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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:55 am 

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:34 pm
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Location: California, United States of America
Hey y'all! I need some help... I've looked through most of the posts on switching from Parelli and found some good things but I need some more help... One of my horses can get EXTREMELY aggressive ( :evil: rearing, kicking, biting, charging(NOT mock, I got run over once), and just being a jerk :evil: ). And if I don't get high in my phases and make sure he knows who is the leader/in charge he will decide he's the boss. He's MUCH better now and I did/do round-penning and if I just stick to low phases and positive reinforcement he gets fed up with it and "leaves me" mentally, emotionally, and then finally physically. :yes: Should I still do the phase 3 & 4's? What should I do :blonde: ? I don't want me or someone else to get hurt because I didn't provide the needed reinforcement... :sad: I also don't want to be too strict and block his playfulness! UGH :rambo: ! So complicated!!!! Tips anyone????? I'd appreciate it IMMENSELY! He's great under saddle and right now we are having fun in our groundwork but I feel its lacking a bit... He's not very playful and I don't feel like his heart's "in it". Our relationship's fair I'd say but I want him to have some exuberance and life in him. It may be because it feels like it's the middle of summer in south FL but even when we get cold snaps (mid-low 70's) his energy level still doesn't have any Oomph to it. I'm having trouble balancing being fun enough to being the "leader" (that is NOT the word I was looking for) that he is looking for and needs. *Sigh* Help :pray: ? If you can help me I'll be forever indebted to you :bowdown: !

~Lauren, owner of two RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME horses!

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:40 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
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Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Hey Lauren,
I am going to try and answer this and you can take what you want!
Firstly I would want to know why this horse is acting agressively. Have a good look at his life physically/mentally. Does he have a field mate, is he the bully or is he bullied? Does he have a physical reason why he might object to what you are asking? Perhaps when you ask for that particular thing he physically finds it's hard?
With Parelli (no matter how soft you are) it is still a leader/dominanace situation/pressure based. My horse too would get a little aggressive when I insisted he do certain Parelli stuff, today he has a choice and therefore has no reason to be aggressive as he can choose to do it or walk away. The only difference is that if he wants the treat, he makes the choice to do it!
So you have a training choice to make. You can either continue insisting (I'm the boss) or you can have a good think and back off and change tactics and wait for a new relatinship to unfold. This way make take a while and you need to have no expectations but you will be taking away the need for him to show you who the boss is. So basically what I am saying is the horse only needs to behave this way if he feels he has no choice.
That said I do believe there are still situations where some horses need certain boundaries and these have to be taught as humanely as possible. If the balance is right and the insistance is few and far between then the relationship is not harmed, only enhanced by a feeling of leadership not bossiness!
So a good starting point would be to back off asking things and try spending some time just hanging with him and seeing what he would like from you for a change.....
I hope that helps a little and I'm sure others will give you their thoughts.

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Annette O'Sullivan

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


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:06 am 
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Hi Lauren,

Annette has already made some very good points, so I will only add two links to other threads:

Dealing with aggression when training
Dealing with a pushy horse

Warm Regards,
Romy


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:17 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:52 pm
Posts: 237
Lol you already know Im one of those AND/Parelli followers..... You follow mine and Chances blog..

But honestly.... intill the charging and aggression STOP I would do a few P4's because thats just out right dangerous.. I stopped AND intill I got my leadership up there because she was getting pushy and would try and kick me. Now that I fixed it she is very willing to do what I want just as I am willing to do what she wants.. she still tests me but its a lot easier to be like hey.. im still higher. Were slowly becoming more equal as we go which is nice :) And we are working together now.

Idk maybe I helped a little just please be safe.

Edit: I wanted to add.. Chance is extremely Playful, shes a LBI/LBE. And even when shes testing me I never stop her playfulness I just switch it and use it in a fun but useful way. I can bring the energy up and down which is really good to have lol! Because she can get HUGE when playing so if its getting to much I can be like hey okay lets start to calm down now :)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:43 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
An axiom in the mental health work I did professionally (retired now) was that there is only one way to empower another legitimately and that is to NOT relinquish our own power, but share and respect power with the other.

It's a humanistic therapeutic concept from Carl Rogers work. I doubt it will ever be outdated.

Truly respecting the others right to make decisions and act on them requires that I too do the same, even when their's and mine are in conflict.

You are working that out successfully, if I'm not mistaken, with your horse-companion.

