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Emotional baggage
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Debbie Turk
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Joined: Wed May 16th, 2007
Location: Adelaide, Australia
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 Posted: Sat Jun 2nd, 2007 03:15 pm
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Archie had the last feed of the oaten hay last Saturday, by Wednesday night I could take his rugs off without his jumping out of his skin and twitching at every movement. Today (Saturday) he is back asking for his head to be rubbed, so I think we can pretty well say it was feed induced. 

Unlike Pauline,  I mostly feed lucerne hay  & wheaten chaff to my horses and had only put him on the oaten hay in an attempt to eck out my lucerne hay over the winter.  He had been getting maybe half a biscuit each night since around February and I only increased it a whole biscuit to balance out his calcium/phosphate ratios after talking with Jenny, so he was on a full biscuit a day for probably 10 days before it tipped him over the edge.

So Pauline's horse can't handle lucerne and mine has problems with oaten hay or the sugar content and certainly if I was to try him on oaten hay again I will soak it.  I am sure we have all heard people tell us that their horses can't eat this feed or that feed.   But is it really the feed that is the problem or do we have horses with an intolerance?  There would be 5-6 other horses at my stables eating this hay (we all get it from the same supplier)  and in probably much higher quantities.  None of these horses are showing any problems with it. 

I guess I am just not seeing it on the same level as you guys who are dealing with these sort of issues daily but it is sure making it harder to manage our horses health and well being.   We just have to keep talking to each other and spreading as much information around as we can (yeh for the internet).  This episode has certainly got me reading and thinking more.

On the training issues - when I first started with Archie I would get some good work on the rope but when he was at liberty he would just bomb around.  So I guess I have focused on getting him to latch on and come in to me. He has only fairly recently started to work consistantly at liberty (still not great but acceptable) so, yeah, we are certainly ready to try the driving senario.  My question to Scott and Deb was how to get him to go where I want him to - do I put my birdie there and hope his follows?  I know that when a group of horses are grazing and one stops and stares into the distance pretty soon the whole lot of them are looking there too.  Do I adopt this behaviour here?  I am pretty certainly I could drive him where I want him to go but Scott is suggesting that I need to encourage Archie to want to go there rather than force him.  Of course this was in relation to getting Archie over his issues with the hot water service, but am I still looking for this response from him?

Lastly Deb, I have to tell you that I was playing around with the walk pirouettes today and thought about what you said about anchoring the leg and feeling the feet and before I had really finished the thought around he went - 360 degrees without effort.  It was just a magic moment.

Good night (or morning) and thanks for all your responses and thoughts.

Debbie

Scott Wehrmann
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Joined: Sat Mar 24th, 2007
Location: Blair, Nebraska USA
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 Posted: Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 01:18 am
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Hi!

How to get him where you want him to go.....

Here's what works for me.  I'm sure there are a thousand variations for every thousand horsemen. 

Push the air right at his eye, compress the air, think of it as literally pushing on the eye.  This can work from a few inches away or from hundreds of yards.  Let's say you're trying to drive Archie in a straight line away from you, you're walking along behind.  When you can see the left eye, even just a little, he is about to go left.  Push on that eye until he straightens out.  You might need to get WAY up and over to the left yourself to help him understand at first.  You might overcorrect and send him to the right....be ready, and now push on the right eye until he straightens out again.  You two will make lots of mistakes trying to get just the right amount of feel going.  It won't be long and your movements will become imperceptible to most anyone watching. 

The other part of it is to imagine a rope that connects you to his eye.  Pull on that rope.  Draw his attention, his eye to you.  His feet will follow.  He'll probably make a mistake and hook on, face up to you.  No big deal, just walk up and push on that eye, drive him away,  and start over.  You just pulled a little too hard.  Now, you're aware of the problem.  Be ready.  Get it a little better this time. 

If you're walking around a round pen and you want to make a hard right across the pen, move left a little, in behind his tail, pull on that rope to his right eye, keep the pressure on until he makes it.....release.  Now, to turn left and go around the pen to the left, just walk ahead and to the right and push on that right eye.....while pulling on the left.

He'll figure this out REALLY fast.  Let him.  The problem will be getting you sensitive enough to understand how much push, how much pull, when to push or pull, from what angle,  how to release the pressure of an imaginary rope pulling on his eye, the pressure of the air you're pushing toward his eye. 

