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Josh Nichol's DVD
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saffire_100
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 Posted: Thu Mar 4th, 2010 07:28 pm
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Josh Nichol Ground Work Series: From the Inside Out

I am seriously considering getting this DVD set.  Has anyone on the list purchased already and have any feedback?

I am thinking it must be worthwhile, as I talked to Josh during a clinic with him last June and he had already scrapped the first 2 efforts to make it.  Josh knew that it had to be very very good before he would release it to the public.  His comment was that once it was out there, he could never take it back so it had to be good.

I have been working with my colt, 10 months old now.  We continue to work on basic leading work, spacial respect and control of one foot at a time.  He is doing very well and is very sensitive.   (like his dam)

Last weekend, I was asking for too much when I asked him to untrack and he was moving too quickly, rushing.    I stopped what I was doing and went back to asking for him to move one foot forward, stop, pet, relax for a minute.  Ask for one foot backwards, stop, pet, relax.  I focussed on doing as little as I could to communicate with him.   It is so amazing when working with a young horse in this way.   He is like his mother in that he tends to be high headed/on alert.   Is he too young to learn to twirl his head?  I have only asked him to lower it at this time.

I think the Josh DVD set will help me maintain my focus on the better way to communicate with my colt and my older horses.  

My 7 yr old Arab that I took to see Josh last summer has made wonderful progress.  I was close to quitting with her as she is a lot of horse (physically and attitude).  Her change was dramatic.   Probably mine was too.  I was so happy to learn how to communicate with her in a meaningful way.  It has been a long road of hard work with her, but now I have a horse that I so enjoy working with.   I do endurance with my horses which means we spend many many hours together. 

I would like to go see Josh again.  The limiting factor for me is all the clinics this year seem to be Tuesday through Friday and this would require a whole week off work.   I have  a limited amount of vacation to manage.

Any comments would be appreciated.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Mar 4th, 2010 08:04 pm
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Saffire, a horse of any age from infancy on up can and will learn whatever the handler is capable of teaching. So all the changes that need to be made reside within yourself.

You are very well off to be able to attend Josh's clinics, and I would advise you to continue to go whenever your work schedule permits it. I believe he permits people to attend as spectators at any time.

Like Kate from the "suspicious horse" thread, it will help you Saffire to try not to over-think what is motivating your animal, what she is "ready" for, and so forth. All failures and confusions that arise within a training session are down to only one source, and that is yourself. You just figure on this, so that when things don't work out, instead of your first idea being to say, 'well MY HORSE isn't ready' is to say 'well I SURE COULD HAVE PRESENTED THAT MORE CLEARLY.'

You see how very small a step it is, folks, between what these very nice girls do when they say 'well my horse isn't ready' and the less nice people who say 'well my horse is stubborn and resistant.' We can teach 'em never to use the words 'stubborn' or 'resistant', but it's harder to get them to see that 'my horse isn't ready' or 'my horse has this history of abuse' or 'I rescued this horse from blah blah blah' is projection just as much as calling him stubborn and resistant is projection. Projection is the handler's IDEAS ABOUT THE HORSE -- instead of the horse itself.

Read the words of George MacDonald reproduced in the 'stubborn horse' thread. Read the wonderful sentence where he says, 'we can never know the horse as God knows the horse, because God is the creator of horses while we stand to them only as horsemen.'

Anytime you are working with a horse, you must acknowledge that there is a gulf between you and the animal, a gulf of evolutionary time, and also a gulf (if you are a believer) that although both people and horses come from that region near God's heart of which MacDonald speaks, until we go to a better place and as he says 'understand each other a little better', that gulf will be partially unbridgeable. Being unbridgeable, everyone who hopes to become a horsewoman must respect that gulf.