As rude and savage as it may at first appear, if a human companion I wished to be with threatened to or struck me, I'd be very swift to react. How I would react would depend on a number of things. The details aren't important, but that I am assertive about my own rights in a relationship are.

Bonnie, my 8 month old, daughter of Altea my Andalusian X Arabian mare, has not figured out the magic of detachable hands. I reserve my gloves for those very rare instances when she becomes aggressive and pushy, such as dropping her head and chasing my sweet old Black Lab. I will throw a glove at her. It absolutely says "NO, that is NOT acceptable behavior with your companions!"

I only need to throw it so that it hits the ground in front of her and she gets the message, "You have violated the boundaries."

Being an Andalusian she is very quick to react to human behaviors and feelings, whether negative or positive. When these boundary issue events happen, seconds later she comes for the ritual kiss we share to "make up," and exchange breath.

She, of course, is checking to see if I still love her. Which, of course, my breath tells her I do.

She is like a human toddler, who I happen to believe deserves the same respectful treatment from the others in their lives. Assertive, but kind and loving. Tolerant but clear about boundaries.

These things are what create deep lifelong bonds and attachments of love and respect.

I reckon that some very similar things are happening for you. For that matter, for many here at AND.

We are on the cusp of a new-old relationship with the horse. I think we once had this magical connection (likely developed by female humans more than the male) and lost it for a time. Now you and others are bringing it back. This time I hope it lasts for at least 10,000 years.

Best wishes,

Donald
Nettlepatch Farm

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


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:50 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:52 pm
Posts: 237
I just felt the need to add that

My Phase 4's arent hitting at least not aiming to, I will aim for a spot righttttt behind her..

Im thankful I dont have to do these anymore though.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:13 am 
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GiveHerxAxChance wrote:
I just felt the need to add that

My Phase 4's arent hitting at least not aiming to, I will aim for a spot righttttt behind her..

Im thankful I dont have to do these anymore though.


Risking that I am not fully understanding the Phase 4 concept, but I think the desired impact psychologically can be achieved in many ways.

I want the horse to understand I am his or her companion, not the herd boss, or the lower heirarchy herd member. OUR relationship is special!

I am offering to teach her, hopefully using some of her own horse "language," who and what I am and what OUR language is to be. But I must respect that much of what I introduce is all new to her.

So patience and tolerance must be my theme.

That you are insistent on her respecting your space, the social boundaries you are establishing between you, just as you would with a new friend, is of vital importance.

It can be done with a pattern of patience.

Horses are extraordinarily sensitive to the nuance of escalation and de-escalation. Raising and lowering pressure, with the emphasis on rewarding responses to de-escalation are the stuff of taming the wild horse.
Mustangers must do this and know this well.

When to back off is MORE important then when to increase pressure. Much more.

And there is where the sensitivity of AND comes into play. Being clear in our intent to be a companion rather than and owner. A friend rather than a "trainer."

And play, just as you are doing, is the tool. Just as it is in building new human to human relationships.

I'm considering next exploring the possibility of taking meals with my horses, just as I do with folks I want to be closer to in my human relationships. As it is Kate and I take many meals in better weather on the deck right next to the horse's grazing in the little backyard meadow, and talk with them, and sometimes stop and go play with them, which includes, of course, food treats.

Like three year olds we do not play cooperatively YET with Bonnie. But the time is coming as it does to the four year old human child ... that we do cooperative play. Just as many AND members, yourself included, do with their more mature horses. Bonnie is right on the edge of that experience.

I test it regularly with our two children's activity balls...about 12 inch in diameter swirling colored plastic balls. She is only mildly interested. Though every day I dribble them (as in soccer) around her feet and all about in front of her.

She is starting to see them differently, and I expect her to interact with them and us in the coming months, all on her own, just as human children move to the next level of development.

Watching what YOU are doing convinces me about certain developmental aspects of the growing horse, and too, how social relationships develop between horse and human.

In the past, and in the orthodox horseworld, this youthful playfulness of the horse gives way, under human pressure, to compliance. If it were not so sad I'd at least count it as rude and an insult to the development of the horse's own psychology and potential.

It is exciting to me to read your diary, as you can very likely see without my saying so.

