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 Post subject: Lacie kicked at me...
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:17 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, IL
Lacie kicked at me yesterday... Here's what happened:

I had put Lacie back in the pasture and I was petting and scratching her. Everything was fine. Then I seen Blade coming towards us from fairly far away. Blade gets pretty jealous and isn't very nice to Lacie sometimes, so I decided to get on the other side of the fence. I was pretty close to the fence so I walked over and ducked under. Right as I ducked, I hear BAM! Lacie's back hooves hit the fence! That could have been my head! I know she was kicking at me, because Blade was not even near close enough for her to have gotten scared of him. I have noticed her turning her butt to me(like she is about to kick) whenever I am leaving the pasture.
Keep in mind, I have never seen a horse who loved humans as much as she does! She stops whenever she gets sight of the pasture and refuses to budge. As soon as I turn around to go in the opposite direction of the pasture, she happily follows me anywhere I go. She nickers and canters up to my mom and I when we first come out to the barn, and when we leave she whinnied for us to come back. She is not afraid of humans and is very friendly. I have however, seen her throw "tantrums"( as I call it) where she pins her ears, swishes her tail, and stomps her back foot. She does this when I ask for new exercises or for backing up and the jambette. What I don't get is that she could just walk away instead of throwing her tantrums! But I have never seen her actually kick like she did yesterday. I really believe the reason was because she did not want me to leave! She gets mad that I am leaving and tries to "scare" me into staying. At least that is how I take it. I could be reading this totally wrong.

What do you think? Any advice to what I should do about this? I can't have her kick my head just because she wants me to stay with her!

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Brittany

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:35 pm 
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Horses do not kick at another horse if they want the other horse to stay. So I cannot think that would be her reason. There must be something else. I cannot see what is going on, so I cannot tell you. The only horses I have seen kicking is because they are scared (like when Cisco kicked me because I startled him) or that they wish to prove they are stronger to another horse (Tam did this to a horse today...they each turned their butts to one another...the other horse kicked Tam first, then he kicked harder yet. This was a dispute over who got to go to the water fountain first. Tam won, then walked on to get his drink.)

Pain is the only other reason I can think of. Perhaps someone else would have some ideas?


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 10:12 pm 
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You are right Karen. I'm just a little confused about why the only time she does this (acting like she is going to kick me) is when I am leaving her pasture. She does do this sometimes when I have just left the pasture, when I pet her over the fence. She turns her HQ to me and pins her ears.
Another interesting thing is that when she throws her "temper tantrums" she always stomps/kicks her left foot. It is always her left. Also, now that I am thinking about it, the exercises where she has a tantrum are the ones where she has to shift her weight to her HQ, (like backing up an jambette/Spanish walk) therefore possibly causing pain to that left leg. Maybe pain is the reason here.
I know of a very good equine massage therapist, and I was going to have her massage Blade next month, so I'll have her do Lacie too and check out her leg.
Discussing this is making me think of other weird things she does that could possible mean pain. Like sometimes, she kicks her left leg up when you look at it with an intention to pick it up. She has trouble with holding that same left foot up for me to pick her hoof, but then again she doesn't really like either of her hind feet picked out.

hmm... I will definitely get a massage therapist and possibly a chiro/vet out as soon as I can.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:38 pm 
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BladeRunner wrote:
You are right Karen. I'm just a little confused about why the only time she does this (acting like she is going to kick me) is when I am leaving her pasture. She does do this sometimes when I have just left the pasture, when I pet her over the fence. She turns her HQ to me and pins her ears.
Another interesting thing is that when she throws her "temper tantrums" she always stomps/kicks her left foot. It is always her left. Also, now that I am thinking about it, the exercises where she has a tantrum are the ones where she has to shift her weight to her HQ, (like backing up an jambette/Spanish walk) therefore possibly causing pain to that left leg. Maybe pain is the reason here.
I know of a very good equine massage therapist, and I was going to have her massage Blade next month, so I'll have her do Lacie too and check out her leg.
Discussing this is making me think of other weird things she does that could possible mean pain. Like sometimes, she kicks her left leg up when you look at it with an intention to pick it up. She has trouble with holding that same left foot up for me to pick her hoof, but then again she doesn't really like either of her hind feet picked out.

hmm... I will definitely get a massage therapist and possibly a chiro/vet out as soon as I can.


Is she, at liberty and with horses, not people, the dominate one?

