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DrDeb
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Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:07 am
Dear Kim -- OK, thanks very much for the clarification. Sometimes, terms are just "in the air" -- almost inevitable in a way that a person would catch hold of them. Thus with "wall effect."

And Indy, you are correct, I do talk about this in "The Birdie Book", and maybe Kim would like to look at that.

Nonetheless I intend also to answer at least part of the question here. To be very clear, "wall effect" never draws a horse into the wall, or a barrel, or any other object; rather it repels the horse from it. It is as if the horse feels that there is a force-field emanating from the rail or the wall. This is why so many riders have trouble getting their horse to "go to the rail" at the ordinary type of horse show.

As to the barrel in a barrel race -- especially the first barrel -- yes indeed, the majority of horses do lean in toward the barrel. But this is the opposite of "wall effect". It is due to a more basic cause.

Let us, therefore, discuss the two different scenarios that each have their own separate cause. The cause of "wall effect" is not really that there is a force-field. Instead, it is caused by the horse's beliefs and feelings about the rail or wall. His own mother, you see, told him not to get near those things; especially, not to get his hips near those things, for fear of getting his hipbone hooked or perhaps a cut to the thigh.

Moreover, a horse's body, when seen from the top, is not shaped like an oval or a rectangle, but rather like an arrowhead. It is a long triangle, narrower in front but wider behind. What the horse therefore tries to do when he goes on the arena track, parallel to the wall, is he tries to keep the outside contour of his body parallel to the wall. However, because his body is triangular, this means that his midline is not parallel to the wall, but rather it will be angled so that the front end -- his head, neck, and the center of his chest -- is closer to the wall, while his tail will be farther away.

This orientation, along with the fact that he fears the wall in a way, will cause him to not want to curve his ribcage out toward the wall. He will, instead, curve it to the inside -- thus causing himself to move "wrongside out" with respect to the direction he's moving in the arena. By this I mean that the horse will have an anatomically left bend through the length of his spine when travelling to the right of the arena, and an anatomically right bend through the length of his spine when travelling to the left of the arena.

The net result is that the horse's ribcage will bulge toward the center of the arena. This means also that the horse will be carrying more weight upon the pair of feet that are toward the inside of the arena, i.e. on the right pair of feet if he's going to the right in the arena. This in turn will induce him to want to step a little bit to the right every time he takes a step, especially with the right hind leg. As this is a willy-nilly imitation of a leg-yield, pretty soon the rider finds that the horse has "faded" or "fallen in" off the track -- the horse will start cutting the corners in the arena, and she will have difficulty getting him to go out toward the track or the rail, because he will instead, so long as he turns right, keep trying to spiral in, so that he makes smaller and smaller circles.

There is a way to fix this completely. An expert rider can do it in about three seconds; students who are just learning may take a couple of weeks to get it put together the first time. After you learn it, however, it's easy -- like everything else about riding.

Now we need to talk about what the deal is with the barrel. There the situation seems to be the opposite; the horse "falls in" toward the barrel. The reason for this is that the rider actually, when there is no barrel around and she is "just practice riding", has the same problem as described above. In neither case does the rider understand how to make her horse carry himself, and her, straight. The barrel horse is "wrongside out" with respect to the track that goes around the barrel.

I've never seen a slow barrel horse. If all the barrel horses at the Oakdale Rodeo were lined up across a field and somebody shot off a gun and they all started and ran at top speed 1/4-mile to the opposite side of the field, they would all arrive within one body-length of each other, maybe less -- a matter of fractions of a second. But far more than this -- whole seconds, multiple seconds -- are lost when the horse goes around any of the barrels "wrongside out", because this forces the animal to have to cut a much wider circle around the barrel. Sometimes the wrongside-out horse even runs right past the first barrel.

What "crookedness" is, is explained in the "Lessons from Woody" and "True Collection" articles posted under the "Knowledge Base" section of our main website at http://www.equinestudies.org. I suggest that you download both these papers and study them -- that would be the first step. They explain what crookedness is, and the anatomical basis for that. Then they tell you how to fix it.

