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birdie
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neal
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 Posted: Mon Oct 27th, 2008 05:24 am
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i been reading these posts about birdie an havent figueed what is ment by that term .would appreciate all responces. thanks

AtLiberty
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 Posted: Mon Oct 27th, 2008 10:14 am
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Check this topic: http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/258.html

Cheers, Andrea

nejc
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 Posted: Mon Oct 27th, 2008 11:20 am
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Additional questions:
As I understand a request to the horse must be simple and within horses comprehension - one move, position,  another move, position.....; request must not be to strong;timing of reinforcement must be OK. If this is not achieved horse is confused, tensed and stressed. There is no trust, no attention and only some conditional or habitual response could be obtained. Long term stress is not good neither for human nor horse so to avoid it is compulsory.
If there is no tension and confusion and if there is trust but  still no attention, only "peripheral rute" of response is taken- conditional, habitual..with no "cognitive" effort from the horse. If there is attention, the "central rute" is taken with some kind of horse "cognition" - recognition of the request,  acceptance of the request and alignment of the "inner" horse with the request and its physical performance. Constant flow of the attention is needed from a horse to handler and must be refreshed every 8 seconds. Am I totally wrong?
 
Somewhere is mentioned that Kubler - Ross grief cycle is taken as a model of understanding of horse behavior. Are there any other models of understanding taken from humane psychology and applied on horse behavior and response to human request in this interspecies persuasion? It would be of a great help to organize knowledge of dealing with horse attention and "inner" horse around some model. (I added "peripheral rute, central rute, cognition" aut of sach models)
                                                                                                        Igor

neal
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 Posted: Sat Nov 1st, 2008 05:30 am
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  when i was a younger lad an just starting my cowboy career .i met an oldtime horseman who had broke horses for the remount at ft, keough. i learned things about horses i had never thought of befor,  i remember once he said that horse is dormant right now,what you would refer to i suppose is the birdie  left its cage , anyways its an intresting  concept. to qoute another well known trainer get some movement to bring horses attention back to you ,he works with that philosophy with good results .if this enumeration is correct  then i understand this birdie thing pretty well . just posting my thoughts on this birdie thing .

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Nov 1st, 2008 06:40 am
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Yes, Neal, sometimes cowboys will say the horse is 'sulled up' or else 'shut down'. Highfalootin' easterners call it 'stress syndrome'. Psychiatrists call it 'absance'. Common folks call it 'leaving your body' or 'blanking out'. All of these are ways to express that an invisible, but real "something" inside the horse is gone -- it's like he's awake but he's hollow, in a way. He has a hollow eye -- the life in the eye isn't right.

One of the most important things to know when you're starting unbroke horses is to be real careful around one that's in the middle of having this happen. Because when the life comes back into that horse, it might come back with a bang, and then I have seen them jump straight up in the air and kick out. You can get hit in the head.

One time I had the pleasure of watching our elderly teacher work with Joe Wolter, when Joe was not yet 25 years old. This lady had brought a big bay TB mare that would sull up when the girth was tightened. When she had been tightening the girth, the lady didn't know to watch out for this -- she didn't know what to watch out FOR. So she'd do like most people -- misinterpret how quiet the horse would be when she was tightening the girth. They don't understand that it isn't "real" quietness -- the horse is TOO quiet, you might say. But she thought the horse was quiet because it was "sleepy", or maybe OK with the whole deal, which is what most people think, and she'd go to tightening the girth then and the horse would suddenly rear up or else faint over backwards.

So Joe was handling the horse under our elderly teacher's direction. They put the saddle on there, but we knew what to look for, and you could already see the horse starting to get shutty-downy just with the saddle sitting up there, the girth not even tight yet. Our teacher would have Joe gently ask the mare to move its feet. This is how you prevent it: you have to keep the life going down into the feet. So the mare's birdie would start to leave -- you see where it goes is no physical place like across the arena or to some other horses or something, but instead when they shut down it goes into another world. And that other world is so sweet to them, that the more times they go there they get so they go there easier and easier, and they come back more and more reluctantly. This gets to be the pattern, so that eventually, it takes very little pressure or demand on them and their birdie leaves.

But moving the feet prevents it by interfering with the birdie's ability to leave. So you watch the birdie and, at the right moment, you move the feet. Then you go back to messing with the saddle some more, and finally you start tightening the girth, one hole at a time. I still remember watching this, like a crystal-clear movie in my head: Tom directing and Joe handling the horse.

When the girth finally was tightened all the way, the mare's birdie did leave; it was the best Joe could do, but he tipped her over into that and couldn't really have helped it. Nobody could have handled her any better. So when the birdie left, our teacher just told Joe to wait quietly, and watch for when the birdie was JUST starting to come back. And when that moment came, then with the most extreme gentleness and softness, to just get into the eye of the mare and make her aware that Joe was there. He just raised his hand a little bit, and took just a little bit of the slack out of the rope. And this helped the mare's birdie come back into her body smoothly, so there was no explosion, no rearing up, no kicking out, no fainting over.