She appears to be, or you can explore the idea that, she just had to tell you that despite her subjecting herself <snort> to this little bald monkey human person thing, and allowing it to think it had dominance ... well, you get the idea.

:lol:

I suspect we see all kinds of behaviors from AND horses that many horses do not show, because of them being cowed into compliance.

She could just be asserting herself in the moment. A transition phase as the AND principles are being introduced.

One has to remember the pressure release work is based a great deal on predator prey and dominate mare versus subordinate others replication.

We pretend to be one or the other, as we "train," both the old methods. When I discovered this and applied it I was very good indeed at 'training.'

As in making a horse do what I wished it to do.

Had a horse done that to me (and many did that I worked from green broke) I'd have gone back and pushed her (think, 'bully') into 'hooking up.'

That is, moving that tail away and the head toward me, and as they say now, 'giving both eyes,' to me.

Trouble is, even then I did not like submissiveness in horses. And was always getting in trouble by working with the most difficult.

And of course what was my goal? For them to 'submit,' and be a 'good' horse.

Unless she kicks at you I'll bet it's just testing. And she's little confused because you give her so much freedom of choice.

And you play.

Now how many, but children, in the standard horseworld out there truly play with their horses.

On a trip yesterday my wife and I noticed a bunch of children, horses, and obviously parents and family, at some activity hidden by a low rise of hill between them and the road we were on.

So naturally I found an access road, and went to see. Down in a low area was little arena carved out of the hillside and in it, a set of three blue barrels.

You know, probably what that means.

I ask a passerby on horseback, probably one of the mom's, or grandmas, what was going on and she said they were having a "Playday."

Now I know what that means in the local parlance, but I watched for a few minutes, and thought to myself as they threw their horses around the three barrels with those blasted far too popular lever hackamores, what they would think if I took a horse into that arena, jumped off him and began to "play" as AND horse owners play.

And what if I explained AND play as the horse ran free and I teased and put out a tiger on a whip, and ran alongside and did gaits and steps for the horse to mimic.

What a severe contrast.

And when I think, because of my work with children, what "play" means in the context they were learning it, it makes me sad.

And stopped and fed and petted Dakota, who always tosses his head when he sees me and comes to me.

I'm so glad for AND.

Donald Redux

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:08 am 
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Hi Brittany:

I was reading your post and had an idea. What if you practiced moving your horse away from you instead of you moving from him.

I'm not an expert but after reading and reading and reading about horse psychology, maybe if you move away from your horse first. If she is dominant, and since you are now doing AND, like Donald mentions she may be testing you. I know if you make your horse move first, she may understand this as you being her alpha and will respect your more.

Linda Parelli always says "a horse will kick you for two reasons, either they are scared or they don't respect you. It doesn't mean she's right but I know Corado doesn't "respect me" like before. Before he obeyed, now he challenges me sometimes. When I see it can be dangerous, I'm sorry but the pressure goes back on, no time for positive reinforcement for me (this is when he's lifting his leg when I'm in front. I taught him to lift his leg but now he's doing it all the time. Once he came real close to kicking me since I was in front. Didn't expect it at all. So I backed him up with a mean look on my face. He did back up and didn't do it again (that time).

I could be completely wrong but this is just an idea to think about.
Jocelyne


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 12:47 am 
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Both Cisco and Tam have kicked at me...not violently, but still a kick. Both ahve done it while lunging if I ask a little too much. I do not punish this. All it means is that I pushed them past some comfort or composure level. If they feel the need to strike out at me, then I'm doing something wrong...not them. If I were to punish them in any way...even a soft and subtle way, then I am telling them they are wrong to communicate with me in a way that is natural for them.

NOW...the disclaimer. Neither horse has tried to do this when I am not doing or asking anything.

The last two times I rode Cisco, he was not wanting to bend to the right, and he's done a fair bit of head shaking and cranky ears in cantering to the right. I couldn't find anything wrong. I assumed it was something going on with his right hind...maybe the leg or the foot.

I rode him in a jumping class. I only did one low jump. Turning a corner quite sharply to the right at a slow canter, he did a single buck. Not much. He's done much worse. But that in itself spoke volumes to me. That was about a close to a shout as he needs to come. If I don't listen to a head shake or ears that show displeasure, he has every right to "up the volume".

So this weekend, the masseuse was out, and I had her watch as I slowly walked or jogged, then a little bit of canter along the long side of the arena only (no turns).

