The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:42 pm 
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Karen- How cool you remember that cougar line! Haha! I think I said that like 100 years ago on the NHE forum. Most people think that is absolutely rediculous. :roll: You've made my day! :D

The way I meant it, your horse should have confidence in you. Doesn't matter, how to get that, everybody does it differant. But if your horse has that confidence in you as a leader, he'll go anywhere do anything. Like no woman in her right mind would go down the dark alley behind the bar after midnight. But the woman with the Rottwieler probably doesn't think twice about doing it. All horses want to feel safe, that's why they allow themselves to be led by another horse, to live in herds to being with. Everyone says you'll never truly get over the whole predator/prey thing unless you act like prey too. If you are the biggest baddest predator in the world, you just don't eat horses, the more nervous the horse, the more they are on your like glue.

Cody likes to be submissive and quiet. Walks 3 feet behind me everywhere. So when he sees something scarey, I ignore it. "It's nothing, don't be an idiot" and he is just Ok with that. And he won't get upset at anything of that nature again. He rarely spooks, and when he does it's a sudden stop and a "I'm going to die" look. He never actually runs or gets upset.

Brandy knows I'm am idiot, her own personal treat dispenser and predator I may be, but by God am I dumb. Ignoring it means I'm just too stupid to realize that's a tiger. Usually she will come to that conclusion by herself, that's it's not scarey, but I'm sitll an idiot and she then takes over the walk, since I might still miss the other horse-eaters out there. If I acknowledge it after her, go over and kill it, and we go on our way, I'm worthwhile and leadership material, but still she has to do all the work looking for the boogie man. But if I see it first, I check it out, I kill it (if it's scarey enough to kill) and then we go on our way, well maybe I'm not useless after all. She will relax, and stop noticing any spooky things at all, because I've already noticed them and deemed them un-scarey. After awhile, we can both stop noticing stuff, she will walk over plastic bags and such without flinching, and I will occasionally kill somthing for her, just for fun.

I knew this mare that was just scared to death of the world. She would spook at leaves, flowers, hoses, not to mention tarps, buildings, doorways, dogs... I acted big and bad, and anything she gave a little jump about I ignored. But come a garden hose and I'd chase/kill/shake the thing. Attack a tarp, kick a building, chase a dog. I looked like an idiot. And that mare stuck to me like glue! And after the 4-5 times through the same area, she attacked a garden hose. :D Pinned her ears at the dog. Snapped at the tarp. It didn't take long at all for her to be the biggest baddest mare you ever saw, go anywhere do anything. Not because she was any less a chicken, but she had a Rottwieler there who could back her up and kill that tarp if it dared tried to bite her back. And then we both just ignored everything, not like there was anything she couldn't kill, and if she couldn't I sure could. With her or Brandy, it'd never work to ignore everything straight from the start, but it didn't take long to get there.

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If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 4:57 pm 
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Wow, Faith, such a great, great post!!! :D :D :D

THANK YOU!!

Titum is more like Cody (if I don´t think that something is dangerous, he believes me in most cases), but I have to try killing white flowers or other scary things!! What a wonderful idea.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 5:42 pm 
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Faith, that was you???? LOL! COOL!

Wonderful post! I think I'll have to try that with Cisco....I can kill a tarp!


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2007 7:08 pm 
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Faith, that was great :lol:

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2013 8:05 am 
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When a horse is afraid of something...

When a horse is afraid of something and you are afraid of it too, you should deal with this situation and the positive to find from it so that he be not afraid. When horse and owner are afraid both, it comes to complications: When owner is afraid, it transfers to the horse and it will afraid. Some horses are like mirrors, it does them afraid, when yourself is afraid (or other).

When you are then not more afraid of this situation, can you begin with the horse to training. Between horse and owner must be best feels and they have to trust each other. You can it build up with a lot of training and giving rewards.Here is a situation for example: a horse is afraid of cars. You can help the horse that it will calm, when you tell the horse: "Look there, a beautiful, yellow tram!" And then giving a reward for the horse when it stay calm. It's the best when you begin to training with the horse with little and standing cars and it smells them give him a reward, that the horse see it isn't bad.

