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

Horse confidence issue.. or??
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
 New Topic   Reply   Print 
AuthorPost
eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 19th, 2007 05:47 pm
 Quote  Reply 
This is what I had originally posted at another website, where someone direted me here:

She has a serious issue that I don't know how to address.

She is a 14.3h national show horse breed. She's 15, has been a show horse, especially in jumping, used to live in a very nice place in a nice padded stall and all that. She was used for lessons, ect. I don't know much more about her background.

Problem is, she's INCREDIBLE under saddle, but on the ground it's not that way. I had her in pasture, but when I try to put her in a stall with the other horses out, she freaks out and wont shut up. She's broken gates down trying to get out of a stall if other horses are in the pasture and she's not. She will run away if I'm even remotely close to her when she's hanging with the other horses in the pasture (although the rest of them will hang out with me) as if she knows I'm going to touch her. She will never look directly at me, especially in the eyes. She kicks at the other horses, bites them, ect when they're eating, or even for no good reason at all. She reared up on the baby pony when it was born and tried to kill it, but missed only because she was on a hillside and ended up slipping down. I have no idea what's going on in her head. Once I get a halter on her, she follows me anywhere and she does pretty much anything I ask her (including picking up her speed or slowing down according to what I'm doing), but it's as if she refuses to recognize my presence even though she will do what I ask. In the saddle, she responds amazingly, and I don't feel disconnected from her at all. Her social problems are becoming increasingly more of a serious problem. Does anyone have any idea what makes a horse this way, and what can I do to help her? Is there a book I can read or a video I can watch or something? Does anyone have any suggestions? My friend has given up on her because she can't handle her, but I don't want to give up on her. She wants to sell her, but I think there's something I haven't done that might make all the difference... maybe not. Ideas????


Since posting that, I have heard that this is probably a reaction to her poor confidence level, along with agressive behavior to compensate for whatever it is she is lacking confidence-wise. Is this true? If so, what do you suggest I do?

I'm just getting back into horses. I used to be a very horsey kid until the age of about 15 then I lost my opportunities to ride, then just got my first horse (I'm 21 now), Birdie, in february at about the same time my best friend got this horse (which has ironically become my horse as well). So, I'm relearning a lot, and very often I feel lost on what to do (although I read monty robert's book and have since learned a great deal about the working of the horse's mind). So, if I sound "novice", its true, I just try not to tell my horses that. =]

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 20th, 2007 05:42 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Andrea -- I'm going to begin this by telling you that if I am going to teach you, you will first have some "catching up" to do, so to speak.

You see -- one of the tenets of the approach to horsemanship and horse-handling that I teach is that we, as humans, have to stop projecting our thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes onto the horse. In other words, horses have their own reasons for doing what they do -- and those reasons are, in THEIR world, perfectly valid.

That does not mean that the actions that horses do are necessarily desirable or safe, though! Or that we would like to see the horse continue doing them. No, we do want to change them. But how we are going to get this done is going to be, first step, through altering our point of view so that we are looking at things from the HORSE'S point of view.

We humans can do this because we have the mental capacity. Your horse cannot do the same -- it cannot think like a human. But you can learn to think like a horse. And only when you do that will you be able to outsmart any horse. The idea here is for me to teach you how to know what a horse is going to do before he does it. Then -- because you'll know what he's going to do before he does it -- you can prevent it.

And when you prevent it, then it never does happen.

One of the things that I believe is that you, Andrea, can have a horse that is not only a fantastic ride but 100% pleasant to be around -- no biting, kicking, nipping, striking, pulling away, attacking, jumping over or through fences or gates, or anything else of the sort. When I say "100% pleasant", I mean that YOUR horse COULD be exactly like my horse, Ollie, or my great old Painty and Sadie. These are horses that I personally own or owned (Painty and Sadie are dead now), handled them for years, had tons of fun on them doing all kinds of different things including shows, and never had so much as a single bad moment EXCEPT when I myself made a mistake.

Just tonight, when I was out there to the riding arena with Ollie, we were working on Spanish Walk. After I rode him for a while, I got off, and then we were Spanish-Walking from the ground. And here was Ollie, totally at liberty in the arena, still wearing his saddle and bridle, but just so interested in what we were doing that he had no ideas of leaving where I was, and he was giving me a really big try every time I asked. After we did that a while, then I had him follow me over the wooden bridge that we have, which again he does completely at liberty, and then mount up on the circus drum. I took his saddle and bridle off while he was standing up there, then toted them over to the fence and hung them up -- and Ollie just stayed on the drum while I walked away, as I had asked him to.

Then I asked him to come off of the drum and come over and put his nose into the halter. He takes care of putting his nose in there -- I take care of buckling it up. Then I led him over to the gate, asked him to stand about four feet behind me while I undid the latch to the gate and swung it open. Ollie waits until I have opened the gate and then walks quietly through when I tell him it's OK to come ahead. Then he pivots so that I can close the gate and latch it from the outside. Then we walk from the arena area back to his stall, and on that walk, the lead rope is slack the whole time because he neither gets ahead of me nor lags behind me, but stays right at my shoulder.

I am telling you this to whet your appetite. Would you like to have a horse that acts like this? If so -- you can write back and we will begin some lessons. The lessons will involve some homework for you, which will include some reading and also some specific things to do with your horse.

The first lessons for you will involve teaching your horse what are generally called "manners". This does not mean that I am calling your horse some kind of oaf; rather it means a particular list of skills which I see (from your query) that your horse does not know much about. All horses can be taught these skills. In the course of you teaching your horse these things, you yourself will also be learning some new skills.

So, Andrea, let us hear from you whether you are interested in committing to doing just as I suggest that you do. If so, then we'll begin to tackle the problems you outline one by one until they are all gone.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 20th, 2007 07:51 am
 Quote  Reply 
I most certainly am interested in committing myself. In all reality, I have committed myself from the moment I sought help toward helping myself understand her, in an attempt to find a way to end what looks to me like a whole lot of unnecessary unhappiness and stress on her, all other horses around her, and all humans that deal with her. She shouldn't have to be looked at like a "bad horse" and I don't want to have to just "deal" with a horse that I know has potential to be a great FRIEND as well as mount. So yes, THANK YOU for the opportunity. I'm here to learn.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 21st, 2007 07:38 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Andrea: Well, very good. With this transmission, I am going to start conveying to you a specific process, or set of lessons, that you can do with your horse. I will appreciate it very much if, after you go and do as I suggest, you report back in here with any questions or just to let us know how things went. I am more willing to do this at this time, because your question is one that I have responded to numerous times in the past -- SO many times, in fact, that I finally decided that the smart thing to do would be just to post a document up in "Knowledge Base" so that instead of having to write it down again and again, I can just refer people to that. So as I correspond with you and anyone else who wants to respond to this thread, the document will get written.

MANNERING A HORSE

This is a simple set of rules. It’s the first thing that you need to teach your horse after you meet him (weanlings up through any age).

 

The benefits of having a perfectly mannered horse are many. All aspects of living with the horse become far more pleasant for both you and the horse, not to mention safer for anyone else who may be nearby. In addition, the horse will become much easier for both your farrier and your veterinarian to handle.

 

Teaching manners is a simple process. However, it will probably differ from what you have seen other people do or what you may be used to doing yourself.

 

For a successful outcome, you must commit to totally abandoning some old habits:

 

(1)   Reaching out to push on your horse’s body in order to position him

(2)   Using a whip

(3)   Giving the horse “voice commands”

(4)   Talking to other people, or to yourself, when working with your horse

(5)   Being in any kind of hurry

(6)   Teaching manners for any reason other than to help the horse have a better life.

 

Reasons for Abandoning Old Habits
 

(1)   Reaching out to push on your horse’s body in order to position him: The approach here is to teach the horse to position himself. He’ll never learn this if you are trying to do his job for him. Furthermore, the horse is big, heavy, and strong; if he does not position himself out of his own understanding and cooperation, you cannot push or pull him anyway. You cannot “win” against any horse by using physical force, whether that force be small or large. We will be working with body-language, timing, and your ability to perceive what the horse is going to do before he does it. This approach succeeds every time.

 

(2)   Using a whip: I am asking you to put the whip away temporarily. The whip has its uses, but is not appropriate here. Most people who use a whip (or a flag) do not realize how easy it is to use it far too strongly. We will therefore be substituting equipment that is less likely to provoke a fear reaction in your horse (fear in the horse blocks his ability to learn). You must practice with the new equipment until your skills are perfect.

 

(3)   Giving the horse “voice commands”: I meet many people who tell me their horse is “trained to voice commands,” and yet only one in a thousand of these horses would actually respond to a voice command. The owners are, thus, just kidding themselves – their horses have not been systematically and thoroughly trained to respond to voice commands, and since that is the case, attempting to control them by voice commands is fruitless. What is especially amusing is watching owners change their tone of voice (deepen the voice, “bark” the command, or shout) – they think they are being “more authoritative” – in actuality, the situation becomes more and more ridiculous, like watching an Italian try to give street directions to an American tourist, when the American understands no Italian. Horses are much better at learning body language than voice commands – in mannering our horses, then, we will make use of the horse’s strong point, which is body language. At a later time, it will then be possible to teach voice commands, if the owner so desires, so that they really work.

 

(4)   Talking: Many people babble when they work with their horses. I believe that to a great extent, this is an attempt to self-comfort – in other words, the owner or handler is actually somewhat afraid of the horse or the situation, and they babble in order to let out some of the buildup of their own fear. Owners are also often acutely aware of anyone watching them work their horse, and some people babble a whole narrative, the content of which is a stream of explanations or excuses, meant to be overheard, about why their horse is the way he is or why he isn’t coming up to snuff. All of this can quite profitably be abandoned. Talking to yourself or anyone else cuts down on your own ability to focus on your horse. You will need every ounce of focus that you have in order to keep your horse focused and learning. What would happen in a schoolroom if the teacher continually talked to herself, or to the principal, while looking out the window?

 

(5)   Hurry: Animals do not have the same sense of time duration that we humans have, and they cannot read a clock or watch. They do not have appointments for later in the day. They do not have a family to raise or a job in town. Through your own behavior, you must not import these concerns to your horse. They are fruitless because the horse has no means of responding to them, and they seriously interfere with your ability to focus so as to help your horse focus. When you go out to the barn to work with your horse, you must schedule 2 hours for every task that you think will take 1 hour. And two hours is about the minimum for a barn visit no matter what you plan on doing. Under the same theme of “hurry” or “time pressure”, by the way, we will also list cell phones, pagers, the telephone, or any other thing that may cause you to want to multi-task. Don’t bring small children that need minding to the barn. Turn your cell phone and pager off before you go get your horse.

 

(6)   Giving your horse lessons for any other reason than to give the horse a better life: Right – what other kinds of reasons do people have? The primary bad one is that they will only commit to a process to the extent that they believe that it will cause their horse to make them look better (to themselves, to their neighbors, to a judge, etc.). If this is where you are really at, let me tell you right now that none of what I am about to say will work (and also, incidentally, nothing that any other teacher suggests to you will work, either). If you want to be a winner, then you serve the animal’s needs first and THEN see what may shake out of that.

 

Rules for Mannering

We are going to teach the horse three simple rules:

 

(1)   He must “go to his room” when asked, and stay there until permission is given to leave his “room”. (The horse’s “room” is an imaginary square that you draw around his feet. The square should be a few feet wider and longer than the horse’s body).

 

(2)   He must permit you (the handler) to enter his “room” at any time, and to touch and handle any and all parts of his body (gently, with respect).

 

(3)   He is only allowed to enter the handler’s “room” when specifically invited to do so.

 

Process for teaching Rule no. 1

 

Step One: Beginning Focus

Goal: To teach the horse to focus on the handler when requested

Time allotment: Five minutes’ work, five minutes’ rest; repeat work and rest three times; total time 30 minutes.

 

Put a halter on the horse that has an extra-long lead rope. The lead rope should be at least 8 ft. long and could be 12 ft. The halter can be leather, nylon, or rope. It is much better if the lead rope attaches by a lanyard knot or is in some other way securely tied to the halter, rather than having the conventional bullsnap attachment. If your outfit has a bull snap, it is still workable but not as kind to the horse. Adjust the halter so that it fits snugly.

 

Lead the horse to a safe working area, such as an empty paddock, roundpen, riding arena, indoor hall, etc. The area should have a fence or walls around it.

 

Bring the horse to a stop. Position yourself so that you are facing the horse. Try to get as far back away from him as you can without him following right up next to you. Look at your watch and note the time.

 

Hold the lead-rope in whichever hand suits you best. For the next five minutes, attentively watch your horse’s ears and eyes.

 

Every time the horse looks anywhere BUT at you, shake the lead rope until he looks at you or faces you again.

 

You may need to do more than shake the rope; it may be necessary to yank downward on the rope to give him a bump on the nose. Do as much as necessary (but no more than necessary) to get the horse to re-focus on you.

 

In the five minutes’ time allowed for this work, the horse may look away numerous times. You must catch it every single time. The more reliable you are at catching it, the less force you will find that it takes to get him to re-focus on you.

 

After the five minutes is up, walk up to the horse, pet him, lead him to some other place, and let him rest or hand-graze for five minutes. Pet on him the whole time. (“Petting” means stroking or scratching his favorite spot, not slapping or pounding).

 

Remember you are not to talk, to the horse, to yourself, or if possible to anyone else. Use the five minutes’ rest time as a time of silence in which you think about what has just happened, and think how you could have caught the horse looking away a little sooner in some cases.

 

After five minutes’ rest, go back to the place of work and do another five minutes of asking him to focus on you. Rest again, and repeat once more.

 

End the session by taking the horse back to his stall or turnout area. Pet him before you let him go.

 

Evaluation: Did your horse become more able to focus on you by the third five minutes’ session? As he becomes more focused, he will also become calmer. Your goal is to get it to where he can look at you or “hold you in his regard” for at least eight continuous seconds. Most horses start out with the ability to focus for only a second or two on any one thing. You are teaching your horse that he doesn’t have to scan the environment so frantically or compulsively. He can, instead, focus on you and count on you being fully present so as to protect him from potential harm. This is HIS main concern. Once YOU start acting as if you might be reliable, only then will the horse start becoming willing to trust you and follow your suggestions and direction.

 

Do you need more sessions? If the two of you didn’t get eight continuous seconds on the first day, then have another set of five-minute lessons on the next day. Eight seconds will soon be easy.

 

When to Quit: As soon as the horse can, and does, calmly focus on you for eight continuous seconds, walk up to him, pet him, and rest for five minutes. From then on, you only need to re-request focus before you do any task (but realize – “doing any task” would include EVERY ordinary thing around the barn, such as opening and going through a gate, stopping, starting, turning, going into and out of the stall, etc.). As your horse’s ability to focus increases, YOUR ability to do the same will also increase, so that you don’t have to stop every time and “formally” ask for focus – it will simply become a habit for you to check your horse all the time to be sure he’s focused for the thing you’re about to ask for. If he isn’t, then you certainly must stop and formally ask for focus.

 

Bottom Line: Never try to do anything without you being focused and the horse being focused.

 

Big Realization: Focus is the root of calmness. Calmness comes from focus.

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 05:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Andrea,

Good luck and have fun on your new journey, you will not travel alone, there are many of us learning along with you. 

Dear Dr Deb,

I watch with much interest as the latest addition to knowledge base is created. I am finding the abandonment of old habits and not useful beliefs the hardest to master.  A work in progress.  Thanks once again for sharing your knowledge and time with us.

Kind Regards

Sam the first.

eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 08:39 am
 Quote  Reply 
It is 1:33am and I just got home from a LONG day. I took that horse from 2 cities away to a stable 3 minutes from my house. She took 5 hours to get into a trailer. It is time to start a new life for this horse, very obviously. She is much happier where she is now, and I plan on making it better by they day. Tomorrow I will be working with my 5 day old foal, and with that horse (Tahoe) and I will report what I have experienced with her when I get home. THANK you for your time and guidance, we will both appreciate it, no doubt!

Sam: thank you for the good wishes. I wish you the best on your journey as well!

Marion
Member
 

Joined: Wed May 16th, 2007
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 9
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 08:43 am
 Quote  Reply 
I'm going to take this up, too.  I'm very interested to see if my horses and I can do this.


When I feed my two, I put their food down, and they must stand square about 2 feet from their bowls and give me both their eyes, but only for about 2 seconds.  Then I bow my head and step away and as I move away, they move up to their feed and eat.  I started doing this as sometimes my teenage children feed the horses for me and I was very particular that there would be no pushing by the horses against the children, or anyone else who would feed my horses for me if I was away.  When I put the feed in their bowls, I watch their feet to see if they are moving closer, if they step closer, I give them they 'eye' and that is usually enough to make them step back.

I am curious if they will hold 'in regard' for 8 seconds.

Marion.

 

eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jul 22nd, 2007 08:51 am
 Quote  Reply 
Marion: I don't do what you do during feeding, but I am training one of my mares to do something different because I don't like her pulling food from my hands. Generally, I open the door, and she gets excited, so I put my hand up, flat towards her and push through the air towards her (never touching her) and kiss at her. She moves back about 5 feet and stands, waiting for me to drop the food in the container, but I think I might try to train the way you have done it. It sounds a little better. I have also noticed that bowing the head works for dogs and horses as a way to tell them they are allowed to proceed. My dog responds well to it.

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 05:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dr Deb,

I am a bit bamboozled after heading out to the paddock to play with my two lovely lads today, I feel so much has happened in a short space of time but I am not sure of my interpratations.  As my other half so kindly phrased it, I am coming from the side of the 'Woolly woofter' and trying to be clear with my ponies and not killing them with excess empathy.  It was with a clear mind and lovely sunshine, I toddled out there today, to 'Manner my horses'.

 

Horse one, Mr Sensitive, unusual for him lined up to be first, pick me, pick me.  I put him in his room, and went out four feet in front of him, squared my shoulders, his response, pricked ears, clear bright eyes little triangle shapes to the upper lids then change to soft eyes, mouth and nostrils soft and hanging, (he gets a stress dimple, in his top lip if not okay) body attentive with out tension, for eight seconds straight off the bat.  I found he would cock an ear away if I looked away, as soon as I looked back he would look back at me, took very little effort on my part to hold his attention.  I was so proud of him.

Horse two, Giant Shet. First time in 8months, he stayed sleeping in the sun while I went about playing with other horse, he normally rises as soon as he sees me.  Not real thrilled about being caught but put up with it (Uhoh, I think I see the first instance of my 'problem') From here on is the work of the 'drama queen' part of Sam, so read on with warning as old useless beliefs have reared there sneaky head. eg my horse is damaged, I am useless blah blah blah......There is no proof to these beliefs!!!   I popped him in his room,  his response was, cock a leg, ears turned to the rear, eyes very hooded, mouth hanging but nostrils 'full', I wiggled that rope, made silly noises, slapped my thigh, waved my hat, did a little jig, he wasn't present.....I wasn't anywhere in his mind, (Had his birdie flown to the other realm, or am I being a woolly woofter and reading too much into  a so called 'disrespectful pony')  I just dropped the rope and watched him from 12 feet away, nothing changed, except his wiskers would wiggle and an eyelid would move a fraction.  If I moved in to pet him, he'd shift his weight and that was about it.  After a bit of thought I wandered off and dug out a 'clicker' (those dog training thing) and a supply of apples.  He hadn't moved far from where I had left him so attached his lead rope and put him in his room.  I expected a response to the clicker as its a funny noise, mild flutter of eyelids, put apple under nose, eyes opened but kind of 'hard' ears further to the rear.  I was running out of ideas about now, as I didn't know if I should feed a grumpy face, was it better than no attention though?  I took him for a walk and he followed with no drag, and I asked him to walk beside me, as soon as he offerd a quisitive face, ears pricked, eyes triangled, mouth soft, I gave him an apple.  He could only hold this form of attentiveness for a fraction of a second.  I didn't keep this up for very long as it seemed such a very big deal to him so I didn't do the full 30mins with him, it was 3-5-3-5,  He didn't feel like a scratch so his reward was me just standing next to him or popping him on the drum eating apples.  In the last three mins he could look at me out of one eye for a nanosecond, with ears out to the side, eyes triangled, nose full but lips hanging.  I was also so proud of him as this nanosecond seemed like the biggest thing ever to him.

So what I am asking here is, am I reading too much into this session.  It would appear my 'problem' horse is not really much of a problem and my 'riding' pony is deeply not okay within himself.  I am now speechless.

 

Advise greatly appreciated.

Best Wishes

Sam I am, Horse one and Horse two. 

Last edited on Tue Jul 24th, 2007 12:58 am by Sam

Marion
Member
 

Joined: Wed May 16th, 2007
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 9
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 07:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
Wow, good work Sam!  I had something similiar - my gelding, who is the companion for my mare, held my gaze for 8 seconds, straight off!  I do very little with him.  My mare, the 'star' of the paddock, well, I had to jiggle, bump her nose, move her feet a little, by the third go, I got 3 seconds, then 5, then 8.

It seems, the horse I give more attention to, and make more of a fuss over, gives me less attention. Hmmm.

 

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 02:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam wrote:
 I am finding the abandonment of old habits and not useful beliefs the hardest to master.  A work in progress.  Thanks once again for sharing your knowledge and time with us.



Amen to that. Two quick comments:

Yes to the abandonment of old habits and beliefs.  It's so difficult! One belief I have always held, and is broadly accepted as true: always talk to your horse; those that talk to their horses succeed far more than those that don't.  This one will be put to the test by this thread.

Secondly, on Dr.Deb's rule #1, you don't move the horse, the horse moves the horse. I'd like to add an observation, having used her instructions above to stop my horse from investigating some other people's horses in a public venue just yesterday (talk about good timing for this thread!).  It was the only effective thing I've ever done with him to control him, which is a huge lesson in itself.  But my main point is that I think the it worked because when I caused him to move himself, the change I observed was "the change that comes from within."  It wasn't about not having to push a big heavy horse around; it wasn't about teaching him to stand in one spot, it was about seeing a change in him where he understood and conceded, and that was that.  

I also felt his hind feet through my reins for the first time on that ride, and my head is so full I don't know where to start processing it all.  :-)

Regards and warmest thanks,

val

eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 04:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I didn't have as much success as some did. Although, a slight bit of progress. This mare really has trust issues and although she will be submissive (licking lips, nodding head) she has a terrible stubborn streak. Nothing will be done unless it's her idea. However, yesterday I made progress with her.

The first 5 minutes went as expected. I got attention for about 1-2 seconds each time I asked for it. Second time I did it, it came up to about 3-4 seconds. Last 5 minutes, she started putting her head to the ground, walking forward, and pawing. She got very impatient, but I did get about 6 seconds from her. Also, she came back to focus quicker when I moved the lead. After that, on the way back to her stall, I asked her to step closer to the 2 horse trailer (she is terrified of it, wont get within about 6 feet of it). She started to back up and almost rear, when I asked her for her attention again, looked straight at her, and she came down and looked at me. I shook her lead line, held her gaze for a moment, and asked her to step forward. I couldn't get her to go all the way, but I didn't want to try. She took a few steps closer, and I praised her for her effort to listen regardless of her fear. She is going to take a long time...

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 07:41 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Andrea -- You need to drop the judgements that come from the human perspective, as I mentioned to you in my initial set of instructions. No horse is stubborn. Her apparent "stubbornness" is your own lack of experience, timing, and focus. What the horse is, is ignorant. She will remain ignorant until your own skills come up a little better. In recognition that this is the true state of affairs, I can assure you that it will be very helpful for you to stop judging HER.

She just is what she is. She just responds with some response -- or with some other response. You respond to her response. That's all. So from here on out, I want to hear no "stories" that you make up about what is driving her, or her bad past history (they are all inaccurate and useless anyway) -- and NO judgements -- OK?

You are trying to cram too much in. Stay away from the trailer or any other thing the horse has trouble with, and do JUST AS YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD. This means: confine your sessions with her to the quiet, walled-in or fenced-in arena. Keep the sessions short, uner half an hour, and the individual "bouts" to five minutes or less. Educate her on ONE thing at a time. Anything else, and you are not only "multi-tasking" yourself, but you are also (realize this!) forcing the horse to multi-task, too!

If the horse goes to pawing (a sign of frustration), realize that what she is frustrated with is your failure to release pressure early enough. Examine yourself to see if when you go to shake the rope, you STOP shaking it as soon as her eyes return to you. Never give a horse "one for good measure". When the horse's eyes are on you, the rope needs to be DEAD SLACK and YOU need to be supremely centered, calm, and quiet -- make your own body totally relax. And smile a little bit, because it is a wonderful thing to see a horse in the process of learning.

By the way, pay no attention to other peoples' ideas about "looking the horse in the eye". There is no special way that you need to look at a horse. You just look at the horse with your normal way of looking. No attempts at "mean" or "pointed" looks. No special gestures, either. All of these stagey superficialities are very far from real focus, which is what you need to be bringing to your horse, before your horse can bring any of it to you. Your expression should be that of the Buddha -- pleasant smile, pleasant feelings on the inside, all the time. Always ready to praise the slightest try. This goes along with "no judgements".

If the horse goes to pawing, right in the act of her doing it you should firmly but not roughly turn and walk off to one side, asking the horse to lead after you. Go twenty or thirty steps, stop, pet her, and then start over in the new place. This is how you apologize to a horse for your own timing being so far off. It will also gently help her to re-focus and be willing to try to give you another try.

Realize that my suggesting to you that you do five-minute "bouts" is merely a guideline. If the horse tells you that she cannot go five minutes, make it three or one. What I am trying to get you to do is to pay attention to what the horse NEEDS. In doing this, you will always still be able to achieve your own goals, which are important.

Please write back again and let us know how it goes. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Jul 23rd, 2007 08:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Unfortunately, I didn't read this before I went out today to work with her. I plan to employ everything you said as best I know how. However, I do want to tell you that I learned something from her today. She isn't stubborn, nor is she anything BUT reacting to things in a way that makes complete sense in her mind.

I walked with her to the area as usual, asking for her focus whenever walking through gates, ect. On our way, she was paying no attention to me, and rather to the sounds of other horses. So, I stopped a few times on the way to ask for her focus back. When she gave it to me, we walked on. I noticed that her attentiveness to me increased through the day significantly, and so it wasn't difficult to get what I wanted across.

In the beginning of the day before we entered the arena, I wanted to take her to a post to tie her so I could pick her feet. The post was next to a flapping auning and a small building, and the arena. As I was leading her there, I had her focus, then she lost her focus and stopped dead. Normally, I would have seen her as being stubborn. In leu of trying to get both of us focused, I didn't assume anything, I just reacted to her. She didn't want to go any further, so I backed her up, stood in front of her, and asked for her focus. We held focus for about 5 seconds, then I turned to her side, still looking at her, and asked her to step forward with me. Immediately, she dropped her head a little lower, looked at me, and walked 2 steps. This wasn't nearly far as I wanted, but it was progress, so I stopped, pet her and let her relax for a second. Then, I got her focus, asked for another step, and she tried to back up and rear. I let slack into my lead immediately in reaction to her, and she stood sound. I asked for focus again, stood in front of her, and when I had focus, I turned slightly to her side, and backed myself up toward the space I wanted her in, and she walked with her nose close to my chest to the place I wanted her at. I pet her, let her relax and check out the space. After that, she was fine and I could pick her feet.

Several times through the day we did things this way, to do simple tasks it took a long time. To get through a gate and not have her run me over, I had to ask for focus and repeat the task until I was being clear, and she was responding.  By the end of the time I spent with her, she was waiting for me outside gates until I was through, and going through when I asked, then pivoting herself so I could close them. I know I haven't gotten to redo the things I did wrong on the first day yet, because I just read what you said. But, you did say to ask for focus before any task, including going through gates, walking, stopping, ect. I think I figured out part of what you said, which is to stop judging, and instead to react at the right time, in the right way. I'm working on reacting at the right time and in the right way, but I think I've just about accepted the idea of not judging, now I have to train myself to always think that way.

