ESI Q and A Forums Home
 Search       Members   Calendar   Help   Home 
Search by username
Not logged in - Login | Register 

Focus and Birdie
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
AuthorPost
Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 06:11 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi all, just to but in here.  Can't beleive how it must be to have all those animals around your horses.  In New Zealand ..... nothing no snakes nothing that would hurt horses just the odd bit of flying paper or something to shy at.  Any way further to the keeping their birdie and focus your challenges would frighten me let alone my horse so how do you keep their birdie in those situations?

Cathie

leca
Member


Joined: Fri Jul 4th, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 06:58 am
 Quote  Reply 
ok I have to have a go at "this scary beast that might eat me" too.  We have.......kangaroos that bounce, these cause the horse to turn tail and flee for the hills!!  emus that strut and follow anything that attracts their attention (the ultimate birdie followers)so when the horse turns tail and run the emu follows, "good grief its chasing me go faster"!! Echidnas, "now thats interesting" nose too close to sniff end up with nose full of sharp spines "ouch!!" only do that once in a lifetime. And scary beast to end all beasts......Goannas (very large agile and fast lizard) "it just aint natural for a creature to run along the ground .....up a tree and...... then hiss at you.  Nothing that will actually cause harm to the horse but try telling them that!! There are lots of snakes too, Australia does have most of the top 10 poisonous ones in the world, but we rarely see them being sensitive to ground vibrations

Last edited on Tue Aug 26th, 2008 06:58 am by leca

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3232
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 09:24 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, Leca, your post gets us back to the main point: which is, that most people are easily drawn off into a discussion of all the things that can potentially distract a horse. Their mistake is in thinking that being distracted or being concerned or even afraid is the horse's main problem. It is not his main problem. The external situation or objects are not what cause the horse to shy, whirl, snort, etc. It is the loss of his birdie -- the loss of his inner equanimity and confidence -- that is the problem. There is a buildup before this happens. The rider or handler's shortcoming lies in not being able to detect, or defuse, this buildup.

It is true that animals, blowing paper, motorcycles, bicycles, rattling dry branches, gunfire, flowing water, high wind, other horses, and ten thousand other things all have the power to suck the horse's birdie away from him.

But they do not have the power to do that at all times. This is implicit in every one of the posts above.

WHY is this? Why should it be the case that SOMEtimes the gurgling water causes Ollie to "get snorty" -- get concerned -- stare and blow at it -- whirl and run away from it -- and OTHER times it is not associated with a buildup, the horse looks at it but doesn't react to it, and he keeps his mind on his job?

WHY is it that some peoples' horses will "refuse" to cross flowing water, while on the same trailride, in the same group, at the same stream, another person's horse will quietly cross?

The answer to these questions is this: that when a horse gets 100% OK on the inside, NOTHING WHATSOEVER will bother him.

I mean, literally, that when he is 100% OK -- not "100% OK with gunfire" or "100% OK with a flapping tarp" -- but 100% OK within himself -- then you can literally shoot the gun off under his belly and he'll stand there with his head stuck out to the front, his ears in a V, and smacking his lips. This has absolutely nothing to do with "desensitizing" --!! The horse is not numb as would be implied by the term "desensitize"; rather, something unworldly has happened; something deep.

The reason that the discussion so easily titters off to trivia, such as "well we have armadillos where we live", or "we have snakes", is that, at gut level, most people simply do not believe what I have just said. Or they talk about "desensitizing" because THIS they can grasp. They do not believe the unworldly, "that which passes all understanding," because they have never seen it.

But I have seen it, and I know I can produce it, and I also know that YOU can learn to produce it. As our teacher said many times, he didn't feel he had anything that anyone else didn't have. In other words: the ability to help animals to get 100% OK on the inside is a normal human ability. You just have to work to find that ability within yourself.

And this gets us to your question again: how DO you help a horse be 100% OK with the gurgling water? Or the armadillo? Or the blowing paper? Because it does not start with deep, all-pervading OKness. It starts with one particular thing or situation that you work through together successfully. Then you go on to other successes. After a time, it becomes second-nature, a habit that you do all the time.

I have given an open hint in regards to how to help your horse in my post above where I talk about Ollie and the gurgling water. What did I say there? "If you chause him up at that time....if you drive him toward it....the 'roller in the nose' will change to explosive snorting and blowing." In other words, if you drive him toward it, if you raise his energy level, you heighten his need to react to it. I am telling you thereby what NOT to do (if you want a peaceful ride, anyway).

Now I need you to tell me WHY this would be the thing not to do. WHY should you not push the horse to go closer to something that is concerning him? In thinking about this, you will simultaneously discover some thoughts about what you should do instead.

This is all discussed in detail in the Birdie Book, too, of course; you could also review that. -- Dr. Deb

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 04:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sorry, didn’t mean to start a trivia chase!  
 
Dr. Deb I hope I can be completely honest and that I am being completely honest with you and myself. 

You stated “The reason that the discussion so easily titters off to trivia, such as "well we have armadillos where we live", or "we have snakes", is that, at gut level, most people simply do not believe what I have just said. Or they talk about "desensitizing" because THIS they can grasp. They do not believe the unworldly, "that which passes all understanding," because they have never seen it”. 

