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Seeking further direction
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Tammy 2
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 Posted: Sat Dec 17th, 2011 06:20 am
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KC,

I am entering my 4th year of riding with Josh.

This stuff will not happen overnight, but it will happen over time if you hang in there, listen to Josh, and apply all he has to teach you. You seem very eager to get this stuff to come right now which I can relate to but, change just does not happen that way.

Your horse will go through all kinds of changes as you change. Just keep at it and believe me, it will start to come through. My horse and I have gone up and down and up again. But that is just him trying to work through what I am presenting or not presenting to him. He has to work through it just as much as I do.

To me, I would not worry about his breathing. My horse used to switch his tail contantly when I first started presenting some of these things to him but, you just ignore it and keep at it. I would imagine that is his way of expressing the changes, his feelings. Things are different with you but, soon, you will be able to instill in him a good feeling. The feeling of being OK. My horse does not switch his tail at all now. I have seen quite a few horses express their feelings with what seems like strange breathing.

I will never forget watching a TB in a Josh clinic that had been ridden in state of resistance and constant contact. Once he realized it doesn't have to be that way, he literally spewed (sp?) yawns. His head was inches from the ground in the arena and yawned and yawned for about 10 minutes. That is not an exaggeration either, it was a long time. He had so many ill feelings in him. Josh said that even his breath will start smelling better as he gets better "mentally" and lets go of all the bad feelings he had in him. Some of these things mean so much to the horse that we don't even realize.


You are riding with someone that knows what you need to get you to where to want to be.

Keep at it, the "gifts" will come.

Hopefully, giving you encouragement,
Tammy

kcooper
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 Posted: Mon Dec 19th, 2011 03:32 am
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Hi Tammy,

I appreciate your encouragement! I am finding it helpful to converse with others who are doing work with the same instructor. I also get a better understanding when I hear how other people have helped their horses through the negative feelings and their expressions. Hopefully we will meet up there one of these times.

When I re-read the queries I have posted and then the responses to them I begin to see that I come across as 'greedy to get to the finish' kind of person (not good) which maybe crosses over easily to a person with too much ambition using an innocent animal to accomplish whatever (very bad-and I don't identify with that kind of person not one tiny bit).
Maybe that's what was meant by my being 'a monkey on my horses back'.

What I AM ambitious about it getting to the place where I make as few mistakes as possible on my part FOR my horse.

The thing I realize after watching Josh with my horse is that its not the horse who takes a long time learning what to do with their body and where to put their feet, how to carry themselves and even (or especially) learning to be OK in their own skin with us as their teacher...its (at least in my case) a matter of me organizing and co-ordinating my body and regulating the energy I put out.

I cant help but think about it like this: I look at unity with my horse(s)and all that that entails as being a castle that I can see clearly on a hill in the distance. I now recognize the ideal path to get there and I will cross rivers, slay dragons and battle demons (even if the demons are in me)and do whatever it might take to arrive and I dont want to dilly dally. I know that it takes the better part of 10 years to finish a horse but at the rate I WAS going it would have taken 30.
So long as the horse never(and I mean never) feels the pressure that you put on yourself to develop into a better hand and a better person is it a bad thing if you try and get there without wasting steps?

Last edited on Mon Dec 19th, 2011 03:44 am by kcooper

DrDeb
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 Posted: Mon Dec 19th, 2011 06:46 am
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Kim: one correction. You would not have gotten there in 30 years; you would NEVER have gotten there.

And a question: what is a 'wasted' step? -- Dr. Deb

 

Sharon Adley
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 Posted: Mon Dec 19th, 2011 04:17 pm
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Kim,

Let me quote Ray Hunt from his video "Turning Loose."

"I never make the same mistake twice.  I'm too busy making new ones."  Now this from a man who started or helped start thousands of colts and was mentor to many of our present respected clinicians.  You will never be perfect.  It's ok to try but don't spend time and energy beating yourself up over mistakes (as long as you recognize them).  There are no "wasted steps;" it's all learning.

Try reading one of Tom Moate's books about working with Harry Whitney.  He is not shy about explaining why and how he makes mistakes and how he learns, from Harry or from his own "ah-ha!" moments to overcome them.  Life is a process.  So is horse training.  You never finish until you or the horse has passed to the next realm of existence.

kcooper
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 Posted: Tue Dec 20th, 2011 06:57 am
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Hi Sharon,

Your Ray Hunt quote is exactly what I am talking about. Not making the same mistakes twice... let alone making them repeatedly. Figure out whats wrong with what you are doing and fix it. Learn from your mistakes so you can graduate to the next place.

