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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 11:52 am 
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The bow and the back crunch are two stretching exercises that stretch the horses muscles both in the topline and in the underline. Because both frontfeet and hindfeet do the same thing and stand at the same distance all the time, it's an even, total stretch; there's no left or right stretch.

Stretching is the same in horses and people; when you get out of bed and are asked to run 100 metres, you will do better (and less painfull!) if you stretch before. You'll become more supple because as your muscles are stretched out, they find it easier to contract again. Therefore it's not a bad idea to teach the bow and back crunch before or at the same time as you're teaching higher levels of collection like the piaffe. Especially the back crunch is of a lot of importance for that, as in collection you fold all the hipjoints together in small, sharp angles all the time. If you have a way to stretch them out again regularly too, your horse will become less tired and pained by it. If you ask for a collected movement, then a back crunch and then the collected movement again, you will see that the second is better than the first: the horses' muscles are free to contract again. Muscles get stronger by shortening and stretching repeatedly, than by staying contracted for a longer period of time. So stretches actually help get the muscles stronger even though the exercises themselves don't collect the horse.


The bow (front crunch)
Image
The bow is an exercise in which the horse lowers his shoulders to the ground, with his frontlegs stretched forward near horizontal, and the hindlegs standing straight under the body. Because the frontlegs are stretched out like that, the shoulderjoints all open up very wide: the shoulderblade rotates upwards to nearly horizontal, the angle with the upper arm bone (humerus) gets bigger and the angle between the humerus and the ulna too. Because this is such a mighty stretch, it can take a while before the horse performs it really low to the ground - and also if he is stiff on one side, his bow will become less deep. And because of this opening up of the entire shoulder, the horse will achieve more freedom in his frontlegs when moving - and will get a better Spanish walk, extended trot or passage for example.

With some trainers you see that they let the horse stand stretched out first before they ask the horse to bow, but that means that the hindlegs stay stretched behind the body too, while they should at least take over some of the bodyweight in order to not overload the frontquarters when they stretch down and out. You can teach your horse the bow by asking him to follow an(empty!) hand that slowly moves towards and between his frontlegs - and and reward in a normal position again when he does! This way he does stretch his frontquarters and frontlegs out, but his hindlegs remain engaged under the body -and still bear the bodyweight. At first you still ask him to touch your hand, then you can add the cue for this exercise by - for example - patting with your hand on his rump, touching there with a whip or merely gesturing towards the ground to ask him a bow. Over time you then not only to ask him deeper and deeper, but also to stay longer in the bow before you ask him to get up again.


Back crunch
Image
In the back crunch the horse essentially lowers his pelvis to the ground, with his hindlegs stretched out behind the body and the frontlegs standing straight under the shoulder. Because the hindlegs stretch out behind the body, the joints in the hindquarters between pelvis, humerus and tibia open up and the muscles that are tying those together stretch open. It's a really good way of stretching the horse between and before collected exercises, because in real collection on the spot, like in piaffe, pesade and levade, the horse not only moves his hindlegs further forward (tying the hindquarter joints together in strong, sharp angles) but also rotats the tail-end of the pelvis downward-and forward by shortening muscles in the belly. Only with a movement back and out of both the hindlegs at the same time like in back crunch or a fast gallop you stretch that back and up again.

You can teach your horse the back crunch when he has learned to lift his frontlegs on a touch of your hand or whip. You teach this exercise by asking his frontlegs to step forward while his hindlegs stay in place - and staying further and further out and behind the body. You can touch the frontleg of your horse with your whip to ask him to lift it and then gently touche the front of the leg and on the ground in front of it, to ask it to place itself back on the ground a little more forward. Then you reward him, and ask the other leg to do the same. It can take quite some time to teach to the horse, and some people therefore shorten that time by placing the foot forward with their hand or foot, but when the horse does it all by himself in his own tempo, it's safer because the back crunch is quite a heavy stretch and you don't want to force a horse into that.

Edit by Romy:
The compliment (bow on one knee)

As there are wonderful instructions on how to learn doing the compliment in this thread, I will insert a picture of that too to prevent some of the confusion about the terms.

And there is another sticky that specifically deals with the compliment: Bow on one knee


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Last edited by admin on Tue Jan 22, 2008 10:58 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 1:50 pm 
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Thank you for the information! Evita tended to go and "sit" on her head so I ask her to move forward her front legs before the bow. Her nose lowers to her hooves and does not bend under the front. Can in this position the weight shift enough to the hind do you think? I'll try to make a picture. Do you have pictures of these exercises? Maybe useful for clarification?


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 3:02 pm 
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What you're doing sounds like the bow just as well, so no worries there. ;)

There are a lot of different ways to teach the bow, but indeed on of the things is that horses can take their heads so far backwards behind the legs when bowing that they put their heads on the ground. That's the point when I start rewarding when they take their head back up again while staying bowed so that it's lifted a bit again and moved forwards.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:42 am 
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Obviously we don't want our horse's to think we want their face in the dirt- but it may feel good as part of the stretch to keep their head low. When the head comes up they get hollow.

Just thinking out loud. I've never even tried this type of bow yet. (my mare bows with one leg folded, but I hate putting her weight on a knee. ouch!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:47 am 
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That's indeed the two ways of thinking about it: one is that you should get the head as low as possible in order to keep the back up and round, because otherwise he hollows his back. The other way of thinking is actually allowing the horse to hollow his back, because this is a stretch of the muscles you want to train. And muscles only grow when they both contract and suspend.

I don't have a choice yet as Blacky chooses the deep one (not with his head on the ground by the way), but the Stretch also hollows his back, and I'm not too worried about that. I've noticed that when i ask for the stretch (with hollow back), his collection gets better after that.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:34 pm 
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It is awesome to think that hollowing the back (not in motion mind you) can be a beneficial exercise. It makes sense, but initially went against my traditional ideas of getting the back up.

Yes my muscles stretch better after being contracted and contract better after being stretched. Duh, I guess my horse would be the same way!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:52 pm 
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While teaching this to Brandy, she didn't want to shift her weight back onto her hindquarters. So I brought her head farther back so she would start to move back. Now she puts her weight beautifully onto her hindquarters, but most of the time she bends one leg to get a deeper stretch, instead of leaving both legs straight out. I'm not sure how to change that. :oops: She LOOVES this stretch, and I see her do it in the pasture sometimes. But before we start she always does this (like her own warm up). So I am not even asking for a deep stretch, so I don't know how to correct her. :?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 5:59 pm 

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I really don't understand the back crunch...does it look the same as the bow??
Or even better...can somebody post a picture of a what it looks like... :roll:

The bow I understand...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:10 pm 
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Back crunch:

Image

We had quite a lot of it two weeks ago, when it became Titum´s favourite exercise. ;)

I think that there is also a picture in the AND Encyclopedia in the Research Material section... :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 6:24 pm 
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I've pasted them into the first message. I had quite forgotten that we had pictures of them in the Encyclopedia


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:37 pm 

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thank you thank you....now it's all clear...and now I will chack the encyclopedia first!!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:40 pm 

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http://konji.info/modules/coppermine/albums/userpics/13945/1%7E39.jpg

This is how a girl in my country does the bow. I tried to explain that it is wrong and how she can get it right (even with photo material of a correct bow), but she only kept smiling at me. People see something on the internet then find it interesting but no one learns to do it the right way. Very sad. It's not that hard and it makes so much fun.