 To quote another “I believe, help my unbelief” and yet another “we see as through a glass darkly, but on that day we will see clearly”.  This teaching for me is so like seeing something in the twilight, if I try to focus on it head on, the object disappears into the background, but if I look at the object out of the corner of my eye I can see it albeit hazily and fleetingly.  I always have to shift my eyes and then catch a glimpse of it again and again.   Your words both spoken and written, for a lack of better wording, haunt me.  My mind returns to them time and time again as I go about my daily life.  Every time and I do mean every time, I face my horses, there’s that little voice sounding off in my head, “Do I hear you or do I only hear what I want you to say?”  There have been times when I just say “Oh H---, just load them in trailer, haul them to the sale and be done with it.  Your (meaning myself) never going to change.  The bad habits are too ingrained” but then the mare that was so standoffish when I enter the pasture, raises her head and walks over to me just to get a good scratching or when I’m out in the pasture working, my gelding leaves the other horses to graze and walks over just to hang out with me.  That’s the times I think “well maybe I am changing”.

Possibly the hardest part of all this has been the realization that this is not about the horse, not really.  It’s about ME, who I am when I am in the presences of my horses.  My horses are a mirror that reflects back to me my TRUE image and I don’t always like what I see. 

So for me, I don’t think it’s a matter of belief or unbelief but of recognizing what it is I’m seeing in myself and my horses.  Until I’m 100% OK with what I’m bringing to my horses, they will never be 100% OK with me. 


To answer the question: Now I need you to tell me WHY this would be the thing not to do. WHY should you not push the horse to go closer to something that is concerning him? In thinking about this, you will simultaneously discover some thoughts about what you should do instead.  

Horses learn or reach 100% OK’ness from the release of pressure.  To drive a horse into pressure destroys the OK’ness and causes the horse to develop distrust for you as a leader.  I would take the horse back away from the pressure area until we could find that place where the horse is comfortable.  Then once calm is fully restored, move back toward the pressure until we reach the slightest reaction point (head raised, eyes focus on object, shorting of stride) then hang out there until I can bring OK’ness back to my horse (lowered head, relaxed ears, soft eyes) and then more than likely I would just leave it alone for the day, give the horse time to chew on it. 

Well I’ve bent your ear long enough.  Thanks for listening. 

Cheryl

PS: Joe, I’m over near the Smith/Van Zandt Co. line.

hurleycane
Member
 

Joined: Wed Apr 9th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 118
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 26th, 2008 07:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Throw in some "energy" dissipation, too. 

leca
Member


Joined: Fri Jul 4th, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 12:06 am
 Quote  Reply 
sorry I let myself get distracted, happens all the time. Cant help but think maybe my getting distracted is part of the answer to your question as well, (and most of my problem) but Im like Cheryl, the idea is forming in the periferal and Im yet the get hold of it.

As to your question.... it is also something that I  can almost see.  I think its about the horse being ok, about him trusting that I, the rider, will not endanger him and about about me giving the horse time and reason to process the information so the horse can work out for himself that it (the scary thing) is ok, his rider is ok and he is ok.... 100%

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 04:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi All, I think there has to be some good proportion of okayness in the first place before leaving the stable or where you tacked up. So if mannering is done to some degree of success and there is an okayness when we leave the barn.  Venture out and some point out there will (in my case ) be something or nothing even that brings the kind of head raised or shortening of steps that means there is my birdie going one way and the horses birdie going another.  At this point any kind of real pressure to pursue where I want to be will take the horses birdie away from him.  So by back tracking till his feeling more relaxed and his birdie is with him.  In your birdie book you suggest to stay there for a minute and look forward to where you want to go or just ask the horse to go forward but not pressure as in sqeezing a peanut.

Is this making sence am obviously still working on this area.

Many thanks Cathie

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 03:12 pm
 Quote  Reply 
“they do not believe the unworldly, "that which passes all understanding," because they have never seen it.
But I have seen it, and I know I can produce it, and I also know that YOU can learn to produce it. As our teacher said many times, he didn't feel he had anything that anyone else didn't have. In other words: the ability to help animals to get 100% OK on the inside is a normal human ability. You just have to work to find that ability within yourself.”
  Dr. Deb

---------------------------------------------------
 I may have turned a corner last night. Please bear with me as I try to get this down to words.

I was re-reading Tom Dorrance’s “True Unity”; mainly the feedback section where people who have worked with Tom talk a little about their struggles and victories they have found in following this path of thinking. For me it’s like reading David’s Psalms; it gives me hope through the valleys.  If these guys struggled having worked directly with the teacher, then there’s hope for me. 


At the end of one of the narratives (pg 91) the author mentions Ray Hunt’s now famous advise “the importance of watching for the smallest change and slightest try” (emphasis mine).  The question popped into my mind “Well, just what does that look like?” This thing that Dr. Deb talks about that I have not seen therefore my belief is standing on shaky ground.  Then the answer came:  perhaps it is just like seeing something in the twilight.  As I stated earlier in this thread, if I try to focus on it, I lose it.  Also if I spend time trying to focus on it, I lose the opportunity, that nanosecond of time, I was given to reward (let go of, allowing of movement away from the pressure) at the very instance that the horse needed me to let go and get out of his way.  There can be no pressure between the thought to respond and the response or if the timing is off there should, at the very least, be a lessening of the pressure between the thought and the response.  If I think I see the horse respond then I should react just as if I knew he had responded.  This is the way I can reward the thought.  