But I say only partly unbridgeable. In some ways humans can develop to a point where they understand horses very well, and can very well in that case take on the mantle of being the horse's teacher for certain things. In almost 100% of cases, the horse already understands the human better than the human will ever understand the horse, so that another feature of the inexperienced and anthropomorphizing handler is that the horse will be running the show. Luckily they are very good animals so that they, for the most part, run the show rather benignly. But they do have their cupboard loves, and I've seen moochie-moochie handlers get seriously hurt when they stepped in when the horse was at its feed, provoking a resentment in the horse swiftly followed by physical repraisals. The same happens anytime when the horse figures the human does not understand the rules and sees a need to enforce them by some large action such as kicking, biting, or striking.

Such a horse has no manners according to our ideas, but he has excellent manners according to the laws of the horse herd. So this is the change for you to be working on, Saffire. You have to be capable of communicating with the horse what the rules of mannering are, so that he obeys the human rules and not the rules as he got them from his dam. You need to be firm enough and clear enough to get the message across to the animal. You need to be confident enough that you know exactly where you are going with it, how you are going to create and if necessary enforce the communication, and 100% not guilty about doing it.

No one with little experience should be handling any foal, because all that will result is that the foal will become muddled and possibly dangerous. What inexperienced/anthropomorphizing handlers should be messing with, if they mess with horses at all, is middle-aged geldings.

A foal will be perfectly great if left in the pasture until you have the money and time to simply bring it to Josh and have Josh do all the work on it and then hand it back to you. You can, and he will probably ask you to be, present many times or as often as possible while he works with your horse. But it should be Josh rather than yourself that is working with the animal. You learn from Josh now, maybe later you can start another one. But the sort of unsureness you're expressing tells me that you're in over your head, so that if you care about your animal, what you'll do is leave it aside -- let the horse be a horse -- until such time as there is a better teacher for the animal. 

And to answer your initial question: I am sure Josh's DVD on starting young horses is excellent. You will not, however, be able to learn to start your own horse by watching that program, or any other in existence. Starting young horses is a subspecialty within professional horsemanship which is for the present time beyond your grasp. -- Dr. Deb

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Mar 4th, 2010 08:54 pm
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It was only released 4 days ago, so you might have to wait a bit for feedback on the set.

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Mar 4th, 2010 11:54 pm
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BTW Saffire - check the calendars again. Both Water Valley clinics (45 mins from Calgary) run over the weekend (including next weekend), and I was at the Calgary clinic a couple of weekends ago on Saturday.

saffire_100
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 Posted: Fri Mar 5th, 2010 03:57 am
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Thanks Adam.  I had tunnel vision as I didn't check the calendar early enough to attend, but forgot I could still audit at Water Valley on the weekend.

Dr. Deb, I did ask Josh last year about starting a horse in the future for me.    He takes a few horses every winter, and that is it.  I will definitely ask him to start my colt, but there is only one Josh and many people that want him to start their colts.  I don't trust any other trainers in my province.

Dr. Deb said "Like Kate from the "suspicious horse" thread, it will help you Saffire to try not to over-think what is motivating your animal, what she is "ready" for, and so forth. All failures and confusions that arise within a training session are down to only one source, and that is yourself. You just figure on this, so that when things don't work out, instead of your first idea being to say, 'well MY HORSE isn't ready' is to say 'well I SURE COULD HAVE PRESENTED THAT MORE CLEARLY.' "

I certainly agree that it was I who did not present the untracking clearly enough and I was using too much pressure; i certainly could have phrased that better.

I do not agree that I am projecting anything onto my colt about not being ready.  Josh himself said that the mare I brought to the clinic is very intelligent and what he would consider a 'light' horse. Very sensitive and quick to react. The colt is similar in nature.   That is what I mean when I said he is sensitive.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The question about twirling was legitimate, and based on a physical nature.  I know not to ride my horse before 4 yrs old, but I do not know if there are similar physical limitations on an activity like head twirling.

While I certainly have tons more to learn from Josh (and I am lucky to live within 6 hours of him) and am inexperienced with young (less than 2 yrs old) horses, I am not inexperienced.  Josh was very supportive of my feel and timing and encouraged me to keep working on it (refining it).   Each person out there like Josh, started somewhere.  I am not saying I will ever be as good as Josh, but I can work on it my whole life.  I have read the forum since 2001 and have read most of what you have written.  I am currently studying the Conformation series DVD.  Only on hour 2.   I give my best effort to my horses and that is all I can do.  My personal best.