Briefly, you fix it by addressing the horse's inside hind leg. This is the beginning of the process of suppling, and the beginning of the process of straightening. Another word for this action is "untracking". Untracking is discussed in detail in my "Eclectic Horseman" series -- you might also want to look at that or subscribe to that. You'll need a subscription by this point that goes back about two years.

When you have read and studied these materials, you can write back in here, Kim, with any further questions you may have. As I mentioned, the solution to your problems is actually rather easy, but it's practically impossible if the person does not have the basic tools. That's what the articles give. You're correct to say that DeCarpentry is excellent, and that neither the typical barrel-race school nor the typical reining school will give you much help on this. Here is the solution you've been looking for -- just a little work on your part, and you'll have it in hand. -- Dr. Deb

 


kcooper
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Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 06:56 pm
Dr Deb - Thank You!
I am so glad to get the reasons for the "wall effect" rather than a band aid approach to dealing with it.

Question: Did his mother really teach him in some way to keep clear of such things? I ask specifically because we are expecting a foal in the next three weeks and while our pasture is huge and there are no trap corners and the wire is tight I have been fretting a bit about the barb wire which starts at the 2nd strand from the bottom, the bottom wire is thick smooth wire that is electrified. So I would be relieved to know that his mother (who is a smart old gal) would have a part in the education and it would not be learned completely by instinct or worse by trial and error.

After reading your reply above followed by Woody (again) you have cleared up some confusion I had regarding the HQ's. This confusion had been growing steadily the more I searched elsewhere for the answers.
I have always believed that the horse needed to take the shape of the circle with the head, shoulders and hips being square to the track. What I really had backwards in my brain and my feel was that I thought 'untracking' might be the same as or lead to 'dis engaging' of the HQ's when in fact the opposite is true, it is "The Masters Way' of engaging the HQ's!! And it makes perfect sense to me now that the inside hind must come and step under the navel because if the hips are square to the track you are on then that is the only place logically for it to go without having the HQ's derail themselves from the track. The result of the derailment for me anyways was that the horse quits propelling itself forward and dumps on his FQ's. I got in my head not that long ago that I maybe needed a bit of a "haunches in" to make perfect circles but I am glad to know that that is not the case.
(Have I grasped the concept correctly??)

As for the 'draw' to the barrel: that cleared up the minute I redirected my focus to where we were headed instead of the object we were headed around. Good horse/bad rider :)

Also, after re-reading "Woody" I realize that there are two reasons for our leaning, the lesser of the two being the wall effect. This 11 yr old running QH leans to the left. Prominent mostly at the lope. I have gotten him soft at the walk and trot to the left while the lope remains stiffer. Coincidentally the left fore is the hoof that is the most under run and contracted. I have also observed that there is this ever-so-slight straightness on the right side of the hoof on both hooves and as well there is an ever-so-slight flare to the left. This horse had 58 starts (a lot for a QH) on the track and they did not retire him because he wasn't winning or because he had gotten hurt, he was to old! So I am guessing that his left lean comes from years of racing counter clockwise around the track with the horse pushing onto the bit and leaning into the circle. I believe they lean in because this give them the vantage point to be the most aggressive with how far they reach with their inside fore leg??

If I have understood enough correctly so that I can progress into attempting to 'untrack' and actually truly engage the HQ's I was wondering if I was only to initiate it when I felt that the horse has leaned in or was going to lean in because we were approaching the point where he always does because of the wall effect??