There's a exception too. ;) A girl little younger than me. She has an islandic mare and they are doing a lot of groundwork now. I've already showed her this forum and she's very enthusiastic about it. :)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:51 pm 
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It is very unique! But as long as it doesn't hurt the horse, I don't know that I would say it is wrong.

I don't think I could get my horse to do that! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:07 pm 

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Yeah, but in my opinion, this horse is going to crash every minute. He is not straight (the front legs and his back) and it seems like he goes only after the cookie in the hand no matter what. The hind legs dont wear as much weight as they could. I don't know, but it just doesn't looks right to me. Maybe I'm wrong, no idea. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:24 am 
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It looks a bit akward, but this is just the learning stage of a much used method to teach the bow. It's true that the horse isn't balanced and has his front feet irregular, but that's because he is learning how to balance himself better. Also it doesn't look like he's chasing food, as her hand seems to be empty: even better!

So like Karen, I don't see anything wrong with it. I would think it was dangerous if she would have been holding the leadrope between the frontlegs and 'pulling' the head down and back. Then you seriously risk putting the horse off-balance and bringing him to a fall. I think this horse will very soon learn how to straighten himself out. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:18 pm 

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I think it is more dangerous for the muscles (it's not that much about falling) but ok. ;) I'm just the do-it-slowly person and I let the horse take all the time he needs to do it the way it is supposed to be done. But yes, that's just me, too careful as always. :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:30 pm 
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I also take the time the horse needs when training exercises, but Blacky's bow also looked like this when we first started. He just didn't know yet how to keep his frontfeet in place, and how to move his body above those sticky legs. :wink:

But you raise a very good point! It's true that every time your horse learns something new, he will do it wrong untill he knows how to do it right - and doing it wrong for a longer time does give him certain risks. For example, a Spanish walk that isn't collected but stamps the frontlegs on the ground (also Blacky's learning fase) is something to be very aware of, and not to practise on hard ground untill the horse has learned how to put his frontfeet down softly again. Sjors'passage is another example: in the learning process to do the passage, he at a certain point did lift his legs more in trot, but also hollowed neck and back. That's not that bad if it's only for a couple of weeks during that exercise untill he's found his balance, but when it took longer, I decided to see that as a signal that our method wasn't working good enough for him, so I decided to try it another way to help him find the right answer sooner.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2008 12:45 am 

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is there a thread that tells about teaching the legs to stretch forwards?


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:37 pm 
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sOOOOOO..... now that I have Princess Smartypants really engaged in the learning process and enjoying activities, it's time to come back to teaching some of these things that I put in the too hard basket some time ago. The problem that I've been having with teaching these kind of excercise isn't the moving part.. it's the staying still part.
So, I've got how to encourage her to start lowering down for the bow, but not how to keep her hind feet in place without walking forward.
Same with back crunch.

Any suggestions? How should I respond when she takes a step when I need her to stand in one place and stretch? Do I stop and return her to position and ask her again, and risk frustrating her, or do I carry on and allow her to move her feet to achieve what she thinks is the task? :oops: I'm reallly stuck on this...

Which stretch might be the easiest to start with, given her lack of understanding of the "remain in place" concept?

Does anyone have photos or videos of the training proccess for these?

Thanks,
Sue

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:57 pm 
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I just copied an entry from Summy´s diary (haha, when I read this now, it seems like this has been 100 years ago... rearing and kicking... my teddy bear :)). Anyway, I would still prefer to teach it in a way similar to that instead of using manual help (putting the feet forward) or corrections.

Romy wrote:
Summy is beginning to understand back crunch!! Whereas I had trained it with Titum in the fast and not so nice way (putting the hooves forward and later reducing this to pointing step by step), Summy had to work alone right from the beginning. This was because we had started it in his very difficult time and at that time I couldn´t take up a front leg during our training, because he really got upset and reared or kicked with the frontleg or just ran away. So we had started with looking at the leg, pointing at the leg and waiting until he lifted it. Then rewarding and very slowly making clear that I neither mean moving forwards with all his legs, nor turning the frontquarters away from me nor stomping. But I also didn´t want to correct him for moving forward with the hindlegs (he doesn´t like corrections :) ), so I only rewarded steps with the frontlegs alone, while just continuing the looking and pointing when he moved the hindlegs. In that way it took quite some time for him to understand. But today a lever seemed to have switched in his head and he was actually discovering what the exercise was about. So he didn´t only put the front legs forward more and more, but also leaned forwards on them and actively stretched out his hindlegs in that way. It looked like he was really exercising himself. :D


I found the back crunch to be relatively easy, because I felt that you could address the standing still question better than in the other stretches. Back crunch only consists of one element (walking forwards with the frontlegs). So you can just walk forwards for two additional steps if the horse has moved the hindlegs, whereas in front crunch (which is composed of more than one element) you would need some intermediate steps to get back to the position you had before the hindleg movement. So it might be helpful if the horse has understood the standing-still-despite-asking-for-(front leg)movement part before you start a stretch that is composed of more than one element.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:46 pm 

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Romy, I am a bit confused - I know what the back crunch is, but what is front crunch?
BTW, me and Proloog have started to develop our back crunch too and it comes out I am still too impatient :oops:. I have to start training myself again and only after that I can teach something to Proloog. :roll:


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:58 pm 
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Hi Anneli, unfortunately I don´t have a good front crunch picture yet - which is strange, because Titum offers it several times a day, but sometimes I have never thought of taking a photo.

This is his front crunch from the winter, when he has just discovered it:

Image

and here is a video of his early attempts: Morning front crunches

Contrary to back crunch, where the horse should stretch his hind legs back and his front legs are vertical (so our back crunch is no real back crunch as Titum stretches hindlegs and frontlegs at the same time), in frontcrunch the hind legs are vertical and the shoulders are stretched by placing the frontlegs forward.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:47 pm 

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So the front crunch is actually a bow, or is there some kind of difference between them?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:54 pm 
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Yes, some people also call it bow... For me the term "bow" is a bit confusing, because I got to know it as a stretch where the horse places the frontlegs like he does in front crunch, but then doesn´t bend the front legs down so that their angle to the ground becomes smaller, but instead he places his head between his legs so that the back is rounded upwards. And then there is the bow on one knee (compliment) that some people also refer to as bow... so I never know which one is actually meant. When I say front crunch at least I know what we are actually talking about. ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:40 pm 

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Sue, Orlando and I are working on back crunches, it has taken us quite a while because he too would keep moving forward, and it did confuse and discourage him if I tried to stop and correct him, even if it was just with a hand on his chest.

In my case, when I wondered why we were having this problem, I realized it was because I was imagining the whole movement, instead of trying to explain it to Orlando one step at a time (so obvious,but it took me a while :roll: ). When I just concentrated on one front foot, he started to think about just that foot too (I am using point, saying "lift", and rewarding as soon as he puts it down, before he has time to think about another step). I did the same with the the other front foot, and he seemed to have a lightbulb moment too (just like Summy :) ) maybe because he started to feel the stretch, and realized it felt good?

