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 Post subject: Transitioning from PNH
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:01 pm 
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Hi guys. I'm completely new to this. I wondered if you have suggestions for me to transition from PNH using neg reinforcement to AND and pos reinforcment.

We are doing L3 PNH. My mare follows me w/t/c at liberty and we do spend undemanding time together. i taught her spanish walk, but she does not do it silently at all! She is built for collection and balances naturally in most cases. I only quit using a bit a short time ago, but she goes the same in a rope halter and we have been riding with a neck rope or nothing ever since I first crawled on her.

Any input would be warmly welcomed!

thanks for having me,

Danee

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2007 6:54 pm 
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Hi Danee!

First of all; brave of you to jump the gap between Parelli and Natural Haute Ecole! :D

I've done L1 and 2 with Blacky about a year ago in order to be able to write an article about it for the horse magazine I work for, and I was quite impressed by the thoroughness of the program. And I do like the idea of the Seven games, because all in all they are nothing more or less than the basics every horse needs to know to be safe to be around.

However (as you can guess ;) ) I didn't like the fase-system. It worked really fast during the teaching of the games, but Blacky didn't like it at all, so I decided not to go above fase 2 anymore and combine that with foodrewards (as we had been clickertraining for years already. That worked even better. ;)

The thing is that you can't just quit using fase 3 and 4 and expect the same results. Because the simple thing is that the main motivator for the horse - avoid punishment - is then gone. So when you do stop giving fase 3 and 4 (or stop doing things that you know your horse thinks are annoying), your horse will start to give less sharp responses, or stop responding at all. You need to find a new motivator to let him work for. That can be foodrewards, hugs and cuddles, grazing or running around together, but just leaving him alone won't stimulate him enough anymore, because as you left out the punishment, he doesn't seek to avoid your attention anymore. That might sound a bit harsh, but basically it's how it works when viewed from the horse if you do use fase 3 and 4 to teach him things.

Instead you need to make being with you and doing things with you fun. That will probably mean that you'll have to tilt your training schedule, because you can't get by far as much 'work' done as you can when using pressure. Now you have to inspire your horse to work with you. And to do that first he needs to learn that being with you, moving with you can be totally voluntary, without any pressure so that you get in sync together.

Practically this means that I would just do the next training sessions without any gear, and without any pushing bodylanguage. Just run and walk around yourself (maybe with a ball to amuse yourself with?) and move or dance as much as you like. Try to see if your horse wants to come along, but if he doesn't, don't make him or ask him to! If he ignores you and then turns to face you, stop playing, walk towards him, reward him with food, or attention and scratching a favorite spot - and then leave again playing with yourself. If your horse walks towards you, you stop and go towards him, praise him for showing the initiative to join you in your play - and then go and play again.

When your horse really starts to get an interest in your play, starts trotting or cantering with you to keep up, then you know that he's getting interested in you, not what you can do to him. And then you can start asking him a small excercise when he's with you, like moving his hindquarters a step aside. If he does, you reward him and go and run around yourself again untill he starts joining you again.If he doesn't, then you can repeat your fase 2 aid (touching the skin with your finger instead of just the hairs) a couple, say, three times, and then you're off again untill he gets near you again and you ask the exercise or another again.

What you teach him with this playing by yourself is that you as a person are really exiting and fun and inspiring to be with. When he starts to give attention to that, you reward him with you (fun, exiting and inspiring ;) ) attention, and then you leave again. That makes you interesting! Most horses get bored to death by the cartloads of unwanted human attention they get buried under during a training session. Now your horse has not only learned that your attention is fun, but also that it's rare - so he will learn that he needs to become more interesting too in order to catch your attention. And he can do that by performing a little task you ask from him - be it standing with his head low, flexing at the poll, shoulder in or piaffe...

The you inspiring your horse-fase can take one or more training sessions, depending on how much your horse liked your training sessions before. If he really depended on corrections as motivator to play with you, then he probably will need some time to be reassured that moving around and playing with you can be voluntary and fun. Same goes for horses of other disciplines!

When you've established this (really not so mysterious at all ;) ) relationship in which your horse actually wants to learn from you, you need to be very carefull with that. Because you'll need to alter your own views on training too, because when you decide that you'll do exercises the next half hour, your horse will get bored, feel pressurized with all the (even pressure-less!) demands and stop playing along again. Because the deal was; if you as human get interesting enough, your horse will start to play with you. So then don't get boring again! ;)

This can take a while to understand in practice when training, both for you and your horse, so it's the question if this is what you want right now, as your Parelli games won't be that sharp anymore the coming weeks because your horse has lost his (negative, but still) motivator and he needs to purely like training again. So if you plan to do your L3 exam soon, you might want to reconsider starting with this. Because these two things, your horse loving to work with you freely, and upping fases when asking for things, don't go together. It will become really confusing for both of you, because in Parelli your horse won't respond that sharp anymore, and when trying to play together your horse won't want to play voluntary with you anymore and will need upped fases to get motivated enough to run with you again...

