.

 These guys are so bold that at times they will try do do the impossible.

Allen

Attachment: Gater trying to sit on Dos.JPG (Downloaded 153 times)


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