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What exercises on the ground for collection?
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Jacquie
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 Posted: Fri May 21st, 2010 01:17 pm
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Hi Jeannie

I think that the problem just now with Fox is to do with your statement 'Dr Deb's mantra is to get them calm first'. Inwardly he is far from calm just now. I moved house only 3 weeks ago, and the horses are now at home with us (hurray for that!) and I had to move the horses to a new yard just after Christmas, where they never really were settled. They hated the barn where they were stabled (we all loved it and the people were lovely, but all four of mine were not relaxed at all there) and their grazing field was right next to a very busy road, busy all night long, so probably did not rest much in or out. I think none of them were resting properly or relaxing at all. It is very quiet at my new house and they are really definitely loving it - all of them were lying down regularly in the filed within days of arriving. I think Foxs stress levels have been raised for some time, but I see a huge improvement today when I rode him and yesterday on the lunge so that's very encouraging - he is letting go of his neck and swinging along in his back at last.

His grass snatching is literally only while I am opening or closing the gate to get him into or out of the field - of course he knows very well that my attention is on the gate and so his goes down to the grass! At other times he is not a problem at all.

Charlotte
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 Posted: Sun May 23rd, 2010 09:20 pm
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Jeannie - thank you, a timely reminder about the importance of the basics.We had a 'cows over the fence' moment yesterday. I had a chance to practice 'leading up free' and when we got past the danger he thought of rushing past me but I sent him to his room. He did stay with me but it was definately a 'could-do-better' moment. More practice required at being that 'source of calmness' so I can reassure him sooner than I did.

Jeannie
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 Posted: Mon May 24th, 2010 08:51 pm
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Hi Charlotte,  this dovetails with Dr Deb's answer to the topic " What is the anatomy of relaxation?". The head down cue she mentioned is a good way to help the horse calm themselves in a moment of unease, and you can practice it when you put on or take off their halter and when they are staying in their room. It occurred to me recently that part of the reason things keep working out better the more we work with our horses is that they also think about what happened after it happened, and that tends to shape the next outcome, as well as us thinking about it. Which is why it's always good to get some kind of closure, as Harry does.

  The late Bill Walsh, coach for the 49's football team when Joe Montana was QB, made what I thought was an interesting observation. Back before they were the team they became, they were losing , but he noticed that even though they were still losing , they were continually playing better, and he built on that, ignoring the losses. The rest, as they say, is history.

                                                  Jeannie

Charlotte
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 Posted: Mon May 24th, 2010 09:19 pm
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More good advice, thank you. I enjoy that thread as it's reassuring for those of us on the 'lesser' path!
It occurred to me recently that part of the reason things keep working out better the more we work with our horses is that they also think about what happened after it happened, and that tends to shape the next outcome, as well as us thinking about it.
Oh gosh, how true, I'm also continually amazed by some of the quite complex cognitive leaps he makes when given time to mull. (Mike Schaffer mentions this ability in his new book).

The football story makes me smile; one of the things that keeps me coming back to this forum is the ethos of taking responsibility, not being afraid to make mistakes and then try again, this time a bit better... I will revise the basics of mannering and head lowering and report back. Thanks again, Charlotte.

Jeannie
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 Posted: Tue Apr 23rd, 2013 11:08 pm
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So here's the thread where you are talking about Fox, Jacquie, and Pauline talks about the psychology of body posture. What goes around, comes around.
                                                   Jeannie

Jacquie
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 Posted: Wed Apr 24th, 2013 02:17 pm
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So true - what goes around comes around for sure!

Its interesting for me to read where Fox and I were just a few years ago, in comparison to where we are now.

Sometimes it is hard to really appreciate the amount of progress which has been made when you are very closely involved.

Jacquie
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 Posted: Wed Apr 24th, 2013 02:37 pm
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Here is a picture of Fox and I, taken in October 2012. The feeling was sublime, but I think he was still holding back a tiny amount in his neck and jaw.

Reply from Dr. Deb: That would be because you have him enormously over-bitted, Jacquie, and in addition to that you are holding the reins in the most severe configuration (i.e. curb rein lowest). Try getting your horse into the mildest possible snaffle bit. When you can twirl the head in that, and perform shoulder-in and half-pass in that also, he should freely raise the base of his neck, and you will no longer either need or want the long-shanked Weymouth. The more the horse "holds back a bit" -- which you can certainly see this horse doing in the photo -- the less he will ever be able to raise THE BASE of the neck. -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Fox and I in true collection.jpg (Downloaded 474 times)

Last edited on Mon May 13th, 2013 04:55 am by DrDeb

Jeannie
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 Posted: Wed Apr 24th, 2013 11:26 pm
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Yes, it must be interesting for you to reflect back, Jacquie. Thanks for posting a photo, I think you are looking good together. I know I find the same thing happens when I am chipping away, as Dr Deb says, and I wonder if there is very much change, but when I look at past photos, I can see a difference, and Dr Deb is good at reinforcing the mental blueprint Pauline mentioned in her learning curve.

