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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:03 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
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Location: Western Cape, South Africa
I had a problem with Zena ( a then two year old filly with no manners). She would grab/nip anyone with food.
I used Carolyns Resnicks method of teaching her that food has to be "given" not "taken".

I guess in a herd situation the stronger more dominent horses get the food and chase the others away.
So first I put her in with Morgan so she had to learn to wait until he said she could eat.
Next I did a few sessions with her where I put a bucket of food under a chair and sat and waited. Every time she came near to get it I would make myself big and chase her away. Only when she stood back a safe distance and looked submissive did she get the bucket brought to her.
I rolled this over to the groom (who before was getting mugged by her every time he walked past with a bucket!). Sometimes it was necessary for him to put the food down and chase her away but it didn't take more than a week for her to understand that lunging at food was not going to be tolerated.

The idea is that the food (no matter what it is) must be given not taken and the food must always come to the horse not the other way around.

Zena (at almost 3 now) is much much better and the nipping only happens occasionally now when she forgets and needs reminding!

So also have a look at how all food is given/presented to your horse as there may be mixed messages and after all it's an inbuilt survival skill that now we have domesticated need to think about. It is very dangerous to have a horse following you grabbing at the food you are carrying.
The same with clicker.....are you giving the horse a treat (going to him) or is he being allowed to take it from you?

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:40 am 
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Carla, i think this is a great sign about how you could potentially move forward with him:
Quote:
I did try crossing my arms and turning my back on Elvis today while shutting down my energy. Eventually he did back off - C/T!


I think this is fabulous! Congratulations! Great thing to remember is that if it's worked once, you've cracked open the door.

It sounds as though he really wants to connect with you -- and in my experience, at least, that's a huge part of the battle, especially with a horse who has good reasons to think human beings may not be who he wants to spend time with.

If that's the case, then you have an opening to help him better understand what the rules are when you play together -- and stopping and walking away, ending the game, ending all of that good energy contact, can be extremely effective, I think. He's unlearning and relearning how to interact with you, and if he's excited to have your attention, he will be really motivated to figure out how to keep it.

I'd keep exploring this with him -- it sounds like this could be a really good tool for you both.

There are lots of approaches you might take as you work through what works best for the two of you -- for example, when Circe and I were first using this as a technique to help her understand some boundaries, I didn't immediately C/T when she got it (because she'd promptly get all excited and wound up again :yeah: :hap: ). I'd simply step in towards her again, praise her (and maybe stroke her neck or touch her shoulder -- thinking about how to connect my touch with calm) , and while keeping my energy very soft and warm, directly go back into what we were working on without a lot of fanfare.

I think for horses who have emotions that are all over the place this can be really helpful, too. It worked really well with Circe because it helped us to find ways to be together without the pingy monkeys singing in her head! :funny: Actually, writing this is making me realize that some focused work on this wouldn't hurt us again these days. :yes:

Your perceptions about his reactions to what he sees as a fight are really important -- and I think you're absolutely right not to use that as a technique with him. Instead, i think what you're doing to let that negative energy dissipate is right on.

Several years ago I had a big lightbulb moment about letting negative energy go with Stardust when he did a big huge spook at a flapping tarp that was planning on attacking him. Until that moment, my instinct was to try to hold him energetically when he had negative emotions -- as you would with a child who was upset. In that particular moment, his spook was so big that I simply couldn't hold it -- the energy came too fast and strong for me to be able to contain it. So I literally felt it rush through me and out into the air. Much to my surprise, he calmed down faster than he ever had before -- and I realized that I helped him to let the energy go. When I'd held it, I actually couldn't hold all of it and it would essentially bounce back and forth between us and would get bigger.

This may be old news to you! But it gave me a whole different way of thinking about how I could help him let go of negative stuff, simply by letting it float out of both of us. Patricia, who I don't think has posted in a while, so you may not know her, has a great line about this that she remembers when working with her boy (who has had some major fear/aggression issues that she's been working through): you can't push on an open door.

Given that he's a "you get big, I get bigger" type, then the best approach with this is probably about letting his energy go and not give him any big energy back -- even, for a while, big approval, if that makes sense.

In any case, bravo to you for your work and kindness and thought with your guy -- I'm sure that together you'll figure it out. It sounds like you are making some real progress, and that's exciting.

