The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:19 am 
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We had a fantastic clinic in Pijnacker on Saturday, with wonderful horses and humans. I hope that Els or Danielle will write something too, to give you a second impression from another point of view, but for now I will write about what I saw during the clinic.

We started with a theory lesson in the morning where I was talking about some basic things concerning methods and goals. I tried to explain that if you use pressure or positive reinforcement as a main motivator, this has nothing to do with being good or bad, but that you simply have to know what attitude you want to develop in your horse, and with that it becomes clear what method fits for you. I sketched our way of interacting with horses and discussed some arguments that usually come up when people are discussing if pressure and dominance are necessary or not, showed some pictures and videos and then we went out to train with the participants´ horses for the first time. After that we had lunch, then another theory lesson and then we trained with the horses for the second time. I will try write about each horse separately. I will not use names of people or horses because of privacy reasons, except for Els and Danielle who organized the clinic, so it´s clear that they participated anyway.


Icelandic 1

The first Icelandic horse was a gelding who had been “stubborn and uncooperative”, as the owner calls it, when she first got him. Her handling of him was not unfriendly but quite firm with clear expectations and immediate consequences if those expectations were not met. For those two, our first goal was to make sure that the horse realized that now he was calling the shots and, more importantly, to help the owner see all those nice and rewardable things her horse was doing. Like you can often observe it when a horse has been trained in a pressure-release way and then the pressure is taken off, his cooperation went to a level of about zero, so this was a tough job for the owner, who seemed to be used to thinking in terms of proper exercises and increasing their difficulty not only after the horse had been rewarded for the easier version, but at the first sign of the horse managing to do it, so that it was rather difficult for him to be successful. But the owner did a wonderful job and I really admire her for opening up to something that is so contradictory to what she had done before. At the end of the first session the horse had realized that humans can communicate and that even if there was no pressure, it might be a good idea to do things with them. A nice little success for those two.

And then there was the second session in the afternoon. They entered the arena and started interacting, and I was totally blown away. What I had the privilege to witness there was a transformation from a human just giving cues and a horse reacting with more or less enthusiasm, to a human actually seeing his horse, building up a real two-way communication. I hardly dared to interfere and kept my comments to a minimum. This was because I really felt that the process those two were going through was something that required them to be open for each other instead of trying hard to improve a specific thing. They were at a point where I think it was much better to remain silent in order not to disturb the communication that was building up, and I kept my talking to some positive reinforcement, telling them how great they were doing, and some minor comments about the timing in their communication now and then. The effect of the owner´s new behavior was reflected in the horse´s actions at once. He started to focus and really listen to her, trying to find out what it is she was saying instead of just waiting until a reaction was necessary to avoid pressure.

When they were finished, Danielle asked me to tell people some general things about bodylanguage. This was funny, because for me telling them something general about bodylanguage is just as hard as telling someone how the German language works in general. But I said that if I could say something general at all, then it was to watch your hips. And as this nice little Icelandic was standing next to me, I asked him if he wanted to walk with me and show them what I meant. And he did! We went forwards, then showed some bending on the circle and even a shoulder-in – all by turning the hips. Oh, and we also learned backing up while I was standing behind him by using bodylanguage and he reacted to that so nicely. I was so happy about the little man!

Altogether I think both of them did an amazing job, the horse because he decided to be cooperative and interested in his human, even though their interaction before had had a totally different basis, and the human for being so open and willing to try hard for her horse, even though this was hard for her as a person and as an experienced horse-handler. Even if I did not teach them a lot (I hardly said anything in the second session anymore), I think that during that one day they really learned something new, from each other and about each other.


Icelandic 2

Icelandic horse 2 was a cute little mare who was totally sweet and calm, but not exactly the one to show much spontaneous activity. Her favourite thing to do was eating the plants next to the arena. If I would work with my own horses or had as much time as I wanted, I would let the horse do that as long as he wants to, but when you have 2x half an hour per horse and a lot of spectators who want to learn something from the horse, then it would be a pity to spend that time with doing nothing but watching him eat. So we had to set up a rule that the horse was allowed to do whatever he wants but not eat. But how to do that when you want to give a clinic about interacting with horses in a non-pressure way? In the theory lessons I did tell the participants that there were situations when I used pressure, but still putting pressure on the horse as my first action with a new horse did not seem to be the best idea. We decided to block the horse away from the food instead, by placing ourselves between the horse and the food so that she can´t eat, and rewarding her for each time she lifted her head. Soon the little mare realized that eating was not an option, but still she was pretty much uninterested and before we could even think of doing something with her, we had to make sure to keep her with us, so that she gets the chance to realize that interacting with humans will be rewarding from now on. This does require a lot of timing, which those two did not yet have in the beginning. The horse wandered away from the woman and she only started reacting when she had already lost the horse´s attention entirely. We tried to work on that a bit and reward every initiative of the horse when she was with us. She became a bit more interested and this was a nice little success, but just like with the other Icelandic, at the end of the first training session I was not that happy with the results.

