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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
So many wonderful friendships, bonds and training videos on AND which show emotional bonding, understanding, consideration and trust. I wondered how members chose what to select, one method or own methods evolved from a variety of experience, adaptation and which 'known' trainers they most align to...and WHY?

Looking and watching some beautiful video demonstrations from around the world, I wonder when seeing these what methods were used in training. Sometimes it is Caroline Resnik's Waterhole Rituals, similar use by Cynthia Royal who has Blanco the Star of Lord of the Rings.
I love the interactions in this demo and see body movement similar to Romy's videos I think.
Published on 16 Jan 2013 a Mosie Trewhitt video, you can see Mosie on Facebook as well.


From Mosie - An hour away from home on a public beach with dogs and people running around us.
Annie was a dream.

This whole day was a dream - Annie brought all of my dreams to life. She never ceases to amazing me. Annie - I don't know how I can ever thank you for everything you are to me and all you have shown me.
http://youtu.be/0ZqkWmS_LZE

Also Farrah de Johnette who has also taken a CR rituals route. http://www.fdhorsemanship.com/

Chatting to a friend about methods he was looking into these were his favoured routes:
First Difference, Principles the program is based upon which excluded the NH trainers like Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli but included Klaus Ferdinand Hemfling, Caroline Resnik and Friendship Training - which is my friends chosen path and I asked for his reasons :

KFH : Dominant horse using dominant horse body language

Carolyn : Lead horse using lead horse body language

FT : Horse buddy using Equine Peer Attachment Principles

This is one of the best difference of the best programs I had in my mind at the time I found FT!

Second Difference, Area selection in the program :

KFH : Uses Picadero

Carolyn : Uses larger Picadero where the horse can escape the human if he feels the need to

FT : 500 acres! HECK NO PROBLEM!!!

Third Difference, Equipment necessary :

KFH : Whip (to guide the horse)

Carolyn : Grass reed (to guide the horse and to keep ourselves safe without hitting the horse!)

FT : NOTHING!

We also discussed many behaviourists, ERC, Ben Hart, Shawna Karrash, Equilibre, etc. http://www.on-target-training.com/ http://www.equineresearch.org/

We looked at Liz Mitten Ryan, One With The Herd, most of us do not have those fabulous acres for liberty and travel for our horses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oS1LAuQA6Rw

Honza Blaha is TOO Parrelli, dominance training style for many and his horses do not have the softness shown by SVG School. http://www.honzablaha.cz/en PNH versus Stina Herberg SVG using CR rituals http://youtu.be/Y17nv-xny_s

Emma Massingale has some super demo videos but I have no idea what her foundational training is based on.
http://www.emmamassingale.com/

Equine tourism has many good archives and tends towards the bitless community. This is an example. http://www.equinetourismcommunity.com/i ... -language/

Who are your favourite 'known' trainers and why?


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:32 pm 
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PiePony wrote:
Who are your favourite 'known' trainers and why?


Currently, I do not find a lot of inspiration in any known trainers. I may take some technical inspiration from them every once in a while, like an idea for a new exercise. But even that does not happen a lot these days, because I am at a point where I do not feel the need to increase my technical skills, for example the precision of my body language. Certainly there is MUCH more that I can learn. Perhaps in a few years it will not take me a whole training session but just two or three trials to get a horse to move his hindquarters towards me when I move my hips away. Or perhaps I will be able to inspire a horse to do a piaffe just like that, or immediately get a slow horse to vary his energy in synchrony with mine. All these things would be nice. However, they are just not relevant for everyday situations, not relevant for the things I care about at the moment.

On the other hand, I prefer not to look at known trainers for anything that concerns my relationship with horses. Instead, my favourite trainers are the children. Like Nora, when we try to help Pia overcome her fear of syringes and she gives treats to that pony all the time although the pony was not as brave as I think she could have been. Like Azhar, who waits way too long for my taste when he wants Titum to cross some slightly dangerous natural obstacle, and makes me think "Oh boy, can't you just move on..." Or when he drives me crazy by plucking loads of grass for my horses while actually I want to practise something with them and this is becoming completely impossible because they do not focus at all but just look at him.

