The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:53 am 
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Very interesting reading here. One thing that has always struck me and continues to, is that some people's perception of leadership is naturally very much more fluid, more shared, floating, open, than others, who see it more as a static authoritarian single entity thing. Possibly what those people do is quite similar, but their way of explaining it is very different, based on their own feelings about these labels that we use. Or maybe not.

On the subject of bossing, as opposed to leadership..
For this purpose, I'll define bossing as communication presented with a "do this, because I said so" attitude.
To me and my horses, even "bossing" is fluid, shared, open, and floating. :funny: I watch all of them outright boss each other sometimes, with the exception of Brodie, who is cruel and never gets bossed. I knew early on in our relationships that I wanted to avoid at all costs being like her! Sometimes I boss them, most often I don't, and sometimes, each one of them, at some time or another bosses me. :D "Scratch my butt, because I said so", says Sunrise as she swings her butt round into me and I hurriedly move my feet. I laugh, and oblige. I'm happy for her to boss me in some situations. That's because I TRUST her. I'm not afraid of the repercussions if I did say no. I know I can say no. But it's better if I say yes. And it's not such a big deal. I like the feeling it gives me! Maybe it's a way of evening up the scales. I don't know.

They do this bossing in many ways. I guess other people might say this is "rudeness", but to us, it's just one way we have of sharing, and it's based on mutual trust.

My real boss sometimes tells me "do this because I say so". Not often. Usually she asks my opinion and we talk it through until we reach agreement and a mutual goal, worked towards in the same way. I don't mind when she does. The balance is okay. And I'm not afraid of her. I know that I can voice my opinions and say no if I want to. I trust her and respect her. It's her prerogative to say "because I said so" sometimes. This week she'll come for a visit to my farm to talk about summer camp. If she were a "boss" or "leader" like Brodie, I might be nervous. But I'm not. When she's here, I'll be the boss if necessary. We'll discuss, look for agreement to reach goals in mutually agreed ways. And sometimes I might say to her "because I said so", because I have jurisdiction here. And I trust that she'll accept that.

This is the way I see my relationship with my horses too. I have final jurisdiction in many things, and use it if necessary, even if it means occasionally telling them "just do it". I must be careful not to abuse this or I will destroy the part of our relationship that allows them to also feel like they have the right or ability to say "just do it" sometimes, and keep the balance equal. I also must ensure that I don't use force or fear to create the impetus that is required for my words to be effective. Because then I wouldn't get feedback on my performance as a leader or boss - I would have "yes-horses". :funny:

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:59 pm 
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Some adding to the fry stur of 'leadership in the horse-human relationship'

What I see amongst horses is that exactly that; during play, the roles can get reversed; alpha can get pushed, jumped on and bitten without the lower rank being reprimanded.
That for me is an important issue when training with my horses, where as I always view training as playing. We can set example, and one can follow... but we do not have to, and we can change the who follows who'' all the time.

Second I want to say that simply for being human makes it impossible in a thousand years to become a leader for Don Jamie. My former human collegues have messed that up for good. What the Don needed was uther respect and control over his and every situation and so he got that from me. Seeing as I only have felt shame around him for a long time, from the pure terror the very presence of humans inflicted upon him. He shall never heal, but he is now happy for he finally trust me NOT to try and become in any way his leader, be it good or bad from his or mine point of view.

As concerning Owen, I always try to wesel things out of him, sure, I am a horse trainer, I have this need like an ilness or something :roll: :funny: . I even try pressure, but it never works. In the end, he is the one deciding what he does and what not. And more then often, he decides what I reward and what not and I think the majority of the time he dictates my behaviour. And I end up rewarding him just because he makes me heart sing ha ha ! :blonde:
Yes, as Sue pointed out, with R+ we can shape behaviour and I often do with the horses of my pupils. But I see it more as a tool to get the horse to understand what it is this monkey in clothing is asking. The choice to act upon that understanding, however, is totally up to the horse. Do it and get cookie, don't do it and nothing happens. More often horses decide they do not feel like a cookie, or they can get a cookie with doing something else...

A thinking trainer adjusts his behaviour to the horses needs as much as the horse can adjust his to the trainer (to get what he wants... a cookie, a different game etc). So in that aspect, the Classical and academic outlines of with which I work have come from horses shaping human behaviour in working with horses for millenia. Humans have adjusted to what works.

