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 Post subject: 1: Playing - Wild games
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:55 pm 
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The wild games

First of all, the wild games don't need to be that wild. 8) The wild games aren't a goal in themselves; the goal is not to have a horse who madly runs and bucks around as soon as you take off the cordeo or give the signal. The wild games instead are a means of teaching the horse that more energetic, 'wild' mimicry of your behavior is very much appreciated by you. This way you can stimulate him to show more energetic, collected movements, which you can then put on a cue and incorporate into the more mentally and emotionally collected part of the training (the exercises of level 1 and further) so that he is concentrated enough to listen to your suggestions on how to perform these movements better and even more healthy than he does now.

But first you need to teach him that he can be energetic and wild at all, and that's where the run to me, run with me and run away from me comes into play. You can start with the first run to me game as soon as your first training of teaching the cordeo (if are using a cordeo). You can take the cordeo off or leave it on, just as your horse likes best. Some feel more free to react without any tack, others will feel more concentrated and connected with you when they wear something that means that you're training.


Run to you
The first wilder game actually immediately starts with what you want to achieve: mimicry. You don't commando him to run, or pressure him into running, but instead you show your horse that running is fun - by running yourself. Run and walk in big circles around your horse, and as soon as he starts to show interest in you (looking at you, or taking a step towards you), you stop, walk towards him and reward him with your attention. Stay with him for a short while, and then go and do your thing again - untill he shows interest again! If you or your horse get bored, then walk or run around while playing with a ball or stick. As soon as he gets interested, you stop what you're doing, pay him a visit, and then go and play on your own again.

Quite soon your horse will want to share in what you're doing. Because he notices two things: 1) you're having fun doing something without him, and more important, 2) you're not asking/forcing him to join. So it must be something interesting - as not-work related - indeed. So the key is to always walk away from him before he does! When he shows interest in you, you go to him and stay with him untill he gets bored and walks away, you need quite some time to get him interested in you again. Make yourself interesting, and therefore scarce.

When he realises you're fun to be with (having fun on your own when he's not with you, and rewarding him with attention when he shows interest), he will want to do more to earn your attention - by starting to walk to you. If he does so, now stand still where you are or walk a couple of steps towards him, but not the entire stretch anymore. Now he knows that if he wants to earn your attention, he needs to come to you in order to earn it. He can realise this in a couple of minutes or a couple of training sessions. Give him the time, don't demand too much from him - and especially don't make the training sessions last too long! Because when you bore your horse, he certainly won't get inspired by you. 8)

When he eagerly walks towards you, you can ask for more: now ask him to trot towards you. The way to ask him to do this, is again by making yourself scarce: When he now walks towards you, you walk backwards while rewarding him with your voice for coming to you. The rules now are: when he walks to you, you walk backwards; when he starts to trot towards you, you stop or even walk towards him in order to reward him big time. If you are consequent in this and walk back whenever he just walks towards you, soon your horse will start to trot towards you whenever you call him and take a step backwards - something that not only teaches him to move around more, but also can be used when asking him to walk towards you while lungeing.


Run with you
When your horse starts running towards you, you can ask him to run with you. You can train this by asking him to run towards you by walking backwards, and when he's nearly there with you you turn around and run away from him. If he does follow you in a trot or canter, you stop after a few steps already and reward him big time. Then you can slightly run more steps together before you stop - but do keep in mind that you always have to be the one who stops first! If your horse slouches to a walk or halt before you do, it means that you've lost precious signals that he was bored before that moment, and he will start to doubt you - because how much fun is spending energy when it's boring?

(addition by Bianca:)
**
You can also just start with rewarding your horse to walk with you. So when your horse is not running towards you, you can walk alongside your horse and reward when your horse follows you.

When you walk alongside your horse you can teach them to run/walk at the distance of your fingers with a stretched arm. You can see this in the AND video when you see Evita and Bianca run together. You can start relaxed with this and speed up in trot when you feel the horse totally understands it. Teaching this makes the wild games safer.

Learning to walk on your right and left side depending (switching sides behind you) on which arm is stretched out provides a very fun game.

Before exercises like rearing I would suggest to teach your horse to keep a bigger distance. You can do this by running back and forth in straight lines (A X C .. C X A) and asking your horse 'distance' and praising when he/she does. You can just halt and give a treat when your horse increases the distance from your stretched out arm, make sure you walk towards your horse when you give the treat. But before this the horse must know not to walk too far in front or behind you. Make sure your horse knows to stay at shoulder/shoulder or head shoulder position. **

Run towards and away
If your horse gladly runs towards and with you, you can try to see if you can ask him to run further away from you, and then back again. You can do this by running/walking with him, and then suddenly turn 180 degrees and run away to the other side. Your horse will follow you first maybe just slowly because he's confused with this change of plan, but soon it will become more comfortable and he will start to use this freedom to get more wild and unpredictable himself too. He actually mimicks your behavior. When he runs away or towards you, ask him to run to you again and reward him. When this is really settled, you can ask him to run away by not only turning away from him and run away, but next also run a bit towards him for a couple of steps when he runs towards you too soon for your liking. Do be very carefull with this! It's very easy to place too much pressure on your horse like this, and he can get easily get overexited, stressed, scared or even agressive. When he does show signs of being stressed, immediately stop the game, walk backwards and ask him to come towards you, comfort him and then do low-energy exercises only in order to let him regain his trust in you and the training again. You might discover that the running away doesn't suit your horse mentally because it makes him too agressive, stressed or insecure. In that case, believe him and just practice the running towards you and running along with you. Those exercises too can give you the key to collected movements because your horse still mimicks you. So what happens when you start running slower, more upwards, or jump up and down next to you horse?


