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Where is his birdie and how do I fix it?
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Leah
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 01:29 am
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OK I have a strange question-since this thread is going around a few curves, I will post it here.

*sigh* ok.

A horse has known back issues. Not certain HOW extensive but he has a history of pain, tense muscles, etc.

He also likely has emotional issues from the pain.

He is very much NOT ok with saddling. He pins his ears, snaps, bites, kicks out, you can see and feel the muscle tension and 'feel' him holding his breath.

He also behaves this way when brushed.

NOW here is the kicker...during this entire process he is 'dropped.'

Every time.

SO he is tense and nasty on one end but yet...'relaxed' on the other.

He is tense like this while being mounted.

Once he walks off he is fine-still tight but ears forward, long low posture, stretches, snorts and blows....and even will drop and relax while walking.

Can ANYONE shed any light on this?

leca
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 01:54 am
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by dropped I assume you mean his boy bits.

I can see your dilemma. How confusing

Is he really relaxed, could the dangle be a way of him trying to relieve some tension?  Im kinda thinking could this be a similar thing as tongue lolling.  Otherwise have no idea.

I too have a horse with chronic back pain issues.  The thing that seems to give him the most relief came from seeing horses stand on barrels on this forum.  I havent taught him to do that but I do put his hind feet in the gutter with the front up on the bank.  He does seem better since I started doing that before and after each workout

 

Tutora
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 01:57 am
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Leah, there's a post about this, presently on page 11--"gelding whose penis comes out when ridden"

Leah
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 02:10 am
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He LOVES to stand on things...and yes I meant his boy bits LOL.

He is sometimes relaxed when this happens-again keep in mind he is snarling and snapping and ear pinning.

And other times he is...um...more at attention.

Thank you for the other link!

Last edited on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 02:11 am by Leah

Leah
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 02:22 am
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OH my....I just read that post.

OK..let me start with my good news. I was the new Leah today with Hugo and I am happy to report no ear pinning!!

I was clear, concise, gave him jobs and made sure he was able. He was very interested in the new Leah!



Now, this dropping issue. There is no doubt that assessment applies to my situation.

I am feeling a little overwhelmed. I swear ignorance is bliss, is it not? This horse could likely live in most barns and seem perfectly normal. I was someone that didn't know better years ago. The more I learn the harder it is sometimes...I mean, when you don't know what horses are thinking, you don't notice...then when you start learning they are EVERYWHERE looking upset or having lost birdies.

It is when we start looking to make things better that we realize how complicated they are.

OK...I just have to remind myself this is part of being better for the horses.

Thank you to everyone that has contributed on this thread. It has been very educational and I appreciate it!

I have a big job ahead of me.

miriam
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 02:04 pm
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going back a bit in this thread...Professor Bennett has pointed out that when you offer a treat from horseback, you're rewarding for stopping or standing still. This raises a few questions.

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 09:32 pm
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I found a thread where Dr. Deb talks about giving treats as a reward and she describes that it should be used the same as pressure and release, the treat being the release.  Interesting.  However, this may not work effectively for every horse.

It is the "Training/Desensitise Help Please" thread.

My horse is going very nice under saddle and I am able to be very light with my cues.  No major behavioral issues so why mess with a good thing.  I think if I started something like this, it may cause an issue. 

In another thread, I had stated that I was having some trouble since I started letting him have grazing breaks in the arena in between ground work.  (Ground work being trot poles and some shoulder in exercises).  He has been doing so great so I have been doing this "graze break" routine (only on the ground, never under saddle).  Well, issues started.  He is really giving me a hard time going back to work and STOPPING eating.  I have to get very firm with him to move off.  So, his nice break time is followed by this "Ok, get your but moving again" time in which he protests as he would rather keep eating.  Therefore I think I can conclude that with my particular horse, food treats are not such a good idea.  But, he has all kinds of places he loves to be scratched for a nice reward and break.  I always let him graze on my lawn just before I turn him out which gives him a nice time after working.  He has a grass pasture but, it is always greener on the otherside you know !!

Brings me back to the idea of experimenting with your own horse and work where he is and with what he responds best to.  If he does respond great to treat reward, then go with it !!

