The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 2:27 pm 
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Playing: chase the tiger

The AND Chase the Tiger movie: :)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5rESt-HEPI


'Chase the Tiger' is one of the most popular games to play with horses on this forum and is developed by several forum members, so it deserves a spot of honour in the groundwork section indeed! :)

See for wonderful examples the movies of HelenMai and Esprit: :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe5CwweChzM

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


Chasing the tiger
Chasing the tiger is nothing more or less than letting your horse chase a plastic bag/piece of clothing or something else that you hold in your hand or have tied to a stick/whip/pole. A lot of traditional trainers also use sticks/whips with plastic tied to it, but then in order to let the horse flee away from it in order to make them run. You can compare it to the rope that is flung to the horse in a join-up, or even a lungeing-whip that is cracked in the air in order to 'scare' the horse so that he becomes faster. These training methods reinforce the horse that the human is the hunter and the horse is the prey, and therefore subordinate to the human.

Training
We do it the other way round. :D First you teach your horse through rewards that he can put his nose against a plastic bag that you're holding in front of him - and reward a lot for that! Then you just walk a step away from your horse and ask your horse if he wants to follow you and touch the bag again. Then slowly take longer distances, or let your horse touch the bag longer while walking, before you reward. If that's all okay, you can tie the bag on to the end of a whip and start running away from your horse, animating him into a trot or canter while holding the bag in front of him. When you tie the bag to a longer driving/lungeing whip, you can lunge your horse around you like this, let him do the more energetic moving while you're in a safe distance (and a bit less tired ;) ).

Why
The most important reason to do this, is that most horses just love it. They love the fact that they're the hunter instead of the hunted and that they can chase instead of be chased. Because for horses, chasing each other is very natural too, only a lot of horses never chase others because the others always chase them. So giving them the opportunity to change place really can give them a boost of self-confidence.

Chasing the tiger is also a very good way to conquer fears. Clickertrainers already know that targetting a scary object with the nose easily convinces horses that that object isn't that scary after all. Chasing is makes it even more harmless, as obviously the previous scary object is now running away, and therefore scared of the horse. :) So let the horse be as wild as he wants to be with the bag (or other object) and reward him for that behavior. Touching the bag with the nose is very good, but stamping on it with a front foot is even better, as it means that your horse dares to come closer to it with his body.

Another reason why Chasing the Tiger is a great game, is that it teaches horses to move freely and at higher speeds eventually, even the more timid horses. It also offers a wonderful opportunity to 'make' horses more independent of you, especially those horses who don't play wild games on their own because they don't like to leave you.

The last reason is that lungeing in Chasing the Tiger-style, with the horse following the bag with his nose stretched out down and forwards, is a very good way to loosen the back. With horses who tend to lean a bit too much on the frontlegs when moving, you can also hold the whip with your targetbag more at knee-or breast-height.

Essentially you can play Chase the Tiger with anything: with wooden planks that you drag through the sand, or a jacket tied to a rope so that you can drag it behind you, or a tennis ball or piece of cotton tied to the end of the whip. Start easy, with an object that isn't that scary according to your horse, and gradually you can make the game more interesting by taking more scary materials (plastic, wild colors) and by asking your horse to follow it at higher speed. Experiment! And everybody with new ideas for this game, place them in this topic! :D

Follow a Tiger towards collection
For the Tiger-experienced horses, Chase the Tiger is also a very good way of introducing them to good self-carriage and collection, as Marleen shows in her video amongst others.

For stretching the neck/back, you can keep the Tiger really low on the ground so that the horse follows it in a forwards-downwards posture. However, when he gets better at that, you can also start lifting the tiger a bit at knee/breast height of your horse and instead of just pulling it away from him (which would stretch the neck out again), move it away and then a bit towards him and then away again in for example walk or trot. Most horses will respond to that by raising the front, lifting the neck while looking down (the ramener-pose) in order to kick the hell out of the tiger with the frontfeet - using natural collection exactly for what it was originally meant for in the wild.

That way you not only can let your horse experience that collection is fun (and useful ) too, but you can also get more jumpy, upwards movement that you can put on a cue during the CtT game, and then develop and refine further as haute ecole movements (Spanish trot, passage) and jumps (terre a terre, rear, courbette...? ). That way your horse introduces himself to higher collection that you can use in the focused work again, while even more important, he also learns that moving in such an extravagant, flashy, impressive way is fun.

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Last edited by admin on Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:14 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:24 pm 
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This is SO deserving of having it's own topic...thank you Miriam!

I would like to add the videos that showed me it could be so much more than a fun game.

Brenda and Lucy, learning to lunge with the tiger!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BbOXlOnqoA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENzh9stQsiI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-Vmge5fX-0


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:29 pm 
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Teach a Spin: By targeting the plastic bag on the end of a very long whip, Tamarack is learning to do a 360 spin away from me. I hold the bag over his back, and as he turns away from me to touch it, I move a little so he has room to turn and keep the bag just out of his reach until he's turned 360 degrees. Then click! treat! I hope to put this on verbal cue.

backing Up: Also, by holding the bag under his belly, just behind his front legs, he does a really nice back up with his head down and neck arched. I can see where, with some horses, it would result in a bow.

Rearing: He is almost standing on his tippy toes to touch the bag when it's held over his head. If he will eventually lift one leg to try and reach higher, I can capture that and possibly turn that into a rear. Eventually, on cue.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:33 pm 
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Thank you for putting this here! I have wanted to start teaching this since I read it in Karen's diary. Hopefully a way to encourage Cody to move away from me a bit while trotting, without upsetting him. If only the rain would stop!! :evil:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 7:55 pm 
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We need to credit Donald for the unique name of this game, do we not?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:26 pm 
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Yes, a lot of credit goes to Donald, especially for the name! :D, and also to all the others who invented it, experimented with it and wrote about it on this forum. Thanks, guys!

And good additions too, Karen. Targetting can be used for almost anything, not just for playing Tiger. ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:44 pm 

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This is really cool. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 9:50 am 

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Thank you for that topic!!! :D

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:45 am 
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This is great! Thanks to all contributors. We've had some impromptu chase the tiger games here, now why didn't I think of turning it to part of our repertoire. What a cool idea.

Esprit is so inspiring. Love the way he attacks the bag, and at one point turns around and kicks it to death. Will have to go try this with Harlequin tomorrow.. he loves chasing things.
Sue


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:07 am 
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Check out this INCREDIBLE article to see why "chase the Tiger" can and will cause your horse to be straight AND lift the base of his neck!!!!

http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/woody.html

For those who don't have english as a first language I'll give you an overview, but PLEASE read the whole article- it is so good.

A horse's straightness can be defined best as being when his breast bone is in the middle of his elbows- becuase he has no collar bone he can easily slump to one side. When the horse is truly straight, only than can he lift the base of his neck. The article than goes onto prove that mamals automatically align thier haunches to their head- the shoulders do not automatically align. There are different thoughts as to why horses are one sided, but Dr Deb Bennet believes a lot of it has to do with a horse's eye dominance. Because he often scans things with just one eye, he will lean on one shoulder, cocking his head to the side and thus have a greater field of vision out of his dominant eye. If you can encourage the horse to FOCUS visually on an object his entire body will align! (she calls the horse's focus/confidence/attention/intent his "birdie")Once aligned naturally with a strong focus and intent in front of him, lifting the base of the neck will be easy and natural!!!

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Last edited by danee on Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 9:43 am 
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Wow, that's really great!! :ieks: :) But I didn't find a link to the article. Could you post it again?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:11 am 
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Just found it (after googeling for half an hour, thanks a lot, Danee... :evil: :wink: ) :D But it's such an interesting page that I immediately had to read it. Very recommendable!

http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/woody.html

When you don't have much time, or if you are interested in straightness only, I suggest you skip the first chapter (called 'Paradigm') and go straight to the chapter further down, called 'Straightness'. It's a very interesting, pivotal point articla, connecting straightness with on which shoulder the horse leans on - and it also gives both Chase the tiger-like exercises and Stepping Under as the only correct training system in order to make the horse straight again. So we must be doing something right over here. 8) :D

Thanks, Danee!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:13 am 
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Yeah, I have The Birdie Book.. it's excellent. I've always thought that Dr Deb Bennet's horses are really great examples of how lower levels of collection during less strenuous exercise help the horse to improve his body throughout his lifetime. Her old horse Sadie just gets better and better and better.


Today we've been filming Harlequin at his version of chase the Tiger.. the Tiger in this case being Miro, our yearling Shetland filly. Miro begins the game by approaching, coming in under his neck, lifting up on hind legs and biting him under the throat, then turning and inviting him to chase her.. YES PLEASE! The game is on! Harlequin follows at a trot or canter, nose placed as close as he can to the centre of her rump. Occasionally during the running, they erupt into kicking and hi jumps, and there's continual nips and kicks flying. Today they kept it up for twenty minutes.. then we decided to try filming Ella at the same game.

So Ella went up and scratched his neck, then turned and invited him to chase her.. YES PLEASE! They spent ten minutes trotting and cantering around the paddock. It was really interesting to see the different way that he played with her. He chased and spun and hi jumped just the same.. but instead of having his nose right on her, he stayed back about five or ten feet and didn't direct any of the nips and kicks at her, as he does with Miro. Just as enthusiastic, but so much more gentle and careful. How wonderful.

Then we tied a empty dog food bag to the end of a stick to see how that would go.. YES! Just as fun. The joy of having a young playful horse, they don't need to be trained and food rewarded to do this - they just love it for the fun of the game itself.
I wish my four year old was so easy to motivate to play.....


Want to get more serious with the bag next time and see if we can use it to teach him some turns.
Fun!
Will post the vids if I can figure it out.

Sue


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 6:14 pm 
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http://www.equinestudies.org/knowledge_base/woody.html


Sorry guys!!! I had copied it and thought I pasted, but, uh, appartenly not!!!

It is by Dr Deb Bennet and there are some other good articles on her site as well along with a forum where Dr Deb will give you great info after berating you and making you feel like an ant- but hey, all in the name of good horsemanship :D :!: Feel free to post, but good Lord, do it carefully!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 2:03 pm 
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For the Tiger-experienced horses, Chase the Tiger is also a very good way of introducing them to collection, as Marleen shows in her video too:

For stretching the neck/back, you can keep the Tiger really low on the ground so that the horse follows it in a forwards-downwards posture. However, when he gets better at that, you can also start lifting the tiger a bit at knee/breast height of your horse and instead of just pulling it away from him (which would stretch the neck out again), move it away and then a bit towards him and then away again in for example walk or trot. Most horses will respond to that by raising the front, lifting the neck while looking down (the ramener-pose) in order to kick the hell out of the tiger with the frontfeet - using natural collection exactly for what it was originally meant for in the wild. :D

That way you not only can let your horse experience that collection is fun (and useful :twisted: ) too, but you can also get more jumpy, upwards movement that you can put on a cue during the CtT game, and then develop and refine further as haute ecole movements (Spanish trot, passage) and jumps (terre a terre, rear, courbette...? :D ). That way your horse introduces himself to higher collection that you can use in the focused work again, while even more important, he also learns that moving in such an extravagant, flashy, impressive way is fun.

--- On second thought, I decided to paste this into the description of the CtT above too, as it's actually quite essential to AND.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:13 pm 

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I am not really experienced with clickertraining, but I tried chase the tiger this week.
My horse is stressed very easily, so I put some candy on the plastic bag. It took a while, (she is desensitized for a plastic bag, but isn't really used to put her nose on it) but then she found the candy, eat it, and after a few times she overcame her fear and followed the bag. enough for that day.

Next time I kept putting the candy at the bag instead giving it from my hands, because I am afraid of her getting too excited, losing interest for the bag and come and get my treats herself.
But I am not sure if giving the candy at the bag will become a problem when I go further with this.

I put the candy at the bag before I start to walk, not after we stand still (to have a better timing when she touches the bag, she's getting candy immediatly)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2008 6:48 pm 
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sandra83 wrote:
I am not really experienced with clickertraining, but I tried chase the tiger this week.
My horse is stressed very easily, so I put some candy on the plastic bag. It took a while, (she is desensitized for a plastic bag, but isn't really used to put her nose on it) but then she found the candy, eat it, and after a few times she overcame her fear and followed the bag. enough for that day.

Next time I kept putting the candy at the bag instead giving it from my hands, because I am afraid of her getting too excited, losing interest for the bag and come and get my treats herself.
But I am not sure if giving the candy at the bag will become a problem when I go further with this.

I put the candy at the bag before I start to walk, not after we stand still (to have a better timing when she touches the bag, she's getting candy immediatly)


As this exercise is used here I believe it's entirely for sparking the interest of the horse sans any training for a specific performance goal.

I may be missing something or other's posts on the subject. Hopefully others will contribute to this thread.

I that it's been used to teach the horse to target for an at-liberty pirouette, turning in a circle. But that can be done by target training on anything one can put on the end of a long whip or pole...or just the tip end itself.

The other use of a plastic bag, or similar kind of floppy noisy sort of object, being drug along the ground (usually at first) is to excite that more aggressive and possibly playful spirited response of the horse. An enlivening exercise.

Lots of us have horses that have been trained into dullness as a retreat from fear inducing humans.

Thus we look for ways to enliven them.

If you've watched horses in the wild, or at liberty in the paddock and seen small animals come by or at them, you'll see the more aggressive horse, rather than run, drop their head and chase. Even a plastic bag blowing across a paddock can trigger the flight or FIGHT response.

In the wild this is usual for protecting foals from the smaller predators, though I'm told mares will even fight wolves in some instances.

Certainly they will go after a coyote, or on other continents, jackals and wild dogs etc.

Horses are not just gentle shy creatures only. They have a wide range of possible behaviors and responses. Horse to horse, and even within a single horse.

If I understand correctly, one of the things that motivates many AND participants is to break through the breeding and training humans have done with horses for thousands of years to make them docile and compliant and above all safe. We have wanted an animal we can bully, basically. And it still goes on.

AND participants represent a major change in direction for the association of human and equine that very few have explored before.

Thus the "Chase the Tiger" game explores the possibility of other undiscovered and unexplored areas in equine behavior and possibilities.

There are some risks, of course, like in any exploration with living creatures.

So if you are wanting to use plastic for a target, understand that if you drag that bag along the ground "candy" as treat and reinforcer may cease to be of any intereset, and you may have a sudden explosive return to a wild state in your horse.

She may have her instincts triggered to attack.

Often, like Dakota, the horse I'm currently training, they may start following with their nose slowly, but suddenly in the middle of what looks like a curious but quiet following of the bag on the stick, the attack can take place explosively.

Others here remark on it. And record it.

The enthusiasm can grow until things start happening such as the horse grabbing the bag in their teeth, or pounding it to pieces with the front hooves...I think someone even mentioned kicking...as Dakota did as his first response to the bag.

So far I have read that owners are maintaining control over the play, and are able to shut it down when they wish.

That likely has to do with their longer association with the horse they are playing with. And the "leader" role they enjoy with the horse.

I probably wouldn't do this game with a horse I didn't have an ongoing relationship with.

In fact, sad to say, I'm going to extinguish this particular play with Dakota for safety reasons. And use other exercises for energizing and exercising that he needs.

I'm ending it only because he will move on out of my hands during this coming year.

If he were mine I'm confident that I could establish boundaries in play and work for our mutual safety pretty easily. And continue the Chase the Tiger play.

Donald Redux
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 7:04 pm 
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Since Tamarack is quick to understand the "rules" of any new game I introduce, he is not at all vicious with the tiger. The idea of the game was for him to touch his nose on it. That is what he got rewarded for, so that it what he continues to do. If it is very elusive, he may indeed take it in his teeth, but this is rare. Also, at times, he will take the whip in his teeth, but in either case, he gets no reward. Only if he touches it with his nose. So he doesn't try to attack it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:39 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Since Tamarack is quick to understand the "rules" of any new game I introduce, he is not at all vicious with the tiger. The idea of the game was for him to touch his nose on it. That is what he got rewarded for, so that it what he continues to do. If it is very elusive, he may indeed take it in his teeth, but this is rare. Also, at times, he will take the whip in his teeth, but in either case, he gets no reward. Only if he touches it with his nose. So he doesn't try to attack it.