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 01:11 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dr Deb,

Thank you for taking no notice of the previous post, I have locked 'drama queen' away, she is of no use to me and my horse.  Today I turned myself over to the wise one and we had the biggest fun. Have rechristened giant shet as Hindsight as he is my great teacher. ( Yesterday before I put the halter on he said I am not happy, I am not okay.)  We played in the round pen at liberty.  I had a flag made of a bit of horse tail, as soon as he looked at me I took all pressure away completely by the end of our session it was no big deal for him to look at me for 8secs with ears pricked, eyes curious and bright, mouth soft nostrils still a bit full but over all fantastic.  Yippee, thank you for starting the thread, Andrea.  And to Marion and Val thank you for your kind words and encouragement, much appreciated.

Best Wishes

Sam I am

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 11:24 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb

As this appears to be a basically private teaching thread with Andrea, I would like to inquire if and when it would be acceptable to ask questions regarding the information that you are sharing here. 

Thanks Cheryl

Callie
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 04:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
It looks like this is going to be a super thread, I am on my way to work horses now and am going to try this out.  Cool.

I hope it's ok to join in.

-Callie

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 05:14 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Well, Dr. Deb said at the start of her second post, the one where she laid out the instructions, that she would correspond with Andrea and "anyone else who wants to respond to this thread," so I figure we're free to join in as long as we remain topical.

I agree, super thread!!! Sam, great progress, but I do miss the drama queen. Do let her out occasionallly.  :-)

val

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 06:26 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

This exercise in focus has been one of the most enjoyable and useful things I have done with my horse to date.  I found that he is incredibly focused on me and could stay looking at me longer than I could him.  In the first five minutes he only turned his head slightly, once, to look at a passerby.  When I did bump him with the lead rope he stepped back one little step.  I have one question and I don't think I've heard this mentioned, if it has sorry, the thing he did do is turn an ear to listen to the goings on.  Always keeping one ear forward on us.  Is there a correction applied for the ear turning out there?   Or is it ok if one ear is on us and one sometimes out there?

After this exercise we went for a walk in the dark and I did notice I could keep slack in the lead line, without him planting his feet in confusion, for a longer period of time than usual.  Makes me want to do this experiment lots more. 

So maybe my horse has better manners than I thought and maybe some people need to improve on their manners.  I did notice while doing this exercise how many people try and get me distracted and to pay attention to them, by asking questions and making silly remarks.  I did have a husband of one of my horse friends make fun of me as well.

Thanks,

Pam 

 

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 07:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Cheryl -- Yes, you may certainly participate. Ask anything you like so long as it is relevant to what is going on in this thread.

Pam -- This exercise is not about staring at your horse, nor is it about getting your horse to stare back at you -- i.e., with a "hard" focus. We want "soft" focus. I did not make this clear in my initial instructions.

One of the things we are doing here is teaching the horse that it does not need to be vigilant or hypervigilant. We won't get this done if we simply shift his hypervigilance from the environment to ourselves.

When you bring the horse's eyes back to you, there should be nothing in the gesture that implies that you are punishing him. You are REMINDING him i.e., re-minding him, giving him a new mind or you might say "re-booting" his attention).

This should answer your query about the ear. The answer to whether it's OK for the horse to have one ear on you and one on something else is "it all depends". If the horse's whole bodily attitude is one of calmness and relaxation, then he is holding you in his regard. In other words, his birdie is with him. While a horse's birdie is with him, he (or it) can sit on its perch that is in the middle of his forehead, and from that vantage point, without leaving that vantage point, can look out and notice all kinds of various things that are in the environment, and he still has not left you mentally.

On the other hand, it would be quite different if the birdie lifts its wings, flutters, and flies away. When this happens, the horse will be obviously anxious, restive, not-calm and not-OK.

Harry Whitney tends to talk about this as the horse "staying with you mentally" or "leaving you mentally". If the horse is with you mentally, then that's all you have ever wanted or asked for. Every creature that is with itself mentally has a right to scan its environment. When the creature is with itself mentally, then the scanning of the environment will not have the obsessive "checking checking checking" quality that it does when its mind, consciousness, or birdie (whatever you want to call it) separates from its body.

Probably the greatest learning for the handlers who are participating in this mini-class is that you are going to learn to tell the difference between when a horse has its birdie with it, and when the birdie has actually left.

And -- as to distractions -- yes, we often notice that when a person is on the brink of learning or obtaining something deep, that the devil will try to intervene to prevent it. The person most in need of a certain lesson at a clinic, we often notice, when the best possible example of just what that person needs to learn arises after a long wait spontaneously and is right before the person's eyes -- it's at that moment that their cell phone rings. You learn to recognize where this sort of interference is coming from after a time, and then it's easy to make it go away, because at the deepest level, such interference is unreal. 

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 07:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Val, Thanks for referring me back to the previous post; I have a very bad habit of reading in "chunks" and over looking small but important details unless they are listed in a 1..  2..  3.. format. 

Dr. Deb, Thanks for the reply and here's my question.  In working with my gelding, I am having a difficult time communicating my desire for him to stay out of my space.  We can accomplish the set-up (he facing me and me facing him), we can focus on each other for varying lengths of time, some even up to the 8 second limit, however even while focused on me, he will begin to walk into my space.   Is the object of this session just to stay focused on each other even if we are eyeball to eyeball or do I request that he back out of my space?  I have been holding the lead line between my outstretched hands, twirling it like a jumprope and allowing him to walk into it, which does cause him to stop and take one or two steps back.  Is this productive to what we are trying to accomplish?


Thanks Cheryl

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 07:49 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

Thanks for clearing that up about the ear.  That was a big question in my mind and  makes me want to do this experiment again tonight.   It seems more sane to just be concerned about where the birdie is and not be too concerned about an ear scanning the environment.  I'm relieved to hear this because his birdie was with me pretty much the whole time.

If I hear you correctly, if he takes a step back, he was feeling somewhat punished instead of just reminded to bring his focus back.  It might be that I don't need to bump him with the lead line much at all.   I'll will do less and see how that goes.

Can't wait to try this again.

Pam


eirualaerdna
Member
 

Joined: Thu Jul 19th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 24th, 2007 11:13 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Pam, thanks for asking that question! It has become MUCH more clear to me how to read and what to expect from Tahoe when she has her focus on me. When I do this exercise again, I  think things will go a lot smoother because now I understand the whole thing better.

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2007 01:28 am
 Quote  Reply 
Andrea,

Good luck to you and Tahoe!  I thank you for starting this very valuable lesson for us all. 

This would be fantastic information for the knowledge base, Dr. Deb, as you mentioned.  Since focus is a prerequisite to calm and calm is number one on the list for straightness in the Woody Article, I don't see how one could accomplish anything for their horse without this knowledge.

Thanks,

Pam

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2007 04:16 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi all, I am so greatful you started this thread.  Just what was missing in me and my interactions with my horses.

Have had the opportunity to try this on six horses today.  Just getting to see different facial expressions.  It worked to some degree or other.  They all seemed happier once in their room even if the seconds were few. Sometimes hard to tell if they blocking out or really focusing and relaxing??

Am so interested to see how this progresses.

Thanks Cathie Julie

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2007 07:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Julie, Pam, Andrea, Cheryl: OK, here you go -- here's the second "installment". Cheryl and Julie, this should answer the questions you just posted, particularly about how you're supposed to get the horse to be far enough away from you that you don't need to be touching or pushing on him with your fingertips, and how to get him to quit following you so that he's stuck onto you like a tack. There are times when we DO want the horse to do this, but only when we ask for it! And Andrea -- you be SURE you have completed the first part of this and that your horse really is giving you calm focus before going on to this part, OK? Let me know how it goes, all -- Dr. Deb

Continuing Rule no. 1 in process of mannering a horse

Review: “Rule no. 1” is: The horse must “go to his room” when asked, and stay there until permission is given to leave his “room”. (The horse’s “room” is an imaginary square that you draw around his feet. The square should be a few feet wider and longer than the horse’s body).

 

So far, we have only done “step one” in teaching Rule no. 1. Now it is time to add “step two” toward teaching the horse how to obey Rule no. 1.

 

As a result of your previous work, you now have a horse that is able to hold you calmly in his regard for 8 continuous seconds or more.

 

NOTE: If you do not have this completed, you must first complete it. DO NOT try to go on to new work at any time until previous step is completed, and you and the horse are both comfortable with that accomplishment.

 

Because you have completed the process of teaching the horse that it can, and should, pay attention to you, you also have a horse that is calm enough to learn the next lesson.

 

The next lesson is to teach the horse to back up, one step at a time; and that after having backed up, he is to stay back – stay in the area where he has been placed – and settle there -- even if you are not standing right next to him.

 

Begin this process by standing at the horse’s left side at the level of his head, facing to the rear. With your left hand, grasp the knot or bullsnap where the rope attaches to the halter; or you may grasp the lower part of the halter itself, just above where the bullsnap attaches.

 

With the horse calm and focused, apply continuous downward and backward pressure on the halter. Some particulars:

 

(1)   Do not “bump” or vibrate. The touch is to be smooth and continuous.

(2)   Do not talk. Do not say “back up” or give any other so-called “voice command”.

(3)   Use whatever amount of pressure it requires to get the horse to respond – but – use no more than this amount.

(4)   STOP the pressure as soon as the horse does respond.

 

We now need to define what a “response” consists of, and also to understand a little about how, on a mechanical level, a horse makes the response.

 

The response we’re looking for is that the horse prepares to back up, in other words he prepares to take the first step backwards.

 

The response we are looking for is that he prepares to take one, single, step – not five steps, and not even ONE step. HE PREPARES.

 

How a horse prepares to take one, single step is that, if he intends to take the step with his right front foot, he will lean or sway his body from his right to his left. This is so that he can get the weight off of his right front foot so as to be able to move that foot. A horse cannot move any foot that he has weight on (neither can you).

 

So, in essence, what you are doing with your hand on the halter is you are asking the horse to sway, either to the right or to the left; and then expand that sway, so to speak, into a backwards gesture with one front foot.

 

You make this clear and easy for the horse when you “aim to help” the front foot that he would have moved anyway. This will usually be the front foot that happens to be farther ahead.

 

So, you first notice which foot is farther ahead. If neither front foot is farther ahead, then look at the back feet and select the front foot that is diagonally across from whichever back foot is farther ahead. If all four feet are “square”, then you may select either front foot.

 

Let us say that you have selected the right front foot. You will then apply your backwards pressure against the halter obliquely back-and-towards-yourself. This will induce the horse to sway his body toward you, and make it easy for him to move the right front foot. It also makes it easy for him to get the idea of what you want (this is equally, if not more, important).

 

When you feel the life come up in his body, and you feel him sway toward you a little bit, let the pressure that you are applying fade right out. Let the horse do as much of the process as possible all by himself.

 

If he takes more than one step, that’s fine. If he takes one-half of a step (i.e. sort of shuffles his feet but doesn’t really take a clean step), that’s fine. If he just sways over, that’s fine too, the first couple of times.

 

Once you have this clear and it’s worked a time or two, then you can continue the pressure until you’re certain that he will actually take one good clean step back. If he takes more than one step, that’s fine so long as it wasn’t because he is going back because you are applying too much pressure. It’s important for you to figure out, with whatever particular horse you’re working with (it’s different for each horse), how much pressure is just enough to get ONE step.

 

You really are trying to get ONLY ONE step.

 

Once the horse takes the one step -- or a few steps -- stop and pet him a while.

 

Now you can ask for ONE MORE step back, and again, after he gives you a good try, stop and rest awhile – just hang out and be buddies.

 

And again, take ONE STEP back, followed by a brief rest.

 

After you take a total of three steps back, walk forward to another place, and repeat. Go through the whole stepping-back process perhaps three or four times, then turn the horse loose in the work area (assuming nobody else is around) and let him dawdle or roll, just as he pleases; or if that’s not possible, go hand-graze for a while.

 

If it suits your schedule, you can also put him up and come back later, or the next day, for the second part of this lesson.

 

Second part of backing-up lesson.

 

Now that you’re sure that the horse understands how to back up, you and he can proceed to the next part. It’s necessary, I think, to teach backing up with your hand on the halter initially, because so many horses have never backed up at all. When they go to try it the first time, they’re often very stiff and can hardly pick up or move their hind feet. It is very unfair -- way too much -- to expect these horses to have an easy time with the step I'm about to describe if they have any difficulty at all with you right beside them to help them.

 

So before going on to the second phase of learning how to back up (so as to be able to go in their “room” and stay there), you need to assess the quality of how your horse takes backward steps. Particularly, look at the hind feet – do they drag, leaving “elevens” (parallel marks) in the dirt? Does the horse grunt as if it hurts him? Does he stiffen and get real heavy? Does he raise his head very high, as if he might rear? Do the hindquarters slew left and right severely, preventing him from backing up straight?

 

If you have to say “yes” to any of these questions, then it’s not time yet for you to go on to the second phase of backing. Just spend another several days backing the horse the first way. This will never hurt him – more horses need to be backed this way anyway, and you will also be backing the horse this way (one step at a time) from the saddle. So it’s not at all a waste of time.

 

If your horse is doing well on backing from the halter, and the backward steps are smooth and fluid, and the horse stays relaxed and with its head in a neutral position or lowered, then you can proceed to phase two of backing.

 

This is where we teach the horse that you don’t have to be right next to him, and this is also where you finally break your old habit of trying to position him by pushing your fingers against his body. From here on out, you’ll know how to ask him to position himself -- from the rope, not your hand.

 

Begin by standing as far from the horse as you can get without him trying to come up to you. The farther the better, but if he sticks to you like a tack then you’ll have to begin pretty close to him.

 

Develop at least three feet of slack rope between where your hand is on the rope and the halter. THREE FEET MINIMUM. You need the slack – the slack is your ally!

 

You are going to use the slack in the rope as a tool, so be sure you have your tool. As you and the horse get better at this, you will have more and more slack available.

 

Plant your feet. This is now “your” space. Here is how you will be using your space:

 

(1)   You will not be leaving this space.

(2)   You will not step backward from this space (unless the horse tries to charge over you, in which case, dive out of the way. Very unlikely, but I need to tell you all the possibilities).

(3)   You will not step forward from this space. You will not go toward the horse. The horse is, instead, going to go backward from you.

 

With your feet planted, and with your hand no closer than three feet out on the line, begin shaking the rope left and right. Use big swings – big enough that the halter scoots around on his nose a little.

 

The response you’re looking for is that the horse gets the idea that the swinging rope is a kind of barrier – like a spinning airplane propeller would represent a barrier to you. You wouldn’t want to walk into it.

 

If the horse tries to walk forward, INCREASE the intensity and force of the swings. You can increase the intensity by swinging the belly of the rope faster, or by swinging it up and down so that it even bangs him under the chin. You can increase the force by putting most of the emphasis on the “down” stroke so that essentially you are bumping or banging him on the nose.

 

If he prepares to take a backward step (and by now you will know exactly what that looks like), then INSTANTLY stop all pressure and all movement. NOTE: If he raises his head and stiffens, as if to rear, you should also stop instantly in that case and go back to reviewing the first backing procedure -- a horse can stiffen and raise his head so hard in response to the swinging rope that he actually can faint over backwards -- we do not want this. After reviewing backing directly from the halter, then begin swinging the rope more gently until he gets the idea that the swinging rope means "back up".

 

VERY IMPORTANT: So long as the horse just freezes, or plants his front feet, or kind of sways uncertainly (but does not look like he might rear) -- then -- do not stop swinging the rope until the horse shows he’s going to take a backward step. You must swing the rope continuously – no breaks – no lowering of pressure – possible increase of pressure if horse goes the wrong way (forward).

 

EVEN MORE IMPORTANT: That you stop all pressure, instantly, as soon as you’re certain he’s prepared to take, or has taken, a backward step. Never give a horse “one for good measure”!

 

You can see from this explanation that what you’ll be doing is teaching the horse to step backward into his room. That’s how he goes into his room – he backs into it.

 

As he backs, because you've planted your feet and you're not going to leave your "room", he obviously is going to increase the distance between himself and you. As he does so, feed out the line so that there’s no restriction on him going back.

 

Once he takes the first backward step (for which you instantly stopped the motion of the rope), then YOU walk up to HIM and pet him and rest. NOTE: Don't charge up to him the "instant" he takes his step. Let him settle after taking the step. Let two or three heartbeats go by. Then walk up to him rather slowly or languidly. Otherwise, your walking up to him in itself will become a pressure! You're trying to show him "no pressure." With some horses, it will be better not to walk up to them at this time; merely the cessation of being hassled by the rope will be enough reward.

 

After you pet him (if you do pet him), then walk back to where your footprints were the first time, and ask him in the same manner to back away from you again. Guaranteed that he will be noticeably better at this the second and third times you try it.

 

You can do two or three bouts of having him back away from you on the first day. Don't do more than that; this is the sort of thing that is much better to "peck" at than go after all at once. After your two or three bouts, turn him loose again or go hand graze, then put him up. A little of this stuff goes a long way.

 

With almost all horses, one or two sessions of this and they get the idea very well and they respond rather fast. Once you see this, you begin to see how little it might take to get just a single step. Again, almost all horses would prefer that all the pressure they ever saw be just a small shake on the line or even a tiny vibration! They are neither stupid nor insensitive – quite the opposite – they are very intelligent and very sensitive. See how little it would take.

 

From that point, it’s just a matter of asking for one step (rest), another step (rest), another step (rest), and so on, until the horse has backed so far away from you that you have no line left to give out.

 

Normally, I select a spot for the horse’s “room” that is six or seven feet from me, so that I have a foot or more of line left in my hand.

 

You can expand this exercise by getting a 5/8” diameter length of smooth yacht braid rope. Let this rope be 20 ft. long. We want 5/8” instead of the normal halter-rope diameter of 3/4" because the longer the rope gets, the heavier it gets so you need to use just a little bit lighter weight of rope if it’s going to be a long length. You’ll be needing this piece of rope later anyway, as it will become your longe line.

 

Buy a bullsnap and firmly tie this rope to the ring of the bullsnap, or, nicer, get some needles as for repairing awnings or sailboat sails, and heavy polyester thread, and firmly stitch the rope down through the ring on the bullsnap. Lash the other end of the rope so it won't fray, and tie a knot at that end so that you’ll know without having to look when you’re at the end of the line.

 

Attach this longer rope to your horse’s halter, and ask him to back. Now you have a long rope so that he can back away from you very far. Once he’s got the idea of how to back on his own at your signal, then there’s really no limit on how many steps he can take back, so long as they are, as already emphasized, one at a time. I do this exercise of “long backing” with my horses once every couple of weeks. They really cannot back up too much, so long as it is done this way, and you will find that this skill helps them in ten thousand other things.

 

For example, the main reason I think most horses who are “bad loaders” are bad loaders is not “claustrophobia” but that they simply are not so stupid as to get into a narrow space that they can’t turn around in, when they know that they don’t know how to back out of there or might have physical difficulty backing out of there. As you make it easy for the horse to put backing himself up together, you’ll find he loses most problems with loading, including stepping down from trailers that don’t have ramps.

 

Likewise, when the horse knows how to back (interestingly enough!) he will quit or greatly diminish the force if he’s been in the habit of pulling back when tied.

 

Horses that rear also generally do it because they are stiff through the back and hindquarters, and for these horses pressure on the bit represents to them an unsolvable “bind” because, being stiff, they cannot yield to the bit. Learning to back is not only “learning” in the mental sense but also a form of physiotherapy that relieves stiffness through the haunches and topline.

renoo
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
Location: Latvia
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Jul 25th, 2007 08:23 pm
 Quote  Reply 
so, I had a chance to try the first part with my boy.

reading the newest posts, I understand that it was actually not that bad, just I thought it to be too serious a problem, which made me drop trying.

So - I just couldn't make that horse to stand. As I backed more than a metre [~3ft?] away, he followed me. when I managed to slip away further away while he was focused on something else, and tried to turn him to me - he walked towards me. So I guess I'll have to try to do this the next time, this time with the distance he allows me to walk away, right?

actually... thinking more - he was not really focused [to me] while I was right next to him, but at most times turned to me when I was starting to back up...

Yet I noticed that there are three things that can draw his focus away really easy - other horses, grass, loud/"scary"noises.

P.S.

I've noticed a change in his focus when being lead after a friend suggested trying to lead him not in a straight line, but by making lots of turns, circles, etc. Beforehand I used to put the lead rope around his nose for extra "backup" - he became sooo very unfocused and uncontrollable when sensing a mare. now I use simply a lead rope, and if I start asking for focus by shaking the rope, or turning away from the mare - he doesn't fuss that much. Or maybe the mares around are all not in heat? He's a 2yr+ old stallion.

P.P.S.

Not sure if this is revelant, but... I recall one person telling: well, when you tell your horse something to do, imagine how you would explain it to a chinese. this kind of sets me to think how do my actions reflect in the perception of the horse.

* I feel so blessed with my boy, he seems to be quite a good subject for my horse training practice... the more I try to do various things, the more it seems possible to really communicate with him. he isn't what other people would call "stubborn" - if I "tell" him something he can understand, he does it... well, not always I talk in horse language or do it clearly, but somehow we get along. I'm really thankful for him not ever trying to do something like kick, rear, bite... he's like a big teddybear. of course we have some not very pleasant moments, but... well, I think I've learnt a lesson from him that before you start telling your horse something to do, you have to understand the horse himself... sorry, just felt in a writing mood...



Last edited on Wed Jul 25th, 2007 08:40 pm by renoo

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 26th, 2007 12:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, Renoo, your problem with getting any distance between yourself and the horse is the same as I think it was Julie was mentioning. The problem here for me is how to explain this in words, as if it were a "process" that would always go the same way, and it is not of course. I mean any explanation is to some degree artificial or mechanical. You cannot be shaking or snapping the rope back toward the horse to get him to back off until he first focuses. On the other hand, it's sometimes difficult to get him to focus or to get yourself into a position with the horse where you could even be safe, let alone make yourself intelligible, unless he will let you distance yourself from him to at least a small extent.

By the way, is your horse a stallion? Or if he's a gelding, why the big concern with mares? Is this a stallion/mare thing or is it actually more a herdbound thing?

Sounds like you all are enjoying working on this, and that's real good. I will keep monitoring -- Dr. Deb

renoo
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
Location: Latvia
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 26th, 2007 06:14 pm
 Quote  Reply 
He is still a stallion. He has his future to be gelded, but this most probably will be done in the autumn, when there are less flies and heat... That's why the mare problem. I have told myself that I cannot ask from a colt, that has recently realized he's a stallion, to ignore mares. Its a problem with mares in heat... I know that because once, while I was hand-grazing him, I noticed that one of the mares some distance away had escaped, and was walking around, and approaching us. My boy noticed her, and started tensing. Well, and I was getting nervous as I couldn't do anything. They sniffed, she turned around, squeeked, gave him a hint of kick and went away. At the same moment he [what I would describe as] "gave her a sad look" and turned back to eating...

To give more detail, he is turned out with a group of "boys" - that's he, his half-brother of the same age, also not gelded, and 2 or 3 geldings aged 3-6. They get along very nicely. There is an adjacent paddock, where sometimes there are mares [also those that are in heat and themselves show interest in the boys over the fence.] the fence is a heavy iron tube one, they cannot break it. So - I have monitored what do they do in this situation. The both young colts stand there, smell the mare, get excited, and try to jump on each other. As none of them is happy for the actions of the other, they end up chasing each other. Sometimes, one of the other geldings comes up, and shoves them away, and enjoys the company of the mare. the colts both go back to normal - that is playing their "boy-games", and don't feel disturbed until they get a chance to go back to the mare...

[that was a lot of writing, sorry, but once telling it, it had to be told in full]

So, I'm trying to resolve the mare problem by basically asking him to remember that I'm there, and we are going where I'm leading, and this time, and all the rest of times, its not to the mare. And he has to obey, and respect ME, while telling the mare everything he has to neigh...

Next time I have enough time I will try focusing him on me at the distance he allows me to go away. Then I will report, hopefully its tomorrow...

Thanks!

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 27th, 2007 01:26 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dr Deb and all, I had to chance again today to practice this with yearling 3rd day now.  I am with her while someone rides his paddock mate and not sure if she can be left alone on own as yet.  So its understandable that there is some tension there.  However she is very calm about it and gaining focus able to step back into room and just starting to work on another step back.  I imagine thats as far as we go on that young one till we get some other things sorted out ie moving hind qtrs and front end or is that done in progression to this. May be jumping ahead sorry.

Am practicing on older ones they are getting it looking forward to more.

Thanks Dr Deb for your time.

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 11:44 am
 Quote  Reply 
Today I finally had the daylight and time to try the first exercise with two of my small ponies. The first was Rata, a ~7yr old gelding. Even though he has been here since March I think this is the first time that I've really asked anything of him. At the end of the exercise we managed to get eight seconds of focused time and I mean we. I was finding that as soon as I had his attention I was struggling to keep giving him mine. Talking is going to be a habit that will take more than one session for me to break.

The second pony Blizzard was quite different. He is not a pony that likes being in close human company. He arrived in the same week as Rata and the information I was given is that he was left pretty much to himself for about 10 years or so. I thought I would have a harder job of getting his attention but it was quite the opposite. I had his attention almost as soon as I had asked for it. What I had trouble with was giving him the break. As soon he had given me his attention for the eight seconds, I took him him to one side of the paddock to handgraze. He wouldn't relax enough to graze until I stopped petting him and had moved away to give him space. The second break I kept petting him for a minute or so then gave up and gave him his space since the break is supposed to be a reward but the petting wasn't a reward to him.

renoo
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
Location: Latvia
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 03:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Tried the excerciese again, yesterday, and today...

Day 1: we went to the little arena we have right next to the barn. he wouldn't stand still, and would focus on everything except me... lead him around there, making circles and turns. then we had a bit of "fight" about something green and edible on the ground. his focus was on that green thing, obviously. I wouldn;t allow him to grab it - first by snapping lead rope, next by swishing the other end of the rope under his nose, just as he was lowering his head towards that green thing. thrice, and he focused on me. then there were horses going by, horses in the far-away paddock, etc. tried my best at getting his focus towards me. at least he was standing there, and I got his undisturbed focus for 3 seconds, then it was gone, and didn't come back. went grazing. came back, and again couldn't make him stand. he would stand still with me next to him, I move away, and when I ask focus - he either walks towards me, or sometimes just starts to circle. did some leading again and went home... Also - a question - if the horse needs to scratch [a mosquito alike had bitten him in his private parts] - should I allow him to scratch, or should I still ask for focus?

Day 2: started with going to the little arena again. he wouldn't stand still again. he tried grabbing some food [its not grass, but as that arena is too small to be used for riding often, there are some things scarcely growing] more rarely than usual... I tried keeping him focused while leading. and then I got confused a bit. his eyes are not on me, nor are his ears, but he can be lead with a loose rope - in circles, he can nearly pivot on space without stretching the lead rope, he turns to the right without me bumping in him [i'm on th left]... well, we went to the "upper" field - it has no fence around, but all the horses are invisible from there. we had never been there, so I lead him around - so that he could take a look. we found a sandy spot there, and after some circling he stood still. Much less productive then day 1 - he would focus on me for a moment [like half a sec] then turned somewhere else, and so on.. grazed. went back to the little arena. again he didn't stand still, started pawing, and after a little focus I got, we stopped...

Conclusion: this is soo hard... I really don't understand how I can lead him with a hanging rope [except when he turns to see something behind him] if he's not focusing on me?? does he just accept me as a leading nuisance, that he just obeys? currently - I'm really confused, and cannot find out what am I doing wrong... Also, I wonder, I have noticed that people get more focus from horses that are not worked with than from horses that they work daily?