When the horse is good used to, can you beginning to training with slowly driving cars. For example you can ask a friend whether he/she drive slowly next to the horse (with the times faster). In this situation is right the same: give the horse a reward when it stay calm and say: "Look there, there's a car. It looks very pretty!"

When you that did a few times, you could ask the horse, whether it wants walk behind the car. When the horse then just do one walk immediately giving reward and say: "That was great!" When the horse then by himself walks behind the car, you could ask the friend whether (s)he to stop the car, that the horse sees, that these things can stop in the emergency when the horse walks at the street.

When the horse isn't anymore afraid with this situation, you can go at a street, where of course drive faster cars. Here the same again like wiith slow cars. "Look, the cars there, they look very cool. And there a red car and another green!" Then you can go for a walk and don't forget the rewards!

There are still more situations, where a horse can be afraid. When you do want lead towards the horse, you should first going slow in front of and second don't force the horse! When a person is afraid you don't force it too, that it should be no more afraid.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:18 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:22 pm
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I think like predecessor- disregard "terrible things" is the strenght page of lider.
I think that not everyone can be a leader, because to be a leader you need to be a confident man, a man who knows and knows how to react correctly in certain situations, which is aware of the moment, which is always in the moment.
I am the person who never knows if done well, I am always afraid that I will hurt the horse's soul and therefore being a true leader comes to me very poorly :sad:
Any failure makes me blame.
I admire Hempfling- He has a greate gift.
I am mentally weak person because of my past, but after few years of uncritical adherence to rule, that horse is always right I am sure one thing, that I am important too, not only my horse, my feelings and my soul are important to, not less or not more as the horse, but at the same way.
By a year I couldn't go to pasture and be safe. When Princess saw me she run to me with so big agression, I couldn't do hooves, nothing....I could't go to shelter and clean, because Princess run to me and begin kick- do You think that directing her attention to something else helped? No! She is not stupid, these tricks do not work, so intelligent horse knew why I throw the ball. She didn't play ball at these sytuations, ball game is her favourite game, but she didn't play then because she knew that she will be have better fun when she kick me. Do You understand? Can You image what I felt? How big pain I had im my heart? That I am only someone which she can kick and bit and have greate fun! I was sad, I cried at night but I was affraid to do anything because I scared that I kill her spirit! Can you imagine how much I love her?
And after this year I saw something else at her eyes- she was frightened! She was getting furious because she was scared, but of what? I never hurt her and everytime she could express herself. At that time I was going through a nervous breakdown- I could not look at her fear and how she terroring herself and I felt that we fell to the bottom of hell, which I do not see the exit. She jumped, flipped up, shaking, sweating, looking at me white eyes, buried leg.
I prayed to God, if he could show me good way, I asked him what to do...
He gave me the strength and I began to put the rules.
And please don't say that horse which doing what You want is a slave. Princess accepts my decisions and she is ok with this and she has so big spirit, she is very playful horse, she express herself all the time but the difference is that I am this one who tell what to do or not what to do, I am this one, who tell- yes, now You can show me Your opinion, now You can do what You want- have you some purpose of game? what would you like to do? And she love this, she is calm and happy and I today I am sure that I didn't kill her spirit!
But when I tell "no" this means "no", and I don't need to explain her why "no". No means no.
But she still can't accept the word "bad", when she do something not corectly, she is angry that I am not satisfied. We need to work on this. She need to understand that I have a right to express my opinion, and she should accept this.
Only then understanding, respect, acceptance and trust comes equally from a horse and a man we can speak about true relationship.
That's my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:12 am 
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Ania, I have no time at the moment, but you can check out Enouraging politeness. Over there you will find some ideas for an alternative to "No, because I say so", with the result of an extremely careful horse who will attend to every move you make.

Later today I will write about my little Baca and use this example to explain how I deal with behaviour such as jumping at me, and why I think that having rules is not the same as being the boss. :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:23 pm 
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I had (and still have) my issues with Mucki that made me question our interaction a lot of times. Again and again I was going over the topics of leadership, dominant behaviour, control and so on. But as much as I sometimes wanted to be the "dominant leader" that is often recommended by trainers, I always went back to my former way of interacting very intuitively. It just feels very right the way I am doing it and I have to find different ways to deal with Mucki's behaviour.