To me therefore the basis of horse training and interaction is not leadership (therefore I never ever mention nor use it in my lessons or clinics) but it is 'two way communication'. From human to horse and more importantly from horse to human.

For communication, I have never seen leadership needed. :alien:

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:02 pm 
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in addition; working with equine childeren is totally different as opposed to working with an adult horse or even an alpha or a traumatised horse, so I now best go back to writing my book, but thank you all for showing me that I am indeed writing what is still very much actual questioning :)

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 4:08 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
Second I want to say that simply for being human makes it impossible in a thousand years to become a leader for Don Jamie. My former human collegues have messed that up for good. What the Don needed was uther respect and control over his and every situation and so he got that from me. Seeing as I only have felt shame around him for a long time, from the pure terror the very presence of humans inflicted upon him. He shall never heal, but he is now happy for he finally trust me NOT to try and become in any way his leader, be it good or bad from his or mine point of view.
I find myself in the funny position of contradicting all of you, knowing at the same time exactly what you mean and also totally approving of all you say. I´m just contradicting a bit because I want to explain my definition of leadership. In my opinion it´s all just a question of a misinterpreted defintion of leadership. That´s also what causes all the mayhem in the horseworld, where people say leadership, but really mean dominance. They say leading a horse, but really mean pushing a horse. Maybe I should abandon the term "leader" for me, because it´s tainted beyond repair, and stick to "guide" from now on.
When you describe how you changed Don´s perception of humans, I read a perfect example of leadership there. You set a goal for both of you and found a way (through mutual interaction and communication) both of you approved and LEAD Don down that path towards that goal. Could have Don found that way without you? Without someone to lead him, guide him? Maybe, but I doubt it. And certainly not in that time.
Leading (guiding) someone sounds like there has to be a imbalance of power between the two actors, but I don´t think that has to be the case. In my relationship with my girlfriend I know that sometimes I´m leading, driving some initiatives, but just as often, my girlfriend takes lead and decides where things should go. Now who´s the leader in such a relationship? Both of us? None?

Josepha wrote:
I even try pressure, but it never works. In the end, he is the one deciding what he does and what not. And more then often, he decides what I reward and what not and I think the majority of the time he dictates my behaviour.
Would you say that he´s the leader then?

Josepha wrote:
Yes, as Sue pointed out, with R+ we can shape behaviour and I often do with the horses of my pupils. But I see it more as a tool to get the horse to understand what it is this monkey in clothing is asking.
But why is the monkey asking at all? If not to recieve an answer. I always have quite specific questions in my mind I like to ask my horse. I even have long term goals in my head. Even if a lot of times I just want to feel good and warm beside my horse, that wanting alone drives the communication in a certain direction. I´m not saying here, that the horse has no part in this conversation. I´m just saying that I think that there´s always some leading, pushing going on, either from the horse or form the human. To really be NON-leaders, I think one would need to be able to rid himself from all wanting.
I suspect that I´m just driving my definition of leadership a bit too far to be applicable in conversation or even training :roll:. I´m mainly fighting against the fact that concepts and terms are getting tainted by a common practice of dominance in horse handling. Makes me sad.

Josepha wrote:
To me therefore the basis of horse training and interaction is not leadership (therefore I never ever mention nor use it in my lessons or clinics) but it is 'two way communication'. From human to horse and more importantly from horse to human.
I totally agree with you that a two-way communication should be the basis of all horse handling. I just wonder how do you teach or train something, if you do not lead into a certain direction?

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:03 pm 
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ah, but I can try to lead a horse into a situation but I do not seek leadership as a goal.

I never tried to let the Don see that we humans are okay, or some of us are. I just wanted him to feel safe again and perhaps hopefully happy as far as possible. That happened of it's own accord by putting myself between him and the world. I was a shield, never a leader.
You could say I was his body guard and fan...
Could that for some horses or humans have made me a great leader in some situations? Possible, but I did not aspire it.

As to Owen, yes, I think I see him as Fidel and me being his Ché. I have earned an advising capacity over the years, but in the end, he is the decider and it suits me fine. I trust his judgement often more then my own anyway.

With Ino it is different, all though I would never make him do anything he does not want of course, we have some kind of a mother-child relationship going on.

The whole leader thing is part of my work. I do teach lecturs on Authentic leadership. All though I take example of natural tribes such as the Equine society, I only lecture this as concerned to shaping the human society in a more authentic and natural structure again.
The word leadership when it comes to working with horses keeps getting horses just as much in trouble as the word 'contact' concerning reins.

