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DrDeb
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Posted: Mon May 30th, 2011 05:03 am
Yes, Ola. Our elderly teacher would get the type of student who was very eager to do everything "right" -- mechanically. Typically these people ride like wooden dolls; they are "posing on horseback". He would do two things about this:

(1) Teach them how to pet their horse right. This meant specifically that he would teach them to pet the horse with right intention, so that warm energy, or if you like to call it "love" that would be OK too, would flow from their hands into the horse. Later, it could also start flowing from the rider's hands, through the reins, into the horse's mouth and/or into the feet. After this, one man who had been having trouble bridling his stallion because his touch was "wrong" said: "Tom kept telling me to touch him more softly, and I tried very hard to do that, but the horse didn't get too much better. It got a lot better, though, when I suddenly realized I was touching him more and more softly with a board."

(2) Ask them to cut what they were doing in half. In other words -- cut the amount of force they were pulling on the reins with in half, and cut the amount of pressure they were putting on the horse with their legs in half. And when the rider would comply, and it was evident that they had complied, he would call them over again and say, "now cut it in half again." And often, he would call them a third or even a fourth time. Every time the rider lightened up (that is, started looking for the "small spot"), the improvement in the horse's ability and willingness to turn and stop was obvious.

The commitment is to do all that it must take, but also, to be looking at every moment for how little it might take. -- Dr. Deb

MtnHorse
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Posted: Tue May 31st, 2011 09:53 pm
DrDeb wrote: Yes, Ola. Our elderly teacher would get the type of student who was very eager to do everything "right". . . . Ask them to cut what they were doing in half. In other words -- cut the amount of force they were pulling on the reins with in half. . . .


If they were trying to do things right why would they be using excess pressure?  There is nothing particularly right about that when the release is more important than the pressure anyway.

FROM DR. DEB: They were using excess pressure, K.D., because they were making a mistake. They did not know which mistake they were making, but they at least knew (and were willing to admit) that they were making SOME mistake; and so they came to our teacher and asked him for help.

 

Ola wrote:

There is no shoving/prodding/misplacing weight/squeezing gesture that would help your horse. Even slight movements are sometimes way to exaggerated! Instead, you let your horse show you where the weight should flow, or how your shoulders must be kept. I will repeat once again, if you try to do it consciously, your movement will be just a ridiculous imitation of true unity and there will be no feel in your riding.

 

Well  KCooper, if I may speak from what he has posted, and I both rode for years and years and tried very hard to do the best we could.  We tried to just use feel and quite honestly it didn’t happen.


FROM DR. DEB: Yes, K.D., the reason that 'feel' does not happen for you is because you refuse to look into yourself -- you have refused to examine the Observer and the Chatterer. Feel comes from deep within. You are too scared to do this, I think, because the Chatterer has, for many years, been in fairly extensive control of your body and of the words that come out of your mouth. And, as I previously said, the Chatterer is utterly terrified of being "seen" -- for as soon as it is seen, it begins to die, and it then fights like unholy Hell to cling to the control that gives it life. The refusal of the Observer to acknowledge the Dark Self and take back control from it is the root cause for drug abuse. 

Quoting KCooper:

so I find I break things down into a series of steps like you guys are talking about and then from that she 'feels' what it is supposed to feel like (because he is so broke and soft) so then in fairly short order she is able to eliminate the actual 'first you do this then this then this stuff'. But you know.....I think the girl who has my horse now if left on her own would either wreck the horse or quit riding....

 

This is my experience as well.  Most people don’t learn just from feeling and knowing.  Let me correct that, I don’t.  I didn’t discover head twirling, or untracking on my own.   I don’t think I have ever read that by tensing the muscles of my core and relaxing my posterior chain, I can encourage the horse to do the same.  Still the idea would never have occurred to me without reading True Collection and The Ring of Muscles.

I still believe as I stated above that  we commit an action to muscle memory by repetition.  Once it is fairly established then we don’t have to think about it anymore and that open’s the possibility to concentrate on feel and timing.  Don’t you believe that riding right with good skills and techniques opens the door to riding by feel?  Otherwise why would we bother with a forum, or books, or magazine subscriptions?