All the best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:07 pm 

Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:56 pm
Posts: 27
Very interesting about the mother mare!!! I have never heard about that before :) :applause:

Carla: what are you focusing on when you click him? Maybe you should only focus on distance and your safety until that is okay.

The behavior you get is the behavior you reward, so if he get more pussy he get rewards for being pushy.

So first thing you have to make is some roles for when you give rewards. Give yourself the handicap that its impossible to give him anything at all when he does something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Start with exercises like go back. Then move away and stay. And I don’t mean move far away and stop having contact, but move one or two meters and wait, focusing and look at you. I the beginning you just ask him to go back, when that work, you ask him to go back and stay for a second, and then longer and longer time till you can ask him to give you space and wait as long as you want.

The other thing is when you have clicked him. He can come to you or stay where he is and you come to him. But he can’t take the food out of your hand. When hi come to get the candy ask him to stand in a comfortable distance, ask him to take a step back if necessary, if he is stressing and want to you to give him the food fast, you are going to be slooooow. And you stop the movement if he is uncomfortable. If he behaves well, he gets the food fast, if not he get the food slow. If really bad he don’t get it at all, and you live and he have to stay and be bored.

I would have the food with me at all times, and so much that it’s always more, but if the he don’t behave good he don’t get it.

A other exercise that is nice two start with is, head forward. You stand by his shoulder with candy in your hand; he turns around and tries to get it. You just follow by his shoulder (if you have one hand on him its easier to stay in place). After little time he will turn his head forward. You click and give him the food. When he has learned two stands with his head forward you move a little closer to his head. And it al starts again. In the end you can stand beside his head with food in your hand and he doesn’t try to take it. Most horses get this in 5 to 15 minutes. Later when you click and he gets pushy, you move to the shoulder and help him remember what works.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 29, 2010 9:38 pm 
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Lmargrete wrote:
Very interesting about the mother mare!!! I have never heard about that before :) :applause:


I worked for a couple of years for a horse breeding farm. Watched a lot of mares with foals. I had over 15 years in professionally at that time and yet those mares taught me more about horse communication than anything else I'd ever learned.
Lmargrete wrote:

Carla: what are you focusing on when you click him? Maybe you should only focus on distance and your safety until that is okay.

The behavior you get is the behavior you reward, so if he get more pussy he get rewards for being pushy.

So first thing you have to make is some roles for when you give rewards. Give yourself the handicap that its impossible to give him anything at all when he does something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Start with exercises like go back. Then move away and stay. And I don’t mean move far away and stop having contact, but move one or two meters and wait, focusing and look at you. I the beginning you just ask him to go back, when that work, you ask him to go back and stay for a second, and then longer and longer time till you can ask him to give you space and wait as long as you want.

The other thing is when you have clicked him. He can come to you or stay where he is and you come to him. But he can’t take the food out of your hand. When hi come to get the candy ask him to stand in a comfortable distance, ask him to take a step back if necessary, if he is stressing and want to you to give him the food fast, you are going to be slooooow. And you stop the movement if he is uncomfortable. If he behaves well, he gets the food fast, if not he get the food slow. If really bad he don’t get it at all, and you live and he have to stay and be bored.


I tend, with pushy horses, to push first. That is I never let then come to me or reach for the treat. I'm afraid that if I've sufficiently "charged," the clicker with giving a treat and then don't give it I could make my horse resentful and anxious, and possibly, with a horse as is being described, very pushy about the treat I'm withholding.

So I tend, just as the Mother Mare, to be generous and give rewards even for behavior less than perfect. then look to my delivery system to improve it. In other words, I"m not rushing that treat into his mouth quickly enough and need to speed it up. I hold off for a very long time, until I fully have his trust, confidence, and the ensuing calmness before I ever teach this kind of horse to come to me for a treat.

A few times correcting myself by getting that treat to him right after the click and he begins to expect my generosity and calms expectantly.

Lmargrete wrote:

I would have the food with me at all times, and so much that it’s always more, but if the he don’t behave good he don’t get it.


That would not work well for me. Some of the horse's I've worked with learn very quickly to be aggressive about treats, and often they learned this from others. I also make it a point to have times there are no food treats at all involved and I'm there to give grooming and other personal care. Those, in time, can be and often become the "treat," as ear cleaning is becoming for Bonnie. She loves when you get down there and dig the gunk out of her ears. She's turn her head to help you get deeper.