Dr Deb,

If I appear ambitious or greedy to get to the finish its because of this:

I have spaced out these sessions with Josh so they are 1 month apart. That leaves three and a half weeks to get myself proficient at what I learned in the time spent there so that when the next session comes along we can tweak if necessary or move ahead.

I am not wasting my money or his time by not bringing my 'A' game to each clinic. I make my best impression of a sponge so that I come away saturated and equipt.

And also.... our winter time climate up here north of the 53 parallel is harsh. There was snow on the ground from the end of Oct to the end of April last year plus its dark at 4 this time of the year so I HAVE to be motivated and diligent to come home after work and load up my horses and drive to an arena to practice.

It would be pretty easy to read the -26 on the thermometer and just stay inside and read about the things I would like to be doing.

And then when I went back to Josh.. since I hadn't been practicing to the best of my ability we would not be able to move past where we were the last time.

THUS: wasting steps.

I have set this up to be intense and productive because I can handle it. I have 3 horses who have been on a training hiatus while I figured out if this indeed was the right way to re-route and re-educate... I know it is and we are going full steam ahead.

I am sorry if I have irritated anyone or talked in way way that would indicate that I thought that this wasn't a comlex life long endevour... I dont and it is.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Dec 20th, 2011 07:18 am
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You're not irritating, Kim -- not to me at least, though I think likely enough to your horse. If you have a fault, it is that you have merely been failing to be introspective enough. There are lots and lots of students just like you, who, like you, need to make a change from buzzing around on the surface to finding the still place within.

It wouldn't matter one single iota whether you get out to ride in minus 26-degree weather, Kim. In fact, for your horse's sake, I would prefer to hear that you had left him alone when the weather is so inclement and indeed gone inside the house, built a nice fire, and sat down with a nice cup of hot cocoa to study Ray Hunt's "Think Harmony With Horses" or J. Allen Boone's "Kinship With All Life." This would be a MUCH better use of your time as well as far kinder and more thoughtful toward your horse.

When to ride a horse is when it is comfortable for both parties, i.e. when the temp is between about freezing and about 85 degrees, and when the humidity is lower than 90 per cent. Also, when the wind is not blowing real hard, and when the horse isn't hungry and doesn't need to pee.

What you are doing, Kim, once again, is you are trying to FORCE "progress". But you notice that I put the word "progress" in quotes, because the more you try to force things, the less real progress you will make.

You need to wake up to realize, Kim, that there is NOTHING THAT YOU NEED TO LEARN. Nothing, in other words, of the nature of which you have been thinking, which wholly relates to stuff like skill development. You don't need to work on skill development of any type. You don't need to do anything more, or anything differently; you will indeed change under Josh's tutelage, but you will not be the author of the changes that happen.

The stuff you DO need to "work" on (note the quotes once again), it is impossible to work on. You must LET changes happen when it is time for them to happen -- when they have ripened within you -- but Kim, I warn you that no positive change will happen so long as you continue to try to be in control of change.

Surrender is the objective -- I am trying to get you to surrender, to get over yourself, for the sake of your lovely horse.

No one can hear someone whisper to them who is herself shouting all the time. Horses do indeed whisper -- hardly ever do they shout. So you cannot hear your horse tell you the most important things so long as you continue to shout, Kim.

So take the winter off, honey. Go ahead and go over to Josh's on schedule, but you just ride your horse when it's pleasant for the horse. If there are ice crystals forming around the edges of his nose due to his breath condensing, it's too damned cold. And when you ride, stop trying to be a "human doing" and start letting God, Josh, and your horse show you how to be a "human being".

And Kim, you really knew the answer to this, didn't you? But you just wanted to argue, in order to win a point. But you and I both know that it is impossible for you to waste any step. Nothing is wasted in God's universe. Our elderly teacher used to tell students like you, quite solemnly, that they had done nothing wrong and could do nothing wrong -- and he would repeat that many times to them, for they needed to hear it many times due to their continual internal shouting that made them nearly deaf. Do you understand what Tom meant by saying they COULD NOT DO anything wrong? What he meant was -- the truth is, you don't have the power. -- Dr. Deb

kcooper
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 Posted: Wed Dec 21st, 2011 02:51 am
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I especially like this:

DrDeb wrote:
And when you ride, stop trying to be a "human doing" and start letting God, Josh, and your horse show you how to be a "human being".

