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Re-introducing the bit
 Moderated by: DrDeb  
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Joined: Mon Jul 2nd, 2007
Posts: 27
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 Posted: Sun Apr 24th, 2016 03:25 pm
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Dear Ms. Eithne: This is Dr. Deb replying from Australia, under a different name than usual because I'm borrowing somebody else's machine. This will force me to be brief, but I didn't want to let you or the others think that a non-reply implied non-interest. Far from it, it's just because I'm out of town!

So, very briefly, a couple of things:

(1) Our longtime students will be chuckling at your reply, because it's such a good summary or re-statement of things they hear virtually every time I get a chance to teach them:

-- Ray Hunt said, "always reward the smallest change and the slightest try."

-- Ray Hunt said, "Never ride the horse right up into trouble" (i.e., turn aside BEFORE you get to the point in approaching a worrisome object or situation that the horse has to take measures on his own to protect himself).

-- Tom Dorrance said to me about ten gazillion times, "Debbie, you need to be EARLIER" or "Debbie, you might have come in there to support Painty Horse SOONER". Or he would say to students, "do it BEFORE it happens". And of course Ray Hunt, putting this his own inimitable way, said: "It ain't what's what happens before what happens happens."

(2) Second thing is that much of the first portion of your latest post is "visually" very similar to the diagrams in George Leonard's excellent book, "Mastery". I recommend this to everybody, and oddly enough, it's been the theme of my trip Down Under this year -- i.e., why so few people in any walk of life, but particularly so few involved with horses, ever achieve mastery. Leonard talks about the Dabbler, the Obsessive, the Hacker, and "the quest for endless peaks or climaxes". The latter I summarize as the Fantasist -- I tell my students that the greatest obstacle to mastery is fantasy. And what is fantasy? Dreams and ambitions magically fulfilled without practice.

So what Leonard says is: you have to fall in love with the plateau, because although everybody who does practice correctly and sticks with it makes, at intervals, noticeable increments of progress, still most of us spend most of our time on the plateau. It is on the plateau that essentials are practiced to repletion, until essentials (I say 'essentials' rather than 'basics') become as easy as breathing.

Essentials are essentials and not basics, because basics are mere technicalities. What I want students to grasp is the essence of each exercise or maneuver, in other words, I want them to grasp WHY it is necessary, WHAT it does and HOW it applies to the particular situation or individual horse. This is why there is in our school, nor ever can be, any method, i.e. a fixed system of steps or protocols by which all individual animals are to be "trained".

And that's what you're talking about too: the trainer who grasps the essence will be able to take a basic skill, exercise, or maneuver and adapt it appropriately to whatever dog or situation, and thereby make it physiotherapeutic, educational, or in some other way dynamically beneficial, such that the DOG "gets it" too and thus, as you say, becomes a transformed dog. But the trainer who only understands protocol creates, at best, a routinized horse or dog.

More in a few days when I get back from Down Under. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

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 Posted: Sat Nov 9th, 2019 07:34 pm
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