Important: Don't overdo the wild games!
As already written down in this topic, the wild games aren't a goal in itself. The reason for that is that the advanced wild games (you moving only a little, your horse moving a lot, running and jumping around you) raise the adrenaline level in your horse to quite an extent. This means two things: some horses will lose themselves in this play, suddenly get scared and try to flee, while others suddenly get angry and (pretend to) attack you. This is because your horse in the wild only shows this level of energy when in play, flight or fight, and there's a thin line between them.

So don't do the wild running or chasing games a lot or a long time (only three to four minutes at a time) because they not only make the horse more alert, but very easily agitate him towards being stressed too. Playing is fun, but it also means that things become unpredictable - and when you as teacher become too unpredictable, it stresses or even scares the horse because he has to watch your moves all the time. He can't blindly trust you and your movements anymore. That causes the adrenaline level to raise which means that the horse can't relax anymore. If the adrenaline gets too high, some horses will want to flee, others want to fight. So if your horse during the wild games suddenly bolts off, or tries to nip you, see that as a sign that he gets stressed and learn from that: make the wild games at least shorter and maybe also less during a training.

Another thing to keep in mind is that a high-adrenaline horse won't be able to think straight and concentrate anymore, just as a highly agitated or scared horse can't eat anymore. So the wild games do stimulate him to get more active and bold, but it's on the same time a game that's not really concentrated. So even though it can produce collected movements, for example the passage, it won't be done consciously and not on cue, and he won't be really conscious of the way he performs the movements. So in order to make these high energy movements more conscious, in control and also more healthy. Because the 'wild variety' ;) of the passage will probably be with a hollow, tense back and a too high neck. When that's put on cue during the wild games, you take it out of the wild games and incorporate it into the calmer part of the training in order to shape them into a more conscious, healthy collection. That way your physical collection still benefits from this high-energy play, but you also keep the mental and emotional collection your horse needs in order to keep focused and concentrated.


Edit by Romy: Here you can find a related discussion where some of our members describe how exactly they get their horses to play: Running and play

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Last edited by admin on Thu Nov 15, 2007 10:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2007 7:12 am 
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With this it can also be recommended to learn the prase "careful" when a horse looses him/herself in play or is very young and unexperienced in playing with humans and comes too close to you. I reward any expressive movements out of my 1 m. zone and when it gets closer I just say "be careful" very calmly. Also when running towards you you can ask this when they tend to bump into you. At the end they will be more careful when they are in your zone.

Be aware not to run towards your horse facing him/het straight and looking them straight in the eye. They probably know they can trust you but this is at nature a way of attacking. I always with me sideways towards them or to their schoulder and bend a little bit forward myself.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2007 10:33 pm 
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While working in-hand, my horses learn that when I raise my hand, it means "stop". I try to be very consistent in this. Then, as we learn to trot or run together at liberty, we practice a little on our "stop". Also, when the horse trots or gallops TO me, I practice raising my hand to "stop".

It's a very visual signal and both horses can see it even if they are very excited. If developed gradually as a natural part of learning to move together, it works very well to stop the play time if and when needed.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2007 5:13 pm 
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I notice that I did them in the wrong order. These are things I have always done with Amiro. We started running together. It was the only way of getting him excited. He would not come to me if I was just standing.

I see our relationship as a quite good one, and it is growing each day. I'm very happy with it. When I call him now he runs to me, when I point away he runs to the direction I point out, but we still enjoy running together the best.

I think we don't have to focus so much on the right order but look how it goes. The wild games came very naturally for me, I had no reason to do it in an other way... Instructions are good, but I'm very flexible with them :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 25, 2007 9:26 am 
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There really is no order, just a suggestion of an order that will work for most people and horses because it's safe. And I guess you and your horse had quite a good relationship established at liberty before you started running around with him, which is really the message behind this system: don't ambush your horse with the demand for wild games when he doesn't fully trust you yet, because then he can easily feel threatened by it as he seems to be hunted down by you.

But it's good to emphasise that there's no strict order indeed: if you want your horse to follow you, first you need to follow your horse. In his energy and movements, but also in his emotional and mental demands. Some high-spirited horses can really find their peace by working on the low-energy, concentrated exercises instead of playing the wild gamesat first. while others will soon become bored to death with it, they want to play! The same goes for less energetic horses: some of them will thrive at the focused, calm exercises in the beginning, while others need the wild games first in order to realise that this isn't work, but fun and that they are allowed to think for themselves and express themselves.

It all depends on the horse. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:13 am 
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Quote:
Important: Don't overdo the wild games!


When I know I am going to be giving a demo with my horse, I purposely "work" on the more boring stuff the week before and don't really do much of any liberty because than when I walk into the arena and cut her loose she is so happy about running around with and to me that the spectators can very obviously see the excitement and joy.

It is very easy to "drill" the "games", which of course totally defeats the purpose!

Of course, that is my horse and me. I'm sure not everyone has the same experience- horsemanship wouldn't be so much fun if we did!

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:56 am 
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Brandy is really good at this. She does not get wild like AN's horses, she just likes to canter and then show off her fancy moves (like piaffe and super-collected trot etc.)

