The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
It is currently Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:27 pm

All times are UTC+01:00




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1 2 Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:56 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Ontario, Canada
I read what Josepha said in her "equipment" post, and it was very helpful!

I was given a book for Christmas, which was on my wish-list, about in-hand work. I had only read descriptions of the book on amazon.com, and was impressed with what I read. While the author describes her work as being a gentle approach (and it is, compared to some harsher stuff that's out there), I did notice that her standard equipment consists of a cavesson with a chain, a snaffle bit, and side reins. She also has the "driving" approach when longeing. At least she believes in short work sessions, rather than long, tiring and tedious ones.

Because her work is in steps, the book appeals to me. I am not a competitor, and I do not wish to compete in dressage, but I do like the exercises and how they can help the horse become more supple, so I want to learn more about it. I already decided that I would not use a bit (personal preference), and I want to get a vienna cavesson instead of a metal one.

I had wondered about the use of side reins, because I would rather that Fanny learn how to collect herself on her own, when she is ready to offer it, rather than trying to force her into a frame with the side reins if she's not ready for it. I see that I was on the right track with that one :smile:

There is also the issue of "driving" or pushing the horse while longeing. I would also prefer that Fanny doesn't feel like she needs to be driven or pushed, but goes out willingly.

So there is a lot to be modified as I go through this book :huh:, but I do like how the steps are laid out and the movements are explained, so I will use the book as a guideline, and get other advice in this forum :yes: . Winter has arrived here in full force and I don't have an indoor arena, so I won't be able to get into this as fully as I'd like until the spring, so I have a couple of months to finish reading this book and doing research on how I want to modify it to our liking.

Another piece of equipment that she uses is a surcingle. There are no issues with that, are there?


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:03 pm 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
Posts: 2147
Location: Vienna, Austria
For me, one simple reason for not using any tack on Mucki was to see what a certain kind of equipment actually does or does not. How can I know the effect of something, if I haven't tried without first?
Seeing the difference was very often very revealing for me. Using reins for in-hand work (like shoulder in) was more of a hinderance so far. Might be that I'm not very proficient using the reins yet, on the other hand the results without reins are quite convincing :yes:.

Some tack Mucki dislikes very overtly ;), but sometimes Mucki demands the use of certain equipment :ieks:!

Cyndi wrote:
Another piece of equipment that she uses is a surcingle. There are no issues with that, are there?
What do you use it for? Long-reining would be the only reason I can think of?

_________________
Volker

The horse owes us nothing.


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:45 pm
Posts: 12
I like to use as little as possible when "working" the horses, this applies to ridden and ground work. My thoughts are that the less the horses is wearing, the less there is to restrict any movement the horse is making. If there is less restriction, there will be less tension in the horses body and a more relaxed horse is going to move a huge amount better than what a tense horse will :)

For me, I think less is definitely more :)

Tx


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:47 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Ontario, Canada
Thank you for your replies!

I really don't know what tack is "necessary" or not. I just wanted the book for a general idea of what the exercises were and the benefit of them on the horse :smile: For the most part, I have been doing things at liberty with Fanny, but I don't really know what I'm doing. I like the "less is more" attitude too, but I need some direction as to what to work on. I am not an experienced trainer, just someone trying to do the best for her horse. I want her to enjoy our time together as much as I do, and that is why I am asking questions. She doesn't like to work, and would be much happier standing around in a field grazing all the time. Because she is an easy keeper, I feel that I should be doing some form of exercise and gymnastics with her. If I had an overweight child, I would do my best to get my child involved in something active, whether they liked it or not, because it would help them in the long run. I kind of feel the same about her. I wanted to work consistently with her last summer, but it was so terribly hot and humid, even just going for a short walk in-hand was nearly unbearable, never mind riding her!