Lmargrete wrote:
A other exercise that is nice two start with is, head forward. You stand by his shoulder with candy in your hand; he turns around and tries to get it. You just follow by his shoulder (if you have one hand on him its easier to stay in place). After little time he will turn his head forward. You click and give him the food. When he has learned two stands with his head forward you move a little closer to his head. And it al starts again. In the end you can stand beside his head with food in your hand and he doesn’t try to take it. Most horses get this in 5 to 15 minutes. Later when you click and he gets pushy, you move to the shoulder and help him remember what works.


Yes, two well known authors on clicker training recommend that the next (really the first) thing you teach a new horse, after you have charged the clicker is how to accept the food reward.

Still, now and then, one will have a grabber despite all the careful training. Usually it's not that they strike like a snake, though I've seen that, or a starving dog, but that even though they hold position, and wait for the signal, as they take the treat there's just too much "tooth," in it, a kind of aggressive snap.

I use the same method to cure this that I learned to help dogs learn to take treats from the hand gently and carefully, even daintily.

One holds their flat hand, with out the food in it, with the back facing the animals mouth, and puts the treat between the finger, kind of like shoving it through a picket fence.

There is something about bumping the end of the nose that both dogs and horses slow down from.

Can't say why horse's do, because their nose is so tough, but they do slow down the taking of the food, even working it out of the fingers with the lips.

It's quite a job to help a horse overcome these more dangerous bad habits, but as you point out, it can be done.

Donald

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


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:25 am 

Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:56 pm
Posts: 27
Donald Redux wrote:
Lmargrete wrote:
Very interesting about the mother mare!!! I have never heard about that before :) :applause:


I worked for a couple of years for a horse breeding farm. Watched a lot of mares with foals. I had over 15 years in professionally at that time and yet those mares taught me more about horse communication than anything else I'd ever learned.

Then waching mares with foals is added on my list of need to do things :)

Lmargrete wrote:


Carla: what are you focusing on when you click him? Maybe you should only focus on distance and your safety until that is okay.

The behavior you get is the behavior you reward, so if he get more pussy he get rewards for being pushy.

So first thing you have to make is some roles for when you give rewards. Give yourself the handicap that its impossible to give him anything at all when he does something that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Start with exercises like go back. Then move away and stay. And I don’t mean move far away and stop having contact, but move one or two meters and wait, focusing and look at you. I the beginning you just ask him to go back, when that work, you ask him to go back and stay for a second, and then longer and longer time till you can ask him to give you space and wait as long as you want.

The other thing is when you have clicked him. He can come to you or stay where he is and you come to him. But he can’t take the food out of your hand. When hi come to get the candy ask him to stand in a comfortable distance, ask him to take a step back if necessary, if he is stressing and want to you to give him the food fast, you are going to be slooooow. And you stop the movement if he is uncomfortable. If he behaves well, he gets the food fast, if not he get the food slow. If really bad he don’t get it at all, and you live and he have to stay and be bored.


I tend, with pushy horses, to push first. That is I never let then come to me or reach for the treat. I'm afraid that if I've sufficiently "charged," the clicker with giving a treat and then don't give it I could make my horse resentful and anxious, and possibly, with a horse as is being described, very pushy about the treat I'm withholding.

So I tend, just as the Mother Mare, to be generous and give rewards even for behavior less than perfect. then look to my delivery system to improve it. In other words, I"m not rushing that treat into his mouth quickly enough and need to speed it up. I hold off for a very long time, until I fully have his trust, confidence, and the ensuing calmness before I ever teach this kind of horse to come to me for a treat.

A few times correcting myself by getting that treat to him right after the click and he begins to expect my generosity and calms expectantly.

But if you give him the treat when he do things you dont like, wont that make him do that more?
Lmargrete wrote:

I would have the food with me at all times, and so much that it’s always more, but if the he don’t behave good he don’t get it.


That would not work well for me. Some of the horse's I've worked with learn very quickly to be aggressive about treats, and often they learned this from others. I also make it a point to have times there are no food treats at all involved and I'm there to give grooming and other personal care. Those, in time, can be and often become the "treat," as ear cleaning is becoming for Bonnie. She loves when you get down there and dig the gunk out of her ears. She's turn her head to help you get deeper.