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 04:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Renoo -- the answer to the question you ask at the bottom of your post (why do people so often get better focus from horses they don't work with that often) is -- that people are either unable or unwilling to come all the way through for their horse. Because the handler does not come all the way through, they wind up making their horses DULL. Or worse, dangerous.

You need to come all the way through with your stud-colt, Renoo. This is the primary way that we know whether someone is qualified to be around an entire male -- that they have the ability and the willingness to come all the way through.

The horse is not supposed to "give" you his attention; you must demand his attention. What is this going to take, Renoo, from you?

The primary error made by all beginners is that:

(a) they don't do enough when enough needs doing, and

(b) when they have done enough and the horse has given, then they don't quit in good time.

Renoo -- this is ten hundred times MORE important in the case of a stallion. If you don't get this, then I would advise you indeed to just lay off until six months after he is gelded. Because you are demonstrating here that you don't have the firmness that it is going to take. You are telling me that it is "too hard" for you to do for your stud-colt what your horse needs you to do.

If a person does not have, or is not willing to use, the amount of firmness that it takes to get, and keep, the horse's attention and focus, then do you know what happens, Renoo? If you do all the time "just less" than what it would really take, then you teach your horse that you are nothing more than a big irritation. You teach him to ignore you. And you also will, eventually, by irritating or nagging him enough, teach him to start pushing on you or running right over you because you are just an obstacle that stands in the way between where he is and where he wants to go or what he wants. By doing "just less" than it would really take -- just less than what would produce full acceptance, complete closure -- you teach him that what he has to do to get rid of the irritation is to up the ante.

This is where women handlers either learn some backbone -- or not. Renoo, you need to understand that VERY FEW PEOPLE (men or women) who own stallions have the slightest qualification to be around those horses. They are a danger to themselves, to the horse, and to everybody else. So you can stay in that category, or you can change. I'm not judging or blaming you either way -- but we must have this clear -- there are no other choices. You either get qualified, or get yourself a gelding.

It may take some internal introspection and work for you to find the place within yourself where you can be sufficiently firm. When you tell a horse something -- stallion, mare, or gelding -- you must mean it, and you must come all the way through on it. Otherwise, you are lying to him (and to yourself).

Let us hear what you decide. -- Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Marion
Member
 

Joined: Wed May 16th, 2007
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 9
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 08:05 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'm finding that I must be right on in my timing - I need to be more focussed than my horse - I need to be on to him and catch him before he looks away.  Just like the story you related in the Cribbing thread, Dr. Deb, about Tom Dorrance pinging the horse with the pebble, catching the horse between the thought and the action.

Once he knows that I really mean it, he will pay attention.  Until the next time. Then I have to be on top of that, too.  Every second

renoo
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 28th, 2007
Location: Latvia
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Jul 28th, 2007 09:46 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'll work with him. I know I am not that good a rider to handle a stallion, but I know I can work with him on the ground.

OK, I clearly understand that stallion is not a beginner horse. I wouldn't take out that 4 year old "crazy" stud stallion we have at the stable for a walk, because as from what I've seen, he's trying to smash to the wall everybody leading him - I don't know his past, though, but - anyway - I would not dare taking upon myself a misbehaved grown up stallion...

Since I know my boy from day one, and we have worked together through problems of not-leading and not-giving-legs to a much more successful cooperation, so I believe that I can solve this problem. I will not leave it just because he's a stallion. If I will feel he's going out of control, I will drop it.

P.S. I'm not saying its too hard, I just say its "so hard". Would you agree that I have to get to a point where I know WHAT it takes? I see - this doesn't work pretty well, so I need to find a way how to make it work...

I just need to find that determination, I guess... And it IS there - he's my horse!

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 12:49 am
 Quote  Reply 
Maybe Sam I Ain't  (on another thread) meant to say that one must "demand" the horses attention or regard, when he was speaking of horses nipping at their person.  The way you put it here Dr. Deb rings of truth to me.   Every time I have demanded my horses attention he has come through for me, was very happy to to so,  and I have made a mental note of that.   It''s not so natural for some of us to be so demanding but it is a skill that can be acquired and is a must with horses.  I see so much of myself in you, Renoo.  If I can do it .... you can as well!

Good Luck,

Pam

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 05:13 am
 Quote  Reply 
This is a wonderful thread and it speaks to many of the things I have been working on with my horse.  I have an advantage over many of you because I've been able to work with Josh Nichol and people associated with him.  So I know about focus and I know about space and softness and my horse has been exposed to those things by people whose timing and awareness are very good.  And my horse has responded really well and become softer and calmer.

The problem in this equation is me and what I have to learn.  When I tried the first focus exercise, my horse and I were able to focus on each other for up to 13 seconds but my horse wasn't able to stay still for more than 3 minutes.  I think that's OK for now.

The not talking part is really hard for me but I did find that when I shut up, the 'atmosphere' was much more alive between us (perhaps because I wasn't creating white noise to dull it).

I can relate to the leadership issues.  My understanding of leadership is that it needs to be earned.  My horse needs to believe that I can take care of her and that I am always present and aware of issues that are a concern to her.  That's a huge task because I can't tell her in words.  I have to show it to her continually and consistently in my actions, in a language I'm just learning.

I've had the same difficulty as you, Renoo, in convincing my horse that I really mean it.  Part of it was in the timing of my release, which was too soon and before she had done what I asked, and part of it was in not believing that I could have her do it.  It was hard to get as big as I needed, to convince her and convince me.  What I did find, with Josh's help, was that getting big enough at the right time meant that I usually needed much less the next time.  So I'm working a lot on my timing, awareness and presentation there.

It's kind of like a mother who asks her kids to do something several times without raising a fuss until the fifth time she asks.  Those kids know that they don't have to listen to the first 4 requests because nothing will happen.  So they tune the mother out until the fifth request because only then do they believe she really means it. 

Thanks for the exercises. Dr Deb.  They're a way to continue working towards communication and leadership.  I'm looking forward to trying the backing up exercise and seeing how much I can improve the timing of my release for that.

PS  How do you get Oliver to put his head in the halter?  I hold it up in front of Ruby Tuesday and she just looks at me like 'what the heck are you doing?' 

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 06:49 am
 Quote  Reply 
Well, I was going to reply to Pam's post -- saw it an hour ago while I was working on something else -- and by the time I got back, Philine, you've answered most of it for me. I am delighted to hear all of what you are saying about the realizations you have been having through working with Josh. I just heard from Yvonne Miller, too, because she had him down to do a clinic at her Dad's place, and Yvonne is also telling me just excellent reports.

I'm only going to add one thing here -- and this is a woman's perspective because I do think that some of this is (in our culture anyway) a woman's problem. This was one thing I think Sam's husband was sort of fumbling with trying to say, getting it all mixed up with men being "hard" (I do not think that most men are hard, nor that most women are too soft, as I told him in the other thread. I don't think we should speak in quite those terms, but there IS a problem though and so if you will read on, Sam I Am and Sam I Ain't, and Joe and Pauline and the others who have been contributing on that thread, this is really part of that same discussion too):

I think the problem is not that women are "too soft" or "too caring" -- how in the world could anyone be "too" caring? There's not enough care in this old world, and that's never something we should complain of. And surely we cannot speak of men being "not caring" and women being "caring" -- that's a ridiculous dichotomy, totally untrue. So again here we are barking up the wrong spectrum.

What the problem is, though, is that in our "developed" culture women easily are made to feel GUILTY. They feel guilty and embarrassed when they go to assert themselves. They are made to feel this way, taught to feel this way, from babyhood on. Women get disapproval for so much as saying "this is what I observe. I observe this, this is my own observation." What they get approval for saying is, instead, "is this what I observe? Do you approve of what I said I observed? Is it OK with you if I observe this and then talk about it?" In other words, what many parents, and the school systems, teach little girls is that they have to check-reference everything they do, say, or experience. They're not supposed to be "wild Indians"!

Little boys, on the other hand, are reinforced for making independent observations, for putting two and two together, and for asserting themselves. It comes naturally to boys to say, "this is what I saw, this is what I did, this is how I did it." Boys are not taught to doubt the validity of their independent "take" on the world.

The problem with conveying this to Sam's husband is that he does not realize that some of these very fundamental factors as to how his wife was brought up from girlhood are different from how he himself grew up. It's a different world, a different way of looking at the world. Girls are supposed to always check for approval; boys get punished or disapproved for not just going ahead on their own "like a little man".

Now there are some females, and I am one of them, who somehow managed to escape at least part of this. I am therefore conscious of the difference. I know when I am making an observation, and I believe in my own ability to make independent observations and decisions. I know, however, from my experience in teaching horsemanship -- thirty years of it now -- that this is an area that almost all women riders/handlers need help with.

Specifically, what is making Philine and Renoo GUILTY is that whole idea of catching the horse "between the idea and the act". Because if the horse hasn't actually DONE anything yet, how can you be justified in handing him a negative (slap him on the nose, shake the halter rope, demand his attention, pop him with the end of the lead-rope, up the pressure, or whatever the 'negative' may amount to) --? This is what's going on in the back of their heads, and so long as this GUILT and self-doubt is there, then their timing will continue to be "off".

Somebody in one of the replies higher up in this thread -- Renoo, I think it was -- said "I know I have to demand that the horse come through." No, that isn't it. Philine has it more correctly: it's about the PERSON coming all the way through. ALL THE WAY THROUGH. When the person comes all the way through, then there's no question about the horse making an appropriate response and learning all the right things, too.

What does "coming all the way through" mean? It means that the person:

(1) Clobbers him at the right TIME (between the idea and the act, which means BEFORE the horse actually carries out the thought you see him have).

(2) Clobbers him in the right WAY (you do not come AT the horse; you fix it so the horse crashes some bodypart into your fixed hand, or you fix it so that the end of the rope just "happens" to slap his butt when his butt needed slapping).

(3) Clobbers him in the right DEGREE (not any more firmly than necessary, but also not one iota LESS firmly than will drive the point totally home).

(4) The person acts WITHOUT GUILT

(5) The person acts WITHOUT DOUBT OR APOLOGY

(6) The person acts WITHOUT HESITATION.

These things will only be possible when the person completely believes in her own ability to read that horse's intentions; believes in the rightness of this philosophy; believes and accepts that the responsibility for educating the horse and creating correct responses from him is hers and hers alone; and knows that if she makes a mistake, the horse will not stop loving her.

This is the other thing that women worry about -- that Muffy won't love them anymore if they slap him on the nose in a way that tells him she means it -- in a matter-of-fact and unapologetic way. What they do not realize is that, one, Muffy does not define "love" the same way they do, and that, two, when they give Muffy what Muffy really needs, in the amount and at the time he really needs it, Muffy's attachment to them will multiply one hundredfold. This is hard to believe until it is experienced.

Remember that it is girls raised in the ghetto -- little girls starved for parental attention and love -- who at the first possible moment get themselves pregnant so as to have a baby that (they think) will love them. What perpetuates this cycle is that, shortly after the baby is born, they find out that babies have very little love to give of the kind that these girls need. Babies do not adore their mothers in the way the girl has been imagining (and one of the points I am hinting at here is that horses do not love people in the way that women owners often imagine, either. They "project" their own needs and fantasies onto the horses, and thereby never actually meet the horse). Instead, babies are just about 100% needy. So, then the girl who is starved for love abandons the baby because it does not give her what she needs, and we have another baby that grows up starved for love. See how this works? Wise old George MacDonald observed this in Scotland in 1840, and he said, when mothers fail to pay appropriate attention to their children, and are therefore "soft"on them, it is not because they love them too much; it is because they love them too little.

Now I am going to tell you a true story that happened this week. My friend Wendy, who is a minister's wife, goes every Tuesday to a local coffee-shop where she meets with some other women for Bible study. I don't normally attend these meetings but this past Tuesday was Wendy's birthday, and since I knew I could find her at this meeting I dropped by to give her a card and a bowl of goodies. All the women then invited me to stay for the rest of their class, so I did.

At the end of the class, they have prayer time and one of the women said, "please pray for my son." This request obviously related to some long previous bunch of discussions that these ladies had been having about this woman's "problem son". I didn't know the story so I asked her, "why do you want us to pray for your son?"

She replied, "Because I am afraid of him."

"What do you mean?" I asked. "Why are you afraid of him?"

"Because he's threatened to hurt me or kill me."

"What!" I exclaimed. "How old is this kid?"

"Twenty-four," she replied.

"How in beejeezus is he going to hurt you?" I cried. "Where does he live?"

"He lives in my house," the woman answered.

"Holy crimony," I said, shaking my head. "Well, I'll tell you what...."

"What?" she said.

"Well, I won't pray for your son," I said. "But I WILL pray for you -- you're the one who needs the help."

"What!" she exclaimed in her turn.

"Well, obviously," I said. "You've raised him to believe that all he needs to do is keep upping the ante, and you will always yield. Isn't that correct?"

"Um, well, yeah, I guess."

"Dr. Phil! Dr. Phil!" said one of the other ladies, laughing. "She's not Dr. Deb, she's Dr. Phil!!"

"Yeah," I replied, "I've been told that."

Wendy chimed in: "Yeah, and all that's missing at this point is where she says 'and so how is that working for you' " (or why do I like Wendy).

Get it, my friends? This lady has done the same thing with a human being that you will be doing with your horses unless you figure out how to believe in yourself. This lady, as a parent -- you can imagine her and the kid when the kid was two -- or maybe even earlier. If you want your son to be the totally self-invested animal that this lady has raised, ALL you have to do is do what Philine describes in her last post: don't "mean it" the first three or four times. This has the effect of 'toughening up the hearing' in the children/horses. It teaches them that all they have to do is push a little harder than Mom is willing to -- up the ante high enough -- and they'll always ultimately have their way.

Of course, a horse IS an animal, so it will always do from day one what it took fifteen years or so for this woman's boy to do, which is, become larger and stronger than she can possibly be. No wonder she's afraid of him. I'd be afraid of him, too.

As Renoo said previously, I AM ABSOLUTELY SURE that you can all find what it is going to take to give your horse what he needs, in the amount he needs it, at the time he needs it. This goes as much for rewards and releases as it does for 'negatives'; as you all already know, the rewards and releases are more important than the negatives, so it isn't about punishment or being "hard"-- this is another area where Sam's husband is confused. Instead, it's about commitment and believing in yourself. You see what the consequences are going to be if you don't!

Food for thought -- Dr. Deb  PS: I get Ollie to put his head in the halter by putting the halter where his head is going to be, before it gets there. After a while, then when they see the halter they put their head in it. Cheers -- DB

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 07:30 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dr Deb,

Phew this is a biggie, the lack of self belief and guilt is a huge one for me, it seems it has been there forever and it does tend to invade all parts of a womans life, not just the horses.  Becoming aware of this is the biggest step.  I have been mulling over your previous post for the last few days about the human having to come all the way through...just didn't get it till I had time away from home today shooing sheep up a race, a great job to do whilst thinking 'horses'.  I have seldom 'come all the way through' for my ponies, after reading your latest post, there is almost always an apology afterwards and always guilt at hurting the horse (!!!) somehow and he won't love me anymore......now wonder my four legged mirrors reflect such disturbing images back at me!!!!! 

I have been working on the exercises you have suggested, my boys are been very clever.  I did just have one question regarding them in their rooms, I take it is alright for them to snooze in their room, as long as I gain their attention before I ask anything of them...they don't just have to pay attention to me all the time they are in their room...only when I ask or have I misinterperted something?

Gotta go to my room and have a cuppa, lots to mull over in that last post Dr Deb.  Thank you.

Best Wishes

Sam I am

 

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 10:18 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dr Deb and all, this thread has such a lot of helpfull info in it. Have read some of Josh Nichol's papers (great help). Yes I too wonder if when horse is in their room just how relaxed can they be. I see the attentive expression of Harry Whitneys horse and then I see my horse just chilled out looks quite different.  Have been trying back up from end of rope and that is not full of enthusiasm its quite slow (imagine it needs to be snappy) its light though.

Enjoying this mannering Cathie Julie

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 07:37 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Julie and Sam: The horse should be totally OK within his room. His room is the safest and most wonderful place on earth to be. So all you ask of a horse when it is in its room is that it stay there. You do not nag the horse with MORE tasks once it has done the ONE task you asked it to do. Does this relate to getting the husband or son or daughter to take out the garbage?

So if you send your kid to his room, let's say when Mom and Dad have someone over that they want to talk business with. You're sending your kid to his room not to punish him but because that's where you want him to be and that's where, in your adult judgement, he needs to be for a temporary period. And so he complies and he goes to his room. You don't care too much what he does when he's in there, so long as it's quiet and not the product of resentment or building any resentment.

So if the horse wants to snooze, and/or those ears go out in a "V" shape, that's great. He's mellow. That's what you want. You teach him that when he goes to his room, when he does what you ask, then he can be mellow.

We have not had the next lesson yet. That's where we go pay a visit to the horse's room. Just as with the kid's room, after they are about five years old, then when we go to their room before we go in we knock. We let them know we are coming; we come with respect, because we're also teaching them all the time to respect us. But you are not going to go knocking on the kid's door, in all probability, two seconds after you just sent him in there.

So go ahead and work with just getting the horse into his room, developing attention sufficient for this one job, getting over the habit of pushing on the horse's body with your fingertips, getting over jabbering to him all the time. Put him in his room and let him mellow out. Give him two or three minutes in there. Then walk him forward and go do something else for a little while before you ask this of him again.

Philine, by the way, one point here also: you will NEVER have a horse paying continuous attention to you for three minutes. This is not possible either for the horse or for most people not highly trained in meditation techniques. What in reality happens is you extend the attention span to eight seconds, and then on the sixth or seventh second, you re-boot. This is what Josh is doing. After working with a horse for a time, the expert handler and the horse get so that the "re-boot" is very subtle -- all that's needed is a little shift in Josh's position, a tilt of his head, moving one hand up or across a few inches. You need to notice this part. Again, as I said above, we are not trying to produce hypervigilance; this is what we are trying to help the horse get over.

So you just do your eight seconds, and then you shift off to one side or walk forward a little, and do another eight seconds. No more than three repeats. Then do something else. Very quickly it gets so you have that excellent soft attentiveness, the horse being very content and willing. This is the overall goal.

Notice that we have not heard back, after the first lesson, from our initial questioner on this thread. But you (Pam, Sam, Renoo, Philine, Julie, and probably others who are lurking) are all succeeding. You have to practice to succeed and I applaud you for getting out there and actually creating the experiences for yourselves.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Jul 31st, 2007 07:54 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

You have hit the nail on the head here.  What you have so eloquently stated about how most of us women have been raised in our culture is so 100% true and I what  I really needed to hear!  I have been raised and conditioned NOT to believe in myself.  Might be what my attraction to horses is all about. 

These exercises in focus that you have provided hear have helped me more than words can express.  It seems I have made a huge leap forward in my way to being a good leader for my horse.  I absolutely get how I need to demand more from myself and him.  I have basically had to get out of my own way or beyond myself so to speak.

Just last night after completing the exercises I was able to get my horse into our scary, enclosed, horse shower stall.  I have avoided trying because I just didn't know how and he had decided he was not going in there.  I used a combination of backing him up slowly and applying pressure on the halter until he gave and walked forward.  I had to use everything I had in applying pressure because he was not going to budge.  But I hung in there and in less than a one minute he walked very happily into the shower stall.  I praised the heck out of him and brought him back to his stall and put him to bed for the evening.  I was so keenly aware of how much I was missing out on with my horse by accomplishing this one seemingly simple maneuver.  But it meant the world to me and I'm sure my horse is a little more well adjusted from it.  I have gotten a glimpse into a world that is so foreign to me but oh so exciting.  I came home last night from the barn just beaming with joy.   I told my husband all about it and I'm sure he thought  I was nuts.

Anyway, don't know quite how to thank you.

Pam  

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 1st, 2007 07:44 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Folks,

This thread is turning into a real eye opener for us girls.  I spent another morning shooing sheep and thinking, horses, and I can't resist sharing this 'light bulb' moment I had today.  Early last year we were very lucky to have Buck Brannaman come to NZ and I attended one of his three day clinics as an auditor.  What a nice man was one of the impressions I came away with but I watched him work with a mare and couldn't figure out how such a nice man could be soooo mean to a horse.......looking at it from a woolly woofter point of view.  The mare had been calling to her friend, dragging her owner around all over the place and the owner and the mare were not having much fun.  Buck offered to spend a bit of time with the mare, she went like a piece of wood and went to tank off out of there, expecting Buck to come along too, buy golly she was wrong...his timing was amazing, that mare ran into the halter and was helped to face him with no effort from the man, it was as if he caught her with no hoof on the ground.....It probably took him about 30 secs if that to have that mare standing looking at him with such relief, no calling out, no tension.  She didn't have to worry anymore.  Buck wasn't being mean he had come all the way through for that mare, she was relieved, she had someone looking out for her, what bliss for that mare.  Pretty much as soon as she returned to her owner the mare had to 'take over'.  The image of that mare standing calmly looking at Buck is etched in my mind.  Lucky mare, she had the opportunity to find peace with a human, I want that now for my ponies, and will put it into practice, practice, practice!!

Thanks for clearing up the horse in the room picture, Dr Deb.

Best Wishes

Sam I am

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 1st, 2007 09:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
That reminds me of when Dr Deb did something very similar at her Christchurch seminar last year. There was a horse there whose mind was anywhere else but there with his handler. Dr Deb put the horse into his room and as soon as that was done, that horse looked relieved because he now knew where he was supposed to stand. I don't know if Dr Deb saw it but when she turned around to walk away, the horse started following. It was easy to see from the horse's expression that he didn't want to be anywhere else but with Dr Deb.

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 11:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hello Dr Deb and everyone - This issue of women not knowing or using their own power is relevant through most aspects of our lives, and none more so than when confronted by 500kg of muscle and bone with a grapefruit-sized brain that is interested in anything but us.

A friend of mine has recently started running courses, using horses as a therapy, for women who have low self-esteem, see themselves as victims, and have no expectations of being able to change anything.  She has a motley assortment of horses, ranging from a couple of tiny ponies for those who are intimidated by the sheer size of a mature horse, some mellow geldings who are determined not to be distracted from the important things in life such as the grass at their feet, and for advanced students, a couple of feisty mares who do impressive fire & brimstone routines.  Previous horse experience is not essential as all work is done from the ground, new students are taught firstly how to focus their own minds, then to raise their own energy level to call for and retain the attention of whatever level of horse they are working with.  The idea is that once these women have found their own strength of mind with the horses, then they will be able to apply that new experience to other areas of their life.

Taking professional horse trainers out of the picture for the moment, I frequently come across two types of horse owner.  One is the type you have described above, Dr Deb, timid and a little afraid of their horse, and therefore ineffective.  The other type is more likely to be the amateur competitor, mostly women but some men also, who for some reason is not happy with the life they have and use the horse as a compensation or an outlet for the anger and frustrations that have built up  elsewhere. These handlers are also ineffective as they are inclined to bully their horses which is just as confusing as insufficient firmness.  As I see it, these two handler types are opposite swings of the same pendulum, neither being able to provide the clear leadership every horse needs.  This subject will be a great addition to the Knowledge Base, I'll look forward to having copies I can hand out to people.

Whilst we're on the subject, there is one thing I'd like to ask.  I can see how everything would work that you have described in the first couple of steps towards 'mannering' a horse, and I also know that you are much more adept than I at driving a horse in a roundpen in order to gain focus and soft attention, so I'm wondering why you would choose to use the method you speak of here in preference to roundpen work that even a novice like me can use to ask for and keep a horse's attention for as long as necessary.  Do you find this is a better way?  Or do you use different approaches for different horses, or in different situations?

Best wishes - Pauline

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 01:20 pm
 Quote  Reply 
DD, Pauline:

Another varient can be observed, both with horses and in everyday life.  It is not by any means female-specific, but is possibly more widespread in women for the very reasons that you have both described.  This is the flip-flop toggle from under-assertiveness to over assertiveness and back.  It happens when people who are generally non-assertive or non-confrontational come to a point where they must take charge.  Often enough, the related emotions will be so strong that the assertive action will be way over the top.

I ain't no shrink, merely an observer, so I merely report and can't explain.  However, I can report that I have seen horses  beaten or otherwise overdisciplined by people following this pattern.  Somehow, the humans involved lack the ability to make a calm, calibrated response.

I would worry about that in any emotional training involving horses.

Joe

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 06:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

Have a question concerning backing up a horse - which has come up while working on these exercises.

I've been working on the focus/manners exercises with my horse  for the last couple of weeks.  He has become so much more respectful of me with just a minamal of work on my part.  He is walking through gates very nicely and slowly now.  He is a fast learner and a very sensitive/intelligent fellow, I have re-discovered.   These people who say horses aren't very intelligent nor interested in us are way off in my opinion.  I have no evidence that proves that.  You reap what you sow.

I have been around trainers (you know the natural horsemanship type) who back horses up very aggressively, sometimes clear acroos the arena and for no real offense that I could detect.  I have never agreed with this method and think it is cruel and dangerous, not to mention way over the top.  You only speak of backing a horse up slowly - and every horse person that I respect does the same.  Is there a time that it is appropraite and we just haven't gotten there?   I sure hope not.

I'm still experimenting with the exercises that you have provided.  Don't want you to think I have ignored you, just busy at work.

Thanks,
Pam

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 2nd, 2007 06:49 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yeah, they do that all the time, Joe. But where we can control it, in other words, when the emotionally unstable or immature person is in the class under the eye of the teacher, then it's the teacher's job to immediately stop the student and then re-start them again after they've come back to themselves. Pauline is describing a great program, for which I hope and assume the teacher is qualified. If she is, it will be effective. I just wish I could take the lady I met at the meeting and put her in a class where she had to learn to handle a horse -- in fact, I said as much to Wendy at the time. So the women that Pauline's friend is working with are lucky to have that resource and blessed because they chose to be there or perhaps were made to be there by a judge or family-in-crisis counselor.

As to swings from one pole of ineffectiveness to the other: Yes, I've spoken about this in the "men are hard, women are soft" thread. Women often, and men more rarely, are either afraid/unable to be appropriately assertive (and are thus ineffective), OR they are way too sharp, to the point of being mean (and are thus ineffective) -- just as Pauline is describing. And yes I do think that horses serve as "compensation" for many people on many levels; indeed that this accounts for 50% of their popularity.

That word "mean" brings up a point I think it was Pam was making: she says she saw Harry being "mean" to a horse and then realized that it wasn't that he was being mean at all. I recall one time right after Harry had been to Australia a number of years ago, when we had letters in the Forum from somebody down there who could not see it any other way -- when Harry was as firm with her horse as it actually required, the woman went ballistic and yelled and screamed and badmouthed Harry to all her friends and complained in the Forum, too. And no matter what we told her as to the truth of the matter, there was no way we were going to penetrate that lady's understanding. I've had the same type of person show up at my clinics, too.

Why this arises is, as I have said numerous times before, because the person is confused about the difference between "rough" vs. "firm". Sometimes, and I think for sure in the case I described just above, I think this confusion goes way back into the person's childhood, and fixing it therefore would require the services of a professional psychological counselor. I've told the story about "rough" vs. "firm" so many times here -- about the cowboy whose horse laid down on him when he asked it to work -- that I'm not going to tell it again because I'm sure you've heard it. But it's a perfect illustration of the concept.