It is not yet a very recognizable back crunch 8) but I am so pleased all the same :D . I'm looking forward to reading how it goes with you and Sunrise :D


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 1:36 am 
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Vanessa and Romy, thanks, this is very helpful to me. I will try again...
Focusing more clearly on only what I want and ignoring everything else. Not correcting unwanted steps, but only rewarding correct steps executed without the unwanted ones. Right?

I'm wondering also if some stepping really slowly over obstacles and backing over them might help.. give Sunrise a better idea of thinking about all her feet individually.. (help me too!)

I've put some trotting poles in the paddock and I know that Sunrise always forgets her back legs when she' thinking about her fronts..
Perhaps a Ttouch style "pickup sticks" maze.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 3:28 pm 
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Vanessa wrote:
Quote:
I realized it was because I was imagining the whole movement, instead of trying to explain it to Orlando one step at a time (so obvious,but it took me a while ).


What's interesting is that the "steps" don't have to be in any particular order. What I do is imagine the finish behavior (or see it in other's videos or photos), then try to pick out all the components that go into it. So bringing one foot forward is on component. Bringing the other foot forward is another component. Since each foot has to step forward slightly several times, each step with each foot is a component in itself.

OR...for some horses it is more logical to them to move the back feet backward while holding the front feet still. Cisco likes to step his front feet forward, Tam likes to step his hind feet backward.

Then comes a lowering of the head. That is a separate component. How far or where it is lowered to is an individual thing (horse or desire of the handler).

Then comes leaning the body back. Just a little...just to get the idea. This needs a cue of it's own in the beginning and lots of rewards. This too is a separate component.

Then leaning down as they lean back is yet another component.

Keeping the feet still, once they are in place can be another component.

Every horse/human partnership will learn it a little differently. Always look for what your horse understands the easiest and go with it. Don't get locked into a single way to do it. be open to the ideas of the horse. If something isn't working, try something else.

But all the components above do not have to be taught in order...the order can be rearranged to meet the horse's learning needs.

One can stand there with no thought of a bow or a back crunch and teach a horse to lean backward slightly and willingly. You can teach this before or after you teach the horse to keep some feet still while others move.

Head down can be taught any time.

They are all separate and "stand alone" behaviors that can be taught in any way that works!

Once all these components are learned, then they can be used in varying ways to create different behaviors....not just the crunch or bow.

My friend wanted to start to teach her horse the movements of piaffe in hand. She too was trying to get a whole behavior all at once (well, sometimes you get lucky and get it! :D So why NOT try?), but then I showed her that her horse first needed to learn to lift the feet in diagonal pairs. She also needed to see if her horse could really slooooooooooooow down her trot for her.

So she worked a bit on the slower trot, and worked a bit on the diagonal pairs, using the same body language (jogging in place herself - she is facing the opposite direction the horse is moving...so she is moving backward while her horse is moving forward, keeping herself about level with the horse's shoulder. Her horse even needed to learn to accpet this new body position too. So even that can be considered a separate component.

In only two sessions, her horse went from being confused and offering other behaviors (rearing and kicking out...she almost has a standing capriole, and this is something she learned earlier), to understanding that she was being asked to trot in place. The energy is takes to really trot in place is more than her mare can do right now (just as it is for Tam too), but she is only moving forward very slightly. She is rewarding a few steps at a time...rewarding the try very well!

So she will have it soon.

It's all about breaking it down and giving the horse the chance to understand each separate component before asking them to try and put it all together.

Divide and conquer!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2008 8:46 pm 

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Karen wrote:

It's all about breaking it down and giving the horse the chance to understand each separate component before asking them to try and put it all together.



Not just the horse, me too :lol: Thanks for explaining it all so very clearly, Karen :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:29 am 
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Yay! from me too Karen!
This is very clear and reassuring.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 12:52 am 
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Sue, do you remember this? I think you copied it to yoru diary somewhere...back in July last year:

Quote:
I too like the feeling of just "going with the flow" in the training. It may make it feel all a little disjointed at times (as in, not a "proper" progression of training), but who cares? All the little elements of training eventually begin to drift toward each other, stick together in the current, and become larger elements. And all the while, the water that moves them along, the relationship, flows all around, and the training just flows along with it.


I still feel that I train like that...no set pattern really...teach little things here and there. It all comes together somewhere along the line....


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:05 am 
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Yes, I do remember this! I loved it and still do.

Sometimes though, just cruising along with the flow, I arrive at a bit of still water where I can rest for a bit and assess... and sometimes realize that there's one specific bit that's missing which is holding up the flow.. all the other bits are there but can't cohese without a vital piece that I'm just not getting, so have a bit of a loss of direction,... aimless drifting. Not that that's not okay.. double negative sorry.. what is my writing coming to??! :oops: Aimless drifting with Sunrise is a joy these days, and there's always other stuff going on.


I really appreciated your clarity in explaining the steps as separate pieces... and the reassurance that comes, not from having an ABC layed out, but from knowing that it doesn't HAVE to be any set way.. that it will all come together in the end when the pieces are there.

I find like you do, it does all eventually come together.. but sometimes, not without a bit of searching on my part, and some help from my great friends~! :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:24 am 
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Oh Sue, I agree 100%! And I still search for bits here and there. There is not a week goes by that I don't find some new piece that is missing or that we never even thought of, and that just happens by some happy accident.

Tam will be the first horse I have ever had that will have a true extended trot, and that is all because of little bits, here and there, tossed into some training-stew made without any recipe, and getting lucky that it just comes together and ends up tasting like you really know how to cook.

So are these metaphors? Allegory? I can't remember.

Anyway, they are fun :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:05 am 
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I just have to say here... Ellas horse HAS extended trot.. without any training. Arrrgh!@ am I jealous? Moi? :lol:
And a horse I had as a kid, had PIAFFE! and School canter, totally untrained. Oh if only I knew then what I had on my hands.. I just thought it was pretty cool having a horse no-one else could ride. :lol: He was a quarter horse/Tb cross, TWO YEARS OLD when I got him and started riding. :oops:

So... there must be so many different ways and different routes, because every horse and every human and every combination starts from a different place. It's so useful being able to see the ones who're doing it, so we can break down the elements and find the way to success.. what is it that this horse does that allows it to do XYZ..

Which is why of course I love looking over your shoulder. :D

Now.. if you just want to know anything about how not to be afraid of anything, how to open gates, doors and taps (horse proof ones..), and how to purr like a cat.. just ask Sunrise and me.. these are our fields of expertise. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 4:30 am 
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I just have to say here... Ellas horse HAS extended trot..


Do you have it on video? If not can you get it on video?

I was watching extended trot videos on youtube today...because I wasn't quite sure Tam was doing it correctly (that is, I was guessing it was correct because it was looking quite pretty!) and thinking, OH! HE DOES HAVE IT!...well, he WILL...but more than the wonderful things everyone works really hard for, it seems the coolest things are those that pop up when you least expect it, sending you scrambling backward in the training diary in your mind (a scary and messy place in my case!) so you could try to catalogue all the components you trained to "accidently" allow it to happen.

See, I never had a "cool" horse as a kid. Well, one, sort of who could out-trot anyone and could rear up and kick out on....oh my....Comanche had a standing capriole, didn't he? And a Pasade. Comanche was a very plain looking little 14.2 hand something or other...he was my riding horse and my Dad used him to pull tamarack (funny, that...) logs out of the bog in the back forty.