You can get to where you can turn left, turn right, speed up, slow down, walk serpentines, stop, ask for a soft feel, then back a step, all by using your imaginary ropes or reins.   Pick out a particular post, drive him to it.  Then another one.  Make it really challenging for both of you. 

To get this working you have to all three elements going well.....driving off, hooking on, changing eyes.  If you get stuck, at least one of the three is not quite good enough.  Don't get frustrated.  Just go back, evaluate, fix it up.     

When you get this working VERY well you will have a different horse than the one you had just a little while ago.  And you'll be a different horsewoman..... a far better one.              

 

kuuinoa
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Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
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 Posted: Sun Jun 3rd, 2007 08:26 am
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That was great, Scott!  Forgive me for horning in on your conversation, but I got a lot out of that.  Good question, great answer.

~K~

 

Sam
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 Posted: Sat Jun 16th, 2007 11:05 pm
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Thanks for all the information on this thread, I have learn't so much, I was wondering if anyone has recently read Buck Brannaman's, The Faraway Horses.  (I think I am allowed to mention him by name as he is a friend of the ESI?!)  Oh Boy, sometimes I felt he was talking right to me about where I am with my horses right now.  There was a sentence that I feel is really important for me to 'get' but am having trouble, "Horses, like people, should be treated how you want them to be, not how they are." If you don't mind sharing what does this mean to some of you out there.

I just feel this is important as I have a hypersensitive, 'abused' horse that has trained me (I make a fantastic student!!!) not to ride him, not to get him uncomfortable, pretty much be allowed to sit in the paddock and look pretty. I feed him a bit of chaff daily with Magnesium and toxin binder and due to a real dry spell where he has only had hay he has had a good detox...he is so calm, I am seeing a different horse.  I love this horse and I desperately want to teach him to carry calm with him all the time, and eventually ride him again, I thought he was unsound in structure but after Dr Debs orthopedics class this year I have run out of excuses not to help my horse, I can see his structure for what it is, he has awful posture!!!  Believe it or not this horse has made progress in the right direction...as far as calm goes, a long way to go, eg he adorse his 'drum'.  But how do I tell this horse I love him and would never hurt him but not 'buy into' his 'troubles'.   Any poniters would be great.

 

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jun 17th, 2007 12:13 am
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Sam, what Buck is saying is a paraphrase or re-statement of the same maxim by an earlier and far more authoritative teacher:

"Do unto others as you would be done by."

There is a time when the horse makes a mistake, and you know it was a mistake, so you just ignore it, you go right by it, you don't get emotionally involved in it.

There is another time when the horse does not understand what you want, so in that case you explain it again in a way that the horse can grasp.

There is yet another time when the horse is not "with" you (or himself), he is distracted, his birdie is gone. In that case, you do something that calls the birdie in again and then start over.

There is NEVER a time when YOUR horse, Sam, is trying to avoid doing what you ask, or when it is unwilling to do what you ask, or when it is "out to get you." So by "treating the horse how you want him to be, not how he is", Buck is really saying, "you treat the h orse how you want him to be, not how YOU MAY BE THINKING he is."

Because, Sam, this is where all the stuff that you don't need, and that your horse doesn't need, comes from: from within yourself. How can you treat your neighbor (your horse) as you would like to be treated, if you do not first understand yourself?

So, Sam, to get right down to practicalities, your horse has not REALLY "trained you not to ride him." What's really going on is that you have become afraid to ride him.

I want you to repeat this five times, out loud: "It is really scary for me to be around my horse."

This will help to bring to the surface just WHY or in just what situations it is really scary for you to be around your horse. This will in turn help you to clarify whatever response to this realization about yourself that you are then going to make.

Remember that it is not required for you to ride or even own a horse. But, at the same time, if you own a horse it is generally better (for both the horse and the owner) if the owner ENJOYS riding the horse.