Would I use the word leadership in horse human relationship, then it would be in the same manner as it would for humans solemly; in the light of true democracy, probably an equine invention to start with.
Maybe some horses have elected me as leader on some occasions and I have obliged having their best interest at heart. But more often, horses rather elected an other horse and so it should be for who can understand the Equine needs better?
What makes the possibility of choosing a leader (as opposed to being dominated by a dictator, whether it be human or equine) almost impossible is one concrete thing: The fence.
Free choice gets elected leaders, nothing else.
The choosing comes from experience of knowing the one that gets elected.

I do understand what you mean, and you are probably a great leader to your horse.
But for me leadership, has no goal of interest in my interaction with horses (also not with people). Should it occur, I will oblige, but it only humbles me more every time. It awes me in ways I can not express, but it relieves me to know that someone else can be elected any second and I do not have to sit a full term, should things go souer :)

have to go now... later :)

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:23 pm 
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back for a short while and then I am off to diner but I missed talking ti you guys ha ha !

Quote:
But why is the monkey asking at all?

Well, I can only speak for this monkey and this monkey seeks for a horse to start expressing himself in a way that makes him proud and feel good.
Also, I try to help, asking the sort of thing I have learned, can help retrieving or releasing that power :)

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 5:42 pm 
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Quote:
I totally agree with you that a two-way communication should be the basis of all horse handling. I just wonder how do you teach or train something, if you do not lead into a certain direction?


Well, to be quite honest, often when I start having a session with a horse I do not know in advance what I will be 'training'. With a 'yes' horse we pick up where the horse starts and take it from there. With a 'no' horse we simply first have to let the horse say 'no' as much as he wishes until he no longer feels the need and asks to do something, anything, and then we pick it up from there.

Over a longer period of time, when horse get more interested in the 'games' I can come up with we can do that. And as soon as horses start to feel what power, for instance constant trot-walk-back transitions, or shoulder in, or walk to canter transitions can bring, they want more more more. They say: do you have more of such suggestions??? I want to try those! 8)
But it only works of course as long as the horse feels the benefit and keeps interested. So we often try to ask something new before the horse looses interest.

Btw, Romy and I tested this with O, how long he would go on... how long was it Romy? like 5 hours or something? 8) :funny: We were really hungry and needed to go to the bathroom... :alien: But mostly I work with a horse for 5 tot maximal 30 minutes.

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:07 pm 
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First of all, thanks Josepha for discussing this with me! Helps me greatly to sort my thoughts. And Romy, if you think we should take this discussion elsewhere, please just say so.

Josepha wrote:
ah, but I can try to lead a horse into a situation but I do not seek leadership as a goal.
That´s very true. Just for the record: I don´t seek leadership as my goal as well. But I´m also not afraid to be a leader sometimes.
Of course where I´m standing right now, I see horse training very much from the father-child perspective, as my only experience is with an adolescent, little, beloved rascal :D.

Josepha wrote:
The whole leader thing is part of my work. I do teach lecturs on Authentic leadership. All though I take example of natural tribes such as the Equine society, I only lecture this as concerned to shaping the human society in a more authentic and natural structure again.
Oh, didn´t know that! Very interesting, would love to hear about it. I would love to hear your definition of leadership anyhow!

Josepha wrote:
Would I use the word leadership in horse human relationship, then it would be in the same manner as it would for humans solemly; in the light of true democracy, probably an equine invention to start with.
Well, somehow I got the feeling, that vision is similar to what I tried to define all the time :).

Josepha wrote:
What makes the possibility of choosing a leader (as opposed to being dominated by a dictator, whether it be human or equine) almost impossible is one concrete thing: The fence.
That opens up a whole new level of discussion of course. I´m afraid that "the fence" presses the human into the role of a leader if he/she likes it or not. But as I said, that opens up another Pandora´s Box of arguments I´m afraid :D.

Josepha wrote:
But for me leadership, has no goal of interest in my interaction with horses (also not with people). Should it occur, I will oblige, but it only humbles me more every time.
Totally my position - for me leadership is nothing to aspire for the sake of itself.

