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Horse confidence issue.. or??
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Indy
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 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 01:38 am
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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
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 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 06:59 am
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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
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 Posted: Mon Nov 24th, 2008 06:11 pm
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Thank you Dr. Deb. I will keep those points in mind.

Carmen, Mobile
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 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 04:44 pm
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Hurray!!!! Can I tag along?

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jan 22nd, 2009 07:03 pm
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Carmen, what is your post in reference to? -- Dr. Deb

Charlotte
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 Posted: Sun Feb 1st, 2009 06:11 pm
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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
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 Posted: Tue Apr 28th, 2009 07:06 pm
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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
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 Posted: Tue Apr 28th, 2009 10:45 pm
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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
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 Posted: Wed Apr 29th, 2009 11:09 am
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Your post and explanations were very helpful to me. thanks.

pwinn

Val
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 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 02:11 am
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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
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 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 05:30 am
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Yes, thanks so much Val - great reading.

Apples
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 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 10:50 am
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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
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 Posted: Thu Apr 30th, 2009 01:57 pm
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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
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 Posted: Fri May 1st, 2009 08:18 pm
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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
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 Posted: Sat May 2nd, 2009 10:22 am
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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


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