What inspires me at the moment are the things that at first glance make me feel they were wrong. Imprecise, ineffective, not relevant for the task at hand. I am learning most from these situations, because they help me become aware, again and again, of my tendency to focus on the things that aren't really what our interaction is about. Because actually, who cares whether the horses learn a certain exercises now or later, and who cares if things take a little longer? And whereas being faster and more precise is not what I feel I need to learn right now, I do want to continuously learn how to do better in the eyes of my horses.

To me the children are such a good role model for that because there is one thing they do not have at all in situations like the ones I described (and which all the "known" trainers I am aware of have in pretty much all of their (published) work). The children usually do not think along the lines of "I give something to the horse in order to..." Instead, it's just "I give." Or perhaps "I give because the horse is cute", or "I give because I have something to give". As simple as that. And at the moment I am just so much more interested in the simple things, in ordinary people and in everyday relationships, with the partners just being normal with each other, simply doing the right things because that's what naturally emerges from the basis of wanting the best for the one you love.


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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2013 11:59 pm 

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Thank you Romy. When people seek an emotional connection and wish a life long friendship with their horses I do suggest AND and a trawl through Carolyn Resnick, Liz Mitten Ryan, Lucy Rees and a few more, especially where people may not have much understanding of horse language or behavioural interactions in a feral, unrestricted and natural setting.
With the growth of the internet whilst there are many behavioural science papers and studies that back a positive approach there are also pitfalls along the Clayton Anderson and harsher PNH routes, many who have media deals and can damage bonding. I do agree, whatever route we choose to build a n emotional and spiritual connection, should 'feel' instinctively right to us.xx

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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2013 8:11 am 
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I am sure that I am influenced by many people, and that my way of interacting with horses is the sum of all things that I soaked up in the last 6 years since I first started with horses. I love every kind of horse related literature and I like to watch every horse movie on the internet. I also have some trainers from which I took bits and pieces and integrated them into my daily work. But when you ask for how I developed "trust, freedom and emotional connection" with my horse, I am pretty sure that I was mostly guided by who I am as a person, how my parents raised me and what my moral and ethical believes are. I don't think that a trainer can help so much about that.
I did know nothing about horses whatsoever at first, but I knew instinctively that I wanted a friendly, non-dominant way to interact, or I was not interested. That's how I relate to people and so I wanted to relate to horses in the same way - no-one had to teach me that.

Characteristically, the most important lesson I learned of late in terms of "horse training" was along those lines. When Romy visited us, it was of course also her typical way of moving and some technical aspects of her work, but what influenced me most was the simple fact of watching her having fun with the horses - pure, uncompromising fun. And that was something I try to cultivate in me ever since.
Sure, you could say that that was something I learned from her as a trainer, but it is basically something not really related to horses per se, but a view on life that requires a certain mindset that is very hard to get from a book or a video.

I don't know if that was what you wanted to hear, Susie. Sure, I could drop some names here, but I am really not so sure if that would help anybody?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:59 am 

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Hi Volker, really I have no agenda. I think people who are drawn to AND already share much common ground.
I find links to articles and trainers helpful because my friend is based thousands of miles from me in Karachi, Pakistan.
He uses the internet and is familiar with many of the training programmes that most frequently come up in search engines for horse training, what he really seeks is the emotional and mental connection, which is why he has told me he is most drawn to Chuck Mintzlaff's Friendship Training and I then asked for his reasoning.
There is no local facility for him to learn and train in the ways he would prefer and the horses for hire on the beaches have ill fitting tack.

Using links and training types has allowed some understanding to raise discussion and expand a conversation on where he would like his equine journey to take him, which made me wonder how others would approach suggesting kind training methods that allow friendship and emotional connection to flourish between horse and human.

