The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:31 pm 
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The answer to that ever present question: "How do they DO that?"


:lol: So often now, when someone asks me, "How did you get him to do that??"

I just tell them, "I gave him a cookie".


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:39 pm 
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I just tell them, "I gave him a cookie".:
lol: :lol:

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Brittany

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:11 am 
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Well... Cody didn't get it. :lol:

Tried all the suggestions in here without much. He does a lovely spin to come to me...

So instead I tied a piece of baling twine to his cordeo, and walked behind him (keeping my hands on his butt to stop him from spinning around to "catch me) and then waving my arms and saying "Back" (a word cue he knows) and then gentle tugging the twine. Two quick steps back. :D As soon as he figured out what I wanted, no problems.

This is his first lesson doing it, I haven't asked for more then 3-4 steps, and he comes back smooth as can be. I am quickly fazing out the cordeo cue, he will hesitantly tiptoe one step back without it, but he's not sure that's really what a I want. Next lesson I'm sure we'll get rid of our 'cheat string'. :D

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If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.


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PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2008 9:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:23 am
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Location: Norway
My horse loves this task.. :)

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PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2008 5:01 pm 
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Hi Kaja:

That's so funny, to see him react to the scratching. You really found his itchy spot.

I'll have to try this for sure. Instead of giving treats, he gets a scratch. Great idea.
Jocelyne


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 1:03 am 
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Kaja, lovely vid! This put a great smile on my face, especially seeing the wonderful expression on your horses face when you get just the right spot. I really like the way he stands so patiently for you when you walk away. How did you teach him that?
You inspired me to go straight out into the paddock and give my horse a tail scratch, so she thanks you too!
Sue

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,
But the horse of the wind, the horse of freedom, the horse of the dream. [Robert Vavra]


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 8:23 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:23 am
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Thanks both of you.. =)It's a she, by the way! :P

I'm not a fan of using food as reward so I use scratching as much as possible to motivate her. I think it's very funny to see her face when I'm scratching myself, she loves it! I tried to teach her to stand still last year, but I gave it up because sometimes she just came after anyway. But now lately she have started to understand herself when it's a good idea to follow or just stand there and wait. (:


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 9:56 am 
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Way cool Kaja! Apologies to your girl!
Do you find it's easy enough to motivate her to more physically demanding (active) activities with just scratchies? Will she run and jump and get energetic for you?
Cheers,
SUe

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

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


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PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2008 10:06 am 

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:23 am
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Location: Norway
I think it motivates her enough till now, I just posted some playing pictures in the photo section.. =) I think I will might give her food as reward when we will try other exercises, I don't know. I was afraid of that she would ONLY do things for food before, I'm not afraid of that anymore, so I will probably give her some treats soon..! :D


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:23 am
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Location: Norway
Just wanted to show another one from last summer, when she learned to swing while backing! :)
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:54 pm 
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Faith wrote:
Well... Cody didn't get it. :lol:

Tried all the suggestions in here without much. He does a lovely spin to come to me...

So instead I tied a piece of baling twine to his cordeo, and walked behind him (keeping my hands on his butt to stop him from spinning around to "catch me) and then waving my arms and saying "Back" (a word cue he knows) and then gentle tugging the twine. Two quick steps back. :D As soon as he figured out what I wanted, no problems.

This is his first lesson doing it, I haven't asked for more then 3-4 steps, and he comes back smooth as can be. I am quickly fazing out the cordeo cue, he will hesitantly tiptoe one step back without it, but he's not sure that's really what a I want. Next lesson I'm sure we'll get rid of our 'cheat string'. :D


Because I expect Altea to be ours for the rest of her life I have specific set of cues, a repertoire of them, that I am building for her. I will keep a journal for her (not here, but on my computer, and printed to hard copy now and then), with them in it as I build them for her.

Should she ever pass into someone else's hands (preferably someone in my family, but who knows) the "Cue Booklet," can go with her.

That said, I have two cues I'm working on, hand cues. One for come to it, and the other, move away from it.

A flat hand is the "come to it," cue. At present it is solid on her forehead with a whistle or the word "come" being slowly extinguished. The same is starting to become integrated for the "Chin," cue. In time I'll remove the word cue as well.

Soon I'll introduce the shoulder, the barrel, the side of the hip, and eventually the rear for backing to my palm.

What will I use for her to move away? A pointing finger.

These are natural I believe. Horse "Offer," to other horses, as in inviting them to touch them (mostly for scritches), by presenting flat surfaces (having no hands to cue with), and "Point," to make the other horse move away. They use their nose most often and can extend it into quite a formidable "finger," with teeth behind it, should the recipient be too slow or reluctant to move off.