 Cheryl

Last edited on Wed Aug 27th, 2008 03:17 pm by cdodgen

Tammy 2
Member


Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location: Redland, Alberta Canada
Posts: 129
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 03:39 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Maybe it is to also ask, what does the smallest change or slightest try FEEL like.   

 

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 27th, 2008 07:25 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb:

At risk of being a fool rushing in and all that, let me ask -- don't you find that with many people -- not all beginners, either, teh animal's lack of "OK-ness" stems from the rider in the most basic way.  That is to say that the rider is uncertain, nervous, or actually somewhat afraid of the horse or of  what the horse can or might do? 

In my experience, horses  pick up on this sort of thing even before people are in the saddle. They know the rider is fearful or uncertain, but they don't know why, and so they will become quite fearful and uncertain themselves.

Joe

leca
Member


Joined: Fri Jul 4th, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 28th, 2008 02:12 am
 Quote  Reply 
"DING" lightbulb moment!!!!!!

"faith the size of a mustard seed will move a mountain" 

Seeing and rewarding the smallest response will move the horse. 

Thats why I have to get out there and move my horse around, watching ears, eyes, nostrils, lips, tail, posture and shifting of weight.  If I dont know my horse intimately how can I release pressure when I dont know what or when he is thinking.  All the theory in the world wont get my horse focused and responsive.   Thats why my getting distracted is a 'not helpful' thing.  I have to have as much and more focus than the horse, otherwise how am I going to see/feel the small things.

Other horsemanship people teach you, 'when a horse does this, you do that',  big responses for big moves (horse responding to human) following a formula that is repeated the world over aiming for obedience.  Now I think I understand what Dr Deb is teaching.  She wants us to open up and get sensitive to the little things, to be able to read the body language as it is beginning, for us to respond to it (human responding to horse) aiming for OKness.  Its not even about being able to see the picture that Dr Deb is painting, its about painting my own, mine and each of my horse's.  The reason I cant see clearly is because I havent started painting yet. Ive been to much in my head and not enough in my heart

When I started my massage course, I had real trouble feeling the muscle structure under the skin.  Now I can even feel not only the surface muscle but some of the deeper ones as well.  Its the same with this horsemanship principle. Its all about being patient, take your time and practice practice practice.  I will make mistakes, but my horse has forgiven every one up until now, and there is now no way I will make him worse,  It can only get better for both of us. 

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3232
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 28th, 2008 10:08 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, yes indeed to everybody who has contributed in the last few days to this thread. This is the right direction.

To give you a bit more guidance, each of you please open your copy of "True Unity" and read the following:

p. 4, last paragraph and continuing on to p. 6 to the end of the first paragraph. Very important: "....I have been helped to understand how to present myself in such a way that the horses will respond to what I may ask of them." [emphasis added]

Specifically with reference to helping a horse stay focused on the job and not shy or get otherwise distracted, please read p. 10 beginning with paragraph 3 and continue through to the end of the chapter (reading in small bits, with breaks in between where you set the book down and repeat to yourself what has been said).

And p. 25, paragraphs 2, 3, 4.

And p. 31, last paragraph, and continuing on to p. 34, end of second paragraph, the very important story about riding the stallion.

And then go back to p. 6, paragraph 2.

The key to reading this book is, again, to take it in small sips. Tom does not waste any words, and, unless there is already an opening in the person reading, what words there are will bounce off as waves bounce off rocks at the seashore.

But I think there is the opening among you here, and so you will likely enjoy and benefit from these suggestions.

Some of you may remember, several years ago, we had a very eager and prolific correspondent here who pretty much was using this space to try to give us lessons in her way of doing things. When I suggested to her that she might need to look at "True Unity", she replied by saying "why should I care anything about what Tom Dorrance says? I'm British" -- I smile every time I remember this, and I imagine 99% of our British readers do, too -- Dr. Deb

Tammy 2
Member


Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location: Redland, Alberta Canada
Posts: 129
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 28th, 2008 05:41 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am just at the end of reading True Unity for the first time.  What great timing to have these very important pieces pointed out to go back and reflect on.

Thanks so much !!

Tammy

 

 

 

JTB
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 11th, 2011
Location:  
Posts: 82
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 30th, 2019 07:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Everyone,
I have just stumbled upon this gem of a thread and am off to dig out Tom's book so I can read the necessary reading.
Very excellent stuff, I love this forum as there is always an answer to my question lurking in here somewhere.
Hope your tooth is feeling better Dr Deb, it has been a year for teeth trouble!!! And may your graphic pad show up soon!
Cheers Judy


 Current time is 10:12 am
Page:  First Page Previous Page  1  2  3   




Powered by WowBB 1.7 - Copyright © 2003-2006 Aycan Gulez