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Hock Wobble & Hind Foot Rotation - Related?
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Capparella01
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 Posted: Sun Jul 10th, 2016 05:31 am
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I have experienced great benefits in the relationship from having those not riding times. Usually I can tell when it's needed-a subtle look or feeling of discontent when I am going to catch the horse. He's usually pretty glad to see me. It's difficult to toss aside my selfish wants, but my desire for a good relationship is greater.
I am benefitted also by taking a time out to just spend time together as I tend to push myself to "work on things." One of the best times was just hanging out in the herd to observe-after a while I dozed off and awoke to him having left the herd and standing right next to me. We just sort of dozed off together.
My question is in regards to returning to the herd. Usually we acknowledge each other, I remove the halter, and he's off to the herd.
Sometimes though, if the herd is far off-(about 100 acres of pasture) I will remove the halter and accompany him to look for the herd. He is comfortable in the pastures, and a bit of a loner for a horse, so it might not make one whit to him if I'm with him or not. I like walking the woods with him, and it does feel better to me to see him back "safely" with his herd. I wonder if this is helpful or not, in a similar way that bringing in with no "work" is helpful to us.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jul 10th, 2016 09:54 am
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Yes. The dozing off thing is the very best part, because without any prompting from you (since you were asleep) your horse chose to be with you rather than anywhere else. This is irrefutable, solid evidence that he regards you as an important part of his world.

As to walking him back to his herd: I'm not sure that we can say it would be necessary in every case. I think if you have turned him loose and are still in the pasture enclosure yourself, you ought to allow him to choose where he wants to be, so long as his behavior is within the bounds of good manners, i.e. he didn't pull away from you, whirl, kick out, or anything like that (which it doesn't sound like he does at all). How delightful it would certainly be to then go on a walk in the woods with him WITHOUT him being on a "leash". So long as you maintain yourself in a safe position, i.e. the trail is wide enough so that you both have room to walk, either beside each other or with you behind him, then I think that's fabulous. This is what our elderly teacher was talking about when he said (again and again): "you should work to get your horse to be just like a dog."

Then when you come up on the herd and he sees his buddies, observe how he chooses to leave you. On one occasion I actually had old Painty Horse "apologize" to me because he needed to leave. In other words, he didn't "just" take off; he told me beforehand that he was going to leave, I heard him and acknowledged, and then he bounced away.

This is the happy and good way to be with horses. And you better believe, it's the best possible way to guarantee superior performance either in a work (ranch or farm) context or in the artificial world of competition. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

Bryy
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 Posted: Tue Jul 26th, 2016 02:55 am
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Hi Dr. Deb-

My question today is about a different horse with whom I have also applied grooming at liberty (and with all others I ride, it's now part of my universe).  It's going well, silly faces are being made and he's curling around me when I get the right spots, almost like a cat.  Unless other horses are watching, then you have to be more subtle about the appreciation, but his lower lip still wiggles.

Background: this horse is prone to anxiety attacks and the solution I've found is to make firm requests of his attention: change direction or gait, speed, leg yield/untrack, back up one step at a time etc.  Until that firmness is needed I tend towards a more gentle approach.  When I go to collect him from his run out stall he allows me to stroke his neck but will then leave, turn around outside the doorway, visibly want to come to me then be unable to bring himself to follow through.  I feel I have to use those words because it does look like he's in conflict with himself.  About 75% of the time he walks out another 10 feet and allows me to touch him, 20% of the time he stands in the doorway and allows me near and maybe only 5% of the time does he come to me hoping for a peppermint bribe.  This behavior existed before liberty grooming (with and without riding after) and has not changed yet.

Am I on the right track and he needs more time, or am I missing something?  Thank you for the knowledge so far.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Jul 26th, 2016 09:01 am
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Bryy: "This horse is prone to anxiety attacks" I would rather read as, "this horse loses his focus and becomes unsure."

This clarifies what your "firmness" is really doing -- it isn't calling him to order, it isn't acting as a kind of discipline; it is calling him back into the exact present moment, it is causing him to focus.

Be careful that you don't ride this horse, or any horse, right up into trouble. "His" proneness to becoming unsure is more than likely YOUR proneness to not being ahead of him and there to protect him at every single moment. You don't get a vacation on this.

Some horses will come to people carrying within themselves a complete or near-complete confidence that the human will always protect them. These golden brokies are rare and valuable. Nonetheless people who GET a golden brokie often find he's no longer the same horse after a few months. My point is that no matter how calm or good or reliable a particular horse may be, he still needs you to be there for him, to see the world as he sees it, and to anticipate and set up as far ahead of time as the situation allows so as to give the horse a chance to take the situation in and time to realize what it is and that it won't hurt him, BEFORE it comes upon him. And certainly....you don't ride the horse RIGHT UP INTO trouble, as if you yourself were blind and deaf or just didn't care.

As to going to catch him in the stall-run -- just stop overthinking it. If he moves away from you, wait for him to settle and then walk right up to him as if he'd never considered moving away. You're not to chase him, but instead you're conveying to him, look boy, you're caught anyway so why don't you just stand there. When he then stands (which he will) and lets you catch him, pet him a while and tell him you understand that sometimes getting caught isn't so much fun, but he has to learn to live with that anyway.

This is because what they live is what they learn, and you're the one showing them what's the best way to live. Who else is going to do that? You make the rules, and he's looking for you to make the rules, and much happier when you're definite about it. This is what "firmness" is really to mean. You are the Queen of his universe, so my dear -- act like it. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

Darling Lil
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 Posted: Sun Jul 31st, 2016 07:06 pm
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Wonderful story and another favorite post here. My mare now asks me to scratch her all over before she is turned out. I love that she realizes she can ask me.


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