Josepha wrote:
Well, I can only speak for this monkey and this monkey seeks for a horse to start expressing himself in a way that makes him proud and feel good.
I´m playing agent provocateur here, please don´t take it personally: If I´m seeking to evoke new ways of expressions for my horse, am I not prodding the horse a lot into some direction that I feel is the right one? Can I really know what is best for my horse? Isn´t that a big deal of leadership at work?

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:24 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
Quote:
I totally agree with you that a two-way communication should be the basis of all horse handling. I just wonder how do you teach or train something, if you do not lead into a certain direction?


Well, to be quite honest, often when I start having a session with a horse I do not know in advance what I will be 'training'. With a 'yes' horse we pick up where the horse starts and take it from there. With a 'no' horse we simply first have to let the horse say 'no' as much as he wishes until he no longer feels the need and asks to do something, anything, and then we pick it up from there.


I guess it's similar over here. When you wrote about leadership being about who is setting the goals, Volker, I was wondering how the more specific goals in our interaction, like what will happen on a given day, are being set. And I think my answer is that in most situations they aren't set in advance at all, it just happens during our interaction, depending on my horses' and my own or the children's preferences, moods or needs.

On a usual day when I come to the pasture I do not know which horse(s) I am going to interact with and what we are going to do. Sometimes I have some bias (e.g. "I haven't been for a walk with Pia for a long time, so that would be good option"), and rather seldom a specific goal (e.g. "I want to work on turning on a circle with Summy"), although that also happens sometimes. But even when those ideas are specific, these aren't fixed goals or plans but really just ideas for what I'd prefer to do. Whether we finally end up doing this depends on how the horses act when I come or how they react when I suggest it.

Sometimes I am the one who initiates an activity. This could be that after having done my work I place myself somewhere in the pasture and say "I am free now, so if someone wants to train, he can come". Sometimes I suggest a certain exercise by giving a body language cue that the horse can pick up and react to it, but I think just as much I am picking up what they are doing and base my further actions on that. Sometimes I want to go for a walk and then I go get the lunge line and place myself close to the gate with it. The horse I am taking with me usually is the one who shows most interest. That is, I mostly take the one who is fastest in coming towards me or hardest to get rid of again. But I almost never know in advance which horse I am going to end up with, unless I feel that one has been neglected way too long.

When we have left the pasture, I often have an idea where we could go, and sometimes not. It rarely happens that I really know it in advance or have a very specific preference, often it's just an idea that can be changed easily (for example by the horse looking or turning into the other direction at a crossroads).

All plans or goals can be changed, either by me or by the horse, when it becomes necessary: no matter if my horse wants to walk a certain path, when I have a clear time limit and the horse turns into a direction that leads away from home, we don't go there but turn towards home (i.e. we go with my idea). No matter if I want to go somewhere specific, if the horse objects and can't be persuaded easily but strongly prefers another direction, we usually go there (i.e. we go with the horse's idea), unless I have a good reason why this is not possible.

None of the things I have said before are absolute truths or cover all situations, and sometimes we make exceptions to all the above. Sometimes I just impose my will on the horses and sometimes they impose their will on me very clearly, like for example Titum who some weeks ago gave me a clear warning when I was not listening to him. He had been asking if we could leave a certain place now and I had pretended not to hear him. As a consequence he suddenly pulled so hard that I knew that I would have no chance to hold him if he went on. It was just a warning and he stopped after about three seconds, but by then I had gotten his message and we went on.

Of course I told myself that if I really wanted, I could still get my will and make him stay by turning the cordeo-like lunge line into a halter, but then I think that's what all members in a relationship feel, unless it's a very unhealthy one: that even when they go with what they are being told to do, it's still their choice and if they really wanted to object or get out of it, they could.

But I am skipping topics again, moving from goal-setting to making the other one do things, which I know was not your point when you were talking about leadership. What I actually wanted to say in this post is just that even in the goal setting department I can't define who is doing that in most of my interaction with my horses. More often it just seems to happen as a consequence of our spontaneous interactions. And again it seems hard to me to place a leader anywhere within this process.

Houyhnhnm wrote:
First of all, thanks Josepha for discussing this with me! Helps me greatly to sort my thoughts. And Romy, if you think we should take this discussion elsewhere, please just say so.


Not at all. I placed a link to this section of Titum's diary into the 'Links to threads' topic under 'Leadership', so everyone can find it later, even when it's hidden in a diary.