Not surprised at all you would already have this covered, Karen. :D

I may not have been clear that I support "Chase The Tiger" as a cued command, and not just as it happened with Dakota the first time I used it with him.

And I'll keep in mind your advice above if I go back to playing this game.

Thanks, Donald Redux
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:39 am 
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I'm actually loving having some of my horses get "vicious" in role play.

Sunrise has never play acted vicious - she's not got any hangups I think.

But Rosie (half crazed rangy tb :lol: ) USED to be vicious in reality, constantly leaving scars on the other horses from her teeth.. and occasionally me when I wasn't quick enough.. I've had her tooth and hoof marks decorating my hide a few times...

But something just extraodinary has happened. From the moment that she understood that I was encouraging and celebrating her wild play, even the crazy vicious demonic looking stuff, she has become like docile pet.. hardly bites the other horses, and has chosen to be my best friend, and allow me to take liberties (like applying ointment to her tummy, or checking her feet) that I formerly had to fight her for. It seems as if releasing her agression in role play is allowing her to relieve her frustrations, old fears, tension, and connect with her thinking, calm self after. And she no hint that her role playing would ever spill over into actual harm.

Donald, what does your background in psychology tell you about this?

And Bella, who wasn't openly agressive, but passive aggressive, totally wooden and almost impossible to budge over certain issues has also made a similar turnaround.
She's been encouraged to race around being "scary vicious" kicking and rearing and flashing her eyes, and in return, she has started giving us the gift of "remembering" her former dressage training, and spontaneously offering up the most wonderful collected canter when ridden the last few times, mcuh to her young rider's absolute amazement. And she's LAUGHING as she's doing it. This wooden little horse has the most highly developed black sense of humour I've ever come across. (A couple of times, she's gained a momentary upper hand over Brodie, her nemesis -normally Bella is bottom of the pecking order- once when Ella draped herself in a huge woolsack and rode her.. Bella could see that Brodie was afraid.. so with Ella sitting on Bella's back, reins loose, Bella chased Brodie all over the paddock for ten minutes laughing her head off... she's done the same thing to Rosie after Rosie bit her when I was riding her one day, and I picked up a stick and rode after Rosie waving it.. Bella immediately got the idea and had a ball.)

So.. it seems to me that this role play aggression can be really useful for healing horses who have old issues of distrust and oppression.

But with the others, they're not really interested in being aggressive, and don't seem to have any need to be. So training them not to hasn't been an issue.

Not saying that I would recommend to others that they encourage this agressive play with their horses.. only because I don't know how capable others are or what their relationship with their horses is. Of course, it COULD be dangerous.

Cheers,
Sue


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:01 am 
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I guess it depends on the horse. Blacky is the boss in the paddock, and doesn't feel the need to kill the tiger: he will chase it (preferably in a fast trot) and then grabs it with his teeth or walks over it. Sjors however is less sure of himself and shifts between trotting after the tiger, trying to grab/touch it, and kicking at it/jumping on it.

With Blacky the effect of the Tiger was that he started to enjoy wild, fast movements again - which before that date he had always seen as work, something to avoid. :oops: Sjors has always been very high-strung and hyperactive, and he has actually calmed down and became less explosive in the training because of the Tiger chasing. Not because it tires him, but I guess because he now has a 'legal' ;) way of getting rid of mental tension or frustration, which he tends to build up pretty quick.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:49 pm 

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This week I finally introduced chasing the tiger. During their usual time off Thanksgiving to New Year, I have studied the pictures, videos, and posts from this forum. I am so grateful to you all.
It was of course completely different with the gelding (trained 2nd level) and the filly, (coming 5). She was much more curious and "tagged" (hope that's the correct clicker term) quietly. The gelding raced around showing off his collected extended trot poll high, canter with flying changes in the corner, very beautiful.
The gift I have given myself is the quality of the rides after this type of groundwork. I can't really call it work it is sooooooooooo much fun. In the past I always hated the lunging sessions, poor horses dragged around by their lips, I never got it.
What happens after the play sessions is a lighter horse with relaxed concentration that I have aspired to achieve for years. I believe I have finally connected the dots. I always considered the exercises, such as chasing the tiger, stepping onto a stand especially laying them down etc. to be useless tricks, now I see how it translates instantly into self carriage, and I'm sure it's because of another level of trust that has been attained.
I have a friend and neighbor Karen Parker http://user.cavenet.com/parkerk/default.htm that is coming today to help with the clicker training. I would like to transition from the treat to a pat, and want to study the tagging thing more. Wish me luck everyone and happy, safe riding.
Oh by the by, a little off topic. Now that I've found all of you, I would hate to loose any of you to an accident. PLEASE USE YOUR HELMETS, especially your precious children!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Geraldine
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:56 pm 
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windhorsesue wrote:
I'm actually loving having some of my horses get "vicious" in role play.

Sunrise has never play acted vicious - she's not got any hangups I think.

But Rosie (half crazed rangy tb :lol: ) USED to be vicious in reality, constantly leaving scars on the other horses from her teeth.. and occasionally me when I wasn't quick enough.. I've had her tooth and hoof marks decorating my hide a few times...

But something just extraodinary has happened. From the moment that she understood that I was encouraging and celebrating her wild play, even the crazy vicious demonic looking stuff, she has become like docile pet.. hardly bites the other horses, and has chosen to be my best friend, and allow me to take liberties (like applying ointment to her tummy, or checking her feet) that I formerly had to fight her for. It seems as if releasing her agression in role play is allowing her to relieve her frustrations, old fears, tension, and connect with her thinking, calm self after. And she no hint that her role playing would ever spill over into actual harm.

Donald, what does your background in psychology tell you about this?


That every horse, human, and situation is unique and special and deserves attention and analysis on its own merit...not trying to fit into a predetermined pattern.

AND has a unique chance to explore this way, despite the limits of the written word as we reveal our discoveries to each other.

I've said before in expressing my appreciation and excitement about AND:

Each of us, you and I, are exploring at the frontier of the new horse/human association. We are, it seems, finding ways to blend the two beings in new ways.
The majority of you members are far ahead of me in your exploration.

It appears to me that you are, with your partners, examining and exploring as I did with children when I was practicing, what the potentials are. And of course the common denominator is 'healing,' just as you suggest so strongly.

windhorsesue wrote:

... snip for brevity ...

Not saying that I would recommend to others that they encourage this agressive play with their horses.. only because I don't know how capable others are or what their relationship with their horses is. Of course, it COULD be dangerous.

Cheers,
Sue


A small point. Standard methods of riding and training are already shown to be sometimes dangerous.

Those that practice the standard methods would have those with an AND philosophy think otherwise. That they are safer, and we are more in danger.

That's not, at this time, quantifiable, but I hope one day to read that indeed WE have fewer injures and deaths related to being with horses than they do. (Forgive my crudeness of mind, but I work with data, and I like data).

Each of us would be wise to follow the direction you expressly point to above.

And so, WE individually have the responsibility for our horses, and ourselves, and for others that might be part of the exploration.

The great wonder we feel when our horse trusts us and of course the trust we feel for them in return is the counterpoint to this great strong beast at play and at his survival work.

That does not require us to become careless. I fact, philosophically we could say we are MORE aware of the risks.

I believe it is respectful of the horse to remember his and our history. We both were once prey.

And we were once their predator as well.

For my part, this humbles me more when they trust me, and I remember our history.

Being as I'd prefer to live, I'll honor the horse's right to retain his instinctive survival skills. And be responsible for myself.

What you are seeing, from a therapeutic viewpoint:

Could it be that you have given, as others might be doing with Chase the Tiger as well, the tool of survival back to them and thus they feel safer with you, and in general?

I can almost hear your horse's sigh of relief all the way across the Pacific.

Our history in breeding and taming them has been, as was recently remarked here, to suppress, and control, and even deny them this innate wildness the must have, from their viewpoint.

What a wonderful mystery to explore.

To you and all, stay safe.

Donald Redux
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:18 pm 
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These topics are so interesting. I can see that you all have alot of experience with your horses (and others as a matter of fact).
I love this forum because I (not having alot of experience) am learning so much. I too have read on this game and wanted to play with my horse. I was sure there was no danger (not more than wild games) but am understanding something which I didn't understand before and that is we are permitting our our horses to be wild again and even attack if they want to.
I'm sure most of you can control your horses but for those who have joined the forum with little or no knowledge, this game, in my opinion, should wait until we absolutely know our horse will not learn to attack other animals or beings as well as the "tiger". It would be horrific if I taught Corado to play this game and since he learns quite fast, he started attacking dogs and children. I wouldn't know how to reverse this teaching.
Unless this forum is only for experienced and knowledgeable horsemen(women), I would suggest that a paragraph be added to the original topic mentioning the danger for those inexperienced.

This is just a suggestion. I just love this forum and so far have learnt alot. But, as I've already mentioned, I don't want to teach my horse things that I'm not 100% sure are good for him (and me).

P.S. Thanks Donald for opening my eyes. I will wait for sure before teaching this game. I've taught him to run to me, run with me but I will not teach him to run after me (he's done it a couple of times with alot of energy but after reading this, I'm not sure that if he catches up to me, he won't run over me!)

One day I will become experienced. In the meantime, I'll be patient. I have alot of other things I can teach him that I believe are not dangerous.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:06 pm 
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Don't forget there are two forms of this "Chase the Tiger". I am not using it as a means to elicit wild behavior (although that would have been pretty cool). I am using it merely as a form of lunging with a target. My "tiger" is the target. I began this as a way to get Tamrack to trot energetically with his head down, thus stretching his topline and lifting his back. There is nothing "wild" or dangerous about it. We go in a circle and when I allow him to touch the bag he gets a cookie. Simple. I have not unleashed a dangerous animal. It's just a way to get Tam to enjoy lunging without putting a line on him.

So for me, it's merely an exercise in targetting which is a safe, solid, normal clicker exercise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BbOXlOnqoA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENzh9stQsiI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-Vmge5fX-0


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2008 7:33 pm 
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horsefever wrote:
... I will wait for sure before teaching this game. I've taught him to run to me, run with me but I will not teach him to run after me (he's done it a couple of times with alot of energy but after reading this, I'm not sure that if he catches up to me, he won't run over me!)

One day I will become experienced. In the meantime, I'll be patient. I have alot of other things I can teach him that I believe are not dangerous.


I am curious about your perception he might run over you.

I think one can teach boundaries to the horse without trauma or fear for them.

Horses do it with a kind of silliness (when they aren't bullies).

They also do "move away" by moving away themselves.

Could he learn by you aggressively invading his space, then quickly softening and moving back?

To be frank about it, if a horse runs into me and I think it's just lack of manners...that is they are unaware that I have a personal space I am quite likely to throw a little human fit.

I wave my arms, yell, make faces, whatever silliness most gets their attention to the incident. And I might even invade their space a little to get the point across.

Gross, isn't it? :lol:

But no malice in it. As I can suddenly switch right back to my jolly self and go on about our business of the moment.

What the horse usually does is, once they are accustomed to this odd behavior, is get a look of "oh, dear, those silly human tricks again,' but it breaks the pattern of boundary invasion almost before it can start.

They wish to stay out of the human boundary until invited because they are concerned at how unstable and odd I am. :lol:

If we aren't having fun and doing silly things then really, it's not worth it.

I hate getting too serious. I think it makes horse nervous. Horses that bully are always grim and serious. Others in the herd fear them. I don't want to be feared.

I think horses have a pretty well developed sense of humor, don't you? And humans seem to learn better when they are laughing than when they are fearful or pained.

And here we are dedicated to painless principles. Even when showing the horse we don't want to be run over.

Donald Redux
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:28 am 
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Karen wrote:
Don't forget there are two forms of this "Chase the Tiger". I am not using it as a means to elicit wild behavior (although that would have been pretty cool). I am using it merely as a form of lunging with a target. My "tiger" is the target. I began this as a way to get Tamrack to trot energetically with his head down, thus stretching his topline and lifting his back. There is nothing "wild" or dangerous about it. We go in a circle and when I allow him to touch the bag he gets a cookie. Simple. I have not unleashed a dangerous animal. It's just a way to get Tam to enjoy lunging without putting a line on him.

So for me, it's merely an exercise in targetting which is a safe, solid, normal clicker exercise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BbOXlOnqoA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENzh9stQsiI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-Vmge5fX-0


Ah, I do so love working on circles without a line on the horse.

You bring back memories of my Koko. Thank you.

Donald

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:10 pm 

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My videos are moved to another website, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrQ8Fs-hJOU


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D89DSErVws


:D 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:23 pm 
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@ Helen: I changed the addresses so now the links should be working again!

@ Karen: Good point! You can indeed Tiger more high-energetic, or more focused. I loved that in the videos of Marleen, who (if I remember correctly) shows not only wild tigerplay, but also a calmer forwards-downwards lungeing with the tiger as target, and the cue for the two varieties being her bodylanguage. So it's true, just because there is a tiger, it doesn't mean that he needs to be killed. ;)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:26 am 
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I got the chance to email privately with Brenda, who did the videos with her mare "Lucy" where I learned to lunge using the tiger as the target. Brenda coined a new name for this more "sedate" and controlled form of Tiger chasing...she called it "Stalk the Tiger". :D :D :D

I have invited her to join us here...I hope she does soon. She is delightful!


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 1:31 am 
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Karen wrote:
I got the chance to email privately with Brenda, who did the videos with her mare "Lucy" where I learned to lunge using the tiger as the target. Brenda coined a new name for this more "sedate" and controlled form of Tiger chasing...she called it "Stalk the Tiger". :D :D :D


Oooo...most excellent naming.

Karen wrote:
I have invited her to join us here...I hope she does soon. She is delightful!


I hope she will. I look forward to meeting her. And a training diary from her.

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:47 pm 

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First 2 Chase the tiger videos are removed and new links are here: :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe5CwweChzM

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

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 8:09 pm 
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today my little pony has not case the tiger but case the dog :D He was getting his meal after our ride in the woods. The dog was steeling his food, and he did not like it..get very angry and run to the dog.. the pony was free...and he bite him in the neck..the dogs cry and run away..the pony went back to eat again..jee i was not happy about that, but after all the dog was not wounded. I hope he had learn from it.
My little one is not afraid of dogs... :wink:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:11 pm 
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Hello Inge:

that's exactly what someone told me could happen if I taught my horse this game. I am hesitant since I'm not at all sure that my horses won't do just that.

Is your pony a dominant pony by nature? In general, is he confident? In the past, before showing this game, did he ever show a sign that he was able to attack?

I was even told that a horse, once he learns this game, can even attack small children? do you think your pony could also attack children?

I would be very interested in learning on this subject.

Jocelyne


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:06 pm 
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horsefever wrote:
Hello Inge:

that's exactly what someone told me could happen if I taught my horse this game. I am hesitant since I'm not at all sure that my horses won't do just that.

i do not think that is the problem :-)it is not the game but there is more, there are some resons why a horse do this kind of behavor.

Quote:
Is your pony a dominant pony by nature? In general, is he confident?

nope he is the lowest in rang, very friendly, wanted to listen, do his best, but is very clear when he thinks you tread him unfair, when a child sit on his back on the wrong position he will jump the child of, on a mild way :-)When the child is doing it wright he is o.k, but when the child pulling the reins to heavy, he turns in the opposit direction.
(riding bitless btw)

Quote:
In the past, before showing this game, did he ever show a sign that he was able to attack?

i did have play the game for one time, just wanted to know what he would do..he did attac the dog before i had play the game, but have never bite him before he did not get the chance because of me.
i protected the dog to steel from the food of the horse. Now i was not at the right place at the right moment.

Quote:
I was even told that a horse, once he learns this game, can even attack small children? do you think your pony could also attack children?

NEVER he sould attack a child...as i said before the horse have resons to attac. The same as in the wild, protect a little one or things like that.
My pony is very friendly to children, you can leave them alone and they can play without any problems.
But not with his own food and a dog who wanted to steal from him. A child can take his food away, pick up the feed box. and he does nothing. just look what are you doing? and search for the rest he left on the ground. When the child put the feed box back he will eat further.
give no problems at all.


Quote:
I would be very interested in learning on this subject.

