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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 3:01 pm 
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Recent posts in new threads, even old ones, and from new members on the subject of "pressure," inspires me to once again post some pics of me using "pressure," to "train," little Bonnie Cupcake, the Andalusian filly more formally known as Bonalaria Magdalena.

The training objective was to halter train her, very late at six months old. We didn't bother with doing it earlier as she had learned to approach us in certain ways, including butt first, :yes: :roll: from her earliest days.

Getting her to NOT follow us everywhere she could was the problem, not leading. She never was taught to lead - she's just a come along with you all the time horsey.

Trust levels between us, Kate and I, and Bonnie were and are very high.

Here's how I trained her to halter with "pressure," in pictures, just a few of them, from the Bonnie Album created by noted artist/photography Annaliese Moyer of Portland Oregon USA. You may view the whole series at the following link:

http://www.annaliesemoyer.com/horses/bonnie3/index_2.html

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Above you see me showing Bonnie the new toy. She touches and smells it, determining that it is NOT a green snake.

We name it "Halter Halter." I like having special names for things and actions, nouns and verbs, because horses have better context if one follows grammatical rules ... don't laugh - it's true.

In this case, "Halter Halter," means let's play with this green strappy thing. If I just say halter it shouldn't mean anything because I might say halter to a nearby human in conversation and I do NOT want Bonnie coming over crying for her halter halter.

That's the problem with having spoiled brats. We most all have them. LOL
Moving right along then;

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Above you see "Gimmee, I want it, and I want it NOW!" So, will I give her the Halter Halter. Watch.

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Nope! Not yet. She has to make me give it to her.

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Try as she might, it stays pretty much just out of reach, in fact I draw it purposefully away from her - she follows me around.

Does she finally get the Halter Halter away from me?

Tah dah!!!

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So now that you've viewed a few of the many pics in this "training to halter" series what do you think?

Was Bonnie under pressure?

I bet I don't even have to ask this question. Is pressure good or bad?

Again, the entire series is at this link, if you are interested:

http://www.annaliesemoyer.com/horses/bonnie3/index_2.html

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Bye for now,

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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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 07, 2011 5:36 pm 
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More from the "High Pressure," training methods of the Old Man. This is from the series on halter play...opps! TRAINING.

From time to time I've mentioned that Bonnie, a few days old, developed foal scours ... attributed by the vet to "Mare Heat," but since them I've uncovered evidence it came by way of the mother's milk contaminated with microfilaria of the Onchocerca parasite.

In any case, we had to clean Bonnie twice a day, and I would not put a rope or halter on a baby that small for fear of panic injury, so I held her in my arms. Later she was so happy to have the cleanup with nice warm water that even Kate could hold her easily, and in time, well, she became trained to present her butt to us for the job - all incidental, or coincidental as it turned out - no intent to train.

That has resulted, now with her a two year old next month still presenting her butt.

Only now it's sort of "well, what DO you want me to do with your silly jabbering and clicking and hand signals - I'll try this to see if it will shut you up."

Here at six months or so, during her trying to figure out what to do to get me to give her the Halter Halter, she tries her repertoire, leg lifts, ramener, turn on forehand, etc., and of course this:

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The Old Man, of course has to quickly step out of the way, as she is no longer such a little baby. Imagine today, nearly as big as her mom, how that swinging butt approaches. LOL

This series on "Halter Halter," is quite long with many funny pics like this one above. The Old Man has to hustle to keep Bonnie engaged with all the "pressure," he can manage to bring to bear on her. Poor little girl.

http://www.annaliesemoyer.com/horses/bonnie3/index_3.html

She was determined to get that halter away from me.

I confess that we actually did, much earlier, at about say 3 months old, try the gentle approach and retreat method popular with today's NH clinicians. What a joke. She would have NONE OF THAT nonsense.

But when I decided that play and tease, taking the halter away, was a more AND way of doing things, her attitude changed considerably, as Analiese Moyers' pictures show.

Yes, of course I know that this kind of "pressure," the kind that the horse responds to by wanting to play, and in fact insists on playing with his or her human companion, isn't the kind of pressure we worry about upsetting the relationship.

Thing is, and it's so in the nature of the horse, when they have a strong attachment of trust built they will put up with a lot of negative pressure.

This psychological characteristic of the horse, one we humans share, can and does sometimes sabotage the relationship though ... and we see our once happy playful companion become a drudge who passively but dully tolerates and obeys. It happens because we can, in pursuit of performance goals over relationship, push, put on pressure - the negative kind.

We have then betrayed a trust. Or so I personally believe.

Bonnie taught me that when I released her, right after an intense ground training session of yield and draw in, forehand and hind quarter turns etc., she took off and passing me she delivered a very painful kick to my thigh. I knew instantly that I was NOT, in her view, playing nice.

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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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 07, 2011 6:16 pm 
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Donald Redux wrote:
Thing is, and it's so in the nature of the horse, when they have a strong attachment of trust built they will put up with a lot of negative pressure.