Cody has a more "let's not and say we did" attitude about it. Mostly at first it was because his feet hurt. He'll trot with me some, but nothing else. And to ask him to go away from me. :shock: It'd break his little pony heart. He only will trot with me because he wants to stay close, not because it is actually fun. He doesn't even play with Brandy in the pasture (she thinks I brought her home the dullest pet ever :wink: ). At most he will trot with her, maybe buck 1-2 times. And only rarely. So are the wild games really nessecary? I was assured on the NHE forum they are absolutely nessecary and I'm not doing it right. But if he doesn't like it, why make him? What will he miss by not doing this? Will it actually harm his training, or him, to not play like this?

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 1:58 pm 
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It won't harm anyone NOT to play the wild games. Cisco won't play wild either - normally. Three times he has got into the spirit of it, but this translates to throwing the head, only one little buck, twice in his life throwing a little sideways kick in for good measure, and rearing up. All this with as little cantering as is possible for a horse having a good time! Cisco's preferred top speed is a trot!

I can annoy him into more...and there are sometimes that I will do that...in running (if I can get him into that gear) beside me, I'll reach the whip over and tickle his belly. Mostly he'll just toss his head in response.

And if I stop, he'll stop. No way he's going to expend all those hard-earned calories in playing by himself!

I was never clear in NHE, just how you got the really wild play. I suspect, but I do not know for sure. For one, I suspect we never got a clear and true answer on the NHE forum.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 2:40 pm 
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I had a really hard time with this in NHE too.... My horses also hardly plays together (I hope on some improvement with my little Spirit back home, because he and Lisa used to play - but no one is playing yet...). A few times they run together (as the day they took off in the forest :lol: ), but it is very very rare.

I did manage to get Vilja and Lisa in play finally, then by chasing my jacket in a rope (like a dog or cat, they really got pretty wild... :shock: ).

Spirit I don't play with yet, because he is in a stage when he is trying to play too hard with the small kids, so he has to learn a little selfcontrol first... :lol:

It is so relaxed in here... I love it when all horses are not drawn into the same square, as I sometimes actually think thay are in NHE (the horses HAVE to play, wether they like it or not...).

I can also draw a parallell to dog-training (wich I have done a lot). Some dogs LOVE to play - and some don't.... They are not useless, maybe they prefer food or a scratch.. Some loves to play with YOU, some with a ball, some with something in a rope (like my horses). Some loves of course to play with anything... Some will play if you do it "right", and some would prefer not to no matter how "right" you do it. It has also been told a lot of years in dog-training you HAVE to get them to play. But actually - you don't. You find what YOUR dog likes, and use that in your training. And I guess it's very much the same with horses....


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 08, 2007 1:36 am 
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The way NHE horses play reminds me of horses that are cooped up for a week and then suddenly alllowed out- let the rodeo begin. I used to have jumpers and boarded where turnout was a pain, only for one ohour a day, and political on who turned out when- well, it wasn't as important to me than- my horses always got hurt when turned out anyway (I wonder why :roll: ), so when they did go out once a month they acted like lunatics!!! Now my horses live out and they hardly ever run around or play.

It makes me wonder if AN horses get out a lot?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 10:35 pm 
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today for the first time I played with my T-B at liberty without having any knowledge of this topic.
My T-B never played before with me. I tried, and tried. He would play with his pasture buddy, Shrek the pony. But not with me.
I've been practicing NHE and AND for about 3 weeks now and have seen remarkable changes in his personality. but today was fantastic.
My objective today was to play with a ball. No way, he wasn't interested. But, when I started mimicking him and walking beside him mimicking every step, I saw a reaction. He walked faster, I walked faster, he sniffed the ground, so did I (tried). He didn't seem angry just looking at me while walking. The I gave him a treat. Oh boy, he was happy. So then I walked, he followed me, I ran a little faster, he trotted behind me, and then he saw the game. I have never seen him lift his front legs off the ground (I've had him for two years)but today he did (only about one foot). I was impressed and gave him a treat. Wow! I'm not sure though if he wanted to attack me (playfully mind you)because later on I brought him to his friend in the paddock and we played abit. Again he was very lively but this time he left me and went to Shrek and played with him. So they both reared and had fun. Good thing he didn't try this on me.
I would have never thought my horse was a playful one but with treats, he has changed completely.
I'll keep reading this topic because I know I have alot to learn to stay safe but it was pretty exciting.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 6:02 pm 
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You did almost exactly what was written over here - that's amazing! :D

But indeed, mimicking is a really powerful tool. Over here I wrote about moving yourself and rewarding your horse when he mimicks you, but a really great tool to get your horse interesting in mimicking you in the first place, is by mimicking him. Wonderful, please keep writing about your progress. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:29 am 
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What great information, Miriam! Thank you!

My question lies with the "run away from me" part. Caspian loves running with me, and to me -- almost too much -- he gets mentally "stuck" to me and has a hard time venturing out on his own. He can be pretty unconfident, and independence has never been his strong point. When I do a 180* turn he just whips around and follows me, and if I "send" him away he just runs in a circle around me. I've done chase the tiger to develop independence, but he constantly forgets about the tiger and starts playing with me, "sticking" on me again. :?

He really plays more freely when he's far away from me and I know he'd love to be free to run and play by himself well away from me... he just mentally can't fathom that.