We never want to be rough. "Rough" happens when the person is out of control, angry, vengeful, feeling like the horse has made them look bad in front of other people. Then all the motions of the person's body become jerky and way too big and forceful. Their timing is off, too, but it doesn't matter to them in the blindness of their anger; they're just going to come AT the horse and punish him. So the features of "roughness", or you might say the things that power it are:

1. The person is angry but does not pause to reflect, "I am very angry right now" -- the person does not look back at themselves, so to speak, internally, but just permits themselves to "become" their anger and to act solely from that

2. The emotion of anger pumps the adrenaline way up, and this makes the motions jerky, the strength too much, and interferes with the timing

3. In coming AT the horse, the person is not setting anything up to teach the horse anything. Nothing the person does in this state has any educational value, nor does it intend to have any -- instead it is intended as punishment.

But in our way of training, there is never to be punishment. A "negative" or (as I put in in the post above, when you "clobber" the horse) -- is not punishment! Do not mix up firmness with punishment! But it is so very easy to do this --!

Horses have no understanding of punishment, i.e., hard knocks that relate to nothing except the need of the knocker to be knocking on something. This is what Eckhart Tolle calls "feeding the pain body" -- feeding the person's need to pound on something as a way of assuaging his own anger. This, again, is an area of confusion in Sam's husband's original question, and it's an area of confusion for many people. Horses have no concept of punishment. They are not punishing each other when you see them kicking or biting each other. They are communicating -- strongly if need be -- but that's all. There's no anger in there beyond "hey you didn't listen to me the first time". Once the horse that's been kicked or bitten gets the message, what happens? Everybody goes back to grazing -- that's it -- it's over -- nothing gets carried forward even to the next minute.

There have been letters in this Forum in years past from people who cite instances where they saw a horse continue to aggress another horse and it seemed like the situation never got over with. The attacker just kept attacking. My answer to these people was to ask them how big they think the "personal space" of a Mustang stallion might be? If you put two Mustang stallions in a pen that's 100 ft. across, what will happen?

Well, you know what will happen -- they'll try to kill each other, and the fight is going to be prolonged and serious, even to the point of one of them actually succeeding in killing the other.

Now, what would happen if you put those stallions in a pen that's one mile across? Probably the same thing. This is because the personal space of a Mustang stallion is typically about one mile in diameter, and he is so constituted that any other male that comes within that diameter he feels he has to address that male and either accept him or reject him.

If you have personal spaces of one mile, and you have two horses in there, you then have to have a pen that is at least two miles across. Naturally when I told this to the woman who wrote in about it, she did not want to accept it, because it wouldn't work in her fantasy concept about how a person is "supposed" to keep a horse. But she wouldn't even accept it when I suggested a particular ranch up North that would happily keep her horse that was getting beaten up -- they could provide the big space at very low cost. It's always possible to solve these things if you care more about the horse than you do about yourself.

Most domestic horses don't have personal spaces or "must-defend" spaces as big as a Mustang stallion, but ALL horses have "must-defend" spaces that are at least one body-width wider than they are on both sides. This is going to come up in our next lesson in this thread, i.e. how the handler is to go into the horse's "room" with respect. But it also relates to how observers can get confused about what they're seeing apparently aggressive horses do in a group setting in a pasture. Generally, you get this unending or apparently egregious aggression when the pasture is not big enough, when there are too many horses in the pasture, and when one of the horses is a small pony vs. big horses (the pony will be aggressive in this case). Here are the situations where it is going to look like the aggressor is "punishing" his herdmates, because it may be that he will NOT stop when the other horse has said "uncle". The aggressor cannot stop because the space in which he finds himself does not permit him to "hear" the other horse's submission, i.e. because the other horse continues to be in what the aggressor is hardwired to consider "his" space.

This is always improved or softened up in aggressive horses, and in stallions, by the process of mannering, because when we go into their space we are teaching them that there is indeed a way for them to permit this. We practice them on this viewpoint, this set of reactions, and the horse says "oh, boy, what a relief". In my observation, whenever we have horses that are nut-cases in a pasture (this is where people will tell you that it was a bucket baby or it "wasn't properly socialized" as a foal), we also have a horse that does not relate properly ("isn't properly socialized") around humans. They are one and the same.

Pauline, your question on roundpenning is reasonable since you have not seen me teach roundpenning. I'm totally sure that you yourself are good at it. However, that is by no means the case with most people, and my experience as a teacher makes me very reluctant to go to the roundpen before the handler has first acquired the skills and timing that mannering on the end of a lead rope will develop. Most people have no idea of their own body-aura or the sheer strength with which this pushes on the horse. They are not aware of how their smallest change in body position can and does "say" things to the horse. Their perceptions are foggy and their timing is off. These things have to improve before I will let them in the roundpen. The roundpen is one of THE MOST powerful tools that there are, but like all powerful tools, it has a terrible tendency to backfire in the wrong hands. For this reason also, I strongly advise people to never watch the roundpenning tapes by several of the well self-advertised horsemanship gurus, because one and all, these guys misunderstand the deeper purposes, and thereby dangerously mis-apply the technique. This is why we have, in years past, had roundpenning clinics in Adelaide and Canberra, my Australian hostesses arranging this opportunity for me to get people started on it in the right way. -- Dr. Deb

Pauline Moore
Member
 

Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Crows Nest, Australia
Posts: 273
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 11:22 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks for the reply Dr Deb, point taken and understood.  Agree with you about the videos put out by various clinicians, and even worse, the live demos which for very many years had put me off 'all that western stuff' - at best it was theatrical production like any other crowd-pulling paid entertainment, and at worst, I saw horses who were literally scared stiff, or having to 'yell from the rooftops' before the handler could see or acknowledge their signals of attention. 

I also personally saw a horse made crazy by these techniques, to the point where he was eventually euthanazed as a 6-yr old.  This was a WB/TB gelding with the body of a WB and the temperament of a very sensitive TB.  He was living at a place where I occasionally did some work so tracked his progress over 12 months or so.  There was nothing unusual about him as the 4-yr old I first met, but I saw several sessions where he was hounded in a roundyard.  He became increasingly difficult, bucking off anyone brave enough to get on him; the last time I saw him was when yet another well-known 'trainer' was attempting to 'ride him through it' but the tormented look in that horse's eyes will never leave me - his eyes appeared to be sinking back inside his skull.  He was put down not long after that.

I have to thank my own colt for forcing me to see the light, but even though I was quite elated to see the transformation in him, I also had a sense that to receive total trust from an animal of another species, where he saw me as his place of safety, was such a rare and honoured privilege it must never be betrayed.  For quite a long time I did not speak of this to anyone, and even now am very selective about who I explain the details to, for fear it will be misused.  I still don't know exactly how the horse perceives the actions involved or what the real meaning is, but my gut feeling is that it goes beyond the purely physical.

Maybe there will be an opportunity for me to sign up to one of your horsemanship clinics if you are doing some more DownUnder - it would be a nice change to see you working on a live horse rather than a dead one.

Best wishes - Pauline

 

Last edited on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 11:26 am by Pauline Moore

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 06:11 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

Can you tell me what the difference is between sending your horse off as opposed to chasing him while round penning?  I "play" with my horse at liberty alot, rarely use the lunge line, and want to know if I am even close to do it properly.   The only round penning I've watched is on a Tom Dorrance dvd.  He uses the plastic bag on a stick to move the horse.

Thank You,

Pam 

Last edited on Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 06:12 pm by Pam

Joe
Member
 

Joined: Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 282
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 3rd, 2007 11:23 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Seems I don't know what "roundpenning," is as used in this discussion.  Perhaps it is for a different thread, or perhaps it is not something that can be communicated in black and white.  However, let me just ask -- how is "roundpenning" different from what I would describe as ordinary longe and riding work in a smallish ring -- say, 40' in diameter?  I have done the latter all my life, because the contained environment has made it easier to keep a horse's attention.  But, I have done plenty of other things wrong or sub-optimally and maybe this is just one more.

Joe

Kim L
Member
 

Joined: Fri Apr 6th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 4th, 2007 05:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
I had an opportunity to do some focus sessions. What an eye opener. I have some questions. I am repeatedly reminding the horse to stay in his room. And during the five minute session of focus when I get what I'm looking for is it okay to ask repeatedly for the five minutes? I'm looking at this lesson of staying in their room and focus as one exercise. Am I asking to much? In my mind I don't see how you could separate this out. I did this on two different horses but since I can only digest a certain amount of information at one time. I'm only going to refer to the first horse I did. On my first five minute focus session I only got good focus for a six second period of time. And I only got this a couple of times on the first session. When we went to the grazing part my gelding did not relax. He did not want to step all the way through as he grazed in fact he was grazing backwards(I felt like he was trying to position me) not really wanting me to rub on him at all. So I thought I would try to help him move fore ward a little as he was grazing. He never would step through with the front foot on the side I was standing on (I stood on both sides). When we went into our second five minute focus session he would sleep but he wasn't really sleeping he wasn't breathing good. So I would have him focus on me. I got one real good focus for 5 seconds he was going to leave me on the 6th second so I quit immediately and went to the grazing session. So this second five minute focus session did not last five minutes. This time he was a little more relaxed and he even enjoyed it a little bit when I scratched his itchy spots. When we went to the third five minute focus session. He stayed in his room pretty good but I still had to place his feet so he would be more comfortable. Right away within a minute or so I got a really good focus I could have held this for quite some time, without to much difficulty. I stopped right at 8 seconds and went to the third session of grazing. This time he was showing me his itchy spots and I would scratch them if he put that spot where my hand was. I wouldn't chase them. I felt like he was playing a game and I wouldn't play. I would love to scratch him but I wanted him to expose those itchy spots to me and ask me to scratch in a nice way which he did do. This  last grazing session lasted for 6 to 7 minutes. Even though he was more relaxed he never deeply relaxed. Did I ask for to much during the grazing sessions? Why doesn't he place himself comfortably when I put him in his room? I thought after the first time I helped he would do it himself.

Something else I was surprise at how many times I said back. It really didn't do either one of us any good. Neither one of us noticed it. I noted it only because you said not to verbalize. Is this partly because when you say it by the time it comes out your timing is late?

Last edited on Sat Aug 4th, 2007 05:51 am by Kim L

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 4th, 2007 08:32 am
 Quote  Reply 
Kim, I want you to just stop altogether -- don't try to do anything described in this thread. Just stop. I am telling you this before you either hurt your horse or get yourself hurt.

You are in much too big a hurry for lots of things. It will help you if you could, for example, correspond here by using full and correct English sentences instead of a style reminiscent of thumb-texting. I want you to show me that you are willing to take all the time that it takes. I am also looking for evidence that you are not feeling pushed or pressed by other, external factors in your life.

Perhaps I have not been clear enough as to what the goals of these exercises are. For this reason, I suggest that before you do anything else, you get Josh Nichol's articles that were published in 2006 in Equus Magazine and read them. Or else, you can sign up for "The Inner Horseman" (Associate Membership) for 2007 -- we have been given permission to reprint those articles in full, and they appear in the mid-year issue that you would then receive.

Josh's articles have pictures. That's one thing that we do not have here. Pictures often help quite a lot. But Josh also has a good way of explaining this. Really, the whole mannering sequence is simple, and should be a relaxed mellow time with the horse. Even if the horse is initially quite bothered and troubled, as in the case of the query that started this thread, if the handler knows what they are doing, the horse very quickly focuses and mellows out.

So, somewhere along the way here, I haven't connected properly with you, Kim. There should never be an increase in the horse's tension. We are not trying to "keep him in his room" for five minutes. That wasn't what the five minute units were for....I intended them as guidelines which would prevent you from over-pressuring the horse, going on too long. Five minutes is a very long time for any one thing.

The other thing is, if you have any opportunity to actually attend a clinic taught by a competent horseman -- i.e. Harry Whitney, Josh Nichol, Buck Brannaman, Bryan Neubert, or one of my own clinics -- then you should go. That will clear everything up in a very short period of time.

Best wishes, and good luck. -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 4th, 2007 08:36 am
 Quote  Reply 
Joe, roundpenning is quite a bit different from any other "ordinary" form of riding. Why don't you start that query as a separate thread. I didn't think actually that there could be anybody in this era who hadn't acquired some awareness of what that whole thing is, if from nothing else the media. But if you're foggy on the subject, Joe, I'll be more than glad to go into it. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 4th, 2007 08:39 am
 Quote  Reply 
Pam -- OK, here's the answer to your query in a form that I think you will get a good laugh out of. You ask, what's the difference between "starting your horse off" (i.e. starting him into motion) in the roundpen or in free-schooling, vs. "chasing" him. And I reply, it's the same difference as if you sent your boyfriend out to get ice-cream vs. if you ran down the block after him waving a rolling-pin.....

It's not just a difference of technique, it's a difference of intention!

Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Kim L
Member
 

Joined: Fri Apr 6th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 5th, 2007 07:10 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dr. Deb,
     I am embarrassed to say I thought I was using my best English. I don't like text messaging and wont use it. And I have to admit I didn't care much for English in school, maybe home ec. was worse.  While in class I did apply myself even if it wasn't my favorite thing to do.  Awhile back I was able to participate in one of your clinics. In fact you were the one to start me down this path of communication with horses. I'm not sure what I admired most about you. Your use of the English language, or what I was learning about the horse. You truly are a woman of many words. We did have some trouble connecting, this was due to a hesitancy on my part. It had been my past experience that one who used many words was most likely not to be trusted. This I found not to be true on your part. I did think we enjoyed each others conversations although we didn't have much one on one time. I have been to some of Harry's clinics. He was the one to help me with this horse or most likely I would have gotten hurt. At one of those clinics I did get to met Josh Nichols and knew he was going to be one of the better ones. To bad there are so few of them. I now have the time to commit to my horses and I know you can help me. I also hope my English will improve as we talk. In the meantime I have some reading to do and I will resubscribe to the Inner horseman. I did try last week but after going through a long line twice to get a money order only to find out they wanted cash, well I thought it  best to come back on another day. I think I might have a source for the 2006 Equus. What months were those articles printed?

shawna
Member
 

Joined: Wed May 9th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2007 05:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb

I tried step one today with my new youngster (2yr old Nokota cross); this was his third day in his new home and I felt that he was settled enough to get started but desperately in need of developing his attention span.

On the whole it went well; I could get 5 seconds of relaxed attention, but like one of the the previous contributors to this particular discussion I had trouble moving back from him--he wants to share a room with me and remained pretty unimpressed with my shaking the leadrope or bumping his nose.  In fact, I cut the second session short because I was getting flustered by the obvious fact that I wasn't communicating clearly to him.  When we came back for the third session I was more relaxed and we got five seconds twice with me about three feet in front of him--I stopped us after the second time he gave me that much attention as a reward.

Nevertheless, I think I am perhaps expecting too much and should break this process up a bit further, either by dividing the part where I ask him to stay in his space while I back away before going for the part where I keep his birdie with me--releasing the pressure after getting him to stay put by walking to a different part of the arena and starting again, or by not yet expecting to be quite so far away from him, but practice at two and a half feet or three feet until we get good at that and then step back. 

Is my thinking sound on this?

By the way, I suspect that my comment that I waited until the thrid day to start these sessions so that he would be "settled in" might be vestiges of old thought habits about horses, that it might be a sign of wanting to humanize him, but it did seem like allowing him a couple of days to acclimate was only fair.  He was more relaxed after a day out with new pasturemates, and surely that helped set us up for the success we had, as I really am quite pleased with 5 seconds at three feet for starters. 

Thank you so much for both this topic and this forum generally.

Shawna

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2007 04:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
This morning I did the Beginning Focus lesson with Kitty and my horse, Bye.  The experience ties together many things you have talked about here, Dr. Deb, it was facinating. I hope I don't get too verbose reporting the lesson.

First, Kitty is the mare with the cribbing problem I described in the Oral Implant thread.  I had tried the cribbing deterrent method with her, and in my report on that mentioned that she didn't seem to "feel the love" from her handler, and that she wasn't ok inside.  I've been thinking about that aspect, and more and more I think that it's a fundamental thing that is going to prevent any progress.  The pings on the nose I've put completely aside for the time. Just as you told Katy Watts that she and her horse could not benefit from certain exercises because there are fundamental issues that were getting in the way and had to be dealt with first,  I think that Kitty's lack of trust in people is getting in the way of anything that is done with her.

Anyway, I took her out of her stall and did the lesson in the barn aisle.  Her buddy Bye screams for her if I take her away and I wanted to set things up to make it easy for both of us to succeed.   But I made two mistakes: I used a regular short lead, and I snapped it to her halter.  I stood in front and stepped back several paces, and a gentle shake of the lead rope was enough to get her attention.  She focussed on me immediately and held the focus for 8 seconds.  I found it easy to tell where her birdie was; however, it's going to be a challenge for me to figure out how to gain her focus without making her hyperaware of me.  There was a very fine line between getting her to focus on me and making myself a threat.  I didn't tread on the right side of the line, I am afraid.  It also took me several tries to figure out how to reward her, as she doesn't like people and doesn't like to be petted.  I ended up stepping back away from her.   Tomorrow I'll use one of our super-long lead ropes, and tie it, and try to be early instead of quick. Also small instead of big.  That's going to take some thinking about.

My horse Bye is hard for me to read.  I got a longer lead rope for him, and tied it to his halter. I did the first lesson in the aisle, and just couldn't tell if he was looking at me or not! He might have been gazing intently out at the woods for all I knew. So I took him in the "vestibule," the enclosed area between the barn and the paddocks.   He immediately went to grazing, and I had to remember with resolve what you said about coming all the way through for the horse, to make him stop and finish the lesson. I waggled the lead rope harder and harder, til it finally thwacked him a good one under the jaw. He put his head up and looked at me for a second, and tried to graze again but I waggle the rope before he moved his head.  This time he looked at me with one eye, one ear forward and one back, for about five seconds. I was surprised that he made it that long, but he did.  To make a long story short, we ended up doing three sessions, but got 8 seconds of focus that last session. My challenges with him are, again, being early vs quick, being big instead of small, and most importantly: I cannot see very well where his birdie is.   With Kitty it's so easy, it feels like she has laser beams trained on you.  Too much focus, I guess.  I hope this work will help her relax. 

I felt so ignorant. This is a great exercise, but it's very humbling. 

val

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 6th, 2007 11:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Very funny..Dr. Deb..but I wonder if it matters at all if your boyfriend doesn't want to leave your side much at all and if it's ok to chase him with a rolling pin if your husband is on his way home (just kidding)!

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2007 06:02 am
 Quote  Reply 
Kim, it was not my intention to cause you embarrassment. The style of your writing has the "feel" of texting. There is a hurried, compressed feel to it. It isn't your English I am trying to correct -- it's the sense of compression and hurry.

You ask three or four times in your original post, Kim, whether you are "going too fast" or "asking too much" and I am replying in the affirmative.

Now, if you have attended one of my clinics, I can't remember if you rode or spectated, and I don't know which clinic it was or where; but no matter where, surely you actually SAW this same mannering sequence since I generally have students do it with their horses at every clinic. So I am rather surprised that you should be having difficulty.

But perhaps I misunderstand the difficulty. If you shake the leadline, or tug on it, or bump your horse on the nose, does he not look at you?

Did you read the directions, or look at what we did in the clinic, so that before you ask him to back up or back away from you merely by the lead-line, you have already made sure he understands how to back up from the direct pressure of your hand on the halter? Do you not remember seeing me demonstrate this on several different horses at the clinic you attended?

Was this a REAL big deal when you saw me work with the horse? Did I not go to the toughest or most bothered and troubled horse in the class, and, using that one as the demonstration, work this out with him? And then did I not also help every student in the class who was in need of help, by taking their horse and working with him for a few minutes, until the handler was more sure of how to do things? I can't remember having even a single horse under my own hand at any clinic not get this pretty fast.

So what I would have been expecting is that none of this is any big deal. This thread was not intended to be a big deal. The challenge for me was to try to write down the process, step by step. But the thing in the actual doing is simple.

One thing I am asking here not only of you, Kim, but of some of the others participating in this thread is that you not make this any bigger deal than it really is. There is no holy perfection to be attained. It's just the first (very necessary) step toward more complex and interesting things.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 8th, 2007 08:20 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb if I am rushing please ignore but am really looking forward to the next step. There is so much good info and reading on this forum am really enjoying.

 

Kind Regards Cathie Julie

Kim L
Member
 

Joined: Fri Apr 6th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Aug 9th, 2007 05:35 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dr. Deb,

    I understand what you meant by compressing my conversation. I may have made some unthoughtful assumptions. I did  compressed some of my thoughts knowing you would be able to see what needed to be seen. I didn't want to bore you with some details that didn't need to be brought out until you pointed to the spot I should start thinking about.  You saw what I needed you to see. One wrong move could have gotten both of us hurt. And in the future this will continue to come up. Telling me to stop, relieved me  of feeling obligated to help him immediately. Can I help him? Yes superficially, maybe put some things in there that will help him to at least feel like he can breath.  Can I reach in there and really help him? Maybe........ I stopped riding him when I realized I could only get him feeling comfortable for short periods of time. Maybe a whole day, maybe two, but anytime I put him into a situation where he had to make choices while he was in his skin and I was in mine. Me looking ahead making what I hoped would be choices we would both be satisfied with. Leaving him to take care of what was as hand. What would happen while I was thinking about what needed to be done. He would become tense and fearful. Though not avoiding any work or appearing to have any desire to avoid it. Not even getting upset when I made a choice that caused more work for the both of us. Still I needed to come back to him. Fill him in, support him, reassure him.  Then he would become a very happy working partner again. But any time I would let go of his birdie he would.. I'm looking for words to describe what I was feeling in him, one word would be to compress, another fear, wanting to stay, wanting to go, wanting to do absolutely nothing, those are the only words I can come up with now. I decided we needed to drop way back and I needed to figure out how to use him so I could help him. I was able to drop back. I thought I helped him see what he could do. Then turned him out till I could commit to him. My circumstance changed to where I wasn't riding much. Then they changed again to where I wasn't riding at all. Over this period he didn't do to much for himself.  Soo any way, I had him out (He was getting his feet trimmed. His farrier did and excellent job of handling him so nothing went wrong during the trimming, but a lot was going on around him before and after he was trimmed) and when I went to put him back I thought, I can not put you back into the pasture feeling like this. So I tried some focus and what I hoped to be some relaxation. He was better when I put him back than when I took him out. But not good as you could tell. I let him set like you said. Now I will brush up on my skills to were I feel I have something to offer him. I want to read what you suggested to make sure I remembered everything and would be prepared to feel when I felt and be looking for feel when I might miss it. As I was working It was starting to flow back but my control of what I sent back was sometimes to strong, or sometimes it was to weak, or I just plain missed the feel, it was already past. Yes you showed this exercise to me but I didn't know my horse very well I had just gotten him and was busy studying him and feeling him out and learning how to keep his birdie with us. I think what I did was wrap to much of me around his birdie and I continued to do that when I brought him home. (I sort of thought someone could get into a bad situation and kill us, or I could get in a bad situation and kill them, slight exaggeration but my alarm level was high, so I was listening and doing but really thinking to much about being able to get a hold of his birdie and move him quickly if need be, not realizing you would be there when you needed to be there. For all of us, or one of us, keeping us at a level we could handle and be safe) So very much looking forward to my Inner horseman and finding Josh's articles. And then with your help going to work, back at the beginning.

Thank you kindly,

Kim L.

P.S. I met you in Wenatchee, WA. At the Applelousa (sp?) arena. A little before 1998 because I have a paper Inner horseman dated then but I know I had one before that.

P.S.S. I will try to answer the rest of the questions on another post.

  

Kim L
Member
 

Joined: Fri Apr 6th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 11th, 2007 05:53 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dr. Deb,

To answer the rest of your questions.

When I shake the lead line and bump his nose does he not look at you? 

 Yes, its been a few days but I'm sure I never had to go so far as to bump his nose. I think to get a look I just had to lift his lead line maybe not even that. Mostly just look at his birdie. To hold his attention and keep his thoughts on a positive tract I had to do more. The bumping on the nose was for keeping him back in his room. He would love to focus if he could place himself right up next to me and look at me with both eyes. The difficulty came when I had him stay in his room. My lead was not a 12 foot lead but it was at least 6 feet. I'm thinking it felt more like about 9 feet I will check it next time I do this.

You asked if I had read the directions. I don't remember getting any written form on this. I remember during class time in the afternoon we would discuss woody. I did take notes on these discussions. I'm sure if there was any type of work book, I would have kept it. I did get a paper on; Perjustice, Part IV . Straightness or "The lessons from Woody." , The Attainment of Lightness In The Horse from Nuno Oliveria, A schedule for Tom Dorrance's Clinics and some information of your book Conquerors.

Did I make sure he understands to back from halter?

 Yes

Did I remember seeing you demonstrate this on several different horses at the clinic I attended?

Yes, I remember you doing that. I don't remember you helping me though I do remember you came down and visited with me. I remember talking, but not what we talked about.  I do remember you doing something with my horse while I was on him. But I don't remember what that was.

Was this a real big deal when you saw me work with the horse?

 No, but I liked it and the discussion on squares.

Did I not go to the toughest or most bothered & troubled horse and demonstrate how to work this out with him?

Yes, although I think I was the only one that hadn't been to one of your classes. They all knew you previously to the class. The horse you picked to work with first, at least thats the one I remember you working with first, was one you had worked with before or someone you knew had worked with him before. What I thought you were doing was feeling the horse out. He pretty much knew what you wanted.

I never have thought of this as a focus and relaxation exercise. I like thinking of it like this. I have always used this as an installing the steering type of thing. Helping the horse recognize his relationship with you and when he can and cannot come into your square. I do like thinking of it as a focus and relaxation type of exercise. I might of put that thought in there from my readings of the posts.

What I normally did to help my horse relax, was work on up and down transitions. I also would use change of directions without any hurrying up or slowing down, just a nice steady change of direction. This method I found to be very effective for me. I also noticed this would produce nice even breathing which would go hand in hand with relaxing.

Hope this helps gives you some insight.

I really do appreciate your hard work and the time you put into this forum.

Sincerely, 

Kim L.                                                                                                                                                     


DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 11th, 2007 07:03 am
 Quote  Reply 
Kim, OK -- I appreciate the detailed answer. What it reveals is that you are mixed up as to the purpose of "putting the horse in his room."

The "directions" I was referring to are given earlier in this thread. They are detailed descriptions of what you saw at the clinic you attended. Go back up in this thread and read them. This should help you remember what we were doing and why.

The purpose of having the horse "go to his room" is to help to install manners, so that the horse (a) focuses on you and/or the situation you're presenting, whatever it may be; (b) does not crowd the handler or bump into the handler; (c) can be led through gates or anywhere safely because he then does not "forget" to be mentally with the handler.

Again, Kim, in your case what I think it would really be best to do, however, is for you to just STOP trying to do this stuff. I think that you are too far away from understanding it. What you need, instead, is personal or one-on-one instruction.

You can get this by signing up to go ride with Harry Whitney in Arizona or Josh Nichol in Alberta, or, at least in part by attending any clinic given by Ray Hunt, Bryan Neubert, Joe Wolter, or Tom Curtin. Go to the general Internet to find these guys' websites, figure out where on the road you can meet up with them, and then -- go.

This thread will now return to the other students who had previously been participating. We have not yet had lesson three, and this needs to happen, if any of the rest of you are still interested.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Aug 11th, 2007 12:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Definitely interested in lesson three Dr Deb! I will be lagging behind everyone else doing these lessons for a wee while yet but the daylight is increasing down this way and soon I'll be able to do more with the ponies than just chucking a bale of hay their way in the evenings in the dark and giving them a scratch on the weekends.

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 01:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes please to lesson three!!!

Callie
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 03:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
We have been on a bit of a break because of the heat wave, but we are very interested in lesson three.

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 03:57 am
 Quote  Reply 
I'd like lesson 3 too although I haven't tried 2 yet because my pony is in Athabasca at Josh Nichol's place and I only get to see her twice a week.  Will try 2 on Monday if I can.