I am not not introspective but I guess the deep stuff although it is inside me does not flow freely from my mouth.
I am hesitant to give something that is negative in me and might be manifesting itself in the expressions of my horse too much attention....first you give it a name...then you give it weight and power and then the next thing is that the devil whispers to you "you'll never be any good at this good you know" and then probably worse than that is you will give yourself an excuse for when you feel like giving up when the going gets tough.

I really appreciate the image you provided us with about the mail slot in Bills chest with the most pure water flowing out and 'covering' his horse.

That is the sort of deep stuff I find helpful to dwell on ... something where the physical outcome is so great it should practically glow!...if there was some ugly monster inside me I would want to deal with it but I sure don't want to invent one or make a mountain out of a mole hill.

I really appreciate your help here. I read the 'profound to me' threads aloud to my husband and we both get so much from it. It has helped to bring us to where we are on the same page which is a miracle in its self!

Kim

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Dec 21st, 2011 04:20 am
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Kim, you need not worry whether, when you look inside yourself, you will find some kind of monster down in there. No, indeed, you will not find one monster; you will find a LEGION of monsters.

In this, you are no different than any other person.

Neither need you fear these monsters. They will approach you, one by one or in groups, and they WILL try to take you over. If you let them, then I would say, yes, that is definitely something to be feared. But you don't have to let them, and the surprise is, although you try to put everything in terms of a "fight" or battle Kim, this is one battle that cannot be won with any type of FORCE.

This leads to the very first insight that comes from introspection, which is to ask the question:

Which of these things is the "real" you? In other words, obviously if the monsters are inside of you, they are in some sense you. But there is also an Observer, the consciousness that watches or dialogues with the monsters. But you are a single entity, and both the monsters and the Observer therefore cannot both be genuine. One of them is faking it; one of them is a mere parasite that gets whatever existence it has from the other. Which of them is real, Kim?

This is the question asked anciently by the Hindu yogis, in the book of wisdom called the Upanishads; it is the question asked by the Zen Buddhists and by the Dalai Lama; it is presented in very clear terms by Eckhart Tolle in his book "The Power of Now," which I recommend to all students. It is asked by many an Old Testament prophet, and it is asked both OF Jesus and BY Jesus in the New Testament.

You need to figure out which of "you" is real, Kim, as part of the process of maturation that all who want to live above the level of animals must undergo. Indeed, at the present time, your horse knows more about this than you do. But you have the power to go find out -- if you will just take courage. -- Dr. Deb

 

Cheddar
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 Posted: Wed Dec 21st, 2011 03:58 pm
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Dr. Deb has answered you very well, but if it helps you to have a different perspective that reinforces her answer, I will put in my bit.

If something negative (and it may not be a monster, maybe just something simple like projecting too much energy for the job because you are an intense person)  inside of you is affecting your interactions with your horse, why would you want to leave that negative there to continue to impact your horse?  It is already there, it is already manifesting itself, ie, it is already interfering with your communication with your horse.  Chances are it won't go away by itself, it has had perhaps years, most of your lifetime to go away by itself, and yet, there it is.  It is not about giving into it, but finding it, seeing it for what it is, and letting go of it.   Ray Hunt spoke of turning loose not just for horses but people. 

If you haven't seen his video "Turning Loose",  I can recommend it.   There are several clips of people who talked about how they changed themselves and their lives for the better.  And in turn, everything in their horsemanship got better, too.  'I'm riding better horses now than I ever did' is the way one person put it, but it is clear it is not the horses at the ranch that got better, they were the same horses, it was the person who got better.  Another gentleman with some issues that probably come a lot closer to true monsters than any you have and his wife are interviewed, and make it clear that he changed as a person, and the horsemanship was a bonus.