Lmargrete wrote:
A other exercise that is nice two start with is, head forward. You stand by his shoulder with candy in your hand; he turns around and tries to get it. You just follow by his shoulder (if you have one hand on him its easier to stay in place). After little time he will turn his head forward. You click and give him the food. When he has learned two stands with his head forward you move a little closer to his head. And it al starts again. In the end you can stand beside his head with food in your hand and he doesn’t try to take it. Most horses get this in 5 to 15 minutes. Later when you click and he gets pushy, you move to the shoulder and help him remember what works.


Yes, two well known authors on clicker training recommend that the next (really the first) thing you teach a new horse, after you have charged the clicker is how to accept the food reward.

Still, now and then, one will have a grabber despite all the careful training. Usually it's not that they strike like a snake, though I've seen that, or a starving dog, but that even though they hold position, and wait for the signal, as they take the treat there's just too much "tooth," in it, a kind of aggressive snap.
One horse that I traind last summer did that. I was realy lucy and gave har juse from the hand. she traid to take it with her teet but that dident work, she just spoild it :funny: But she is a smart lady and found out that she have to like to get it up. And then she started to do that always. Easy and very effektive :)
I use the same method to cure this that I learned to help dogs learn to take treats from the hand gently and carefully, even daintily.

One holds their flat hand, with out the food in it, with the back facing the animals mouth, and puts the treat between the finger, kind of like shoving it through a picket fence.

There is something about bumping the end of the nose that both dogs and horses slow down from.

Can't say why horse's do, because their nose is so tough, but they do slow down the taking of the food, even working it out of the fingers with the lips.

Nice I need to finde a horse who try to eat the hand when I come home and test :)

It's quite a job to help a horse overcome these more dangerous bad habits, but as you point out, it can be done.

Donald


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:15 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
Posts: 483
Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
Quote:
One holds their flat hand, with out the food in it, with the back facing the animals mouth, and puts the treat between the finger, kind of like shoving it through a picket fence.


I tried this with my two dogs who can be a bit uncareful when taking their treat and 'yes' :cheers: it helps!
They looked at it first and than took it much more carefully.

Thank you Donald! :f: :f: :f:

:love:

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Kind regards,

AnneMarie

------
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make'em drink...


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:27 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:15 am
Posts: 3
A problem has arisen with our herd.
Pippi our mare (a born leader) who is my daughters horse bucked her off today when we were (very leisurely) riding around our paddock at a walk. It may be a mother's instinct or imbedded old horsemanship patterns, but, I lost it and really "got stuck into her" (in the same way I might have witnessed her treatment of another horse: by bailing her up and kicking her in the side.). its the second time she has done this. But I am a bit confused and overwhelmed that it happened. we have otherwise a good relationship, good respect, though i always feel Pippi is watching and testing the ranks between us.
In addition to this my sweet boy Amir who i had spent 5 months developing a relationship with, before riding him about two months ago also did a bit of bucking (very sweet little not possible to throw someone bucks, but bucks!) other than that he is doing very well; lunging at liberty, several tricks and rides with only a rope, i have always been very soft on them, without letting them get away with incorrect behaviour....... until this recent explosion!

Am I training them to buck? Am I too soft, too hard? I'm always wondering this as the internal conflict between the old ways and the new continue in my mind!

Though Pippi is 19 and has some arthritis in her knees, my daughter is only 8 and weights no more than 20kg with the saddle, we dont put her under duress, she is fine when i ride her.
They have both had chiropractic care.

I would really love some advice.
Angie


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:19 pm 
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Hi Angie, unfortunately I have very little time at the moment so I can only write a short and rather abstract reply. I also can't say whether I think you are too soft or too hard, because I believe these things can only be judged in relation to some standard, and I don't know what that standard would be for you. Your horse's perception? A particular goal, and if yes, which? Anything else?

Personally, if I experience a situation like the one you described, I ask myself three questions:

1. What do I do that gives my horse a reason to want to be ridden?
2. Do I notice it if my horse does not want to be ridden?
3. When I notice this, what do I do to change it and make sure she likes being ridden again?

If I adjust my own behaviour in a way that the answers to all three questions move away from "no" or "nothing" as far as possible, then there isn't much left of any bucking, bolting or other dangerous behaviour. :smile:

Good luck with your horses, and I hope that you will find a solution that works for all of you! :f:


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