FROM DR. DEB: Once again, K.D., you have it backwards. With a person who already has moderately good skills in the saddle, as you do -- so that they are in no danger of falling off -- then that is almost all the technical skill that they will ever need. There will come refinements eventually, i.e. when you get your horses a LOT lighter and a LOT more supple than they now are; but you need to connect with your feel to get to that stage. Indeed it is because you haven't been willing to work on finding your inner self, the source of feel, that your horses are as thuddingly heavy and as bricklike and stiff to turn as they are. You want something better, yes -- and that is why YOU "bother" with this Forum, or books, or magazines. I am doing my utmost here to help you have what you say you want. But in order for me to help you, you must be willing to trust and therefore to obey me to the letter.

kcooper
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Posted: Wed Jun 1st, 2011 12:46 am
Hi MtnHorse,



I am new to this site also. When I first stumbled on to Dr Debs articles in Eclectic Horseman I was positively elated because her material regarding bio mechanics, conformation and how a horse was best to be ridden in light of how they are put together was exactly what I have been looking for. AND....how it is in the horses best interest not to be ridden or trained using gimmicks like tie downs ect. AND.....that we dont need a trainer or any other human imposed 'levels'. Music to my ears! But I must say that my heart sunk a little when I found out through reading many posts (very amusing I might add) that I, along with many other seemingly analytical break it down into steps kind of people, were not going to get the kind of answers we were looking for. Sigh. Well.....thankfully it only took me about 72 hours of going from reading and then trying things out with my horses to figure out that I was smart enough to use the information on this site and it was going to be many times over more help to me then just perfecting the sequence of steps to execute the desired manoeuvre. I have gone back now and read Dr Debs response to you about cogitation:



Cogitation, you see, is quite different from thinking, which is the clarity that comes from awareness. Cogitation is a form of obsessive drive that mimics thinking. However, it does not produce clarity but instead internal noise, and in a very bad case it can produce so much internal noise that the person cannot think or achieve clarity at all. They cannot "hear themselves think".

But to be fully present, as Ray wanted us to be, means first to silence the internal cogitator that worries about each-and-every-detail, and whose whole existence is fed by "should do thisses" and "should not do thats" -- in other words, the fear on the person's part that they "aren't doing it right."



At first I didnt even realize that I didnt understand what she said but I sure do now and I think I grasp a good 80% of the meaning and how it applys to me and what I do.

Have you read this thread?

http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=116&forum_id=1&highlight=raising+base+of+neck

and also this one

http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/view_topic.php?id=135&forum_id=1&highlight=raising+base+of+neck

Its the one that really helped me turn the corner away from my forceful (even though I am a female) analytical self. Three things specifically that I have read that have had the biggest impact so far.... 1) Where Dr Deb makes a visual reference to a slinky when talking about "the flow of weight and energy" and the when you "clash" the flow and energy you create turmoil.....and I am pretty convinced that I have caused a fair bit of turmoil by clashing weight and energy and I am also convinced that the turmoil I caused was the result of the "white noise" that I created being over analytical in trying to accomplish whatever I thought needed to be accomplished.....even though my only intention was to be better for my horse. 2)The mannering exercises (somewhere that I read) set me up to understand what being present actually entailed which I thought transferred rather well from the ground to the saddle and made me embarrassed that I hadn't had that level of communication all along with my horses when it was right there under my nose!!. and 3) they talk about a "Slow walk fast walk exercise" that I haven't even tried yet....will try tonight but I can already see the mountain of significance it holds (coupled with the ones I mentioned above) in building my/the riders timing and feel and thus.....our own answers to our analytical questions.
I would like to know what you think MtnHorse if you feel like responding. I think this is a good class to be a part of not solely for horsemanship skills, I can see the opportunity for some serious character building for myself anyways if I stick around.

And Dr Deb, I hope I have been playing by the rules.....I saw a reference in a post that there was a link to the do's and don'ts of the forum but I haven't found it (I have looked for things before that were there all along so...)

Thank You

Kim
MtnHorse
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Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 05:39 pm
kcooper wrote: I would like to know what you think MtnHorse if you feel like responding. I think this is a good class to be a part of not solely for horsemanship skills, I can see the opportunity for some serious character building for myself anyways if I stick around.


 

My apology for mistaking your gender, Kim.  I had planned to make it a he/she reference but forgot about it while writing the reply.

Anway I have a dubious character and kind of like it that way, so I am not to worried about building it.  As to what I think, I am attempting to be quiet and spend my time in study and active experimentation with my horses.  So I will (hopefully) politely decline to talk about what I think.

The best breathe is taken over the ears of a horse.  Good riding to you Kim.


DrDeb
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Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 07:09 pm
Mtn -- If you decline to say what you think -- as you have previously declined to even THINK about what you think -- then why do you come here? Many of your posts seem negative in some way -- i.e. rootedly stubborn, non-participatory, clinging to (or touting) your own little package of knowledge, or even mocking. How do you figure that this type of attitude will foster either the discussion ongoing here, or your own progress as a horse owner/trainer?

I want to remind you that this is not only my classroom, it is "a" classroom, in other words, a place where friends meet with a teacher for the purpose of increasing their knowledge and skills. If you don't want to participate, that's fine; but in that case, please find the door at the back of the room and go through it for once and all. This will be a courtesy to me and to everyone else.