Philine

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 07:45 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb yes keen for lesson 3.  About 5 times a week I get to handle a yearling while its paddock mate is taken for a ride. This is going really well because of what I have learnt from you.

Thanks Cathie Julie

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Aug 12th, 2007 09:30 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes please to lesson 3.  This is so interesting.

I have gone to the barn several times this week with the intent of practicing the focus sessions with Bye and Kitty. Unfortunately there was no place to do it.  There is no riding arena, no empty paddocks or other enclosed areas at our barn.  The barn owner was passing back and forth through the vestibule, cleaning the barn, so I couldn't work with them there. But I'll figure out a good time to go when the barn is quiet.  

Please do keep up this lesson, Dr. Deb, it's great.

val

Last edited on Mon Aug 13th, 2007 12:49 pm by Val

Linda
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 29th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2007 01:01 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Lesson 3, please.

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2007 06:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'm ready for lesson three, please.

Thanks,
Pam

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 13th, 2007 09:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I might be stepping outside my bounds as a student here but would it be a good idea to split the lessons into seperate threads? That way people who might come along at a later point can start at the beginning, focus on that particular lesson, and take the time that it takes rather than being tempted to try to rush things to try and catch up.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 17th, 2007 07:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
Tasha, old bean, it's a good suggestion on the face of it, but clearly you haven't been around this Forum too long. No matter WHAT topic is broached, it always goes off in umpteen branches. That's the nature of conversation. It's less obvious in real one on one conversation, of course, because that doesn't get preserved in writing and also because people commonly talk on top of each other, which you can't do in a linear format like this, so the "normal" conversation that goes on here is, in an interesting way, "flattened out" so to speak.

People who were wanting Lesson Three -- it's coming, but I just don't have time to get it out to you this week. I'm off in a few hours for the airport, flying to Lexington, Kentucky, for an equine dentists' convention where I have three presentations to make.

I will be back on Tuesday, and I do promise to get Lesson Three up shortly after that. I have two weeks between returning from Lexington and my departure for the annual monthlong stay at Vindolanda, in northern England. My boss there, Robin Birley, tells me we have an unconscionable amount of bone to sort -- I was amazed to hear this after the awfully rainy summer they've had. I mean, the hole has to be pumped out every night due to a high water table anyway, and if it rains it means more pumping just to keep up. So the excavators amaze me, but I confess I am looking forward to seeing that bone heap! It's just too much fun.

Hope you are all enjoying playing with your horses. Remember to keep it the same as bone-sorting: excellent quality, and fun. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

 

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 17th, 2007 06:21 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb and all,

I'm not sure where lesson three will take us but I've been sort of bored and feeling creative with these mannering exercises, so I took it upon myself to try out some of the lesson one and two material, but at liberty this time, with my horse.  I couldn' t ride him the that night anyway because his birdie was all over the place, so I decided to get off and try some ground mannering in hopes of calming him down.

Anyway, after letting him gallop around the arena a little bit I called him back to me and pet him on the forehead.  Then I asked him to step back into his room and stop there, and he did just that.  Next, I asked him to focus for a brief amount of time.  When he turned his head in any direction I just wiggled the lung whip below and sort of next to his cheek.  Then I asked him to step back some more, one foot at a time.  I did this by wiggling the lung whip next to the shoulder of the foot that needed to step back.  He did this beautifully, without a hitch. 

After we were finished with those exercises I let him run around again and then called him back to me.  This time he walked up to me, put his head in my arms sort of nestled in there - let out a big sigh, and closed his eyes.  I pet his cheeks and ears, while he just leaned on me, and this lasted for about five minutes.  We were in the outdoor arena and it was dark out there except for one little light, so the devil never got a chance to send anybody in to  disrupt us...Thank God! ( I find he leaves us alone when we work out in the dark at night).  But anyway, after this 5 minute period he  opened his eyes looking like he had awoken from a nap and then we went for a walk in the dark to find the mulberry tree so he could chomp on some leaves.  This was one of the nicest moments I have ever had with my horse or any horse.  I don't know if I did is what we are supposed to do I just did what seemed right for the moment for my horse.  I would have never expected that mannering exercises would lead to this and it was such a nice surprise...sort of like a gift.

That's our latest.

Pam

Last edited on Fri Aug 17th, 2007 06:25 pm by Pam

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 20th, 2007 02:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am glad to hear others are having success with the mannering and focus. My second session did not go well at all.  Nobody got hurt, and I was able to use it as a learning opportunity for myself, so it wasn’t a complete loss.  Not sure it did anything for the horses, though.

 

I started with my horse, Bye.  Long lead line, tied to the halter.  I took him into an empty turn-out that has no grass.  My mistake was, I should have let him snoop and sniff around all he wanted at first, and THEN started the focus exercise.  He was too interested in smelling the other horse’s leavings for me to get his attention as easily as I had before.  He’d put his head down to sniff, I’d yank it up and he’d step toward me.  The energy was moving backwards, not forwards.  Thinking about it now, next time I will concentrate on moving the energy towards him, and him away from me.  As it was, I let him move me instead of the other around.  He wasn’t chasing me or being aggressive, just moving towards me as I pulled the lead rope to get his head off the ground.  Second mistake: the paddock I chose for the exercise was too small!  I thought it would make it easier to have a smaller space, but I didn’t have enough room.  If I’d had more room (and if I’d thought about it at the time) I could have backed him with the lead rope til I had his attention.  Chalk that up to experience.  I felt bad and useless at the time, but I have a plan for next time.  

 

Second exercise with Miss Kitty.  Long lead rope, tied to the halter. Her I took out to the parking apron in front of the barn, there’s no horse poop there for her to smell.  From my experience with her last time, I was concerned about overwhelming her, however this time she tuned me out completely.  She reacted to the swinging lead rope by stepping towards me, but since I wasn’t struggling to keep her head off the ground, I was able to figure out how to move the lead rope in a way that sent energy towards her.  She flung her head up and started backwards; I can see how a horse could faint over backwards, as you said, Dr. Deb.  Kitty didn’t faint or go over backwards, thank goodness.  Between trying to catch her birdie early, and trying to get the right amount of pressure, I lost track of the 5 minute time period, so I quit as soon as I got several seconds of her attention.  Let her graze 10 minutes in peace, then put her away.

 

I just hope I’m not doing them a disservice with my ineptitude.  

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2007 04:53 am
 Quote  Reply 
Val don't beat yourself up. Dr Deb has given us guidelines and it is up to us to experiment with the implementation. It is the nature of experiments for some to work as planned, and for others to go awry.

In general I've found that it is the experiments that don't go to plan which provide the greatest learning experiences, because I learn what not to do and then how to fix it.

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 21st, 2007 12:56 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks for the support and words of wisdom, Tasha.  You're right, of course.  Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement.  I just can't wat to move further along that line than where I am now! 

Thanks again. I will definitely keep playing with this.  I've been lurking and reading this forum for maybe a year or more now, and read the Birdie Book and other materials.  Every time I read about something I want to try, I would say to myself that there was still something more basic than that, something missing between my horse and myself, that needed to be put in place first. 

This is it, the first essential piece. I'm psyched!

val

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 06:07 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Val,

Tasha is spot on, be kind to yourself. We are all learning and I was just having this discussion with a friend yesterday, about how its a bit of bummer how we have to learn by our mistakes why can't we just 'know' these things! :-)  I have wasted huge amounts of time and energy beating myself up over previous mistakes with horses, some of them are whoppers but I have learnt so much from them and I still am learning.  But the biggest message my ponies teach me is 'forgiveness' and 'no judgement' and these messages from them are some of the most important things we must offer ourselves.  So treat yourself kindly, its all a part of learning.

Kind Regards

Sam I am

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 12:53 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Sam I am, thanks for your kind words. You all are a very encouraging and supportive group of people.  You are really helping me to put and keep it in perspective.

I will go to the barn with a better plan and a more positive attitude next time, with the first two experiences under my belt.  

Thanks, guys.

val

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2007 03:22 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi all, my next experiment took place not at the barn under carefully planned conditions, but at the grassy area next to the trailer after a quiet trail ride.  That's science for ya.

Bye tried to get too near another group's truck, and I decided to put him in his room.  I didn't have much working space in front of him, but that turned out ok.  I started flipping the lead rope at him, gently at first, then harder.  He picked up his head but didn't move. I increased the pressure, flipping the line harder and harder and harder. His head got higher and higher, and i got a good view of his Adam's apple <g> but his feet were frozen to the ground.  This was nervewracking and I got ready to quit, thinking that it wasn't working and I should try something else.  I didn't see how I could flip that rope any more energetically than I was doing and not put his eye out.

My second thought was if I quit now, I'd wouldn't be teaching him anything good, just that I was an annoying and randomly violent person.  So I flipped that rope so good and hard the bullsnap smacked him a good couple ones under his jaw, and he leaned backward and took a half step back.  I stopped, let him stand there quietly several seconds, and then went and scratched his shoulder.  He chewed several times, standing quiet.  I walked back to my original spot, started flipping the rope, and this time it went much better. I still had to flip pretty hard, but he didn't throw his head right up to the stars, and leaned back and took a good big step much sooner.  I let him stand a couple seconds, walked gently up and scratched him again, and led him away from the other guy's truck. 

Thoughts: it really bothered me that I had to go so far with him to get such a little reaction.  Thinking it through afterwards, I realized that it bothered me because of the other people watching.  What did they see? Me beating my horse around the head for no reason, getting more and more vilent and getting no reaction, and then stopping and petting him.  That's not what happened, of course, not really.  The mannering session went well, actually.  Bye did not get fearful or crazy; rather the opposite.

Secondly, it made me much more aware and careful about how I enter into doing a task with him. Using the rope and my body pressure to get his attention first before leading him anywhere, asking him to load on the trailer, etc.  Neither of us is used to me doing that.  In a way it felt like we were meeting each other for the first time. 

Val

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2007 03:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Val, what you have described here is precisely the reaction we are trying, at almost all costs, to avoid. The head in the sky, feet frozen to the ground thing happens because the horse still does not know how to free up his hind feet when pressure comes on the front, and thus to successfully take a step back. Please go back and review Lesson One, where you are to have taught the horse to step back, one step at a time, with your hand on the halter.

There is a plus side to your experience, however, and that is, that you learned what it is going to mean (and this will ALWAYS be the case) to "do all that it takes". You have to do all that it takes, every time -- because, as you realized yourself, doing less than that just teaches the horse that you are an annoyance. If that happens, the horse will quickly decide that the best way to get rid of the annoyance is either to come forward forcefully and run you over flat, or else whip around and give you a double-barrel in the chest. So you do all that it takes, but no more than it takes; in other words, you follow through without meanness. -- Dr. Deb

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2007 04:34 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi DrDeb, thanks for the response.  You said: "the horse still does not know how to free up his hind feet when pressure comes on the front, and thus to successfully take a step back. Please go back and review Lesson One, where you are to have taught the horse to step back, one step at a time, with your hand on the halter."

I'm pretty sure he knows how to back up. He backs smoothly from pressure on the halter , from the saddle, off the trailer with no problems in easy diagonal steps, and he backs up freely on his own.  He used to invade the duck pen, clean out the grain, and back carefully around the corner and out the door again. 

But that may not be what you're talking about, as he did have that reaction that you describe as the one to be avoided.  Could it be then that he doesn't know how to back up from the lead rope while i'm in front of him? That he didn't make that connection between the flipped lead rope and the desired response to back up? 

I honestly thought he was just trying to tune me out.  But I am here to learn, and I will go back and work on that one piece, "one step at a time." That portion I know is a weak link.  I will read your post carefully and follow it as best I can, and let you know what I find out.

thanks again!!

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Aug 27th, 2007 06:39 pm
 Quote  Reply 
OK, I went back and re-read your lesson on teaching the horse to back, to make sure there wasn't something I missed about backing up (aside from aiming for one step at a time). Then I re-read your descriptions of the various reactions horses can have to the "back up into your room" lesson, and tried to remember what I saw Bye do.

When I flipped the rope at Kitty, in my second report, she yanked her head back towards her tail with her nose pointed at me. Her head and neck were in the shape of a 7.  Her went neck back, her front feet got light, she looked like she might rear. 

Bye, to me, did not look like he was going to rear.  It looked more like he was trying to get his nose out of reach of me and the rope without wasting too much energy; his head and neck looked like a straight column, his front feet firmly on the ground.  That's why I thought at the time that he was probably just trying to outlast me. 

Again, not trying to contradict the teacher, Dr. Deb, nor to defend myself.  I have jumped ahead every time and taken the lessons out of order, I know that.  I admitted early on that I've got a lot of holes in my education to fill.  I am learning so much from the discussion, the process, and the thinking it all over.  I really do thank you for your patience.

Humbly,

val

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 28th, 2007 12:51 am
 Quote  Reply 
OK, Val, I'm not in any doubt about how hard you're working at this and how much thought you have devoted to it. I like the fact that you notice clearly how different your two horses are.

And I believe you when you describe the horses' skills at backing up with the hand on the halter. I believe they are OK at doing that and that their coordination is fine. But, I had to check this first as the obvious possibility for where things went wrong.

This having now been done, what remains is then to remind Val not only to "do all that it takes", but also to do no more than it is going to take. I hate to hear that you had to bang the horse under the chin with the bullsnap....this is why, in my initial set of directions, I mentioned that it is better if the lead rope is secured to the halter with merely a lanyard knot rather than with any type of metal buckle -- because sometimes, with a more phlegmatic horse who is "trying to tune you out", you do have to move that rope rather forcefully, and I'd rather it be just the rope that's slapping him on the jaw or the jowl rather than the heavy bullsnap.

If it would be possible for you to reverse the rope, so that you are holding the bullsnap and the other end is firmly knotted to the halter, that would be one thing to alter initially.

That having been done, you may consider yourself enfranchised to use the rope with as much force as is going to be required, always remembering however, that the goal is to FIND OUT how little it MIGHT take. In other words, even a horse that is trying to tune you out will finally find that you can't be tuned out. At that point, most horses who take that approach, you will find are actually rather sensitive. This is where insight and skill on your part are going to come into play -- there will be a moment in there when he would love to yield, when he would love to get his feet freed up there and step back loosely. The challenge for you will be to perceive exactly when this happens, or is about to happen. Sometimes the moment comes right in the middle of when you're really going at it, swinging or flipping the line with vigor, and you have to put the brakes on your arm and change, in an instant, from big, forceful swings to little tiny swings or vibrations that still convey the message.

Sometimes nobody could possibly perceive when this moment is -- the horse himself in that case is of two minds, it seems. Then, what you have to do is do it BIG enough to where you start to get a rise out of him, and keep on driving until he JUST LEANS BACK -- hasn't even actually necessarily taken a step -- and the moment you see him lean back, then you diminish almost to zero, or even actually to zero, and see if the horse will not complete the step on his own.

As a matter of fact, you never want to keep pushing past where the horse raises his head -- if you see the head go up and the feet freeze into the ground, that's as far as you can go and you MUST stop at that time, even if no steps have been taken. If you keep the pressure coming when the horse does this, older horses in particular may faint right over backwards. They will then lie flat-out on the ground, semiconscious or unconscious, and you will think that you have killed him. After a minute or so the horse will wake up, and then stand up. But you do not ever really want to have this happen, and if it does happen, it will be entirely my fault for not having warned you sufficiently.

So you put enough pressure that the horse knows he must respond -- he must make SOME kind of change. When he so much as LEANS back, you pause at least for a few heartbeats. During this pause, there should be total "peace" on the line -- no demand or pressure at all. Then after the pause, you start up slow, trying to see if he got the idea from the time before. If he ignores you or tunes you out, up the pressure rather sharply. If he is just clumsy, but clearly trying to respond and trying to get his feet untangled, hold the pressure low and increase it only slowly if at all.

When it gets past this initial stage, and the horse no longer raises his head very much or at all, then you can keep the pressure up until there is a definite step, and from there on out, it's pressure-one step-pause; pressure-one step-pause, and so on. After several rearwards steps, lead the horse forward and stop and pet.

Some of this repeats what I've said earlier but perhaps clarifies a few things, and also, again, I repeat, don't keep pressuring if the head goes up and the feet stretch down. Our ultimate goal is to have the horse take a step back when you tap the line with two fingers to make a tiny vibration; to go back with softness throughout his whole body; to go back with a lowered and arched neck; and to enjoy the whole process.

Keep us posted -- Dr. Deb

 

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 28th, 2007 01:07 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Wow, you've literally unfolded and spread out so many things here.  Now I can make sense of things I had read that seemed contradictory: to do as much as it takes, but to wait and see if he'll do it on his own. I didn't understand how both intentions could simultaneously co-exist.  It's all beginning to gel and cohere in my mind.

Who'd have thought there was so much existing in one simple step backwards. It's like stopping time, or slowing it down for a moment.

Can't wait to get back there and try again.  I will try again knotting the rope on the halter; the last time I tried that it kept slipping off, so I went back to the bullsnap. Anybody have any ideas for good knots? I'll check the web. Seems to me I remember a thread in this or the previous forum who posted a link to a knot they preferred.

Thank you again, Dr. Deb. You are a very giving person, to be spending so much time and effort on us here. 

Where'd everybody else go??

val

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 28th, 2007 02:58 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Val, I'm stuck right where you are. Luvbug plants his feet and tunes me out. I was going to write in with a question about whether it was alright to maybe tap his chest with a crop at the same time as swinging the rope to make my intention more clear to him. I had upped the swinging pretty high I thought but am getting no reaction. Bug backs quietly and smoothly when I face him using the halter. He focuses on me when I stand in front of him.  I am reading Dr. Deb's reply to you very carefully, I'll go out today to practice really doing what it takes and no more.       Carole

Callie
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Aug 28th, 2007 06:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Val-

If you are using a rope halter you can knot the rope on the same as you knot the halter-  push the end of the lead through the loop, then go around the back of the loop and stick the end under the lead, just like on the halter. 

Things with the horses are going well for me, though I was away and haven't had much time to post.  I do always read though

-Callie

 

 

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Aug 29th, 2007 02:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Callie, I was using a flat nylon halter but I do have a rope halter I can switch to. I will give you suggestion a try.  Thanks!

And thanks Carole, for posting. I was starting to feel a bit conspicuous.

val

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 31st, 2007 02:24 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb the mannering part 3 is something that I and I know some others are keen to hear about.  Ofcourse your very busy and maybe in the mean time you could point me in the direction of matter to read about mannering.

Many thanks Cathie Julie

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 31st, 2007 05:01 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Val,

Am still here, just really busy for writing in.  I also read everything.  Love the email notice that gets me right to the last post.

I worked with Ruby today and backed her 5 or 6 times, one step at a time.  She's getting pretty good and needs much less lead rope twirling to respond.  The last time I worked with her I had to get really big and I think the better response this time is because I got big enough when I needed to.  That's been hard for me and sometimes frustrating, but the results are definitely worth the effort.

I was surprised by how difficult a couple of things in this exercise were for me.  It was hard to be quiet (well maybe that's not a surprise) and it was hard not to follow her as she backed up.  I drew a line in the sand or noted a mark on the ground and would not let myself step over it but initially I was leaning way forward with my upper body to follow her back.

Now I'm trying to find a way to convince Ruby to stay in her box and feel relaxed there.  She seems to need to come forward after a short time standing there.  I think this is related, go figure, to an issue we're working through in the round pen.  She has a hard time waiting on me and again feels the need to move or do something.  What's happening reminds me of an earlier comment you made, Dr Deb, about how a clinician like Josh Nichol is constantly, subtly, refocusing the horse.  I'm still learning that, and by the time I realize I need to refocus her, Ruby has already left and it takes more effort to bring her back.

And yet, my understanding of the box is that the horse feels totally relaxed there and doesn't need to be refocused.  Am I missing something here?

Philine   

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 31st, 2007 06:21 am
 Quote  Reply 
Philine, the box is "as" and "where" you find it....and so we begin Lesson Three.

The box that forms the horse's "room" is an imaginary rectangle that surrounds his body. The handler is the one who imagines it but the horse perceives it too, to the degree that the handler projects it. The horse will always see the image in your mind -- assuming you are Present enough to HAVE a clear image in your mind. For inspiring reading on this subject, see J. Allen Boone's "Kinship With All Life", where the handler's mental state is rather thoroughly discussed.

So you imagine the "room" and you project the "room." One of the rules which we live by, though, too, is that you should always set things up to be as easy and as obvious for the horse as possible. So you put the horse into his "room" but you tell him where the "room" is only after he has already arrived in it! In other words, you ask him to step back -- which you all have been working on quite a bit now -- and you send him back three or four steps, enough so that you almost don't have any rope left -- he'll be at least six feet away from you. And then you let him settle there, and lo and behold, that's where his "room" is from then on out.

Now once the horse is in his "room", there are three options for what the two of you can be doing:

(1) He can be asked simply to stay there. To keep a horse that wants to move in his room, as Philine notes, you have to see when he is about to leave, or when he is thinking of leaving, and interfere with the thought of leaving so that he never gets his body moved. Primarily, to detect this, you watch how the weight is flowing around from one front limb to the other. How is the horse leaning? Is he leaning enough to effect a step, can he get a leg free? Anterior to that, of course, you also watch his eyes and ears -- where is his brain/Birdie? If his Birdie leaves, the horse's room evaporates, it is no longer there or visible to either of you, and you have to start over. This is where it is SO important that the handler be Present.

(2) You can go visit him in his room. The attitude here is the same as any well-raised person's parents had when the child was younger than a teenager. The parent has a perfect right to enter the child's room at any time, so long as the parent enters the room with respect. In other words, the parent does NOT have to knock or ask permission to enter, and yet also, they don't barge in, they don't spy, they are quietly effective but not intrusive. For people who were not well raised, this distinction may be hard to grasp. For everybody else, it will be obvious.

Now I want all of the students who are learning on this thread to go ahead and make this option into an actual practice. Send the horse back into his room, let him settle there for a minute, wait 'til his neck lowers and his ears go into a "V". He's fully "with" you but you aren't making any demand of him (except that he stay in his room and not be trying to move his feet out of the bounds of the room). When he's quiet in there, then you walk up the rope until you're standing at his left side, and offer his muzzle the back of your hand. Then you work up to his jowl and then onto his neck, stroking fondly. Then on to the shoulder and breast, down the left front leg as if you were the cavalry officer responsible for inspecting a prospective new purchase to make sure he's sound. Have him pick up the foot, mess with it, and then place it down. Then work back to the withers, looking for that itchy spot, and if you find it on the withers, shoulders, or neck, then rub it pretty good until the horse gets a ponty lip.

Then work your way back over the top of the croup, down the rear side of the hamstrings, then go back forward again and rub and touch the stifle and then the flank area. If you find a "touchy" spot, don't stay there long. Go under the belly and scratch the horse on the belly. Cover the whole belly, from the narrow place where the girth goes back to where it widens out. Rub with your fingertips right in front of the sheath if it's a male horse. Work around the sides of the udder if it's a female. Reverse your hand and pet up and down on the inner surface of the flank, going as high up and as far back as the horse will safely permit you.

Then put your hands back on the croup area, and work your way down over the hock to the hind foot. Have the horse pick up a hind foot. The lead rope should be over his neck with the tail hanging down on the ground -- by this point he will not be thinking in any manner of leaving, because you are so Present that you would know way ahead of time if he's going to lose his cool. If this is the signal that your focused mind receives, then go back and take up the lead rope again, or the halter, and help him step back one more step. Then go right back to what you were doing.

Now it's time to work the tail. Pick up the tail by putting the palm of your hand underneath the tailbone. Gently but without any hesitation, lift it up. If the horse uses the muscles of his tail to press it down, just keep your hand there until he loosens up. You can rock the tail back and forth somewhat to help it loosen up. If it gets worse rather than better, go back to the halter again.

When the tail is loose, lift it right up so that his anus is looking out the back like a stoplight. The tail hairs will be hanging down, and you will be lifting the tail high enough that the tailbone is vertical or nearly so. When it is lifted, start moving it left and right like a windshield-wiper. Do this a number of times, but always quit BEFORE any tension might have arisen. Of course needless to say you're doing this while standing at the horse's left side, not directly behind him.

So you make like a windshield-wiper with the tail, and then gently allow it to come down again. Rub your thumb up and down in the crease between the tailbone and the flesh of the buttock. Geldings usually also like to have light thumb-pressure stroking up and down along the perineum, or to either side of the perineum. Of course if he's got a lot of crusty crud there, then you'll be using your hands and fingers to remove it by means of this rubbing (grooming of all types is best done with the bare hands, because this conveys the proper energy and "feel"; but if it's really gross, then you can take a break and go get a washcloth or a sponge and a soft brush).

When you're done with the rear end, then you go from back to front along the right side. I do this by crossing behind the horse, and the reason I do it that way is that there is no problem for me in doing it that way. If you're less sure of your horse, you can of course go around the front. If you go around the front, then work from front to back along the right side.

The most dangerous area of almost any horse to be around is the right rear quarter. Most horses aren't really broke in that body zone, and they are liable to get surprised by being touched there, and then they kick. So when you are working in this body area, you be extra sure to call the horse's eye and the horse's attention back there, so he is aware of you and "into" what you're doing.

The whole purpose of this visit to the horse's room is to get him 100% OK with being touched and handled on any part of his body. If you have a "known" problem area, such as the ears or the flanks, then you go into that area but leave it soon, and work more on adjoining areas. You will find that making brief "raids" into the forbidden territory finally has the effect of breaking them up, until at last they evaporate and there is no further problem with it -- the horse lost all concern about it. Remember, the only reason a horse ever kicks, strikes, or bites is that he WANTS to kick, bite, or strike; he feels like that. But by regarding his skin as a map, and asserting your right to touch all parts of that map (so long as it's done with respect), you give the horse the enormous gift of being able to live in his own skin when he's around you. In other words, by touching him you teach him not to be afraid of YOU (never mind him being afraid of his ears. He is not afraid of his ears; he's afraid of YOU).

You don't get everything done in one visit or one day, either. So you make the visit briefer than what you think he can stand, and it will be successful. You quit while you are still ahead. And then you have another go at it later.

As a result of this companionable work, you will never again need to cross-tie your horse (and you should never cross-tie him anyway--most dangerous piece of equipment found on any farm or ranch other than the lariat). You will also hardly need to tie him -- only for his own safety. And, you will find, when you DO need to tie him, he'll stand tied a lot better with much less chance of pulling back.

(3) Finally, we have the third option: the horse can come visit YOU in YOUR "room". Because again, as Philine is noticing, we ourselves, the handlers, also have a room. You were asked in the very first posting on this thread not to walk forward toward the horse as he backs up -- instead, you hold your ground like a bullfighter. The bullfighter "sends" the bull -- this is what the "mandar" part of the important triumvirate "mandar -- templar -- parar" is all about. You send energy radiating out of your chest (as well as physical or kinetic energy through wiggling or flipping the rope), and that is what causes the horse to know that he had better rearrange his body so as to take a step back.

So you have a room. To invite the horse to visit you in your room, again, it is exactly as in a civilized household. Most of you will remember Sunday mornings if your parents were not churchgoers. That was a time when their bedroom door was locked, or if it was not actually locked, then you had been told in no uncertain terms that YOU should go watch cartoons, and not bother Mommy and Daddy unless the house was burning down. In other words, there is an asymmetrical relationship here: the parents are allowed to go into the child's room at any time, so long as it is done with respect and courtesy. But the child is NOT allowed to go into the parents' room at any time. He can only go into the parents' room when specifically invited to do so.

The same applies to your horse, and when this lesson gets set in the horse's mind, you have a truly "mannered" horse who will not bump into you, not ever try to shove you out of the way, not nip or bite, not kick. Because what will be conveyed to the horse is that your "room" is wherever you are. Your "room" is your body-aura, or whatever you like to call it: a zone of about two ft. that surrounds all parts of your body, all the time. The horse is NEVER EVER to go into this space unless you specifically invite him to. If he tries to go in there without an invitation -- now listen up, because this rule is going to apply in all situations, at all times, for the rest of your life with your horse -- he gets a SHARP IMMEDIATE reprimand.