But then there was the second session. Right from the beginning the little mare was more motivated, but then she fell back to eating and the owner had a hard time stopping that, so I took over and tried to use precisely timed little hip movements to stop the eating. This means that I was standing next to the horse, rewarding her for attending to me. At the moment when I saw her attention wandering towards the grass, I looked at her in a more alert way and as soon as she started moving to the grass, I quickly moved my hip like I was blocking her. Just a few centimeters, so it was no real physical blocking, but when the timing was precise, this resulted in the mare hesitating for a moment, which I could then use to praise and reward her lavishly. After watching us the owner said that now she saw what I was doing, so she tried it too and it worked at once. But this was not too surprising, because even though she had a few things to learn about communicating with her horse, she was a very sensitive person who really had a good feeling for those things and, once she knew what to do and what to look for, she could do that in no time. Our main training goal was to precisely time her steps and movements, and in turn this made the little mare interested in her owner. She realized that actually that human can communicate! And then the circle started: the mare payed attention to her owner and the owner became happy about this, so that the mare was even more motivated to cooperate, which made the owner even happier and the mare still much more motivated. In the end of the second part we (the other participants and me) could see a human totally delighted about her little horsey, smiling and shining and acting like she wanted to hug her mare to pieces. I really had to hold back my tears and still, two days later, whenever I think of this picture of her bending down to her horse with her face touching the horse´s muzzle and the joy in her face being so obvious, totally forgetting that there are other people around, my eyes become all watery.


The warmblood mare

Els worked with a warmblood mare from the stable where we did the clinic. She did not know that horse before and only trained with her in the first session, because in the afternoon the owner was riding her. Maybe Els wants to write something about her, but I will leave it out for now, because Els has never played with this horse before, so there is no prehistory, no change in their communication and probably no chance that this horse will be worked with in that way again. Nothing happened that was totally different from what was happening in the first sessions with the other horses. It was a nice mare, but I think writing about the other horses will be more interesting – or at least for me the training with them was more interesting. ;)

But of course Els was an angel just like we know her, ever so nice and soft with the horses and very attentive to them. Such an inspiration to watch her, especially for uncareful and bold Romys. :funny:


The little stallion

We got a little Hackney stallion from the stable where the clinic was taking place. A friend of Danielle worked with him. She did a great job right from the beginning. Her problem was only that she had this girlfriend syndrome, waiting for her horse to please, please give her some attention, instead of just going away and doing something for herself when the horse decided not to attend to her. But she managed to stop that very soon and then she could even motivate the little stallion to trot and canter with her. She experimented with her bodylanguage a lot and was quite good at that, finding out which components annoyed the little one and in which way to change that so that she could make herself understandable.

In the end of the second session we were lucky to have a horse who was getting excited about the food and started coming into my personal space quite a lot, so we got the chance to learn how a human could deal with the excitement resulting from foodrewards. He was not the type of horse who carefully pushes you a bit or just becomes a bit impolite – he was a horse who would really become dangerous. He literally ran into me, pushed me as hard as he could and tried to get that food, no matter how. He even bit me and I was quite happy about that – you can tell people a lot about not punishing the horse, but when they can see it in practice, I think this can be much more useful. First I tried to get him out of my space somehow by calmly moving my arms around me and turning or pushing his head away from me. No fast movements, no raised energy, just calm and constant protection of my body by making it impossible for him to touch me – and rewards for backing up or standing still of course. After he had learned this, which only took him about five minutes by the way, we also learned that he could wait for his foodrewards with some sort of patience instead of trying to get them out of my hand as quick as possible. He was great at this too. Such a nice little horse and I am sure that if someone would interact with him more often, he would become a fantastic playmate. He is just so energetic and smart!