Jocelyne


i have play the game for ones, he new the game of touch a spooky thing with his nose and get a reward.
And from that position i have play the game.
Not in a fast way but a kind of leading rope, he must follow the tiger (walk) and go over a bearn and along a few pawns. And i have never done it later again, play some other games and driving...
he likes the last one, go in to the woods and run fast :-) he can do trails of 25 km. So that is the main thing we do.

I think you can play the game with no problems but use your mind. Think why you wanted to play this game. What is your goal, what do you wanna reach?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:14 pm 
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Jocelyn, I agree with Inge (very well said!). A horse must have a reason to attack. Playing a wild game is not the same as an attack. But you do have to keep your wits about when you start to play wild games with a horse, just so you stay safe from an accidental hit with a horse's body part (head, hoof, whatever).

I think above all, you need to find your sense of confidence with horses and begin from that place, rather than a place of fear or mistrust. That is, you have to have the sense that you are safe, otherwise, I wouldn't try the really wild games, but the "stalking the tiger" is calmer and safer if you are not sure about "chasing the tiger".


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:30 pm 
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hi karen..thanks..:-)english is difficult for me..
and yes i think you have to start slowly..
when you have a good harmony with your horse you can play it faster. But you do not have to play it fast...slowly is good too :-)
i prefer slowly i have a reason to play this kind of game, yes it is funny for both of us but there is also some training isue. My pony do not like to work in the piste and i try to find out some nice games so he does his excercising and have some fun too.
He hates just running rounds etc. So i make it nice for us, he likes also jumping now i can train him to jump after the tiger :-) then i do not need a rope, who always stuck behind.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:31 pm 
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forgot to say i am not handy enough...hahahaha


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:06 am 
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Quote:
that's exactly what someone told me could happen if I taught my horse this game. I am hesitant since I'm not at all sure that my horses won't do just that.


Hi Jocelyne,
I read your concerns on this some time ago, and it's just so far from my experience and understanding of horse behaviour and the way that they relate to us, that I had trouble formulating a reply.

I shall try again..

How does your horse live? Is he in a herd with other horses? If he is, do you watch them? Have you ever had opportunity to spend time watching a herd of horses living together? If yes, then you've probably seen the more playful members of the herd playing their own versions of chase the tiger, and many other "mock agression" games as well.

As I write, our three year old gelding, and our twelve year old Tb mare are up on the top of the hill, taking turns to grab each other by the back of the neck in the "kill" position, shake (albeit gently) and then stand up on their back legs and wave their front hooves in each other's faces.

Despite the apparent ferociousness of the scene, even from this distance, it's appararent to see that this is a MOCK fight, and that both of them are equally delighted, glowing, bursting with joy at their game.

Now Harlequin, the youngster, is trying to instigate a Chase the Tiger...He's come in from behind, standing back as far as he can, and is snaking out his neck and nipping her on the hocks. Go on old girl, RUN for me.

Rosie, our ferocious and bad tempered TB mare, who CAN and HAS kicked to connect when the situation calls for it (in her view) has no intention of running right now.. is lowering her head, backing up into him, and doing funny little double barrelled kicks, balancing all her weight on her front legs like a circus acrobat, and UP, and UP and UP.. pulling her hind legs in under her, so that although her rump is right under his chin, and her ears are flat back and looking mean as a horse out of hell, her hind hooves are just jabbing the air, three inches in front of his chest in rythm as she inches back toward himl. It's a miracle of choreographed martial arts.

Rosie will NOT be his Tiger... beneath her dignity. But now, as he comes round to bite her on the neck again, she's happy to stand on her hind legs, towering in the air, nose to nose with the youngster in her favourite pose again.

Here comes the 18 month old Shetland pony filly... surely not safe with these two clashing giants..
She sneaks in with head snaking side to side, and nips Harlequin on his elbow.. and OFF.. cantering to the other side of the paddock.YES! A new game is on, and Harlequin wheels around to chase her in a beautiful collected canter.. almost Rolkur :lol: (but without the grimace :cry: ) to travel with his nose stuck on her rump, around,flying changes to left and right, change of pace, extended trot, then collected canter again, then gallop, then spin and stop, and Miro dives under his chest and bites his elbow again.

Harlequin drops to one knee and pushes (a trick he learned from playfighting with our cow when the two of them were yearlings.) Miro's gone, round behind, he spins grabs her by the neck for the KILL.. she spins and BANG BANG BANG collects him with three in a row double barreled kicks to the chest.. he doesn't even wince. He's delighted. He nips her on the shoulder and the two of them take off at a gallop behind the hill where I can't see them.

On this side of the hill, our dogs have become excited by the game, thinking of joining in.. one or two of the younger less "trained" ones begin to bark and prance at the other quietly grazing horses. But look out.. here comes the filly's mum, 11 hands of motherly Shetland fury, bearing down on the dogs at the charge trot, head low and snaking from side to side like a protective stallion. The dogs know this look, they retreat and bahave.

The chickens are scratching around in the fresh horse manure. Sunrise, feeling enthused by Harlequin's shenanigans, but too lazy to join in with all the running around, has a little squeal and buck and prances through the flock in war horse style, sending chickens flying and squawking. She trots off proudly to the top of her hill to celebrate her victory over feathered things, and the chickens regroup and go back to their feast.

This is a normal morning scene in our herd.
And on any given day you can see dogs, chickens, piglets, ducks, geese, cats and kids wandering around among free horses.

CHase the Tiger is not a game we TEACH THE HORSES.
This is a game we have LEARNT from observing the horses. I assure you, even if your horse has never showed it to you, he knows this game. It's in his blood and his bones. Perhaps in his domestic environment, he's never practiced it, and luckily, because of his humans care, he will never need to use it. Perhaps, if he's never had the opportunity to role play this game during his developmental stages, he wouldn't even know now how to respond, if he ever was faced with a dangerous situation, with a dog or mountain lion threatening his safety.

Our dogs roam around our horse's legs.. nosing through droppings, playing chase, chewing hoof trimmings while I work.. the horses never act INAPROPRIATELY with them. The young dogs get chased off if they get too loud and playful, but only with as much force as neccessary.

But one day out riding, a really dangerous event occured. Some people near us had a Caucasian Ovtcharker.. they grow as big a bear and can quite easily kill bear or a wolf. This one was totally unsocialised and half mad from being locked in a small cage with no outside view since puppy hood. It always barked and crashed it's bars as we rode past. This day, it had broken it's lock, and was loose. It came straight at the horses and kids, barking and slathering. Two kids were riding, one was walking and leading Rosie. Rosie pulled free, eyed up the rapidly approaching dog, pawed and snorted a warning, then as he leaped to attack, she wheeled and let rip with both hind legs. This huge dog lifted up off the ground, flew through the air, landed with a thump on his side, picked himself up and went back to his kennel. The kids, shaken, carried on.

How glad I am that Rosie remembers her survival instincts and spends some time practicing her skills.

So, here's my point..
The play, Chase the Tiger and all the other mock fight games are the natural normal behaviours for horses, just as role plays of possible adult situations (fighting, hunting, housebuilding etc etc) are natural behaviours for the young (and sometimes not so young!) of every species, including human.
The play is essential training for possible real life situations. It hones their defense skills, and at the same time keeps them fit and active, provides interaction, and is FUN! But it doesn't make them homicidal.

Horses are not "attack" creatures.. they are "defense" animals. So it's just too big a stretch of the imagination for me to think of a horse being "taught" the Tiger game, and therefore learning to "attack" in seriousness, innocent creatures. (Unless the horse is crazy - totally unsocialised and abnormal). Practicing may help them to deal effectively with an attack.... or a raid on their food buckets..But it's not going to turn a well socialised, happy, human liking horse, into a creature that attacks on whim.

When we start to join in the role play and encourage our horse in Chase the Tiger and such, my experience is the horses know full well, even the youngest of them, that this is role play, for fun.
We must be sure to teach them that we start and stop the game, and that we don't want to play as roughly as their horse buddies like. This is fairly simple to do.

At the moment, our little filly is learning that we don't accept being nipped on the ankle to play... but if she stands back politely and invites us with her gestures we might. If we allowed and responded to her usual horse to horse invitations (nipping, leaping up, striking with a leg, turning her butt and play kicking) we could create a really dangerous situation where she approached others and even children in this way. But we don't and she won't. Harlequin at just turning three, has this down pat. I must post a video to show the differences between how he plays with the filly to how he plays with my daughter. Miro pretty soon will have matured enough to also be completely sensible and trustworthy around non-horsey people and small children.

If we have a good relationship with our horse, and our horse cares about us, they are happy to adapt their behaviour a bit to suit the fragile humans. They are VERY VERY smart, and have no illusions that humans are horses. Likewise, if they have been socialised to dogs and don't feel threatened by them, they will continue to get along just fine with dogs, and may even invite the dogs into the game. But, and I'm very proud to say this, beware any dog who comes into our herd with evil intent!

Regards small children, it's my experience also that the horses I know all understand that children are baby humans. They treat them with utmost gentleness.. and with the high status that our horses bestow on humans. So... a baby pig has been tossed by the scruff of her neck out of Rosie's feed bowl.. but a small child rummaging around in it would just get a gentle little nose nudge.

Teaching horses to play with us doesn't change their basic nature. It won't turn a nice, social, friendly, co-operative gentle natured horse into a crazy, mean, unpredictable, vengeful, attacking creature. If you already have a horse that is crazy, mean, unpredictable, vengeful, attacking, you probably wouldn't be advised to try to play Chase the Tiger with it.

But if you have a horse of the usual friendly kind, and you know how to teach boundaries appropriately and have confidence in your own physical ability, then play is just going to add another positive dimension to your relationship, be a great training tool, and be lots of fun for your horse as well.

If you don't feel confident in your abilities, by all means don't play. But please, think twice before you attribute this decision to the horses' lack of common sense and goodwill. :)

BEst regards,
Sue


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:03 pm 
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Hi Sue!
Well, this time you have succeeded in formulating a very clear reply!
I agree for the full 100% with all you wrote, and I can't find anything else to add :)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:38 pm 
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same here...very good...

and yes my pony does the same, he does nothing with the dog when he has no food or anything and the dog just walk around him.
The dog walks freely around the farm and walks day in and out in the fields between the horses.
So they know him very well, but he may not steel any food from them..


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 12:59 am 
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Thanks Sue (and everyone) for your comments and suggestions. As I understand it, Inge's pony was probably protecting her food. I've seen some horses who are pretty agressive when it's feeding time (I'm not saying Inge's pony is agressive but maybe just protecting her food like some dogs would).

Corado is out with other horses. I let him out with Magic (my other horse) and they will nip at each other's neck for short periods of time. But when Shrek, the pony, is with him, it's hilarious. Corado will kneel down to be at the same level as the pony. Corado's neck is all bitten everywhere because of Shrek but I know Corado is the one starting all the time. when I started letting them out together, Corado was being run over by Shrek meaning Shrek was dominating Corado. Now, I've noticed that Corado has alot more confidence and he doesn't want to be the last one. So he runs after Shrek. But it's still Corado being bitten. Shrek had one bite on his back, that's it.
So I think Corado would love to play this game. I am very confident around Corado on the ground so I don't have a problem with that, I was hesitant since I don't want to teach him something that I may regret later.
Your comments are very interesting and they make sense. I will try slowly with him (at the walk) to see if he's enjoying himself.
Thanks for your time. Greatly appreciated.
Jocelyne


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:05 am 
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horsefever wrote:
Thanks Sue (and everyone) for your comments and suggestions. As I understand it, Inge's pony was probably protecting her food. I've seen some horses who are pretty agressive when it's feeding time (I'm not saying Inge's pony is agressive but maybe just protecting her food like some dogs would).

Corado is out with other horses. I let him out with Magic (my other horse) and they will nip at each other's neck for short periods of time. But when Shrek, the pony, is with him, it's hilarious. Corado will kneel down to be at the same level as the pony. Corado's neck is all bitten everywhere because of Shrek but I know Corado is the one starting all the time. when I started letting them out together, Corado was being run over by Shrek meaning Shrek was dominating Corado. Now, I've noticed that Corado has alot more confidence and he doesn't want to be the last one. So he runs after Shrek. But it's still Corado being bitten. Shrek had one bite on his back, that's it.
So I think Corado would love to play this game. I am very confident around Corado on the ground so I don't have a problem with that, I was hesitant since I don't want to teach him something that I may regret later.
Your comments are very interesting and they make sense. I will try slowly with him (at the walk) to see if he's enjoying himself.
Thanks for your time. Greatly appreciated.
Jocelyne


Just remember, high up, the Tiger is a target to be followed. Down low, The Tiger is a creature to be destroyed.

Especially as you come under his nose, and toward his front feet along the ground.

To the horse it probably triggers ancestral memory of one of a pack...wolves or other canids...trying to sneak in and bite.

Donald



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:46 pm 
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Donald Redux wrote:
Just remember, high up, the Tiger is a target to be followed. Down low, The Tiger is a creature to be destroyed.


Well, it's just how you want to teach it to your horse. 8)

It's doesn't really matter how I hold the tiger, high or low. With us the difference between attacking or following is more how I ask for them to follow it, and if I encourage wild movements (which they are not that keen on at the moment anyway) or let them be more relaxed during the chase. the height doesn't matter that much.

For the rest I agree with everyone: horses aren't stupid, and chasing a plastic bag doesn't mean that they will start to attack kids. Just as allowing them to eat hay or grass won't mean that they will start to eat humans. 8) Horses also only will be aggressive around food if they haven't been taught how to deal with food correctly. Clickertrainers after all also use food, and don't miss more fingers than other horsepeople. :wink:


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 6:52 pm 
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Miriam wrote:
Donald Redux wrote:
Just remember, high up, the Tiger is a target to be followed. Down low, The Tiger is a creature to be destroyed.


Well, it's just how you want to teach it to your horse. 8)


Ah, just so.

"I would be very interested in learning on this subject.

Jocelyne"

Jocelyne, who is asking about learning to teach this Chasing The Tiger game, needs to see how each of us that do it might proceed from the beginning.

Miriam wrote:
It's doesn't really matter how I hold the tiger, high or low. With us the difference between attacking or following is more how I ask for them to follow it, and if I encourage wild movements (which they are not that keen on at the moment anyway) or let them be more relaxed during the chase. the height doesn't matter that much.


I agree, as the game learning progresses this should happen and does. In fact, Dakota, yesterday, was positively bored of the game.

I think I was imagining Jocelyne's first attempts, where she might get a very strong reaction to coming in at ground level with The Tiger. Dakota, and other horses I've observed have pounced like a lion. In fact, that particular behavior, though the logic is reversed, is what prompted me to refer to the black plastic as a Tiger. It was his behavior...more like a cat jumping on a mouse in the field.

Miriam wrote:
For the rest I agree with everyone: horses aren't stupid, and chasing a plastic bag doesn't mean that they will start to attack kids. Just as allowing them to eat hay or grass won't mean that they will start to eat humans. 8) Horses also only will be aggressive around food if they haven't been taught how to deal with food correctly. Clickertrainers after all also use food, and don't miss more fingers than other horsepeople. :wink:


How true, now true.

Though dumb clickertrainers can forget themselves as I did on a very cold day where I lost track of exactly where my fingers were and found my gloved thumb being gently knawed by Dakota. He was so sweet.

He worked my thumb around and from between his teeth, but of course, managed to retain the treat all the while.

Now there's a nice horse. :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 5:05 pm 
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Hi all..

My little one only attac the dog when he get muesli, he do not get it much :-)but like it very..very..much..
He can eat together with his friend muesli from one bucket without any problem, no fighting or bite to eachother. The same with hay, they eat it out each mouth for sometimes...*LOL*
But only with his friend, he does not do it by other horses, or let other horses eat out of his bucket, then he will fight again, but in de the field he is always the lowest in the group, when he eat at some place a other horse came, he have to move away...

maybe he feel stonger when i am around or his friend?? he know that he will be protected after all?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:23 am 
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Hi all,

New to this forum but here goes!

Interesting thread...

The experience I have had with my mare Lucy is that her critter chasing behavior has diminished since I began playing with chasing a target. I do mostly the 'calmer' targeting tho. Now that could be that she just got used to my dogs but the target chasing definitely did not increase her critter chasing behavior.