Our interaction is of course defined by rules. Each one of us has rights and obligations. One clear obligation for example is not to hurt the other. One basic right for example is to have a good time whenever possible. That also means of course that whenever I feel bored or even bad with whatever Mucki is doing, I clearly tell him so and change the topic or break off the interaction.
In that regard I can only say that Romy's "encouraging politeness" is really worth a try. It helped me to establish the most basic rules in our interaction by making the horse WANT to adhere to them.

Wind of change wrote:
But she still can't accept the word "bad", when she do something not corectly, she is angry that I am not satisfied. We need to work on this. She need to understand that I have a right to express my opinion, and she should accept this.
I try to separate times when learning takes place from times when we apply already learned behaviour. It is most of the times a fuzzy line, but my principle is that when I "teach" a behaviour, it is my obligation to set the situation up for success. I try to encourage every initiative, to reward success and not punish failure.
Otherwise I have to deal with the horses' frustration one way or another. I cannot really blame my horse for that, after all I want something from him - he didn't ask for it.

Wind of change wrote:
And please don't say that horse which doing what You want is a slave. Princess accepts my decisions and she is ok with this and she has so big spirit, she is very playful horse, she express herself all the time but the difference is that I am this one who tell what to do or not what to do, I am this one, who tell- yes, now You can show me Your opinion, now You can do what You want- have you some purpose of game? what would you like to do? And she love this, she is calm and happy and I today I am sure that I didn't kill her spirit!
With Mucki I have established a "play mode", where he is at liberty (or neck rope) and a "work mode" where he is on a lead rope. In the latter case, I still try to work with his own initiative as much as possible, but he knows that I might convince him to do things (like trotting on a circle) even if he is not too fond of it at the moment. Or that I might constrinct his movement like when we move through traffic.
Still even in this mode, if he voices a strong objection, I try to accept that (if possible in the situation). I found that he has usually very plausible reasons for doing so and most of them are fear related.

In the "play mode", Mucki is free to join my games if he wants, he can also suggest his own game if I find it fun, or he can just quit and do whatever he wants. In such a situation I would never reprimand him for not doing as I want.

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The horse owes us nothing.


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:34 pm 
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Ania, it's so nice to have you in the forum and it's interesting to discuss this topic with you because we haven't the same opinion. For me, that's where discussions get really fascinating :) . I remember my father taking over a completely different position when discussing with me just because he wants to make me think :funny: .


Becoming a confident person

What I mean with "leader" in the following is a person that decides what to do most of the time not only for himself but for others as well. I don't speak about the kind of leader that is chosen by others because of their ability to make the best decisions.

I have found out that I have trouble with being a leader too. That's because to become a leader, or rather a boss, I have to put rules on others and have to make sure that the other one sticks to these rules. In the past I weren't able to do so without arousing negative feelings. That was because both partners weren't allowed to express their feelings freely and to do what they liked to do. Instead we both had to act as the rules said.
So I asked myself the question what was my goal when I wanted to become a leader? My goal was to build a peaceful interaction with the horse.

So, when I can't build a peaceful interaction by becoming a leader then how can I build a peaceful interaction?
I needed to make sure that I know what kind of person I wanted to become and how I wanted to behave around others. I decided that I want to learn how to solve problems in another way than to make a rule for everything. I decided that I want to learn how to let positive feelings arise.

Within the process of thinking things through I became more and more confident about myself and the decision I made. I felt better and the beings around me noticed this. I began to act differently, more in tune with my goals, and therefore others reacted differently. I had found the enormous valuable tool of changing myself.

What I see as important now is not a special way to behave, it is not to "be a leader". It is important to find the way I can feel good about, I can be confident about. Only then I can behave authentically and only then the horse knows with whom it has to do.

It is very interesting to see how some horses can adjust to the different ways in which different people interact with them. For example Nathan: he can behave as the "perfect subordinated" horse when he is with people who demand this from him for example the farrier and he can be the funniest "dominant" clown pony which just does what it likes to do when he is with Jana and me. I think what is important is to show the horse honestly who you are.