Moon

Another story that almost makes me cry every time I think of it (haha, who needs romantic movies when he can watch humans learning to communicate with their horses?)…

Danielle is one of the organizers of the clinic, so we were staying at her place the night before. In the evening she told me that her mare Moon was not very interested in her and often did not come when she wanted to take her out, or even went away and did not let Danielle catch her. When she wanted to get her to the arena where we had the clinic, she sent someone to get me so that I could watch. So I went to the yard and what I saw was a woman having a horse on a rope, but that rope being the only connection between them. There was no communication going on, Danielle did not even look at her horse, although in human-human interaction she is such a friendly and open person. Moon reacted accordingly and also did not attend to Danielle at all, which is quite logical, because when there are no signals coming from your human, why should you react to him? The good thing was that Moon has not made bad experiences with Danielle, so she was not afraid to do the wrong thing and was not nervous about humans at all – she had only learned that they did not matter. So the main task was to look at her horse and imagine she was walking next to a human, where you also don´t just ignore him and only look at him when you want something but have an actual conversation going on, even when you are not talking all the time. During the first training session it was already getting better when Danielle started attending to Moon, but it felt like they were bored with each other and did not know what to do. I asked her to only do what is fun and, more importantly, to show it to Moon when something is fun and she has done something well.

In the afternoon, when Danielle had gone away to get Moon for the second session, she stayed away long and Els asked me if I could maybe go and look for her, because maybe she was in trouble and needed help. So I went out of the arena and to the street, and what I saw really took my breath away: Two friends walking along the street and chatting, calm but very interested in each other. A constant conversation. The whole training was like that. They did not do fancy exercises or spectacular moves, but were looking at each other all the time. When Moon´s attention was slipping away and moving to the grass, one look from Danielle was enough and she was back immediately.

In the evening, when Danielle walked over the yard to get something and passed the pasture, Moon left the herd, walked to the gate and stood there, nickering and looking after Danielle. She waited at the gate most of the time while we were having dinner and whenever Danielle passed, she nickered. The horse who had not wanted to go away from the other horses and who had sometimes even not let her owner catch her until one day before did not want to leave the gate anymore and did not stop calling her for the whole evening. The last thing I saw out of the car window when we left was Moon and Danielle (who had finally let her out of the pasture), playfully trotting away from the herd.


Overall it was such a fantastic day. Some of the changes in the horses were amazing and I think that all of them did a great job teaching their humans. The participants and spectators were wonderful, so interested and positive, and I was especially happy to finally meet Inge, Els´ lovely mother. I have heard a lot about her before and she is just utterly nice. She would be such a great horse person if they had a horse. But what was the nicest thing for me were not only the single participants, but the energy coming from all of them together. It´s just so much easier to be happy about what your horse is offering when the others are shining and smiling too. Oh, I am so happy we did this clinic after all.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:42 am 
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I am glad to here the whole story, Romy it must have been so wonderful when you can make those horses and humans happy... I wish I could hear the stories of the horse owners, I think you made a lot of people happier with there horse!
Well done Romy, the future can only get better for all the horses and their owners who alre looking for another way!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:32 pm 
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pictures......pictures!!!.....pictures.....pleeeeaaaassss


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Romy alreayd wrote a long and good post, I started this yesterday but it seems a bit useless after Romy's post. Well, I'll post it anyway ;)

As you know this saturday we had the clinic with Romy. Romy, thank you again so much for coming, it was so great!

When almost everybody was there (little later than expected, but well, good to saw everybody!) first we all introduced ourselves. After that Romy started with a presentation about her way of being with horses. About why she chooses to do it like this. I really liked that she was not telling bad stuff about all other training systems, just told why this was the only way that worked for her and her horses. That had to do with goals. If your goal is to have an emotionally and physically happy horse who shows initiative and knows that he can influence his environment, than using pressure gets you nowhere.

Icelandics
After this theoretical part we went to the practical part. There were 5 horses we could play with. First two icelandic horses went to the arena. Their owners where quite new to this way of working but still they showed a lot of nice things. Romy practiced some things with getting and holding their attention. Especially the second horse seemed not that interested in people, especially not when there was grass around. So her owner learned to be more interesting than grass by use of starting with using pieces of carrot. After that it was of course important to stay interesting to the horse. This was done by asking things and rewarding only the smallest try. Also, when the horse came up with something himself Romy encouraged the owners to make it a play, like: “You want to check out all the people there who are watching us? What a great idea, lets go for it!” and then walk with your horse to the people. After some time the horses seemed to be less concentrated, it was of course quite some new information for them and they were in a new strange place.