You can certainly write back into this space, Sam, and share with us some of your insights, and what you propose as your first steps in changing this situation from one where you don't feel good about riding your horse to where you do feel good about it.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

 

Sam
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 Posted: Mon Jun 18th, 2007 06:08 am
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Dear Dr Deb,

Thanks so much for your reply to my post, the truth the words contained made me cry.  Horse ownership is such an emotional roller coaster for me but I so do not want to step off it!!!!  I have known I am scared of my horses for ages now and there has been a journey of soul searching for a few years now, I all but gave up riding, but the draw to the horse unquestionable, I am slowly progressing out the other side, am no longer terrified of them so feel I am now in a position to offer them more than to just be their caretaker.  I am finding it a bit of a balancing act in telling the difference between what really is, what I want and what I 'think' I see.  I shall return got to go and 'soak' a bit longer.  Thanks again for your honesty and information it is so much appreciated.

Sam

shade of bay
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 Posted: Mon Jun 18th, 2007 10:03 pm
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Hi Sam,

Not to worry too much though.  Because you love them, the fear (of doing badly with them) will become the tool that drives you further into this 'world'.  For you know what you don't know, and you'll put yourself to finding it no matter what it takes.  Your horse will recognize your effort, they really appreciate it.

In time, with this good help, this good reading, and your own hard work, you can learn to get comfortable.  And the journey will humble you as your horse becomes more than just a hobby that you love.

Sam
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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2007 01:01 am
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Thanks Miriam, what a wonderful supportive post! A lot of my fear with the horses is that I will do wrongly by them, make a mistake and generally muck up the whole shebang.  But one of the things the horses teach me over and over again is that they hold no grudge, there is no judgement and they are the most forgiving of beings.  I am very lucky, as a new 'teacher' came to me late last year, he is shaped like a giant Shetland and is giving my confidence back more and more each time I am with him.  He is helping me greatly with my other chap who 'hasn't trained me not to ride him' but is really good at scaring me, not nearly so much anymore!  Last weekend I took my wonderpony to the beach to ride with some wonderful friends of mine but  they don't see what I see in their horses and my pony what I see.  They don't seem to be listening or am I just too sensitive?  The long and the short of it is I got myself and my pony into a situation with potential for a big wreck.  Thankfully we all survived especially my shattered nerves.  In the old days this event would have been enough to send me into a spiral of depression about how much I hurt the pony, let him down etc etc, but this time I have drawn a line in the sand, so to speak and am going to try my hardest to keep myself and my pony out of trouble, he is improving every time I play with him but this ride was too big an ask so until I can prove to him I am worth listening to, we shall be staying at home or just choosing who to ride with very carefully  or maybe I will dismount a whole lot sooner than I did!  Life is so full of lessons.

Debbie Turk
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Joined: Wed May 16th, 2007
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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2007 03:51 am
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Hi there Scott,

It is cold and dark and wet (though not wet enough really) here in Australia and between that and work haven't had much chance to go play with Archie and try out your ideas, but they are brewing in my head and I find myself practicing the feel/idea of them at various times of the day and night.

Also thought that I would let you know that several of my friends who lurk on this site have told me how good they thought your advice was, maybe they are having more luck than I am at the moment putting it into practice.

To Sam,

Don't think for a minute that there aren't a lot of us out there who haven't been through the loss of confidence thing.  It is an easy thing to lose your confidence and the hardest thing to overcome because horses are so in tune to what you are feeling and experiencing, some much more so than others, and this feeds on the problem.   In my experience confidence is propbably 80% of riding and being around horses.  If you think you are right they will figure out how to do what you want.  If you hesitate they will fill in according to their basic nature.  I still hesitate sometimes when I shouldn't, fortunately my horse pretty well just hesitates with me and that gives me the chance to pick up my thread again.

 At least you have recognised what the problem is, acknowledged it and therefore will overcome it.  Those that deny the truth to themsleves are the ones that eventually give up, hopefully before anything too disasterous happens to themselves or their horse.

 I learnt the trick of how to keep those nagging little nasty thoughts in my head and not letting them get below my neck to make my muscles tense up and send messages to the horse.  Whilst it seems sometimes that horses can read minds, they can't really,  they are just incredibly good at body language and this is exactly what people these days aren't aware enough about.

Keep riding your "giant shetland" and work with your other horse on the ground to improve his posture and balance and manners.  Don't think there is any time frame to you having to get back on him.  It will happen in it's own time.

Have a great day, Debbie

 

Dorinda
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Joined: Fri May 18th, 2007
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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2007 12:11 pm
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Hi Dr Deb

I have taken the list of plants and circulated to a group that I belong to here in Canberra that may be able to supply or tell me where I can get some photos of the grasses that you have listed.  We do have Yorkshire Fog here so will try and get some photos if you still need them.