Sincerely,

Sarah

 

AdamTill
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 Posted: Fri Mar 5th, 2010 04:38 am
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Hi Sarah,

Since you're in High River, have you thought of contacting XXXXX? I hope I'm not overstepping here since he's not on your list Dr Deb, but he was Buck Brannaman's clinic host, and Buck recommended him to to the folks there to work with until he came around again.

Don't personally know anything about him, but I would tend to trust Buck's opinion, having seen his outlook on things.

Cheers,
Adam

Adam: EMail Sarah privately with your thoughts on this please. No, you are not permitted to mention the name of any person not on our recommended list. Their mention here is implicit advertisement, so when you mention someone "on my behalf", you're actually asking me to stick my neck out for someone I have never met. Can't do that -- sorry. -- Dr. Deb

Last edited on Fri Mar 5th, 2010 09:06 am by DrDeb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Mar 5th, 2010 09:23 am
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Sarah, the legitimacy of your question about head-twirling seems to me to be only quasi. Surely you have observed that even neonates turn their heads of their own volition.

I'm going to be honest with you here once again, Sarah, and tell you that making mooney eyes half-filled with tears at me is not going to work. "I'm just doing my very best" -- yes, honey -- don't we all.

The point is that you don't know what you're doing, and since you say you don't trust anybody but Josh with your colt, I wonder why you trust yourself? From what you have conveyed, if it were my colt I wouldn't trust you. And I would trust you even less having heard in your last post that Josh has said your animal is on the sensitive end of the spectrum.

So once again, yes, everybody did start someplace, even Josh, and me too. But we did not start by risking a good foal. We started on an old gelding who would tolerate almost any amount of crudities, misunderstandings, and mistakes. And when we got to where we could time it perfectly on the tolerant old dog, then we could -- and did -- move up to an animal that was going to be a little more particular.

What's operating with you right now, my dear, and what's driving all those I-feel-so-sorry-for-myself feelings, is ambition and ego. They so often wear such a heavy cloak and disguise! The person can almost convince herself that all her reasons are noble! Nobody said you had NO experience -- there's no reason (but wounded ego will drive you to do it) to try reductio ad absurdum. What I am telling you here is simply rubbing up pretty hard against what you have hoped and dreamed -- of being "as good as" Josh or some other person. Very fallacious, I am warning you.

One of the primary characteristics, and it's universal among people that I recommend, is that although they did all start "someplace", the "someplace" they started from was completely innocent of ambition. Every one of them is somebody who, in an old-fashioned terminology, is clearly 'called' to horsemanship. They worked with horses because working with horses was all they could think about, all that they desired. No part of that desire had anything to do with showing somebody else how good they were or are. Every one of them would say, with Ray Hunt, that it wouldn't matter to them who was at the clinic that day, or if nobody was there; they would have been out there working with those horses anyway.

So you be just as proud and pleased of the outcomes with your old gelding, and quit thinking there is any special merit in being able to work successfully with youngstock. I told you already: that is a specialty -- meaning it requires a certain special toolkit and repertory of responses. That will allow you a little better to let go of the idea that you're going to start your horse yourself, and instead start making the financial and time arrangements to turn the animal over to Josh as soon as possible, before you screw it up.