Thanks again
Kim
kcooper
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Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:16 pm
I wanted to point out one other thing.
The pendulum effect in the horsemanship area that is due to the lack of a paradigm IS enough to make you want to throw your saddle and boots away and just have your horses as lawn ornaments!!
Since I saw that Dave Elliot is on your approved to mention list I thought I would share a story.
From the first day I took my horse to him I new that I was on the track to something better (and real) for my horse and us as a team. But a friend who went to see Dave told me that he told her that their riding was the cause of the horses physical problems and that all he could do was keep readjusting the poor horse until it was being ridden properly. On the surface being told 'you ride wrong' is insulting....but it is NOT more insulting that having a practitioner keep taking your money on your monthly maintenance visits!! Whether they are intending to hose you or not. I imagine they are just trying to make a living doing what they love but with out the proper education.
I now really have a feel for and a better understanding of Dr Debs strong opposition to the fancily marketed, pyramid scheme gurus.
While I haven't had the pleasure of being insulted about my riding I have had the displeasure of spending alot of money trying to fix the checkerboard of physical issue my poor kept having due to my ineptness or lack of influence by people who grasp the whole concept.
I relate this whole 'awakening' experience to one of those pictures that has the geometrical pattern of colours on it that you are supposed to stare at 'somehow' until a very detailed image of say a rhinoceros jumps right out at you like it was plainly there all along but you just didn't know how to screw your eyes to see it and then once you can do it is clear as a bell.
kcooper
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Posted: Fri Jun 3rd, 2011 07:57 pm
Dr Deb,
I thought I should mention that before I attepmt 'untracking' from the saddle I am on my way out of the house right now to first get it figured from the ground ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Kim
Blue Flame
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 02:32 am
Thank you for this thread. It is starting to dissipate the fog I've had about a seemingly contradictory statement made on DVD by a well known instructor from the UK.

While riding on the long side rail, she highlighted her use of the inside leg - mentioned about horses being wider at the back than at the front - then made the seemingly contradictory statement, "For there can be no straightness without bend".

What she didn't mention was the wall effect - and now I have read this thread, I'm finally beginning to understand what on earth she was on about :-)

Thanks,

Sandy
DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:21 am
Kim -- You may thank Blue Flame for a good comment here. Yes; when in the arena particularly, there can be no straightness without bend.

Kim, you are still completely mixed up. This is not unusual when someone is just beginning to get a concept straightened out in their mind, get the picture right. Let me take your posts one point at a time:

(1) Being told by an expert, such as Dave E. is (both a good osteopathic practitioner and quite a good rider and trainer) that "you ride wrong" is not an insult, and is never meant as an insult. It is, instead, just a fact. Immature people will often take being told "you ride wrong" as an insult, however -- that's because immature people are more interested in defending their little paper-sack of knowledge than they are in trading their paper sack up for the barn full of knowledge that is being offered to them by the expert. The way to begin that trade-up process is not necessarily to throw their paper sack away, but for the person to admit that it really does not cover all the bases. Immature people often can't bring themselves to admit this, however; instead, they have a little voice down inside of them that says: 'you can't tell me what to do', 'I paid for this with lessons or clinics with so-and-so and so it must be right', or 'I'll train my horse myself, thank-you-very-much.' But you understand, Kim, that there is such a thing as universal standards, and until and unless the person is willing to at least try to meet those standards, she will not only remain ineffective, she will also look like a total boob to everybody who does know about and adhere to the standards.

(2) As to your foal learning from its dam: of course the dam will do everything in her power to protect her foal. She will indeed tell the foal to stay away from the fence, and you will see her physically intervene, putting her body between the foal and the fence, so as to prevent the foal from getting close to the fence. Nevertheless, if it were my foal, I would go to any amount of expense to get rid of EVERY SINGLE BIT of barbed wire that would be anywhere that any of my horses could touch. Barbed wire, especially low to the ground, is extremely dangerous. Once a horse slashes a tendon or damn near cuts a hoof off because he's gotten tangled in it, are your apologies and regrets at that point going to do the horse any good? Or on a practical level -- you've paid good money for a stud fee and the vet care and feeding for the pregnant mare. Why would you put the foal's whole future at risk by placing it in an enclosure fenced with barbed wire?

(3) Your horse LEANS to the RIGHT and therefore prefers to TURN or BEND to the LEFT. The evidence you present for this is: (a) the left forefoot is the smaller and more contracted of the two, indicating that this is the foot the horse typically puts less weight upon. Therefore he puts more weight upon the right forefoot, that is to say, because he typically leans to the right. (b) The hoofs' upright walls are on the right side, the low-sloping or "flared" walls are on the left. This also indicates a right lean. Re-read Woody to review this material: when a horse bends to the left, he must lean to the right, meaning he puts more weight upon the right pair of feet.