Now you are to remember again the constant rule that you're to set things up to be as easy and as obvious as possible for the horse. So if you slouch around looking like Wee Wimpy Willy, with your chest collapsed and your eyes down and your whole body language saying "why don't you run over me", well then I do not know why I should be surprised if the horse does, in fact, run over you. So you stand up there like a bullfighter, and you take command. Philine -- are you listening?? How important is this, do you figure? And why would it be important (apart from the obvious issue of your own safety). Does not standing up there like a bullfighter and taking command make life easier and safer for the horse also? So when you wimp out, veg out, phase out, or zone out, you are screwing the horse.

Details on your body language count. This is because horses are highly detail-oriented and also body-language is the very language they speak. So if you slouch, you slur. See to it that your feet are ALWAYS either standing their ground OR coming toward the horse. If you step toward the horse with your chest up, what you are really doing is pushing your body-aura closer to him or even pushing it right into him. He must yield to this. This is the main thing you are trying to convey.

Because you will not always be doing this in your respective "rooms". The rooms is merely a convenient place to teach the first lessons, to give the horse the first examples, and to allow you yourself to practice and get experience. It's a structured set-up. But once the lesson on visiting the rooms has begun, it needs to apply whether you are moving or standing still. As a result, the horse will learn to walk at your side, on a slack lead, with you at the level of his shoulder, and he will watch your feet and step exactly as you do, getting neither behind nor ahead, just like a dog that's been taught to "heel". This is another thing you definitely want, because, guess what, the horse wants it too; when the horse knows how to "heel", he knows just where to be, he is totally clear as to just what the rules are and what is expected of him. The margin or edge of your body aura gives him a steady point of reference.

OK, this is as well as I think I can explain this now, but as usual, I expect your questions and comments as you work with this to add depth and detail. Have fun as you work with this, and, I repeat, don't be at all reluctant to go back to earlier steps (i.e. backing from the halter) if things seem to fall apart. That's life -- they do that, and then they come together again, usually.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Aug 31st, 2007 09:08 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you Dr Deb you sure do put alot of effort into this forum for us all.

Thanks Cathie Julie

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2007 12:10 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes.  Thank you so much for your suggestions Dr Deb.  I have done some of the horse body work before but this gives me more of a framework to be systematic.  Ruby used to be quite head shy and wouldn't let her ears be touched at all.  We're now at the point where I can rotate her ears at the base and work half way up before she tells me 'no more'.  She's also not head shy any longer.

As for staying in your room, why wouldn't you want to stay in your room if you're getting a body massage there?  I like this approach.

Also, thanks for the reminder about space at all times and anywhere.  I'm better with that but can still use improvement.  And the comment on body language will really help make me conscious of what I'm putting out there.

Philine

Helen
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2007 04:42 am
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you so much for lesson 3, Dr Deb, I am really, really enjoying reading this.

I have a quick question, though very hypothetical - approximately where should this mannering come in a young horse's education? Obviously they need to be halter trained trained... should this be 'the way' you teach them to accept your touch, or should that already be established? Should this be done as soon as they are weaned, or later, or earlier?

I am just curious as to how this interacts with the other aspects of training. Also, how would this work with a horse who is uncomfortable around humans? You mentioned before that some horses will not consider being scratched and rubbed a reward. How should this lesson be approached for these horses?

Like I said, these are all questions taken completely from the abstract, so if the answers are of the sort that become evident when you 'do it', please tell me.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2007 06:18 am
 Quote  Reply 
No, these are good questions, Helen, and they deserve to be addressed. A lot of what you're asking, it seems to me, devolves down to just one thing really, which is how you get horses not only used to being around humans, but positively liking human touch.

I regard any horse that dislikes being touched as having a problem -- and not only that, a problem that needs and deserves immediate attention to help them get over it. Again, for example, they are not "afraid of their ears". They are afraid of people. What ABOUT people they are afraid of has best been described (long ago, in Abraham Lincoln's time) by John S. Rarey, who said,

"....and do not wave your arms about, because for all the horse knows, your arms might fly right off like wriggling snakes and come at him."

Rarey really perceived how horses perceive. The horse knows NOTHING about you -- you are totally alien to him. So all horsemen learn (or else they are not horsemen at all) to move about 1/2 as fast as normal anytime they're around a horse. This becomes an ingrained habit in the handler, so much so that you can almost tell a horseman in a restaurant before you hear his or her talk.

A horse "defends" a bodypart because, from the horse's point of view, there is something attacking it. You have to learn how to get your touch across to the horse in such a way that he does not perceive your reaching toward him as an attack. The "raid" concept and the "skin as a map" concept are very helpful in getting the picture across to human students. You find some bodyparts where the horse does enjoy -- or will at least tolerate -- being rubbed, and build from there.

As to what you're asking as to when these interactions begin, I want you to re-read the first 10 pages or so of Tom Dorrance's "True Unity", and find the story about how they were going out to feed the mamma and her colt, and how the colt got braver and braver until he could come up and touch them. Then I want you to think about what the point of this is. It seems "backwards" from the way you're phrasing your query, doesn't it? Why would that be? What good could there be in fixing it up so that the animal's natural curiosity becomes engaged?

Also, you might look in the Birdie Book and read the story in there about the Peruvian Paso stallion, and how I got this horse (who was very definitely afraid of people) to come over to the bars of the cage in which he lived, and lean on the cage, in other words, how to get him to beg to be scratched. What advantages did I have on my side in causing this to occur? What was the effect of stopping the scratching and rubbing each bout before the horse had had his fill? Look in the mid-year issue of "The Inner Horseman" that just came out, and you'll see a photograph of a Himalayan Tahr at the Adelaide Zoo that I interacted with in the same way. Or you can look in the 2006 issue and read the story about Grampa Roo at the Koala Sanctuary in Brisbane. They're all really the same story.

One other thing I'd like to add here for you and all the others reading this thread -- this is in the way of a clarification to something I said in Lesson Three. I was talking about giving the horse a sharp reprimand if he bulls into your space, but I didn't specify what the reprimand was to consist of: you stop everything you're doing, immediately, turn and face the animal, and either ask him to step back by shaking the lead line or else with a hand on the halter. You don't ever push the horse back, but the action is quicker and a little more firm than you would if it were just a normal putting him in his room kind of thing. In other words, it's stronger than a request.

I also want to add that there is one important exception to not letting the horse violate your space or "come into your room", and that is, when he softly touches your arm with the side of his nostril. It is totally OK for him to do this; it's his way of saying, "pardon me, but I need some attention from you right now", or "pardon me, but I have just noticed that huge clanking combine coming down the road toward us and I'm wondering whether it would be all right with you if we created a little more distance between us and it." The key here is that the horse is prefacing his query or statement with "pardon me." This is part of mannering, of course, and a highly desirable part.

Now, as to this, most people totally miss it when their horse does this. And because the person is not sufficiently Present to perceive this soft, polite inquiry from the horse, the horse will then feel that he has to get your attention by stronger means. So he will proceed from softly touching you with the side of his nostril to bumping you softly with the side of his muzzle, and from there to a firm bump, and then a shove. If your horse shoves you with his nose, you should not reprimand HIM but yourself.

Folks, I will now be gone for about three days before I can get on the Internet -- my flight for the U.K. (Vindolanda) leaves in just a few hours, and I will be in transit until September 2nd. I hope this leaves you with plenty to chew on.....I'll look for more of your responses and reports in a few days. Enjoy. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

 

CynthiaW
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2007 05:12 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you Dr. Deb!
This is a great thread. Like others, I'm very appreciative.
By now you are well on your way to the north of England, and I hope having a most fine time.
For when you next check in -
I've been doing the lessons with Traveler, and afascinating thing happened right from the beginning, when we first did the focusing lesson.
(Focusing is our underlying challenge, so when I found this thread it was a great gift.)
Traveler would focus on me for more and more seconds - but then, something happened I dunno how to read.
Wish you could see it.
His eyes change markedly, from looking out at me in a calm friendly I'm=okay-you're-okay way, to a sort of inwardness. Like instead of being fully aware of me and of whatever is in his peripheral vision, he's not fully aware of anything outside himself at all. (But I know horses are all about awareness, it's survival isn't it? So this makes no sense.)
It's a look I've seen in him before, in the two years I've owned him, and I wish I had the experience to understand it. It's like withdrawing. Not, I think, what they call sulling up; but - I think - nothing good. He just goes inward, like, I'm not looking around, okay? But I'm not really present with you, either. For what it's worth, it feels like a half-giving half-holding-back thing. Of course I could be completely misunderstanding what I think I'm seeing.
If it's useful or appropriate to add history, his previous owner was afraid of him, and did less and less with him, riding in a small arena and eventually not at all. I promised him when I bought him that he wouldn't be bored, we'd do at least one new thing each day; so his life is better and we're good friends, but I've always felt the foundation is missing. I've done my best, following a take=you=by=the=hand program by a very commercial couple who are not my cup of tea - I didn't honestly know what else to do. It's not like Ray Hunt lives next door.)
I have to say you are the first person who's ever given practical help with this huge, basic question of focus - thank you.
If I'm making it at all clear about him "going inward," can you please tell me what it sounds like to you?
And if I'm responding at all correctly?
I've been releasing pressure, calling his name, asking him to move etc., whatever it takes to bring him back to the planet, and then starting again. My instinct is to then go to asking for fewer seconds of focus, before I release and pet him - feeling maybe he goes inward because I'm demanding too much too fast.
???
Or maybe it's just a look of concentration and I'm too ignorant and inexperienced to recognize it.
Though of course you can't see this for yourself, I'd greatly appreciate any thoughts you have.
Thanks,
Cynthia

CynthiaW
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 1st, 2007 10:13 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Forgot to tell you Dr.Deb, when my horse gets the far-away look, his ears are jammed out to the sides. Focusing on me, they're mainly focused on me.
So I do know the far-away thing can't be what we're looking for, but - what the heck is it?
Today was great, this simple exercise is incredibly profound. In the past two years obviously I've asked my horse to focus (I wish to live, not die) but I've never looked at it as something to release and reward for - just a preliminary. It's the five minutes of rest=and=pet that were such a profound change.
I can't believe I never thought of this.
Today when asked to focus, he focused and stayed focused, until I realized a lot more than eight seconds had gone by; so I approached and loved on him, and then went on with what I was about to do (trim his hind hooves). He's never stood so still and relaxed for me or any of the professional farriers I've seen work on his feet.
Thank you from me, thank you from my horse.
Cynthia

Sam
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jun 12th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 149
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 07:42 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dr Deb,

Hope your travels are smooth and fun.  Thanks for all your time and effort on this forum. This is so amazing, just when a question crops up with my horses, the answer appears on these 'pages'.  Many thanks from me and bigger heartfelt thanks from my equines.

Best Wishes

Sam I am

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 02:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Val, How are you doing with backing?

I'm feeling ineffective. I stood 3 feet in front of Bug with a picture in my head of what I wanted, trying to  project my aura and began gently moving the lead. I had his focus and began increasing the movement. He stood legs planted, eyes on me, very calm, but I didn't feel he was trying to figure out what I was asking for (or couldn't), there was no attempt of any shifting or movement on his part. I continued increasing pressure, the lead was madly waving about.....nothing. Then his head came up, so I brought the movement down, increased it again...head up. This was my third attempt at backing him, so I starting thinking what can I change here? He backs very nicely with just the tiniest backward pull on the lead. I thought if I tried a backward pressure instead of side to side he might understand me. I changed the movement of the lead to wiggle more forward and backward by holding my arm out at a 45 degree angle. Began with small movement, increased until the lead was tapping him on the chest, then he moved back 1 step. We stopped to relax a while and when I tried again, he moved back as soon as the lead progressed to bumping his chest. I ended our session there.

Next, I started with Nugget, my son's 13 year old Quarterhorse. After upping the pressure pretty well swinging the lead side to side, he backed a step. We did it 4 more times, each time having to up the pressure to the same level.  He grazed for a while and I tried it again. He backed a step with a little less pressure this time.

Dr. Deb, Was changing the lead to  touch the horse not doing what it takes? Did I wimp out?

Have a wonderful, productive trip in Vindolanda.                                       Carole                                                                                   



DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 06:14 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Here's the question for you, Carole, and also for the several other people who have given similar reports.

Why are we doing this thing with the lead rope at all?

I mean -- it can't be about teaching the horse "how to back", can it -- because as you say, your horse already backs great from just a light touch on the halter. And, the initial directions here specifically had you get this separated right from the start -- everyone was to be sure their horse understood how to back and was fairly coordinated at it BEFORE beginning with the lead rope approach.

So what, then, do you think the purpose of doing this on the lead rope could be?

Indeed I have several purposes in mind. What do you think they are supposed to teach the horse, and what do you think they are supposed to teach the handler?

I will say this much now: if you don't get this figured out, then you must stop altogether. I would rather have you have a clear understanding with your horse of just the initial thing (how to back from a touch upon the halter) than have him learn (due to your own uncertainty, due to your quitting before you should) to ignore you and begin to regard you as an inconvenience or irritant. Because if that is what you teach him, you will have a big problem -- you will have taught your horse to be tempted to come forward and run over you (at least tempted, if not actually in fact do it).

Don't forget about the bullfighter. I mean it about bullfighting: the world would be a much more dangerous and impoverished place without their example of how to live and get along. You need to be willing to do ALL THAT IT MIGHT TAKE (but live to see how little it might take -- just like in the bullfight). "All that it might take" might include flipping the rope up and down so it whacks him in the jowl or chin. It might mean yanking down hard enough to really bang his nose or the back of his head.

The bullfighter who cannot -- or will not go far enough -- to get a "rise" out of the bull is booed and jeered at, not only by the crowd, but by the bull. And "bulls of sentido" -- bulls who have beaten a bullfighter -- are not fought again, because they will kill the next man. Animals HAVE NO MORALS and they DO NOT love in the same way you would like to wish that they do.

There was a young cop being interviewed by a reporter from the Modesto Bee newspaper. The reporter was doing a series on how police recruits are trained. One of the questions the reporter asked the recruits was "how do you feel about the possibility that you will have to use your gun someday to kill somebody." And this one young recruit, a rather thoughtful fellow, said to the reporter, "I am not at all sure I could do that." The police commandant, when the reporter told him this, said, "well, then, I am pretty certain that that young fellow cannot be a police officer."

Absolutely correct, and I must say I'm relieved that we have that older gentleman as our local chief of police.

Let me know what you think after you have considered this. -- Dr. Deb

cdodgen
Member


Joined: Tue Mar 27th, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 08:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
DrDeb wrote: Here's the question for you, Carole, and also for the several other people who have given similar reports.

Why are we doing this thing with the lead rope at all?

I mean -- it can't be about teaching the horse "how to back", can it -- because as you say, your horse already backs great from just a light touch on the halter. And, the initial directions here specifically had you get this separated right from the start -- everyone was to be sure their horse understood how to back and was fairly coordinated at it BEFORE beginning with the lead rope approach.

So what, then, do you think the purpose of doing this on the lead rope could be?

Indeed I have several purposes in mind. What do you think they are supposed to teach the horse, and what do you think they are supposed to teach the handler?

I

Although I have remained relatively quite on this thread, I have been working with myself and my horses to achieve the result that I "think" Dr. Deb is trying to teach.

To me the lead rope is a pathway of communication between myself and my horse.  It is a tangible object that directs our focus toward each other.  If I am understanding these lessons correctly, then our objective is Focus: to know where in space and attitude myself and my horses are at any given moment.  I kind of see this as circular; "Proper attitude leads to proper spacing; proper spacing maintains proper attitude". 

The lead rope has also shown me just how LOUD my communication with my horses have been.   Large movements equals screaming/shouting/cussing, small movements equals a whisper.  What I'm seeking is a whisper; a thought of direction of focus for myself and my horses where the tangible lead rope is replaced by the intangible thread that connects/unites us in a singular purpose.  Be that purpose, walking through a gate, crossing a bridge, or the innumerable activities that I wish to participate in with my horses.

Just a guess on my part; the fighter that allows the bull to learn that the walls of "proper space" are intangible , something no longer to be respected, allows the bull to now make the rules about just what is proper spacing between himself and the fighter.

Cheryl

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 10:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes! Very well put! Especially the part about where you noticed how THUNDEROUSLY TOO BIG AND GROSS all of your handling was UNTIL you learned how to GET BIG when it was needed -- which is the very thing that allows anyone to learn how to get very small the rest of the time! It is the willingness to play all the keys on the piano that allows anyone to really learn to play the piano!

And your response, Cheryl, puts the old blunt thumb right square on where Carole's problem is. And it is certainly not just Carole's problem -- again and again, even in this thread, we have said it is typically a woman's problem: the reluctance to really GET BIG when that is necessary.

The willingness to GET BIG is also -- amazingly enough, as in the piano analogy -- the one and only pathway to the whisper, to the softness that is not only the ideal but the most crucial necessity. Without softness, no true communication is actually happening.

Anyone who wants to succeed, doing this exercise or set of lessons, or anything else whatsoever around a horse, must totally give up their fear that their horsie will not love them if they GET BIG when the horse just stands there like a bump on a log.

Let us now interject a Ray Hunt-ism that I frequently quote: "If it wasn't effective -- it wasn't understood."

The truth is, the horse, at best, barely even knows that the ineffective person is there. At worst, he thinks of the ineffective person as an inconvenience and an impediment standing between him and whatever his AMORAL desires are. The horse that belongs to an ineffective person regards that person as a kind of out-of-focus blur. That horse doesn't really care about the person; he can't, because the person isn't really in the horse's consciousness. So when the horse either ignores the ineffective person, or runs over them, it's all the same to him, really, because eating grass or maybe taking a dump would be way more important in the scale of values that the ineffective person has installed in that horse.

The person who cannot get a rise out of their horse is worth no more to that horse, or is no more important, than a pile of manure. And let's not get the idea that I, Dr. Deb, is saying this. The HORSE is saying this.

So the woman, and occasionally the man also, who tries to handle the horse but who is afraid to GET BIG ENOUGH is afraid because they are afraid that if they do that the horse won't love them anymore. They are also usually afraid that, if they got really big, that the horse's reaction might be something they couldn't handle.

Well -- will it be? Only the bullfighter herself can possibly know this.

And -- will the horse stop loving her if she does what is necessary? This I have already answered many other times: the answer is, the horse will not love her less, but MORE. But this is hard to believe until the woman actually experiences it.

And to actually experience it, she will have to find out how much reaction from a horse she can actually absorb, how much she can deal with. This gets right down to the core issue of how much she is, in fact, afraid of her horse. When we get to this spot, the person who is having trouble almost always denies being afraid, but this is merely because they have not really taken the question seriously: how much do you really want to succeed with your horse? And, more fundamentally perhaps, what are your real reasons for wanting to own a horse at all? What were you hoping for? I can tell you what is realistic to hope. But the question here is -- how close a match is there between what the person was hoping for, and the reality? It is the person's unacknowledged anger at the fact that the horse doesn't "just do it" that accounts for 90% of her FEAR. Right! Fear comes from not being willing to find out how much reaction she can take!

C.S. Lewis: "The person who has an idea that he's going to learn to skate but, at the same time, maintains a determination to take no falls, not only will take just as many falls as anyone else, but will never learn to skate."

Again: only the person herself can work through any of these things. I am certainly not asking anybody to try physical stuff that is over their head or truly beyond them. And also, only the person herself can know how big she's going to have to get with her own horse. How much is too much -- how much is too little -- ? How smart can she set it up so she gets the rise out of the horse, the "response with respect," and yet keeps herself (and her horse) out of as much danger as possible? Undeniably,  the one and only way to find out is by going out there and taking a swing at it.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 3rd, 2007 11:11 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

Oh my, I am that person determined not to take falls while learning to skate. I feel pretty bad thinking about that. I do feel nervous with my horse at times, not because of anything that has ever happened but because of what I'm afraid could happen. And I have to say, my horses are not the only aspect of my life where that is true.

 Instead of using my lead as a tool of communication, I used it to push my horse's body back. I did not use mandar to send my horse, I did not do all that it took to get the response. My aura was not clear and demanding, I let the lead do what I could not.

I need to do some long hard thinking about this and go out there and take a swing at it.  I appreciate this very much Dr. Deb.                       Carole                                                                            

Helen
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2007 02:32 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb, when you speak about 'getting big enough' and 'doing all that it takes'... is the banging on the chest a valid option for getting bigger? Does it count as a way to make yourself bigger if you are otherwise unable? Or is it 'cheating' in some way, or defeating the point?

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2007 06:10 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

You mentioned that cross ties are one of the most dangerous items found in a barn, and I agree and will not put my horse in them,  but I am wondering why you say this.  I have my own reasons and everybody I talk to about this issue thinks I am nuts. 

Thanks,

Pam 

 

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2007 11:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Carole wrote: Val, How are you doing with backing?

Hi Carole, thanks for asking.  I'll just make a quick report, not because there's nothing to say, but because there's so much more on this thread to read, digest, and apply.

Haven't gone back and done the classroom set up, but did a wet lab Sunday at the trailer parking lot again. To keep Bye away from another horse, I backed him into his room, and saw a definite improvement and difference. I shook the line, he ignored me, I started flipping the line towards him, he lifted his nose straight up the way he did before but only for a second or two, then dropped his head, and  then saints in heaven be my witness, he looked right at me and said, "OK," and backed up one step.  I mean, I could hear the words.  I stopped the leadrope as soon as his front hoof lifted. He backed the one step, stood chewing, I gave him a second and went and scratched his favorite place.  (Reviewing in my mind, I think I can see the moment when I should have stopped, at least the way it seems to me now. Hopefully, as I get better at this with more experience, I will be able to perceive that "best moment to release" even earlier.)  I then shook the rope gently and he backed up two steps. Clearly he will need far less from me, and I have to learn how to do that.  How cool is that.

He started to move out of his room but a quick shake of the leadrope settled him.  He just settled down there as peacefully as anything. Life was good to him right then. 

Carole. hope to hear good reports from you too. 

regards,

val

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 04:19 am
 Quote  Reply 
Great, Val. But be aware, while you are having the ambition to "do even less", that you must always do ENOUGH. It is wise to release a couple of heartbeats AFTER you know he's yielded, than anytime before he has truly yielded. If you release early, the horse will learn to cheat you by doing less and less. So you do enough to keep him doing just the same or a little better each time.

Pam, why don't you just up and share your own reasons for not liking cross-ties? I imagine your reasons will be as good as mine. After you share your thoughts on this, I'll comment.

Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 10:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb are you back already? Thought we would be waiting for along time.  Have been trying with my older ones the mannering. Firstly in their room and touching all over. Noted that some were reluctant at first to allow their tail to be raised vertically and then moved side to side, but couple more goes and you could feel the relaxtion allow the tail to go straight up.  The more challenging one is the yearling I have been handling while its paddock mate is away being ridden.  She is good about standing in her room.  She easily backs into it and straight. She doesnt really offer a dropped head and v ears there is more a look of tension. She is amazingly relaxed about being touched all over but not lifting tail and lifting legs. I take her for little walks and try to use the birdie focus in my head and keep noticing the time when she looses it.  We then go back to barn area try to regain birdie and do a few more steps. There is lots I also could admit to about the dreaded fear and when it comes in to interupt our rides especially when the birdie of the horse is gone then I lose mine. I find it very helpful to go step by step from the beginning because I know that where some of my horseman knowledge  is missing some key ingredients. 

Many thanks Cathie Julie

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 02:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Oh my.  So many factors to put into effect, and to counterbalance against each other, and think about all at the same time. Push, release.   Too much or not enough.  Too soon, too late.  Thanks for your input, Dr. Deb.  I will use this information next time. 

I was thinking over your questions and discussion about fear. Two things I am experiencing that I haven't seen mentioned.

What I am finding fearful is learning how much I have depended on Bye to take care of me. Before, I knew he was doing it but I was glad of it, grateful for it, bragged about it.  Then I started trying to be more present, more aware of when I turned things over to him out on the trail.  This was very scary because it was all the time, pretty much.  I am not a panicky person but several times I had to get off him and walk because I perceived how much I relied on this horse to make sure I didn't get hurt, and yet this horse barely knows I exist.  

So that was scary. And it was (and is) frightening to me to try to change this situation, where he barely knows I exist.  What if I can't? What if I try to get as big as it takes, and he still tunes me out?  I am finding that I can do it, but every time I try, I have to deliberately ignore that fearful, undermining internal voice and just focus on the horse.  This second scary part is a matter of confidence, and will come with time and experience, I think.

regards,

val

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 01:41 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

Since you asked  (and  I don't think my reasons are as good as yours for not using cross-ties) they come from personal experience with my horse. 

When I first got my horse I boarded at a barn that only taught ground tying our horse while grooming and saddling up.  We only tied them up when it involved their safety, which included when they were saddled up and we needed to do something else for a few minutes.  We never had one incident that I can remember of a horse running off or hurting themselves with this method.  The worst thing that would happen is if they walked forward (which they were not supposed to do), and  stepped on the lead rope.  But that was a problem the horse learned to fix by himself after a couple of times of stepping on the rope. 

When I moved to my new barn I was told I wasn't allowed to ground tie my horse in the isle-way.  So, like everybody else, I started using the cross ties.  One day, somebody slammed the tack room door and a clock fell from the wall right near my horse.  He got startled, tried to move his feet away from the noise, and discovered he was trapped.  With ties on both sides of a horses face they are trapped and they cannot move their feet from side to side like they can when just tied by the halter rope to say a trailer.  I released him from the cross ties as fast as I could and calmed him down.  But for a long time after that incident he became a puller when tied to anything.  I think I posted something on that a while ago here.  I have fixed the pulling problem with him since.  He hasn't been in cross ties for about a year now.  I ground tie him when nobody is around or just loop his halter rope over the front of the stall.  If I walk into the tack room for something he stays put.  I've often wondered what the big deal is about not having him tied while out of his stall, he never does anything bad. What is the worst that could happen?  He'd maybe walk off and check out some grass to eat.  Our ranch is fenced in and safe so no worries there about running into traffic. 

So, that is my personal experience reason for not liking cross ties.

Thanks,

Pam

 

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2007 09:52 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Val, That is great, good for you.

My next experience sounds similar to yours. After thinking about this for 2 days, I went out there determined to make this work and increase my presence to where Bug would have to be aware of me. I think before I had the attitude well, let's try this and see how it goes. I started with gentle movement, escalated to moderate, still nothing, increased a bit, Bug raised his head and instead of stopping, I increased the pressure. He looked at me, brought his head down and stepped back. After a break and a rub, I tried again and it went just like the first attempt. After increasing the pressure to large movements, he backed again. Each time I had to go all the way to large swinging of the lead and every time he saw I wasn't going to quit.

The next day, our first try also had to go all the way to large swings. On the second attempt, Bug stepped back without the head raise first after I increased just a bit. The next 3 tries went even better.

Yesterday, we did it again. The first time increasing to moderate and after that gentle movement got him to back.

My issues with fear are something I'm going to continue to work on. I've always considered myself to have a strong presence with people, I'm a good bluffer. It sure doesn't work with animals though does it?  I read in a different forum here
Dr. Deb's recommendation of the Book "Kinship With All Life". I  ordered it and started reading yesterday, it's an amazing book.  He articulates communication in a way I've never seen before.      Carole

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 19th, 2007 06:50 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr Deb have been trying mannering and in conjunction with riding out and watching for birdie leaving. When I say riding out it is not far as yet from herd and barn.  Still a bit confused about when Birdie has gone am I able to get it back where I am or do I need to retrace steps. Would that be best to bring in mannering then like asking for step back and keep in room while mounted or best to just ask for twirling.  If I do the tiny s changes of bends then it seemed to make horse even more unsettled. Do you attempt to make tiny progressions of okayness further and further away from barn or could it be okay one day and not the next? Hope your having a good time in England. Dont want to loose focus on this thread it is so important.