So that's the decision you have to make. Maybe you decide to quite Parelli - well, keep the games and information but now try to train them in a more voluntary way. And maybe you decide to do your level 3 first, and then start with this! :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:35 am 
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Thanks Miriam. I am so close to L3, and I'm in the process of lining up some demos, soI think you are right in being careful about starting. I was thinking of teaching something new using pos reinforcment- like to touch my hand (palm down). This could start as a lateral flexion or "head down" and eventually a come to me or a bow.

Do you think introducing one choice oriented positivly reinforced game will have any effect if I'm still doing my pressure/release for everything else?


So here is the practical side of me coming out- how many horses stand there totally uninterested for a percieved eternity? I know you can't answer a stupid question like "how long does it take", but I guess what I am asking is if I do take the leap to frget everything we knew and start over using + reinforcment and choice, will I "get back to " (I know that is worded bad) to where I am now?

I'm really not as skeptical as I sound. I wish there were a way to get my toes wet, but this does seem like an all or nothing.

Hmm, lots to think about- I guess I have time.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:59 am 
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Well, you answered that question yourself already! ;) I can't say how long it will take before you get to this same level of performance again. 1. Because it totally depends on what you do now - if you already use some positive reinforcement, then your horse will think that you're more fun to be around with than when you're only about corrections. 2. You probably will change yourself too. It's like graduating from High School and worrying if you can still study mathematics as good as you could nowwhen you leave now for a year to be a volunteer at Brooke hospital, taking care for sick, overworked horses. Probably that's not the point at all anymore when you come back, because by then it can very well be that you want to become a vet.

This is what I see in change between how I was before training like this, and how I am now:
Before: I was a clickertrainer, tricktrainer and did a lot of long lining dressage with the pony's on a halter. They liked training, and I worked with them for half an hour to an hour in which I asked exercises, trained new ones and repeated old stuff untill we were done. The pony's would still want to be with me, but would be a bit dull by then.
Now: I have chopped our training sessions in much more small pieces, with in between a lot of grazing and massaging in order to get them happy to work along. I use other exercises because I can't train the old ones in this way anymore. For example; stepping under with the hindleg has now somewhat replaced the lungeing, because the pony's get bored when I ask them to trot, walk and canter around me all the time. In the past I would 'repeat' my aids with my voice and whip if they fell out of the gait that I had chosen, but now I see that they get bored and immediately change the exercise in order to keep them focused.

The real change is that before I was the one who told them what we were going to do. My goal back then was doing exercises. Now I sort of look at them what they want to do, and go from there. My goal now is keeping them interested. This means that in the past I would decide to train the piaffe and then work on that for about ten minutes, with a lot of treats to keep them motivated of course. Now I know that I can ask that exercise only three to four times before I need to bribe them into continue working along with me - so I don't and ask for it only two or three times and then do something different.

By the way: a year ago I taught Blacky the yo-yo game by wiggling the rope according to the Parelli package and Blacky worked along, but slowly and really needed fase 2 to get some action when walking backwards. Last week I decided to teach it again with me having no rope and sitting on the ground, and just asking him to back up with my finger in the air and a voice-cue. Blacky got that after only one reward, and immediately began to walk back superfast as long as I counted his steps. So I guess we're doing something right. ;)

To conclude a long tale: you can already start adding + rewards in your training, and your horse will thank you for that! But still you will have to choose at some point between teaching throug pressure as tool, and teaching with your horses' psychology as your main tool. That's where the quest starts: what does my horse want? What does he like? How does he feel about this exercise? How can I change that? When do I need to stop? Your training will become much more demanding on you because now you really need to earn his attention in order to still reach some neat tricks. ;) I like that mental challenge, but others don't, and that's something you need to figure out by yourself!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 3:39 pm 
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Darn...well, I had this great long explaination of how I started to transition Cisco, but it disappeared. I have no idea what button I accidently hit, but it's all gone and I don't have enough time to retype it.

Long and short of it is, that in addition to training a new behavior with positive-only methods, but you can also take a behavior your mare already knows (that she now performs so well that virtually no pressure is required) and start to reward her for doing it. She will be pleasantly surprised. If she responds well (she may even start doing it better or more enthusiastically with a reward in sight), then you will probably find that you can shift all your training over to positive methods a lot faster than you thought. This is how it went with Cisco.