Something is wrong with his right SHOULDER - not the hind at all, although there appears to be some compensatory soreness elsewhere on his right side. He will be getting some massages now and some time off until we figure out what is going on, or until he is better.

Horses speak only as much as they need to. If they feel they have to kick, then there's something we're missing in our dialogue with them.

I am not saying anyone is doing anything wrong. You must always deal with this sort of thing in the way that makes you most comfortable. You are as important in the horse/human relationship as the horse is. Equal partners, and safety is essential for both parties.

I just fail to see any case where a horse will threaten a person outside of fear, annoyance or pain. Test, perhaps - be pushy and annoying maybe...threaten with no reason?...I don't know.

Even overt aggression (a horse charging) can most likely be traced back to human abuse, or abject fear (say the first time a wild horse is handled).

I do not think that allowing a horse to have a say...that listening to horse, increases aggression in any form. Allowing a horse to express themselves does not mean that they start having human emotions or human thought processes like, "If I kill her by kicking her in the head, she will stay here in the pasture with me forever". No, that kind of thinking is the realm of demented humans...not horses.

I don't think anyone could make me believe that a horse is capable of thinking this way.

With AND gone wrong...if someone does not approach this training with balance and some planning, you can of course create a little monster who may bite and grab in search of treats - a horse that can become demanding.

But I could, of course, be wrong! It wouldn't be the first time! :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:17 am 
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Donald Redux wrote:
]Is she, at liberty and with horses, not people, the dominate one?


With horses she is the BOTTOM of the pecking order. She is picked on and is afraid of the other horses.
However, it is vastly different around people. If I were still in the NH mindset, I would say that she is trying to be the alpha and dominate me and that I need to set her in her place.
But like Karen mentioned, maybe there is some sort of pain causing this. I will have her checked over just to make sure.


Quote:
I suspect we see all kinds of behaviors from AND horses that many horses do not show, because of them being cowed into compliance.

She could just be asserting herself in the moment. A transition phase as the AND principles are being introduced.


I definitely see this as a possibility. We have only had her 2 1/2 months. Her previous owner didn't do much with her at all however, so I don't think it should be that big of a transition phase.

Quote:
Unless she kicks at you I'll bet it's just testing.


Well, she did kick at me. If I hadn't got out from under the fence as quick as I did, my head might have been kicked instead of the fence.

Sorry, I have to cut this short. I'll be back to write more later.

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Brittany



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 5:02 am 
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BladeRunner wrote:
Donald Redux wrote:
]Is she, at liberty and with horses, not people, the dominate one?


With horses she is the BOTTOM of the pecking order. She is picked on and is afraid of the other horses.


Hmmm... I think this is going to make sense in a moment.


BladeRunner wrote:
However, it is vastly different around people. If I were still in the NH mindset, I would say that she is trying to be the alpha and dominate me and that I need to set her in her place.


An alpha mare would be less likely to challenge you. They are usually more curious, more daring, and recognize the obvious alpha human status immediately.

Now the low rank, just like a low rank in pack for a dog, makes the animal both test harder, and look for someone lower than them. Alpha NEVER needs to LOOK for lower. Everyone is automatically lower unless they exhibit alpha characteristics.

The low rank animal is poor at both recognizing it without extensive testing, and has spent their life in the herd "shuffle" of shift heirarchy.

Dominate mares, once their position is clear to the herd is not challenged again until she has passed into incompetence by age and infirmity. And I think it's not a matter of challenge so much as the next ranking mare simply stepping up to the task.

Low rankers are always more difficult to handle.


BladeRunner wrote:
But like Karen mentioned, maybe there is some sort of pain causing this. I will have her checked over just to make sure.



It never hurts, but do not forget that with low herd rank comes that difficulty with understanding and giving up the challenge of a higher ranking herd member.

What she needs is a dominate herd buddy. That's a little more complicated role to fill but it can be done.

"We can play together, but do NOT challenge me, or no more play," should be the message.

Is this "AND?"

Well, let's discuss that.

If and is about a 'relationship,' as companions between equine and human, what would you expect from a healthy egalitarian relationship with another human?

Would you put up with them threatening to kick "sock" you, to put you in your place?

Or would it be kinder and better for the relationship for you to set boundaries in behavior between you and your human companion?

BladeRunner wrote:


Quote:
I suspect we see all kinds of behaviors from AND horses that many horses do not show, because of them being cowed into compliance.