Sometimes the latter is preceded by a head shake as well. So I may shake my hand as a signal to move the body portion away.

Using these movements and body language, if I am correct, should make training go more smoothly and more quickly understood by a horse with herd socialization, and since I don't have a herd for Bonnie, Altea, Kate, and myself will have to be her herd.

This makes me do some very heavy digging into my memory, my long long term memory, as much as 60 years back, and more.

My first sight of feral horses in the wild was about 1952 if I recall correctly. And I followed them every chance I got. I understood nothing of what I saw, but I later was able to read and study and think about it and start to fit the pieces together.

And consider how I might, as a human, fit myself into the social milieu of the horse.

Bonnie and Altea are awfully good subjects to explore this further. Altea because she was herd socialized most likely, and Bonnie because she's almost a clean slate.

I do a lot of observation of how Altea "manages," her child. Eating has established protocols already. Bonnie is also allowed to play bully her mother, sometimes even biting gently and Altea tolerates it.

Very interesting. And very interesting to see how Altea moves Bonnie around.

A light bump on the rump makes Bonnie's nose come up, and of course root at Altea's udder, making for milk letdown to be triggered or increased. A scritch over the withers by Altea using her strong nose "finger" on Bonnie will plant Bonnie on the spot (The secret of why she stood still in the Annaleise photo of me hugging Bonnie ... I was scratching away on her withers).

Altea wiggles her nose back and forth vigorously for the "stop and stand" signal.

She uses her forehand to move Bonnie bodily. It's become so subtle now all Altea need do is move her front feet to switch Bonnie from one side to the other of the big feed bin.

I've studied how Bonnie watches my feet, at least as much as my hands or other upper body parts. The feet, I think, are the key to moving the horse as we wish. It certainly is with other horses. This has been written about, and Hempfling's Dances with Horses is, in video, a great lesson in this.

Of course we have members of AND that know this and have been doing it for a long time. Even Dakota, when I was training him, in midwinter in a snow storm, got it when I trotted.

I wish my feet were up to gallopy gallopy but so far I'm good for only a few seconds of it and that's not enough for Altea to get the idea. I hope I can do more for Bonnie when I start trying some liberty work with her.

I can pressure Altea into a canter with the stick, but I hate that. She's obviously been lunged on a line. So I want to move quickly to voice. But still, it's pressure release work.

With Bonnie I have play sounds to encourage her energy. Sometimes she get's it, and others, I'm not obviously speaking "equus," very well. To human an accent, apparently.

Foals, when they play, and even older horses, tend to make squeals when they are excited, and they sometimes grunt as well. I try both, with my poor equus accent and sometimes Bonnie will run and squeal too.

As for backing to me, I'll likely follow the same path with her. Hand cues to move away and move to me, with various body parts.

She is becoming heavily addicted to scritches, and long raking scratches.

Funny, she doesn't return the favor, but instead stands, while I scratch her, next to her mother and gives HER the reciprocal scratches and little yummy bites. She's a horse, of course. :yes:

Donald

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


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:06 am 
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I wish my feet were up to gallopy gallopy but so far I'm good for only a few seconds of it and that's not enough for Altea to get the idea. I hope I can do more for Bonnie when I start trying some liberty work with her.

I can pressure Altea into a canter with the stick, but I hate that


Hi Donald, you could try a single "canter" step yourself. Just go into skip position, and add in a lifting of head and shoulders and "leaping" circling motion with hands.. usually does the trick. You don't need to keep the skipping up - just one beat is enough, it's the change that signifies the cue, and if the horse doesn't think about a canter step,, go back to your trot or walk, get ready and cue again. This helps to get a nice SLooooow canter when it does come too. I use a "ready, GET READY" pre-cue that gets the excitement and anticipation up, then say CANTER and give my change to skip gait, and immediately reward for even a lifting of the head or a rolling of the eyes. Later my cue can be reduced to just the cirling leaping hand motion.

Very interesting observations about Bonnie and Altea's interactions. What a lucky chance you have to learn horse language first hand, toddler style. :D

Sue

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

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


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:56 am 
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windhorsesue wrote:
Quote:
I wish my feet were up to gallopy gallopy but so far I'm good for only a few seconds of it and that's not enough for Altea to get the idea. I hope I can do more for Bonnie when I start trying some liberty work with her.