Many thanks Cathie Julie 

Pam
Member


Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
Posts: 146
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Sep 19th, 2007 08:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,

So why are cross ties dangerous?

Thanks,

Pam

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007 03:15 am
 Quote  Reply 
Ruby and I have been working with varying success on getting her more relaxed in her room and getting her to stay in her room.  Today something came together and we had what I will now always aim for with her.

Whether it was because she was fairly calm today, because we were in the round pen which she likes more than the barn alleyway, because I had to get really big a couple of times to convince her that, yes, I wanted her to take another step back, or a combination of all three, we really connected with each other.

As I was massaging her and touching her all over and working with her tail (still a bit tense so I didn't lift it completely vertically) I heard a sigh, some licking and chewing, and she turned her head to look at me while I worked with her tail.  She cocked one back leg and then the other but did not move her feet.  She even stayed still while I worked 4 accupressure spots for one minute each.  The total time was probably about 15 minutes.

Total silence.   Total intimacy.  It was wonderful.

Then I took her out to graze and put her away.  I didn't want to spoil what we had experienced with anything else.

Philine

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 01:18 am
 Quote  Reply 
Philine, How lovely, you must have left floating on air. I've been working on visiting the horses in their room. Nugget is now relaxing when I lift his tail, he tensed the first few times. Still working on touching Luvbug's sheath, if I pass over it momentarily it's OK, but he does not want me to stay there, the near hind foot comes up. I pass over it, go to another area and come back a few times. If I'm doing this correctly will the amount of time gradually increase that he feels comfortable with it?

Please let's keep this thread going, is anyone else working on this?

                                                                                                           Carole

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 01:52 am
 Quote  Reply 
So much for total silence and total intimacy.  Ruby was a nut case tonight.

There was a party going on with lots of people, cars, and noise.  In the past she has been very nervous when this happens and I think it reminds her of the race track, a place where she was worried and frightened.

The round pen was being used for kids at the party to ride horses in so I had to put her in the barn.  She led in there OK (better than the last party when it took me 15 minutes to get her down the hill, circling, going back, going forward a few steps etc.) but lost it when she realized she was the only horse in the barn.  So I brought in another horse which made it a bit better but not great.

In the meantime my dog went over to where the party was and ate somebody's hot dog (he loves people food and is very fast).  So I had to get him and put him in a stall where he kept barking to be let out.

After Ruby finished her supplement I took the other horse out to where the kids were waiting to ride him and Ruby went nuts again.  So I abandoned all plans of working with her as I had intended and concentrated on protecting my space as I led her back to her pen.  We had to back up a few times when she crowded me but she was pretty good, even when the dog leaped up in the stall as we were passing it to leave the barn.

The evening demonstrated a few things very clearly to me.  Ruby does not regard me as her leader yet (I actually know that) and in stressful situations I am not a comfort, I am just another thing to deal with.  So I need to think/be leader in whatever I do with her, always.

Yesterday's experience of closeness and calm was exceptional but may be rare until I deal with the leadership issue.

I have only had Ruby for eight months and she is still a pretty green 6 year old thoroughbred.  Although she has progressed enormously in that time she still has issues that need to be dealt with.

Earlier in the summer I spent a lot of time with her in the barn when nobody was around.  I put hay in a stall and left the stall door open so she could leave or go back to the stall as she wished.  It got to the point where she was OK in the barn even when there was no other horse (as long as I was there).  I need to do some of that again.

So I've been brought back to reality but not discouraged.  If this was easy where would the satisfaction be in attaining it.

Philine   

Adrienne
Member
 

Joined: Tue May 8th, 2007
Location: Ohio USA
Posts: 34
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 06:33 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'm still here working too!

 I've been working with my green Arab I got last year. He has made huge strides. I've been very tired lately so I haven't been out with him much and now have the flu so it'll be a while yet... but I'm still working on this lesson.:-) I also want to see this thread keep going and work through all the lessons.:-)

 Have a lovely day!
                  Adrienne

Philine
Member
 

Joined: Tue Jul 31st, 2007
Location: Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 02:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
Meet Ruby the chameleon.  Three different days, three 'different' horses. 

There was no party today so she was much calmer but she had a lot of trouble staying still in the box.  However, we went into how small a signal is needed to back up.  A couple of times she backed up with intention only from me and a couple of times she offered to back up if I wanted her to.  Her body was absolutely ready for me to ask.  How marvellous.

Will not be able to write in for a bit because my next two weeks are crazy.

Philine

PS  Adrienne, I can relate to your working with a green horse.  The good thing about them, though, is that everything is on the table and you can't miss issues that need to be dealt with.  My horse, Sophie, was older than Ruby and a former lesson horse.  I remember being horrified when I found out at a clinic how much Sophie was 'filling in' for me and I didn't even know it.  Makes me sad even now to consider how little help I was to her.

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 01:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Carole wrote:
Please let's keep this thread going, is anyone else working on this?

                                                                                                           Carole


Hi Carole, I'm still here, still working on this, just way busy at work which is where I usually post from.  I haven't done any specific lessons, but have instead worked on remembering to get Bye's attention before any task whatever.  This has been quite a boon: at first it was a bit of a pain, but now that it's more of a habit it makes everything much easier.  Even tasks that have been routine for a long time, like loading and unloading on the trailer, just flow.  It makes me think of that phrase of Dr. Deb's: "the slow way is the fast way." 

Now here's a strange thing, and it may be entirely my imagination, but I get the impression from my horse these days that he finds this new state of interaction to be amusing.  He seems to look at me with mild hilarity, having not been able to "see" me before.  Am I projecting my own emotions on him? Probably, I am guessing. I feel a bit silly even writing this.   

Val

Cynthia W.
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 02:14 am
 Quote  Reply 
Carole[/user] wrote: Please let's keep this thread going, is anyone else working on this?

Yes. To keep the ball rolling, and I hope more people will tell where they're at with this too:
The focus part of the mannering lesson was crucial to me and my horse.
Getting him to genuinely look at me has been *huge.*
It was so huge, I actually adapted the exact directions Dr.Deb gave, and stopped and petted him when I finally did get a coupla seconds of focus. I hope this is okay - anyway it has worked, as I've since slowly proceeded to keep on with the eight-second instructions.
Really, before, he was looking in my direction and *tuning out.*
It's taken weeks to get him to really look, and really be there, for eight seconds.
Since starting this, I've also read the book Dr.Deb (and I believe Tom Dorrance?:) like, "Kinship with all life." It's not an everyday kind of book, and I don't know a lot of people I'd recommend it to! But it made a colossal change in my assumptions. I had previously been following a program that teaches you to be "alpha" - and I think Traveler was frankly rather bored and - if it doesn't sound too weird - patronizing. He's a bright guy. I'm a fairly strong person, but nobody is alpha with this horse except by his choice.
I've also begun Mike Schaffer's program, from the very beginning, jaw flexions. Only now is Traveler lowering his head, and staying somewhat soft, for more than a second.
Dunno if it's right or wrong to keep riding him (just on trail, with friends who go up in the hills and canyons for a few hours at a time - he loves that, and loves his herd). I've ;been going there, because he's so soft when he rides up in natural landscapes away from traffic or backyards or arenas; and I want his feet to move; and also I want to go. So I hope that's not wrong.
I've explained to him from the time I got him, that I'm just trying to learn and he's a bit of a guinea pig but his life is so much better than it was I don't feel too guilty about that... and I have the impression he now feels I'm on a much more uuseful track.
I was pretty dissatisfied with the program I was following, felt I must have it wrong or something, when I came across this thread and thought - yeah, my horse isn't focussing, he's a complicated guy and he does the minimum and waits to see if the human takes it as gold which it isn't! He's not focusing, he's tuning out whilst looking in my direction - VERY far from the real thing! So I said okay I'll start from zero, which is where I am anyway.
I did feel quite cranky for a week or so in there, annoyed I hadn't had this kind of support before. (As this artsy guy I used to work with would say, "Why have I not been told?") Then came some good results (like a softer rounder horse on trail) and that makes it easier.
All best,
Cynthia

Cynthia W.
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 06:20 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Forgot to mention the most important part - hanging out with my horse in the light of these things (Dr.Deb's focus directions, Boone, and Mike Schaffer), I perceived that I needed to *let the horse know* either aloud or at least sending a clear thought in words or pictures, what I propose we'll do next. As you would with anyone you respect.
It sounds so obvious. But I saw I hadn't been doing that.
In riding I mostly keep channels of communication open and give him his say; but I had slid into a very unfair approach on the ground - even when I first walk into the backyard corral where he lives with the two wonderful mares that belong to the great people where he boards - of not giving him enough clear advance warning about my plan at each stage.
A goal now is to stay in touch with him as close to 100% of the time as I can get. It seems like the least. It's been surprisingly taxing (breaking a habit) and, over the last couple of weeks, rewarding. I'd say his attitude is, hm you're not the complete jerk I thought - what's in store? Horses are so amazingly forgiving. - Cynthia

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 2nd, 2007 09:26 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, isn't the amount of forgiveness on our horses' side completely humbling. With all of my mistakes and wrong turns and stumbling toward learning my horse still wants to work with me and is happy to see me.

The most profound part of Boone's book for me was Chapter 30- Decreeing. "Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways." We do get back what we expect. Although I am not yet in a place to see flies as fellow expressions! I am trying to see all beings with an attitude of openness.

We're continuing with the 3 lessons, it is getting easier, less effortless. A small touch on the lead is on most days enough to send the horses back a step. But I still have the feeling that I'm a fair weather leader. In a panic or bad situation will my horses look to me for reassurance? I'm not there yet and are my doubts what make it so?

                                                                                                              Carole

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Oct 4th, 2007 12:37 am
 Quote  Reply 
Did lesson 1 with Beau for the first time. He was very distracted since the only working area available was covered in long spring grass. He tried very hard to understand what I wanted from him. My timing was very off. He kept walking forward to me and I inadvertently kept rewarding that. He also pawed the ground a few times and each time that happened I moved him to another spot as suggested by Dr Deb. I realised in the end I was asking for too much too soon and lowered the target focus time and made more progress and got six seconds of focus by the end of the session. When I took him back to his paddock I asked for his focus before I opened the gate and got it straight away.

Did lesson 1 with Rata for the second time. Again he was very distracted by the spring grass, I’ll have to find a different working area. I thought he might have remembered our session from last time and I think I was relying on that rather than figuring out where he was at. Unlike Beau, Rata kept backing up to the point where he took all of the slack of out rope and I kept having to put the slack back in.

Should I have done that, would it have been better to leave the slack out since he took that slack out himself? Again I realised I was asking for too much. Started to look for the smallest try as I should have been doing all along and that was when we started to make progress. He stopped backing up. Managed to get five seconds focus by the end of the session.

Did lesson 1 with Blizzard for the second time. I don’t think I mentioned it before but Blizzard has been hard to catch. I’d say he is a slightly more wound up pony than Snowball (a pony I made a post about a couple of years ago). It started out that if he felt any hint of my attention coming his way he would run off to the other side of the paddock. We’re now at the stage where I will ask him to do a couple of hind quarter yields and put my hand on his shoulder, give him a reward (usually a small piece of carrot) and put the halter on him and give him another reward. Anyway, onto the lesson. The spring grass was of course quite a distraction but I had little problem getting Blizzard’s attention. Remembered to look for the smallest try this time. When I saw the try I clicked and rewarded him almost before I realised what I was doing. I hadn’t been my intention to use the clicker for this exercise at all.

Took him over to a patch of long grass to hand graze. I initially stood away from him while he grazed, I became conscious that I was doing this and went over and started petting him. He was not impressed and stopped grazing. So I stood there petting him and clicked/rewarded him for not moving away from me. I kept petting him and he eventually started grazing. The rest of the session went fast because the next time I asked for it I got his focus very quickly and also for eight seconds. I clicked/rewarded him and hand grazed him. I decided to try a bit of the first part lesson 2. It didn’t take much to ask him to back up and after a couple of asks, he was backing up a few steps at a time. I ended the session there because I thought I was getting greedy. Next time I’ll be working on just asking him for just that one step and I’ll also write my notes right after the sessions so as not to forget all the details I’m sure I’ve left out this time.

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Oct 5th, 2007 10:27 am
 Quote  Reply 
I have to have a wee laugh at how slow I am at putting two and two together. Walking back from saying hello to the ponies tonight it suddenly dawned on me that I've been doing lesson 1 with Blizzard for some time now. The first thing I ask him to do when I go to halter him is to focus on me.

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Nov 1st, 2007 09:53 am
 Quote  Reply 
These may be simple lessons yet they have made such a difference with my ponies. My timing is improving though not good enough yet. I have Blizzard backing up calmly from a wiggle of the rope. Still working on backing up one step at a time with Beau and Rata, I think they are finding it physically hard. Still working on lesson one with Snowball though I don't tend to work with her quite as often as the others.

How is everyone else doing?

Dr Deb, is there a lesson 3?

Carole
Member
 

Joined: Thu Aug 23rd, 2007
Location: Healdsburg, California USA
Posts: 15
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2007 02:49 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Tasha, Take a look at page 7, lesson 3 "visiting Your horse in his room" is that what you're looking for?

I work with my two on this about every 10 days or so. They very reliably stand now while I groom and massage them. We do it in the barn aisle, the arena or round pen. The thoroughbred is much more quiet and relaxed now when he's tacked up.

I have trailered them just a few times and the thoroughbred loads and unloads fine, but he comes out of the trailer very sweaty and excited . Then he does not stand still while tied. I'm going to start doing this exercise at the trailer without taking him anywhere afterwards and see if that will help him to relax there. How's everyone else doing with mannering?                                                            
                                                                                                             Carole

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Nov 3rd, 2007 11:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thanks Carole, that is exactly what I was after.

Lisa
Member
 

Joined: Sat Dec 1st, 2007
Location: Pittsboro, NC
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Dec 2nd, 2007 10:57 am
 Quote  Reply 
When I tried the first step with an 11 year old quarter horse he seemed to be focusing on me, his head was turned toward me and both ears. Then one ear flicked back while one stayed forward and his head didn't move. Then the other ear flicked back. His head didn't move, and his eyes appeared to be on me, but my gut feel said that he was looking at me but not seeing me, like he had put me on the back burner. I instinctively stepped slightly to my right and his ears flicked back and his head turned to me.

Was this wrong? The instructions said to correct when he moves his head and he hadn't done that, but I felt like he as not really seeing me.

Also I realized that it's tough for me to read the expression in the eyes. This is a very very dark bay with dark eyes and I was standing maybe 3 or 4 feet in front of him, so maybe I was just too close.

Thanks Dr. Deb and everyone else who has shared on this topic. This is like getting private lessons but they're FREE! When I think of how much money I've spent on lessons that were totally ineffective or just plain wrong I am so grateful for ESI.

- Lisa

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Dec 4th, 2007 07:48 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I've been working on lesson 3 with all four ponies. I now have a clear idea of their maps. Some patches on the map have disappeared fairly quickly others require more work.

Dr Deb at the end of the ranger piece, there is a list of things to do before starting a horse under saddle, one of which is the horse being comfortable with being touched all over including the interior of the mouth. Is it appropriate to work on the mouth at this stage or should that be done later?

One of the things that has improved dramatically with this lesson is being able to handle Snowball's feet in particular her hind feet and yes her right hind hoof is the worse to handle. In the past it would take two people, one to hold her head and the other to clean/trim her feet while dodging Snowball's kicks. That situation is well on its way to being completely changed, while the session wasn't perfect in that she did snatch her feet away a few times (my bad timing) I was able to clean out all of her feet and run a rasp lightly over all four of them with the lead rope draped over her neck.

This brings me to my next question and though I'm in danger of blaming the horse I'll ask it anyway---does gender bias in horses really exist? If Snowball is okay with me handling her feet but she isn't okay with the farrier, is it a case of me not having done the training correctly? A more general question, if a horse appears to be 100% okay with one person but not another, was the horse truly 100% okay in the first place?

Tasha
Member
 

Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Posts: 53
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Dec 4th, 2007 08:43 pm
 Quote  Reply 
On second thought if there is anything such as a gender bias, I would be blaming the horse for it if I treated the bias as anything other than just another patch on the map that needed to be addressed.

Lisa
Member
 

Joined: Sat Dec 1st, 2007
Location: Pittsboro, NC
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Dec 5th, 2007 12:16 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I have exactly 5 minutes to write this, 'cause I'm almost late for work, so please excuse any typos.

I tried part 2 of backing up, after making sure I had the 8 second focus and that he was backing fluidly from the halter.

What happened was that he took a step back but then immediately came forward. So I swung the lead again and he backed and then came forward.

After 3 or 4 tries he stayed back. I took a deep breath then slowly walked toward him to pet him. But he kept moving his head toward my hand, being kind of push with his muzzle, trying to get the lead rope in his mouth, etc.

I realized that this is also what he does when I'm trying to bridle him. And when I groom him. Always putting his face in my space.

What I did was use my hand and forearm as a shield, trying to let him run into that. But as soon as I dropped it, there he was coming at me again. What should I have done?  Is this a lesson prior to focus?

And one more thing ... I ran out of time, because I had to get to work.  During the week I have limits on my time, and when the time's up, it's up. Should I not work with a horse if my time is limited? That would mean, since I'm working, that I would only be able to be free of constraints on the weekends, only 2 days with my horses!

 I once had a trainer tell me in no uncertain terms that if I didn't work with a horse 6 days a week I wasn't going to get anywhere. Period. But Dr. Deb, your travel schedule is intense, so I'm assuming that you haven't always been able to get to your horses 6 days a week.

Help!  Thank you! Lisa

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 05:39 am
 Quote  Reply 
Lisa, you will probably drive your horse nuts, or hurt him in some other way, if you go at working him 6 days a week. Almost never is it necessary for anybody to do that, and almost never is it a good idea. The reason the "trainer" told you this is that his or her best idea is to control the horse by wearing him out. They don't usually admit that this is what they are doing, but it IS what they are doing. "Training by wearing the horse out" reveals an almost imbecilic level of intelligence and a total lack of understanding of how important it is for a horse to (a) learn his job, not just "do" it, and (b) be totally comfortable while working or performing.

Once the horse has learned his job, you can ride as much or as little as the two of you find enjoyable. "How much" will depend upon the particular horse and how available trailriding is to you. Some horses, at some stages in their development, benefit from as much as four or five rides a week, especially if you can mix arena work with trailriding. Some horses are just delightful with only a couple of rides per week. Once the horse knows his job, he does not forget even the smallest detail of it. And, as horses age, they are often grateful to be ridden less -- they don't need any practice, and so what you ride them primarily for is to stretch the muscles and supple the joints, play with a few arena toys, and maybe check some fence or push a few cows or hop over a couple of jumps -- you tap the work lightly because there's no need MOST of the time to do more. By that point, the two of you are good friends and you keep that kind of tone, that kind of mutual respect, a certain playfulness throughout.

When I go away to teach, I'm often gone for a month at a time, sometimes two months. My horses live in the barn and in the pasture during that time. Nobody rides them, because I don't need to engage anyone to ride them for me. They are just fine until I get back, and probably grateful for the time off. If they grumble at me when I get back, it's not around "training" issues, but rather more like "so where have you BEEN already, we have missed having your company."

Obviously, I know when I buy a horse that I'm going to have to have a conversation with that horse about whether he is going to be OK with living with me. I don't take horses that "must" be ridden more than I can ride them. And then, when I do take them, I buy them or arrange for them to arrive at a time of year when I know that I will be at home for a few months. During that time, I get the horse broke silly. He will have perfect manners -- and he BETTER have -- because while I am goine, he will be in the care of other people. Therefore, he needs to:

(a) Get along with all the other horses with which he'll be turned out

(b) Present himself amicably to my farrier, offering the farrier no problems

(c) Have good manners toward the person or people who will be leading him in and out of pasture, i.e. never whirling, pulling away, knocking into them, hanging back, charging through gates, or any of the other stuff that I see other peoples' horses do every day of the week.

You see, it is totally up to me to make sure that my horse has a good life. And he is not going to have a good life if he makes my farrier mad, or hurts one of the people who I pay to handle him while I am gone, or gets into a serious kickfest with another horse.

Now to return to your other question about what to do with a horse who is pushing into your space. Using your arm as a shield is the standard thing, BUT it isn't going to work unless you get your timing down. Your arm has to be there BEFORE his head or his teeth arrive.

And it needs to be there in such a manner that when his head or his teeth arrive, they "just happen" to smack into your arm. In other words, you let him BUMP INTO HIMSELF but you ADD (subtly) TO IT.

If you don't want his teeth bumping into your arm (that could cut or bruise you), then you "just happen" to be carrying a short length of broomstick.

You see, you are never ever to go after hitting a horse. You don't commit the same sin you're trying to get him to quit doing -- which is, violating your space. You don't violate his space. But you sure as the dickens need to let him KNOW when he has violated YOURS!

So you get your timing working better. The other thing is, you need to be more aware of what your own body is doing at all moments. For example, the reason that it took you several tries to get the horse to back up, and stay backed up, is that (you don't realize this, but) you are leaning backwards or even stepping backwards when you are "telling" him to back up.

The bullfighter NEVER steps back from the horns. If he does, he gets a horn in the gut. If he backs up, he invites the horn, he pulls that horn.

So you don't lean back, and you don't step back when you are doing anything with a horse -- under normal circumstances. "Abnormal" circumstances would be that you have a  horse that is a real hardened-up case that actually charges like a bull. Then, if that's what the situation is, you dive out of the way. But short of that, you better be leaning or stepping TOWARD the horse -- you make sure that your feet point toward him, that your steps go toward him, and that your crotch or "hara" pushes toward him.

Again -- you do not violate his space. You do not charge at him. But you push that bubble every second. This sends a message that no horse ever mistakes: and the message is, "I'm the boss around here, buddy."

You do not have to be a mean boss, but you DO have to MEAN IT. This is what "clarity", "consistency", and "fairness" are to a horse. If you waffle, you are not only unclear and inconsistent, you are unfair. Buck Brannaman would say that you are lying to your horse -- which teaches him to lie to you.

To close, let us return to a teaching from Ray Hunt that I particularly value:

"If it wasn't effective, it wasn't understood.

And if they don't understand, they are confused.

And when they're confused, they get afraid.

The proof that it was understood is -- if it was effective!"

And before I close -- Lisa, by the way: surely you can think of a way to delimit or put boundaries around your EXPECTATIONS when you go out to the barn. You are the one who sets every situation up. You know when you go there how much time you have. So you figure out how to have a little interaction with the horse each day that you expect will take MUCH LESS TIME THAN HOWEVER MUCH TIME YOU HAVE. -- Dr. Deb

 

Lisa
Member
 

Joined: Sat Dec 1st, 2007
Location: Pittsboro, NC
Posts: 7
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Dec 6th, 2007 09:57 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb.

You're so right, my timing is way off and I suspect it's because I'm not staying in the moment but rather am gettting emeshed in my own agenda. I'll also try to be more aware of my body and my leaning backward. I hadn't realized I was doing that but it feels like that will be the answer.

As far as using my time effectively, I've been thinking about it and it's the shark in me that surfaces and makes me try to rush my horse into a sharky agenda which can't be accomplished in the time I have and which comes from comparing myself and my horse to other people and their horses. This is a hurtful thing to recognize in myself. I read somewhere that you ride how you are, and that you practice horsemanship in every single situation of your life, not just when you are with the horse. I think I need to take this to heart and work more on my inner horseman.

I've ordered The Power of Now.

Thank you.  I hope someday your travel schedule brings you to my part of NC. - Lisa

 

Ailusia
Member
 

Joined: Wed Oct 31st, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 23
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Dec 18th, 2007 07:10 pm
 Quote  Reply 
DrDeb wrote: If you keep the pressure coming when the horse does this, older horses in particular may faint right over backwards. They will then lie flat-out on the ground, semiconscious or unconscious, and you will think that you have killed him. After a minute or so the horse will wake up, and then stand up.  
Could you explain this further? Have you ever seen it happening? I haven't heard about it before... is it something like when horse's head is pulled hard to his shoulder, so that it stops the blood flow and the horse faints? But how could it be when the horse is straight? Or is it rather psychological issue?
Thank you!

Jacquie
Member


Joined: Fri Mar 23rd, 2007
Location: Nr. Frome, Somerset, United Kingdom
Posts: 158
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Dec 20th, 2007 09:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi

Just to say I have been reading and lurking here on this thread for a while now and it has obvious relevance to my bucking pony issue in another thread. Presssure of Christmas and my heavy work load means I cannot participate fully now, but hope to do so soon. Sunny can really concentrate on me for a long time while I do the trick training, however he does not have that same focus on Flo, his young rider.

Florence is definately a bit of a shark as she is young and ambitious - and always compares herself to her friend and her pony, who are very successful in competition. At 13 it is hard for her to see that, while her pony is bucking like a maniac at a show, and performing perfectly at home.

I am working on her and the pony! It is a difficult combination. 
 

Jacquie

Julie
Member
 

Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 56
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 05:07 am
 Quote  Reply 
Hi Dr Deb and all,

This was such an interesting and helpful thread.  The mannering steps have been so informative was wondering if we could expand on the next step?

My horse is doing the mannering well at home in familiar surroundings but when out and about he is loosing focus. How does mannering and Birdie cross over. Does mannering help to maintain the birdie.  Is mannering a prerequisite to everything.

These are just some questions in my head. I am off to read Birdie book now.

Regards  Cathie

ladycfp
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 18th, 2008
Location: Roanoke, Virginia USA
Posts: 17
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 21st, 2008 12:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Are these lessons continued elsewhere on the Forum?

Tammy 2
Member


Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location: Redland, Alberta Canada
Posts: 129
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 21st, 2008 02:15 pm
 Quote  Reply 
You could become a member and order the 2008 podcasts which come on CD.  They cover this and are very, very good and even more in depth than this thread.

 

 

ladycfp
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 18th, 2008
Location: Roanoke, Virginia USA
Posts: 17
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 21st, 2008 05:02 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, thanks, Tammy. I have joined and ordered the podcasts (wish they were online!) and also the Birdie Book. Hopefully they will arrive this week. I just wondered if there were more "lessons" in the meantime.

Tammy 2
Member


Joined: Sun Feb 3rd, 2008
Location: Redland, Alberta Canada
Posts: 129
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 21st, 2008 05:29 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, I know it is hard to wait but, there is soooo much reading to do here in the meantime - have you read all the articles in the knowlege base ??

Also, on Josh Nichols website, there are a few really good articles there.

Tammy

 

 

ladycfp
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 18th, 2008
Location: Roanoke, Virginia USA
Posts: 17
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Oct 21st, 2008 09:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
There IS a lot to read and digest. I have read the Nichol's article from Equus and many of the threads here, but not all of the knowledge base articles yet. To be honest, there is only so much screen time I can take- I really prefer the printed word. Fortunately my "Kinship with All Life" arrived today, so I will tackle that next. I need to figure out how I am going to read the Birdie Book on CD. I think I will see what Kinko's would charge to print it for me.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Oct 22nd, 2008 04:04 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dear LadyCFP: You won't be able to get it printed at Kinko's. The only way to print out the Birdie Book is to dub it over into Word, then print it from there. This will work on both text and illustrations -- just highlight what you want to print (I would do it in sections, part of a chapter at a time), right click and then "copy", then toggle over to Word where you have opened a blank page. Then right-click and "paste". After it's pasted in, save it to a file on your hard drive, then print it in Word.