Donald
Nettlepatch Farm

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


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:26 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:52 pm
Posts: 237
Chance was very aggressive/dominate in the past. I did a lot of backing off with her and taking it slow. But she didnt respond to that at all. She was one of thoses horses tthat needed love language and leadership .. not more one then the other. I took to teh phase 1-4 concept because it gave her that please do this [I used a long phase 1] and would be clear. Phase 2 was my .. okay I asked you once now please do this but it was a little more clear then the first time and so on. Phase4 is like a lead horses kick but I wouldnt touch her like some would. Now I only have to use phase 1 one with her. Not because shes scared or anything its because she now WANTS to please me and here a video of even showing shes not scared of the stick or anything I show her, and at the end I very simply ask her to move to the tarp and she does. Ull notice when I walk to teh camera and ask her to turn to me I had to do a very gentle touch with the rope to be like hey im asking you something!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kSGU3SOWB4 shes also at liberty

Not trying to take over the thread.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:47 am 
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As with human children sometimes it is important to reconsider where one is in one's interacting with their development.

And of course this carries over to the development of a relationship.

What is going on and should I back up and start over?

It leaps to my mind that because of the dominance/submission inherent in the Pressure-Release used in Parelli methods that their is a power struggle going on, just as can happen with human children, or for that matter with another human adult we are engaging in a relationship with.

Could it be that the "other," would respond to empowerment ... that is the abdication by you, or myself, of control and an invitation to the other to assert himself?

In other words, is the horse being shown he can choose and not be met with pressure if he chooses something you did not wish him to do, such as NOT approach the tarp, or ignore you when you asked him to face you?

It might sound scary, but it may be a very interesting new path to take.

I suspect with a horse that has had PNH and the use of Pressure-Release as pretty much a constant in the horse-human relationship dyad, that there will be a period of "misbehavior," and "acting out," as we call it in therapeutic work with children, but it may be the very thing to turn the whole adventure around.

The repertoire, the cache of knowledge and support here can be very useful in carrying out such a new adventure and direction.

I'm looking at Altea, who of course had just such a life, when it wasn't total boredom eating her way through hundreds of acres of pasture with little or no human contact for years. I am considering stopping my use of pressure release work with her. Kate, who will be working with her too, will have to be aboard for this experiment.

But just lately I've seen Altea begin to tolerate my touch and attention more. There is a tiny little spark of acceptance she has not shown before in the year and half we have had her. I've gently intruded upon her distant and unapproachable nature. She seems to want to be closer, so I have hope.

Is something like this happening with your horse?

Donald
Nettlepatch Farm

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


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 5:01 am 

Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 4:52 pm
Posts: 237
Well I actually edited out the part where she DID go onto the tarp herself and I rewarded that. But it does seem like a power struggle. And she is JUST starting to accept my touch more because I stopped focusing on what task at hand and having more fun BUT she doesnt always want to be with me like say in the stall I would try and give her a kiss or pet and she would turn her head away..


But im really not sure HOW to stop the pressure release type stuff because she WOULD start taking over its honestly the type of horse she is. If the human isnt the leader.. then she calls teh shots. Im not gonna be riding for 3-4 weeks because Im working on building back muscle.. so I could experiement but again im not really sure how to go about doing it.. and I dont want to hand out handfuls of treats. I want to use them but not AS MUCH as i've seen.

We could talk about this over PM's.... cause I dont want to take over the thread..?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:12 am 
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Quote:
But im really not sure HOW to stop the pressure release type stuff because she WOULD start taking over its honestly the type of horse she is. If the human isnt the leader.. then she calls teh shots.


Well, that is pretty much what AND is about, finding out what the horse wants to do when he is boss :funny:

In my experience, with some acceptions (trauma horses), the only time I see a horse get aggressive is when he/she is being pushed into something he doesn't want to do.
Horses often don't want to do things because they do not see the logica of it 'why, why would I do that?' Or because it undermines their position as alpha or they have a physical problem with it.
To my knowledge, horses always have a good reason for their choices.
And again, most horses never get agressive if there is nothing to agress against.
Mostly it is human demand that sets a lot of horses off, due to past experiences with humans 'don't let the hum get control or bad things will happen to me'.
As soon as most horses get control back over the situation, the aggresiveness is gone.

So, we have to ask ourselves the question; do we want a relationship and understand what our horses want, or do we want a horse that 'behaves and is obedient'?
If it is the latter, it is simply not AND.

And what I see most is people wanting their horse to respect their personal space, but never respect the personal space of the horse.
I feel we must first give than ask, and we must certainly give what we ask.