She could just be asserting herself in the moment. A transition phase as the AND principles are being introduced.


I definitely see this as a possibility. We have only had her 2 1/2 months. Her previous owner didn't do much with her at all however, so I don't think it should be that big of a transition phase.

Quote:
Unless she kicks at you I'll bet it's just testing.


Well, she did kick at me. If I hadn't got out from under the fence as quick as I did, my head might have been kicked instead of the fence.

Sorry, I have to cut this short. I'll be back to write more later.


It will be interesting to see this through with you, and I can guess that other AND members are also interested.

I'd no more let a horse go than a human who 'kicked at me,' or even threatened to.

That is over the boundary. It not only risks me, but others that might also come into range, horse and human.

Unless it's truly defensive (I'd never admonish a horse for kicking at a charging dog, for instance), then it's unacceptable social behavior. We cannot "play," if I have to be THAT careful and frightened for my safety and that of others.

Dakota's owner puts their hay out in the early morning on the way to work, when it is very dark.

He reported to me recently that he felt Dakota's hooves fly right past his head during the food scuffle the two (a pony lives with Dakota) engage in at times.

I never allow them to fight about food when I put out their ration of supplement.

They must settle before I'll feed the first one.

So I have yet another training task for Dakota. And I'll need the owner's assistance.

The hay comes when the behavior is correct. It can be shaped, of course. The owner is very cooperative, and keen to learn about horse behavior and training.

He'll like this, I'm sure.

You frighten me when you tell me she kicked when you were going through the fence in a vulnerable position.

I think human safety is something that AND must look at and think about. Both from the philosophical side (horse's owe us SUCH a payback, historically speaking), but then I don't think we should be severely injured or killed for just that reason.

We could hardly do AND's work for 'the horse," if that were the case. That we had to lay our lives on the line every time we played with our horses.

It's a tough area to examine. I look forward to it though.

How much pressure is unethical, would be a place to start.

And what is and isn't pressure in this context?

Do human to human relationship challenges qualify as a model or partial model to the human to equine one?

And where does ethics come into play here?

I thought of myself, many years ago, just prior to my leaving, for cause, from the horseworld, as an equine ethicist.

I had some very heated arguments with other horsemen and women on issues of ethics in using the horse.

Of course they wrote me off as 'strange.'

Sound familiar to any AND people?

Donald Redux

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:43 am 
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Now I have only read your first post 8will read the other after, but just HAD to reply).

I was taking care of a horse many years ago that was "man-evil" as we call it. He attacked every person coming near him (not in riding, only when people at the ground).

I put in my head to win his trust after seeing a girl coming crawling out of his box after his attack...

I managed - the horse had never really known a oerson before I think, so I became like life itself for him. If he heard my voice he'd go crazy...

Things went good for a while, we had a great time. Then he started to get demanding. he wanted me to stay with him ALL the time. So if I tried to leave his stable, BLAM - a hoof in the wall right in front of me. I have no count on how many times I had to get help to leave him - he just didn't let me.... 8)

(Well, the horse got sold after some time so I have no solution).

I just wanted to tell you with this little story, that a horse can love you very high and still use his feet... I think maybe she got upset of you leaving so soon - when you and her was right in the middle of something nice....

But you better watch you head - this is very dangerous for you!! But I guess she don't really want to hurt you - she just wants you to stay....


Well, I'll read the rest of the posts now - so maybe I am just waaaay out on a wrong explanation here.. 8) :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:49 am 
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I just want to make sure (after reading some more here). The horse I mentioned WAS kicking to make me stay. He was stabled in those places where they are tied up, you know. And kicked his leg in front of me when I should leave. When I turned around to him again he was only happy, gentle...

In the beginning I tricke him with lifting his hindhoof to get out, but as soon as he realized what was going on I couldn't trick him anymore....

I have no solutions for you - but I know I got more scared of this horse after some time.... So I really hope you sort it out in some way...


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:25 am 

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I share my opinions, point of view and experiences. I do not have straight answer but I have been thinking and experiencing similar kind of situations. These are just my opinions and are not necessarily based of facts.

