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Joe
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    YO know, I keep trying to master this Birdie thang, and then along comes this video.  I wonder what Dr. Deb thinks of this method?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f3_z6FjDJg


Cheers!

Joe

miriam
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Heh hooh. I can't hear the sound (speakers out) on Satchmo and cute horse too!

On your topic though, do you think you can be hasty with a horse and still be in the now?

David Genadek
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We have a horse named Bubba here.
Bubba's birdy goes bonkers when he hears Blue Grass.
David Genadek

Joe
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Miriam:

Not quite sure what you mean, but probably not.

Dave:

I'm like Bubba.  Bluegrass breaks my concentration, makes my feet tap and my fingers twitch (I used to play a bit of it).  MAybe I AM a bubba -- oh goodness -- what would Mother think...

miriam
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Well, my horse will stand so nicely during saddling if I go real slow. But if I speed up, he seems to be more wide eyed etc. Still, Harry said that someday I just might need to go saddle him quickly, and that horse should understand that things are ok at a faster pace. I've thought that being in the 'now' meant we were to slow way down - but maybe we can still be in the 'now' and move along quickly. Any thoghts on how or if anyone....???

Ben Tyndall
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A common way to practice bringing your attention to the present is to dramatically slow down your actions. But that doesn't mean you can't be present while working fast. Speed and intensity of focus can go hand in hand.  Also worth considering is the subtle distinction between "working quickly" and "being in a hurry".
...Ben


LindaInTexas
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I started this horse about two months ago, using the instructions Dr. Deb posted.  "Lil" learned to focus on me for up to eight seconds at a time, which was good for both of us, but I'm assuming it was more difficult for her (the Thoroughbred).

We're making a lot of progress....We're both physically out of shape.  Last weekend, I really felt her Birdie was with me most of the time.

 

Attachment: Lil and Linda Apr08 1 web.jpg (Downloaded 367 times)

Julie
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Miriam and Joe, I would also like to think you could move smooth and swift while doing things around your horse.  THink of being in the zone.  However if there is a feeling of pressure then your not in the zone. I think there needs to be consideration of the horse in this and if there birdie is still with you while you move quicker then hopefully all is okay, after all that is the ultimatte.

Regards Cathie

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My mother used to say to me when I was all a-fluster: "More speed, less haste". I think the distinction is important and completely relevant here :)

-Helen

David Genadek
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In the original sprit of this post I offer his link:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=hNpSTh6r1kM
David Genadek

jlreyes
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We're working for the sensation that they'll ride up a telephone pole or down a gopher hole with us, aren't we? Goofy's got feel at 6:57:)  

Sonya
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Goofy and rider were not together...birdie gone bye-bye!

Pam
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That is a great little movie clip, David. 

Thanks for adding some humor to the mix! 

miriam
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Whadya think Bubba...er Joseph?

Joe
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Miriam:

Someone in the thread distinguished between haste and speed.  To my inexpert mind, that is the critical distinction.  One can build up to speed and be in the "now," but not in a hasty way.

Think about guitars.  You and I have speedy fingers, but we didn't get them in haste.  Clapton and the gypsy flamenco masters have blinding speed acquired over a lifetime.

Cheers!

J

Joe
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"Goofy and rider were not together...birdie gone bye-bye!"

Actually, you are probably thinking about another movie entirely -- Bye Bye Birdie


J

miriam
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Seriously though, how far is too far? If the horse cannot think of two things at once ie: me and that something in the woods, how can he be looking over there and still be giving me one ear? I would say that he is still with me when I have an ear. Shouldn't I let him scan his environ a bit....?

DrDeb
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Yes, Miriam. The animal has a right to examine its environment.

There is a difference between the birdie gazing out from its perch vs. the birdie flying away. This is metaphorical speech but nevertheless has a chance of getting the picture across to you.

The idea when you go on a trailride is to have the horse's birdie either on its head or behind its head, between your head and his head. It can also, when circumstances require it, be out as much as 20 ft. ahead of the horse, but no more than this, and with no intention of flying away.

If you don't understand this, then I suggest you go to the now-famous video clip on "You Tube" showing the bullfighter on the palomino horse. Ask yourself: why doesn't the horse run away? Where does that horse's birdie appear to be? Is its birdie in the same place as what it is looking at?

Why don't good cutting horses run away? What is it about following cattle at a walk that is so good for "flighty" horses?

Then when you have considered this, then go out to your riding area and practice turning your horse, at a walk, by means of the birdie. You "turn by the birdie" by using your inside hand or foot in such a manner that it attracts the horse's attention. When you feel his attention (his birdie) fly to your hand or foot, then you use hand or foot to draw the birdie farther around to that side. Thus will his body turn, for wherever a horse's birdie goes, there must his body go also. -- Dr. Deb

miriam
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Guess this is a good thread to ask this; when the horse gets that rumbling in his nose, couldn't it be that he's smelling something? I know it can come when they get nervous too, as a first sign of angst. The lake is in dogdays now, and a lake just smells like a lake anyway, but today they were snorting for the longest time. They didn't seem too nervous about it. They probably have better smell than us. One day they seemed apprehensive about the woods, kept looking there etc, I couldn't see anything, but then a bit later I got a whiff of something bad from over that way. That rumbling nose can't always be angst can it?