Who I am isn't static because sometimes I find out that I don't like the way I behave in a situation. Then I try to find out how I would rather behave, I search for thoughts that are more useful to behave in another way and then I can change my feelings, my thoughts and my behaviour. I think within this process my personality is developing and it is good to know that I can change for the better.

We once talked about how horses influence our self-development.

Rules

I have rules too. Not only with horses but generally in life. These rules aren't static because I often find another rule that is more useful to me and then I delete the old rule or I change it. What I try is not to make rules for the beings around me but for myself. That is because I think that the only way I can change an interaction or a situation is by changing myself, my own behaviour. Then, the reaction of the other one can appear naturally and they don't have to stick to my rules but they can still have their own rules (and I am free to choose if I want to stick to them).

One of these rules is that I take care of myself first, that I have to make sure that I'm fine. That may seem selfish and yes, it is selfish - but with a reason. When I'm not fine but instead feeling weak, ill, have self-doubts, am tired, angry, fearful, then I am not able to control my self and behave in a way that others can take advantage of me. When I'm not fine I can't make someone else feel good. Therefore, I must take care of myself, first.

The second rule is that I try to prevent that I harm others with my bad condition. When I feel bad this is my problem and nothing someone else has to solve for me. What I do is that I tell others that I don't feel as good as normally, for example because I have pain. Than sometimes, when the one is able to (because he's feeling good enough) and wants to, he will offer to help me. That is nothing that is a matter of course, in my opinion, but just a very lovely act I'm thankful for. When I think I really need help I ask someone who is strong enough to help me. But first I make sure that the one feels good.

But what has this to do with horses?
The horse is the horse and I am I. We are individuals with different feelings and sometimes it is hardly possible to be confronted with the other ones feelings and still work it out without conflicts. That's why I want to make sure that everyone is allowed to leave the situation and to decide that he doesn't want to participate in the interaction. That means that I can leave whenever I want and the horse can do so as well. When the horse cannot control his feelings and gets aggressive and I'm not in a state in which I can deal with aggression then I decide to leave the situation. I make sure that I'm fine.

Another "rule" is that in interacting with me everyone is allowed to express his emotions. I want to know how the other one feels because only then I can adjust my behaviour to theirs and change the situation for the better. When the horse gets aggressive or fearful I know that there is a problem I have to deal with (and "problem" is meant in a completely non-negative way). When I know that there is a problem than there is something I can improve and it's great that the horse tells me so.

My goal is a "rule" that I don't only make with myself but therefor I need the agreement of the other being. It is the rule that we speak about ourself first and don't project our feelings onto someone else and that we let the other one choose how to react and don't force them into doing a special thing. For example my goal is to have a horse that shows me when its angry but does this in a way that I'm not endangered to be hurt. I think that I have the responsibility to create an environment in which the horse is able to show me his feelings without forcing me to run away, for example.
To create this environment I have to notice the slightest sings the horse gives me and then I have to react in a way that shows the horse that I have noticed it. When I notice a sign of anger I try to change the situation in a way that anger does not arise in the first place. What I do by this is that I don't wait until the horse thinks it needs to shout because I'm not hearing him but I listen when he is whispering. When your whisper is heard, there is no need to shout. And thereby, there is no need to become aggressive (in the case that the cause of the aggression towards the human is anger ;) ).

You see, there are many rules even though I don't perceive myself as a leader.

How I express my opinion

To speak about myself too is very important for me. I show the horse how I feel and don't act, so that the horse can see in which feelings it is engaging if it choses to interact with me. Of course the horse can always choose to step out of the interaction again. For example when I have a bad day and don't feel able to change my feelings into positive ones I show this to the horse by acting like I feel. But I don't act like I feel TOWARDS the horse so that it has no chance but to react to me. Instead I do whatever I want, sitting there and staring on the ground, walking around doing work and stamping on the ground or whatever. I do what I feel like to do - but it's my business.

Romy wrote a great post about i-messages here that fits to this topic.

Quote:
But she still can't accept the word "bad", when she do something not corectly, she is angry that I am not satisfied. We need to work on this. She need to understand that I have a right to express my opinion, and she should accept this.