Also, I've been experimenting with having the target/tiger low or high as I am trying to get more playfulness and energy from my mare. I have found that when I go from low on the ground to high I get more energy, or at least more lift in the front. If I just keep it low she does her long and low movement which is good in another way, but very relaxed. The thing she loves the best is if I can get a head start and run away from her with the target/tiger.

Would love to hear ideas of specifically how you used the tiger/target to get more play and energy, especially from those of you who have horses that don't offer you wild games naturally???

Thanks. Brenda


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:46 am 
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Quote:
The experience I have had with my mare Lucy is that her critter chasing behavior has diminished since I began playing with chasing a target.


This has been my experience too. My mare Rosie who has had agression issues that spilled out onto other horses, dogs, and people who disturbed her has become much calmer and more trustworthy since she's had a legitimate way to release her pent up feelings. :D

Increasing base fitness has been a big factor in encouraging more exuberant play from the more energy concious. Providing timely and thoughtfully structured rewards has also helped. I know there are those who think that we should't reward for play behaviour - we want it to be intrinsically rewarding. However, my experience is that in the initial stages, for a horse who has low energy levels, low status, or who has previously been taught to NOT express themselves, using food rewards strategically in the early stages can be a big booster, and as the horse is encouraged to play more, they DO begin to find that the play is fun, and the rewards can be put on an intermittent schedule, and then phased out altogether.
Cheers,

Sue


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:52 am 
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windhorsesue wrote:
Quote:
The experience I have had with my mare Lucy is that her critter chasing behavior has diminished since I began playing with chasing a target.


This has been my experience too. My mare Rosie who has had agression issues that spilled out onto other horses, dogs, and people who disturbed her has become much calmer and more trustworthy since she's had a legitimate way to release her pent up feelings. :D


It appears we are talking about, and developing something I would call, Equine Social Learning Theory. In humans a research, Bandura, developed such a theory about how humans learn, and in therapy with young people, the field I worked in, that was the basis for much of our method.

What you are both describing is in line with that. How to take unwanted behaviors, and based on learning theory, teach a new way of behavior and extinguishing of the old.

And one of those ways was to focus on a behavior, usually aggression, but we also worked with withdrawal and similar retreat from the world.

Then devise ways to both explore the behavior, such as acting it out safely, then, immediately follow up with a similar but safe behavior they could perform instead of the unwanted form of it.

windhorsesue wrote:
Increasing base fitness has been a big factor in encouraging more exuberant play from the more energy concious. Providing timely and thoughtfully structured rewards has also helped. I know there are those who think that we should't reward for play behaviour - we want it to be intrinsically rewarding. However, my experience is that in the initial stages, for a horse who has low energy levels, low status, or who has previously been taught to NOT express themselves, using food rewards strategically in the early stages can be a big booster, and as the horse is encouraged to play more, they DO begin to find that the play is fun, and the rewards can be put on an intermittent schedule, and then phased out altogether.
Cheers,

Sue


Romy, you and others, have recently discussed, that there is more too it than the issue of intrinsic reward from the activity itself.

That is true, it does reward itself, but all behavior happens within a much much larger context. Or has considerable potential to that might either suppress the behavior or encourage the behavior.

Going back to the most basic of behaviorism, it's posited that we move toward pleasure and away from pain.

Two ends of a continuum, a spectrum.

If we start from a midpoint, where our feeling is neutral (an impossible state, except in death -- as far as we know :wink: ) each creature has both their species characteristic tolerance for pain and pleasure (yes, pleasure can get to be too much and cause a shutdown at times)and also their individual tolerance.

And so you deal with each horse as individuals, as therapeutic practitioners should always be focusing on doing.

You are doing, it appears to me, therapeutic rehabilitation, or with horses whose systems are not corrupted, you are doing self actualization work. From Maslow's hierarchy of needs model.

Hopefully both kinds of horses headed in the same direction under your thoughtful and kindly hand, each of you.

This may or may not resonate for folks, but it's worth taking a look at as we develop our personal equine philosophy.

http://www.lifeworktransitions.com/exercises/part1/mazlow.html

As I look at how we are with our horses, these are the goals that both the horse strives for, and we provide for them as well.

I believe that given the chance, as you two are discussing, the horse will "actualize." That is it will strive toward the state of being where they realize the most potential they are capable of.

Life is like that for me, and I suspect you get it how much I enjoy my life, and that is what I wish any horse I associate with to have a chance to do. Really enjoy their life.

And thus I know that if he is disabled (as so many of the horses folks here find when the come together) sometimes one has to be very clever in figuring out how to meet that hierarchy of needs, and move with the horse toward his or her self actualization.

These game we play, as you point out, have a great deal more to them than cute tricks for amusement.

Does this present any ideas on how to expand and apply the use of targeting and chasing?

I love your description, Sue, of how an aggressive mare could through this particular play come to be a safer happier and more actualized horse. It's very thrilling. Very like seeing children I an other's work with that blossomed, and bega to really get joy out of live and feel good about themselves, and present less of a danger to the community, and begin to be able to contribute to it.

It still, even after all these years, effects me greatly. And now I get to read about people doing this with horses.

What a wonderful exciting thing you are doing. I am so very deeply moved by it.

Now were did I put my hanky? :wink:

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:18 am 
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Hi Donald, Nice post. I really appreciate seeing your take on things and gaining better perspective. Yes, the idea of a hierarchy of EQUINE needs resonates deeply with me. I do believe horses also need to have each base need addressed in turn before it can move on to working on the next higher level.
Self-actualization may be choosing to move in natural collection, taking an interest in manipulating their environment, instigating play, investigating the culture of other animals (including human).. hmm what else?

Are you also familiar with The Continuum Concept (Jean Liedloff)? Her work was focused on how we could better prepare babies and children for higher self esteem, greater contentment and better social skills in adult hood by ensuring that their genetically programmed experiential needs were met at the correct developmental stage. In my work with children and adults, I took this to the next stage, blending it together with a bit of pop psychology that I loved ("It's never too late to have a happy childhood" - Tom Robbins, Still Life with Woodpecker.) helping people to recreate opportunities to go through those missing experiences. And tying it in with CBT. (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy .... which is incidentally almost identical to some Tibetan Buddhist methods for implementing behavioural changes.)

Now I'm playing around with these same ideas in horses. They seem to be responding just the same.

It's very plain to see, that my young Sunrise, who spent her first eight months living with her mum and herd in a natural situation in the hills, then was socialised to humans very positively, and since, has had every opportunity to fulfill most of her natural experiential needs in turn(stallions and mating being the main exception), has moved effortlessly and quickly, without hesitation, through the hierarchy of needs.
Her physiological needs had always been well catered for when she arrived here, and she was fast becoming assured of her safety and protection. She then had to find a place in the newly created herd...I watched and assisted as she went from being the lowest on the pecking order, being chased from hay pile to hay pile, to discovering her own power, standing up to the lead bully, and establishing her sense of belonging. Simultaneously, she was becoming bonded to humans (me!) and having her needs for love and belonging met there too..Her self-esteem rocketed in the next couple of months as she discovered her own ability to solve problems, and enjoyed her new social status. We could see the happiness just glowing out of her. And in pretty short order, she was doing some very unusual (for horses) things.. going exploring on her own... becoming interested in mechanics.. things she could manipulate..... attempting to change and influence her environment... wanting to learn and find out about all manner of things that piqued her curiosity...taking an interest in the culture of other groups.
I'm waiting for her to discover her spirituality now. :lol:

By contrast,
Bella...
Arrived as a ruined show pony. Has been taught all the moves, then finally, after years of being hauled around, having a sore mouth, sore feet, no control over her environment, learnt how to shut down and escape.
She arrived with only trust in the first level of needs being satisfied. She ate and drank, and knew that that was always forthcoming. She didn't feel secure.. lowest in pecking order, and used to being sold from home to home, being forced into unsafe situations. She made one horse friend, but took a long time to really integrate into the herd. Took more than two years show any sense of belonging and love with us humans. Very low self-esteem. Shut down, no attempts to communicate. Health issues tied up with immune system problems. Recently began to show higher self esteem, stand up to some other members of herd, offer interaction with people. Lots of play, encouragement, and reward based training, no punishment, care of her physical needs etc, all in order, and finally now, she's beginning to reach out, and I would say, be working on self-actualization.. joining in and even beginning play with other horses, exploring her own feelings with role play and movement, as she has perceived each need to be met.

And then Rosie.. Back to the continuum concept.. well, as a young race horse in training, she would have had many many of her normal experiental needs interrupted, and many completely missing, as well as a perception of her base needs (Maslow)not being met. This shows up in her poor social skills, inappropriate and exaggerated responses to conflict or stress, perception of doom, and (previous) inability to bond. She was definitely still working in the second level when we met - fighting tooth and hoof to effect her own security and protection. She had no sense of belonging, to either horse or herd, so was relying almost totally on her own agression to meet her safety needs.

Allowing her to feel safe was my first goal.. that meant removing all punishment, even scolding.
The second goal of integrating her better into the herd (teaching her to mutual groom rather than attack), and creating a personal bond with her came next. Once that was in place,it was possible to see her self esteem raise, as she began to express herself, and experiment with more gentle communication. I think she's just at the beginning of the self actualisation stage yet, but she's still not entirely secure. This may have something to do with missing experiences.
So I think the energetic and sometimes agressive play is helping her to fill in some of the developmental gaps that she missed out on, and give her the opportunity to have, at this late stage, a happy filly hood. :lol:

Did you ever see the link to my "healing the inner filly" photos Donald? Rosie's expression in the cycling photo is incredible, for those who have known her. We can truly see the shy, innocent trusting filly that she once was peeking out again.
And in her agressive play, the playful confident, joyous yearling.

Hanky.. hanky...?
Didn't I see it attached to the end of stick with a small dark horse chasing it around? :lol:
Sue


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:23 am 
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Quote:
Increasing base fitness has been a big factor in encouraging more exuberant play from the more energy concious. Providing timely and thoughtfully structured rewards has also helped. I know there are those who think that we should't reward for play behaviour - we want it to be intrinsically rewarding. However, my experience is that in the initial stages, for a horse who has low energy levels, low status, or who has previously been taught to NOT express themselves, using food rewards strategically in the early stages can be a big booster, and as the horse is encouraged to play more, they DO begin to find that the play is fun, and the rewards can be put on an intermittent schedule, and then phased out altogether.
Cheers,

Sue


Hi Sue,

The intrinsic VS extrinisc question is one I have been asking myself since I found AND! I know with dogs you can really squish an intrinsically reinforcing activity by using treats/toys, but sometimes that works to our benefit!

I have a cold blooded draft and a pretty shut down QH so treats seem to be the best way to keep them interested! They always want to stay with me, maybe too much? so if I don't run, they don't run! So I'll keep working on play a little bit at a time! And yes! fitness (mine too!) is an issue right now, and footing too, because we're in the middle of winter and have LOTS of ice.

Anyway, I was thinking of teaching them to wait, just so I could call them to me, or call and run??? Is that a good idea, or too contrived???

Thanks for the input!

Brenda


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Hi Brenda, For me, the way to ensuring treats enhance intrinsic motivation has been to put them on intermittent schedule, so the horse doesn't quite know when he'll get one, but to use lots of other rewards as well, using the same marker signal. THis is a bit different to clicker training, which tells us that you must give a treat each time you click.
I'm basing my use on Bridge and Target, or SATS theory.
So after initially training the click to the food treat, I then sometimes throw in a scratch reward, then voice reward, and then kind of wean to intrinsic reward, and joy of sharing, when the situation feels right... that is, as the horse starts to show that she is enjoying it. Then the food rewards just get used for training some new things. I let the horses guide me as to when they want it.
One of ours is a half quarter horse, part clyde part tb... but her nature is ALL Clydie.. and using this method, she's actually been spontaneously showing a bit of self carriage and offering up a little trot and canter when the other horses are playing in the paddock recently, when in the past all she would do would be to turn her ample butt and give a little warning hop.. so it's spilling over into her private life as well.. which must be the ultimate sign of the horse discovering the intrinsic joy. :D

I don't think that teaching them to wait is too contrived. It's slightly different to just encouraging 100% free play, but both things have their place imo. Cheryl has a lovely video clip posted somewhere of Cam being asked to wait as she walks away, then on signal he comes running to her. Lovely!

Sue


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Sue, you are describing, as you likely already know, what the very best of trainers that use negative reinforcement (pressure release) with finesse are doing.

They start as lightly as they can get a response to, then work back to lighter and lighter 'cues' using the correcting leg, and the correcting rein.

They can get extraordinary performance, and do.

And you describe also what the best reward based (bridge signal reward, or Click/Treat) trainers do.

Alexandra Kurland, if I recall correctly, uses a similar progression to remove the click and reward cycle and replace it with, in the end, the horse's investment in play and performance.

It's the natural outcome of the reward based operant conditioning system is, just as surely as compliance rather than self commitment is to pressure release.

I think so much is dependent on the heart and mind of the trainer. I have seen extraordinary performance by some horses with some pressure/release trainers.

What I see with the best reward based trainers though is not only extraordinary performance, but a fundamental change in the horse just as you describe, and far more horses that engage spontaneously.

Your description is inspiring in it's clarity on how you move through the stages toward that state of generosity of spirit and willingness to engage spontaneously.

I wish I could think of questions to draw out more explicit information. But just following you so far helps me understand, and helps in challenging my own long involvement with pressure/release style training.

I am inspired.

I see also that I may have been missing this with Dakota and some of his shutting down, or shutting off to me and withdrawing attention may well have to do with my own methods and a need to trust the horse more. He's safe to ride, so my obligation to the owner as to training has been met.

Whatever I add now is frosting.

So why not add something that is good for him, and just hope I can influence any new owner.

The weather has been rushing me too, I think. It's so darn cold and miserable, usually raining on top of snow, or wind blowing, etc. that it's difficult to do what I know must be done...that I patiently wait for him to connect.

Hanging about the paddock, as it were.

I laughed at the image of the part draft mare. And laughed for her that she can begin to join in being a horse again with other horses. And taking her place.

Donald Redux

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 12:41 pm 
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Quote:
Hi Brenda, For me, the way to ensuring treats enhance intrinsic motivation has been to put them on intermittent schedule, so the horse doesn't quite know when he'll get one, but to use lots of other rewards as well, using the same marker signal. THis is a bit different to clicker training, which tells us that you must give a treat each time you click.
I'm basing my use on Bridge and Target, or SATS theory.


Yes, I am familiar with SATS tho I have only dabbled with the intrmediate bridge and used it in combination with c/t.

Quote:
So after initially training the click to the food treat, I then sometimes throw in a scratch reward, then voice reward, and then kind of wean to intrinsic reward, and joy of sharing, when the situation feels right... that is, as the horse starts to show that she is enjoying it. Then the food rewards just get used for training some new things. I let the horses guide me as to when they want it.


Yes, I have done similar things with my dogs in agility and sheepdog training but I am having trouble seeing exactly what's intrinsically reinforcing to horses to get them to give us such energy without pressure???? Guess that's why I'm here I guess!!!!

Quote:
One of ours is a half quarter horse, part clyde part tb... but her nature is ALL Clydie.. and using this method, she's actually been spontaneously showing a bit of self carriage and offering up a little trot and canter when the other horses are playing in the paddock recently, when in the past all she would do would be to turn her ample butt and give a little warning hop.. so it's spilling over into her private life as well.. which must be the ultimate sign of the horse discovering the intrinsic joy. :D


Wonderful! Do you have any videos showing how you work?? That would be soooo helpful for me as I am a visual learner! I'll check the video section...

Quote:
I don't think that teaching them to wait is too contrived. It's slightly different to just encouraging 100% free play, but both things have their place imo. Cheryl has a lovely video clip posted somewhere of Cam being asked to wait as she walks away, then on signal he comes running to her. Lovely!


Yes! the Cheryl and Cam video is what gave me the idea! So I think I'll try it, at least for now!

I feel like I'm on an adventure trip but not sure where the path goes right now...

Thanks for your time and input!!!

Brenda


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:49 pm 
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Quote:
Yes, I have done similar things with my dogs in agility and sheepdog training but I am having trouble seeing exactly what's intrinsically reinforcing to horses to get them to give us such energy without pressure????