I think that is what seems to be the disconnect between what is being offered and how you respond to it.   Dr. Deb offers for you to find the still place, a good thing, something undeniably positive, and you see the potential for monsters, not the positive.  The physical skills, the doing, happen almost by themselves when the inner things are allowed to happen.  The physical exercise can be a key to the door to the spiritual side from which the real benefits flow, but the physical performance alone should not be the goal because you will never use the key as it is intended and you won't ever unlock the door that stands between you and the goal.

In one sense, I have probably wasted your time if you have read this, because as you continue your lessons, the key will be handed to you and you may learn to use it without studying on it in a verbal way, much as a horse learns to turn loose even though he may have less capacity for abstract thought and introspection and certainly doesn't post on the internet.

kcooper
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 Posted: Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 03:46 am
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Well... I think that any response from me where I would try to find some other way to prove to you that I know which 'me' is the real 'me' or that I have been able to live in the 'now' for years would really have its roots in pride and I think that that is pretty much the sum of what we are getting at here.

I have not read The 'Power Of Now' but I have read Eckhart Tolles 'A New Earth', twice actually, spaced a few years apart.
I really had a hard time getting past the first chapter... it took several attempts, the talk of (and I quote) "the arising of sanity, the begining of healing and transcendence and a new demention of conciousness" all in regards to recognizing one's own insanity was a bit over the top in my opinion and it kind of turned me off. I had already peaked into what was further along in the book and thought it was worth pushing through and I think it may be worth reading again while keeping in mind how it may apply to me being a 'being' especially when I'm with my horse.

Last edited on Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 03:49 am by kcooper

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 07:16 am
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Yes: the failure to fully meet the monsters within, or the failure to even admit that they are there, is the exact definition of insanity, Kim, and it is precisely those people who refuse this process who never come to be able to train a horse. 

Tolle's books were meant to be read in order, so you not only have skipped the hard parts in 'New Earth', but you've skipped the beginning, which would be to read 'The Power of Now'. If you had read that, the beginning of 'New Earth' would not seem so over-the-top to you. I observe that the way you've treated Tolle's books is in exact parallel to your progress, and process, in the dialogue between you and me embodied in this thread -- you began by telling me that all you were really interested in was stuff that ought to come at the end -- in other words, you fail to recognize that in order to succeed at anything, you must abandon all your own ambitions which you have made up yourself, and be willing to begin at the beginning, starting like a little child. Two thousand years ago, this was also Jesus' advice to Nicodemus the rabbinical scholar, who replied with sincere puzzlement 'how is it possible for a grown man to be born again from his mother's womb?'

I am really trying to get you to be much more interested in being a beginner, Kim, because a beginner is somebody who begins at the beginning, and after that, falls in love with the plateau.

So you know, I'm not all that much interested in what you think you've done for yourself in terms of personal insight in the past, because the measure of that having been inadequate -- at least to your ability as a horsewoman -- is the problems you're having with your horse. Also, the sense within you that something or other is amiss, which is what drove you to write in here in the first place, just as it drove Nicodemus to go ask Jesus' advice. This gut instinct is always right on. Luckily, within us we not only all have monsters, we also all have guardian angels or good genies or the voice of God, however you want to think of that -- the voice that prompts us to save ourselves from ourselves.

So hop on down to your local bookstore and get a copy of 'The Power of Now' and spend some of those cold Canadian prairie nights reading that, rather than torturing your horse by riding him in conditions that no wild or feral horse would be moving with any speed in. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

ilam
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 Posted: Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 05:54 pm
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Just very recently I came to the conclusion that ambition is one's ego talking, I suspect the same thing Dr. Deb is talking about, just giving it a different, maybe more familiar name? I guess one could say that the ego is the monster, a monster that comes with many faces.

Not very long ago I would have really identified with, to quote Kim, "What I AM ambitious about it getting to the place where I make as few mistakes as possible on my part FOR my horse". The first time I saw Buck ride his bridle horse in 2009 set that in motion big time, and guess what, I wasn't making much progress.

I saw recently an explanation of the ego vs the true self, the ego is always the one that is impatient, pushy, loud, and most of all, its hallmark is that it is never satisfied nor satiated. It is a barrel without a bottom. However, the good thing is that it is easy to stop... the only thing that is required is that you consciously call it out for what it is. You call it out, see it for what it is (fake), and then it loses all its power.