Debbie, after Dr Debs visit here to Canberra I have rethought all about what is going on the paddock and what my mare is eating.  I now know that there are many nasties in her paddock that I have to deal with and come spring I know that she will be affected by these if I don't do something about them.  Last Spring as the new grass came up she was a sad horse and very swollen in her back legs this was followed by an outbreak of hives all over her body from something that she had eaten.  She is very sensitive when touched and certainly tells me when things are a miss either with me or with herself. 

Glad to hear that Archie is improving on his new feed regime.  I will have to sort my padddock out.  When Maggie had a bout of colic the other week I was concerned that she may have some liver damage due to the fact that I have Patersons Curse in her paddock.  After having a liver test done I was relieved that her liver is in fine working order, so she mustn't be eating it.  Come Spring I will be getting it sprayed


Cheers

Dorinda

Last edited on Tue Jun 26th, 2007 12:18 pm by Dorinda

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2007 08:19 pm
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Dorinda, yes, thank you -- you have been extremely helpful on the plant project and I do appreciate all that you're doing. By this point I do have good photos of Yorkshire Fog, but anything else, especially grasses unique to Australia (i.e. such as the Wallaby and Kangaroo grasses, Paramatta grass, some of the thin-tail grass). Plus also I find that I do not have enough good photos of (of all things!) Timothy!

As to the type of photo: for each species, I need SHARPLY FOCUSED views of:

(1) A stand or bunch of the plants as they grow. This could focus on a single clump or be a "field view" if the given field was primarily populated by that type of grass.

(2) Medium-close view showing the flowering/seed-making spike or panicle as a whole

(3) Closeup view of however the seedhead is formed, i.e. show if it has awns or bristles; Timothy has comblike teeth on the seed-coats and we would need to see these, etc.

(4) Closeup view of the point where a leaf diverges from the stem, showing whether the leaf/stem are woolly or prickly vs. smooth, showing whether the leaf is broad or narrow, heavily ribbed, folded, shiny, etc. Not necessary to show the ligule, etc. as this is too technical for the sort of book being planned.

(5) Any other peculiarity. For example, if it has colored roots and you can pull it up more or less without breaking it too much. Wash it off if you can before photograhing it.

(6) I find that, in general, "lab shots" taken against black velvet are less successful than field shots. The trick to taking field shots is to first, look at where the daylight is coming from. Then, walk around until the sun is at your back. From that angle, see if there is anything dark behind the plant you want to photograph -- such as a dark shadow under trees, or trees or bushes that are themselves dark; perhaps even dark soil. With the sun at your back, you also have to watch that your own shadow does not show up in the frame, because the photographer's shadow will then be cast toward the plant. You can also, sometimes, pack a sheet of black velvet with you when going out to photograph, and if necessary you can use clothespins to hang the black cloth up on a wire fence. Then go pluck the grass and pin it to the cloth or lean it up against the cloth. This will force an automatic-focus camera to "see" the specimen -- I've sometimes had to do this with grasses that have very fine, thin stems or panicles. I've also had success holding grasses up against a car body -- either where there is black rubber, or sometimes against white or blue paint.

(7) Besides grasses, I do need some other kinds of "baddies" from Australia too. Especially, I need Swainsona, which is Darling Pea, Broughton Pea, and their relatives. These are the Australian equivalent of the American "loco weed", they have the identical poison in them and they are very similar in form. Look in the "Plants Poisonous to Horses" book published by the RIRDC to see where they've previously been found in Australia. "Smooth Darling Pea" occurs in the Canberra area!

(8) Here's a list of some other Australian plants that are on the "hit list". I made pretty strenuous efforts while in Australia this year to get as many of these as possible, and I do have pictures of some. But some of the photos did not come out, and it never hurts to have more choices -- someone else's view of the plant may be better than mine!

Swainsona -- any species

Kimberly horse poison, Rattlepod, Sunhemp, Bluebush pea -- any Crotolaria sp.

Fireweed -- Senecio madagascarensis

Poison Corkwood and Corkwood -- Duboisia myoporoides and D. leichhardtii

Bishop's Weed -- Ammi majus

Any lupine in bloom -- Lupinus spp.

Tobacco -- any except tree tobacco -- Nicotiana spp.