How can I help him develop more independence? I'm wondering if it's a matter of time... since I've started AND he's definitely gotten more independent. Perhaps I am being impatient. :oops:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:10 am 
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Hi Hannah,
Blade was like that in the beginning. He would forget about the tiger and just run after me instead. As we play more and more, he is gaining the confidence to play a little bit further away from me. I don't know how you started playing with the tiger, but it helped me and Blade to first start with the bag in my hand, and then gradually move to putting it on a stick out away from me. Now he chases that tiger everywhere. :lol: Don't worry, the more you play with him in the AND state of mind, the more confident he will get. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:54 pm 

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I have to share! Yestarday was amazing! We've been in the program a couple of weeks now and yestarday we where out side grazing. I took off the cordeo and lead line and went about 6 acers away from him. Then I made some noise with my lunge whip and and gave the head up cue. To my surprise he didn't trot to me he GALLOPED to me I mean he came so fst I didn't know he would stop. He looked so happy to come to me it took everything I did not to squal with glee. When he got there he put his head through the cordeo and we walked back to my chair. AHHHH I'm just so happy right now. I've never seen him look so happy to come to me :)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 3:25 am 
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Great!! That is very exciting!

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 6:17 pm 

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I discovered that treats help to keep the interest of the not-so-interested horse. After a while, you don't even really have to reward with treats. But I noticed at first that my horse was just like, "Okay, you're running around. That's interesting... But I'd rather do whatever I want... And that is definitely not following you!" When he noticed that he would get treats for things I liked, he would follow and put a lot of effort!

What we did for this, the first and only time so far, was we went to the jumping arena at my barn. I started running, and Danny watched me for a while. Sometimes he would start following me, but he'd notice that when I ran away from him, I'd get almost too far away from him. It seems like he thought, "Well, I guess she doesn't want me to be by her." So then after a few seconds of effort, he'd walk his own way. I stopped and looked at him and he started to walk toward me. I said, "come here!" every time that happened. He got a treat for it every time. When he started to do that by voice command, I started walking, and sometimes jogging, backward. He would trot (and once or twice cantered) to me. I began to start walking and he would walk next to me. I started to jog and he would almost immediately do the same. I'd stop after a few strides and give him a treat.

We did this over jumps too. It was so cute! People who were watching kept asking the barn instructors, "Who's that horse? He's dancing!" The barn instructors were getting mad because here I am with a horse with nothing on playing around at liberty with his interest, when they typically cannot achieve the same results with a halter on.

Anyway, to make a long story short, Danny did wonderfully with the run to me and run with me. He hasn't really gotten the concept of run away from me. We tried it a few times. He was very confused the first two times or so. After a while, he'd start to do a turn and follow me. I guess we just have more work to do with this. Any suggestions?

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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 8:26 pm 
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peasNlove wrote:
...



You are having such fun. And what inspiration for the rest of us.

peasNlove wrote:
Anyway, to make a long story short, Danny did wonderfully with the run to me and run with me. He hasn't really gotten the concept of run away from me. We tried it a few times. He was very confused the first two times or so. After a while, he'd start to do a turn and follow me. I guess we just have more work to do with this. Any suggestions?


Shape "touch the target." Watch for slight increases, or even the suggestion of increases, in speed moving to the target.

Move the target further away once he's moving more quickly. At first it need only be a step or two away. Just a turn.

At some point, remove the target without knowing it's gone. Give the command and when he turns to go for it, click that turnaway and movement.

Obviously you can build from there.

Kurland talks about breaking things down into smaller increments to build toward the end behavior.

I'll bet others here can think of other ways as well.

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 1:21 am 

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Donald Redux wrote:
Shape "touch the target." Watch for slight increases, or even the suggestion of increases, in speed moving to the target.

Move the target further away once he's moving more quickly. At first it need only be a step or two away. Just a turn.

At some point, remove the target without knowing it's gone. Give the command and when he turns to go for it, click that turnaway and movement.

Obviously you can build from there.


I'm not quite sure what you mean... I'm going to research a bit. Thanks for the help though! If only I knew what you were talking about :lol: Sorry, I'm ignorant and trying to learn!

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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 4:53 am 
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peasNlove wrote:
Donald Redux wrote:
Shape "touch the target." Watch for slight increases, or even the suggestion of increases, in speed moving to the target.

Move the target further away once he's moving more quickly. At first it need only be a step or two away. Just a turn.

At some point, remove the target without knowing it's gone. Give the command and when he turns to go for it, click that turnaway and movement.

Obviously you can build from there.


I'm not quite sure what you mean... I'm going to research a bit. Thanks for the help though! If only I knew what you were talking about :lol: Sorry, I'm ignorant and trying to learn!


Oh dear! Oh dear! Oh dear! I am so sorry.

I carelessly did NOT look at your profile to see how long you had been here. Please accept my begging of your pardon for this rudeness.

And yes, you'll want to do some research in the forums. Especially this very one. There are such good posts of information, vital information, plus ideas and concepts.

I presumed you knew clicker training when I didn't know.

Alexandra Kurland is the name to look up on the Web. She has a couple of books and many articles out on operant conditioning, by the reward, or positive reinforcement method, using the click to tell the horse that he has done the behavior expected of him.

Followed, of course, by a reward.

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 1:13 am 
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People who were watching kept asking the barn instructors, "Who's that horse? He's dancing!" The barn instructors were getting mad because here I am with a horse with nothing on playing around at liberty with his interest, when they typically cannot achieve the same results with a halter on.


I know what you mean our I think our agister thinks where crazy, and because me and my sis have really only just began this stuff she never seems to see it at the right moment :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:02 am 

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I have a horse who is not very likely to play wild games with me but is willing to do almost anything for food. I think we will do this as a family to call her from one person to the next with each person rewarding her. We'll start with short distances and increase it gradually. This is another one that works great to teach dogs to come when called.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 1:43 pm 
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Birgit wrote:
I have a horse who is not very likely to play wild games with me but is willing to do almost anything for food. I think we will do this as a family to call her from one person to the next with each person rewarding her. We'll start with short distances and increase it gradually. This is another one that works great to teach dogs to come when called.