So, when I read "What I AM ambitious about it getting to the place where I make as few mistakes as possible on my part FOR my horse", I heard the ego talking. Quote: "I have set this up to be intense and productive because I can handle it." same thing. It is very familiar to me, because I am wired the same way, also it is the world we live in that encourages it all around. I have had many "teachers" and bosses in my life that push, push, push and you must be productive, otherwise you get the sense that you are not being valued and/or made to be felt guilty. The problem is, it sooo doesn't work for horse training. Doesn't really work all THAT well for people training either, its success is short-lived and has a lot of bad side effects. You will also never achieve brilliance, that extra 10% in 110%.

When I go through this little exercise to call the ego out when it rears its head, things become much better. Well, I tell it to shut up and go away, then take a breath. It also helps to take a calm moment and "meditate", whatever works for you to slow your mind down.

Isabel

Jeannie
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 Posted: Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 06:15 pm
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Hi Kim, you might want to add "Mastery" by George Leonard to your reading list.
 In the movie ' Buck", Buck tells a horse handler to let the horse be for a while after he has been worked with, to give him a chance to process what just transpired. I notice that's when I come to understand something I'm working on more fully, there will be a "Oh, hmm, I hadn't thought about it that way before" moment. The brain seems to need space and relaxation to process. I've heard this about creating new muscle memory as well.
   You seem to be on the forum in search of the greater path which Dr Deb talks about, as opposed to the person who wants a little drive through information (some of them don't even slow down, it's a wonder they don't get whiplash), so here's wishing you the best.
                                        Jeannie

kcooper
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 Posted: Thu Dec 22nd, 2011 11:19 pm
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Hi Ilam,
I can easily admit that ego will be a gremlin of mine but what I was really thinking about when I wrote about getting to a place where I made as few mistakes as possible FOR my horse was this: Dr Deb says that I don’t have the power to do anything wrong...I have an idea of where she is coming from but that’s about it.

For some reason I feel an immense pressure, more than I have felt with any other horse I've had, to evolve into the rider that this particular horse deserves to have. I'm not saying that every other horse or pet in our care doesn’t deserve the best that a person knows how to give...I'm just saying I have never felt this kind of pressure before. It could just have to do with the fact that he, to me, seems SO extra good all round.

I just believe that it's no accident that we are matched with who we are matched with (animals, kids, spouses, teachers, strangers) and I want to be deserving and be able to rise to the challange set before me.

I heard a saying the other day: "We are all gifted it's just that some people never open their package".... sure dont want to be that person.

And then the other thing about ambition I plan to sort out is this: a bit of 'fightin' and a lot of 'workin', have more than helped me to get where I am and be what I am and I don't feel badly about what I`ve become thus far at all. I just picked up The Power Of Now today and I will be sorting out ambition...all ambition can not be created equal or we wouldn't survive.

I know that teaching yourself how not to get insulted (which I see as your ego helping you do a face plant in the mud) is very freeing. Mouth shut mind open. I failed that test for probably years longer than should a normal person (still not 100%) but I guess you are only ready when you are ready.

Jeannie,
I agree... I am finding I need to let things soak too, the same as the horses. My husband will ask me "So what went on? What did you figure out?" and you just need some time to see how it fits solidly into the big picture before you talk about it.
And the bit about muscle memory... see I cant help but to be drawn to that stuff... I loved loved sports especially team sports. There is nothing like the feeling of comradery combined with putting out all that you physically have. I dont play team sports anymore but the feeling of having a comrade in your horse trumps everything for me.
I will find the book you recommended, thank you!

Last edited on Fri Dec 23rd, 2011 12:11 am by kcooper

kcooper
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 Posted: Fri Dec 23rd, 2011 01:14 am
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OK I had an idea... I can show you why I feel such pressure to be the best I can be for this horse.
I will attach a picture, because the look on his face in the picture is the look on his face nearly all the time we are together.
I know Dr Deb is an expert on epressions.
To me the look in his eye seems to me to be almost pained or else its just soft and trusting and willing OR maybe it's soft,trusting,willing AND a bit pained. Am I way off?? And I also noticed the ears are flopped in a V.
So this is why I feel a greater sense of responsibility. Maybe it can be compared to how you notice you need to change your driving habits when you have kids in the car as opposed to being solo??

Attachment: Bucket truck and horses 012.jpg (Downloaded 140 times)

Last edited on Fri Dec 23rd, 2011 01:46 am by kcooper


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