Alternatively, you can go back to the very first reply that you were given, i.e. to say out loud, "I have an inner body," and then report back to us what the results of that have been for you and your horses. That's where we start with each student: at Square One. -- Dr. Deb

MtnHorse
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Posted: Thu Jun 2nd, 2011 08:58 pm
Well Dr Deb I am about flabbergasted.  Here is a quote from the first thread KCooper referred me to:

Dr Deb:

When I go to see my teachers, I don't say much, because I'm not there to try to justify myself or to teach them, or to offer them anything. I ask a few questions perhaps -- key questions -- and then I think for a long time about the answer that I receive. I chew it over quite a bit, because I believe in my teachers -- they are offering me something that might have more to it than would meet the eye just at first. [End Quote]

 

Granted, I have tried to participate.  Especially, but not exclusively when the comments are in my own thread and seem directed at me. It would seem rude to not and I consider it reasonable to articulate the way I see things.  I do not mean to be negative but stubborn perhaps.  It is my nature.  

When I told you what I think you told me to stop being defensive and then ask me questions I can’t really answer without sounding defensive.  I am put in another double bind of having to choose between being someone who can not think at all or an observer.  An observer is someone who watches TV.  He sits in the stands.  I decided as a child that was not the kind of person I want to be.  The only option left to me is to decline to play.  As a teacher you surely knew this was a possibility.

So that brings us back to the beginning.  I have since your request repeated out loud when feasible and under my breathe when in public the saying “I have an inner body.”    There is nothing to report.  What am I supposed to say?  Sure there have been changes in my understanding and in my horses as I practice concepts like head twirling or Schaffer’s groundwork.  I could try to reason out why your request hasn’t had an effect but that would go back to being defensive.  And in saying the above I am back again to sounding negative.

Most people would probably just quit like you have asked me to but now we’re back to that stubborn thing again.  Perhaps the way it feels to be consistently put in double binds is the lesson I need to learn. 

Blue Flame
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Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 12:57 am
As I'm still getting the feel of this classrom, I hope that this post falls under the category of discussion without interfering with the actual lesson. As always, please delete if inappropriate.

MtnHorse wrote:
Perhaps the way it feels to be consistently put in double binds is the lesson I need to learn.


I'm not sure if this has any relevence here but your phrase "double bind" for some reason brought to mind the practice of contemplating a "Zen Koan".

Speaking personally, I learned through martial arts and meditation that you do not always arrive at the answer you seek via the route that you expected to take to get there. Further, the journey to the answer affects the depth of understanding of that answer. Some things need to be experienced rather than merely described.

I assume that Dr. Deb's intention is that you arrive at a level of understanding that goes beyond that of a "surface worker" - of which there is a distinct possibility of occurring if you are just given the purely physical or mechanical answer to your original question. Instead of being given that kind of answer, you are being given the means to discover it for yourself at a much deeper level. This might make it seem that you are being led to an answer unrelated to the question you originally asked - but only because the answer is on a deeper level than originally concieved of when you asked the question.

As with a Koan, the answer is not given by the teacher, but discovered by the student, for the experience gained during the process of discovery is the whole point. Trust that there is something to discover here. Dr. Deb is not one to play games with you or be deceptive - exposing the cogitator (what some might call ego or self) and knowing it for what it really is, is one of the most profound lessons one can learn.

I'm really not trying to be cryptic here, just saying that there are many layers to understanding, hence your intial responses are at a certain level. Try to discover the other/deeper levels - they are subtle and quiet and often not easily put into words.

I'll end and then hold my tongue with this final quote given me by a past mentor.

"The map is not the territory."

Best wishes,

Sandy
Daniela LeBlanc
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 04:59 am
MtnHorse wrote:  When I told you what I think you told me to stop being defensive and then ask me questions I can’t really answer without sounding defensive. Most people would probably just quit like you have asked me to but now we’re back to that stubborn thing again.  Perhaps the way it feels to be consistently put in double binds is the lesson I need to learn. 

Nobody puts you in any kind of bind - you do it yourself. It's the same as a person saying they are being taken advantage of - you can't be taken advantage of unless you allow it.

MtnHrse - it's not what you know, it's what you don't know that will drive you forward - searching, finding, growing, listening, quieting, stilling your mind and body. And before you respond, do all of those things. It might cause you to write a very different response. As a matter of fact, write out what you think when you read Dr Deb's response, and come back to it a week later, write it again. See what the difference is. I'd bet, you'd find a huge difference.