I guess it's the joy and celebration of feeling a fit and agile body under their skin...
When we first take up dancing, or running, or aerobics, or football, or running around trying to keep up with our horses, the energy required is often greater than our current fitness can easily maintain. We need some hope of external reward..(I'm going to get slim and attractive! I'm going to feel healthier! My horses are going to learn something and get fit! I might even do okay in the triathlon!) But once we physically adapt to it, we usually find that the pleasure in the activity itself, the pleasure of feeling our bodies working for us as we want them to, the raised spirits we experience, the endorphins that are released by the exercise provide us with sufficient motivation to just want to keep on doing it more for it's own sake.

Why should it be any different for horses? Two reasons I could think of is if they are not fit and feeling good, and if they are being pressured unduly into that exercise. Otherwise, why should they enjoy a good horsekind of romp any less than an agility dog enjoys his doggy romp?

:D :D
Sue


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windhorsesue wrote:
Quote:
Yes, I have done similar things with my dogs in agility and sheepdog training but I am having trouble seeing exactly what's intrinsically reinforcing to horses to get them to give us such energy without pressure????


I guess it's the joy and celebration of feeling a fit and agile body under their skin...
When we first take up dancing, or running, or aerobics, or football, or running around trying to keep up with our horses, the energy required is often greater than our current fitness can easily maintain. We need some hope of external reward..(I'm going to get slim and attractive! I'm going to feel healthier! My horses are going to learn something and get fit! I might even do okay in the triathlon!) But once we physically adapt to it, we usually find that the pleasure in the activity itself, the pleasure of feeling our bodies working for us as we want them to, the raised spirits we experience, the endorphins that are released by the exercise provide us with sufficient motivation to just want to keep on doing it more for it's own sake.

Why should it be any different for horses? Two reasons I could think of is if they are not fit and feeling good, and if they are being pressured unduly into that exercise. Otherwise, why should they enjoy a good horsekind of romp any less than an agility dog enjoys his doggy romp?

:D :D
Sue


Would I be safe in speculating that it's could be wrapped up in the concept of "work," versus "play?"

Or possibly more accurately, in the transformation of work INTO play?


:lol:

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 2:31 pm 
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Corado finally chased the tiger (and not me) and stomped on it :P
I hadn't played this game for awhile and decided to try it out. He never really trotted after it before. when he would, he would follow me rather than the tiger.
So this week, I brought out the carrot stick and the plastic bag and started at the beginning. He followed it, put his nose on it a few times, clicked and treated.
When I started walking faster, he automatically started trotting but was still looking at the tiger so I slowed down so he could put his nose on it, then clicked and treated. Did this a few times until he was trotting at a greater distance and then he did it! He lifted his front feet and jumped on it, his neck arched as if to say"got ya!!
I clicked and treated.
I think it went well because I've been working on "leg up" and asking to walk at the same (having trouble but I'll get there). Compared to Magik, he loves his feet, he paws everything, he's constantly lifting his feet, while Magik is the opposite, will not put his feet on anything but will put everything in his mouth.
At the end, I had to place myself on one side of the fence and him on the other because he seemed to like the game a little more than I expected and just to be on the safe side...


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:43 pm 
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horsefever wrote:
Corado finally chased the tiger (and not me) and stomped on it :P ...


Hooray!!! The tool for so many behaviors one might wish to encourage. But ...

horsefever wrote:
At the end, I had to place myself on one side of the fence and him on the other because he seemed to like the game a little more than I expected and just to be on the safe side...


Wise move.

It's important to remember that for the horse they have three major weapons, if they must stand and fight a predator. Teeth, hind hooves, and of course, front hooves.

The reaction you saw is exactly that which comes from this natural weapon.

In a human if one was a boxing coach, one would applaud energetic use of the fists to encourage the budding fighter, but would not do things that suggest the fighter hit just anyone for any personal reason.

The theme here in AND is common, that working with jambette and other front leg lifts requires teaching the horse to direct the movement away from the human. Knowing the range of the horse's reach, and or standing well to the side is important.

It's thrill to see that the first time, isn't it though. For me it signals that horses that have had standard training and handling have the potential to break out of the self suppressing model forced on them.

Now to direct it. That's the challenge while not forcing the horse back into suppressing this expression of freedom and spirit.

During the training period I would not allow the horse to be at liberty with dogs and children running about in front of them though. Once the action is well attached to a cue it's more manageable.

I had an ancient pre-history ancestoral memory flashback when Dakota did this the first time -- pounced on the Tiger. I could almost see the pack of wild dogs trying to kill him, and him fighting back powerfully. Makes one's hair stand on end.

And it reminds me we and the horse share a common history of being prey ourselves. Humans probably were an easy catch for a long time, until we learned how to fight back.

Horses got better with tooth and hoof, while we learned about the rock and the stick.

Good for you. Such fun.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 8:18 pm 
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You know Donald I kinda forgot about the dog part. Good thing I don't have a dog and my cats are all scared of the horses (never seen a horse before June). So...
I've noticed that Corado is using his front legs more and more. Since I'm not as scared of him like before I can tell him "no" firmly when I don't want a certain action, and I start over what I was doing to make sure I don't get it (for example when I'm in front of him and he does leg up). What I've also noticed is that alot of times he paws with agression or maybe that's not the good word, with enthusiasm. With leg up, I now can control his energy when he puts his foot down. by holding the leg with my dressage stick he keeps it up until I remove it. Then he puts his put down softly.
Oh yeah, the farrier told me that Corado was mean to him once, he tried to kick him discreetly when he was straddling his front foot. I now believe him because he's alot more dominant than before especially with Magik. I think I have quite the horse on my hands now. So far, he's been very nice to me, but I haven't really asked him to work either. I just play. Maybe that's ok too. That's what I do with Magik and my relationship with both my horses is great.
Anyways, I will be careful with Chase the Tiger. I won't ask him to play this game every time I bring him out.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 9:49 pm 
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With the ponies I always include a Chase the Tiger moment in one shape or another (chasing the real Tiger, or chasing a piece of wood that I hold in my hand, or just chasing me 8) ), because I want to keep them energetic and lively during the sessions, and just doig focused work tends to overcollect them and slow them down a bit. The loosening up in going forwards is just as important.

However, Even if we chase the real tiger, we differentiate in how we chase it: just follow it around in walk/trot/canter with a forwards-downwards reaching neck like when lungeing, or the Attack the Tiger with all the wild chase and jumps.

In a single ten minute Chase the Tiger session I often alternate between the two several times, with my bodylanguage and voice (neutral or exited) showing them what the Tiger is at that moment. I might ask Sjors to chase the tiger very wild, then ask him to just trot after it in a collected way, and then turn it into a real chase again with SJors jumping on top of the tiger - and only then give the reward, so without breaks in between.

So even though I think it is very wise to think about safety when teaching horses exiting movements, they can very well differentiate between when an object is meant for serious training, and when for wild play. That's because in our training sessions it's me who gives meaning to the object, and not the object itself. So I can drag the object in front of Blacky, while asking him to back up, away from the bag, and reward for that.

For me, Chase the Tiger isn't really 'The game of the plastic bag on a stick (or whatever ;) ), but instead it's one of the many games you can play with a bag on a stick. Just as you can play Chase the Tiger (meaning a game of: horse, follow that at high speed!' ;) ) with a lot of other objects. I can also use our official tiger (bag on stick) as a regular target, and as a way to ask for stretching the nose down, for lungeing and for asking the rear to become higher.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 11:26 pm 
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horsefever wrote:


...


I've noticed that Corado is using his front legs more and more. Since I'm not as scared of him like before I can tell him "no" firmly when I don't want a certain action, and I start over what I was doing to make sure I don't get it (for example when I'm in front of him and he does leg up). What I've also noticed is that alot of times he paws with agression or maybe that's not the good word, with enthusiasm. With leg up, I now can control his energy when he puts his foot down. by holding the leg with my dressage stick he keeps it up until I remove it. Then he puts his put down softly.


Ooooo...waaaay cool. Got to learn to do that.

horsefever wrote:
Oh yeah, the farrier told me that Corado was mean to him once,


You are joking or the farriers was, right? I mean did the farrier really say the horse was mean to him?

Horses kick for a number of reasons. Only one of which is to be mean in the establishment of dominance (even then it's instinctual).

The other reasons that I can think of related to either being hurt or being afraid of being hurt. Not to criticize your farrier, but when one is tired, and after a lot of trimming and shoeing in day they would be, it's possible the farrier was reefing on the horse's leg just a bit to much out to the side. Hurts the shoulder as well as the knee.

Corado was giving a nice and polite, for a horse, warning. I've had horses do that to me and in every instance I was doing something with potential to be uncomfortable, or that the might be frightened of.

Hard actual hits from horses have been rare and in every single instance I inadvertently provoked the 'attack.' Brushed the lower flank on an ex bronc once...just grooming, but surprised him. Boy, did he nail me good.

Crowded a 7 or 8 month old Appy colt in pasture as I was trimming his mother's hooves. Caught me right in the gut. Without marshall arts training they could have buried me right there. Man, he was strong. And accurate, and deliberate. I was intruding on his relationship with his mother, plain and simple. I think he must have thought, when I bent to pick up a hind hoof that I was another colt going to suckle her. That was HIS. And he let me know.

horsefever wrote:
he tried to kick him discreetly when he was straddling his front foot. I now believe him because he's alot more dominant than before especially with Magik.


Or willing to give polite warnings (which those kinds of 'missed you but pay attention, don't hurt me or frighten me' kicks are usually about).

horsefever wrote:
I think I have quite the horse on my hands now. So far, he's been very nice to me, but I haven't really asked him to work either. I just play. Maybe that's ok too. That's what I do with Magik and my relationship with both my horses is great.


Go with your feelings, of course, and your own observations on the ground, as it where.

And the wonderful thing about play, that so many here keep proving to us, is that play is expansible. Right out into what one might think of, were they not AND oriented, as work.

horsefever wrote:
Anyways, I will be careful with Chase the Tiger. I won't ask him to play this game every time I bring him out.


You obviously have a handle on it, and on him.

You make me envious and wanting all that much more to get Altea home where we can play together.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:55 am 
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I could not hope, I think, to find better examples of the point I was making ... that we take the behavior and direct it.

You have added considerably to my thinking, thank you.

The options and opportunities seem endless but it takes your kind of creativity to come up with those different things, and especially what tactics (for want of a better word) you are using to do that redirecting.

Obviously you are breaking the behavior itself, the reaction down to the Tiger, into discrete segments that have in themselves different meanings for your horse.

That takes considerable attention to detail and focus on identifying the state of mind of the horse. Very hard work for me, and not successful much of the time.

Mostly because of my own distractability and my own interfering internal dialogue from those old tapes of doing things other ways with horses than the AND way I'm trying to learn now.

Best wishes, Donald R.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:51 pm 
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Donald Redux wrote:
Horses kick for a number of reasons. Only one of which is to be mean in the establishment of dominance (even then it's instinctual).


That reminds me of last week, when Lydia had a friend over. When both of them started to tack up the ponies for a drive with the carriage, and later just played with them in the paddock, the friend said that Blacky and Sjors were quite amazing. So Lydia (highly flattered of course, thinking of all the things the ponies can do 8) ) asked why. Her reply: 'Because they don't kick!' Apparently all the shetlands ponies of other people she had met, kicked. :roll: :wink:

I think that tells more about how the ponies were handled and trained, than about the shetland pony breed... :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Quote:
You are joking or the farriers was, right? I mean did the farrier really say the horse was mean to him?

donald: I'm serious, and he was too. I didn't see what he did but corado is sometimes a little testy. when he doesn't win, he'll sigh and give in. Usually, his head is not up and he's not in a panicky mood. His head is low but it seems like he's saying "what will you do about that?" He's not mean just playful - that's how I see it.
but the farrier didn't touch him so I was glad about that.
what is weird about this is that the farrier trimmed his front left, then his hind left. Yesterday and this morning, I noticed that his hind left is sensitive (I think he removed too much frog at the apex). But Corado was testy with his right front, the leg he trimmed right after the hind. Is this a coincidence. I'll keep this in mind.
Anyways, I'm reading up alot on trimming my own horses and practicing with my hoofjack hoping that one day they will cooperate and I have enough knowledge not to hurt them.
thanks Donald for your encouragement I really appreciate it.


Quote:
want to keep them energetic and lively during the sessions, and just doig focused work tends to overcollect them and slow them down a bit.

Miriam: I can totally understand you. How I wish I could think like that. But I'm still a little uneasy when they are running around and so close to me. I don't feel safe yet. I'm working on it though. 3 years ago, when I bought Corado, and he took off like a flash because we just asked him to circle (Parelli method), I ran out of the arena. I thought he would kill me. Now, he trots beside me and he used to run after me where he was boarding but I had obstacles to protect me. Now, I do run around but if he were to run after me, I would run underneath the fence. that reminds me, sometimes I do ask him to come towards me and when he does I walk backwards with energy, he'll trot towards me. I'm not scared then and I greet him with a hug. One day, all my fears will go away.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:06 pm 
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A friend said to me this weekend 'Chasing the Tiger' is a Parelli game?!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:59 pm 
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Unless this is new or it is part of level 3, I have never heard of this in Parelli (maybe they got it from AND :wink:
they do play with the horse but not following a target
Joc


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:05 am 
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Quote:
they do play with the horse but not following a target


I often cringe when I watch this Parelli "game" .. and then hear it called play. It's usually just the horse desparately trying to not let the trainer get near it's hindquarters, and keep on turning to face. It can build up into quite an intricate looking dance.. but at it's base it's just responding in a trained way to pressure. I swear, I can see the trainers smiling.. but the horses.. almost never. IMO, there is nothing spontaneous about it that could let it deserve the title of "play". And could you imagine the Parelli trainer's response if the horse reared up, feinted, struck out with a front foot, twisted up into a side kick and raced off in the other direction. :shock: :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:34 am 
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Bianca wrote:
A friend said to me this weekend 'Chasing the Tiger' is a Parelli game?!


:D :lol:

I think that she thinks so because the AND Chase the Tiger game was heartily embraced by the Dutch NHforum (which is 99% Parelli), and some of their members really use it in their Parelli training. But the origins of it are 100% AND I'm afraid.

As long as they make their horses happy with it, I don't mind! :D


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 2:27 pm 
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Miriam wrote:
Bianca wrote:
A friend said to me this weekend 'Chasing the Tiger' is a Parelli game?!


:D :lol:

I think that she thinks so because the AND Chase the Tiger game was heartily embraced by the Dutch NHforum (which is 99% Parelli), and some of their members really use it in their Parelli training. But the origins of it are 100% AND I'm afraid.

As long as they make their horses happy with it, I don't mind! :D


I'm curious as to the genesis of "Chase the Tiger," here in AND.

I recall discussing my use of "The Black Plastic Sabertoothed Tiger" to help Dakota, the flighty and excitable Morgan gelding overcome his dangerous behavior, and likely I was inspired by something I read here in AND, to come up with that term.

When did we start with "Chase the Tiger," as a phrase in training or play?

I agree. If the Parelli NH folks want to use the term and the concept, all the better. It introduces a change, a shift in their paradigm of training, to something more playful and horse oriented.

I'm quite tickled that they'd be explore anything that could shift into horse directed play, if it does.

It certainly did with Dakota. I still spend a great deal of time just laughing rather than "training" when I'm with Dakota.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:20 pm 
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[quote="Donald Redux
It certainly did with Dakota. I still spend a great deal of time just laughing rather than "training" when I'm with Dakota.

Donald R.[/quote]


how lovely, me too. I laugh everyday!

And especially today as we hard our first go with the tiger (plastic sack tied on a string tied to my stick). Despite reading these posts beforehand I was amazed and delighted how doggedly he tracked it; any pace, any direction. He didn't seem remotely distressed, just very very interested!

So thank you for this wonderful game - we'll be doing more!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:29 pm 
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Charlotte wrote:
Donald Redux wrote:
It certainly did with Dakota. I still spend a great deal of time just laughing rather than "training" when I'm with Dakota.

Donald R.



how lovely, me too. I laugh everyday!

And especially today as we hard our first go with the tiger (plastic sack tied on a string tied to my stick). Despite reading these posts beforehand I was amazed and delighted how doggedly he tracked it; any pace, any direction. He didn't seem remotely distressed, just very very interested!

So thank you for this wonderful game - we'll be doing more!


I think the Chase the Tiger game is really a product of AND development. Likely here before I came here.

