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Crinkly skin
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Kallisti
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Joined: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 38
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 Posted: Sat Sep 15th, 2007 11:21 am
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Hi Deb,

I have an observation which I'd like to share and perhaps you can provide your thoughts please?

I've been lunging Chief recently and we've been working on a simple task: 100% focus from me, and head twirling on a circle from him.

We're working in a halter and lunge lead fastened to the inside halter ring, not the under chin ring.

Our sessions last maybe 15-30 minutes at most, walk and trot, lots of rest, try keep work and reward periods about equal and circle size very varied. We'd do about two minutes max of any one thing. The sun's been out recently and we usually finish off by chilling and watching others ride in the outdoor arena whilst picking grass.

I keep a close eye on the ears, to ensure they're level and try to position myself and the 'rein' aid, so that he gets a release when the head twirls (flexed inside w/ ears level).

Recently I've noticed intermittent 'crinkly skin' at the first/second neck vertebra area (inside). I think it happens when he's twirling, but wondered if anyone else has thoughts on this?

It's not that I'm after a definitive signal that he's twirling, more that I'm curious as my own logic suggests that it wouldn't occur if he's tense in his poll joint.

Any thoughts welcome from all, thanks :)


DrDeb
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Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
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 Posted: Sun Sep 16th, 2007 12:44 am
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Yes, Kallisti. When the horse lets go of the brace in his neck, if you use the longe line to ask him to twirl his head inward, he will twirl it. And when he twirls it, there will be vertical wrinkles that appear just behind the jowl, in the skin at the upper part of the neck. If you are looking for a "sign" that the horse has truly released the brace, seeing the wrinkles is a good one, for they do not appear unless there is a real release.

On the other hand, you must not make an idol out of any sign, or out of any one thing. In other words, it's a big mistake to try to get the wrinkles. You are not trying to get wrinkles; you are trying, by means of a certain fairly sophisticated technique, to obtain release.

The sole and only purpose of twirling the head is to induce release, to induce the horse to let go of the brace in his neck.

When he has let go of it, then, you are doing the right thing by letting him go along a little while before you ask anything of him again.

In the end, "to twirl the head" just means that the horse, already in a state of release, follows the "feel" you send him through the line. There is barely any pressure wanted or needed. If he'll stop, go, and turn without bracing up, and if he travels without a brace, you're there.

When you both know how to live in the "envelope of release" and during your whole session with your horse, whether on the ground or mounted, you never go out of that envelope, then there's no further concern with head-twirling as a technique, and it becomes hidden within whatever the horse and you are doing.

So, again, as I have said here and elsewhere many times before, the truthful answer to "how often do I ask the horse to twirl his head" is, "there is never a time when you are not asking him to twirl his head."

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Kallisti
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Joined: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 38
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 16th, 2007 01:55 am
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DrDeb wrote: On the other hand, you must not make an idol out of any sign, or out of any one thing. In other words, it's a big mistake to try to get the wrinkles. You are not trying to get wrinkles; you are trying, by means of a certain fairly sophisticated technique, to obtain release.

Exactly the confirmation I was looking for, thanks Dr Deb!


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