Lobelia -- any native or wild-growing kind -- Lobelia spp.

Spotted Fuchsia, also called Spotted Emu Bush -- Eremophila maculata

Yellow Oleander, also called Lucky Nut, Captain Cook tree, Dicky plant -- Cascabela thevetia (formerly Thevetia spp.)

Rubber Vine and Purple Rubber Vine -- Cryptostegia grandiflora, C. madagascariensis

Mother of Millions -- Bryophyllum spp.

Cape tulips -- Moraea spp.

Cotton Bush -- Gomphocarpus (only one of my photos of this came out, so I need the whole plant, plant with the balls on it, flowering, fuzzy cottons coming out of the pods).

Foxglove -- Digitalis spp. (even garden varieties are OK)

Ornithogalum -- any species

Pheasant's Eye -- Adonis spp.

Any buttercup -- needs to be in bloom

Noogoora burr -- there is a close American relative and I have lots of that, but it would be nice to include one of the Australian types too

Bathurst burr -- this is also a Xanthium but quite different from what grows here. For both of the above I need whole plant, flowers if possible, closeups of mature burrs

Green cestrum, also called willow jasmine or willow jessamine; and the closely related night jessamine and day jessamine -- need blossoms, leaves, whole

Crab's Eye, also called Rosary Pea -- Abrus precatorius

Any wild onion or wild garlic -- Allium

False caper -- Euphorbia terracina

Petty spurge -- Euphorbia peplus

White cedar, Chinaberry (a tree) -- Melia azedarach

Black bean (a tree), also called Moreton Bay chestnut -- Castanospermum australe

Crofton Weed or Mistflower -- Ageratina spp. (formerly classified as Eupatorium spp.)

Senna, Ant Bush, Septicweed -- Senna occidentalis (formerly Cassia occidentalis)

Sicklepod -- Senna obtusifolia

Hardheads -- Acroptilon repens (formerly Centaurea repens)

Indigo -- Indigofera, any species

Gympie stinger -- Dendrocnide moroides

Anyone who wishes to send me a disk of photos WILL be rewarded with either two years' free ESI membership, OR a free copy of "The Birdie Book", whichever they prefer. If we pick your photo for actual use in the book, there will be a contract agreement concerning our right to use the photo, and you will be paid in addition.

So this is a win-win situation for everyone, I hope. I think it's marvellous fun to go out for an afternoon's walk with a camera and go "poison plant hunting." Not all the plants on the above list are in the Canberra region -- so other Australians reading this may also be able to contribute. Or someone may have been on a hike in a previous year and have a good picture of one of these already on file! My thanks to everybody....we want this to be absolutely the BEST and MOST USEFUL book.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb (I was just up in Yosemite Park shooting more photos last week, and will be going again to a State Park this week -- I'm after Bishop's Weed and Hardheads particularly. It's amazing how many "baddies" are present on all continents!)

 

 

 

 

 

Dorinda, I've written this so you can print it out to distribute among your friends who are willing to go get photos.

Scott Wehrmann
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 Posted: Tue Jun 26th, 2007 10:02 pm
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Hi!

It is good to see you!   Thank you for the words of encouragement.  Sometimes it only takes just a little bit to keep the energy flowing.  Lately I've had the chance to work with a lot of horses that are new to me.....and that is quite a change and a challenge....but it seems that I'm finally getting better at this kind of thing after many years of struggling with it.  And after it does begin to flow really well for me and the horse, everything else I try to do or teach the horse just seems to happen on it's own.  I think what has really made the difference is that now instead of just working on this at home with my own horses I have had to really dig in and try to make it work with new horses and people I have just met.   There is no putting it off until tomorrow or next week or next month or next year.  That has put me WAY outside my own comfort zone.....but then that is what we're constantly doing with our horses.  Maybe just a little more empathy or "seeing the world through the horse's eyes" is what has really helped.  Keep at it.....and don't be concerned about lack of time to work on it.  If you spend a little time just visualizing what you would like to get working, then visualizing what you might need to do to get the horse to understand, you're way ahead once you do get started.  Then, when you get the chance and you go to watch or ride for a few days with folks like Buck or Bryan or Harry or Deb, you'll make lots of huge leaps really quickly.  Your horse will love you for it. 

Take care.

      

 


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