The Brooke are busy treating working horses and donkeys. My friend would like to address the ridden horses. The culture is not a kind one for equines and he made this youtube video to raise awareness. http://youtu.be/tjxl9McGZjo

He is hoping to train a horse at liberty and ride tackless to demonstrate that 'ego' is not dependent on riding with a big bit, spurs or doing the Pakistani Horse Dance. Lots of youtube videos if you type pakihorse dance into the search.

He is passionate but does not have a horse yet and cannot enter Chuck's online course until he does have a horse to work with. He is reading and learning online. I managed to post him a copy of Lucy Rees Understanding Your Pony and hope this young man will influence better horse care. Even if he manages to make something better for only one horse, that horse will thank him.

I will ask him again if he would be interested in joining AND, especially when he eventually has a horse of his own and would find this forum helpful and supportive.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 06, 2013 3:12 pm 
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Houyhnhnm wrote:
I love every kind of horse related literature and I like to watch every horse movie on the internet. I also have some trainers from which I took bits and pieces and integrated them into my daily work. But when you ask for how I developed "trust, freedom and emotional connection" with my horse, I am pretty sure that I was mostly guided by who I am as a person, how my parents raised me and what my moral and ethical believes are. I don't think that a trainer can help so much about that.


I'm exactly like that too Volker, I read so much equine related literature and watch so many horse movies!

I find different training methods very interesting, and found Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling's book extremely inspiring when I was given it by a friend about ten years ago. I began loaning a miniature shetland pony at a place where every week a Parelli horsemanship lady came to visit. The people at that yard literally worshipped this lady, and I didn't particularly like her methods, but there are still things to learn through looking at these things with an open mind (even if it is just what absolutely NOT to do!).
At around the same time as a was doing things with the Shetland, I began working for Ben Hart, who had a base at the Donkey Sanctuary's training centre for animals with behavioural issues... Ben's take on animal training really gave me confidence in my own intuition and common sense, which I think alongside learning from the actual animals themselves, is the best curriculum you can give yourself.
I didn't come across the absolute fountain of horsemen and women until recently really, and to be honest I don't get too sucked in. I think this is perhaps because I have realised that actually i've already got a fairly good box of tools to draw on, and chucking more into the mix can sometimes just confuse things.
I think if you are doubting yourself it is very valuable to read about or watch videos of the incredible relationships that people have sparked up with the equines they work with. Then the best thing to do is to get out there and sensitively discuss what you've discovered with your horse. They'll soon tell you if it's right or not!

I think you're right Susie to recommend Lucy Rees' "The horse's mind" and Ben Hart, and other organisations and trainers who really scrutinisingly look into the science behind behaviour and training methods. I hadn't read Lucy Rees's book before you recommended it to me, I'm half way through it and it's a really enjoyable book. I'm not new to most of the things that she talks about, but i'm really enjoying it anyway. I'll definitely recommend it to anybody else beginning on the path of horse behaviour and training.

I've also never come across Chuck Mintzlaff before (just looking at his website now!), and again, my approach will be to read through his material, perhaps watch some videos, and probably not change that much in my work with Skylark and the mules and donkeys at work, but there may be some really useful things that I can extract, without tainting too much of my own 'Sunny essence' :D. I try not to jump onto training courses too quickly, but that is a personal choice because i'm happy with the path i'm already on.

What your friend is doing sounds absolutely brilliant! He already sounds like an inspiring and innovative person, who sounds like he is going to do some amazing work for horses who really need it! That video is very powerful :sad:
I really wish him the best... It sounds like he's on the right track already!

I think the key is the relax, be imaginative, and work with the horse


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2013 8:27 am 
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When it comes to horses and information I'm like a sponge, I take in everything.

And after taking in, I think about it, for days, while taking in other information, which might agree or dis-agree with earlier taken information. And it is that discussing and pondering and checking of information which is the most valuable for me.