:lol: :lol:

Yes...get it on video so Ella can look back one day and say..."how the heck did we get that to happen?". I want to see it! I will get Tam on video too!


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:lol: :lol: Comanche had a standing capriole, didn't he? And a Pasade.

Exactly!

How the hell we got him to do that?????
Well.. we don't! He just does it.. has ever since the day after the day he was born! He sticks his tail up like a banner and TROTS! It's beautiful! He has the lightest scopiest trot anyway, then when something gets him excited, wow! He just flies into extension. But how??? And getting it on video??
Actually, I think you see just a couple of steps of it in his vid playing with Miro. Rosie also does it, so does Brodie, but Harlequin's the best.

Dr Deb talked about correct versus false extension in the clinic I went to recently. She said lots of horses you see (winning!) in dressage comps aren't doing a correct extended trot.

Just looking at my notes again..
So.. to LENGTHEN STRIDE - many horses incorrectly just lengthen step without lengthening stride. Step is the distance between placement of right hind and left hind . Stride is distance between left hind and next strike of left hind - it requires more thrust more energy. Very very hard work to lengthen step and stride at the same time. So.. correct lengthening, the actual step should be the same, but with far more impulsion, upthrust, so that the horse is carried forward further with each step.

This is what Harlequin does! :D He's trotting out, as normal, then without changing his diagonals positioning, he crunches himself up, lifts his shoulders and flings up his tail and starts BOINGING. REally! this guy has springs in his feet! So powerful. :D

Dr Deb's advice on the key to lengthening.. collection, impulsion.. then energy UP without stress up. Sounds just like an AND recipe doesn't it? 8)

Sorry if I"m rabbiting on stuff you know. :oops: I needed to revisit my notes and you've just prompted me..

Thanks! Sue

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But I DON'T know this stuff! Really! I can see it in my head, I can look at videos, I can look at photos, but I sure don't know much about the mechanics of it, so thank you! I know that suspension (boing!!!) is part of it, but I have/had no clue how to get it.

I think if Cisco ever has it, he will arrive at it in a fairly traditional (suspension plus impulsion , etc) way as he's not too keen on targeting...but Tam gets me all excited the way he figures things out...puts elements together. Like he learns single words and comes the day he speaks a sentence that wasn't memorized and he blows me away.

So sometimes he's ahead of me in knowledge, then I need to catch up on some reading to find out how it's acheived traditionally,etc.


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Oh.. I was so lucky to get to Dr Deb's gait analysis clinic.. but I'm afraid a lot of it was wasted on me.. because i'm so ignorant of all this stuff.. I needed a pre-clinic clinic! :lol:
I did learn stacks though.. highly recommend it if you ever have the chance.

I think the important thing with this extended trot is teaching the horse that you don't want him to arrive at a certain point any faster.. you don't want him thinking he has to race to get somewhere. It really is the "showing off" gait.. all impressive, HEY LOOK AT ME! So you don't want him thinking forward to where he's going.. you want him bunching up, lowering his haunches, raising his withers, high flexed head set, so that he is PUSHING down at the ground with every step.
Harlequin, we can see this PUSHING action even in his normal trot.. whereas the other horses are very flat by comparison. We can also see, when he's trotting together with Sunrise.. looking at the "V's" that his legs make, it's actually quite a small angle.. showing that his step length is shorter by comparision. Her V's are bigger. But, he covers more ground with each step, because of the BOING! So.. looking at his legs, he appears to be going slower than Sunrise, but then you look at the ground, and actually he is keeping pace, or leaving her behind (!) while giving the impression of little effort.

I bet you'll see this difference between TAm and Cisco too if you can get them both trotting together.

:D

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http://mare-and-bear.deviantart.com/art ... w-91929897

He's doing something odd with his feet...I think =/ is this from lack of experieance?


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Yeeha! Sunrise and I achieved a very respectable looking back crunch today, really low hip angle. Now I have a question:
Where is the best place for her head position when she's stretched out like this?
Seems she gets into the lowest stretch when she holds her head about knee height and stretches her neck forward.
Appreciate some advice...
Sue

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:43 am 
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It is interesting. Tonight I am reading here and there and keep coming across things that are related to things Belle does naturally. Here: she is a saddlebred. Now, while she has not done anything "saddlebred" oriented in years, she is certainly able to park out and I am sure I could suggest that she extend that and she'd respond quickly. Would the focus then be to develop from high headed saddlebred park out to similar leg position but with the lowered head and body changes that should naturally accompany that is not pushed? Would that be a back crunch? Or am I missing more?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 8:16 am 
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Here is a picture of a back crunch and an Obeisance which is labeled as a bow, that is also called a front crunch. How is that for confusing? :D

viewtopic.php?f=7&t=479

(scroll down to the C's)

I think a head up position is good for the back crunch...if your horse already parks out, you already have the back crunch!

Then you can try luring to ask the horse to lean back from the back crunch into the obeisance, or you can do what I did, and use the cordeo to cue leaning back. This took awhile for Tam to figure this out, but by rewarding the tiniest try that didn't involve moving his feet, he soon began to explore the possibilities of leaning back. So I asked him to lean back, but I also used a treat to lure him to lower his head (which I think they HAVE to do anyway to get in that position.

If you can lure them from between the legs (make sure they are balanced and won't fall on you), you can get a very pretty obeisance with the forehead nearly on the ground.

To further complicate things, I never have taught Tam to do the back crunch (parking), but he has a really nice front crunch (obeisance). He figured out he had to move his hind feet back in order to stretch down. I don't ask for any specific head position with him, other than to lower it and lean back. He doesn't put his forehead on the ground.

My issue with Tam was that he would knuckle over one or both font legs while leaning back/down to reach the treat. So I saw this video of Kabir (Bettel is on the forum)
http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=muQ5te0lB ... re=related

And I saw how putting the hands on the top of the legs could help to keep the knees from bending. So I tried it with Tam and it worked! Tam has a workable (not necessarily beautiful) obeisance. But the hand on the leg has really become the cue now.

Cisco has only a rudimentary front/back crunch. He hasn't yet seen the point in doing it I guess! He has his own way of doing things, and where he'll concede an occasional one or two knee bow (totally his choice of course), obeisance seems not to interest him, and in his personal opinion, the back crunch is mostly useful for peeing and not much else. :rofl: :rofl:

I have this little video of Tam that has his obeisance in it:

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=z2r6U_3wDGI

In that video, I use pointing a lot...I don't do that anymore...it was confusing Tam! That video was from last March...we've learn a little since then!

(Post edited after causing crunch confusion! Thanks Romy!)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:09 am 
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Edited to diminish the crunch confusion, so I just leave the explanations and pictures here.

When I talk about back crunch I mean this:

Image

...stretching the hind legs out behind the body (by walking forwards with the front legs and leaving the hindlegs where they are) and when I speak of front crunch (or here is another video of front crunches when Titum had just learned them) I mean that the horse leans back down from the back cruch position. That is, he lowers his front end so that the angle between the frontlegs and the ground becomes smaller. That´s also the way it is explained in this sticky and in our encyclopedia.

P.S.: Here is a fantastic picture of front crunch, starring Erika and Akrém:
Image


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:26 am 
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Eeeeek! Yes Romy! Thank you...I had it backward. I never could get them sorted out in my mind which is why I prefer to call them different things!