 I try to keep in mind what both Dr Deb and Pauline have said about it taking a long time for the horse to develop the strength to carry himself correctly for periods of time. The in-hand work helps him to move correctly without the extra weight of a rider, and seems to accelerate his understanding of what is being asked while ridden.

  The draping reins have become a kinda holy grail for me, Dr Deb talks about them in this thread. You mentioned that Fox might be holding back in his neck and jaw, but that shows you understand that is not the same thing as contact, a concept riders get mixed up about.
                                    Jeannie

Jeannie
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 Posted: Sun May 12th, 2013 03:49 pm
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Hi all, I took some photos of animals that I thought were expressing themselves in a way which involved raising their necks. Maybe someone else has some other photos which illustrate this in other animals. They seem to be making a statement with their posture.
                   Jeannie

Attachment: photo(3).JPG (Downloaded 371 times)

Jeannie
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 Posted: Sun May 12th, 2013 03:51 pm
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I had just turned around after putting this goat's food down at a ranch where I work when I saw her like this

Attachment: photo(222).JPG (Downloaded 373 times)

Jeannie
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 Posted: Sun May 12th, 2013 03:54 pm
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This posture also involved feeding, an older swan was coming over to poach off a younger swan's food when she saw me standing near it

Attachment: photo(s).JPG (Downloaded 372 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon May 13th, 2013 05:00 am
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Jeannie, the goat analogy comes closest as the animal is, like a horse, a mammal. The snake doesn't work the same way at all -- to begin with, being a reptile, it has but one occipital condyle; and being a rattlesnake, its neck bones are designed to make horizontal rather than vertical "S" shapes. The swan, being a bird, has like mammals two occipital condyles, and it does also have the inbuilt capability to make its neck into a vertical "S" shape. However, it also has many more neck bones than a mammal -- mammals are limited to seven max, whereas a swan has, if I remember right, eighteen neck bones. The more bones, the more joints; and the more joints per running foot of neck, the more flexible the neck. Therefore, the swan's neck is much more flexible than that of any horse. -- Dr. Deb 

Jeannie
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 Posted: Mon May 13th, 2013 08:49 pm
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Hi Dr Deb, yes, the analogy falls apart if you compare the different vertebrae. I was looking at how each animal used muscles behind the head to express the inner life it was feeling at that moment. The gopher snake was trying to look like a rattlesnake in an attempt to look fearsome to me as I approached. I was going to move it off the road so it wouldn't get run over by a car, but it saw me as a danger. In raising itself up, it looked bigger and scarier.

 The goat was both happy and protective of her food, and the swan kinda puffed herself up as she headed over to push the other swan off it's food, so I think she was preparing to get what she wanted, and was letting me know.

A while back I was standing by a large water trough that my horse had been using for several months. A bunch of cows had come on the property and were drinking out of the trough when he rounded the corner and saw them there. He stopped for a second, and then I saw him puff himself up, literally getting bigger and taller before trotting down and dispersing the cows. His body reflected the change in his inner life as he prepared to move the cows off "his" water.

In working with horses, I think we have to take into account the fact that different postures mean different things to the animal, and it's not just a "look" we are going after. This affects how we go about teaching a horse to do something, working in a way that the animal can relate to and even want to do on their own.

Conversely, we need to be aware of all the various ways our horses express themselves around us, and not treat them like children that are being silly. I've seen some horses act aggressively around their owners, but the owner doesn't recognize the aggression and respond appropriately until things have gone further than they should have.

So, I think it is interesting to look at various body postures in all animals, to see how they are feeling, as well as the psychology of asking for a particular body posture.

                                         Jeannie

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun May 19th, 2013 04:44 am
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Jeannie, yes, of course I agree with all of that....when collection is offered by the horse instead of taken from the horse, it is then, as it is when the animal is at liberty, an expression of joy and joie-de-vivre. Ollie positively chuckles sometimes when I ask him for an effort of collection -- I would swear, he thinks it's a kind of playing that he gets to do.

"The greatest secret to success in horse training is finding what motivates your horse" -- Chuck Grant

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

DarlingLil
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 Posted: Fri Feb 13th, 2015 02:11 am
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Also a good thread.


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