The Birdie Book was the very first effort I made at making a book-length product on CD-rom. Subsequent to that time, we found a way to make these kinds of things better, so that you can print directly from the PDF file. So it's quite easy to print anything else we offer, i.e. "Inner Horseman" back issues, or the Poison Plants book.

Glad to hear you're about to read "Kinship" -- it's a book with a great deal of relevance to what we would like to be doing here. Best wishes -- Dr. Deb

neal
Member
 

Joined: Thu Oct 23rd, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 18
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Oct 25th, 2008 05:51 am
 Quote  Reply 
dr. deb,i like your approach to horse training, i worked as a cowboy for many years an broke lots of horse , i should rephrase that i rode lots of horses that were half broke. however i new there was better ways to communicate with horses , so now i,m persueing as much trinjng knowlege as i can  in hope one day i can have horses again ,  i read other trainers methods an i think as much as i read about you on equine i like your approach to training . this teaching on manners is very good  i hope to see more of your philosophy in the days to come . thank you for sharing your knowlege with horse lovers.   neal

ladycfp
Member
 

Joined: Sat Oct 18th, 2008
Location: Roanoke, Virginia USA
Posts: 17
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat Oct 25th, 2008 08:54 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Well I have finished "Kinship" and the first chapter had me wondering, "Is this the right book?" then the next chapter had me reading the table of contents looking for the horse story, then, finally, it started to sink in a bit.

I will be traveling for the next week to AZ and will have plenty of quiet time in a surrounding I consider charmed to think about the person I take to the pasture to interact with the horse I am so focused on changing.

AtLiberty
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 12
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Nov 18th, 2008 12:59 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I am a bit confused about the shifting of weight for the backing up. First I thought I just misunderstood what was written here, but today I got the Audio CD and there it is very clearly stated: One should shift the weight over the front foot that is not moving backwards by moving the head over it to unweight the one that is supposed to move.
I did try that and it seemed to work just the opposite around. So I concluded I had mixed it up, that as backwards means movement on diagonals, the weight shifts actually on the hind leg behind the foot that will move backwards. So the head should be moved over the foot that is supposed to go backwards.
When asking for a forward step as the feet move be differently, so there the head should go over the foot that stays in place.

Now I got the CD it became clear to which direction I was supposed to move the head. I was moving the head bit downwards to the side, maybe that makes the difference? I got two different horses, but both seem to move the frontfoot to which I direct the head.


AtLiberty
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 12
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 12:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Bump

How does the weight shift, when a horse prepares for making a step backwards and how forwards?

kuuinoa
Member
 

Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Keaau, Hawaii USA
Posts: 26
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 05:35 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hello.

I haven't been able to have a horse for many years, so I don't know if I can really help but here's how it appears to me.  Since the movement is by diagonals, in order for the hind of one diagonal to move backward, it must be freed by weighting the opposite end of that same diagonal.  So, if the right hind is going to move back, the left fore must be weighted in order to free it.  Does that make sense?  I hope so.  I can see it in my head on my "virtual horse" (about 25 years old by now).  If I am doing this all wrong, please someone let me know so I can retrain my horse!

K.

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 07:13 pm
 Quote  Reply 
I'm not sure where anyone got the idea that I was talking about weighting the feet during mounted backing on a CD. The entirety of the audio CD -- I mean the recent CD on mannering -- deals with working with the horse from the ground.

And there I am asking you merely to look at the front feet, so that you get the idea that in order to move, let us say the right forefoot, the horse must first have his weight upon the left forefoot. He must UNweight the foot that is intended to move.

Further, I suggest, especially at first, that you try to select the forefoot that it looks like he would have chosen to move if he were doing the choosing. Usually this will be the forefoot that happens to be farthest ahead. If the forefeet are equal, you may choose either one.

As to the back feet, you do not need to worry very much about them; the animal will arrange things himself, at first, when you are first learning. HE already knows how to move all of his feet, you see.

When you are in the saddle and asking the horse to back, it begins in the same manner: you just think about the forefeet. If the horse starts to back and then seems to get "stuck", usually this will be because his forefeet have indeed backed up but the hind feet have not picked up, so that the horse gets to where he's standing over very small ground. When this happens, take it as a sign that you have been overpressing the horse, and just stop and wait, and the animal will get himself untangled. Next time, when you begin, go lighter with your hands and also angle your upper body forward a bit in the saddle, so as to unweight the hindquarters. If you hustle the horse back, overpress him with your hands, or heavily weight the back part of the saddle, all three of these things can have the effect of causing the horse to overweight the hindquarters, which makes it difficult for him to pick up either hind foot. Bottom line, to go backwards the horse must first LEAN his body a little bit forwards.

For this reason, and also just to obtain sufficient energy, you must ensure that the horse is not backing up BECAUSE of whatever you're doing with the reins. In backing, the reins are for one purpose, and that is to forbid him to move any leg forward. The reins are, you will recall, not "really" connected to the mouth; they are really connected to the feet. The right rein is connected to the right feet, and the left rein is connected to the left feet. So you begin by remembering that your hands are to BLOCK the forward action of the feet.

Then you add the stimulation of the calves of your legs, whose basic meaning to the horse should be, "raise the life energy within your body". So you bump him with the calves of your legs, but you do not permit any forward motion of any leg. This presents something of a conundrum to the horse, which he will resolve by doing one of three things:

(1) rearing

(2) squidging sideways

(3) attempting to pick up and move one or more legs backwards

If he does the first, or you feel that's what he's liable to do, STOP IMMEDIATELY and ask him to move vigorously in a forward direction.

If he does the second, just wait him out. And check your hands to see that they're not just a tad too weak. You do not want to teach the horse that, if he just presses forward or sideways a little harder, he can break through your hands.

If he so much as makes the tiniest effort to step backwards, DROP THE REINS and all forms of calf stimulation, and pet him until he smacks his lips. And let him totally rest for at least as long as you were making demand. And then walk forward on loose reins, and then go do something else for a little while before you again ask him to back. The second time, I promise, he'll back much sooner, much lighter, and much more correctly.

As to "correctness", yes, lifting the feet in diagonals is correct. But it isn't going to happen with all horses at the first few tries, or even at any time. The lighter you make your hands, and yet they're still effective at blocking the forward motion; the lighter you make your legs, and yet they're still effective in raising the life; and the straighter and more evenly balanced the horse, the more likely it will be that he'll back two, three, four, or more steps in perfect diagonals. -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 07:18 pm by DrDeb

AtLiberty
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 12
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Nov 23rd, 2008 10:32 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Dear Dr. Deb, thank you for your answer, but I did not talk about mounted backing. Not sure why you did get that impression, yet I am not a native speaker.

I stand beside the head of my horse and have my hand on the leadrope. I look at the front feet and should move the head to the side of the one further back, so to have the horse unweight the other front for stepping back. Yet it seems, my horse does work just the opposite around, especially when both fronts are side by side and either could step back as easily.
My horses usually do take also a step with the diagonal hind usually. Maybe that is the reason? Should I rather try to have only the front legs move instead?

I can see that they shift their weight backwards to prepare for a back step. Did I understand correctly, that this is not desired as it can get the hindlegs stuck? So I should maybe have the weight shift first more to the side upon that front leg before asking for the back step?

Indy
Member
 

Joined: Mon Aug 4th, 2008
Location: Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 145
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 01:38 am
 Quote  Reply 
Dr. Deb,
I have been working on mannering using the directions on this thread. We have the backing up, one step at a time down really well. For the next step, does it matter if you wiggle the rope left to right or up and down? I am amazed at how much calmer my horse is since starting this exercise. Since it has been cold, we have been working in the barn (which is a place she is the least comfortable/ok) and she has gotten to the point where she stands still and can stay in her room for a few minutes at a time, she can focus on me for 7-8 seconds consistently.
Thank you for sharing this information.

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 06:59 am
 Quote  Reply 
Liberty, if you will simply refrain from either pushing the horse back or pulling the horse back, all the other problems will resolve themselves.

In other words -- see how LITTLE you have to do with your hands in order to give the horse the idea that he is to step back. As soon as you see that he is thinking of stepping back, stop either pushing or pulling, and see if he will complete the step on his own. So it is not only how little but how BRIEF.

Remember that your hands are connected to his FEET not his head. Do not try to back the head up.

Get the horse rocking from one side to the other. This may or may not involve moving the animal's head. It may more involve getting him to weight one shoulder. The main idea is to get him to UNweight the leg that you think it will be easiest for him to move. -- Dr. Deb

AtLiberty
Member
 

Joined: Thu Apr 24th, 2008
Location:  
Posts: 12
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 06:11 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Thank you Dr. Deb. I will keep those points in mind.

Carmen, Mobile
Guest
 

Joined: 
Location:  
Posts: 
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 04:44 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hurray!!!! Can I tag along?

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 07:03 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Carmen, what is your post in reference to? -- Dr. Deb

Charlotte
Member
 

Joined: Sun Feb 1st, 2009
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 14
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2009 06:11 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hello all - and may I join your class? Having lurked reading for some time this seems as good a place as any to introduce myself.

I currently have a rather fat file containing the printed Knowledge Base articles and this thread which I'm studying intently while I wait for my Birdie Book to arrive. I have started the mannering process with my horse and am making some interesting observations - not least how calming the process is for both of us, almost like a meditation...

I will save any questions for after I've had more time to study the Birdie Book - in the meantime hello and thank you for this amazing resource.

Charlotte

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 28th, 2009 07:06 pm
 Quote  Reply 

I have the 2008 Mannering CD’s, and they are so helpful.  Dr. Deb, your explanations filled in so many gaps; I've been so looking forward to starting over again with my horse Bye.  I’ve read the mannering thread many times and tried to implement it in a half hearted way, but your CD's are a real impetus, the way the lessons are presented in a logical way.  Each basic concept is discussed clearly and at length, followed by description of how to implement it.  Each step is unfolded in fascinating, totally useful detail, and accompanied by the all-important back-story: what is it about the horse that makes this approach work? Why are we doing it, and why this way?

 

Hearing both CD’s in their entirety, then reviewing the first lesson and planning how and when to start while keeping the rest of the lesson plan, my final destination so to speak, in the back of my mind, lit a fire in me to get out there and actually do something for my horse that he needs.  I’ve spent the last year watching horses’ eyeballs to see if I could tell where they’re looking, now it’s time to put it all into practice.

 

So I put Bye in his small paddock, but left Kitty in their field, in sight of each other, with Bye’s birdie clearly on Kitty (as it always is).  His thread was stretched, but not a whole lot.  A good opportunity to practice getting and keeping his birdie, and help him out.  I put on his rope halter with long lead rope knotted on (a real improvement; he responds better to this than to his web halter for sure).  I bumped him, he ignored me, I gave him a good hard bump to get his attention, and he started circling me anxiously, still gazing at Kitty.  Realizing that I was backing away in a circle, clearly not accomplishing anything, I began to step forward while bumping him.  I didn’t have a plan or a strategy except that I was going to go forward and he was going to move, end of story.  He looked at me with both eyes, backed right up away from me, then stopped and gazed at me as though he’d never seen me before, head in the air.  I remembered to count heartbeats, and after three beats, his head dropped, he sighed, he started licking and chewing, and his ears V’d.  He held this focus for about 8 seconds before starting to look back to Kitty; a small bump re-booted him. His birdie started to flutter one more time, I helped him focus, and then when I left him alone in the paddock, he kept his birdie with him and went to scavenging for hay.  I left the paddock and his birdie flew out to Kitty again, I got his attention again, and he calmed right down again.  His internal transition from stressed to calm was quite obvious to me.

 

Son of a gun. It works.  I was so surprised at how well and how fast it works.  3 heart beats? I guess I expected calm would come with time, maybe after we’d been practicing it a few times it would start to come. Instead, boom, there it was.

 

Second day, we went to his grass field to continue playing with getting and keeping focus. I wanted to try using smaller bumps or vibration, tapping on him with the halter instead of giving him a couple big bumps like did Thursday, and I also wanted to see if I could take him out of sight of Kitty and still keep his birdie with him.  I had expected that having him separated from Kitty and in a grassy field would be a real challenge.  Instead, he stayed focused on me fairly easily, after a few small bumps, and finally with a just a relatively gentle shakeon the lead rope.  We did two bouts.  First one in sight of Kitty, second one out of sight. Did lots of petting and scratching and grazing after each bout. 

 

It went so well, I decided we could try the next step, backing from the halter one step at a time.  The first time I followed this thread I skipped a bunch of steps.  This time I am determined proceed as directed.  First step, tilt the body and weight the designated foot, took some experimentation.  Dr. Deb said use a pressure that goes diagonally backwards and down.  Well, how far is diagonally and how back is backwards and how far down is down?  As we used to say in my mericulture days, how big is a clam?

The answer is, if you want to know, ask your horse (or your clam). Bye’s responses to my first best guess included pushing his nose forward, rubbernecking his head around, and just leaning on me.  I held at the same pressure and he sort of shuffled or staggered sideways.  Obviously I doing something wrong, this is a horse who can back up in a double helix with one hoof tied behind his back.  I led him forward a bit and tried again, changing the vector to more backwards and more sideways. This caused him to unweight the very foot I was trying to get him to weight.  I think too much sideways pressure caused him to bend his body around and throw weight on his opposite shoulder.  Third try, which worked, was a much more downward vector than I thought could possibly be right.  The pressure pointed almost directly at the foot I wanted him to weight.  My human perceptions led me to expect sideways and back to be right, and really it was more downward. When I presented the pressure this way, he promptly and softly tilted his body, lifted the base of his neck, and bent the knee of the leg I wanted him to move.  Like butter.  I released and petted him for a long time, which he enjoyed without even asking to graze.  Asked for another try and got one clean step, gave him a grazing/petting break, then asked for two single steps, then three single steps.  Each time his response got lighter and better, and he started to lick and chew as he settled between steps.  If he got any more blissful, he’d be ready for the angels snatch him away to heaven.

 

I didn’t expect to see him raising the base of his neck as he did this backing up. That was another surprise. And his birdie never flew away to Kitty, though we were out of sight and she was hollering for him.  Yet another surprise.  Son of a GUN.

 

I had a lovely morning playing with my horse, Dr. Deb.  And I think he enjoyed it, too.  Thank you!  This is so much fun. Thank you for making all this knowledge available to us. It must have been a huge undertaking, planning and then recording the CDs.  Thank you for doing it.

 

Regards,

Val

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue Apr 28th, 2009 10:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Just wanted to add that I can see from re-reading this thread that my difficulties with finding the right vector of pressure for backing up were caused by the fact that, as dr. Deb says above to AtLiberty, I was trying to back him up by his head and not by his feet. 

Val

PWinn
Member
 

Joined: Mon Nov 10th, 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 10
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 11:09 am
 Quote  Reply 
Your post and explanations were very helpful to me. thanks.

pwinn

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 02:11 am
 Quote  Reply 
I'm glad, PWinn, thanks for letting me know. Contributions on this site have been of such benefit to me, if I can pay back a small tithe, I am glad.

Regards,

Val

Helen
Member
 

Joined: Fri Sep 14th, 2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 147
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 05:30 am
 Quote  Reply 
Yes, thanks so much Val - great reading.

Apples
Member
 

Joined: Wed Dec 19th, 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 35
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 10:50 am
 Quote  Reply 
Val wrote:

Son of a gun. It works.  I was so surprised at how well and how fast it works.  3 heart beats? I guess I expected calm would come with time, maybe after we’d been practicing it a few times it would start to come. Instead, boom, there it was. 

.....

I didn’t expect to see him raising the base of his neck as he did this backing up. That was another surprise. And his birdie never flew away to Kitty, though we were out of sight and she was hollering for him.  Yet another surprise.  Son of a GUN. 



I have to comment on this because I can relate to it so much - it seems for a long time I was under the misguided notion that these simple lessons would take weeks/months not minutes/days. Well I guess it does if you keep going through the wrong door and talking some foreign language to the horse. Between starting to read Dr. Deb's material, as well as Mike Schaffer's material - (and ballisting off my previous lessons from 'teachers' who I now realize were not teachers but business people), I am constantly surprised and reminded that the horse already KNOWS all this stuff and how close to the 'surface of the horse' the response we are wanting really is.

I have found as a result, one of my basic principles has been reformed. And that is, if I ask and don't get, I stop and think about whether my request has been RIGHT but not CLEAR, or my request has been altogether WRONG, before I act again. There was a time that I always assumed it was right but not CLEAR. And that was often, the incorrect assumption.

miriam
Member


Joined: Thu Mar 22nd, 2007
Location: Minnesota USA
Posts: 90
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 01:57 pm
 Quote  Reply 
They catch on so quickly, like they just alwasys wanted it asked this way! I think my horses have a sigh of relief that I'm actually talking in a language they can hear.  I've had to learn how to break down this stuff into tiny steps, I used to jump ahead, way ahead and expect them to know what I meant. Professor Bennett's CD lesson series has been exquisitely helpful with that. Need to slow way way down.

One question about riding and 'birdie': why only 30 ft out front? If the target is 120 ft away, shouldn't I focus on it? Will the bird and thread fly/stretch farther as more experience/confidence is gained?

Val
Member


Joined: Thu Apr 5th, 2007
Location: Near Philly, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 116
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri May 1st, 2009 08:18 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Apples wrote: I have to comment on this because I can relate to it so much - it seems for a long time I was under the misguided notion that these simple lessons would take weeks/months not minutes/days.


Yes indeed, I know what you mean.  "You just do it over and over and over again and eventually they get it."  That's how dressage training was described to me, dressage being considered the ultimate form of human/horse interaction! 

I guess I should be more chary of being snarky, given that I just made these astonishing breakthroughs the day before yesterday, but boy oh boy, the difference in results is just amazing to me.

val

Apples
Member
 

Joined: Wed Dec 19th, 2007
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 35
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sat May 2nd, 2009 10:22 am
 Quote  Reply 
The "do it over and over until they get it" was filling the pockets of my dressage coach many years ago, not much more than that.

Then I learned that 1 good step was better than 10,000 wrong steps. Since every step counts, there is no choice but to figure out how to ask for that one step in such a way to set the horse up to succeed. Two good steps are just one good step, then one good step. 10,000 good steps are just individual good steps in succession. That concept of the building blocks has helped me enormously. A great deal more time spent with my horse I now do at the walk. Dr. Deb takes that concept to a whole 'nother level in the CD.

Last edited on Sat May 2nd, 2009 10:34 am by Apples

RachelZ
Member
 

Joined: Fri May 22nd, 2009
Location: Quebec Canada
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Tue May 26th, 2009 02:08 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hi everyone, I've been a more of a -lurker- than a -poster- to this forum. I can relate very much to all these women in this thread.  I have leadership issues with my horse Ruby, too.  She's a 6 year old appendix who has been mostly left unto herself for the better part of her life.  She has very clear confidence issues with the human kind, -meaning me-. I'm learning to go all the way not half way!  Hard but rewarding work.

This thread and the Josh Nichols articles have helped me a lot in starting to communicate with my horse. And yes her way of communicating scared the bejeesus out of me often times (rearing, bucking, charging, kicking etc.)in the beginning.  She still doesn't trust me enough when it comes to riding in the outside pen or walking away from the stable area.  I've got a lot of work to do.  I can't seem to get her focused on me for more than a very short period of time when we are outside.  She'll start getting nervous looking out over my head at whatever's there. That's when the -fun- starts (she rears a lot). It is very difficult to get her birdie back at that point. I know that I have to notice in advance when that attention of hers is going to leave me. That's the hard part.

I know that it has gotten better since we have started working with the information offered in ESI, because among other things she doesn't run over me anymore when she spooks like she did at the beginning.  She's pretty respectful of my space .  She's even happy to see me when I come to see her now.

What I find very difficult is actually feeling I have to -hide- from the stable owner, (who also has taught me riding lessons and sold me Ruby).  She is a very strong minded person and a very good reining competitor with the opinion that horses make excellent soldiers.  Which is and always has been contrary to my secret belief.  Before reading the ESI info I didn't realize the danger I was putting myself and others into by riding my mare when she considered me to be just another nuisance getting in her way.  I had been led to believe that all riders had to be tough enough to stay on no matter what the circumstances (rearing, bucking, running away). Somewhat like a right of passage. Lately, (and to my trainer's big dismay) I have been concentrating on ground work for the moment and have put aside riding for the moment because I feel that if I have difficulties leading Ruby on the ground it can't be any better in the saddle.   Am I wrong or isn't that like the blind leading the blind?  Should I continue to ride her anyway? The progress has been slow (and not so steady...).  I can't refer the owner to the site because she is french-speaking only, and I don't feel confident enough translating the information for her. I'd rather she heared it directly from the horse's mouth but that seems impossible for the moment. 

I have sent a couple of messages to the ESI e-mail concerning the -Mannering Your Horse- CD that have been unanswered. I would like to kow how I can order it.  When I joined ESI I got the Birdie CD instead ( and I had already bought the book).  I know that this is not the place to be asking for this but I don't know how else to get it done.

I would again like to thank you Dr. Deb for the unfailing and unending effort you put into trying to make life easier for our beloved animals. I'm sorry for this long message but I feel as if nobody I know personally can relate to or understand what I'm feeling at the moment.  It somehow has to come out.

Rachel

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed May 27th, 2009 06:54 am
 Quote  Reply 
Rachel, if you are in the barn of somebody who has so little ethics that they would sell a beginner a horse that rears, kicks, bites, and runs over you, then my dear, you are in the presence of a physical abuser. I mean that the person who sold you that horse is physically abusing you, and you need to leave.

You also need professional help, by which I mean just about anybody but the person who sold you the horse. Go get qualified help immediately. Your horse is dangerous and, although I believe you have learned a lot just as you say, you are in danger every time you're around this animal and that has to STOP -- NOW.

It will be of no use for you to romanticize and gush and admire and tell us that you are learning, if your horse stoves your head in tomorrow. Do you know what it sounds like, Rachel, when the horse kicks the person's head off and it flies over the fence and lands in the dirt? It sounds like this: SCHMUCK.

Horseback riding is supposed to be an enjoyable hobby and pastime. How often has it been that for you, Rachel, since you bought this horse? I have never been able to understand how it can be so common -- but it is common -- for a sadist to be running a stable operation. Rachel, you need to recognize that the only way the sadist can get away with it is with your full complicity. This is what makes a 'schmuck' a 'schmuck', in the Yiddish sense of the term.

Write back to us, please, when you have located a competent teacher and a new place to board your horse. -- Dr. Deb

PS -- Rachel, we have received zero EMails from you concerning problems with your orders, and this is why you have had no answer of course. Are you sure that you have been EMailing to office@equinestudies.org? (not dot-com).

 

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Wed May 27th, 2009 08:00 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Rachel -- a further note on your difficulties in ordering. We received an EMail from you this morning and replied to it. However, our reply bounced back. The address that it bounced back from is:

rachelz@vifdeotron.ca

Please check your outgoing EMail to ascertain whether your own EMail address is correctly spelled. Otherwise, when we reply it will bounce back as it is trying to go to a nonexistent address. -- Dr. Deb

RachelZ
Member
 

Joined: Fri May 22nd, 2009
Location: Quebec Canada
Posts: 5
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2009 07:09 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Hello Dr. Deb

Just a little message to tell you that I have found a new boarding stable that's even closer to where I live than the other one. It doesn't have the same facilities but the owner is so much better it seems than Mrs. X where I was. She even teaches, and I like her philosophy.  She's actually open to new ways of teaching horses and that is a big plus in my opinion.

I also have decided to sell Ruby, my beautiful mare. She is way more horse than I can handle and I am way to little to take her on like I should. I have learned a lot from her and I think she from me.  She would benefit from having a calm person with lots more experience than I have (and that's not much).  She has tremendous potential I think. 

So with the help of this new teacher I will be on the look-out for a much older, slower, and smaller horse (Ruby is 16 H), that is, after I have found my long lost confidence.  I will be taking riding lessons to get that back. On the bright side if it wasn't for Ruby I never would have found this site and your teachings! I now also know what I don't want. I would also like to say a big Hello to the girls I met at the Tom Curtin clinic in June ( Rose, Jan and Ann ).  That was great fun! What a great teacher.

By the way I've never heard the sound a head makes when it hits the ground but I did hear (and feel) what it sounds like to have your thigh kicked.  Thud!! No it wasn't Ruby's doing. A great big 4 year old Canadian gelding (that had been imprinted and handled by a big brute of a man since he was a wee foal) did this while I was mucking out his stall in late June. My leg didn't break because it actually followed through with the horse's kick. My whole weight was on the other leg.  But it was a great big wake up call!!!

Sorry for the long message, just thought I'd give you a little update.  Thank-you again for the standing up and seeing the injustice  where it needed to be discovered. 

Rachel

DrDeb
Super Moderator
 

Joined: Fri Mar 30th, 2007
Location:  
Posts: 3212
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2009 10:23 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Rachel, this is a real good outcome for you. You have made a series of wise decisions, I think.

Now, as you go shopping for your next horse, you will have the wisdom to consider the horse's temperament first before anything else. Large or small does not matter very much; it is not largeness that made the horse you are selling dangerous, but its DESIRE to have its own way, defend its own space, no matter what the expense to you. So having learned that, you would now hopefully look for a horse that exhibits no such desire, a horse that already has manners pretty well ingrained.

The best place to look for such a horse is in the hands of an older rancher or farmer. They will sometimes have a horse that is usably sound for sale. It will probably help also if the animal itself is not younger than 13 years or so. Do not buy a three year old. No horse really starts getting steady until they're about 9, and if manners were installed early it will be a life habit by the time they are in their early teens. You will then have at least 10 years to enjoy the horse.

And I do mean "enjoy". The whole idea here, with owning a horse, is that it should be enjoyable, a daily pleasure. So you'll then take your new horse and present yourself and the animal for lessons with your new teacher, and that should be another kind of fun. Do not let the teacher tell you that the animal is not "suitable". What you need lessons on, Rachel, as you have discovered, is not "this" or "that" technical point, or this or that figure or exercise. Rather, what you need is saddle time so that you can get to know a horse on whose back your heart rate does not have to be uncomfortably high every minute. Maybe your new teacher will take you out for some trailrides -- nice slow walks someplace away from the barn -- someplace where there will be some little banks for you to go up and down, some little logs for you to step over, a little sluggish creek for you to learn how to cross. The whole idea is to ride like you were a little kid, do what little kids do when they're out with their horses -- get off and get on again, get your feet muddy (all six of them). Do not let anyone chide you for not fronting greater obstacles, and never get suckered into doing anything on horseback that you don't feel comfortable doing. Let your teacher hold your hand, until you truly know that you don't need to have it held anymore; that's what (I hope) she is there for.

The other aspect you have got to consider, Rachel, is what part you may have played in making, or maintaining, your previous horse in such a state that it would be dangerous. You opened your correspondence in this thread by stating that you feel you have "confidence issues". You will have to get over those -- because if you don't, you will contribute to ruining any horse that you buy, even if that animal has perfect manners and a great attitude when you first purchase him.

If to gain confidence you need to go visit a sports psychologist, do that. If you need to go ride with Harry or Buck, do that. If your new teacher seems to help in this area, then by all means spend goodly time with her. BUT DON'T JUST SIT ON IT. You, and all horse owners, owe it to the horse to be the animal's self-confident teacher. I will not tolerate any "wingeing" here or any "reasons" which are just excuses. If you want to go on being a horse owner, then you'll find a reason why you can succeed and you will then find that you have the ability to succeed. That's a promise.

Good luck with all that you have planned, and write in sometimes to let us know how everything is going. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

 

DarlingLil
Member
 

Joined: Wed Jan 25th, 2012
Location: Michigan USA
Posts: 64
Status:  Offline
 Posted: Sun Jan 18th, 2015 09:45 pm
 Quote  Reply 
Another favorite.


 Current time is 09:25 am




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