Yes! I think they are sometimes called Round Robin Recalls!! Great idea! Another dog game that I like to play with my horses is 'Come and Get It'

I don't have anyone to help with RRR (or is brave enough!) so I practice recalls with several food pans, calling put the food in the pan, or in the winter just on the snow, then try and 'sneak' <G>? to the next one, as soon as you see them finish the food, call again, run, feed, etc. This really helped jack, my shut down QH to kick up his heels!! Here's a few clips of Tiger play and recall games:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbocgFN8CV0

You'll notice that he is chasing after me before I get very far, but enthusiastic all the same!

And here's my favorite one playing Tiger and recall games in the woods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYlbfD6GilU

Love dog games with horses!!! Let us know if you think of any more!! Maybe we should start a topic for that??

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:19 pm 

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Oh Brenda, those are beautiful. :f: :f: He looks so balanced and is so happy. I think I saw those once last week, but thanks for crossposting, it helps for people like me who are slow to look at everyone's diary, just too many of them.
Yes, round robin recall is what we call it too, it also works great for getting little kids tired. :D
I have a really long flagpole that I want to try instead of a lunging whip for chase the tiger. It should work really well for very large circles, that way I don't have to run all the time.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:11 pm 
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thanks Brenda for this video. I saw it many times when it was first posted and I'm glad I got to see it again.
It is the best I've ever seen :applause: :applause:
Is someone filming you or do you have your camera on a tripod? and how do you get Jack to stay behind while your walking on. I imagine I would have trouble keeping Corado (or Magik) behind while I'm walking forward, especially since there is no food available.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 8:21 pm 

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Hi Brenda,

I love your videos! They make me smile soooo much. Your horses look like they are having so much fun.

Fiona

PS What is the music in the one of Jack in the woods. It's beautiful.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:51 pm 
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horsefever wrote:
t
Is someone filming you or do you have your camera on a tripod? and how do you get Jack to stay behind while your walking on. I imagine I would have trouble keeping Corado (or Magik) behind while I'm walking forward, especially since there is no food available.
Joc


Thanks Jocelyn!

I have my tripod set up on the side of the trail. And I throw down a few handfuls of feed, so it takes them a minute or so to eat it in the snow <G>, and then, IF I'm paying attention, I'll call them as soon as I see them lift their head, or they look like they are done? After a few recalls, they get wise that there's a BIGGER pile where I'm going so tend to follow more quickly! If there is no snow and you don't want to put the feed in the dirt, you can use feed pans or buckets.

I have been playing this with both horses out on the snowy woods trails for exercise this winter!!! What a hoot! I have some video footage that I'll try to put up later!

In dog training, it's called the "Come and Get It' Game, where you toss a treat AWAY from you and then run the other way, call the dog, toss the treat, run away, etc. REALLY fun game to get good, fast recalls, and also used it for puppy games in agility!

And thanks Brigit and Fiona!! Glad you enjoy the videos!! More to come for sure!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:53 pm 
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fiona wrote:
PS What is the music in the one of Jack in the woods. It's beautiful.


Hi Fiona,

The song is called "Out Of The Woods' by a VERY young group called Nickel Creek! Very talented kids for sure!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:22 am 
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Birgit wrote:
I have a horse who is not very likely to play wild games with me but is willing to do almost anything for food.

You can also teach your horse to run with you, alongside you. Also good for a personal cardio training :D

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:27 am 
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danee wrote:
The way NHE horses play reminds me of horses that are cooped up for a week and then suddenly alllowed out- let the rodeo begin. I used to have jumpers and boarded where turnout was a pain, only for one ohour a day, and political on who turned out when- well, it wasn't as important to me than- my horses always got hurt when turned out anyway (I wonder why :roll: ), so when they did go out once a month they acted like lunatics!!! Now my horses live out and they hardly ever run around or play.

It makes me wonder if AN horses get out a lot?


Well I think the question is if horses who are outside with other horses all day can be so energetic and 'rodeo' like while playing. I can say YES :yes: both Evita and Imperia get sooooo excited while playing and they are outside all day together.
:yeah:
view :D http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgI-zoSq ... annel_page

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:39 pm 

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Bianca,
that was so beautiful to see. It takes a lot of knowing horse body language, feel and timing to be able to do this. This is really wonderful teamwork. I do similar things with my dogs and we both love it. With horses I don't trust myself to read them well enough to get them that excited to canter, jump and rear at liberty so close to me. It will take lots of time to build our relationship more, I think. We have gone as far as trotting and jumping over very low jumps together. I also do miss having a nice level arena with good footing to work in. sighh


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 8:41 pm 
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Yea mine live outside all the time too. They hoon around every night. :yes:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 9:53 pm 
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Birgit indeed it takes time and also the development of the horses concentration level. I would not do this with Imperia for instance because she doesn't have that ability yet or maybe she does but I don't trust her thát much (Romy does trust her more than I do :D) . I must say I really thank Evita for this way of playing because it is she that pays attention to not run into me. It's her level of concentration and movement and knowledge that makes this possible, not mine. Although we developed this way of playing together. I can say everyone can play with Evita this way, also people who don't know her, have no relationship with her. I've seen it happen, and some people are scared in the beginning because we are conditioned that it's not healthy to have a rearing horse just centimeters away ;). I hope I will also trust Imperia enough to make this possible but I don't want to overask her, so one step at a time :yes:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 11:55 pm 
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Bianca wrote:
I hope I will also trust Imperia enough to make this possible but I don't want to overask her, so one step at a time :yes:


I think this is really important - to adjust your play with your horse in a way that it feels safe for you with that particular horse. Whereas, as Bianca said, I did not have the feeling of Imperia being too close and possibly dangerous at all, I sure do have it with Summy, whereas maybe Bianca would not and maybe would trust his ability to be safe much more than I do. We have yet to test this (hint ;)). I also don't feel that safe with Evita, although I never actually played with her, so my ability to judge this is more than limited. It's just a feeling which I mostly already get when I only meet a horse without actually doing anything with him.