This psychological characteristic of the horse, one we humans share, can and does sometimes sabotage the relationship though ... and we see our once happy playful companion become a drudge who passively but dully tolerates and obeys. It happens because we can, in pursuit of performance goals over relationship, push, put on pressure - the negative kind.


I think this is so true and so important. And as they get used to it, they can put up with more and more and more, still staying with the human... up to amounts that would make a young horse leave in a heartbeat. This is why for me personally the fact that I am working at liberty does not yet say anything about the quality of my behaviour (like in "He can leave, so it's not too much pressure"). From my interaction with Titum in the early years I know how much pressure I can use without having him leave. :blush:

For me one reason to keep the pressure as low as possible and never use it as our motivator for training purposes (i.e. not increasing it to a degree where the horse performs an exercise in order to get the pressure stopped) is just that. From my rather limited experience in occupational health psychology I know that what someone can put up with in terms of pressure and what is beneficial for him can be so far apart - I'll just assume that horses aren't fundamentally different from humans here. ;) They can take much more than what they psychologically benefit from. Lucky as I am, I have no sick horses who need to get physically trained to live without pain, so I enjoy the priviledge of being able to choose the psychological benefit as our main guideline.

Oh, and very cute pictures of little Bonnie, as always. :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:07 pm 

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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
I think horses themselves use pressure, sometimes a hard stare or a neck bend, sometimes a flick of the tail or a smack with a tail and sometimes it escalates.
Daniel uses looks and shoulder barges to remove Arthur from me, then he can take the prime spot for tummy rubs or leg scratches.
As a human with eyes front and dominant hands I expect I pressure my horses as well, but much less than they use on me.
Arthur is big, okay, by Shire Horse standards he is no giant specimen, but he is 1700lbs or 770kgs and if he wants to step on me, I try to move my feet, mostly I move before he lands on me. Arthur stands by me or engages with me when I am busy mucking out, demands attention or treats by using his front hooves, if counting and scraping with left front paw does not get a response he changes and scrapes with the right hoof. If I carry on and only chat to him telling him I will have a love with him when I'm done with chores, the nose can knock me sideways, mostly he walks past me, uses his hip to contact me and then reverses so I can fall onto his hind leg. That is where he wants me to be, stood behind his tail, scratching his hocks and hugging the tree trunk legs, especially scratching the inside and front of his hind legs, when I get the correct spots for him, he gets long and low, stretching down and is about a foot shorter. I am sure he will fall over one day.

Daniel is a tiny bit more polite, offers a kiss, then uses head and neck to pull me to his barrel where I am requested to reach the tummy and dorsal line and all areas he feels easier done by human than pony.

Previous horses were cuddly but very much more respectful, and did lots of longlining, lunging and in hand walking before being bitted and ridden under saddle, I chose what I felt would help make a safe riding horse and I decided what exercises needed most repetition.

I may not be planning to go racing or show jumping or cross country jumping but I might have to be firmer, however much I laugh and have fun being horse servant.

Nice to review again Bonnie's halter halter, she has changed a lot to the girlie in the trailer. xx

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http://www.flickr.com/photos/piepony/


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 8:19 pm 
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PiePony wrote:
I think horses themselves use pressure, sometimes a hard stare or a neck bend, sometimes a flick of the tail or a smack with a tail and sometimes it escalates.


Yes, they do, and often a lot. However, all the horses I know use pressure with each other to resolve conflicts, to tell the other one off. I never saw a horse use pressure on another horse in order to make him interact with him, to initiate or sustain positive social interactions (except for play, see below). To me it also appears that the pressure used by horses among each other is mostly used within a small time window - just until the mission is accomplished (like when the other horse has been successfully chased away from the food). Those situations where I saw pressure to be used more constantly among horses (like Titum driving a mare across the pasture, following her, instead of just chasing her off) seemed to be perceived as rather stressful by the other horse.

Of course you can see horses use lots of pressure when playing, but then - at least as far as I know - there is no hierarchy of who is allowed to inflict the pressure and who has to tolerate it, but both can put pressure on the other one and both can opt out by just stopping to play along.

I hope that I don't sound like I was trying to suggest using pressure was a bad thing. What I am just trying to say its that it has certain effects. In some situations those effects (or part of them) might be just what one is aiming for, but I think it's important to consider what those effects are and if they fit with one's goals in that context. Or more specifically: if I pressure the horse into moving for example, saying that my horses also pressure each other into moving out of each other's space often, I want to be aware of what they want from each other then. What does the "pressurer" want and what does the one being pressured want to achieve with his reaction - and is this what I want in the moment when I am using my cue to give a signal to the horse? :smile:


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:02 pm 

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I think it was Clint Anderson? that said there are 3 options when we interact with a horse and our body language. He says a lot more of course but that stayed with me and I use it. :funny: We are either pushing, drawing or blocking. Of course we can use our bodies to create a combination of these things and it helped me enormously to see it this way and understand it in those simplified terms. We can also be passive, but then we aren't really interacting in the sense of doing anything pressure wise.

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Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 10:48 pm 
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:yes: Annette, that does make a very clear mental picture of the available options.