It never made sense to me to call it a back crunch if they are leaning forward, and a front crunch when they are leaning backward! :rofl: :razz:

I edited my post above, so hopefully it now makes sense. Does this mean you have to edit your post too? I'm sorry!!!

Does my post make more sense now? Or is it still confusing?

But thank you!!! :kiss:

The obeisance (see? I can avoid calling it front or back) requires a little parking out for some horses, or for those like Tam, then can just move their feet out of the way while they begin to lean down.

I think I'm still confused! Need sleep! :yawn:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:50 am 
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Thanks, Karen! No, now it is not confusing anymore and I also edited your quote out of my post so that there will be even less confusion. Oh, and I placed pictures as well, so now I hope that everything is clear.

What is always confusing to me is the term bow, because this could mean so many things. It could be front crunch, it could be bow on one knee (compliment) or it could be something coming from back crunch where the horse also leans back but does not decrease the angle between frontlegs and ground that much (thereby hollowing the back and stretching the shoulders) but where he takes his head between the legs, bowing up his back. If I ever use the word bow, I refer to the latter exercise, but I try to avoid it completely as it seems that everyone understands something different by it. :smile:


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:08 pm 
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Actually the back and front crunch for me are quite clear in describing the exercise for me. 8) In the front crunch you stretch the front quarters and the shoulders, while in the back crunch you stretch/crunch the back and hindquarters.

For me it became really puzzling back in the NHE forum when they were talking about crunch and bow - because what part was being crunched? Only when they added pictures as an example, I could spot the difference. :D

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:44 pm 
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Jocelyne asked me to repost what I have written in Patrice´s diary some days ago, so here it is:

The easiest way towards back crunch is moving their frontfeet forwards. Theoretically they also could move their hindlegs back out but I think this would be much more difficult. What makes it a front crunch later is the leaning back, but as I said, this is only the second step and we will get to that later. Just to give you a work in progress video: here you see Summy´s beginnings of back crunch last spring. So how to ask them to move their frontlegs forward?

For me it depends on how many difficulties the horse has with that, but let´s just assume he does not get it at all, so I will try to describe all the intermediate steps. You can skip some of them if necessary.

First you want him to see that you are asking for the frontlegs (and still ignore the hindlegs at that point). You can point to them and if he does not move them in any way, make a step forwards. As soon as your horse starts walking (and almost every horse that I know starts walking with a front leg) or lift his leg, click and reward. In those first steps it might be useful to really use a timely precise reward signal like a click, so that your horse exactly knows that it was this frontleg movement that you were asking for. Do reward each movement of the frontlegs in the beginning, no matter if there was a forward movement or if it was only a leglift. As soon as your horse understood that he is getting rewarded for moving the frontlegs, you can make it a bit more difficult and only reward (or reward more) when he really put them forward, still ignoring the hindlegs. Do this until your horse walks forward with your frontlegs when you point to them. The next bigger part is explaining to him that you want the hindlegs to stay in place - so you ask for a front leg movement again and just click sooner - that is, you click when your horse starts lifting that leg so that he will probably stop moving before it´s the hindleg´s turn. If he does follow with the hindleg, just praise him verbally (without a treat) and ask again. So very soon you should have a horse who moves his frontlegs while leaving the hindlegs where they are.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:12 pm 

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I have a question about the bow> I try now to do it with Aranka since a whie now but it doesnt work really well... And she try so hard! She put her head REALlY far between her front legs but she never stectches her legs...I tried the same and holding a leg at the same time, it worked a little bit better but she did a really fast movement down (She actually did a "full" bow on one knee, for 1 mili second :cheers: ) and she go as quickly as possible back to stand up to get her treat... I am really careful with this; I am afraid she gonna hurt herself doing it so fast :sad: BUt I can I make her understand to first stretches her front legs and second relaxes and keep the pose?

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:26 pm 
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Maybe you could try to touch her at her chest with your flat hand (like pushing her back, but without much pressure) and reward her for leaning back. Some horses get this at once, with some you have to reward for a tiny weight shift in the beginning. Probably she will try walking backwards. In that case you have to be very precise in your timing. That is, giving a reward signal after the weight shift but before she lifts a leg. Good luck! :smile:


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 1:28 pm 
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Elix wrote:
I have a question about the bow> I try now to do it with Aranka since a whie now but it doesnt work really well... And she try so hard! She put her head REALlY far between her front legs but she never stectches her legs...I tried the same and holding a leg at the same time, it worked a little bit better but she did a really fast movement down (She actually did a "full" bow on one knee, for 1 mili second :cheers: ) and she go as quickly as possible back to stand up to get her treat... I am really careful with this; I am afraid she gonna hurt herself doing it so fast :sad: BUt I can I make her understand to first stretches her front legs and second relaxes and keep the pose?


If I may:

Could you start treating at the bottom of the bow? And if so, then slowing the time between when she bows and when you open your hand to serve up the treat?

It might help too to make a "bridging," cue. That is a quickly repeated sound (I go "tsk tsk tsk ... ") during the beginning of the bow movement (I tsk even before the behavior requested is offered) that tells them a treat-reward is on its way.

Bonnie, for instance, did the same thing as you describe when I was teaching her to lift a foot for me. She'd curl up her front leg, but quickly snap it back down to the ground. I simply continued the tsking sound while she had it up, and sure enough, pretty soon she was holding it up longer.

(The tsking became the cue support saying "keep your leg up.") She actually stood on two diagonal legs one day in her attempt to learn what I wanted. It was rather cute, but didn't last long, and I'm not going to ask her to do that. Though I'm tempted. :smile:

We are now working on the hind feet and the problem is the same, and she's learned on one foot to begin holding it up by herself just a few seconds longer. One more leg to go, and my horse will hold all four up off the ground and fly ... :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny: ;)

Am I being clear in my description?

Best wishes, Donald

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:13 pm 
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I have a question about the bow> I try now to do it with Aranka since a while now but it doesn't work really well... And she try so hard! She put her head REALlY far between her front legs but she never stectches her legs...I tried the same and holding a leg at the same time, it worked a little bit better but she did a really fast movement down (She actually did a "full" bow on one knee, for 1 mili second :cheers: ) and she go as quickly as possible back to stand up to get her treat... I am really careful with this; I am afraid she gonna hurt herself doing it so fast :sad: BUt I can I make her understand to first stretches her front legs and second relaxes and keep the pose?


You have two really good ideas already! If she's going down too hard, then simply spend more time on the in between phase. If you are supporting her leg as she tries to bow, then support the leg a little lower and reward her attempt BEFORE she goes down. Do this for a while...as long as you can and actually avoid touching down to the ground. The reason for this is twofold.

1) The first reason is for yourself. It will teach you how to watch for and reward the technical parts of the movement...HOW she does it from her first set up to the motion of leaning back and down and finally how she touches down. Reward her for good quality of movement. Watch for, and reward ANY tiny attempt to lean back, and you will probably find that as she learns to just lean back, she will begin to move her hind legs farther back to give herself more room to bow. As she relaxes about the whole process (from being able to spend so much more time on the act of leaning back and down), she will get better and better and more careful. Tam spent about a year learning how to bow carefully.