In this respect it was most interesting for me to meet Josepha's Ino, where I realized this more than I ever have with any horse before. This was a time before I have read anything about him being a bit dangerous sometimes and still I stood in front of that paddock and really hoped that Josepha would not ask me to go in. Something inside me said that I should not in any way do this.

I really believe that it is very important to listen to your gut feeling in those situations. And I think that it is such a pity when people make those strong assumptions and generalizations from their own experiences. Both Bianca and I did get comments on youtube asking if we were totally crazy to interact with our horses in such a dangerous way - from people who knew nothing about our interaction with our horses. That's one of the many reasons why I love this forum so much: here people do realize that they can speak about their own situation and their own experiences, without trying to make it some ultimate truth that holds for everyone else. :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 1:09 am 

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Quote:
Something inside me said that I should not in any way do this....

...I really believe that it is very important to listen to your gut feeling in those situations

I learned this again in a self-defense class my daughter and I took recently. They also said to listen to your gut instinct. I think these feelings are nature's way of protecting us and they are not based on anything but small perceptions that we are not consciously aware of. To override these with knowledge/understanding can be dangerous. I've been working with rehabilitating dangerous dogs for many years and have only been bit twice, one I was prepared with a leather sleeve, the other time I did not want to look stupid. Two puncture wounds later I decided to rather swallow my pride next time.

Quote:
I can say everyone can play with Evita this way, also people who don't know her, have no relationship with her

Bianca, I think that is a very special horse. I'm wondering if she ever had a really bad experience with people? I've heard of many horses who are incredibly kind and gentle with little kids (presumably because they've never been hurt by one and because of parental instincts) but with adults as well, I would love to know how she came to be that way. Will have to look in you diary.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 9:40 am 
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Birgit wrote:
I'm wondering if she ever had a really bad experience with people? I've heard of many horses who are incredibly kind and gentle with little kids (presumably because they've never been hurt by one and because of parental instincts) but with adults as well, I would love to know how she came to be that way. Will have to look in you diary.


Evita has had no bad experience in life at all... except maybe for an occasional unhappy vet or someone. I've bought her when she was 3 at a stud farm where was happy in a field with other Spanish ladies. She loves all humans but she doesn't really show her feelings, puts up a smokescreen of wonderful exercises :giveflower: to hide her true self. She is not unhappy but is uncomfortable to attach herself to others and is hesitant let others come close to her heart, (this is also the deeper reason behind her having summer rash), is very sensitive and she does not even like to be brushed by me. Coming to think of it, I can understand that Romy, trusting on gut feeling, didn't feel she could 'read' Evita so didn't have an instant feeling to be able to trust her. With Imperia 'what you see is what you get' ... she shows all her feelings very well :hap: :yeah:. She pushes people around and when she succeeds she is very happy :rambo: :D.
And maybe also its about being on the same wavelength so you can be in the 'flow' and things happen all by itself.
Imperia has also no have bad experiences at all. I'm happy I'm blessed with 'blank pages' and after my experiences with owning 3 horses who were traumatized I consciously 'chose' to buy untraumatized horses and I do everything to make sure they don't have one bad experience with humans in their life. I love to see horses who can just love humans without fear and without being aware how cruel people can be... this is sooo rare! But I must say, traumatized Atreyu has come such a long way! If you seen how calm she stays when 5 men, of which 4 she does not really know, pull her up when she lays down. She has experienced that the men she feared in the past are now replaced my men who save her life.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:17 pm 
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Quote:
In this respect it was most interesting for me to meet Josepha's Ino, where I realized this more than I ever have with any horse before. This was a time before I have read anything about him being a bit dangerous sometimes and still I stood in front of that paddock and really hoped that Josepha would not ask me to go in. Something inside me said that I should not in any way do this.


I did not know that...
But I perfectly understand. And I think you understand what I am going through with him.
I totally learned to trust my gut feeling and it is always right.
And... I think horses develop this in humans, if humans let them.

How did you feel about Owen?
I never let people enter his paddock for he can sort of attack if he feels he does not get the proper respect. I do see when it is okay. Miriam for instance can just do abything with him. He likes her very much and I think he likes Bianca a lot too.
When Petra stood to close to him over the fence, he treatened to bite her.
I never tell my horses off for that. I feel they are entitled to have their personal space. Especially as alpha, on your own courtyard.

Things can change a lot. I used to be very scared of Owen, he was really angry all the time. But I was then to ignorant to show him proper respect.
But that was before I learned to let him be boss.
Now I trust him 100% and we can really act silly together :green:

I suspect, one day I'll have the same with Ino.
I feel it. We are growing towards eachother more and more each day.
He knows I do not long to control him in any way. We are just searching for a way to connect fully. The both of us.
And the older he gets, the more he becomes like his Uncle Owen.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:38 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
How did you feel about Owen?


Mixed. ;) I did not have the feeling like things were ever so sunny and normal that I got with Impie, as if I had known her for years. I also was not scared of Owen or felt insecure. Maybe a bit sceptical. Owen did not show any special interest in me personally and I felt the same, contrary to the Don where I was drawn to immediately.