First Id like to think a little about humans in general. around 95% of us are 'normal' (I hate using that term but I do not have any other. Normality is determined here by is person suitable to live in society alone or not. Percent number is fictional too). Even 'normal' people have REALLY strange habits. Some eat strange combinations of food, some colled different items, some have strange hobbies etc. etc. So very colourful pack.
5% of people are 'abnormal'. They have kind of sicknesses or mental disorientations so they cannot live in society. These are really colourful people. 'Normal' people usually cannot see the world like they do. They live in different world. Still they can be loved and taken care like all of us. They still are humans.
Some people may transform from 'normal' to 'abnormal' in middle of their life. There are various reasons for this kind of transforming to happen: traumas, sicknesses, experiences etc. Sometimes reasons are not know ever. People just change.

Well back to horses. Horsemans like Parelli,Hempfling teach us that horses have personalities. Yes they do have like humans too have too personalities. BUT I think there is alot of 'strange habits' in horses too even they are 'normal'. Some horses may be even 'abnormal'. We cannot always tell why horses is doing something they do, no matter how books and dvd's tell us about personalities of horses.
Horses are not in nature anymore. They live in paddocks, boxes and with humans. They have past experiences with humans which can be good or bad. They live middle of mechanical world. All these things will affect their minds (like it does to our minds too). Their minds change, no matter what we do. We just have to try change their mind into 'right' direction. We are their psychiatrist.
Even in nature some horses born to be 'abnormal' They may have physical or mental 'abnormality'. Those horses usually die in young ages because of that. In mechanical world those horses doesn't die, we keep them alive. We keep em as pets and friends but sometimes we do not have the required skill to be their psychiatrist which we should.

I do not say that your horse is mad or abnormal horse. I just wanted to make people think that nothing is black and white. We never can be 100% sure why your horse does what it does. We just can make educated guesses.
I've seen some really,really strange behaviour on horses that live in mechanical world of racetracks etc. Ive seen in my herd that sometimes lower rankin horse is leaving the space but still higher ranking horse bites the others butt. This is not 'logical' pressure use like books teach us. Maybe it's way to tell "go faster you punk" or who knows. Would that horse bite other if they were totally free in nature? Who knows that either.

Anyway my personal experiences. I own horse which is low in hierarchy in my herd. When anyone(human) approaches him in herd he becomes violent. He pulls ears back and can even attack and bite. He has bitten my hand so my fingerbone did break. I think he clearly defends he's personal space. But there is more, there is kind of untrust between him and humans. I think He defends he's space because he is afraid (maybe abuse before, who knows). He is afraid that human does something terrible. He doesn't run away, he fights. This is not common behaviour on horses, usually they just run away as flight animal do. If you but pressure to him he just moves away a little, so pressure doesn't bother him.
What makes this horse very specia is that when you finally get to him and manage to touch, even slightly hes hair or neck he transform at different horse. He sees that he doesn't need to be afraid and is really human loving horse. Even if you take him into arena and let him free there is no sign of aggressiviness anymore there. He is willing to do things with humans and like when humans come close to him and he comes cloes to humans too. This kind of behavior he has had all the time I've owned him. Like 4-5 years now.

I've tried many kind of methods but this is what I've found most usefull. What I do is that I just have to dominate but at sime time build trust when catching him from my herd. So I go there front of him and become 'big'. I walk with big steps and act big. I watch he's ears and head that if they turn away I stop and backup. If he eats or watches elsewhere I drive im away (Like I said he doesn't move far so I do not need to worry him runnung too long far).
This is kind of modified way what I've learnt from parelli lvl2. I try to dominate and show that Im the leader by being big and driving him away and show him that even im leader I do not rush into your space without permission, I do not want to hurt you.
Sometimes it takes only 1-2minutes, somedays it takes 15-20minutes to catch him. I have seen little progress going on in last year when starting using this kind of methods so I hope im on right track.

If I were you, I would put my safety on most important thing. Without you there is nobody love your horses like you do. I do not know everything about situation. I could try that I drive him away from me when Im leaving pasture or field so danger situation cannot be arisen. I would focus on doing things that give you both good feeling. Do not pat him if he turns hindquarters at you. Maybe behaviour changes, maybe not.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:40 am 
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First I wanted to say that Beau tends to get some kind of 'tantrums' too sometimes, when I ask for something he wants to do for me, but in some way cannot do, because he doesn't know how or because of some other environment thing or whatever. I Have to not use to much pressure because he is so sensitive in things and really wants to try. I have taught him to back up whenever he gets 'out of order' when he gets to much.

About the kicking when you leave. Do you go trough the gate or climb trough the fence? Because you might do something she finds disturbing when you crawl trough the fence, or because you change in form she might get unsure. Have you ever sat on your bum in the pasture? Or lied down in it? How does she react to it? She might have problems with you being different...