I don't do a lot of riding, and never have. I would love to do more, but want to make sure that she's ready and willing to support a passenger. I'd been getting on her bareback in the past month or two, but that's it, for 15 minutes to an hour. And if I did that daily, she would want nothing to do with me after a while. I would love to have her invite me to get on!!! I had hoped that doing these exercises would be enjoyable for her, and would add something special to our relationship (not that tack has much to do with that anyway - unless I take away something that is causing her distress).

I often get told by my barn owner that I am too soft and that Fanny doesn't respect me (even though she is the best mannered horse in the barn and is kind and gentle, etc. - I'm sure he says I'm soft because I don't just get on Fanny and "make her go!", which is his philosophy)...but I hear so many conflicting opinions about what role we should be using as the "leader". Some people say it's an equal partnership; some say you are to be friends with your horse; others say you have to be the dominant leader; some say to be a benevolent leader; many say that horses "need" a leader. I am just confused and don't know who to believe. I know, I know...be who Fanny wants/needs me to be. That can be just as confusing! lol When she sees me, she comes to me. If we are in the small courtyard, she will follow me around and is attentive. I can walk her on the road and she is relaxed. If I want to groom her in the courtyard or at liberty in the barn, she will almost always walk away from me, no matter how gently I go about things. She stays with me on her terms. When I want to lunge at a walk once in a while, and ask her to move out, she will choose that time to come and stand right beside me. That's one of those times when someone would tell me she has no respect for me. And then I battle with whether or not I should "be the leader" and "make" her do it, or if I should listen to what she's trying to tell me (which is probably, "please don't make me work."). I seem like a doormat, but I do possess a deep inner strength that allows me to remain calm during stressful times (horse-related or not, I tend to remain calm during a crisis), and I won't stand for any behaviour that is dangerous. I just need someone to recognize that inner strength and help me channel it. I was hoping that by following this in-hand book and getting the equipment, it would put me "in charge", and maybe Fanny would respect me more. On the other hand, it may make her resent me if she doesn't like it.

I am SO sorry for rambling!! I managed to get off the tack subject quite efectively, didn't I? :blush: :blush:

To answer your question about the surcingle, Volker, it is indeed used for long-reining, and also double longeing. In the past, I've attached the long lines to the saddle, and it seemed to work for longeing...and I've run the lines through the stirrups for long-lining.


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:38 pm 

Joined: Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:45 pm
Posts: 12
I think, the role in which us humans should take on, will have a lot to do with the character of the horse in front of us.

I don't feel I know enough about your horse as yet to really advise on the role you might like to try with her but I can explain about my role with my own horses, which may or may not help you :)

With my mare Abbey (who is also a Welsh Cob), I think a good way of explaining my role would be "the decisive close friend". I make the decisions, but at the same time me being the "close friend" also allows Abbey to express her feelings on anything and that I will listen and there is always a compromise to ensure that both myself and primarily Abbey, are happy with the decision made. If Abbey was to make the decisions, it would be that she stand in a field all day long, stuffing her face, getting stupidly obese! This just cannot happen due to health reasons. Abbey has been diagnosed with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome) so maintaining a good weight is VERY important for her and to do this requires exercise. Therefore, I make the decision to exercise Abbey, whether that be ridden or groundwork, but Abbey will play a huge part on deciding what it is we do and for how long etc. If she tells me she is tired and had enough, we finish. If she tells me she needs a day off, then she has a day off. If she tells me she wants to do liberty work, then we do liberty work. So I think with Abbey I am definitely the decisive close friend :)

With my veteran Kiwi, it' s quite different. Kiwi is ageing and suffers from arthritis, so in a work sense, he very much makes the decisions. If he doesn't want to be ridden, then I don't ride. If he does want to be ridden, then I will ride :) a month can go by and I don't ride, this is fine :) I think with Kiwi we are just close friends. Kiwi can share his thoughts with me at anytime, and I think he knows that I will listen and do my best for him. At the same time, Kiwi will also listen to what I am saying and do his best for me. It is very much an equal partnership but with riding, Kiwi does have the edge on making the decisions :)

I hope this helps you Cyndi. If not I'm happy to help further if I can :)

Tx


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 9:21 pm 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
Posts: 2147
Location: Vienna, Austria
Cyndi, I believe I know how you feel. I haven't had any contact with horses at all until 5 years ago. That's when I took some riding lessons and went on trails and longer trecks. Two years ago I bought my horse Nepomuk. At that time he was three years old and perfectly untrained ;). Most people would say that's the most stupid thing you can do. I say it was the best decision in my life.