My use of it only peripherally included any chasing for anything other than teaching courage and overcoming shying and bolting when frightened.

I've followed others use of Chase the Tiger here very closely as it evolved to something much more. A way to stop driving the horse and begin leading, just as horses tend to do in play, rather than their sometimes bullying.

Horse friends lead each other, even when it appears they are sparing. It's play fighting.

And that is, to my understanding, one part of Chase the Tiger, a play fight.

But more important, I think, as play fighting (chasing the tiger aggressively) is simply a release of the horse from our dominance, while using the target as something to follow is inviting the horse to play a puzzle with you.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 9:28 pm 
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Donald Redux wrote:

I recall discussing my use of "The Black Plastic Sabertoothed Tiger" to help Dakota, the flighty and excitable Morgan gelding overcome his dangerous behavior, and likely I was inspired by something I read here in AND, to come up with that term.

When did we start with "Chase the Tiger," as a phrase in training or play?



I searched the forum for the word 'tiger' and the earliest remark I could find was by you :D
I don't know what you have based it on? Did you learn the exercise from anyone? Maybe that person called it chasing the cat, the giraffe, the monster ;)? Or did you invent the game? Great to get to the bottom of this just to make sure the right people get GREAT CREDITS :applause:

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Well, I'd just assumed that folks here had been playing with targeting using a wand or whip and had experienced "The Chase," instinct in horses and used it.

My guess is that it did happen before I came here to AND. That I might have come up with a name AND folks saw as applicable to their experience with their horse is a credit to them, and a compliment, a small one to me.

AND participants come up with all kinds of things I've never thought of before but might have had an inkling of during my many years of working with horses....BUT FAILED TO RECOGNIZE AS SOMETHING I COULD BUILD A HORSE-HUMAN relationship of greater richness and reward for both.

My contribution is tiny compared to theirs, yours too.

Koko Hano Hano, the QH stallion that I shared time with in Hawaii in the 60's taught me the chase game. It came as no surprise to me, of course, because I had learned to work with and had begun training cutting horses, and saw the instinct in many other horses as well.

A dog running through a pasture with horses often becomes part of the demonstration of it.

Koko was wonderful at it. Though none of it took place while being ridden. He and I simply played a great deal after the day he charged me in play, and all I could think of or have time for, was to charge back at him, and the game was on.

I had many times wanted to be with horses in a different way. I was very good indeed at pressure release methods. Something was always missing, and from time to time horses gave me hints, but until Koko laid it on me with his 1500 lbs of gorgeousness and fire I just didn't git it.

When I first saw AND I made the connection back to him. And that fateful day. And the many months we played until I turned him out with his band of mares forever.

Thanks for the credit, or blame, as the case may be :lol: :lol: :lol:

If Dakota was my own horse I'd have gone much farther with him with "Chase the Black Plastic Sabertoothed Tiger," you can be sure.

He still has much of the same fire he showed me once, but I don't trust that others would know how to deal with it, and might punish him for it ... so let it go.

Now he just works off his hocks, and tosses his head playfully, and that's it, when he's frisky.

I miss Koko.

Donald R.

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I will try to dig some information out of my memory, which is far too small to remember everything that has been posted here by now. But Chase the Tiger developed at a time when I still remembered every post. ;) :funny:

Chase the Tiger is not exactly an AND product. The game + name combination is, but not the game itself.

Helen played it with Esprit and posted a video in the NHE forum before she joined AND. Esprit became Kirsti's wonder horse due to that game over there, as she tied a jacket (pullover?) to a rope, dragged it along behind her and finally got her horses to play, and then wrote about it here. When Helen arrived at AND, people were fascinated by that game and several of our members tried it with their own horses.

Independent of that, Donald wrote about the Sabertooth tiger and how he bomb proofed Dakota with it.

And Brenda was doing a calm version of chasing the tiger (lunging with a target) as well before she joined AND (first posted here by Karen in some other topic and then in the CTT topic, Brenda joined us later).

It all came together in a sticky written by Miriam, where she put together all the contributions from different members and created the name "Chase the Tiger".


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That's approximately, Romy, how I remember it.

I actually didn't do any real "chase the tiger," as in follow a target, with Dakota until well after I'd done the bombproofing work and was looking for a way to encourage his more active play.

He was, as so many are, a horse that was trying to work through being intimidated.

His first 'Tiger,' in fact, was an old umbrella I encouraged him to chase and bat around with his forefeet.

The Chase the Tiger game certainly has a great deal of potential in a number of ways. The development of it here is certainly a team effort. One I wish I had more time to explore.

Once the little horsebarn for Altea is done and she is mending her feet well she might be my partner in just that. She's rather easily intimidated and knows only pressure/release handling from humans I am thinking.

I'd love to move through that with her to more independence. And this is the tool.

I think we, AND members that is, are at a point where it's difficult to find any of us not using some variation on Chase the Tiger.

Yeah team!

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 4:50 pm 
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Donald wrote:

Quote:
I think we, AND members that is, are at a point where it's difficult to find any of us not using some variation on Chase the Tiger.

Yeah team!


Truly!

And for me and my beloveds, this has been one of the most important, ground shaking, paradigm shifting ideas here -- the simple (but so not obvious when you've trained traditionally) idea that you can invite rather than push. And a straightforward way to begin to play with it that opens up all sorts of other possibilities.

It's been fun reading about how Chasing the Tiger came to be as a concept! :-)

And it's exciting to see that it is gaining traction elsewhere...

Good ideas are good ideas...

Thanks so much to all of you who were a part of shaping this one!

It's a huge gift.

Thanks!

:-)
Leigh


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I remember seeing something similar in a Deb Bennet article, but without the name or the liberty. Similar concept though I think, of encourage the horse to follow his "birdie". She uses it to help with straightness.
There's a picture of a ridden horse chasing a tarp dragged by another horse and rider.

Quote:
The most fundamental way to help a horse to go straight is to get it interested in what is out in front of it – to induce its "birdie" to fly a certain distance ahead of it.

Dragging an "interesting" object, such as a tire or a tarp, ahead of a crooked, restive, or fractious horse, so long as the object is so manipulated as not to scare the animal, will induce it to follow. The same may be said for following cattle. It is as if the horse's "birdie" flies out from him and lands upon the tarp or the calf; after that, the animal is almost compelled to follow.

And when he follows, no matter how physically crooked he had been only moments before, he will carry himself sufficiently straight.

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I've been following the posts to this and other threads, and occasionally posting myself, because I have been under a four day "can't work on Altea's little horsebarn," weather watch.

Three days of 100F degree + temps, and the last one running over fifty percent humidity, and today? Why today dunder and blitzen, with 80 degree temps. Some of the blitzen hitting just a tad close in the mountains around me to be out there in the open.

Now, to the subject here.

Not only will such an exercise tend to straighten a horse, but because we often present very low with "The Tiger" the horse will drop his head and likely lift the back and abdominals to chase or follow.

You can see it in the videos of different posters, especially with Lucy (when she isn't wearing her winter frock) while Brenda is assisting her in her exercise routine. :lol:

Altogether the Chase game has tremendous potential.

I saw, the one time I allowed (well, teased would be the more honest term :D ) Dakota to chase. He dropped his head, tried to leap on the Tiger and went into suspension in his trot. High suspension.

So, we were looking at the beginnings of Passage , I do believe. And with the head down. Remarkable and indicative of the great range of "frames" a horse can assume, as compared to the limits seen in modern dressage.

Can a horse collect and work off the hindquarters with their head down? The western reining crowd seems to think so, and train to that very frame. And call it collection.

In fact, they do, if done correctly, their spectacular sliding stops with the reins down on the horses neck, completely loose, and the horses head down down down.

Old pics of this maneuver, of course, show the opposite, head up, mouth agape from the bit being pulled by the reins and the horse's back hollow.

It seems that in many disciplines the truth is beginning to emerge. What gives power and flexibility isn't high collection alone (the often convex arc).

But collecting through a convex arc as well.

As we see in our horse's play.

Freeing the horses head and neck frees the rest of the body in relation.

Now if I could get the reining people to stop with the peanut rolling as the only "collection." :lol: :lol: :lol:

More freedom.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 7:31 pm 
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Can a horse collect and work off the hindquarters with their head down?


Yes, of course! But I'm sure you know this already you sly old Vaquero you! :lol:

It is lovely of you to leave this food for thought here for all of us to feast on.

The lowered head (and otherwise4 engaged body) is where Cisco first found his suspension (he has had to build muscle and balance and bring his head up slowly over the last several months to a poll high position), and as you point out, those great stops that the western horses can do is done ideally with the head down - the entire body rounded and croup down. Flying lead changes done with a level or lowered head is also indiciative of collection and something you see in reining. Collection is engagement of the hind end, regardles of specific head position...would you not agree?

A horse can have the base of the neck lifted and the back rounded and the tummy muscles engaged, even with the head below the level of the withers.

There is a nice dvd by Walter Zettle, called "Extras" and it's an "east meets west" video where he schools two western and two dressage riders. One of the western riders is Pat Parelli, and one of the english riders is Linda Parelli.

The other wester rider (his name escapes me at the moment) shows a classic example of his little Western reining horse moving much freer in the front and therfore being able to work better on the hind end, simply by raising the base of the neck...the level of the head itself doesn't change a great deal, but you can see the horse become more engaged through the exercises that Mr. Zettl puts them through.


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I really enjoyed reading through this thread and am looking forward to trying this exercise with my horse! :) Everyone here is so supportive of one another--I feel very positive and optomistic after this hour spent reading. :)

I do have one question about the videos that were originally posted--the ones of Esprit, I believe. Why, at certain times, does she drop the Tiger? (The word "GOTCHA!" (or something of that nature) flashes on the screen right before this happens.) Is this a reward, and if so, what is the logic behind it and what is it rewarding?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 8:53 am 
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I can only speak for myself, but with Sjors when he stamps on the tiger or touches it with his nose, then I give him a foodreward. With Blacky I do the same if he picks the bag up with his teeth (his way of catching the tiger :roll: :lol: ).
It's like a game of tag - when they've tagged the bag, they have won the reward. Of course you can also not give a foodreward, but make a couple of seconds of killing the motionless tiger the reward. 8)

Of course you can also play with the tiger without foodrewards, but as the game can go pretty wild, sometimes the horse scares himself with his response (bucking towards the tiger, lashing out at or jumping on top of it) and I want to reassure him that that response is great and that he shouldn't feel ashamed or scared about that. So that's where the foodreward comes in in our training - but that's only one way to do it! :)


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2008 12:34 pm 
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If I may add a bit.

Of course taking you own, others, and your horses safety into consideration the development of boldness and self expression, self determination if you will, with the human encouraging can develop into a completely different horse and completely different experience for both human and horse.

Virtually any behavior can be a part of moving toward new behavior, wanted or unwanted, so due deliberation is called for.

What can you tolerate? What can the horse tolerate? What can the environment allow and also tolerate?

This kind of liberating play has an ingredient that I believe, if you watch the videos, you will see AND practitioners demonstrate.

Depth of relationship.

The best relationships tend to enrich both individuals beyond what one can find alone. A new dimension is added and new possibilities show up.

Exploitive relationships, on the other hand, might appear to be enriching to the uninformed observer, even spectacular, as many equine competitions present, but in the end, it's extremely one sided.

That is the horse gets little or no chance to show what he can do willingly.

Those that exploit might respond, if you told them this, with, "so what?"

And there is the key point in doing games like Chase the Tiger. As well as, I might say, the key point of AND.

Most people that began as a child having a pony or horse know this and lost this: that the horse is not a machine, always predictable, always waiting to be used.

For myself, and I suspect others in the AND way of doing things, there is a desire to return to that child like awareness of the potential of the horse as a living thinking curious learning creature.

To try and see life through their lives and thoughts. Essentially to be the horse to some degree.

A much larger picture of life.

As for Chase the Tiger; it's simply one more way to explore the relationship and see life through the horse's senses.

It doesn't even have to be an "attack" event as so many of us have seen. It can simply be a targeting exercise.

Touch the tiger, follow the tiger, get a reward, and learn to play.

One the horse will touch the tiger with his nose, then it's time to touch the tiger with different body parts.

Once the horse will touch the tiger with different body parts all kinds of behavior can be called forth by simply asking rather than, as I was taught and practiced for over 20 years, by force.

Donald R.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:57 am 
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I've read this whole thread with such excitement, because while I first was thinking, "well, I've done this with my horse" I realized quickly that I hadn't played this game with my horse at all.

What I have done in the past is have my horse 'chase' a plastic bag on stick (or a shirt being waved in the air, or etc. etc.), both from the ground and on her back. But the purpose was to desensitize her and that was pretty much it. What a difference it will be to do the same thing, but for an entirely different purpose. Now I'll do this purely for play (which will make her brave in the process I suppose), and for exercise.

My newer horse, Sophie, is afraid of the plastic bag...she'll sniff it, from a distance, and leans her body backwards (she looks so funny) so I don't want to use the plastic bag with her. Maybe a ball on a stick or something not noisy that she can chase with confidence and actually have fun or find it interesting, not terrifying.

I'll have to get out early in the morning to do this... it's been hotter than hell here (107 in some parts!!!).

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Caro wrote:

Quote:
My newer horse, Sophie, is afraid of the plastic bag...she'll sniff it, from a distance, and leans her body backwards (she looks so funny) so I don't want to use the plastic bag with her. Maybe a ball on a stick or something not noisy that she can chase with confidence and actually have fun or find it interesting, not terrifying.


Stardust, my big rescue Warmblood, is also really afraid of anything that's crinkly plastic, and his response is to run away rather than try to kill it! :-) (Get me outta here!) He's starting to overcome his worst fears about this, but we've got a ways to go.

So plastic didn't feel like fun for us, so we use a small piece of flannel tied on the end of an old longe whip. That's working quite well! He doesn't do the spectacular pounce/attack stuff that some people's horses do (actually, Circe, my other horse doesn't really either). But the flannel is great and we definitely have found that it's more fun to chase than be chased!

Enjoy with Sophie! I'm sure you two will find the right variations on the game for you.

Best,
Leigh


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 9:10 pm 
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There was a very detailed post by Alexandra Kurland on her mailing list, about a horse who was afraid of plastic, and how she taught him to overcome this fear by clickertraining during a clinic.
He also didn't like having his ears touched.
She taught him to target the plastic bag with his ears :D there was a lot of microshaping in this, but it did work well for him (being a new and a free shaped behaviour).

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 12:42 am 
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Ania wrote:
She taught him to target the plastic bag with his ears :D


Now THAT is creativity!! :D

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 07, 2008 1:36 am 
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Ania wrote:
There was a very detailed post by Alexandra Kurland on her mailing list, about a horse who was afraid of plastic, and how she taught him to overcome this fear by clickertraining during a clinic.
He also didn't like having his ears touched.
She taught him to target the plastic bag with his ears :D there was a lot of microshaping in this, but it did work well for him (being a new and a free shaped behaviour).


Don't know if you've ever visited my photobucket album, but you can see there the result of clicker training to overcome anxiety and fear of just such things. In one pic you can see me rubbing a large HUGE piece of black plastic, the infamous Black Plastic Sabertoothed Tiger over Cody.

He was terrified of plastic just fifteen minutes or so before I had him chasing it. Same with umbrellas. In one of our vids, Dakota and I, you can see me waving an umbrella around his head.

His expression is like you'd see a person do if someone was being annoying...but he's not frightened.

Another vid, you can see me riding him coming up to the highway (another fearsome monster object for him with log trucks roaring by regularly) and I'm waving the umbrella all about his head and body. Same look of annoyance, but no fear.

Another pic or two, and a vid, shows him walking up to a rotting deer hide and putting his nose right on it, for the click, and the treat.

He got to where he'd run UP to anything that startled him, and put his nose on it, or front hooves, according to which was most convenient.

All with clicker training. And there as no shaping being done. I simply put the feared object out there, clicked him when he got over his startle and treated.

Pretty quickly the startle went away and of course the treat replaced the fearsome object, sound, or smell.

He has stood in a driving wind and rain, in hand, while my wife raced the engine of my pickup just six feet from his nose, flashed the light and blared the horn, all at the same time.

Oh and I was beating on the hood of the pickup the whole while. All he expected, most obviously, was that treat he'd come to associate with noise and other formerly fearsome things.