DrDeb
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Angst, I don't think, Miriam, but "concern" certainly. And yes, they do have sharper senses all around than we do, so they will often detect something -- smell it, hear it, feel vibrations in the ground, see it in the dark, etc. -- before we do.

So if there was a rotten cow carcass laying out there along the lakeshore, hidden in the reeds, they might smell that before you do. Or they might be smelling or hearing another animal moving around in the reeds.

We have an irrigation pipe that dives underground just off one edge of our riding arena. Sometimes there is no water in this pipe, sometimes it is full, and sometimes it is in the process of filling. When it is either full or empty it doesn't bother my gelding Oliver at all. But when it is filling, it both vibrates the ground from the water spilling down into it, and also makes a kind of gurgling subterranean noise. And he just absolutely cannot get that figured out. So every time the pipe is filling, then you get him standing back away from it, but facing it, and making these lo-o-o-o-o-o-ong roller-in-the-nose noises. If you chase him up at that time, adding excitement to the mix, or if you drive him toward it, then the roller-in-the-nose will change to explosive snorting and loud nasal blowing and whistling. This is a horse's way of saying, "I just can't believe that!!!" It is a mix of heightened "concern" but also heightened curiosity.

And this is why I don't say "angst" -- often when they snort, what's going on is more akin to what the cat tends to do of an evening, after laying around all day. There comes a mood when the slightest thing will set them off -- they go wild, they go up the curtains, up the back of the couch, run around with their back arched and their tail in an upside-down "U" and right up on the tips of their toes. This is signatory of  a buildup within the animal. Sometimes this is due to something that is concerning or frightening to them. But some other times it is just due to a buildup of sheer energy and spirits.

Where it gets unpleasant is when the rider is not capable of riding, or enjoying, the fast rollbacks and more energetic gaits that are likely to be part of the picture. The rider gets scared and wishes it wasn't happening, and also may want to punish. If you can't ride it or don't want to, the way out of this is to feel the buildup while it is happening, and then turn away from the triggering stimulus before the horse comes unglued. He's not being bad; he's just doing what the cat does.

What cures the cat? Go play with the cat. A few minutes of vigorous play dissipates the excess energy: chase the ball with the bell in it, wrestle with a toilet paper tube, go after a favorite piece of string. The cat enjoys this -- it expends energy and it is a relief from boredom and the lack of something to "hunt". What cures the horse? The same thing, more or less. Dismount and let him go gallop a while. Have him at liberty and encourage him to run, then run across the arena yourself and cut him off and turn him back. Snort and toss your head. He will see that you are playing, too. Oliver likes to "fake" coming in, getting within just barely fingertip-distance of me, then snorting, ducking, and running. This is a play invitation -- he is saying "chase me". So I do. We quit when he tells me he's blown -- he tells me by either coming right up and settling down and offering to have his forehead rubbed, or else he goes and gets on his drum in the expectation that I won't chase him off of it, so that he can rest there. 

You have to have a sense of humor to really train a horse. If you watch them when they're in their herd, you see that most horses show a kind of wry humor a lot of the time. And it is particularly instructive to watch horses when they play with each other, paying particular attention to what the one horse does to invite the other horse to play, and also to how they signal each other that they've had enough. -- Dr. Deb

 

Helen
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Thank you so much for that post, Dr Deb, I have been wondering about that kind of thing - an "I'm feeling good, I want to play" kind of exuberance while riding - quite a lot recently, and wondering how to tone it down without taking the play out of the horse. Was so good to read your suggestions on how to do this... now to continue learning to distinguish between playful and vicious jumping around, since they can be so related to each other.

DrDeb
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Helen, there is no such thing as "vicious" jumping around where horses are concerned. The very FIRST thing you need to do is get this type of thought completely out of your belief system.

If a horse jumps around -- or does anything else -- it is because that is exactly what the rider set the horse up to do.

If you have understood what I said in the post above about why horses may make sudden, vigorous movements, and how to de-fuse those, then you will know that your ability to "set the horse up" to go quietly depends entirely upon your ability to attend to the signs he gives you BEFORE he jumps around.

If your horse jumps around and this catches you by surprise, it is because you were not attending. This means you were not attentive. It means you were not sufficiently focused to call upon him to remain focused upon his work, or what you did want him to do.

Your focus determines his focus. Your confidence and inner OKness determine his confidence and inner OKness.

It might be helpful right now for you to go back and review your "Birdie Book", where all of this is discussed at quite some length. -- Dr. Deb

Helen
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OK. Thank you and will do.