(4) 'Disengaging the hindquarters' is the ignorant term used by one of the well-self-advertised horsemanship gurus. 'Disengagement' is an equivalent of untracking; in other words, the two words mean the same thing. They both mean that the inside hind leg steps (more or less deeply) under the body-shadow. The problem with the term 'disengagement' is that it was coined by the well-self-advertised man, a person who is utterly ignorant of the existing body of equestrian literature and of world standards of horsemanship. In other words, 'disengagement' is absolutely the wrong term, a very poor addition to the vocabulary, a word that is unnecessary and should not be used by anyone. The root reason for this is that the first author to write very clearly about untracking (Francois Robichon de la Gueriniere, an 18th-century French master) referred to the oblique step of the inside hind leg as either 'untracking' or 'engagement of the hindquarter'. His terminology has several centuries of priority. Thus, to untrack is to engage the hindquarter -- not disengage it. I would thus prefer to hear no one use the term 'disengagement' any longer, and I will continue to correct students' vocabulary and use of terminology every time they screw up on this, just as your High School English teacher corrected you every time you said, 'them boys is playing ball outside'.

(5) Haunches-in is an exercise which should be taught to every pleasure-riding horse, and that category would include barrel racing horses. However, you Kim are very far at the present time from being able to teach it cogently or use it correctly. This is because haunches-in belongs to Class III lateral work (half-pass family), whereas at the present time you are just beginning to get a handle on Class I lateral work (leg-yield family). As your grasp of untracking improves and your horse becomes able to untrack on the ground one step at a time, you can move into using untracking to produce the exercise called expanding the circle. It is by means of the correct execution of this exercise that the rider teaches the horse to carry itself straight, and also overcomes 'wall effect', and also gets their barrel horse to curve properly to the line upon which it is being ridden around the barrel. It is because the clinician whom Blue Flame saw understands this that she said, "there can be no straightness without bend."

(6) You have asked essentially, "when should I ask my horse to untrack." As you come to understand the saying, "there can be no straightness without bend," you will realize that the honest answer to the question is that there is no moment whatsoever when you are not asking one or the other of the horse's hind legs to untrack. However -- the 'asking' is not always, or not even usually, of a very great amount; it absolutely must be there, but the amount that the horse brings the inside hind leg in under the body-shadow often needs to be less than the width of a single hoof. Your job right now, Kim, is to learn how to do the following things:

               (a) Ride an accurate 10-M circle at a walk. This means you'll get so that you can ride a circle that is perfectly round, and also that you can ride it two or three times and, each time, go exactly over your same tracks without missing.

                (b) Produce this figure entirely from LIGHT touches with your legs, with very little use of the reins -- almost no pressure upon the reins. The bend is to be created by your legs asking the horse's inside hind leg to step under. The horse's bend 'unfurls' from the rear.

                 (c) Once you can ride an accurate 10-M circle at a walk, then to increase the depth of the horse's oblique step enough that the oblique step causes the animal to leg-yield outward while still moving forward in a curve, so that he "inflates" the 10-M circle to a 20-M circle.

                  (d) Do this and then change hind legs, so that if you began on the left hand/understepping left hind legs, you then change to the right hand because the right hind leg becomes the understepping leg. This should, at first, be done by 'drifting' as explained by Mike Schaffer in his EBook 'Riding in the Moment', or as explained by Buck Brannaman at every clinic and in 'The Eclectic Horseman' magazine. It is also explained in one of my 'How Horses Work' articles in the same magazine. Please avail yourself of these inexpensive resources.

(7) One last thought, Kim. Q: How many barrels are there in a barrel race?

Correct answer: there are ZERO barrels in a barrel race -- until you hit one. And the winner of the barrel race does not hit the barrel, does she? Therefore, the winner of the barrel race is doing one thing, and one thing only: riding the PATTERN while ignoring the barrels. And if the pattern curves, then your horse had better be able to curve, too. That's what untracking, leg-yielding, 'drifting', and circular figures are there to install. -- Dr. Deb

 

 

kcooper
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 04:37 pm
Dr Deb,

Thank You for clearing up 'dis engaging' vs 'untracking/engainging'. The last thing I want to do is 'dis engage' my horses hq's as far as circles or barrel work goes.



I actually down loaded the back issues to How Horses Work two weeks ago and have been practicing and then re reading. I ordered the Birdie Book at that time too but its not here yet. I would not waste you time or the other peoples time on this forum, it is very obvious by browsing old threads what you need to read to get yourself up to speed. Fully grasping the concepts might not be as obvious until you shed all that you thought you knew!