Or indeed she is not ready to let you go, and if that is the 'problem' sending her away is a good option before you leave.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Quote:
I just fail to see any case where a horse will threaten a person outside of fear, annoyance or pain. Test, perhaps - be pushy and annoying maybe...threaten with no reason?...I don't know.

Even overt aggression (a horse charging) can most likely be traced back to human abuse, or abject fear (say the first time a wild horse is handled).

I do not think that allowing a horse to have a say...that listening to horse, increases aggression in any form. Allowing a horse to express themselves does not mean that they start having human emotions or human thought processes like, "If I kill her by kicking her in the head, she will stay here in the pasture with me forever". No, that kind of thinking is the realm of demented humans...not horses.



Karen, I have a funny feeling that you may be wrong about this one.

I think that working with horses in this way is a whole new ball game. I do believe they are capable of thinking and reasoning a whole lot more than we realise, and the more integrated, able to be self actualising, they are in the human environment, I suspect the more we are going to see this develop. No they won't think like humans, they will think like THINKING horses, which could be something quite unlike we've ever experienced before... and each one, each situation, each individual, each training relationship, will be different.

I do also believe that allowing a horse to have a say CAN increase aggression, even if only temporarily, in some horses in some situations.

And not every horse is a gentle wise spirit. In a herd of horses, there are some that are annoying to others, some that are trouble makers, some that like to aggress, some that like to bicker, some that just don't know when to stop, some that sneak up behind another any chance they get, some that will continually challenge stronger horses despite their inability to win. So, there's no reason we won't be training some of these characters too, and then we're going to find some different behaviour to the wise gentle kind stuff that we all like to focus on.

I'm inclined to think about this along the lines that Marko and Donald have already explored. I don't think Brittany needs to be beating herself up trying to think about what she might have done wrong to make her horse aggressive, (although the advice to rule out pain or pressure feeling is always a good one). I think she needs to just focus on working through it; identifying what the triggers are and keeping herself safe, and then doing some specific perception modification training to change the way that Lacie feels about and responds to this situation.

My guess, is that it is indeed something to do with the horse's low status in the herd. She's finally found someone who doesn't push her around, and she doesn't have the wisdom and experience to behave always with dignity, and treat that relationship with the respect she should. She thinks instead, aha! Here's MY chance!
A higher ranked horse may turn it's back on a lower ranked horse. It's a sign that they do not feel intimidated. But they will not be caught unawares. An unaware horse with it's back turned is a prime candidate for another horse to challenge.
So just the fact of Brittany turning her back on her horse could have triggered something. AHA! An opportunity to move up a peg for a change! At a time when Lacie was already getting excited about the other horse.
I think it's also quite possible that her horse is getting angry at her for leaving, and showing her how she feels about it. I don't think this is a huge leap in imagination to understand how a horse could reason this out.
Carrie wrote recently about Sid discovering how to use his shoulder to block her from leaving. Sunrise today was quite deliberately and snottily banging the gate shut with her nose each time I opened it to let her out after our training session.

Brittany, I think that it was very good advice to NOT turn your back on Lacie at the moment, and when you finish a training session, ask her to leave, rather than leaving yourself. "Show her who is master and who is pupil." I don't mean this in the way of showing that you are dominant - more in training her how you would like an interaction to finish, and then praising and rewarding her for that.
I can see that this could be turned into an opportunity for perception modification.

I'm sure that Kayce or CArrie would have some good ideas on how to do that using SATs, if you wanted to try to train the problem out, rather than going back to trying to assert your dominance.

Good luck!
Sue

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But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:17 pm 
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There are many points to consider here.

Karen's point that horses mentation is unlike human thinking in many ways.

We use the word 'think' in the none clinical sense, when we should be considering the various ways 'thinking,' is performed.

Often when we think we are thinking, we are in fact doing a version of reminiscence. We are using past experience, from memory, though we aren't "recalling" consciously necessarily.

We do it primarily to process our daily lives. Driving a car, putting on our clothes, preparing a meal. Most of these things we do without "problem solving." And of course by relying on our past patterns of problem solving.

Thank goodness we don't have to figure out how to best put on our clothing every day we do it.

Which brings out attention to the other major way of thinking. Problem solving itself.

While it relies in great part on our past experiences, often at some point we run out of past experiences and have to not just "think" our way through but to be creative ... find ways we've not experienced before.

