The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 4:13 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 11:25 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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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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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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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:39 am 
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Location: Taiwan, via NZ
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 

Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:46 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Cave Junction Oregon
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
Oregon

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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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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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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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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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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

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2008 4:10 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:26 pm
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Location: Estonia, Tallinn
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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