I just meant to say that I appreciate D.E. for telling a person plainly where the bear hides in the bush instead of saying "this is going to take a lot of visits but we should be able to make him better".

I think if I was really immature I wouldn't have dove into Academic Education and recognised it's significance!! But I do understand and try to first recognise and then fight the nature that a person has to try and protect and defend their little lump of knowledge. I was trying to say that it is hard because there are people who really seem to have what works....but in time you find that most only have what works on the surface because it is neatly marketed.



Ok, I just need two things cleared up if you don't mind.....



This past week I have been practicing untracking successfully on a 20m circle. Paying careful attention to the footfall of his inside hind and putting as little pressure as needed to step obliquely under himself just as he is lifting it of the ground for the step. But I was also twirling the head at the same time. It seemed quite easy for us and it felt great.



In your instructions to me specifically #6) b,c, and d ...... am I to understand that I attempt NO head twirling and get the bend in my horses body solely from my inside leg until further notice? or until I can make perfect 10m circle leg yielding to 20m perfect circles?

and lastly..

You say 'ride a circle that is perfectly round'.... I've got that part but as I have completed my circle and am looking at the last laps tracks ....I realise that the inside hind is going to be on a slightly (like a coupe of inches) larger diameter of a circle, am I to be concerned with what the outside hind does at all while I maintain that circle?

(I do realize when we are leg yielding to the larger circle that the ouside hind will be reaching)



I see that I am going to have to research about untracking more because I do not fully understand HOW getting the HQs to track slightly outside of the FQs creates engagement.

I ran at the provincial finals last year and got to watch nearly 400 barrel runs and the horses that kick their HQs to the outside of the track their FQs are on (and these are usually the people with tight tie downs on) loose their momentum and the horse has to quickly realign on the backside of the barrel to take off again.



Thank You for taking the time to straighten me out!! and I am sorry if I appear 'thick' in the head.
Kim
DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 07:58 pm
Kim, by no means was I implying that you are immature. Those comments are intended to be of a general nature, a general observation about how the world is and how students can sometimes be.

As to untracking, you are still completely mixed up. Untracking does not cause the hindquarters to track a larger circle, or to track outside of, the forelimbs.

All it does is ask the inside hind leg to step under the body-shadow. This causes the distance between the footprints made by the two hind legs to become narrower. It also causes the horse to shift its weight from the inside half of its body to the outside half.

And yes, you can twirl the horse's head, as needed, during the execution of any maneuver whatsoever. The instructions intend merely to get you to use the least rein POSSIBLE.

You need to go up for a visit to Josh Nichol in Edmonton, as soon as possible. There all your questions would be answered, and your confusions cleared up. -- Dr. Deb

kcooper
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 08:05 pm
Yes!
Thank You!
I am seeing Josh this coming Tuesday for a week!
The distance between the back legs gets narrower, now I see. I also found some of the answers after reading How the Horse Works "Untracking" for yet another time

Thank You for your patience!
DrDeb
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Posted: Sat Jun 4th, 2011 09:32 pm
OK, Kim, that's really great. You will have lots of fun as well as learning! -- Dr. Deb
Blue Flame
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Posted: Tue Jun 7th, 2011 11:24 am
I have been reading through all the old posts in this forum and found the following posted by Dr. Deb on this page http://esiforum.mywowbb.com/forum1/238-2.html

DrDeb wrote:
. . . . This is the reason, if you read Nuno Oliveira, you'll hear him say he never practiced leg-yielding. In this, he is being a cagey old bird. You can watch videos of Nuno schooling horses at YouTube, and there you may think you are watching him do what are plainly leg-yields. But they aren't, because he is always asking (and often obtaining) that release through the midsection of the horse's body which, when it manifests, instantly transmutates any leg-yield into a shoulder-in.