At least I hope so

Daniela

DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:32 am
Mtn -- That's an excellent response from Daniella just above. I also have a further suggestion for you, since you say the "I have an inner body" mantra did nothing that you could discern.

So here's a question that I am sure you can answer, and would be willing to tell us about. When's the last time you got stepped on by a horse? How long ago was that? And what were the circumstances in which it occurred?

Let's hear all about that -- it's bound to be a good story. -- Dr. Deb

MtnHorse
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 09:11 pm
I have heard that nobody does anything to you idea before.  It came from people who were using it to justify their poor parenting.  I think horses teach us quite quickly that it is a very superficial way to look at interpersonal relationships.  You do something and the horse responds.  It is the same way with people.

 

Getting stepped on as in a painful way:  Last time I remember was back in the 1990's. I was scratching a horse that was hobbled in a high mountain meadow and he leaned into me until he lost his balance, stepped out and got me.  Wasn't really bad but I could feel it later.

I had a horse bump the back of my foot last weekend as we were walking down a trail.  He is a younster that belongs to a friend and I was wearing mocassins on muddy, rocky ground so I probably wasn't walking very evenly. 

DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 10:12 pm
OK, Mtn, I see that you're pretty experienced around horses. Nobody that IS experienced lets themselves get stepped on very often!

And by what you said, when the hobbled horse stepped on you, it was kind of an accident -- maybe close quarters or it was dark, and you just didn't see it coming or you couldn't move in time.

So here's where I'm going with this. Like most experienced horse people, you don't get stepped on very often. Nonetheless, I bet you can remember lots of times when the horse ALMOST stepped on you, but on those occasions you moved your foot out of the way just in time.

Now I want you to think about those times, and report back -- on those occasions when you "almost" got stepped on, were you looking at your foot/feet or at the horse's foot/feet, and did you avoid being stepped on because you were actually looking at the feet? Were you actually looking at the feet, or somewhere else? -- Dr. Deb

MtnHorse
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 10:28 pm
I would say as best I can recall that its the horses body mass that lets me know I needed to react.  I try to take advantage of  peripheral vision so its not like I have to be looking directly at the horse.
DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 10:44 pm
Yes, exactly, Mtn. That's how I do it too, and I think everybody else does it that way too, or else they would get stepped on a lot more often.

So here's the news I have for you. THIS approach actually worked. What you are describing -- your ability to read the horse's body, and to use your peripheral vision in such a manner as to tell you ahead of time what the horse "might do before he done what he did" IS WHAT 'FEEL' IS.

As I suspected, you have the same 'feel' as anyone else. We can now, if you wish, begin to build on this realization to help you figure out how the aids really work -- which is, by feel. They do not work mechanically, any more than your ability to 'read' the horse's body is merely mechanical; reality cuts a lot deeper than that.

You see, a person can be willing or unwilling to explore all the potentials that are actually in them. So some people go on trying to deny that there is anything deeper than the merely mechanical, but because they deny it, they're missing half the data. There was a famous ecclesiastic -- the Bishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, I think it actually was -- who said, "I get tired of talking with Atheists because all they can talk about is God."

So you can write back again and ask how to get started on turning by feel, and I'll be willing to help you do that. This will then put us back on the path of answering your original question. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

MtnHorse
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Posted: Sun Jun 5th, 2011 01:05 am
By all means, if you can afford the time, how do I turn by feel?  And let's stay with left out of tradition.  Perhaps then if its by feel a better question might be what does the horses body do when I turn left?  Is it the same at different gaits or angles?
DrDeb
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Posted: Sun Jun 5th, 2011 07:10 am
Mtn, what the horse's body does when you turn left is explained in detail in the free download that's available through our main website. Click on the 'home' button above, and then click on 'knowledge base'. Then click on 'Lessons from Woody' and 'True Collection'. When you click on those titles, very quickly you will receive a .PDF document that you can either read on screen or else print out to paper.

How to turn by feel is also explained in these same writings. What is illustrated there, in terms of riding by feel, is what 'to hook on' means, and how the Birdie and the Thread can be used to focus the horse and draw its attention forward. However, the very same principle applies when turning; instead of drawing the horse to the front, one draws its Birdie to the side.

There is also a great deal more about this in two other places -- one for about $50 is the "Birdie Book", and the other for $25 is a 2-CD audio set called "Birdie Basics." So for less than the price of a single private riding lesson, you can read or hear all about it.

And after you review these materials, even though these subjects have been discussed about a million times in this Forum, you have the privilege of writing back in to ask your further questions. I am sure you will study the materials carefully and thoroughly. Once you've had time to go through them, so that the concepts are clear in your mind, it will be time for me to propose some practical experiments for you to try with your horses. -- Dr. Deb




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