One of the biggest things about transitioning, is workign on your own imagination to figure out how to shape new behavior that are more complex or that require several small parts to be put together to form a finished behavior. But you can always ask about "how" here. There are some really great, really imaginative minds here in the forum!

I had such a nice long post to add. Oh well!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:32 pm 
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off topic and tipp of the day of someone who lost a lot of brilliant (;))posts

type your post in word and then paste it in the forum reply 8)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2007 4:48 pm 
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Hi Danee,

First of all, when Miriam answers a questions I ussually do not have much to add :)

I just wanted to say; when you'll start with this way if thinking and training, you'll get so laid back and receive the 'go with the flow' feeling in everything you do with your horses. (like Miriam already explained in the high school - vet example).

Regarding to my life with my horses;
Now, every day to me is like a free day on holiday... what to do... nothing needs to be done... you can do whatever you like.
But you do not know what to do... nor does you partner... so you just leave the hotel and see where your feet'll bring you.

Later that night you come back, tired and happy.
Wondering what the new day will bring....

As opposed too my former way of Classical dressage was more like 'a day at the office' with deadlines, screamy bosses and judging collegues...
having to aspire an assistant who liked me but nevertheless did not like to tasks I had in store every day...

I say: just give it a try and see where it leeds to.
I see no reason why you can not give your demo's.
I still ride my clinics and Miriam gives her demo's but we have lot's more fun, I assure you :)

It's like moving from central london to the south of france ;)

Warm regards,

Josepha

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 7:57 am 
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Great posts guys- wow, this is so much friendlier!!!!

Quote:
That's where the quest starts: what does my horse want? What does he like? How does he feel about this exercise? How can I change that? When do I need to stop?
I do this already!

You guys have acknowledged that I can probably gradually switch things over to positive reinforcement- On NHE they act like if I do anything resembling anything I did before that I will not get the elusive relationship they talk about. I'm sure the quickest way to Rome is the direct path, but it may be frustrating! I think planting a new tree and nurturing it and allowing it to block the light of the old tree is better than trying to rip the old one out (I've read Hempfling too :) )

If my mare isn't crazy about something I may let it go for awhile or find other more interesting ways to do it. My mare was never crazy about anything resembling longing, even for a few laps, so I avoided it for a LONG time, but she liked me running with her. Now if I get her motivated by me going with her I can then do longing/circling type stuff as long as I keep it interesting (Yeilding her ribs to encourage bend and stretch) and not too long. While I havn't been giving my mare a choice, I have been trying to take into consideration my mare's wishes. I have also always tried to follow up with praise and put time to relax, scratch, graze, etc in our sessions.

Today I played with getting her to touch my hand. Every time I would give her a tiny bit of carrot. I started by making it very easy, but than she had to walk over to me at liberty to touch my hand. Once we were trotting together and she lagged behind so I held out my hand and she caught up to put her nose on it- I immediatly stopped and gave her her carrot peice. No Neg reinforcement needed!

She is very sensitive and willing and never did need much more than a phase two- even when just learning something.

Today I asked her to jump over a single barrel laying down for the first time- and we were at liberty. I used phases one and two only as I tried to position her, just for her to walk around it. She knew I had a carrot in my hand with intensions of giving it too her if she figured out what I wanted. After a few minutes and a couple wrong tries that I ended up rewarding anyways ("foot on barrel?") she finally jumped it and got her carrot, lots of rubs, and a happy human. I know this isn't NHE as there was lots of low phase pressure, but I tried to make the treat or lack there of the focus, and since she kept asking "do I get the treat now?" I think I did OK.
She seemed content throughout the session, but not neccesary inspired!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:03 am 
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I think you did okay as well :)
She will get more intrigued and inspired for sure!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:16 am 
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Hi Danee,

Just let your horse convince and train you to go over to the positive reinforcement side... ;) 8)

But indeed it's a good idea to involve that in your current training already. Your horse will be gratefull for it and like the training better, and you can think it over and see how it works in practice. And if you at one point really want to start AND training, then you can start with the first exercise, the not doing anything (as described in the groundwork section and over here too already) and study your relationship and training psychology in that way. And then you can really start AND training, doing the exercises. But the essence of this kind of training really is the doing nothing togehter, as that causes that 1) the horse wants to be with you, and 2) the horse wants to learn from you, and 3) the horse wants to earn your attention.

When do you have your L3 assessment? And do you do it by sending in a video or live?


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2007 6:05 am 
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By video. To pass L3 you send it dierectly to the PNH office as opposed to having an instructor do it like for L1 and 2.

If I recall the only tasks we really don't have are lead changes (both ridng and at liberty) and jumping 2'6" undersaddle and 3' online. I used to ride jumpers so it isn't like I don't know how to jump, but she isn't crazy about it and she is only 14.1

She is doing about 2'3" online now, and our canter departs and counter canter just improved by leaps and bounds in the past month, so we aren't far.