I struggled with the same questions and uncertainties that I read hear from you and I still do struggle at times. Especially the topic of leadership is a hot one :roll:. Never ending story. I had a barn owner as well who was sure my horse will kill me any time soon, because of my soft way with him. I still have issues with getting my horse out on a circle away from me. He likes to stay close, because that's where the treats are :D. I clicker him now for distance and it's getting better and better. What I learned so far from this forum is that there seems to be always a way to do things in a nice and positive way. And that pressure and force is not necessarily needed. Most of the time I stick to a rule of thumb: if it doesn't feel right, there must be something wrong. :yes:

Be sure to check this thread: Links to threads about different topics
It is a wonderful collection of important topics, where you can find a lot of info about leadership for example.
And of course, don't stop asking questions - there's a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people here!

I think your approach via in-hand work is great! In fact I do the very same thing. May I ask what book you are reading?

Do you use positive reinforcement/food rewards/clicker training? It is such a wonderful way to motivate your horse, if that's an issue with Fanny.

_________________
Volker

The horse owes us nothing.


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:24 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
I've not commented often, Volker, but it is folks very like you and your story, that so inspire me to keep working on cleaning my "repertoire," of pressure and punishment and all things force.

Love what you are doing.

Here's a thought. If it's being by the treats that your horse responding to with too much closeness, treat at a distance. There would be two ways to do that, and it's what I use with Altea (who was -R trained traditionally before I got her). Her's is to stop on the circle and I come to her, not she to me. I hot foot it out to her at first but she quickly learned to wait.

The second way, and I'm going to use it with Bonnie, and picked it up on what I think of as best clicker forum on the Web, would be to put Bonnies in a bucket out beyond where I want to circle her, and after a click, let her move a step or two out to it. The variation on it I've heard on that forum might be good too - to toss it to her. In fact the owner of the forum suggests using distance work more and more as the horse learns the art of clicker, and how to trainer their treat dispenser. LOL

It's a delight to see her stand and the horse back away, on cue, for many steps for her as she holds her place. That's one of my goals. Beats flipping the lead line in their face all hollow it does. :-)

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


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 10:29 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
I seem to have lost my post on "leadership," issues. I can recall though the salient point I was making.

I want a friendship with the horse, and as such, the role of leadership needs to meet these criteria: A leader asks and does not boss. A leader protects and does not force. A leader points the way and lets the other walk the way. Similar thoughts...and how I treat friends. I've noticed that some of the most powerful leaders now how to play and how to engage others in play. I'm reminded of the Dalai Lama ... a man with considerable humor and playfulness as I see him.

That's the model I strive for. I fail a lot, but then I succeed enough to very joyful times with my two girls.

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


Top
   
PostPosted: Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:01 pm 
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:42 am
Posts: 2147
Location: Vienna, Austria
Thank you Donald! I for one find your story much more inspiring ;). It's harder to rework a whole story then to fill an empty page.

I do clicker for standing at a distance, moving from me and so on and we make good progress - it's just a matter of time and patience now. Mucki never crowded me, he just loves the exercises where he can stand next to me and mimic me. Bows and jambettes and the like. But I invented - or better Mucki did - a very nice game to reinforce him for keeping distance. He absolutely loves it now:
It works like the Parelli yoyo game, only that I use hip cues to get him to back away from me. When at a distance I cued Mucki for the jambette. Since he loves to do that, he did it readily and soon started to mix it with coming back towards me. Not long after that he started to back away all by himself, just to be able to come towards me at Spanish Walk :ieks: :applause:.
After he teached himself that, it was much easier to do things from a distance. And it was basically his idea :thumright:.