I guess if you had asked me to play with Owen, I would have tiptoed around with him a bit first and probably then it would have been nice (although not anything special), but I would have needed a lot of focus on myself in order not to make a wrong movement. That is funny, because for Jamie I did not have this feeling, although probably in his case it is even more important to watch one's movements. But maybe that's a question of connection somehow: when it clicks with a horse, you don't have to watch your movement that much to do it right but you just automatically change in a way that it fits with that horse.

But as I have not really interacted with any of your horses, except for giving the Don some juice, that is all just a guess. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 12:46 pm 
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Sounds just about right :) concerning Owen I mean :)
And all the rest also, come to think of it.

Quote:
But as I have not really interacted with any of your horses, except for giving the Don some juice


Well then, we have to make sure next time the Don and you have every chance of interacting.
For he indeed took interest in you :yes:

Maye the Spanish breed is totally your thing and vise versa :alien:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:41 pm 

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Not having met any of these horses, I love reading your posts that show that you take your horses' emotional life just as seriously as your own. That is part of makes it so fund to be on this forum, the deep level of involvement with the horse's personality. :cheers: :cheers: :kiss:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 5:20 pm 
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finally read this! LOL

Schatzi and I started with the come to me part. I wanted to try to work on a solid recall, with my dog training background it's one thing I find very important with dogs especially(too many horror stories). SO we worked on come to me, which is simply calling her name and asking her to come with a hand signal. Sometimes I think she cant see it. But if she at least stops what she is doing(grazing, standing in the stall)and looks at me when I call her I treat her.

It took a long while to get the run next to me part as well as the chase after me. But once she found out she can make me laugh and that gets her going and I laugh more, she just keeps on till I am too tired.

If I plan on any wild games, I do them last, or just not get upset that she decided today was a day for running around rather then quite stuff.

Any suggestions on how to put a rear on command? She started doing it today, and I know I may not see it ever again, but in case it comes out again, I want to put it on cue, word as soon as possible.

I am going to take the suggestion of using the "careful" as a signal she is too close to me, this may especially help when I am on her blind side and she gets close without knowing. I try to stay in front of her or on her right side so she can see me, but sometimes It's hard to do.

I'm going to go look at Evita's wild games video later to get another look at body language, as well as watch Romy's with Imperia(that one is loading up now. :D ) Schatzi is in no way sensitive to body language, and I keep on trying. It'll come one day when I least expect it, I'm going to do something and she's going to respond and I'm going to be stupified, like I was today.

I am so glad I met Glen and she is part of AND that I can experience the joy I have always wanted to with a horse, not just have them as a tool like so many others.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:10 pm 
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short answer, because busy busy busy :D
About the rearing, make sure you only practice it with your horse beside you and not in front of you. I raise my hand a bit and say 'up'. Also I only ask it with her on my right side so she won't rear when I lead her.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:16 pm 
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Bianca wrote:
short answer, because busy busy busy :D
About the rearing, make sure you only practice it with your horse beside you and not in front of you. I raise my hand a bit and say 'up'. Also I only ask it with her on my right side so she won't rear when I lead her.


In nature the Mother Mare© early in the foals life has little discipline to do. Later on though, as baby explores more MM© starts to have to move baby around more. The "step back from me," most common instruction motion is a wave of the head from low to swinging overhead. It tends to lift baby from the forehand. I did not see it with Altea and Bonnie until Bonnie was at least five or 6 months old.

It also works as a boundaries reminder. I've used it for horses that rush me when I'm bringing the hay or feed into their stall with them in it.

One learns quickly to moderate it considerably because used with great energy and lifting the hand (it's our "neck and head" to the horse) causes a more energetic (and sometimes unwanted) reaction from the horse. In fact, one can get rearing. Hmmmm.....

And of course especially if one rewards beginning with minimal approximations.

Many people that teach horses to rear do stand directly in front and it works, without danger, precisely because either they know it's a boundary marking gesture to the horse, as MM© taught it first, and of course then qualifies as a natural "aid," or they don't know why but only that it works.

Yes, I am using it with Bonnie now. I would not risk using it with a baby, say younger than five or six months. I think it's too alarming at that age, and I've seen Altea NOT use it until Bonnie was older.

Interestingly there is another gesture, unrelated to developing and aid and response for rearing that also is a boundary setter. I don't know how he figured it out, other than I know that he is one of the most keen horse observers out there, but Pat Parelli uses it to move the horse's butt away and keep him back ... bending over and "flattening the ears," by squinting our eyes up (since we can't flatten our ear literally) works very nicely to the the horse, "move away, keep back," without adding lift.

Where does it come from in the MM© paradigm? Weaning, of course.

When the mare has weaned the baby mostly, and has kind of used up the butt hop (threat of a kick that momma never really gives) he will resort to snaking her head in low, ears laid back, and going for a bit above the knee on the front leg, or just above the hock on the rear.

It's a very serious statement from MM©. As a herd social device it's obviously much used, "stay away from me patch of grass," or "I'm first at the water trough and you better remember it, you stupid nag." The facial expressions make me laugh. And MM© most certainly socializes baby to these communications the baby will use later in the herd.

If a horse won't move back from me (never happened yet) by a soft overhead wave of my arm and hand, I would use the same arm and hand, bending over a bit, to snake a "strike," toward the front leg. If I trust the horse, as I do Bonnie, I would use it on the hind leg as well.

I'm teaching Bonnie to yield all around her body at present - to move away from the flat facing hand cue coupled with my voice cue. She's trying but often gets confused because she was also taught to move toward two wiggling fingers with whatever body part I point to.