2) The act of setting up for the bow (moving the hind feet back, leaning slightly back, lowering the head) will all work muscles that she will need for better control of her own movement. This is not a very natural move for a horse to make, and it's worth spending the extra time to help her develop the muscles she'll need to bow in a strong, balanced and controlled way.

Also, for a one knee bow, not all horses find their balance with the head between the legs. For an obeisance, yes (where both legs are stretched out in front and they lean back without folding a leg). That one seems to work better for some horses with the head between the legs. But the bow on one knee is different, and she may find her balance with a different head position.

So I would not concentrate on that particular part of the movement for right now and rather do as Romy suggests and see if you can convince her to allow you lean her back. Actually, the cordeo is a VERY good tool for this. You can support one leg for her then gently pull back on the cordeo.

The first thing you want to reward her for is simply lowering her head when you pull back and down on the cordeo, without moving her feet at all. Reward for this until she will drop her head as soon as you pull back on the cordeo (or as soon as you ask her to with a halter and lead rope, or if you are doing it with a verbal cue that's fine too).

The second thing is to support one leg and ask her to drop her head. Reward for this until she's really sure about this part.

The third thing is for her to drop her head with her leg supported, then to allow you to lean her back a little You can gently pull back on the cordeo AND her leg, but only move her leg back an inch or tow to start...reward often for very small progressions. If she adjusts her own stance by moving a hind leg further back, reward for that a lot before moving on. She will decide if she needs to widen her stance at all. Some horses don't. But reward for the slightest, tiniest shift backward, or for any other thing she does to help herself.

Then all you have to do is progress it very slowly. At some point she will be leaning back and she will lower herself. Set her leg back down gently, always...do not drop it. It is really nice to help her right herself again and hold her leg until you can set it back where it started from, but it's not essential. Wherever you set her leg down, try to do it carefully and not to just drop the leg.

Making sure the ground is very soft where you are practicing is good too. If it's not soft enough, you can put padding and wraps on her leg to protect it.

Later on, you can add in the head between the legs (and the horse will do a one knee bow with their forehead on the ground) if you wish.

I hope this is helpful!! The key is to not hurry. Set it in your mind that you don't want her knee to touch the ground at all, and you want to reward a lot for all the tiny components that go into a bow...and she will probably progress to kneeling on the ground before you know it!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:21 pm 
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Ooops, I did not realize that you were asking about the compliment, Elisabeth! :blush: I thought you meant a stretch where both frontlegs are stretched out in front, something similar to a front crunch. So just ignore what I have written. And what a great description, Karen, really wonderful! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 3:23 pm 
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Romy, I think you are right....she was asking about compliment... :funny: :D

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:03 pm 

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Thanks for all the explanations it's really usefull! :green: But I think my question was ot that clear... :blush: In the first place, I wanted to do with Arank more like a front crunch.. but, trying to do that, she was just putting her head really far between her fronts legs without stretching the front legs.. So I didnt know really how to proceed to obtain a front crunch so I thought: maybe a bow on the knee will work then. It did but too quick, as I explain. So, my question is about how to get the front crunch and/or the bow on the knee in a relaxed movement... I think now I have a lots of tools to work with :)

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Romy, I think you are right....she was asking about compliment... :funny: :D


Hm, for me the compliment is a bow on one knee (at least that´s the way the term is used in Germany, maybe it´s different in Canada?). But from reading Tam´s diary it seemed to me that for you the compliment is that exercise where the horse stretches out both frontlegs? I think I will add pictures of all versions of bows and crunches into the first post of this topic later so that it will be less confusing for everyone, but now I have to run.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:26 pm 

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It's ok I understand now what you mean by 'compliment". And also the difference between that and front crunch. My question there was related to both of thoses exercises finally.

Kind regards
Elisabeth

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:30 pm 
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I'm always confused by the terms! :funny: :funny: :funny: :funny:

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:00 am 
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We are now working on the hind feet and the problem is the same, and she's learned on one foot to begin holding it up by herself just a few seconds longer. One more leg to go, and my horse will hold all four up off the ground and fly ...


Something like this Donald? :D
Image

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windhorsesue wrote:
Quote:
We are now working on the hind feet and the problem is the same, and she's learned on one foot to begin holding it up by herself just a few seconds longer. One more leg to go, and my horse will hold all four up off the ground and fly ...


Something like this Donald? :D


Gorgeous as that is it's only an approximation of the strange and wonderful things Bonnie can do with gravity and her body.

Yes, she's airborne but not running. Just lifting herself off the ground.

Image

She has a repertoire of airs above the ground.

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:15 am 
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OH WOW!! :applause: :applause: :applause:

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


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:23 am 
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:cheer: :bowdown: :cheer: :bowdown: Go Bonnie!!! That shot with four feet in the air is amazing!!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:51 am 

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She must have been a flying yogi in her previous life :funny:

Lovely!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:14 pm 
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aha, you should better get to work on your suppleness if you may one day be riding your already perfectly trained haute ecole horse ;-)

and she knows she is sooo pretty, show off!!!

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:07 pm 
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I want to know what the aids are for the "Levitade"! I'm assuming one must first have a very light seat.... :funny:

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:06 am 
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I have just the whole tread to avoid confusion, but I need advice. VIolas bow was taught bit by bit by her owner but I think just by putting a treat between her legs. The problem is she does a funny and I dont think a very safe bow - she tiptoes on her front feet and puts her head way between her legs; smth like the cowboy girl on the first page of the thread did, but with both legs. At times she will do it one leg; sometimes with two legs and even though it should strech her neck muscles, she doesnt look too balanced, that worries me. holding her leg back to teach one leg kneeing doesnt work or maybe Im asking not clearly enough. please help, anyone had this problem :roll:?

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Last edited by Angel on Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:38 am 

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Maybe you could try to ask her foot up, hold it and than present a treat at the level you would like her to start, somewhere at her breast or between the front legs?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:41 pm 
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Angel, the reason she is buckling over at her fetlocks/knees is because she's probably not leaning back enough. It's always possible that for some reason (some stiffeness in her back, ligaments cannot stretch, etc) that she can't lean back properly, so you could begin again and teach her how to lean back while she's bowing. Expect to do it very, very slowly and take many days/weeks even months if she needs it.

A cordeo is a very nice tool for this because you don't affect her lateral balance, but can still help her to figure out that she should leeeeeaaaaaaan back.

So with some neckrope or other, ask her to begin to bow the way she was taught already...but as you lure her with one hand, also put some light pressure backward on the cordeo. As soon as she drops her head, and even if she doesn't at first lean back, reward her. Do that many, many, many times until gradually she will actually lean back. Feel for the slightest leaning backward...reward the tiniest tries. If she thinks to lean back, and then moves her own hind feet further back to make more room for herself, reward that for several times as well.

What you are doing is rewarding all the little components separately, that go into a nice front crunch. Over time (and please take lots of time and do not rush) you will see her possibly try more and more leaning. If she buckles her feet, you know you asked too much (or that she tried to go further than she actually can with straight legs). So always reward before the legs buckle.

Just take it very, very slowly and teach her to lean back in the cordeo.

Not all horses can do this, so only go as far as she can without buckling her legs. This really just means you have to reward sooner, and take it slower.

