The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: 1: Playing - Calm games
PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:13 am 
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As there are people, horses and situations where wild games are not possible or counterproductive for certain reasons, I thought we could start a topic where we collect ideas for calm games - things that are fun for the horse and can be used as a distraction between periods of concentrated work, but that don´t contain a lot of energy. Things like picking up objects or tug of war.

Please post your ideas and maybe some sentences on how you do them to this topic!

Thanks!! :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:08 pm 
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Location: provincie Utrecht
hi,
we do a calm play, pick up the catch ball and he give it to me or put it on a other place for example in a circel two or three steps away from the horse.
I play this on grass if you do this on sand, the catch ball is getting very dirty and the horse get a lot of sand in his mouth.
I started to train this because he will eat everything what is near by his mouth, so i thought maybe i can turn his mind to do other things than bite me all the time or bite in the reins or rope.
this cost me two pairs a year. :cry:
I won't punish him because it has no sence...
No i have made it to a usefull item.

Image
the catch-ball


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:15 pm 
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Location: provincie Utrecht
o i forgot something.
i try to train him now to stay in a circel and i have to move from him for about three meters.
If it will going well then i will go for a walk around him and he must stay in the circel at all time.
The circel i have made is from a old rope and lay around the horse but as wide that the horse can make a few steps, (i quite big circel) The horse may not think that he is locked up or something.
Now is mine horse not afraid of fences or ropes or what else so it is pretty difficult to keep him inside of the circel.

The horse i had before he was afraid of fences so he was very easy during this game. He won't get out of the circel. I could let him stand there and even could go to the toilets for example. He did not walked away.
This horse is a great challence for me.. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 7:49 pm 
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Location: Belgium/Tielt-Winge
getting him to put his nose or foot on a lot of things, Beau loves that game :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 2:53 pm 
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Still Amiro and I sometimes play hide and seek with an apple which he finds a fun game and which is very calm.

Inge, your staying-in-a-circle game sounds like a lot of fun. I did something similar with a pole once, I told Amiro to stay behind the pole and not step over it. First he did step over it but as soon as he found out I did not want him to do that he found another way to get to me: to walk around the pole :lol: Working in circle seems a very good idea for him.

And while I write this down I am thinking of a game which I do with me dog sometimes and must be able to do with horses to: I place the leadrope on the ground and say to my dog: "This is the place". Than I walk away from her while she stays on her place. When I am far enough I call her to me, ask her to walk around me and I say: "Back to the place". She runs back and lies down on the leadrope.

This game is not very calm, but when you do it in walk and make the distance not to long it is also a 'mind-game'(you and you horse have to think about things) which makes it suitable in here I think.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:35 pm 
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Location: provincie Utrecht
Hey that's a new option, an other challence.
But i have not finished the circle game.
I do nothing now while he has a sore feet. It will takes a few weeks. I have my hands full to take care of him and his feet. It takes almost an our to soak him in water. I realy wanted him to do it by him self without pressure. I is very hard for him to lift his feet for me. I does not wanted that i clean his feet and then put it in a bucket.
But i have petience and keep trying until he has done it for me. And he is always friendly to me, but make it very clear that he does not like it all.
I give him now drainage compositum to help him a little to get rid of the bad stuf in his body.
So i will hope it will works out, so i can play with him again.

But your idea is great


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:29 pm 
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Freckle's favourite game is "walk from car-tyre to car-tyre and put feet on and in them, and stand on them, and sometimes pick them up like a bracelet with a foot and then look confused about this thing hanging from the hoof!"

He also likes "put foot on ground pole and roll it around."

It's been very useful for getting him over his fears of different coloured ground, painted lines on roads and scary things lying on the ground.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 4:47 pm 
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Location: provincie Utrecht
hi
than i am a lucky one :-)
if i go for a ride i have to go over the street before we got in to the woods.
They have made a new pavement.
it starts with grey..then one step down and then the colour is red...some white stripes and then a new colour black.
they have made also some bumps in it, too slow down the speed. And yes also there white painting lines.
It was very funny to walk for the first time over the new street :-)
now it is normal again..
but i can understand what your horse doing :D


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 2:41 am 
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One day I decided that I needed to teach Tam to do nothing. I was very tried that day, so what I did was to take a chair and set it in the arena. I sat on the chair and asked Tam just to lower his head. CLick and treat, click and treat, click and treat...soon he was standing there with his nose almost in the dirt.