_________________
Volker

The horse owes us nothing.


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:00 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Wow! Fantastic. What a perfect behavioral chain. Now doing Spanish Walk ... oooo, envy envy envy, but so inspirational. Now if the darn weather will turn and this virus cold will go away I'll be back to this kind of work. Best wishes,

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


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:16 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:40 pm
Posts: 4733
Location: Belgium
Take the role that works for you and your horse. It can be that simple :) Like any relationship, it is different for every combination and can shape and alter over time.

Isn't it an oxymoron that we should use all sorts of tack to 'teach' horses movements that come natural to them, which else we could not teach them in the first place (if they were not natural I mean)?

Try as much freedom work as you can, reins actually only have use if you know what to do with them, or else they will get in the way. But if you know what you are working for, then reins can help the horse micro shape his movements. With for example shoulder in, it is the outside rein that is very useful with some horses and under some circumstances. The inside flexion with the rein is very difficult and needs lot's of practise. Any mistake will cause the horse to fall out of the shoulder in and on to the shoulder (the opposite of what the exercise is about). Therefore, flexions are best taught hand targetted for newby riding art practicants, onless you have a hands on trainer to guide you through the delicate process :)

The surcingle is to either attach the side reins (which we obviously advice against) or to help a young horse to get used to a girth type of feeling. It also can look pretty with a nice baroque pad :)

Tell me, is the book from Kip Mistral and Karin Schuthof? Karin is a friend of mine, which I have not seen in a long time. It is an excellent book and really good as reference for starting this work AND style :)

Hope I am helpful :)

_________________
www.equusuniversalis.com


Top
   
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:50 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Ontario, Canada
I finally have some time to read these posts!

Tiaki - thanks for explaining your relationship with your horses! It was very helpful :smile:. Abbey sounds much like Fanny in how they'd like to spend their time. Fanny foundered six months after I brought her home, because the place she was boarding decided to use round bales of oat hay for the summer! Fanny never had oats in her life, and here she was, spending her day with her head in a round bale full of it, so it's not surprising that she got sick. The vet said it was the early stages of laminitis, and she recovered quickly (and we had to move to another barn), but a barefoot trimmer I started using about a year later said that Fanny most likely foundered as well.

Watching Fanny graze non-stop, yet not exercising her, reminds me of watching a family member live an unhealthy lifestyle and doing nothing about it. Yes, she moves around a lot in the area she's in with the other horses, but I'd like to use exercise as an enjoyable time for both of us to bond, so I've got to be a decisive leader like you :thumright: .

Volker - I'm glad I'm not alone in my confusion! :applause: :funny: I've enjoyed reading the 'conversation' between you and Donald about your horses! Fanny is like Mucki in that she likes to stay close to the treats. She isn't pushy, but she just likes to be nearby. If she noses around for a treat and I ignore her, she will drop her head and wait paitiently because she knows that will earn her a treat.

I have done a few things with clicker training, and Fanny responds well to it. I don't know if it's good or bad, but I haven't been consistent with it or any one type of 'method' because just when I'd start something, I'd read about something else I'd like to try. It becomes a matter of trying something new in case "this is it!!", this is the one that fits us best! I read a lot, and I try a few things here and there, but not really enough to confuse Fanny. No, it's just me getting confused! :ieks: I have spent a lot of time searching, and I am learning that sometimes I am so busy in that process that I am missing the simplicity of what is right in front of me. Fanny knows what she can and can't do naturally. I just need to learn to watch her and listen to her.