And this topic seems an important one for me in relation to Titum, especially the "because I said so" aspect Sue brought up, so feel free to discuss as much as you want. I just can't take part in the discussion as much as I wish right now, because my time schedule is very tight.


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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:53 pm 
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Quote:
That opens up a whole new level of discussion of course. I´m afraid that "the fence" presses the human into the role of a leader if he/she likes it or not. But as I said, that opens up another Pandora´s Box of arguments I´m afraid .


Well, no not to me. It puts the human in the spot of making it more easy to be dictator. It can not put anyone in the spot of leader. That is sheer impossible to my knowledge.
That fact that one can decide what a horse eats and when does not make one an elected leader by that horse. Say, if I were to declare myself 'leader' (By doing such I am thus a dictator and not a leader), and make my horse except me as his boss, making him do all sorts of things he really does not see of benefit for him... he will leave first chance he gets. We all would and we all should! It is the very nature which keeps us alive.
If over the years, I did not make horses do anything, but offered lots of things of which they could choose to take them or not, and when they did it brought them a lot of benefits, then if the fence dissapears, they probably decide not to leave, or just take a hike and come back :)

Quote:
I´m playing agent provocateur here, please don´t take it personally: If I´m seeking to evoke new ways of expressions for my horse, am I not prodding the horse a lot into some direction that I feel is the right one? Can I really know what is best for my horse? Isn´t that a big deal of leadership at work?


Of course, aren't we always doing that to everybody, even the plants in our garden? And do we always know what is best? No, but having really best interest at heart, is what makes a huge difference to start with, especially to horses (intent).
I see this totally different from leadership though. So, if we become leaders depends on the ones around us who decide to declare someone that. This declaration comes from the fact that they have experienced us bringing lot's of benefit forand to them. So it could be a way to become leader, yes. But it does not have to be. It depends on so many things.

You are of course working with a child, and that is so much different then working with an alpha stallion or mare. They ussually do not take the 'hi there horsey, I am human, the leader' crap, trust me :green: 8) :funny: Not saying that it is the way your approach horses, oh no, I know better than that. But let's face it, that is how many well meaning people do :funny:

So, you would have to think about how you would treat a queen or king, that is somehow entrusted to your care.
I am sure, you will aproach different than with a child? :yes:

"Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all." - by Eisenhower, Dwight D.
is one of my favorite quotes in the subject :)

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:00 pm 
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Emperor Marcus Aurelius wanting his general to take over his power when he has died, thus being the leader of Rome:
"Won't you accept this great honor that I have offered you?"

Maximus replies: "With all my heart, no."

To which Marcus Aurelius says: "Maximus, that is why it must be you."

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:16 am 
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Houyhnhnm wrote:
Josepha wrote:
Well, I can only speak for this monkey and this monkey seeks for a horse to start expressing himself in a way that makes him proud and feel good.
I´m playing agent provocateur here, please don´t take it personally: If I´m seeking to evoke new ways of expressions for my horse, am I not prodding the horse a lot into some direction that I feel is the right one? Can I really know what is best for my horse? Isn´t that a big deal of leadership at work?


To me this doesn't sound provocative at all, but very logical. If we have goals for someone else and try to act in a way that makes it likely that these goals will be met, doesn't this imply that we are the agent, the active part in the interaction, the leader?

Maybe it does. But along the lines of JJ Gibson's famous "Ask Not What's Inside Your Head, but What Your Head's Inside of", I am asking myself why I am having these goals. If, for example, my main goal for Titum is to have him feel strong and proud, whereas for Pia my main goal is to help her to be measured and learn something about self control, is it me in the role of a leader who simply sets these goals, or is it Pia and Titum who influence me in different ways and thus make me want different things for them? Or maybe it's the influence of this forum that makes me have such funny goals, so actually you are Titum's and Pia's leaders, influencing them right through me? Or maybe it's the influence of my interaction with the children, so in reality it's them who lead us all? It's getting more and more abstruse the more sources of influence I am trying to integrate, especially because many of those influences on my behaviour towards the horses aren't even known to me.

What I am trying to say is just that for me, although it might seem very intuitive subjectively, it doesn't look like a very logical step to break the stream of mutual influencing when it comes to me and my goals and act as if I and those goals were the starting point of the whole process, instead of just one of the knots in the network that receives messages from the outside and then sends back messages accordingly - although probably I and my goals are the knot that is best known to myself, so I might feel like it was the most important one...