This horse, on the lungeline lost the old saddle I had on him while he was dragging the BPST and when it broke loose it tangled around his hind legs. He slide to a stop, snorted and looked at me as if to say, "Okay, now THAT has to be worth a treat avalance, right?"

And of course :lol: it was. I think if I came off him and got tangled in the rigging if I could still make a click sound with my mouth, I would be in no danger. And it's quite possible that even without it, he'd stop and ask for his treat.

I was not familiar with C/T in any specific way, though I knew generally about the principles (used to watch Karen Prior work with Dolphins in Hawaii), and from my own professional life, so it was pretty easy for me to just jump in and apply it.

It made perfect sense to me, and to Dakota.

The other day I made a miscalculation about using my misfit saddle on him with one less blanket (usually takes two) and when I mounted up I know the gullet must have come down on his withers. He bolted...for three steps and stopped, and peered around to see if I had that treat ready.

He got it, and I went to fetch my extra blanket to bring the padding I use up to the right depth.

We had a nice ride after that.

Hooray for click training.

If you want to look at my pics and vids follow the URL below and click on the album (left side of your screen) "Dakota" -- don't forget the password below.

Donald Redux
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If you are curious, you can see my photo and video albums at -

http://photobucket.com/guestlogin?albumUrl=http://s236.photobucket.com/albums/ff51/donald_redux/

guest password is 'haumea'

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 10:58 pm 
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I had a most playful time with this yesterday. I tied a little plastic bag on the end of a long branch and dragged it about the field with the 6 horses in it. I was very interested in their individual reactions.

Firstly, Karena, in good and true lead mare style came over to see if 'we should all be running like the clappers or what...' She followed me around for a bit quite inquisitively but a little nervously. Eventually the whole group came into this paddock from the one next door. Now the 2 older boys were brave and followed avidly. My little Noodle stayed well back and very unsure. And the 2 yr old Shizzer came trotting up to it, bold as brass, and attempted a couple of leap attacks - very nice! He's not mine so I am cautious not to over play with him in case his mummy doesn't like the outcome!!

Karena remained inquisitive and Noodle could be inquisitive from the back of the group. Eventually she did come forwards a little and even touched it with the end of her nose a few times.

What was really interesting was that when I unstuck that bag from the end of the branch the little inquisitive heads of Karena and I think Noodle accepted having this piece of plastic rubbed on their head and necks. I just did it spontaneously and was amazed at how they accepted it and didn't bat an eyelid.

They seem to really like chasing this fear thing and they get really quite confident. I want to do more. It led to Karena trotting after to me today and I am sure that was as a direct result. Noodle still doesn't understand this concept but then she has been trained to be a very serious little racehorse - we will break her of her seriousness at some point along the line, I am sure of it.

Next, I shall go for a bolder larger black sack and see what the outcome is of all that!!!!!!
x

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:51 am 

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I finally get around to reading this topic after we played chase the tiger today and got my question about collection answered (is it collection if head is down). Guess I have to look everywhere for my answers. :)
As far as the origins of this game, I know it from dog training, esp. teaching lure coursing to sighthounds, there it's called bunny chasing, of course and most sighthounds don't need food rewards, it's self-reinforcing. It's also been in use for teaching dog agility for many years, both to teach the obstacles and speeding up dogs on the course.


Last edited by Birgit on Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:00 am 
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Our origins of the game came from a combination of games shown by Helen and Esprit with a big plastic bag,
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=467

And Donald training Dakota by inviting him to kill a small tarp (it was a tarp, wasn't it Donald?). Donald...you called it Tiger slaying? Was that it?

And around the same time, I found videos on youtube from our dear Brenda using a target as a replacement for lunging and begged her to come and join us here.

Anyway, the concept quickly morphed to "Chasing the Tiger"!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:00 am 
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Quote:
and got my question about collection answered (is it collection if head is down). Guess I have to look everywhere for my answers.


Hey!

Collection is a huge topic! There is lots of discussion about it here.

When the head is long and low the horse is lengthening through the topline. This position can take the horse onto the forehand but equally it can bring the horse 'through' the back in a nice longitudinal stretch and have a stepping under of the hindleg and the whole horse remain in balance and this is an excellent gymnasticising exercise.

The real collection is that rounded topline, with the head in ramener, the hindleg engaged, the forehand lifted and the spirit high. That spronky lovely strides they kick off when they are showing off or having big fun. It is that elevation that chase the tiger helps to develop - yum!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:21 am 
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Birgit wrote:
and got my question about collection answered (is it collection if head is down). Guess I have to look everywhere for my answers.


We have a new place here where links to different topics are collected. And the very first link in that topic happens to be a huge (and very nice!) thread about collection. Enjoy! :)


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Our origins of the game came from a combination of games shown by Helen and Esprit with a big plastic bag,
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=467

And Donald training Dakota by inviting him to kill a small tarp (it was a tarp, wasn't it Donald?). Donald...you called it Tiger slaying? Was that it?

And around the same time, I found videos on youtube from our dear Brenda using a target as a replacement for lunging and begged her to come and join us here.

Anyway, the concept quickly morphed to "Chasing the Tiger"!


I referred to the big sheet of black plastic as, "The Black Plastic Sabertooted Tiger." And the plastic milk bottles I young in a strand all about him and walked him through as, "The White Demon Spawn of the Black Plastic Sabertoothed Tiger."

I did refer to mastering and slaying and the use of colorful terms such as that. ;) 8) :D

Otherwise, if I just called them what they were my training diary would be as boring and ordinary as can be, right?

I tied the plastic, beside covering him in it like a tent a few times, to the saddle, dragging it about, and ran a rope tied to the plastic through a stirrup and lunged him with it dragging.

That last was the time the saddle cinch off billet snapped (borrowed old saddle) and put the whole mess tangled about him, and while he was trying to free himself of it, and was running I clicked and he slide to a stop. I'd say a fairly bombproof horse, no? Much of it is on the Dakota PhotoBucket site.

In sequence. I began the line-through-the-stirrup exercise by drawing the plastic to him, having him move to it, etc. then proceeded to have him drag it.

Between pics two and three below, the off billet broke causing the entire mess go over his rump and tangle his hind legs. He was kicking free when I clicked, and in pic three below I have just walked to him to give him his treat, and apologize for the "stupid human trick" of using unsafe equipment.

(And reminding myself I had just been riding him the last two days with that same saddle with the cracked and dried off billet...)

Image
Image
Image

And yes, I too used white plastic bags on a lunge whip to teach Dakota to "touch," and thus ultimately to follow, or "chase the tiger." I think the phrase, "Chase the Tiger" had been around before, but didn't know, or couldn't remember the genesis until you wrote it out. Thanks.

I knew I wasn't the originator. But then we all build on the work of others for the most part.

With some of us showing considerable genius, as I recall.

Now who was that who could isolate a muscle group on the horse's abdomen and have the horse flex it on cue, eh?

The significance of that surpasses any little tiger chasing exercise I did. :cheers: :) or my crude bomb-proofing work.

Donald

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 7:24 pm 

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Romy,
thanks for the link and for putting it all in one place. I can't wait to get to it. You are doing such a wonderful job of helping people out. :cheers: :cheers: :cheers: :applause: :applause:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:41 pm 
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How neat to watch these videos. I use this "Chase the Tiger" as it is called to help teach horses not to be afraid of scary objects. The idea in this is that the horse is "moving" the scary object and therefore becomes higher ranking and confident. It works GREAT! And dragging the tarp? Great stuff. Another one that I use for helping to encourage horses to be "courageous and brave" :)

:applause:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 9:55 pm 

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that seems to be a lovely game.

I can try with my mares, but can you do it with wild stallions?

Love,

Helene

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:01 pm 

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this looks so nice!

unfortunatley Percella doesn't like chasing the tiger, she is scared of the bag, I even made a little ball at the end, but she froze and didn't dare to move anymore she touched it once, but was so surpriced that she just shuts down and you can't get any contact with her anymore, that was for me more than obvious that she doesn't like it :P

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 10:26 pm 
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Hi Samantha:

My horse Stardust really hated plastic bags, too. He's better about them now, but he still doesn't love them.

So our target/tiger is a bit of red flannel at the end of my old longe whip....this works really well for us!

My point being -- you can work with Percella with all sorts of different materials to see what intrigues her rather than scares her and start there -- the tiger can be anything the two of you think it should be!
:)

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Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:35 pm 

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hi :D

haha I know, I've tried it with a old bagg of the carrots, she was not scared, she touched it, but as soon as I put it on the ground she doesn't seems interested anymore.
I made it a little ball again but she still hates it!
even targeting she hates, I have a Orange colloured pion and I think she knows this, she is not scared of it, she just doesn't like it, she is bored and walkes alway.. and she doesn't even tries to touch it, she just looks at it and than at me, and than walks alway, she is just bored, and she is like that with all kind of stuff.. she doesn't like those games, she likes it more just to play and do the shoulder in and out, she is just a bit weird :green:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:41 pm 
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@ Samantha; In the video I use, or better O uses some sort of plactick tape that Bianca has lying around. Maybe she has a piece of that extra for you?
I think it would help Percella to get ridd of all that frustration and anger cooked up in her little cute body...

@ All, while I was thinking about Donald saying he was not the originator (but we call him this anyway :green: ) I was also thinking about the war horse (well, I always think about the war horse, sorry... hate war, but war horses fascinate me sooo!).
Would it not have been a very old 'game' already to teach the warhorse to 'attack' ? Chase scared running footsoldiers? :green:

It's also used in Portugal, with a sort of 'bull' on wheels, which the horse is supposed to avoid but on the same time attack for the rejoneo.

And then there is cow sense, cutting!

I have a magnificent Belgian warmblood in training with the name Raspoetin who has magnificent 'human sense' wow, he does some scary attacks whilst I am teaching his rider ha ha ! :green:

My holsteiner Astaire (R.I.P) had chasing chickens for sport, he never ever harmed them though.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:01 pm 
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I'm quoting Karen because I think this is such an important thought and so easy to lose track of!

She was responding to some things in Elix's diary with Aranka


After some wonderings about getting energy up in Chase the Tiger games, Karen wrote:
Quote:
One of the things I see a many do (because I did it myself and I still do it too often) is to look right at the horse's face when I want to get more energy. If we look away, the horse is much more comfortable in letting go. I don't know if you are doing this, but it might be something to check?

Sometimes if we try for more energy, but look at the horse when we do it, they think it is something directed AT them, rather than an invitation, and they get a little concerned and don't know what to do...so they stop or slow down.


I think this is an exquisite pearl of insight/advice and thought it would be helpful here in the Chase the Tiger thread.

Thanks, Karen...and I'm only a little sorry I hijacked your words... ;)

Best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 4:21 am 
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Leigh wrote:
I'm quoting Karen because I think this is such an important thought and so easy to lose track of!

She was responding to some things in Elix's diary with Aranka


After some wonderings about getting energy up in Chase the Tiger games, Karen wrote:
Quote:
One of the things I see a many do (because I did it myself and I still do it too often) is to look right at the horse's face when I want to get more energy. If we look away, the horse is much more comfortable in letting go. I don't know if you are doing this, but it might be something to check?

Sometimes if we try for more energy, but look at the horse when we do it, they think it is something directed AT them, rather than an invitation, and they get a little concerned and don't know what to do...so they stop or slow down.



I think this is an exquisite pearl of insight/advice and thought it would be helpful here in the Chase the Tiger thread.

Thanks, Karen...and I'm only a little sorry I hijacked your words... ;)

Best,
Leigh


Aside from having likely been the one to introduce the phrase, "chase the Tiger," what is more important is to recognize, I think, two things in this "game."

One is something I've overlooked again and again. I tend to focus strongly on the horse's face, eyes in particular, attempting to "read" the horse to predict his behavior. I'm quite good at it, but am afraid I give up what Karen offers, and you quote and comment on, Leigh. I intimidate the horse - not what I want at all.

It's old training, and old tape I play that when things get hot with the horse and I just clicks in. Could be a self preservation thing.

The second point I'd like to comment on has to do with the War Horse aspect, that tendency to attack.

This is innate in the horse. Most horses, but the most timid, and even they when conditions are right, will tend to follow with the head, and possibly strike or bite.

If the object of their aggression moves in just the right pattern, usually a crossing track being made in front or to the side of the horse, and the creature is smaller than the horse, it will follow and attempt to control the movement of the creature.

Bonnie just demonstrated this with Rio, our dog, day before yesterday. She is perfectly accustomed to having him about. He's extremely gentle and non-threatening. Perfect to be around horses. But he will get up and move away if the horse approaches, creating exactly the pattern of a predator circling prey, and Bonnie went after him and even struck at him quite powerfully. She missed, thankfully.

This is exactly the instinctive urge that is called out from the horse being trained as a cutting horse, and it has to be managed, and controlled, as the object is to strike or bite the cow, but to simply hold it, or drive it.

Often when a horse I'm working with exhibits the energy and aggression for the very first time in a game of Chase The Tiger, it puts the hair up on the back of my neck and must recall some atavistic memory from my ancient horse hunting ancestors. Doubtless the wild horse did occasionally fight back and something in me reacts in a defensive way.

I've studied how various folks in the AND community play at Chase the Tiger with their horses and had to quell my feelings of alarm. This so that I not interfere in the training routines of others. Most folks show that not only do they know their horse's limits, but that their horse knows too and does not strike or bite them and focuses on the Tiger.

And of course too I am not the calm cool rock steady young man I once was. As I age I notice I startle a bit more easily. Loud sudden noises or violent quick movement cause a more strong reaction in me, so this particular exercise I may be seeing through this change in my personality as I age.

Thus I watch others so that I may continue to learn and to reduce the influence of my own subjectivity over what I observe.

I used, as you may recall, Chase the Tiger with Dakota the Morgan gelding to work on his tendency to shy and bolt. To help him gain confidence.

The first time he showed some was on his third day of training in bombproofing, when the umbrella I was using in windy rainy setting instead of opening slowly as I had intended got caught by the wind and snapped open right in his face.

He reacted quite drastically, but I remembered, right in the first instant of his startle, to click him and offer him his treat. He relaxed, took his treat and we played with the umbrella, and I got to watch him for the first time exhibit the aggression we call Chase the Tiger. He and I together kicked that umbrella all over the forest clearing with the wind helping us. It's the same poor umbrella you can see in the old short vid clips I posted her a couple of years back riding Dakota out by the highway and waving it about his head and rear and all about him.

I think Chase the Tiger has much more to teach us. Some of it about the psychology of the horse. And I expect those younger than I to be the explorers in this here in AND. Of course they are doing so without my blessing or urging. Youth will be served, as they say.

Donald

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:33 am 

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wow this looks like great fun !!
when the rain stopes i will have a go with bob hopefully help him build up collection in his canter as he seems to strugle in a small area.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:42 pm 

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Day two of myself and Navara practicing Chasing the tiger, she will touch it happily and eat treats that are placed on it (I use an old tshirt rather than a bag), however I probably have managed to put her off playing it already, whilst putting it away she somehow managed to jab herself up the nose with it (whoops) I felt really mean and stroked her nose better with it, she doesn't seem bothered about it if I hold it, however she is now a little wary of it. Ill be going up in a few hours and see if her and the tiger can be friends again!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:16 pm 
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It just occurred to me ... about 15 years ago (eeks! maybe almost 20 years ago! Holy Cow!) I hosted a clinic with the Mounted State Forest Rangers. We were specifically looking for them to help us with horses that were afraid of Dirt Bikes and riders - (they are rampant in the state forests!) We started out merely with the dirt bike and rider standing, not on, and encouraged the horses to touch it with their noses. Once they were comfortable with that we then had a handler start rolling the bike AWAY from the horse as the the horse approached. The reason the officer gave was because this seemed, to the horse, that the horse could move the 'feet' of the scary thing thus putting the horse in a higher position on the hierarchy. Gave him the feeling of being in control and 'power'. From the quiet dirtbike we then turned it on and from that step moved on to the horse 'chasing' the dirtbike and rider while in hand and then repeated it all under saddle. It worked great ... In fact, I did this with my own QH who was terrified of the geese on the farm (smart horse! *grin*) -- it worked soooooooooo well that chasing the geese became a favorite game of his while he was turned out! hahahahaha .. poor geese!