Then I asked him to lie down, and he did.

So the game COULD be, how many things can you get your horse to do while sitting in a chair? Can you get the horse to put it's head down, to step sideways, to walk around your chair? All these things could be free shaped with a clicker and treats, or you could of course use cues and words your horse already knows. It's an interesting experiment, because at first, you will find out how much yoru horse depends on your body language to cue him/her for different tasks.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:08 pm 
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How about massage? It's calming and most people REALLy enjoy it! :)

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:29 pm 
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Yesterday, Jackson was a bit miserable after having his annual vaccinations. We went to the school, where we normally play chase the tiger and lots of running and jumping, but he didn't feel like doing anything active.

I put out a big long line of traffic cones, and we played a very satisfying game where he was weaving in and out of the cones - a bit like a pony club bending race, or a dog agility test :smile: He was certaintly enjoying it, but it was a calm thinking game rather than a galloping jumping game :smile:

I would like to try Karen's game sometime - it is good to have lively games but for balance, do nothing games are essential too :smile:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 1:35 pm 
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Great that you mention the cones, this made me remember a game a friend of mine is playing with her pony: throwing down cones.

My friend puts them in a row (or more difficult patterns for more advanced horses) and her pony walks along there, throwing them down.

A lot of calm fun games can be found in this channel on youtube.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 25, 2009 8:08 pm
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Location: Denmark south/west
Thankyou :applause: :applause: :applause:
I really appreciate all the good ideas for calm games, my little paint horse cant do much else....The calm "game" I play with her every day, is not so much a game....When I turn out the other horses, Muse stays with me in the barn, and I just do my chores while she is milling around with the two cats investigating the stalls, following me around, getting a scratch now and again, then we go for a little walk, me the cats and Muse, ending up in my kitchen.....yes... :blush: inside the house, where we all get a treat...I will most definately start playing some of the games described here :yes:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 8:51 pm 

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For some additional fun you can hide food under the cones. Try to only hide food under some of them and see if they can smell which ones are worth tipping over. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 19, 2009 9:46 pm 

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I love the idea of putting food under the cones and letting the ponies knock them down to get the treat!

Things i do when we need to calm it down a bit are head lowering and stand on a mat. The mat i use is a bit of old rubber matting from the stables. It's small so as not to make it too easy a game.

Some other precision games we like are one foot over a pole...then two....then three then all feet. you can also add head lowering in....for example one foot only over pole and head down.

I also have an old tractor tyre filled with sand as a pedestal. They love to stand on this.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, 2009 11:51 pm 
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Standing on a plateau! Huge favorite over here! :D

Blacky has always been a plateau-addict, but Sjors only did it for food, up to about half a year ago when he started to appreciate the plateau for itself and now when I ask him to step onto it and then close off the training session, Sjors will just keep standing on it for minutes, while I'm already long gone.

And cones indeed are a lot of fun, and a nice bridge to focused work again (make circles and eights around them, touch and play with them, then use them again for directions). The same goes for poles: you can walk/trot over them the regular way, but also step on them and walk over them 8) with the front feet, do the jambette and bow while standing on it.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:16 am 
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hi. i think that any of the games can be calm. i like to play the games with yearlings, and it all is very calm. i play "chase the tiger, but it is more, walk after the tiger. i had my student guiding her pony at walk and jog through an activity course. it was very calm.

mum plays alot of ball games. like fetch. she had a major leg operation, so she has no feeling, so no ability to move out of the way fast, and she cannot run, just a kind of hoppy jog.

she also is trying to teach him to pic up specific coloured cones. Doc is a very talented horse, and really keen to do anything, but this really keeps him happy, and gets his mind going. he is very creative and offers many different things.

Image

everything can be calm and safe, it just depends on how you teach it. with my kids ponies and young horses i keep it all calm and fun, but with big and bobby, i want it to be expressive and fun!!! :D :D :D

i am finding that pedistal play is very calm and relaxing. also learning the stretches are fun. learning to turn from a touch to either side of the neck is a calm exercise as well. but my favorite is just going for a walk!!!! :love:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:24 am 
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That's true, just the fact that you're playing with a Tiger doesn't mean that it should be a wild chase! You can also lunge with it, asking the horse to stretch his neck down and out with the tiger on the ground in walk and trot.