I use pressure. I use it to deal with one specific situation. Alaska sometimes wakes up on the wrong side of his head and returns to his old "bad" ways of being very controlling. If he tries to pressure me I use the same intensity of pressure right back at him. This is easier to do now than it used to be when I first got him ;) because I no longer expect him to escalate into aggression and try to kick or bite me. He just seems to need reminding every now and then that he is NOT the boss of MY herd - I am - but he's welcome to be second-in-command as long as he respects me.

IF he starts showing his old "bad" food aggression behaviour of chasing the other horses off their food I will chase him away from where the herd is and keep him away for a few minutes. He must share. If another horse is being rude then I don't interfere but if Alaska is being "greedy" then I will send him away. It doesn't take long for him to ask to approach me (he lowers his head and offers eye-contact while tentatively stepping towards me) and he usually gives me a nice soft feeling while he "apologises" and I get a strong feeling of embarrassed foolishness from him. It's rare for him to repeat the bully-boy behaviour for a while afterwards and the intervals between episodes are getting longer.

I know that horse emotions are not the same as ours, but the only way I can explain it is by referring to our emotions. These are the emotions I "feel" from him at those times.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:26 pm 
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Glen Grobler wrote:
IF he starts showing his old "bad" food aggression behaviour of chasing the other horses off their food I will chase him away from where the herd is and keep him away for a few minutes. He must share.


I do that, too, when Summy chases the others away from their food. I push Pia away when she annoys the boys too badly while I am around (she would NEVER dare to do that without me, but when I am there she feels safe to play the little monster) and I also chase Titum away when he attacks Pia while I am around.

I feel like I owe them to protect them and I will use pressure to make sure they are safe (although actually with my horses it's not entirely their fault if something like that happens, because when I am as attentive as I should be, I can see those situations coming long before and can prevent them in positive ways). That's exactly what I mean with specific situations and goals. With one of my horses chasing/annoying/attacking the others, my goal is not to show him that he was great, that I was seeking contact, that I was interested in joint activity or any other prosocial thing. I want him to get away and it's okay for me if he feels bad about this in that very moment.

What makes pressure an okay choice for me in those situations is that:

- they involve very specific behaviour which the horses clearly know is absolutely not acceptable in our little family
- the pressure is directed at a deliberate action and not at not acting, like in refusing to trot when I ask or something like that. This makes the pressure seem easier to prevent, requiring no extra effort from the horse just to avoid me or my behaviour and so it is not a result of MY behaviour but theirs
- they know exactly how to end the pressure within a second or two, with a minimum of effort
- those situations are not part of our standard interaction but more like a very rare emergency situation.

With this set of reasons, using pressure in those and some other very specific situations to me seems to fit into my general framework of interacting with my horses. In some other situations it does not, because there I have different goals and the pressure would have different effects. And so I guess everyone has his own specific situations where pressure fits for him and where it does not.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:52 pm 
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I suppose, Glen, and others responding to this thread, on what our goals are. Not everyone wants a "relationship," of the companion kind with their horse, though I do notice this is a pretty constant and universal theme here in AND.

The truth, for me at least, is that just like my human relationships, my equine relationships are not the product of cookie cutter sameness.

I've never known two people to be so alike I could deal exactly the same with both, and I can honestly say the same for horses.

You example is classic for this, an axiom, if you will. One does not treat Freckles as one treats Alaska.

Even mother and daughter, Altea and Bonnie, who share both breed behavioral similarities, and genetic ones as family, each has their own particular world view and I must, and willingly do, account for this in my dealings with them.

Some of it is age, of course. The horses' not mine <clears throat loudly>

I have to think Altea was feisty and adventurous as a foal and yearling as is Bonnie. I have to wonder what happened to her that made her so cautious and careful around humans. I suspect some NH and other kinds of interactions, as she, when she came to us, responded to PNH cues.

With all that's gone on since she came to us, barn building, special exercise to recover from founder/laminitis, carrying then foaling and raising her little Bonnie, Altea and I have had limited interaction - the very thing I think happened to her over her first 13 years of life.

She was occasionally ridden and occasionally handled, and occasionally trained, but not much. Months of solitude and quiet, the first ten years with her mother out in pasture in the high Idaho country, then a couple of years in another part of Idaho without her mother but with mules that followed her around adoringly (probably annoyed her, when she wasn't feeling bossy).

But notice, very little play and the excitement of interaction with a human that had time for her and time to introduce play into her life. I feel most guilty, considering the attention I've found time to give Bonnie.

My New Years' Resolution for 2011 is to spend play time with Altea. Not just exercising, but exploring, probably with much click/treat work as part of the play - but whatever it takes.

That is too much beautiful horse to neglect just because there is a "cute," filly running about. Altea is most special.
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In fact, I am about to go out now and spend a bit of quality time with Altea. She loves to roll in the snow, and there is nice fresh clean snow in the little meadow, not that she is fussy. She will roll in muddy slush if that is all there is. :)

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:46 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 22, 2010 5:20 pm
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This is exactly what I need to look at and learn from! Thank you and I think Sammy would want to thank you too if she knew why her human is making more and more sense =)


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