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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:25 am 
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Josepha wrote:
It puts the human in the spot of making it more easy to be dictator. It can not put anyone in the spot of leader. That is sheer impossible to my knowledge.
Now you got me :blush:. First I try to define a liberal definition of leadership and then a mix it all up again myself. Problem is, I´m not sure yet of my own definition :roll:.
Is a leader, as you would define it, always an elected leader? What if noone wants to be leader, or noone is able to? Like with a very passive horse, or a child? I´ve seen horses been pushed into "alpha" roles out of lack of a better candidate. Is such a horse a leader then?
Or is it just about whether power is being taken or being granted? But then I don´t see a leading position necessarily also as a power position.

It´s those grey areas that are really hard to grasp for me. But it´s also exactly those grey areas that can be easily used to justify mishandling. Like you said, most people will agree that being a leader is more justified if teaching a child. But why is that so? Because we assume that the child is lacking in knowledge or skill that I can provide. But isn´t that often just an assumption? I mean, I´m sure that Mucki knows all and more than I can teach him. He´s done kneeing and bowing a thousand times in his stallion herd, but still I feel like I have to "teach" him.
Or does the justified use of being a leader only apply to situations where the young horse gets too pushy? And then what about pushy older horses?
Josepha wrote:
So, you would have to think about how you would treat a queen or king, that is somehow entrusted to your care.
I am sure, you will aproach different than with a child?
Imagine that queen wants to learn how to drive a motorcycle, because that´s something she´s never done before. Wouldn´t you approach her then more like a child? It can´t be just the respect, because a child deserves just as much of that as the queen. So what´s the difference? It all just depends on the situation.

All of that brings me back to a very early stage of this discussion. That I´d like to see this whole leadership thing as a concept very much dependent on the current situation. Sometimes a leader arises either from her own initiative (e.g. because she had an idea), or more because the others like to follow her (in that specific situation). The use of this leader is just the achievement of a common goal. This status of leadership can be revoked at any time, either by the leader herself, or by the others.
I´d like to see the setup like a conversation. Sometimes one person is leading the conversation, because he has to say something interesting, and all the other people join in on that topic. Then suddenly the topic changes, because a child burst onto the scene, yelling something funny. That makes the child effectively leader of the conversation in that moment.
I think, that´s how I converse with Mucki and I have no problem if the term "leader" is used like that. In my opinion "leader" is only used correctly if used like that. If a "leader" tries to force something, either the others turn away from him, and he loses leader status, or if he is successful in forcing the others into doing something, then he has become a dictator.

Did I make more sense this time, or am I going in circles? Feels like that sometimes :roll:.

P.S. I really like that Eisenhower citation!

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 8:37 am 
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Romy wrote:
What I am trying to say is just that for me, although it might seem very intuitive subjectively, it doesn't look like a very logical step to break the stream of mutual influencing when it comes to me and my goals and act as if I and those goals were the starting point of the whole process, instead of just one of the knots in the network that receives messages from the outside and then sends back messages accordingly - although probably I and my goals are the knot that is best known to myself, so I might feel like it was the most important one...
I think it´s not important what the goals are or who set them. I just think that there will always be goals for us and our horse. And like in a conversation there will always be one leading a topic and the other following. Sometimes one is listening for a longer period of time, just following. Sometimes the lead changes every five seconds. I just don´t want to see leading (and in fact following as well) as something morally problematic. Dictating is problematic, not leading. But I admit the word has a lot of very problematic concepts associationally attached to it. I mean, to be very drastic here, even Hitler called himself a leader.

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 Post subject: Re: Titum
PostPosted: Wed May 04, 2011 10:27 am 
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I didn't understand that leading was discussed as morally problematic here - not in the way you define it anyway. Just that we maybe don't completely agree whether this...

Houyhnhnm wrote:
And like in a conversation there will always be one leading a topic and the other following. Sometimes one is listening for a longer period of time, just following. Sometimes the lead changes every five seconds.


...really is the way natural communication usually works. There just isn't that much evidence for such an active/passive way conversing, at least not as far as I know. Instead, conversation can be regarded as a genuinely cooperative act with interdependent participants instead of a leader/follower distinction.

If someone wants to read a very short article about verbal dialogue as a joint activity, I suggest this one by Garrod and Pickering (2004):
Why is conversation so easy?

But then again, like everything else this is not an absolute truth but probably depends on the situation and the way we define all these concepts. :smile:


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