I hope this helps?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:16 pm 
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Karen

Yes thanks it makes a lot of sense. I ll try and see how itr works, I have so little time left with her, but it is definately smth we can work on! Illl try tomorrow and see when is the point she starts to bend her knees.

Ama holding a leg up is still worked on. SHe lifts it up but starts digging with it, I am working on rewarding her BEFORE she starts moving her legs :)

thanks guys that really helps!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:30 pm 
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I think some of the trouble for some horses is that they are taught (or guess) to go down then lean back...when in fact they need to first lean back THEN go down. Now you can do both at the same time of course (because she already knows the "down" part), but just put more emphasis on the leaning back than the down part. She'll get it! :applause:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:37 am 

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they are great pic's .have started teaching bob how to bow with a carrot inbetween his front legs moving back under i let him have a bite and say "bow" we are getting there .


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:09 pm 
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I thought that horse has to have his frontlegs vertical in back crunch.
So is it even better if they are more forward as horse is more stretched?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:17 am 
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I also learned that the frontlegs should be vertical, but my horses just prefer having them stretched, too. Also for us (especially the children ;)) it´s much more fun that way... seeing how loooooong he can get. :funny:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:40 am 
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Romy, I don't know if I ever saw that video...all I can say is: :ieks:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:47 am 

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This is really amazing! :applause:
Never saw anything quite like that!

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:38 am 
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Thank you, Karen and AnneMarie! :)

What I love about this video is how Dardan reacts to Titum´s efforts. This mixture of admiration and finding him just a bit crazy but incredibly cute. Such a pity that probably most of you can´t understand what he is saying, but maybe the emotion comes through, though. I have never had a child who was as wonderful as that with the horses. :love:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 12:02 pm 
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This is fantastic ROmy, oh and look at the boy's face :))) so incredibly cute :D

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 11:36 pm 
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Wow! That is really great! I hope that I can get my horses that willing! :clap: :clap:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Wow, Titum is really an elastic horse! :ieks: He's amazing :applause:


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 3:29 am 
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Is it ok for a horse to do a back crunch with a rider onboard? He offered it out of the blue. Not sure if I should click it? Is it ok for his body??

Here is Wallie's first day trying front and back crunches. He was a natural, as usual.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSlaFLI7m5w

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:50 am 
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Thanks all for the lovely comments on Titum - I will tell him that you liked his stretches. :smile:

Kali, that is so fantastic. Wallie is such a total delight and it´s so nice to see how he tries and tries and tries. But then the front crunch is an alltime favourite my horses, too. Titum likes it so much and offers it again and again while I am busy with other things like feeding hay.

Well, just wanted to say is that I love your instructional videos with Wallie and Zoey, they are great! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:12 pm 

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What a good video!
I am glad I got to know your site through this forum!

You guys are doing really well.
Fantastic!
:applause:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:12 am 
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Thanks Romy and Anne Marie. Wallie offered a bunch more front crunches today and seems like he might be thinking about using them to make it easier for Zoey to jump up on his back bareback. He's a very sweet pony and Zoey is a really good match for his temperament.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:30 pm 
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I have a question. Jackson now does the front crunches easily and he offers it all the time. My question is: Are the horses doing any damage to themselves with the front crunches? I read an article about parking out and they said that it is bad on the horses front leg tendons.

Does anyone know anything about this? http://www.gaitedhorses.net/Articles/Pa ... g101.shtml

Thanks,

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:48 pm 

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ivyschex wrote:
I have a question. Jackson now does the front crunches easily and he offers it all the time. My question is: Are the horses doing any damage to themselves with the front crunches? I read an article about parking out and they said that it is bad on the horses front leg tendons.

Does anyone know anything about this? http://www.gaitedhorses.net/Articles/Pa ... g101.shtml

Thanks,

Ivy


My humble guess/opinion is that as long as the horse does it freely and is not forced so that he can controll how far he takes the excercise then he should be fine. I wouldn't do the excercise with a rider on his back though.
If you give rewards for the excercise and he does it very often then maybe give him less rewards.

/San

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 12:06 am 
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I assume that horse's joints on this picture:
Image
are in similar position as there are our knee joints in this exercise:
Image

I have never heard this exercise could be bad or harmful ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:15 pm 
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I am not a scientist, so I can't say for sure, but unless you are a very light person with a very large and strong horse, I would refrain from mounting a crunch. What I mean is that I would refrain (and not to say that everyone else should refrain as well), and I'll tell you why! :D

I look at Tam's obeisance, which he does quite beautifully now, and he does not (or perhaps cannot...I'm not sure) raise his back in that position to protect himself from the weight of a rider. As well, the front legs are not in a good position to support extra weight. Being stretched out in front, with the back essentially dropped, I would worry about straining something either in the front legs or the shoulders or the back.

When Tam bows (a one knee bow, with his head up), his back is arched upward slightly, and he's firmly supported on his knee, and there is a shoulder-supporting straight line described by his foreleg. The other leg, is of course extended out in front is unable to act as a support. I have mounted Tam's one-knee bow a few times now, but it is rare that I do it, and I do not use it as a means to mount every time. It is not the best weight supporting position, but I think it's somewhat better than an obeisance.

I do not think that I would even sit an obeisance (ask Tam to do it while I was in the saddle) for the same reasons as above...at least not now. Perhaps when he's ten years old or so...and if he is very strong in his body, completely healthy and completely finished growing. But while he is still possibly growing, I will continue to be extremely careful how much stress I would put on his joints and tendons, etc. But to me, sitting an obeisance seems too close to sitting a horse with a dropped back in any movement...and with a dropped back, the horse cannot protect himself from the weight of a rider.

So I'm only thinking about cautioning here...I don't know the relative sizes of everyone...and if you have a small child with a stocky and well built pony, then I don't know that any harm could come of it - rather, it's just something to be mindful of so that one can be aware to watch for hesitation or any kind of objection from the horse...they will tell you if it's uncomfortable if they have been allowed to have that kind of voice. :yes:

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Swa and I learnt the back crunch, but I am wondering if the horse is always supposed to stand square (his hindlegs equally next to each other) performing this exercise? Swa can have his hindlegs in really weird positions and he also never stands square. As standing square means that the weight is equally divided over the legs, I thought it would not be bad to take this as an extra requirement for doing the back crunch. What do you think about this?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:04 pm 
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It always depends on what you want to achieve by the exercise. Since I would teach it to be a stretching exercise, I would see a square stance as the final goal. Thus the stretching can come to full effect.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 19, 2012 8:44 am 
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Thanks!
So do you see a square stance as the final goal, or would you start with standing square and then evolving it into the back crunch?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:47 am 
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Sorry for the late answer :blush:

missRivendel wrote:
So do you see a square stance as the final goal, or would you start with standing square and then evolving it into the back crunch?
Basically I wouldn't care how I get there, as long as I do get there without too much frustration of horse and human. That means setting up the training progress for success.

If a horse goes into a back crunch easily, one might be tempted to go along and train the movement deeper and deeper, as the early results are very reinforcing for both sides. Problems may arise though, when you want to change a certain element or prerequisite of the movement at that stage. You might need to go back a few steps in the training progress and that might get the horse frustrated.
So in an ideal world I would know all of the steps and prerequisites that lead to the final behaviour and I would follow that plan in my training. In your example that would mean: first start with standing square, then with the back crunch movement ;)
But then again it depends a lot from horse to horse. The most linear, straight-forward path is not always the most logical to the horse, as our mare Lily has proven at many occasions :green:

If you are already knee-deep into teaching the behaviour, you can always try to use the sandwich method. Train standing square and back crunch separately. Then combine them by asking them in direct succession.