That's what Sjors and I do a lot: we do a wild 'jump on the tiger' game when I say (well, shout 8) ) 'Get him!', but also do a calm trot after it, and I can ask Sjors to go to a halt in the game and then back up, with the tiger backing up with Sjors in front of him - and then back to trot again. Actually, the differentiating between the Tiger as target, as Wild Game and puzzle really adds something to this game for us. It's great to ask them all after another in one go!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:17 pm 
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This topic looks like Exercises Sticky material! :)
I've renamed it already and will move it the Exercises forum later.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2009 8:03 pm
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A lot of times when Dikales & I are just hanging out ,I'll walk to the pedestal and point to it , and he'll usually just step on up , there he will receive his favorite belly scratches :D He will stand like that for a long time.
Then maybe I'll just walk away and he'll come down and follow me and we'll play can you put your foot here , I'll start first and then he'll mimic...then I'll extend a leg then another and before you know it he'll offer Spanish walk. We do have a lot of fun in our sessions together.
I'm at a boarding barn ..where lots of people do Parelli(which was helpful for us in the beginning to an extent for friendly games and respecting space) But....I have moving away from the "stick" and using just the slightest cues from my body.That's the way I want to communicate w/ my horse& he is responding .He's probably thinking..."Ahhh, finally she's got it :cheers: "
Anyways back to the barn ...I have friends there ..and I don't want to be judgemental...but everyone is sooo task orientated...do this do that w/ their horses. And to me do this & do that= doo-doo. ;)And then it's saddle up and do this & do that and more tasks. :roll:
I guess what I am trying to convey is that calm games are good :smile:and we do a lot of that, so much so that I'm always being asked "your not going to ride him today :^) ?" And I just smile and say"No....not today" :)

MitziImage

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 2:57 pm 

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It's a lovely topic. The cions are such a lovely idea.

Thank you :)

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 5:05 pm 
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At the barn I keep my horse they keep a pile of small cones in the corner of the arena. My horse loves to grab the whole pile, throw them around, and then go pick them up and bring them back to me one at a time to restack. :funny:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2013 10:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:59 pm
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Location: Costa Rica.
I love some of these calm games. I want to try the food under the cones and they sit in a chair and free shape. Archies favorite calm game is smiling. He does it to mug me for treats :blush: but also i use it to help calm him if he has been spooked (he is quite a spooky horse) and it works to direct his mind away from being scared of something.

We also use the podium with his front feet on it as he loves to hang around on it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:41 am 
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I play the "come and see here game" it started when I had troubles walking with Porch because she was so eager to get grass when going in to the stable (when she used to be standing inside four years ago) I did not want to punish or pull her as she did not do anything wrong, she was just hungry and it was her only way of getting food for herself.

So what I begun to do was point myself out a really god spot with grass and run over asking her to come. At first it was no reaction, but when she understood I was leading to "better" food and she could turn back if she wanted it became something she really had no problem with doing and after a little while it became a fun game not only for her, but also for me who in the beginning was just set on using it to get her inside.

It has given me so much for free later. Now I can walk with her and when she stops eating and I want to get going i just ask her to come and she does because she knows that if she really wants she can stop, turn or get more grass. It is no stress around it anymore. We also have transferred the game into a more universal use and actually a way of interacting as she often will come to me when I am in the stable nudging me to come with her and see... then she will show me for example the broken fence pole or maybe that the rubbermat that used to be in the stable is been pulled out.

She can be a little frantic about these things but it makes her more calm when she has been able to show me and I in a way have said "yhea... I can see it" then it is okay because now I have seen this "madness" that usually not happens x)


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2013 4:05 pm 
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Jeanette, this put me in mind of Brenda and Lucy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7drRCy5oeUo :applause: :applause:

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 8:55 am 
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Ah yes. That is so fantastic, when the communication becomes a two way street. And so great that you realised and listened! That's not something that comes natural for most people.
With Mucki and me it definitely marked the best adventures when I followed Mucki and he showed me things and games from his world. Every time he did this, I felt so incredibly privileged :love:

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