Nicky
After that I went to the arena with Nicky, a big Dutch warmblood mare. First I just looked what she wanted, go with her, trying some body movements to see her reaction (and of course rewarding for reaction). Romy explained to the people what I was doing. I noticed several times that Nicky became a bit angry when being touched softly. When I would press a bit while stroking she seemed to enjoy it, but she did not like soft touches. I have never met a horse who hated it that much, so it took me a while to realize it was really the touch that she hated. Only when she kicked to warn (the kick was not directed at me, but of course it is a sign of frustration) I realized what I did wrong. Romy tried it too and noticed the same thing. She said that the horse might have a skin problem, but for now we just better not touch the horse. Nicky was attentive but I did find it difficult with her. She was just very different to any horse I played with before and obviously I am just not so flexible..

Harrie
After this he little stallion Harrie was brought to the arena. Leontien played with him (he was not her own horse!) He was so active and such a quick learner. Easily distracted, but with one whisper he was focused on Leontien again. Romy tried to motivate him for some running and stopping with her. By standing still and start running in one direction yourself it becomes a little competition to the horse she said, so when Harrie realized that he ran with her a few times.

Moon
Last Danielles horse Moon came. Danielle had a lot of questions where she worked on with Romy. Romy made some nice comments about how important the fun is. Be sure to like being with your horse, than it is much easier for your horse to like being with you! They did some walking and scratching and walking backwards towards Danielle.

After this we had a nice Thai lunch followed by another hour of theory where Romy told us more about how to achieve those goals she just talked about before.

Icelandics
With both Icelandic horses I saw much change in the next part. They were much more focused on their owners. The first one was so smart and learned so quickly, he was really a people-horse, interested in people and also asking a lot of attention. Romy could show some shoulder in on the hip movements. The horse did so well. Both Danielle and I were very amazed when Romy walked next to the horse and made one movement forwards because the reaction of this horse was so quickly, he changed speed to walk next to her again. The other Icelandic horse was more independent I think, less needy of people. People could be fun when they had carrots, but grazing was fine too. Her owner practiced how to get the horse to stop eating without having to pull him around. It worked very well!

Moon
After that Moon came in. Like Romy already described it was very nice to see them coming too the arena. So much change in such a short time. The funny thing is that Danielle does know a lot of things and did a lot of things right already with Moon, but just didn’t know how to continue this. Romy could say exactly the right words to motivate her so she could motivate Moon and together they are such a nice team! Lovely to watch them.

Harrie
Last, but not least, our hackney pony Harrie came to play. Leontien, Romy and I all played with him first for a while. Romy wanted to give a wrong example with him when you stop with a horse running next to you and you don’t turn your hips your horse can pass you. Harrie was just ‘too great’ and stayed behind her. After that he became very mouthy, I think you see that more often in stallions, so Romy showed how to tell a horse that he can not push you over or bite you, still without punishing or hurting the horse.

The day was finished with some Thai food again and we all talked the day through. Everybody seemed very enthusiastic! I was at least :green:


Last edited by Amiro on Mon Sep 14, 2009 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:09 pm 
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sounds good Els!

i have a question, just a thougth....
why are some horses the most are cold blood type (my personal experience) are more independend that a more warm blood type?
They prefer to go their own way. More intrested in the grass around the arena such as described in both storys of Romy and Els.
And less to the owner. Ofcourse the owner is okay when there is something to eat but as soon it is over, the interest is gone and the grass is calling.

Is it because the training? behavior of the human? lack of challenge for the horse? or realy not interested in movements which are in their opinion not necessary. the only improtant movement is going to the grass ;)

i see it also when you put them in a field with new friends or new surrounding etc. The warm blood type are more running and looking around and the colder type first heads to the ground and eat, during eating looking around and mouth full of green stuff ;) a few steps and eat again.

This question came above after reading the report. Do you have some suggestions or experiences with this??


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:21 pm 
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haha, Beau is like that too, he saves his energy for a nasty winter ;)or a dangerous wolf or someone else who wants to eat you... you never know when you will need your energy...

warmbloods aren't that close to 'wild' horses anymore!

what do you guys think???