Horses show us how they think about our behaviour. For example, when we tell them that something they did was "wrong" and they think it's unfair, they get angry and thereby they tell us that they don't accept that we don't accept their behaviour.
So if I want my horse not to tell me that he doesn't accept my behaviour then I have to behave in an appropriate way. The statement "You're doing it wrong" is a very strong expression that can make the other one feel sad or angry. That is why I try not to tell someone that what he does is wrong. Instead I search for statements that help to improve what the other one is doing, for example "You can try this" or better "Let us try this".

Most of the time (probably always) horses have good reason for doing what they do. If I give them better reasons to behave in another way I don't have to tell them "No" because they don't want to do what they had good reasons before. The reasons are exchanged by other reasons.

:f:


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:53 pm 
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Anni wrote:
Ania, it's so nice to have you in the forum and it's interesting to discuss this topic with you because we haven't the same opinion. For me, that's where discussions get really fascinating :) .
Ania, I hope that our reactions to your postings don't put you off in any way. I for my part, love the opportunity to discuss this topic again. :f:


And thanks Anni for your last posting - I just like your way of putting your thoughts into structured text like that! It's a gift :applause:

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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 5:18 pm 
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I just can relate to your post, Anni and also to what Volker said about your structure. Thank you very much. :f:
Although we discussed this often, it's again and again worth it to think it through anyway.

For me the word leader does not exist in my head. This is because when I am with horses, I see myself simply as an offer. Someone to have fun with, someone to share silence with, someone to explore with. And of course, as an offer I have the right to set rules for myself (like Anni already described), because the other partner always has the right to not take this offer. But, of course, I always try to change myself in a way that makes it difficult to say no to the offer, because I love interacting with horses. ;)

And the "No,because I say so." is very interesting for me, too because I think it is okay to say that. But in return, I have the rule for myself that it is absolutely fine when the other partner says then "Okay, then also no, because I say so." :D. And as this leads nowhere, I prefer creating situations in which every participant is eager to say "yes",because that is what I want. A horse/ human that likes to spend time with me. And for me it therefore is esential to have an equal-based communication.

But this is just the reason why I don't think about things like leading or dictating things. I just do the things I love and the beings who love to do this too can come and join me if they want to. And of course, everybody is welcome :sun:


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:31 pm 
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Quote:
This is because when I am with horses, I see myself simply as an offer.

Oh, Jana, that is a very inspiring idea. I will play with that idea of seeing myself as an offer...very nice.
Thank you... :f:

Quote:
And thanks Anni for your last posting - I just like your way of putting your thoughts into structured text like that! It's a gift :applause:

I sign this as well. :giveflower:


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:39 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:22 pm
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Dear discussants,
Thank You for Your opinions.
You all tauched my heart, and I am sure that I find good place for myself, here on this forum :)
You know how well-chosen words that Your thoughs were understand for me. I am delighted with Your opinions.
I will try to carefully choose my words, that was understandable for You.
I will back for this discussion of course,
You give me so much infomations in links that I should read them at first.
I feel that we see the same diamond, but we look at it from a different angle.

See You tommarow :f:
Ania


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 12:22 pm 
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Volker and Dani, thank you so much :) :kiss: .

Katja1 wrote:
And the "No,because I say so." is very interesting for me, too because I think it is okay to say that. But in return, I have the rule for myself that it is absolutely fine when the other partner says then "Okay, then also no, because I say so." :D. And as this leads nowhere, I prefer creating situations in which every participant is eager to say "yes",because that is what I want.

Beautifully drawn, Jana :funny: :kiss: .

I just wanted to add the link to Ania's introduction thread here so that people who want to read where this discussion began can find it later: CLICK.

And it's so nice, that you like the forum, Ania :kiss: ! I'm looking forward to reading your next thoughts :) .


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 Post subject: Re: Being a leader
PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:44 pm 
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Yogini wrote:
Quote:
This is because when I am with horses, I see myself simply as an offer.

Oh, Jana, that is a very inspiring idea. I will play with that idea of seeing myself as an offer...very nice.
Thank you..

So nice to hear, please let me know if it was interesting to play with it :friends:

Thank you too, Anni :applause:


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