After that, it was merely a matter of repeating with the same deep perceptiveness -- in other words, if the mare had been handled by somebody who didn't know about the birdie or who couldn't see the birdie, it would have been bad for the mare. But Joe was there, and what they did was saddle her and unsaddle her and lead her feet a bunch of times, not to repeat for repeating's sake, but so as to give the mare many opportunities to maybe NOT have to leave, or if she did leave then to come back in softly. And after three days of working with her, one hour in this way a couple of times a day, she got so you could saddle and girth her and she could be OK about it the whole time, and never leave.

This is a good story that illustrates how important it is to get the horse 100% OK about all the equipment that is ever going to be used on it, from the first day. The way horses get into this spot is from people who do not know themselves; they do not realize that they, themselves, are huge pressure to a horse; they do not understand what their approach and their actions mean TO THE HORSE.

Also, most people do not understand sacking out. They think that to sack out means you approach the horse with the scary object, and then when the horse goes quiet, you approach even closer. They have this exactly backwards. If the horse is tied up or tied down, so that he cannot PHYSICALLY flee from this pressure, he will flee MENTALLY and that's what the mare Joe was working with had learned how to do. They do it in order to survive being around the typical horse owner. -- Dr. Deb

nejc
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 Posted: Sat Nov 1st, 2008 09:36 am
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In my country word stress is in common use - we have not our word for stress and we write it and pronounce it as "stres". Using also some vocabulary let say form changingminds (I am most familiar with it) would help me a lot. I can look at defenitions and theory behind it. This way I can understand and learen very quickly.
      Thank you                                                                           Igor

hurleycane
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 Posted: Sat Nov 1st, 2008 02:48 pm
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Dr Deb ~ Wanted to share a little story here which happened with my Cane (the red in my avatar) just the other night.   I think this story relates to the "mentally fleeing" category. 

He has not been ridden for some time r/t failed suspensories.  From the moment I bought him - he would always flee human contact - even eye contact would send him spinning away.  I feel most of his behavior grew over his failing body.  Any human interaction beyond a head rub is not welcomed by him. 

Over time, he has come to greet me at the gate and make great eye contact.  When free in a field - he will choose to stand with me, try to run off the other horses if they come near and will enjoy a short head rub or let me help with fly removal.  But, when leading, he becomes hypervigilent, snortles and arches his neck at the world - whoever you are, no matter how familiar the surround.  When grooming,  he is always polite and gentle with offering a foot and such - but he is stoic and his birdie is distant the slightest "out of the ordinary" will scramble his feet.  

I think I gained a little insight to this "fleeing Birdie" the other night.  I was grooming him loose in his stall and he as usual stood perfectly still, head up facing forward as if he was in a cross tie.  His hay remained in front of him - but he never returned to eating.  When I came toward his head he would release his distant gaze just briefly - then stare ahead again.  No sign of comfort with my grooming - ever.

So, I took some of the hay and praised him when he regarded me, then my hand and then took his treat.  When he finished the hay treat he returned to staring straight ahead.  So I put some more hay in his feed bowl and returned to grooming.  He stepped over and began to eat as I was grooming him.  I praised him.  When he finished that, much to my delight - on his own he stepped back over to his hay on the ground and continued to eat.  He continued enjoying his hay as I finished his grooming and even his foot care.  It was so good to have him so relaxed and "present" enough to eat his hay.

Though in some way I always felt his behavior and distance was a fear or dread of what was to come (like the ride) - that night I deeply felt he was simply "waiting for permission." Not sure if I am right on that.  But, I hope to build on it.  It was such a wonderful experience.

Sorry this was so long.


Last edited on Sat Nov 1st, 2008 02:53 pm by hurleycane

neal
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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 03:30 am
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dr, deb, thanks for the discourse  on birdie, no he wasnt refering to the horse as sullen , more like when you tighten the cinch, the horse stands there , hes not sullen ,i would say hes dormant , however when you untrack him he might explode or he might just walk off, if the horse was sullen he wouldnt want to move , any ways   i think i know what  the term birdie refers to now .just as a side note i worked with jim dorrance  , the dorrance boys were good horsemen of the buckarro tradtion , jim was past 50 an could still ride a bucking horse. they had plenty of them .

miriam
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 Posted: Sun Nov 2nd, 2008 03:51 pm
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Hi Neal,

Was Jim the 'other brother' that Tom and Bill said was "better than both of them?" Harry Whitney speaks of hearing those Dorrance Bros saying that. I see reference to Jim in Bill's book I believe.

About 'dormant'..my gelding has a tendency to do what you describe I think. If I don't keep him looking at me and responding to me in an awareness sort of way, he used to tend to 'go away' mentally when I go to saddling. In days ago, before I got better at noticing that he'd go away, and then jump when I asked for untracking or actually any movement after saddling was done. I think he was doing like Dr Deb says and coming back sharply. Lately, I'm better at asking for, and keeping his attention (praise God) so that I can actually wait for his permission to saddle. When he's in this frame of mind he's fine with it all. Would this be similar to your description?

Miriam

neal
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 Posted: Mon Nov 3rd, 2008 03:14 am
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hello miriam. yes jim was one of the brothers of bill a tom an i think there was another brother also,your horse as you describe sounds like he is alright . as long as you untrack him befor you mount . we had a 100 head of horses in the cavvy when i worked there as i remember i had 15 in my string,we had 2 wagons cook wagon an a bed wagon  each wagon pulled by 4 big mules .


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