I will likely, next time or two, use the naturally derived "aid" of the snaking hand and arm to move her over, if I must, but prefer not to. My reason? I prefer to reserve these "hard," aids derived from horse social learning for only very urgent issues.

And why reserve them? Because I avoid playing "herd boss," or "herb buddy," with horses. I think there is risk in that the first role is a challenge role. That is to say that the position of lead mare or herd boss is always up for grabs, though rarely challenged it can get rough very quickly should it occur - and I'm little compared even to Bonnie. And the second social interaction, herd buddy, is one of very rough play.

Bonnie slams ... or used to ... me in her play like yearlings play with each other. This while I'm attempting to lead her down the road or forest paty.

I give her the Obnoxious Monkey Elbow for her trouble, so that she finds it unpleasant to ram me.

She is learning.

I would not teach her to rear at this time, but I can see she'd love to because she does it well away from us (Kate and I) out of youthful exuberance and joy. Mom has socialized her well.

By the time she's another half year old I might experiment with it. It depends on her maturity and her responsiveness to our safety signals. Her maturity in other words.

For now putting her ears in our hands (by name, left or right ear), lifting and holding her own feet up, again by name, giving a thank you curtsy, and such small things are enough.

I was pleased to see some of the effects of this training so far come out last evening as the trimmer was working on Altea, and Bonnie was standing on a lead line next to the very high (18 inches or so) concrete driveway. She wanted to come see what we were doing, and get in on the treas her mom was getting during trimming. When the trimmer was done I told Bonnie to come on up and join us, and she just wasn't up to it with the usual commands, so I stepped over by her, asked her to come with me, as I cue her to be lead forward, and she tried. At that moment of her trying I asked for her off front hoof (the right hoof, as I was on her left), and she shifted weight and brought it up on the concrete. That was enough. She then hopped up the rest of the way.

When the sun comes out here she'll now be more ready to learn to get in my horse trailer(box).

And I think I'll be using the driveway slab some more before then. :funny:

The reason I went on about all these things really does have to do with "wild games," the forum topic. I like to play, and to make our encounters play as much as possible, and I'm delighted in how much wildness Bonnie is willing to express, and still keep us safe.

Though she's bumped us a time or two, sometimes out of fear and wanting to have 'Momma,' protect here, and of course sometimes in play, she is generally rather careful.

Don, Altea and Bonnie

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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 2:40 am 

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I have a mare here that has been severely abused. She is terrified of everyone except me and even with me she still has her moments. She is only 6 years old and has bitten many trainers, lunged for their throats and even grabbed onto ones jugular. Obviously this does not happen with me. But she is every part of possibly the most nervous horse I have ever worked or seen in my life. When we enter the arena on a lead she will defecate constantly until she has nothing left to give. Now I would love some advice on how to encourage a mare with such a low trust of humans to even want to play with me


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 7:34 am 
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I wrote a reply but then decided the issue of scared horses deserved its own sticky, so let's continue over here: Dealing with scared horses. :)


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:13 am 
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That's a good idea Romy. That topic definitely deserves more room... I'm not sure whether to answer here, or in the new topic, but since my answer is more about play, I think it'll better stay here.

I have no experience with traumatised horses. My horse is (or better was) very shy and sceptical towards humans in the beginning and it took us a while to be able to play. And I'm still working on his initiative in playing. So here are just random thoughts about playing with scared horses.

I would define playing as an activity where the participants can try things out in a controlled and secure environment, safe from consequences and repercussions that the same thing may have in the 'real world'.
For me that means that I have to create such a safe bubble for my horse in order to stimulate play. I think it's helpful to have such a place marked by either time (e.g. a 'let's play-cue'), or simply by location. A riding arena for example is the perfect place to establish as 'playground'. What that means to me is, that in that special place at least at playing time, errors have to go unpunished. Or better: there are no errors in play ;). And of course initiative will be rewarded. Cooperation even more so.
I will only use positive reinforcement in play. Negative reinforcement (pressure and release) and of course P- is severely hindering initiative (see: learned helplessness).
I do however use negative punishment (in that case: removal of myself from the play) if I feel myself uncomfortable with the play. (That should be the right of any playing participant, btw.) That's especially important in wild play.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:39 am 

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I have to ask~why are the games in this order in another section


"The games taught in this level are Run with me, Run to me, Run away from me (and only taught in that order!) and Mimicry - slowing down together, speeding up together, place bodyparts on objects, collecting; if the first three running games go well, your horse will start mimicking you all by himself, this is not something you teach him, it's not a trick! It's is inspiration waiting to happen; everything is possible."


But different in this section....


Which way do I follow :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 11:14 am 
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Location: Dresden, Germany
First, playing with your horse according to AND has no fixed order but depends on your horses' and your own preferences. The stickies are from a time when some of us came from places where there was quite some focus on "the one correct way", so that might explain some of it (although I cannot speak for Miriam of course, perhaps she had other reasons to write it that way).

Second, personally I find it very useful to work on running with me first, and only very late in my interaction with a horse (if at all) on running away from me. This is because I want to build on the horse's initiative, and I find that much harder if I send him away, which puts me in the position of actively imposing an action on the horse instead of having him join in the game in the way he wants to.

Concerning mimicry or synchronized movement, for me that is the very first thing and I do not play any running games before we have used this to establish a subtle communication. But then everyone is different and different approaches work for different horses, so there really is no fixed order. I'd say just go with what feels best for you and the horses you are working with. :f:


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:09 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:01 am
Posts: 33
Location: Australia
Thanks :) xx


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