Though I have to mention one particular trainer:
Frederic Pignon

And that is mostly because he was the start for me to search for other ways then I had seen around me.
I tried all I had seen around me, and I didn't feel completely comfortable with any of the methods I tried... but my world was smaller then (and I was younger) so all the information I got, was from people close to me, who had various methods, but non of them 'the one' for me.
I was at the point of quitting horses al together because 'if this was it, it was not for me'.
And accidentally came across an interview, about cavalia, with Frederic Pignon, and I realised that there was more, it was just not in the small town I was living in at the moment, but on the internet :funny:

I can't say I found one favorite method, but the combination of all of them.
Sometimes I see exercises done by trainers in a way I don't want to do them, but the exercise in itself looks fun and good for the horse, then I'm pondering and experimenting how to get that exercise in different ways, ways that fit me and that horse.

So I look, I read, I follow links and get lost and think about it all.

Then I try, in different ways sometimes it's really clear, sometimes I'm even more lost then before and have to go back to watchingreadingsearchingpondering, getting deeper down 'the rabbit hole, still taking a 'wrong turn' every now and then.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:56 pm 
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For me this question is very relevant right now, as I've actually decided a couple of weeks ago to go and follow an onine course by Carolyn Resnick & studying the method of Cynthia Royal for the next three months.

Speedy and I have been doing great things together, but the past months I started getting the feeling that we've become a bit stuck. For some reason I got the feeling (and this took me a long time to figure out) that Speedy and I had been creating puzzle-pieces for the past years - beautiful pieces - but even when connected in essence they still are loose pieces, and now I'm looking for a kind of glue to put them all together.
To put it in another way: we have beautiful exercises, but now I want to dance.
And I'm completely aware of the fact that the first part of that sentence is a we-sentence, and the second part an I-sentence, so there is a relationship-part to it as well.

Another very I-oriented reason to go and follow a course, is that I simply have never don so before. I'm the one who buys the books & dvd's, reads & watches them in one night, marks all the exercises that make sense to me and try them out with pony. But now I feel like being led for a change. Not running ahead all the time, inventing things on my own, but simply follow a program as it's handed out, bit by bit. And of course modifying the hell out of it along the way because when it comes to Carolyn Resnick Speedy and I when training at liberty do nothing else but 'Companion Walking', and I have some second thoughts about her use of the whip, and yes she uses foodrewards, but I sure am going to add a click to that and give the reward some timing with it as well, ;) but I think I can work around the potholes while still follow a program in a steady, relaxed way.

And last but not least a very practical reason for following a system, is that I discovered that even though Speedy and I have developed a lot o exercises the past few years, now I'm slowly discovering that a lot of our cues overlap. So when I raise the hand closest to his head when lunging, he changes side - but apparently it has also become our cue for piaffe - and travers. So my bodylanguage and cues are a bit of a mess and I need to learn one cue-system (could have been any system but now I've chosen Carolyn Resnick as she works @liberty the entire training) that I can use as basis for all the other exercises. I guess that's the glue that I meant before: I myself feel the need for a kind of holistic bodylanguage-cue-system-like-thing ;) that I can uses a basis for my own cues and our exercises together.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:32 pm 
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Miriam, your idea of a glue that holds the pieces of your joint activities together sounds very intriguing to me. :) However, I don't think I have completely understood what exactly you mean. I think I do understand the analogy of a glue, but probably not the mechanisms of how the rituals are supposed to relate to your pieces, and in what way exactly they will connect them. Can you perhaps try to describe it with a practical example?


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:05 pm 
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Well, I did describe the practical side of the glue already, in that I now have inconsistent bodylanguage and cues that collide, which causes me to pause and think all the time. That means that I loose the rythm constantly and the feeling of a dance is lost.

What I want: 8)
A) A consistent set of movements for me (the glue), a bodylanguage that is focused on movement and moving together - while up untill now we've been focused a lot on doing things in halt, and I guess that's where my feeling of loose pieces of a puzzle stems from.