I mean this. Ray Hunt used to joke when someone would ask him about the structure of his clinics. "Well," Ray would say, "in the morning we have the colt class, for the animals that are just getting started. And in the afternoon, we have the horsemanship class, for the horses that are already screwed up." Think about it, and while you're doing that, please go have your bawl someplace other than here, Sarah. -- Dr. Deb

Leigh in SoCal
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 Posted: Fri Mar 5th, 2010 07:55 pm
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Two years ago, I audited a Buck B. clinic in San Diego.  I'd ridden in Buck's Chico clinic the year previous, and Buck, being Buck, remembered me and my horse quite well.  I told him that, in the year since I'd last seen him, my horse had reacquired the habit of spooking (he was seeing bogeymen in the corners, which were invisible to me, but without a doubt he saw them plain as day), turning 180's, and bolting in the arena.  Thought I'd get some sympathy from Buck, by asking him for any advice as to what I should do when this happened.  "Well, Leigh, I guess when that happens, you really need to start riding, don't you?"  "But Buck, it takes all I've got just to stay on when he spins and gallops off." 

Buck left me to chew on that one without answering, because he knows what every person in every one of his clinics is and is not capable of, so I went to that first fall-back of self-pitying interior monologue I almost always go to:  Hey, I'm riding as well as I can, I can't ride any better than I do without spending a whole lot more time in the saddle but I work 50 hours a week and I'm new here in Southern California and I don't know who can help me, all the people at my barn are either orange-stick zombies or white-stick zombies or newbies so they're of no use, if I have been riding all these years and I'm still that crappy I really should just call this whole horse thing off, blah blah blah, so Buck you must be kinda insensitive because you just don't understand how hard it is for me to suffer this awful setback and then not have you sympathize with me.  The id went into overdrive, and really, most people who've been here for a length of time know there is very little instant gratification in this kind of horsemanship.

So after a few days of feeling miserable, it finally dawned on me, what Buck was saying:  Do better!  That's all.  Just do better.  Keep working at it.  Don't quit.  Stop with the quivering lower lip and the tears in the corners of the eyes and feeling sorry and stupid and inadequate, stop telling stories, get help if you need it (there were several really good hands at the San Diego BB clinic, and all I had to do was ask the clinic host who among them took in students), and just get on with it.  Which sounds a little bit like what our teacher here is saying.



 



 

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Sat Mar 6th, 2010 01:58 am
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That's a great story Leigh.  I have been there.  It is all about us and whatever our horse is doing is a by-product of something we are missing on, not the horse.  Also, I bet you will remember that alot more than if he had simply given you a little exercise to work on.  Yes that may help, but I think Buck "woke you up" more by letting you find what you needed.  I don't think I will forget that either now that you shared it with us.  Thanks for that.

I checked my mail tonight and no DVD yet.  I pre-ordered it 2 months ago.  I will let you know once I have watched it although, I think it will go without saying that it will be worth it.  Especially since we have been in clinics with Josh so it will build on or re-enforce our way of thinking.

Tammy

 

Dorothy
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 Posted: Mon Mar 8th, 2010 05:07 pm
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Hi Sarah,

From someone who has inappropriately overhandled a youngster that I bred, I would urge you to take Dr Deb's advice regarding your colt. It is sooo easy to over handle foals. Unless you have the skills of someone like Allan Pogue, do the minimum you need to to make sure your colt is mannerly for whatever day to day care he needs, and then leave him alone!

By the time I realised I was in way over my head, things had gone quite badly wrong. I was lucky, no-one actually got physically hurt, and the horse eventually turned out fine. However, it was very confusing for the horse and upsetting for me at the time.

Dorothy

 

Last edited on Mon Mar 8th, 2010 05:09 pm by Dorothy

saffire_100
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 Posted: Mon Mar 8th, 2010 07:42 pm
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Thank you Dorothy.  My colt has good basic manners (for things like farrier, deworming, vaccines and vet care).  I will be leaving him alone for a long while now.  I will search for someone suitable in my area that can do the initial starting under saddle.  

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 06:06 pm
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Hello All,

I received Josh's DVD package and they are excellent ! 

Sarah, if you wanted to ask about something specific let me know.  I would highly suggest buying them.

Tammy

 

saffire_100
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 Posted: Wed Mar 17th, 2010 06:22 pm
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Thanks for your comments Tammy.   I plan on purchasing the DVD set as well.

AdamTill
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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 05:56 pm
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Leah posted a request for more feedback on the video set, so I thought I'd throw some out there.