Warm regards,

Josepha

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:30 am 
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just occured to me that this might be of interest:

Owen is a real alpha horse, who used to bite, kick and rear at me and chased me out of the paddocks.
He is still agressive as soon as the sort of 'need to be dominant over horse'human that is typical about horse training is at our courtyard (like traditional or NH). Without them actually doing anything Owen will go berserk at them!

I have given him to control a long time ago, since then he is the sweetest horse treating me like a princess. Here is a video where he is calling the shots. I wanted to do cordeo work, he wanted to do a new game he invented, 'chase the Josepha' :funny:
You see in the beginning of the video how I go with that, how much fun we have and how safe I am even when I make mistakes with my body language:

viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2929

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:52 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:36 pm
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Location: Belgium
Hi Lauren,

As Michelle, I also use Parelli techniques in my training. As others already suggested, it is important to try and figure out the reason of him being aggressive. Its very difficult to assess something from sitting behind a computer. Is he always like this when doing groundwork? Only during certain excercises? Is it trauma from bad experiences in her past? Is it trust? Is it dominance?
Then concerning the phases. Phase 1 should always be used. I don't think sticking to phase 3 & 4 is going to solve the problem. Its a bit like when people argue and they keep shouting at each other. So try to create a circumstance in which you know he'll behave. Always start with things that he likes, he's good at, that you can reward him for.
And the thing I think is the most important; your body language. As Parelli says; The power of being emotionally neutral. Try to pay attention on how you react on his aggressive behaviour. Do you get aggitated. Do you always respond in the same manner. Because in that way, you might have created a pattern in his mind, without you even realising it. Just some things that I thought that I might help.

All the best

Gea


Good luck with

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 2:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:34 pm
Posts: 33
Location: California, United States of America
Everyone~
THANK YOU :bowdown: !!!!!

Annette~
He has a 2 year old, a yearling, and a 20 year old horses for field mates. He is the bully for sure. No physical reasons to ever get aggressive... He is no longer aggressive (I guess I should have made this a little clearer :blush: ) but every time I've let him "walk all over me (be the boss)" He gets extremely aggressive and our relationship goes down the tank. Right now I'd say we have a fair relationship. He follows me around and we're able to do the Parelli circling game at Liberty w/out a round corral so I just REALLY don't want to lose that...

Romy~
LOVE the threads! They look like they'll really help :)!

Michelle~
He no longer is aggressive towards me, at least. You helped! My LBE/LBI is extraverted for sure, he has most everything in the extreme, but he isn't very playful, never has been... Now my RBI/LBI/LBE/RBE can be EXTREMELY playful :). He's the one in the pic.

Donald~
Thanx! Those are some great tips!!!!! I'll have to try it... I'm buying a pair of gloves right now!

Michelle~
Same here :). I don't have to do many phase 4's anymore... I just don't want to have to start 'em again :ieks: .

Donald~
Thanx for more tips! Even though you're really helping Michelle...

Michelle~
You're not taking over the thread! Y'all are entertaining and EXTREMELY helpful doing what you're doing!

Josepha~
If I let Sonny be the boss I'd have been dead a LONG time ago :funny: ! When I would go into the paddock, even if I just sat there with my energy down or my little sister went in to play with her horse, he would charge and try to bite us :ieks: !

Gea~
He hasn't been like this since we started round penning :). We don't do that much anymore... Only when he gets aggressive which hasn't happened in months! I've had him since he was 9 months old and when he was little (before I moved and didn't see him for 9 months) my trainer, and everyone we'd meet, would comment on how inseparable we were. It wasn't until I couldn't work with him or see him for 9 months that things got bad... It is/was definitely dominance. I always go looooooong phase 1, short 2,3,4. I don't even have to pick up the stick most days because he reads my body language RIDICULOUSLY well. hmmmm... When he gets aggressive I tend to get irritated... I'm going to be really tuned into my body language from here on out...

~Lauren, Owner of a LBI/LBE aka my dream horse, and a RBI/LBI/LBE/RBE aka my "problem child"

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:16 pm 
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xxSonnyxxandxxRedxx wrote:
but every time I've let him "walk all over me (be the boss)" He gets extremely aggressive and our relationship goes down the tank


Oh, I think exactly THAT is the problem: that people sometimes tend to assume that letting the horse have a voice is the same like letting him walk all over them. In every relationship there are rules - but rules are not the same like dominance or one of the partners being the boss. Rules can be agreed on in a completely non-confrontative and often purely reward-based way without using Parelli phases or other forms of punishment. But you will find a lot of info about this in the threads I already linked to. :smile:


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