B) A better way of dealing emotionally with the times the pony doesn't want to dance with me - dance to means two partners who aren't forced to be together, so the other can always go as he pleases, but I'd like to find away to not fall to pieces every time that happens. :roll:

About the rituals:
The reason why I chose to study Carolyn Resnick is that she works at liberty, her horses walk away all the time, ;) and she therefore also gives a lot of attention to handling that emotionally - not feeling rejected etc. etc. The course haven't started yet, but of course I already put some of the things into practice and I already notice that the first two rituals (spending time with your horse without doing anything, and 2) only approach him when he invites you by looking at you) have had quite an impact on me. It made me realise how needy I actually was/am (no instant cure over here 8) ); Speedy is high-strung and demanding and I am a pleaser - which is a fabulous combination of course because we really fulfull each other needs, 8) but I've changed in the past few years and this had stopped being a good place for me. So we need to find a new balance. And instead of figuring it all out by myself and building a new foundation brick by brick like I've done up untill now, I now feel like watching somebody else buidling a house and then using when I learn to discover what I want for my own.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 05, 2013 10:12 pm 
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Ah, thanks for explaining, I think now I understand better what you mean (takes a while sometimes... :blush:). I did read that you had said the inconsistent cues were a problem, but had no idea how the rituals might relate to that. But so nice that it's already working well for you. Good luck! :)

After thinking about the whole glue thing, I have been wondering whether in my interaction with my horses there also was something that I feel holds the pieces together. Well, I guess if we have a glue, that might be my messiness and lack of precision. :funny: What I mean by this is that I often don't know what I am actually asking of the horses but just do some movement or body language gesture and see how they will respond, that I often give cues half-heartedly so that they leave it relatively open if the horses will respond at all or simply ignore it, and that I use almost all (and at the same time none) of my moves as a communicative act. That is, it would be equally correct for the horse to react to any given movement of mine and not to react to it, and at the same time it is easy for me to adapt each of my moves on the fly, depending on the horse's ongoing response to it.

The reason why I think this works as a glue is that it allows the horses to glide in and out of the conversation as they please, at no particular cost in terms of needing to make an effortful decision to do so. That is, our interaction is much less categorical than a collection of exercises might be. What can count as a communicative gesture or joint activity for us is not clearly defined, and therefore it can include movements on the whole scale of effort, intentionality and other-directedness. Depending on both my and the horses' mood, we may pick up these signals from each other or not, which makes our interaction rather fluent because there are no marked interruptions in it, no on and off periods (except for Summy's breaks, but that's another story). :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 9:32 pm 
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I completely understand, and I think it's wonderful to experience that feeling/flow in a training. And it actually makes a lot of sense that not having a strict set of reference points in the bodylanguage and/or not having very well-defined cues (in that action A always asks for action B)

But I'm not that kind of person, I've discovered. I need a set of rules (home-made of stolen from somebody else 8) ) in order to become flexible. Because for me rules or a set of basic cues then function as a basis that I can always return to without a second thought when I get stuck somewhere on a higher level. Not to fix the problem in the horse (as in 'the piaffe is too slow so now I'm going back to pushing my horse into halt-trot transitions :roll: ), but to prevent me from starting to overthink everything else ('yikes, if the piaffe is slow, does that mean that I've pushed him too hard? And how should I respond if I'm the problem, not he? Is my request unclear or is he unable/unwilling to do it? And what does that mean for our relationship? For the rest of this training? For the rest of the world? What should I do! And how should I do it???' (true story :green: )).

If there's a solid basis down below, I can simply think 'Ah well then, let's go walk.' Instead of starting fretting over the question if my cue for walk is a kind of pony-abuse too. :roll:

Come to think of it, with glue I don't mean the nasty 10-seconds-and-your-fingers-will-never-come-apart-again stuff, ;) but rather the weird gum-like rubber blobs that they use to stick special stuff to magazine pages. :alien:
It's very elastic, you can roll it into a ball or spread it out, it never dries out and stays sticky so that you can use use it again and again. That's the kind of glue I want! ;)


By the way, I found this video of Stina Herberg (a Carolyn Resnick trainer, for some reason I often like her trainers better than her own work) and I really liked it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNY2Zu9hh4s