Lately I've been killing two birds with one stone by figure-8ing over an 18" jump where she swaps leads in the air.

If anyone has flying lead change tips, I'd be happy to hear them. I've taught other horses, but those were jumpers and quality didn't matter. I hope to do tempi's on Asia someday so I really want them to be clean.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 12:10 am 
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Hi Danee:

Just wondering if you passed your Parelli L3. I was also a Parelli student (level 1-2 ground) with my horse. And I can definitely see the difference in his personality in only about 3 weeks!!
I have a right-brain TB. I was scared out of my mind of horses (I was told he was a lazy horse - what I didn't know is that he was underfed and was not healthy at all). Once I got him eating hay all day and dewormed and the works, he got his energy back. But right brain extravert, and imagine, I was scared everytime he moved. Parelli helped me in that sense but now the relationship needs to grow. Level 1-2 is all about dominance (I don't know level 3) and I didn't like the idea of me showing to my horse I was the dominant one in the herd of two. Why can't we be equal. There are horses in a herd that are equal and don't kill each other.
I strongly approve the AND and even if it takes 2 years to change your horse, you're working towards a better relationship and isn't that why we have horses??
Try it you'll like it!!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 04, 2007 1:30 am 
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horsefever wrote:
Hi Danee:

Just wondering if you passed your Parelli L3. I was also a Parelli student (level 1-2 ground) with my horse. And I can definitely see the difference in his personality in only about 3 weeks!!
I have a right-brain TB. I was scared out of my mind of horses (I was told he was a lazy horse - what I didn't know is that he was underfed and was not healthy at all). Once I got him eating hay all day and dewormed and the works, he got his energy back. But right brain extravert, and imagine, I was scared everytime he moved. Parelli helped me in that sense but now the relationship needs to grow. Level 1-2 is all about dominance (I don't know level 3) and I didn't like the idea of me showing to my horse I was the dominant one in the herd of two. Why can't we be equal. There are horses in a herd that are equal and don't kill each other.
I strongly approve the AND and even if it takes 2 years to change your horse, you're working towards a better relationship and isn't that why we have horses??
Try it you'll like it!!


You succinctly pose, with your questions, the very challenges we must address constantly as a given if we want to support our philosophy of softness and companionate living with our horses.

I think there is no single answer, but a multitude of horses and people, who will have to work out their destinies together.

With we humans, having the power, setting the tone and the style of our relationships.

Your question "Why can't we be equal. There are horses in a herd that are equal and don't kill each other," speaks loudly to the differences from horse to horse, and human to human.

That may be the magic that so captures us and keeps us being with horses, each one of us.

It may be YOUR horse IS dangerous if you play horse to horse with him, just as well as your horse may not be, based on who he or she is, and who you are at any given moment.

Exciting, isn't it?

My AQHA stallion and I used to play, at libery, mock battle games together and never once did I fear he would actually bite me, strike me, or kick me, though he did all the faux passes at me that looked like he would, even chasing and snapping his teeth. And I used to do those things to him, as well, and of course never hit or bit him. :wink:

I've worked with little ponies I would not have trusted to pull their punches. No at liberty mock combat with them. You'd be eating your teeth.

Is there anything more fun than these challenges?

Best wishes, Donald

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:05 am 
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I havn't been to this thread in ages but i am pleased to say I in no way have to choose between AND and NH- they are all techniques that have the common goal of putting the horse first. I can pull ideas from "normal" trainers, from NH clinicians and from AND and clicker training and anyone else- as long as I train to my own values and my horses are happy. I 've decided that the line between want versus make is very very fuzzy adn some horses apreciate firm leadership- it give them confidence- others just want you to back off and take a back seat while they offer incredible stuff. To treat either type like the other is unfair to the horse. My own horse likes the clear direction that light pressure provides, the warmblood yearling appreciates more praise and less direction. When I get too soft with my my mare she gets upset and angry with me. When I get too direct with the yearling he goes prey animal on me! Most of the other horses I work are comfortable with the pressure and release but appreciate the rewards that I have been giving more and more often. Some horses can't handle treats becuase they get too distracted- others offer incredible stuff when foo is invloved.

There is no right and wrong so I need not beat myself up over it- I just need to find what works for each horse. NOt just what "works" to get the horse to do things but also to make the horse happy.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:54 am 
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THAT is AND all the way :lol:

edit: forgot to quote:

Quote:
There is no right and wrong so I need not beat myself up over it- I just need to find what works for each horse. NOt just what "works" to get the horse to do things but also to make the horse happy.


especially the last sentence :)

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Last edited by Josepha on Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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