This is were the horse is most interesting to watch (just as humans can be).

Humans probably don't have more than a dozen or so (at best ... genius class) such events in their entire lives. Solving a problem with something entirely new to their experience.

What we do usually, and the horse does exclusively, is build on trying combinations, new configurations of, our past experiences.

When we give a horse something brand new for her to consider, we easily see that she will attempt, often, to use her past experience to respond.

Give a new cue, and watch and old behavior appear, or confusion. Or the behavior that appears is primitive and herd related.

Thus, not only does the horse not use, but in fact does not have, the capacity for what we think of as abstract analytical thought.

She relies on old responses, experiences, and very rarely tries even new combinations of those to solve a new problem.

In fact, much of what we can consider our AND interests in training method, go right to that point. Teaching the horse to do new combinations of old things.

A Spanish Walk is based on and old behavior, I think you call it Jambette. It is based on an older behavior, common to horses, stomping their foot for one reason or another, having nothing to do originally with human intervention, but simply a fly bite.

We humans are reactive. Horses are simply more reactive than we are. Trying to push them to be more than they are presents special challenges.

Just as you would not, hopefully, force a child to behavior, at say 3 years old, like a socially sophisticated 13 year old, one would hope we'd have the wisdom not to expect a horse to be as sophisticated as a human.

The issue this brings up for many of us humans is that we "rank" such attributes. That is we value greater sophistication and devalue that which is less so.

The problem is an ethical one.

And the recognition that while horses have equine characteristics in common, they have probably as much range of 'personality' as humans.

Some horses are, by our standards, treacherous. Some are gentle sweethearts. And we'd best know the difference and not expect sweetness from a dangerous horse, 24/7.

The dangerous horse is in our minds of less value, but not in a horse's mind.

So it does no good to appeal to her conscience. And we need to look at the various ways we can work with horses at both ends of the spectrum.

And all along it as well.

With the human being responsible for the morals involved. And recognize the parameters of the horse's, the equine, ethic. What is it a horse wants?

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 4:53 pm 
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I think human safety is something that AND must look at and think about.


Common sense has to come into play, obviously. There is a rule here for kids who take lessons. Once they learn how to take tack off and put it away, feed the horses a bit of grain and brush them out, they are then responsible for putting the horse back into the pasture. There is a firm rule: You lead the horse through the gate, then turn them back toward the gate (and yourself) while you take off the halter. You do not take your eyes off your horse, and if other horses are present, you shoo them away before you take off the halter.

I think in the case of Lacie, you might keep a lead on her and keep her facing you until you are back through the fence, THEN take off the halter over the fence. Until you get this sorted out, keep yourself safe.

Sue...I am quite often wrong! Hence the disclaimer :wink:

What I would hate to see is anyone punishing a horse for unwanted behavior without first trying to understand why it's happening, and whether or not it can be modified through kinder means.

Marko, I understand that there are horses who simply have a screw loose. I had one once. When we bought him, his head was severly damaged. It honestly looked like someone had beaten him with a two by four. He was a good and gentle horse, and yet, every once in a while, with no warning and no common denominator, he would explode, dump you, then stand there and look at you as if he was asking how you got there. You could remount and he'd be good as gold again. He never ran away. He wasn't cinch bound. He wasn't spooky. he wasn't moody. We never did figure it out.

I have worked also with enough dogs to know that some are just wired incorrectly, and no amount of training can get them to be normal. In these cases, the dogs are either put down or they are placed with people who are aware of the (potentially dangerous) quirks and will keep the dog and the rest of the world safe. What it comes down to, is truely the only "solution" is to keep your wits about you always and to learn to see the warning signs if there are any.

But I would never punish Tam for giving a little kick on the lunge, if he does so because I've annoyed him. There, to me, the solution is easy. Don't annoy him. So far, if I do not annoy, he does not kick. If that changes, I'll reconsider. The exact same with Cisco. I can annoy him and elicit a kick. If I ever need that for a capriole (in my wildest dreams), I'll know what buttons to push. But for now, I just leave that button alone and no kick happens. I am also aware that I can spook CIsco if he's not paying attention, and I know NOW that one of his responses may be to kick. This was learned after he and I have been together for nine years.

Sometimes I'm a slow learner.

But I do, obviously have some gaps in my experience. I have never had a horse that would kick at anyone in an effort to keep them from leaving.


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