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:02 am 
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Thank you for your report, Els! So interesting how we seem to interpret some things in totally different ways (for example the behaviour of the Icelandics) even though we were watching the same horses. :smile:

And a very big THANK YOU for the great organisation of the clinic. It was so nice to meet you again and I really think you should have adopted that little stallion, he would be lucky to have you.

Hugs to you and Danielle,
Romy

P.S.: Please say hello to your lovely mother for me. :smile:


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:12 am 
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Busy busy right now. I will put my pictures on the internet asap. Here are already a lot of pictures that the owners of the icelandics sent me (so no copying!) which give a nice impression of the day:

http://www.mijnalbum.nl/Album=IQ6Q3DZS

Enjoy!

Oh, and you get a hello and a hug back from my mother!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:11 pm 

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Hello all,

Being the 'private chauffeur' :smile: for Romy, I had some time to attend parts of the clinic.

In the morning I only saw the end of the sesson, where Danielle was on with Moon. The rest of the morning I had gone to see some Shetland sheep in the neighborhood which I am intending to buy.
What I saw then was a bored horse not interested at all in its lady next to it, who stood there not knowing what to do. You could clearly see that she loves her horse very much but she sort of just 'stood' there. It almost made me sad, because I could not understand... :sad:

I had known Danielle since the evening before and she had made a very lively impression on me all the time.
I just could not understand why she just stood there so 'waiting for something to happen' while not noticing that something was happening... When she was leading the horse, she had absolutely no attention to it. She did not have a clue to actually 'look' at her horse when it stopped because it was uncertain about something on the path. Also in the arena there was absolutely no communication between them. In the pictures you will see a picture where the horse looks to one side while Danielle looks exactly to the opposite side. This is like the best picture to explain what I mean.
I had to stop myself from crying out: Danielle, just be your lovely active self and DO something with your horse!

Then we got the delicious Thai lunch and from a quick talk with Romy, I sensed that she had hoped for more interaction of the 'couples' and that it was not all up to her expectation... she thought that it had to be pretty boring for the spectators to watch this.
But when talking to the participants, they said they had learned a lot already... :huh:

After the lunch I wanted to see more of all of them. I attended the theory part which included several small videos.
One of them was with a little girl playing with Pia. This girl had never learned anything of AND and she was just her happy self with a happy horse. It was so funny to see how Pia tried to show so many things she had learned with Romy and the little girl had a very natural talent to play with her, bringing it all out.
From the reactions of the participants, I could feel that some idea was breaking through: be more natural and playful with your horse so you both enjoy it much more!

Unfortunately the fatigue kept me from following them back to the arena. :yawn: :yawn:
I had to be awake enough in the evening to bring Romy back home safely so I decided to have a nap instead.
It was nice and warm in the car because we had been so lucky with the weather being not too hot but dry all the time and the sun peeping through the clouds regularly.
I think I slept for about 2 hrs, which did me a world of good but unfortunately by then most of the participants had already had their play and I only just saw the last part of Danielle's play.
But what I saw, was just unbelievable!

Danielle had turned into the lively person with her horse also : she smiled all the time to her horse and it was almost as if the horse smiled back! :D Never ever before I had seen such a huge difference in communication between a horse and its owner!
I was so happy for them to see how their communication not only had started, but it was really great! And all that in just only an afternoon! I could hardly believe it!
Afterwards seeing Moon being constantly on the lookout for her lady, whinnying every time she saw her in the distance, it was so hearthwarming! It made me feel all happy myself! :) :) :)

It was amazing what Romy has realised there in the course of just one day! :thumleft:
But when I noticed 2 days later what she realised with my Billy in only about 2 hrs time, I guess it is a natural habit of hers :funny:

Congratulations :applause: to Romy for this achievement. I can only say: don't stop what you are doing, you are doing great!
Also congrats :clap: to Els and Danielle for having this clinic after all the problems they encountered! I thought it was very brave of them doing so and I am sure a next time there will be much more participants... the word will spread itself now!
Thank you very much to Danielle for her kind hosting even though it was all 'à la dernière minute'. :f:

Even though I only saw a little bit of what happened, I had seen something I would never have thought possible! :applause:

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AnneMarie

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


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:43 pm 
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Thanks so much for writing this report, AnneMarie. Now you have me crying again, with happiness for Danielle and Moon. They are in my thoughts so much these days, just like Icelandic woman 2 with her little mare (such a pity that there is no picture capturing her expression in the afternoon).