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Miriam wrote:
Not to fix the problem in the horse (as in 'the piaffe is too slow so now I'm going back to pushing my horse into halt-trot transitions :roll: ), but to prevent me from starting to overthink everything else ('yikes, if the piaffe is slow, does that mean that I've pushed him too hard? And how should I respond if I'm the problem, not he? Is my request unclear or is he unable/unwilling to do it? And what does that mean for our relationship? For the rest of this training? For the rest of the world? What should I do! And how should I do it???' (true story :green: )).
Hmmm. I know these kind of questions quite well that are always in danger of shaking the foundations. :roll:
But I have also found for me that a given set of rules won't make it any better. It only makes it possible to transfer responsibility. I can blame the method if the horse is not behaving like I expected. But does any method really give me an appropriate answer if the piaffe is too slow and I wonder if I pushed my horse too hard?

For me, the glue is what sticks in between the exercises, the choreographed movements that can be learned and rehearsed. It looks something like this: me - sticky glue - exercise - sticky glue - horse. It fills all the gaps between me, the tool of communication and the horse.
So what can that glue be? I call it relationship ;).

Of course, a large set of tools (rules, exercises, things we agreed upon) makes the glue more effective. Like the gaps become smaller and smaller and every glue is most effective when spread thin ;)...

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:14 pm 
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Houyhnhnm wrote:
But I have also found for me that a given set of rules won't make it any better. It only makes it possible to transfer responsibility. I can blame the method if the horse is not behaving like I expected. But does any method really give me an appropriate answer if the piaffe is too slow and I wonder if I pushed my horse too hard?


A method always involves oversimplification (simply because it's 1 method and there are millions of horses and people). However, methods also work because of that oversimplification, simply because that enables you to remember it and put it into use in your training sessions - and then turn it into your own special brand of glue. ;)
For me the problem in an over-thinkining-everything-fase is that with AND I've always mixed my own glue together from scratch, which is great and very personal, but it also involves a lot of thinking (and doubt). So for now I really like researching another method instead. Of course that only works if there's a lot of common ground already between both schools of thought. And it doesn't give the answer to the piaffe-question at all, ;) but it does give an example of how you can interpret 'bad piaffe' in that certain system, for example: if the horse walks away he is probably tired or worn out, take time off, feed him and then spend some undemanding time with him again before asking him to join you in training again (and then do some other stuff than the piaffe).
And of course I could figure something like that out myself as well, but not when I'm in an overthinking mood because then there are a lot of seperate little steps to think of (and doubt about!), while now I've approved of that part of that method beforehand so I can simply jump on that problem solving train when we encounter a problem in the paddock. ;)


Quote:
For me, the glue is what sticks in between the exercises, the choreographed movements that can be learned and rehearsed. It looks something like this: me - sticky glue - exercise - sticky glue - horse. It fills all the gaps between me, the tool of communication and the horse.


So true! And that was what I felt was lacking in our sessions the past few months. Yes, we did train and it was fun, but it felt like everything had become much more static, much more like an exercises: even the glue-movements in between exercises felt like always being about questions: where to do stuff, for how long, what if, what if not... Speedy was just doing his thing and having a good time and I felt more and more insecure. So my need for some more guidance isn't because I need tot tame him :roll: 8) or because he must do things in a different way - he is perfect already! - but really it's about me feeling more sure of myself (even if that starts by simply following oversimplified exercises) in order to feel free again.

Quote:
So what can that glue be? I call it relationship ;).

For me the relationhip rather is every second you spend with your horse, whether @work, during exercises or in the pasture. So come to think of it, maybe I'm actually not working on the relationship (as Speedy isn't doing anything out of the ordinary but still canters along merrily), but I'm rather working on myself and what kind of person I want to be during training, what I feel comfortable with: go back and create a firm basis for myself that I can always fall back on, so I can feel free to experiment again.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 2:21 pm 
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I have split the topic so that the context and situational factors got their own thread.


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