Joe
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Miriam:

We call that "getting snorty."  Often it starts with concern but quickly devolves into some avoidance which can mean roll backs, side passing and so on if we don't either put the concern to rest or make it go away.  If you like having several hundred pounds of coiled, worried power under you, it is a real treat.

I have noticed that our guys often get worried about something in the woods, to the point of losing focus and staring into the trees every time they pass a certain point on a certain day.   They care nothing for dogs; in fact, if the younger animal sees a dog in his pasture, he tosses his head and charges the dog, teeth bared.  No dog has ever stayed around for more than a few miliseconds.  However, kind of by accident, I have noticed that  my dog cannot be made to go into the lower pasture on the days that the horses are snorty down there.  She will dig in and slip a collar before she will walk there, and at liberty, she stays hundreds of yards off.  That pasture is surrponded by a creek bed that is connected to hundreds of miles of wooded stream bed and lake shore (yes, this really is north Texas).  We have coyotes and panthers.  I suspect that one or the other is or recently has been around when the animals get spooky.

Of course, we used to have a feral pig cross the pasture every day at about 7:30 am.  That was good for some fun, too.

Joe

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Joe, Knew from you other post that you were a Texan, just did not realize that you were my across the fence neighbor.  Let's add to the list of coyotes, panthers (yes we really do have cougars and black jaguars here in North/North East TX) and pigs;  the humble and hard to see armadillo that sounds like a herd of water buffalo charging through the bushes after you.  Just as Dr. Deb stated about Oliver, noise with no apparent cause is of great concern to horses. 

Oh by the way Joe, if you ever get the itch to hear really good, correct bluegrass, come see us.  My husband (banjo) and brother-in-law (guitar) have pick'n session out on the porch.  Cheryl

Joe
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We are outside Wylie, on the Dallas County side of the line.  Where are you?

You know, we also have wicked big bobcats the size of dogs around here, and those would doubtless worry a horse as well. 

Miriam, on the other hand, is on a beautiful property in the Minnesota north woods.  I'll bet her guys get to smell bears and wolves, and given the wetland off one side of the property, maybe moose, too, which could worry them.

You know, for a different kind of fun, try a small flock of birds breaking out of a cedar tree about three feet to one side and at more or less eye level to the horse.  Talk about bird(ies).  Bye bye for sure.

Joe

Last edited on Mon Aug 25th, 2008 10:10 pm by Joe

jlreyes
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As a Texan I have to contribute: SNAKES! Snakes in the ponds, snakes in the creeks, snakes who rattle, big snakes lounging across the road. And, I am the one who jumps, flinches, and squeals at snakes. My horse seems unconcerned about them and seems to be snickering when I spook -  Are all horses "cool" about snakes? The black stallion stomping on the snake thing - Does that only happen in the movies?

I really appreciate this thread because I wonder about the times that my horse and I come across things/animals that could be dangerous: Javelina with babies, hissing possum in broad daylight, skunks with their babies, etc. I know I get scared and my birdy takes off, but when I spook, my horse seems to keep his cool. I really appreciate him filling in for me during these episodes. Does he not worry about these things because he lives with them (heavily wooded pasture - out 24/7)?

And, there really is no noise quite like an armadillo running under a barbed wire fence:)

Jennifer in Central Texas

 

miriam
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Ok, we have wolves, coyote, fox, badger, bobcat (lynx), deer, fisher, otter, muskrat, porcupine, beaver, grouse, bear, and a rare but more than once yearly Mtn Lion sigting. Lots of big and small raptors. No moose reported just here Joe. There was a bear in the front yard this spring but it was after the bird feeder. I think the dogs keep most of this at bay, and the horses seem ok with the dogs scouting the perimeters as we move along. I always figure that when the horses are more hypervigilant than ususal, that something has passed through. I saw a big cat with a long tail cross the driveway once, horses were all ears and high heads that day. Mostly it's the dead things that stink that make for those "rollers". North of here, closer to where your cabin is Joe, I heard a story of a horse being killed by a big cat.

I know what you mean Jennifer, my horses don't even flinch when an eerie loud Barred Owl spooks me. I figure if they're unscathed, that it's all just ok. One summer awhile back when my filly was a yrlg, I saw a chase across the pasture; rabbit, fox, dog, filly!

Joe
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Moose are pretty ascarce by us, too.  I saw one once years ago at a distance.  My grandparents saw several, over a period of many years.  Once Grandpa was looking for berries or hunting or something in a creek in a deep V-cleft and startled one.  It ran, but not away.  He had to dive to the side and flatten against the cut bank to avoid being trampled.

As our horses are over a thousand miles away, I have had only a few chances to ride in Minnesota.  Have always heard that they will try not to cross or stay too close to an active bear trail.  Have you experienced that?

Joe

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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

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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

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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
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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
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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
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Throw in some "energy" dissipation, too. 

leca
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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
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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
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“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
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Maybe it is to also ask, what does the smallest change or slightest try FEEL like.   

 

Joe
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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
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"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
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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
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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
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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




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