All students should think deeply about this as they practice the crucially important quarter-turn which occurs every time they pass through a corner in the arena. This arc should never, but never, be sloppily or thoughtlessly executed....there is an opportunity there, that occurs nowhere else in the hall, because in the corner uniquely, the "pressure" of the rail or wall drops away....hence this is where the horse is likely first to get the idea that you want him to give his ribs to the outside. When you feel him do this, then the next step is to encourage him to "trust the rail" that is coming up -- trust that he's not going to be asked to rub on it or catch a rib on a protruding nail, so as to hurt himself; and also, to break through the illusion that every horse has that the rail is projecting a force-field. The horse must be willing to project his ribcage into that force-field. If the rider is unaware that all horses think there is a force-field coming out of every fence and every fencepost, of every kind, everywhere, then this memo may serve as notice! . . . .


So it is evident that we can use the wall effect to our advantage. This brings to mind something else the well known UK instructor I mentioned earlier elucidated on DVD . . . while teaching a horse to extend in the arena, she would time the request to extend so as to utilise the effect of space opening up in front of the horse, say from a circle in a corner opening out into the long diagonal. I have seen several other horsemen use the effect of corners or objects to their advantage as well where the wall effect helps make it more obvious to the horse what is being requested. For example, backing out of a corner along one side and turning the horse in the backup, so that its FQ had to pass between the rail and its HQ. I guess this makes it clear to the horse that in order to effect the turn it must first move its HQ away from the rail to make room for the FQ to come through. THis little exercise seemed to help the horse sit back on the HQ before swinging the FQ over. Then, as the FQ came through, the horse was asked to move out just as the space was opening up in front of it . . . so much going on in one seemingly simple manouvre - and wall effect being used to the great advantage of both the horse and rider.

One day, I had the opportunity to watch some barrel racing. I was lucky enough to be standing next to a very experienced horseman who talked me through the various aspects of it all, including how a horse that might look slower but makes tighter and more upright turns will actually be faster through the course. The main thing I noticed was that at the end of the arena, so that the horse was facing it as it crossed the finish line, was a huge wooden wall. I remember being impressed at the horses going from a full gallop into a very lively and straight backup and how the big wall might help with that aspect.

Somewhat similar to the huge wall, I have seen horsemen/instructors/clinicians have students ride to/at the tree. This seemed to work great for putting a stop on a horse, but I probably am missing the deeper meaning of this particular exercise.

I bet if we really think about it, we could realise just how much we might be fighting or using wall effect without being mindful of it. It goes to show how much we might use our environment to help set things up to make it easier for the horse to find 'it', whatever that may be.

Sandy
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Posted: Tue Jun 7th, 2011 03:10 pm
This is a very interesting thread. I have experienced just the opposite as most of the posters here. I have found that my horses LIKE the rail and will drift towards it. I find it is interesting because I think we influence the horses the way WE feel about things. For instance, I watch my young horses and if they are out alone, they will lay down next to a stump, or fence or whatever other object might simulate the body of another horse or herd of horses. Who has not watched a foal sleeping in the shade of its mothers shadow? We all know that horses get comfort from a herd situation. When I begin leg yielding, I find the rail to act like a magnet and my horses naturally want to drift toward the rail. Of course, at first, I use this to my advantage and soften and allow that to happen. Horses learn from the release and this drifting towards the rail is what I release for, having observed what horses do when alone. BUT, that is MY perception and I run with it, and it helps me and my horses get together in learning the simple concept of leg yielding (on the circle and on the diagonal TO the wall.) 

Now, aside from the above, if there is something spooky, scarey on the other side of that fence that might take away my horses attention from me, then I have to convince my horse that it is alright and to stay with me and give my horses confidence but I have already built in some communication (through the release) before that situation ever arises.........in my groundwork, (stepping under and softening the ribcage encouraging the horse to "let go", in the ribcage and poll and thus it`s fears) before ever being mounted; this being the foundation to all mounted work.

But the point that I wanted to make is that.....the fence, the rail, the wall can be used as a tool, a good thing, it is all in how the PERSON thinks of it and he transfers that to their horse, using the horses natural inclination. 

Just an observation.

Blue Flame
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Posted: Tue Jun 7th, 2011 08:16 pm
Gem,

Interesting indeed. So you are saying that your horse/s are moving into a release that they have learned comes when next to the rail?