I picked up the set at a clinic with Josh a few weeks ago. He wanted to focus on riding during that clinic, and said that it would be a great way to tweak a few of the things that my horse and I had been playing with.

Basically, I had been getting a lot of the ground movements well, but had been forgetting about getting them softly and with purpose. So, for example, he'd yield his shoulders out of my space when I'd asked, but didn't always do so without a little brace creeping in.

I watched the set after the clinic, and Josh was right - it's not cheap, but it's a great series. Josh uses a small group of movements as the basis for his talks, but goes into teaching and exploring them in great depth. He points out where things can get tight, and focuses more on HOW to teach things and how to ensure that the horses are okay, rather then getting the horses to do a lot of things. Having three different horses at different stages is especially helpful.

What I personally had been doing was not spending enough time with different "things" to get them really solid. As usual after a clinic with Josh, I've been going back to square one, and reaffirming all the basics with my critter. It's like the peeling an onion analogy - you find new layers each time you get a new way to look at things.

It's actually a rather unique series, since most folks try to put more "things" into a set, rather then going deeply into a few of them, or into a mindset. I really like Buck's tapes, for example, but since his timing is impeccable and the horses are really okay most of the time, I would tend to unintentionally get the look of an exercize in my mind rather then the feel or intention behind it. As such, when I went out to the barn, I'd be more focused on getting the "thing", rather then getting the purpose.

So, all in all, very recommended. Great set.

Tammy 2
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 Posted: Sun Apr 25th, 2010 08:47 pm
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I just returned from my Josh clinic and wow, did I learn alot.  My mind is quite full.  I am glad I had watched the DVD series before the clinic as it was a great refresher for me.

I had posted in another thread of some of the mind issues I was having with my horse this spring.  However I was not noticing that when my horse was getting worried, he was talking to me spatially.  So, I had to talk to his space to get his mind.  This required me to get quite big with him at times as it had to be clear.  "No son, you are not going to be worried about that as I am taking care of it, and this ends right now".  Get in there and shut it down.  Amazing what a difference this made.  Josh can really see my horse inside and taught me more about how he sees the world and myself.  I was trying to get his mind back but not going through his body to get it.  We also worked on his herd bound issues which of course is at the root of his worry.  He is a dominant horse so I need to be approaching this at a different angle then I was.  My horse wants to be a big teddy bear but needs me to help him to understand that I am taking care of him.  He needs to tend to me and only me.  I will tend to the rest of the world.  I cannot ask anything of my horse until I have this working for me.  I do understand this but getting it at times can be a challenge.  Josh really helped me in this area.  My horse is not fearful of me so I was able to get big without him fleeing more.  Some horses this would not be as effective and would require a different approach.  My horse used to tend to get swallowed and shut down so I am happy that he is at least expressing himself rather than just freezing up.  I do have to be mindful of that and keep checking in on my horse that he is present as well.  I am confident now that I have the skills to help him to get feeling better.

Our groundwork is coming along nicely.  I am moving towards the last horse on Josh's DVD so this will continue to help me to review where I am headed with him.  We are at a place where I can start taking these separate steps and melting them together in movements as well as elevating and teaching self carriage.

Riding with Josh on his horse was really great in helping me to see what I need to get working better under saddle as well.  I had not ridden much before the clinic due to the mind issues.  I will not ride my horse if he is mentally leaving me as he was.  So, I happily have an entire year (till me next clinic) of things to work on.  I also picked up some great exercises to do under saddle to help with him being herd bound.  Ride the mind.

Watching Josh ride is a wonderful thing.  He rides what he teaches for sure !  Hopefully by next year I will be getting a bit closer to that and surely am working towards it.

Leah, Dr. Deb posted photos recently of her twirling a horses head.  It is in the "What exercises on the ground for collection" thread on the first page.  Maybe this will help.

Tammy


 


Last edited on Sun Apr 25th, 2010 08:50 pm by Tammy 2


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