Hope this was of any help?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:20 pm 
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Yes it was, thank you! :yes:
And now again new questions pop up in my head. I like the sandwich idea, as the back crunch with standing square is asking a lot of effort from Swa. He has huge difficulties with standing square. His hind legs always have the weirdest positions and naturally I never see him standing square. So it is a very good idea for us to train those two exercises seperately and combine them later on.
Now I still have to find out how to get Swa into a square position. Until now I try to gently touch his hindquarters and leg. He tries lots of things like backing up and targetting with his nose, and now and then he accidently stands square. I don't think he's getting it yet. So maybe I should find another method, but I have no clue what method.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 9:40 am 
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Mmmh... I'm afraid I won't be of much help there. Our mare Lily did stand everything but square in the beginning, but changed to standing square now. I'm not sure what really caused the change, as we did nothing to correct it deliberately.
My theory is that standing square has a lot to do with being even-sided. I think it is caused by the preference of putting more weight on the stronger legs, which is usually a diagonal pair as I understand it.
We do a lot of exercises to get the horses even - like classical groundwork with the caveson, shoulder-in, stepping under, lunging. Basically everything that lifts the inner shoulder and gets the weight more on the hindlegs.
With those exercises, our horses have switched their better sides like five times in two years, which I take as a good sign for evenness. If they switch preferred sides, they will also switch the preferred legs to stand on, thus hopefully standing more square in the end? That's my theory at least ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:17 pm 
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I was scratching my mares butt the other day and, when I scratched at some point over her spine, she shifted her weight forwards. Like when they move under our hands to be scratched at the right spot. I guess we're going towards this back crunch!
I couldn't see her overall frame, but her hooves were farther behind her body, and when whe'd step forward with one of the hinds, I'd stop scratching and she'd immediately put it back behind (she knows how to step back into me to keep the scratches when I stop and move further back... little problem, sometiems, is that she moves backwards even if I don't :roll: ).

She wasn't square, either (I tried to start at least a little square, but didn't manage to get it totally square), so I did it first with one hind ahead, then the other.
I have spent a lot of time with her in her stall on last month, and I noticed she usually keeps one hind under her body, and the other behind. And she shifts them ocasionally. Rarelly I've seen her rest in one hind while the other would be flexed, touching only the tip on the ground (as I thought that was the defaul resting position).

Well, she's had colic surgery 5 weeks ago (that's why I spent so long making company inside her stall), maybe that's the reason she found a different resting position.
Also because of this I wonder if I should practice this crunch already... maybe a little, without bribing much? For I suppose it's better to stretch slowly before allowing her to run loose again, when she'll probably end up kicking high in the air! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 11:11 am 
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Luara wrote:
Also because of this I wonder if I should practice this crunch already... maybe a little, without bribing much?
Do you mean luring (make her follow a treat in your hand)? If you are concerned or unsure whether she might overdo a certain movement, I would suggest that you use shaping instead of luring. That way it is much harder to make a horse do something that goes beyond healthy thresholds.
Luring has several disadvantages in my opinion: greedy, jerky movements which could result in injuries, unhealthy feeding positions, deteriorating food manners. On top of that the learning effect is not so good compared to shaping for example, where the horse is actively seeking a way to the final behaviour.

That being said, if it works fine for you, stick to it of course :f:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 5:49 pm 
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Hi, Volker!
Well, it's not following anything with her nose, and I'm not giving treats either (I'm myself still reading and learning how should I behave with that).
I stand by her butt (usually behind her, sometimes besides her croup), and scratch her. Then she goes moving forward, so that my scratching falls where she wants most to be scratched!
I did it again, yesterday, and noticed there isn't a right spot for that. Or it's not always the same, anyway... guess she ends up shifting mostly forwards, but sometimes backwards too.

Thinking about overstreching the line of the surgery: is it much more stretching than a pedestal? (ok, depending on the degree...)
When she was swollen I would keep her on a pedestal for a while, hoping it would help to drain (it was draining near her navel, which was higher than most of the swollen area. On the pedestal it was lower than the rest). She didn't have any problem with that, even seemed to enjoy/relax in the position :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 29, 2020 6:53 pm 
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Here is an extract from Maymun's diary where I describe how we learned the back crunch today.

Quote:
Maymun became a stretch mouse this evening - he learned the back crunch. :)

I haven't worked on this exercise with a new horse for more than ten years, and at first it felt like I had lost the ability to do it: The foaly either just pawed, or if he set a frontleg forwards, he immediately set a hindleg forwards as well. Also, I cannot withhold a reward when the horse tries something, it just doesn't feel good and makes me feel so sorry for the poor little darling when he is trying his best but just hasn't understood it, yet. Accordingly, when he set a hindleg forwards, I could not simply correct it and then ask again. So after each movement of a hindleg, I asked for a step backwards and immediately rewarded that. Technically speaking, this could mean that it makes no difference for the horse whether he moves the hindlegs of not, because moving them gets him a reward as well, although with an intermediate step back. However, this does not seem to be how the foaly's mind works. Instead, he seems to be so eager to do well. So we were able to learn the back crunch in one session despite me being not as efficient as I could possibly be.

One thing that worked particularly well for us is when I kneeled down in front of him (next to where he is supposed to put his hooves) and fed him close to the ground. This reduced the pawing and made him put the fronthooves down, which he obviously had to do if he wanted to reach his reward. I immediately offered this reward after he lifted the leg, so when I was standing he could reach it while still pawing, but when I was kneeling he could only reach it after he had stopped pawing.

I also rewarded any action of the frontlegs, no matter which leg he lifted or what he did with it. If he lifted the same leg five times in a row and put it down at the exact same location where it had been standing before, this got him a reward as well. This is because the most important thing was to make him feel confident that doing anything with the frontlegs is a good thing. I think if I had been more specific and just rewarded the "correct" leg or action, this would have made him feel insecure and either stop trying or get all messy with desperate attempts of doing it right. Therefore, I made sure to communicate that everything is right, as long as he is trying.

Generally speaking, for me the important thing about this training experience was that it works well to be very liberal in my criteria, and put more emphasis on the horse's confidence instead of technical correctness. This makes him experiment instead of shutting down, so it is much easier to get the intended movement, which I can then reward a million times more enthusiastically than the others, so the horse still understands what I want although I reward almost everything. In consequence, after I had squealed "Oh, see how loooong the mouse is! :love:" and given many rewards in a row in response to him really stretching, it seemed like a lever switched in his little head. From then on he just tried to get longer and longer and longer, and later he offered this whenever I came close to him in between the exercises that I did with the others when TitSumJo joined in. I did not even need to correct the hindlegs anymore, because if he accidentally made a step with them, he immediately added two steps with the frontlegs all by himself. He seemed to completely understand the concept of “get as long as possible”, instead of only the low-level actions of “move a leg”. For us it is just so important to create an open atmosphere to encourage experimenting, and then the rest will come all by itself.


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