I guess this might be like a horse being drawn to its pedestal, except that it comes while still moving. I've mentioned elsewhere on this forum about the small wooden bridge that I had to remove from the arena after rewarding my horse for standing on it . . . since he would draw towards the bridge quite strongly. It was a place of release for him.

An idea for an experiment came to mind after reading your post which I may try one day. I may set up some parallel ground poles and have the line of poles on one side shorter than the other. Then I'll take the horse between the poles and see what his tendency is once the poles on one side fall away.

Sandy

Gem
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Posted: Tue Jun 7th, 2011 10:51 pm
Actually even if one does not practice this type of horsemanship; where the horses learns to... because they are ALLOWED TO "search" for the release, leg yielding to the wall will still work where the wall becomes like a magnet, simply because while the horse learns that leg yielding is work, it finds its own release when it gets to the wall because it is allowed to go straight (forwards), which is easier than going sideways and forwards. Also, riders stop working on making the horse go sideways, relax their aids and just let the horse go when they get to the wall.  A lot of riders just don`t think it out in these terms but when a person practices this type of horsemanship, we tend to be more observant and ask ourselves "Now why did THAT happen?".

When working my young horse over cavaletti at liberty in the arena (60 x 130, just to let you know that I did not have him in a small space where I could have more easily tried to control him) I found that I could encourage my horse`s enthusiasm (joy) for jumping by releasing (rounding my shoulders, letting my air out, softening my eyes) to the cavaletti when he would focus on the line of small jumps (3)  I did an experiment and turned him out in the arena the next day and stood on the sideline without any direction from me. Funny thing, he headed straight for the cavaletti and jumped the whole line, as if "drawn by a magnet", as if he was just waiting for the moment when he would get the chance to jump them again.  And with lovely forward ears up focus and energy. A joy to behold for me but still, fun for him too.   He taught me a lot about what is possible that day through a simple release to something we want the horse to like.   To this day (2 years later) he still loves jumping only now the jumps are actually 3` with tarps draped over and water underneath etc. Amazing how we can mold their minds!

DrDeb
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Posted: Wed Jun 8th, 2011 04:41 am
Yes, Gem, a horse can learn anything, and they always learn best from freedom and release. This is a principle of this school of horsemanship.

Harry Whitney gets horses to come to him for mounting in much the same way you describe. He starts the horse in the middle of the arena, and, using a curved whipstock, or else a short whipstock with a short lash, reaches over their back and taps them on the opposite side, while at the same time providing space and release on the side where he is standing. Soon the horse will readily step toward him.

When this starts happening, he dispenses with actually tapping them on the opposite side, but merely reaches over "as if" he were going to tap them. The principle behind this is that no horse in the world has ever moved forward, or sideways, or any other direction IN RESPONSE TO pressure -- what they move from is not the pressure, but the anticipation of pressure. They would certainly prefer to move in whatever way they understand you want them to, if offered the opportunity to do that on no pressure! This is why our elderly teacher was called 'The Master of From Zero to One'.

This is how the aids may be reduced to such a minimum that they are not physical pressures at all any more, but merely ideas or 'shaped energy' that is shared between the horse and rider.

Finally, all Harry has to do is be anywhere in the arena, or seated up on the arena fence, and raise the stick in the air. He can be fifty feet from the horse and raise that stick, and the horse sees it and understands it and will come to him moving almost straight sideways, until the horse is standing next to the fence, from which Harry can mount him.

What I am saying here is that your responses cut deeper than the mere description of physical aids for expanding the circle/shoulder-in which I have given above. If the animal is reluctant to go to the rail -- for whatever reason in its personal history -- then of course we will help him round his body to the outside and step toward the rail. Every intelligent rider will also, of course, apply the principles you are describing and (1) endeavor to reduce the aid on the inside of the horse's bend to the minimum, while (2) ensuring that the outside leg or any other outside aid is neither blocking, nor pulling, the horse toward the rail. Thus the horse finds that the rail or track becomes the direction toward which he obtains release and the most ease. Your observation is also true that moving forward is easier for the horse than moving laterally, and this can certainly be used to help the horse enjoy being on the track, but should also be used at any other time or place for the same purpose, as a handy way to offer release/reward for curves or lateral work well done. -- Dr. Deb




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