Josepha - thank you for your advice :smile: ...hard as it is! There are so many areas in which we get along so well, and yet in the areas of riding (and her trusting me while I'm up there) we really struggle. When I was watching your "free show" that your horses put on for you, on YouTube, I noticed another of your videos about Joya. I think it was in the third lesson that I watched, in which Joya was putting her shoulder into you, and you patiently moved her out and away from you. Watching Joya's behaviour was like watching Fanny! She is good for the most part, but when she does things like push her shoulder into me, I just don't know how to best deal with it. Some people will say to give her a sharp whack on the shoulder with a whip, but I'd rather not. I will have to watch as many of your videos with Joya as I can.

I have so many more questions, but perhaps I should start a diary, rather than wandering off the topic of tack :blush:

By the way, yes, the book I'm reading IS the one by Kip Mistral and Ellen Schuthof-Lesmeister. Volker, the book is called, "Horse Training In-Hand - A Modern Guide to Working from the Ground".


Top
   
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 5:09 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
A behaviorist would say, about her pushing into your boundaries with her should, catch her making even the slightest movement away, even the most minimal approximation, sharply mark it and give her an immediate reward.

Continue and watch that movement start to get larger and larger - AND each reward, a favorite food treat is best, given at arms reach beyond her nose so she has to reach away from you for it.

The technique is name "capture," and "shape." For those who have not tried this technique before if you do you will be stunned at the powerful effect.

People sometimes make the most outlandish sounding claims for clicker training, the method I just described, but what those listen to them do not know is THEY ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.

It is the most powerful language we have to work with animals. Whacking a horse with a whip will more than likely cause MORE problems than it will solve. Living creatures are like that. Pressure and pain invariably produces negative results in some manner even if the handler doesn't recognize it as coming from that insult.

Whereas, asking, as one would with "capture and shape," gentle, interesting, relationship building, curiosity producing, and engages the horse's brain in force never can.

Try it. There are many here that can tell you how. Check out the various training folders/forums in AND. I can recommend my favorite clicker trainer mentor if you wish, but we certainly have our experts here.

You do not have to hurt your horse or frighten it to move it out to respectful boundary limits.

You might also want to check and see how YOU are or are not respecting the horse's boundary. Do you stop and ask from a distance if you can approach, for instance. Do you stop and tell the horse what you are going to do next? These are very important manners for horses, polite, and responsible. And if you don't do them the message that horse gets is the one you give - boundary intrusion is the "game," you are telling the horse you want to play with them, and of course they will accommodate - being the helpful sweet and cooperative creatures they are. LOL

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


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:37 am 
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:38 pm
Posts: 81
Location: Ontario, Canada
I like your approach, Donald :)

When I think of it, Fanny really does offer a lot of behaviours when I use "clicker" training, whether I actually use a clicker or a verbal bridge. But I have gotten myself in trouble by using the phrase, "Good girl!" because if I'm on her and she gives me a trot when I ask for it, "Good girl" pops out of my mouth without even thinking, and she stops for a treat :roll:

If there is an object in front of her, like an exercise ball or a pail or anything, one of the first things she'll do is put her front foot on it and look at me for a treat.

I am really interested in Horse Agility, as I think that would be a great way to bond with her, plus it keeps her mind busy with all the obstacles. She is so brave and willing in many ways on the ground, but not so when I'm in the saddle, so I will have to be patient and do a lot more groundwork before I get on her much. I was on her bareback yesterday and she spooked when another horse bit a fence and made it squeak really loud. I was wearing kind of slipper snow pants, and just couldn't keep my balance.

I have Ben Hart's book on clicker training and I like his honesty, that it's not for every person or every horse.


Top
   
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:42 am 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:10 am
Posts: 3688
Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
There are certain things you can do to avoid the problem you point out of stopping for a treat mistaking a work or pat as a terminal bridge. Never treat for those, is one way. And do not treat for volunteered behaviors ... that actually can become dangerous.

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


Top
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ]  Go to page 1 2 Next

All times are UTC+01:00


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Limited Color scheme created with Colorize It.