I can pressure Altea into a canter with the stick, but I hate that


Hi Donald, you could try a single "canter" step yourself. Just go into skip position, and add in a lifting of head and shoulders and "leaping" circling motion with hands.. usually does the trick. You don't need to keep the skipping up - just one beat is enough, it's the change that signifies the cue, and if the horse doesn't think about a canter step,, go back to your trot or walk, get ready and cue again. This helps to get a nice SLooooow canter when it does come too. I use a "ready, GET READY" pre-cue that gets the excitement and anticipation up, then say CANTER and give my change to skip gait, and immediately reward for even a lifting of the head or a rolling of the eyes. Later my cue can be reduced to just the cirling leaping hand motion.

Very interesting observations about Bonnie and Altea's interactions. What a lucky chance you have to learn horse language first hand, toddler style. :D

Sue


Visualizing what you describe to encourage the canter I can see how that would work. By the way, those who describe the arm being used like the horse's neck are correct. I've been able to move perfect green horses just by various arm motions common between horses in communication by body language.

Probably Altea could learn more from Kate than I. Altea's first owner and the one that greenbroke her was a woman. If what Kate reported to me today is what I think it is it's a sure sign communication between those two, Altea and my Kate, flows more easily for Altea.

Kate was grooming our mudball piggie girl today, and after vigorous use of the curry comb put it on the edge of my bedding cart. Altea reached over and with her nose knocked it off the cart. And looked at Kate with what Kate describes as a "don't use that thing on me again." She loves vigorous brushing though.

Then Kate played with the soccerball, and reaching down pointed to it and said, "touch it," to Altea. I had never even bothered offering play with the ball to Altea, let alone asked her to touch it. She immediately though, when Kate asked, reached down and touched it. Kate, of course marked with a click, and treated.

I've noticed that some things I've taught Altea can fall apart for rather easily. I'm going to have Kate teach her and see if there is a difference. It may simply be she does not read my body language (which I use a lot for cuing and communication) as easily as she reads Kates.

We'll see.

Oh, and we learned today (Kate again) that Bonnie HATES the sound of a zipper. Kate showed me, and sure enough, Bonnie starts and frights and tries to run away from that sound. I wonder if anyone else has experienced this with coat zippers, and if we might be onto something that annoys or can deter horses. I'll have to look into this more.

Thanks again for the cuing hint for canter.

Donald

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


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:00 pm 
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She uses her forehand to move Bonnie bodily. It's become so subtle now all Altea need do is move her front feet to switch Bonnie from one side to the other of the big feed bin.

I've studied how Bonnie watches my feet, at least as much as my hands or other upper body parts. The feet, I think, are the key to moving the horse as we wish. It certainly is with other horses. This has been written about, and Hempfling's Dances with Horses is, in video, a great lesson in this.


Donald, the horses also key a great deal off the shoulders as well as the feet. I would imagine the hips are also keyed. As humans, we tend to use our arms and hands and gesture a great deal. It's habit. We talk to horses with our bodies like they are developmentally disabled (to put it politely). It's rather funny actually (and I laugh at myself of course because it's a very hard habit to break), but it's like watching someone talk to a foreigner who doesn't understand our language. Have you ever noticed that they think that they can actually be understood if they talk slowly and very loudly? :funny:

Anyway, in playing with Tam, I have found that I don't have to point with my hand to indicate which direction I would like him to go. All I have to do is "swing open the gate"...that is, my shoulders. If I open my shoulders to the direction I wish him to go, he goes. If I keep my shoulder-gate closed and gesture with my arm, he doesn't go. So I found out my shoulders were more important than my arms.

Then there is (as my friend Paul calls it) the "I don't know" position. We hold out one arm to the side to tell the horse to go in that direction, and we raise the other arm to "herd" the horse along. If a raised arm means to go in that direction, we're effectively asking the horse to go both directions at once. :D

My point in all this is, that we can use much more subtle body language right from the get-go. Perfect for us oldies that don't move so well anymore! This has been my biggest struggle. Paul has really bugged me about this because I was your typical arm-flailing, jumping up and down body language over-user in the extreme. It's really cool now to use tiny motions - a little twitch of my shoulders, a tilt of my hips, or a little "soft shoe" that the horses see and react to just as well (if not better) than the large body movements. All it takes is a little self reminder that we are talking to beings that read us better than we read them.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:29 pm 
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Ah, now true. How often I've created unwanted effects by gross over cuing.

This is a good reminder to keep it simple and subtle.

Of course some people would think we, and these methods, are crazy, but in fact one sees it over the centuries as quite true, effective, and elegant in its simple directness.

Donald

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


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