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Horse confidence issue.. or??
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Pam
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Joined: Wed Mar 21st, 2007
Location: Lafayette, California USA
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 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2007 06:10 pm
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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
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 Posted: Tue Sep 4th, 2007 11:06 pm
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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
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 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 04:19 am
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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
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 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 10:27 am
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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
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 Posted: Wed Sep 5th, 2007 02:59 pm
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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
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 Posted: Thu Sep 6th, 2007 01:41 am
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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
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 Posted: Tue Sep 11th, 2007 09:52 pm
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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
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 Posted: Wed Sep 19th, 2007 06:50 pm
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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
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 Posted: Wed Sep 19th, 2007 08:59 pm
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Dr. Deb,

So why are cross ties dangerous?

Thanks,

Pam

Philine
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 Posted: Sat Sep 22nd, 2007 03:15 am
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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
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 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 01:18 am
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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
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 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 01:52 am
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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
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 Posted: Sun Sep 23rd, 2007 06:33 pm
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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
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 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 02:37 am
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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
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 Posted: Mon Sep 24th, 2007 01:08 pm
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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


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