Sound like the rangers learned "Chase the Tiger" a long, long time ago! *GRIN*

It's a GREAT exercise and when coupled with Clicker Training is nothing short of amazing to watch how horses process the info and become 'brave' in a very short time. :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:43 pm 

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If tractors come into the grazing fields to harrow and roll, I utilise the opportunity and take treats, run behind the clattering vehicles. It gives the horses the chance to chase the tractors and 'own' their field. I think it helps for future meetings when out on the road in the traffic.

If my husband has his tractor working in the field my horses rarely lift their heads, although sometimes they wait until he is close and find it a good excuse to look scared and gallop around bucking and playing. They always like to come and investigate machines that enter their domain. When they are in luck there is new hay they can "help" to unload from a trailer.

There are so many ways to engage, play and inspire confidence in young horses, and usually the humans have a lot of fun too.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 3:51 pm 
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It is also used to teach horses to 'attack' cow skins and faux bulls on wheels.
The horse is harrased with the things described above and as soon as the horse acts agressive the harasment stops. But that is of course a less cheerful and fun form of it...

Of course AND presents nothing new accept for the use and form in which we train with our horses :)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:18 pm 

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Josepha, I think it is sad that as you rightly point out, all good things can be used for the wrong reasons.
Humans have such amazing capacity for extremes of 'good' and 'evil'.
My ponies will never be war machines, never be asked to charge into battle with a man waving a sword or under cannon fire. Many horses did find the courage to stay with their men, in pointless battles, directed by governments for political reasons, far from the blood, guts and mud.

I posted some pictures of a few of the ponies I have been lucky enough to play with, teaching courage and allowing natural curiosity to win out.
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3045&p=57508#p57508

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:02 am 

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Hi everyone,

I have really enjoyed reading all the posts here about Chase the Tiger, and watching the videos. I play chase the tiger with my filly (I guess I need to start calling her a mare now!), Tempo. But, we have now progressed to a more extreme version of the game, using a tarp! Here's a fun video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS22p70TI8M

And, for those who might be interested, here's a "behind the scenes" video showing how the play session progressed to the footage shown above: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPTb4vXDL2c

Kim Sturgeon
South Carolina

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 8:11 pm 

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This game is lovely.

I started with all five of them and all are different. Fosquito loves it he runs from the other end of the arean to cath the tiger.
Mangus has a lot of hormons going on right now and loses intrest quite quickly (anyone tips)
Exel and foc are abit the same in their way. They are fucused on the reward. Foc is more active as he is arabian stallion. I have to protect my own space with both but with foc I have to be really clear as he's a stallion.
Exel is focussed on the reward but will not set one step faster than really nessecery (anyone tips)
With sym I take it slow as she at the point of giving birth anymoment now.

Love,

Helene

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 2:32 am 
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And what if the equine is used as the bull to be fought on foot? :smile:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XxXeAn08PQ


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 10:33 am 
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Fun idea - if only it would not resemble actual bullfights that much... What is he supposed to use that sword for? :ieks:

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 4:35 pm 
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In another video he uses the sword to cue the pony to lie down.
Yes, resembling a real bullfight, where the sword would be a weapon... but at leas it's done in a fun way to all! (or could be done, anyway, who knows how the whole training is done...)


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:41 pm 
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I agree it could look like fun but it reminds me too much of bullfighting (takes away my smile). What if they decide to replace the bull with the pony. Just kills me to think about it.

But if bullfighting was not in the picture, and if I were more experienced with "excited" horses, I would most probably try this. But I'll stick to the plastic bag and run beside my horse.

Thanks for sharing. I didn't know this type of "exercise" existed with ponies.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:07 am 
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I recently played CtT with Mucki again after a long time. It worked really well, he liked to chase it and wouldn't get too excited about it, so we did some nice circles.
Then yesterday I tried it again, first with Lily then with Mucki again. Lily transformed into a veritable killing machine, snaking her head down to it, baring her teeth and finally jumping with the forlegs to go for the kill :ieks:. I always thought horses were supposed to be to prey not the predator :green:.
Then when I did it with Mucki there was a whole different picture. He was so totally not interested that he couldn't care less about the little plastic bag around him. A few times he slowly walked to it, took it with his teeth and shook it for fun. But apart from that he didn't care. I could wave it around him, making all the noise I could, I even dragged it over his body and head, but no reaction. He just stood there casually and looked out towards the pasture to see what his herd mates where doing... Well that's how Mucki is at times :roll:

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:45 pm 

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Hi all, the Chasing the Tiger game is what brought me back to AND. I have had tremendous success by (almost accidentally) teaching, reinforcing, and inspiring one of my horses -- Draumur -- to display proud behaviors. For HIM, it was getting him to arch his neck like a stallion and act like a "badass". It almost immediately changed his attitude and willingness and everything else in his personality, and today he just keeps wanting to build on this. (I recently posted a video of his working on liberty passage).

BUT... My horse Vafi is a different story. I have tried to duplicate what worked with Draumur, but Vafi has not really seemed to get motivated by the arch-your-neck-and-prance show-off thing. I could get him to do it (using the clicker), but it never seemed to be INTRINSICALLY rewarding for him, he was still just going through the mechanical behavior but it did not "wake up" his inner proud horse.


I tried Chase the Tiger a year ago with Vafi, but we never seemed to get beyond the nose-on-ground targeting, and he NEVER got excited... Just going through the motions in hopes of a click/treat.

But I decided to give it another try a few week's ago because I REALLY want to get three things with Vafi, and Chase the Tiger still seemed like the best way:

1. I want him to have a "birdie" to follow instead of having to put pressure on him to get him to move. He does not seem motivated to really move out on his own, even in the pasture, though if a pasture mate DOES finally convince him to run around he always acts like it is the BEST THING EVER. But the next day when they try again, he seems to forget that it can be fun and he just wants to keep eating grass or just stand.

2. I want him to find a way to act PROUD and badass, something that worked SO well for Draumur, but so far have not found that thing for him. He is very low-drama, and is at the bottom of the hierarchy despite being the biggest -- and fittest -- in the herd. He just mostly keeps to himself.

3. I want to develop more athleticism in him in a way that he finds intrinsically motivating, just as Draumur now works very hard to put more energy into the arched-neck-fancy-trot, I wanted to find something that would create this inspiration for Vafi, who does NOT like to use his energy. I ESPECIALLY want him to free up his shoulders. I do trapezius stretches with him daily, but it is clear that he is will very restricted in his shoulders, despite having conformation that supports MUCH more movement.

So, this time, DAY ONE: get him to target it with his nose, click/treat so he knows that is the thing to do. This works, as I expected. But now the question was if I could get it to be anything bigger and more exciting.

Day Two: he puts his foot on it. Click/treat, and he definitely understand that nose or foot. He does this with VERY LOW ENERGY, but still it is a positive move.

Day Three: he puts his foot on it with a little more energy. Not quite stamping, but definitely with some energy. Will use either foot depending on what side it is, and I also can now get him to move away from ME and out toward the tiger (which I have out o the end off long longe whip).

Day Four: More energy!! This is already more than we ever have gotten from him doing anything at all. He clearly is LIKING the act of pouncing on the tiger. Both front legs lifting and striking. This is awesome.

Day Five: bigger movements all around, and he will now CANTER toward me if I run with it. His front legs are showing more movement, and if it gets beside him, he tries to kick with his back leg as well. Hmmm... I have to be careful to stay out of THAT range, but it is SUCH a positive and rewarding thing to see.

Day Six: a little more elevation some of the time, though if I lift it to chest height, he does not want to lift THAT high, but a few times I accidentally timed it where he did sort of rear up and strike with both feet, high energy on attacking the tiger. It is NOT making him want to run around like a maniac, but he is displaying HIGH energy for attacking the tiger. which for him, is AMAZING. I did not even KNOW he could move like this... The range of motion in his shoulders is HUGE and dramatic. My husband watched us, and while concerned that I am creating a monster, he could not believe what he was seeing.

SO... Now I wonder where to go next with this? I want to use it as a path to more collection, so I want to move less toward having him attack it with nose down and on the forehand (though that is a good stretch, what this horse really needs now is more motivated energetic work from behind). I am guessing that if I time it right and suddenly move it back toward him he will begin to lift from behind as opposed to jumping forward from behind. In other words, I want to encourage carrying power over pushing power... and this seems to be so fun for him.

My other comment is that I DO think I have seen a little change in his behavior in the pasture. While playing with another gelding, which he rarely does, I noticed he was doing the same display with his front legs -- really lifting and stamping -- that he does with the tiger, though I have NEVER seen him do this before in the the years I have had him. It could have been a fluke, but I have certainly seen how Draumur now does his proud prance in the pasture all the time where BEFORE we began doing this together he never did that.

What I want most is for Vafi to start acting proud more often as a result of chasing the tiger, and for him to also continue to enjoy this activity instead of just going through the activity to get a treat. I am always worried about this, as I want to transfer them to intrinsically pleasurable activities as soon as possible to avoid the DEmotivating effect of overusing rewards for behaviors that should be intrinsically rewarding.

Thanks everyone. I have read through most of the original long thread on chasing the tiger, and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that this time it seems to be working. Why now and NOT one year ago when I first tried? The only guess I have is that this time he IS in much better physical condition. Not more energetic, but definitely in better overall fitness in his posture, musculature, straightness, etc. Maybe for him he needed to be a little stronger before getting excited about chasing the tiger.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Kathy, I have added your post to the tiger sticky because I believe it is such a good contibution and can be helpful for others as well, so I did not want it to disappear in the list of groundwork discussions but be in a place where people can easily find it.

I just LOVE the idea of rewarding the horse for touching the tiger with this feet. As easy as this sounds, but I have never even thought about this possibility. I will try this with Titum as well, because as you describe for Vafi, Titum also follows the tiger without much enthusiasm, just stalking it in walk and trot.

Concerning collection, I have no experiences in using the tiger for this because for me it is much easier with body language and I cannot combine a clear body language with holding a tiger in front of the horse. But I think others have made good experiences with it, so I hope you will get some helpful replies. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:13 am 
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Kathy, your progress with Vafi sounds very promising! Well done! :applause:

kathyIceHorse wrote:
Why now and NOT one year ago when I first tried? The only guess I have is that this time he IS in much better physical condition. Not more energetic, but definitely in better overall fitness in his posture, musculature, straightness, etc. Maybe for him he needed to be a little stronger before getting excited about chasing the tiger.
I'm convinced that any kind of gymnastic work, body awareness and strengthening is very important for exercises that require a confindent horse. I believe a healthy, strong and supple body is so much more important to a flight animal as any human can imagine.
I use certain kind of basic exercises that I think are beneficial to all other things I train: body awareness (obstacles, pedestals, going through difficult terrain, etc.), suppleness (stretching, bowing, lateral movements, ...) and strength (lateral movements, School Halt, walking/riding, ...).
I've only just recently seen Mucki put all these puzzle pieces together in a session of friendly play with another horse and it really seemed to me that he is really proud of his body. I also noticed a huge change in the last month where he had become way too fat from the rich pasture and I had to install a diet and focused training to get him into a healthy shape again. He moves so much more confident, now that he's gotten slimmer again.

I don't know if that's a too anthropomorphic view, but I really have the impression that horses know which exercises are beneficial to there physical condition. And I think they get some positive reinforcement from working out ;) Like I feel better and reinforced after a good yoga session...

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:51 am 
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Just found the Vafi video: Vafi Becoming Badass

So wonderful, Kathy! :clap: :clap: :clap:


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2014 8:00 pm 
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Okay, I cannot at all get my horses to chase any tiger. Punto has done it 1½ times, and the first time was awesome! Haven't gotten any of the others to do anything, and Punto hasn't really done it since.

He got really MANLY the first time, and I always reward lots in this game.

I get them to target it with either nose or legs - or any way, really. They make walk a few steps to touch it, but more than a few feet away and they lose interest.

I'm kind of at a loss here. I've tried several times but without succes :sad:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 9:40 am 
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What did you use as a tiger and how exactly did you use it? I know that some horses are easily scared by it and some are not. They strange fact that I found is that if a horse is not scared by it, it is much harder to get interested. I guess it has to do with the way that the tiger lets the horse feel powerful. And that works because the scary object is running away from the horse.

With our mare Lily, the tiger game is super easy, in fact I have to look out not to go too wild with her.
With Mucki it is another story entirely. It took me some sessions to get him interested in the game by rewarding him for contact. Then, he's usually doing it in a very well-behaved, almost dutifully manner. What I did about that, was to take a larger plastic bag as a tiger and secondly act more irrationally and more aggressively with the tiger. I dragged it on the floor so it makes a good noise, I let it fly higher sometimes and let it wave in the air and I let it get sometimes closer to Mucki and then retreat again in a taunting kind of way. That usually helps to awaken the predator in him ;).

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:45 pm 
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I've tried two different things for tigers.

A plastic bag and a fairly big, heavy "blankety" carpet. Punto is cold as ice, and I can throw either of them directly in his face, and he doesn't move a muscle. I have thought of taking a video of it, as it's quite impressive :funny:
He's the only one I've ever had actually chase and attack the tiger, though.

Bissen and May are a little more afraid of it, but don't fancy chasing it. Would be good for them though, as they currently only run away from it, if I start running around with it.
I reward anytime they take contact to it and touch it, but it just seems kind of "meh" to them. Maybe I should try get a video of it when I find a good time for it.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:42 am 
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Most of my horses also aren't particularly fond of the tiger, most of the time. However, for them this directly seems to correlate with my own (lack of) enthusiasm for it. If I do it like a clicker exercise in the strict sense, rewarding for contact and approach and the raising the criteria, I lose them in no time. What works for us is when I am making mself believe that chasing the tiger is the most wonderful game ever, and that the horse is ever so cool and brave and cute and fantastic, and I am just so, so, so happy that we can play this!!! :bounce: :love:

Also, as soon as the horse has some interest in it, I am not rewarding them for "boring" things like touching the tiger but trying to find anything in their interaction with it that is cool, like stepping on it and pawing it. This, in turn, makes the game a bit more competitive, because if they stand on it or grab it with their teeth, I cannot move it. So I am getting more alert and excited, and then they do, and then I, and so we are pushing each other.

That said, we do not play with the tiger very often because for me it is hard to find that enthusiasm for any kind of "object play", and accordingly my horses find it boring most of the time as well. But in our case I know for sure that this is because of me. :smile:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:23 pm 
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I'm really trying to be enthusiastic, running around making weird noises pretending I'm having an awesome time.
It sometimes triggers activity, but more the "what-the-Hell-is-going-on-and-what-is-she-doing" kind of activity :green:
Lots of grunting, raised tails and open nostrils :funny:

Oh well, we might figure it out ;)

However, if I make things too challenging, e.g. by dodging any approach they might make, they quickly and often lose interest. I have to awaken their competitive spirit Image

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:31 pm 
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Bissen wrote:
I'm really trying to be enthusiastic, running around making weird noises pretending I'm having an awesome time.


Oh, but pretending switches my horses' enthusiasm off as well. I really have to enjoy it - and I have to enjoy it with them, not just having an awsome time by myself. But perhaps that's what you meant and I just read something into it. :smile:


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:16 pm 
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Well, I probably meant that I'm running around trying to show them I want them to play along. Though my communication may be off :roll:

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:42 am 
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Bissen wrote:
Well, I probably meant that I'm running around trying to show them I want them to play along.


Do you know the Aylin lessons? Especially the fourth one (or a generalization of it) has re-shaped my life quite a bit, not just in my interaction with horses. Funny, I was just thinking about it yesterday. :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 9:09 am 
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I noticed with our horses and others, that it takes time (and training) to get horses used to play with humans. Once a certain kind of (playful) interaction is established, introducing new games is easy. But to get there, can require time - always depending on the horses character and history.
Do you have other, similar energetic games that you play with your horses, like running together on the pasture? Or is your interaction usually of a calmer nature?
It took me and Mucki a long time (like 2 years) to get canter into our games - at least when done in an artifcial environment like a riding arena. And chasing the tiger also wasn't very exuberant at first ;).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:14 pm 
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Our interaction has mainly been calm. Sometimes I can get them to take few runs, but that's not so much together as it's just them ;)

We probably just need time :)

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