Els, if you see Danielle, please pass on my best wishes and a big hug to her. :smile:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Finally I had the time to upload my own pictures:

http://www.mijnalbum.nl/Album=73TECAXH

Not so many of them, but that was because I was watching and listening so carefully that I did not want to make pictures all the time. :green:

Romy, I did not realize that you expected more of the participants. Of course it would have been more interesting to see people who can do more with their horse and horses who feel completely comfortable since they know this all. But those people and those horses were not at the clinic, so I actually was very happy to see change in the horses and the people. I don't think we could have hoped for more than what we got, but maybe my expectations are too low..

Quote:
But when I noticed 2 days later what she realised with my Billy in only about 2 hrs time, I guess it is a natural habit of hers :funny:


Yes, I think it is! And ohh, now I read this you make my very curious. A report (and some pictures) about that too please ;)

Romy, This sunday I have the honour to go to Moon since Danielle is in Spain, but I will write her how things are with Moon and then I will give her your greetings too!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:04 pm 
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Amiro wrote:
Romy, I did not realize that you expected more of the participants.


I did not, never said so actually. I was only worried after the first part that it might have been a bit boring for some spectators who maybe don´t see the very small things, like a reaction from the owner to a tiny movement of the horse or vice versa. But I never thought about fancy exercises and neither did I feel that the participants were not doing absolutely great - I wonder what made you think that way?

Thanks for uploading the pictures, I will look at them asap. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:12 pm 
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Quote:
I wonder what made you think that way?


It was in Annemaries post. Sorry, only meant that I hope and think the clinic was fun for you too, and if some things did not live up to your expectation I was just sorry to hear that and I want to learn from that if there will be a future clinic.

But indeed it was Annemaries post and I read now that she said sensed, so you did not say that and I am jumping too conclusions too fast. Sorry!

I am glad to hear your thought the participants were doing well, I thought to too. And for most of the time I was behind the 'fence', and really: it was interesting! And that's also what I heard from all other spectators.

You seemed to worry sometimes that the clinic was boring or not that interesting for the people, but really, no need to be so modest about your knowledge and your way to explain things: It was great! :kiss:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:54 pm 
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Amiro wrote:
Quote:
I wonder what made you think that way?


It was in Annemaries post. Sorry, only meant that I hope and think the clinic was fun for you too, and if some things did not live up to your expectation I was just sorry to hear that and I want to learn from that if there will be a future clinic.


Nothing to learn on your side, only on mine. I will try to explain how this misunderstanding probably came up.

But first, I don´t think that AnneMarie meant what you understood from her post. We have talked this through, so I am pretty sure she knew what I meant when I said I was worried a bit if it was interesting enough for the spectators. Feels to me like this is a typical case of those misunderstandings often occuring in written communication.

Here is a small attempt to explain what I actually meant: I did not mean that anyone was doing bad, not at all, they were fantastic and actually I was very much surprised by the openness of the participants, especially those who usually train in a very different way. It only has to do with my limited range of experiences. Probably the problem is that I usually work with horses who are either being treated in an AND-like way or, more often, with horses who are young and either had no or only minimal contact with humans. This is affecting my baseline of experiences: those horses don´t have to unlearn that their spontaneous behaviour can result in corrections or no reaction on the human side at all, so for them the change to freely offering things is a bit quicker and more pronounced. They can simply skip one big step. This step, feeling free to communicate, is what I think happened in the first session mainly, but only in the second session they actually started doing that much more.

I hope I have explained myself a bit more clearly now and I sincerely hope that it won´t result in further confusion.

As I said, I think there is nothing you could do better, but for me it was a very important lesson: before the clinic, I was wondering if it would not be better to only divide it into two parts: theory in the morning and the practical part in the afternoon. Since that clinic I know that if I ever give a clinic again, I will always do it like you decided. Otherwise we would have missed all the obvious, fantastic change becoming apparent in the afternoon (compared to the more covered but not less fantastic change in the morning session).


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
Posts: 1983
Location: provincie Utrecht
some more pics and video of the day
http://home.wanadoo.nl/d.m.sonies/sakkersbende.html

i know Annika and her blue eye horse he is cute :love:
but she is or was maybe i have to say it now not AND minded ;)
i hope she will continue this way of thinking in the future


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