 

 

Tutora
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 09:47 pm
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Hi Miriam--Though I've found clicker training to be much less useful in helping a horse to be deeply OK than what I'm learning now, here, it can work from horseback-- the horse remembers what he was doing at the exact moment he heard the click. He understands that action is  what he's being rewarded for. But Pauline Moore, in my opinion, had it exactly right on last year's "Clicker Training" thread--that's why I'm not doing clicker training now; it's okay, but this way is even better. --Elynne

Last edited on Thu Nov 6th, 2008 09:48 pm by Tutora

Tutora
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 Posted: Thu Nov 6th, 2008 10:06 pm
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Hi again, Miriam! I want to add that what Dr. Deb said is true, too.  Twice I've had horses spook at rabbits on a trail before I did actual clicker training. We were heading down a steep hill and I was riding on the buckle each time. The horses gathered themselves to scoot, I said " Whoa" and the horses sat down. I'd taught them "whoa" might well mean a treat, and apparently I caught them with my voice command between the thought and the full act.  I hate riding out a bolt down these steep hills and I couldn't have gathered my reins fast enough, so in those instances, I am glad I taught them voice commands. The memory of those instances is what keeps me from arguing with anyone who does clicker training or feeds from the saddle.

sunnyriot
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 Posted: Wed Nov 12th, 2008 05:28 pm
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Yes, with a clicker (or any event marker like a word or touch) you can use positive reinforcement in the saddle or for that matter at a distance. I have seen some wonderful liberty work done with clicker training. Works for the marine mammal trainers just fine and they are nowhere near their critters! Nor do they stop them mid-leap to toss them a sardine. The event marker/click tells the horse when it is right and there is a reward (rest, food, scratch etc) on the way. You don't need to reward right during the behaviour.

The tale about the clicker trained "whoa" is a perfect example of how R+ can work well to eliminate flight responses. R- (pressure) training uses flight responses to move the horse around. Put more simply (I think) is that pressure works well on the "go" button and rewards work well on the "pause" button.

And, yes, I have seen animals work through pain frequently -- trained in either method since in any case the animal has to make the decision if the pain is worth not responding. Perhaps a reward may make it more "ok" to do what is requested -- I don't know -- probably depends on the level of discomfort and at what point the horse is in conditioned reinforcer training. I think that it comes down to knowing our horses, watching for those subtle cues that he or she is not ok with something then trying to figure out why. That is the most valuable thing about this board -- everyone is encouraged to be respectful of their horse's needs and to respond to them rather than make the horse fit some preconceived idea about what they should or shouldn't do.

Leah
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 Posted: Wed Nov 12th, 2008 06:12 pm
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I wanted to give a little update.

Thanks to this helpful forum and THe Birdie Book, Hugo's birdie is where it should be and ears are facing forward.

The MOMENT I changed and became clear and concise, expecting him to 'do the right thing' but ready to assist if he became confused, all was in order.

A few long hacks across the fields also did WONDERS to restore a positive attitude.

The Birdie Book just rocks. :-)

caballero
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 Posted: Mon May 21st, 2012 12:37 am
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Thanks, Dr. Deb!!  My best friend told me about your site a few months ago.  We both have been life-long horsemanship geeks.  I'm totally blown away!!  What a blessing, what a find!!

It's so unusual to find a true 'horsemanship professional' who's so open about the research and practice being utilized, the psychology and physiology behind it, and to share it with all who will listen/read.  For the sake of the horse, your membership #s should be greater!! 

I continue to read, with great interest, the comments and stories of horsemanship encounters.  Of course, each is different.  That's one thing that makes it so fascinating.

I'm so dadgummed blessed today...but really, it's keeping me from enjoying some time with my horses.  It's a beautiful evening here in central TX.

Look forward to sharing stories of each of the horses I'm working with...an eclectic herd of teachers!

Thanks, again...Kate

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon May 21st, 2012 03:54 am
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Welcome to the Forum, Kate, glad to have you as a reader and participant. When problems, good things, or just interesting observations come up with your horses, please feel free to tell us about 'em or write in to ask questions. -- Dr. Deb


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