The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:59 am 
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Thank you Karen! You don´t know what your praise means to me. Not so very long ago I was watching the video of your first riding sessions with Tam and I wished for such a calm and trusting start with Mucki. Well I suppose I did it! Still can´t believe it. I think I´m just as proud of it as Mucki seems to be on the video :D.

I was surprised that Mucki bended and turned just like that. But then again, I didn´t expect anything to happen. I had just planned to sit on him and see what happens ;). Just minutes before we took that video, he rolled in the sand to get rid of the pad (it was very hot), so I was expecting not to ride at all. Clearing the mind of expectations is a miracle cure, isn´t it?

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:20 am 
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That is so great, Volker! I am so happy for you and Mucki that you can start your riding journey in such a nice way. :) :f:


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:40 pm 

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I second that.....this should be a "how to back your horse" movie!!! So much lovelier to watch than horrible heavy traditional backing. You and Mucki are such a great team and inspiration. (I have to say at this point you are braver than I getting on with nothing attached to his head, I want to know I can at least pull his head around with a halter should he have a total wobble about something, but I guess you are younger and more supple and can get off quicker...lol!) :funny:
Mucki is looking so regal these days, great condition and super happy...... :applause:

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:51 pm 
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I have a new video to show you, although in fact it´s from one month ago. But only yesterday I have set up my computer again after moving to our new home, so I wasn´t able to edit it before. But here it is, it shows our last hiking tour with Lily & Mucki. A bit longer (four days!) this time and only with our two young horses. That led to quite some excitement, mostly from our part. The horses took it like pros 8).
We had a lot of dangers to master, but in the end we prevailed! We crossed swollen rivers via narrow wooden bridges (actually it took me 45 minutes in pouring rain, all the horsemanship I could scratch together and all my nerves). We defeated monstrous snakes. Big busses full of tourists. The autobahn :ieks: (well, we crossed underneath). A thunderstorm. We slept in a stable that felt like a detailed reconstruction of a last century stable in Albania... and we lived to tell the tale!
It was an incredible experience again to be on the road with just a backpack and our horses at the side. To walk from stable to stable and finally return home, weary but happy, with our heads full of tales. Lily and Mucki were even better than last time. They walked calmly and steadily, even though it was all new terrain for them they spooked very little. I was very proud!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrhnE-HBBzE

BTW: You can see the spot where it took me 45 minutes to persuade Mucki to cross the river in the video at 00:32. It was our way back though, in the prettiest sunshine and after Mucki had crossed the bridge without hesitation that time 8).

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:45 pm 
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Oh, this is so lovely. :) This year several things have kept me from doing longer trips with my horses, but I hope that next year we can follow your example (although in our case it will be one-day-trips only, because I neither want to separate my three horses over night nor take another human with me).

Mucki and Lily are so cute and it looks like you were having such a great time. Very inspirational! :) :f:


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 11:55 am 
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I understand that you don´t want to separate your horses for too long, Romy, but on the other hand I must say that it was a very special experience for us not to return to our barn for the night, but to make this kind of longer herd migration together.
I believe it´s something very natural for horses and it did strengthen certain positions in the herd. Lily did take on her role as lead mare and inspector pony, checking out new paths daringly until we would come to a town or other herd. Then Mucki had to lead, posing as lead stallion and defending our little herd. In some difficult situations of course they gladly handed over the job to their human counterparts ;).

When we finally returned home after four days, we came by the pasture of our herd where the other horses were grazing peacefully. I was expecting dramatic scenes of reunion, whinnying horses running together, trying to break through the fences and so on. But nothing of the sort happened. Mucki took a look, some of the others noticed us, some seemed to not care at all. Then we passed them because we had to go to the barn and everything was as if we had not been away at all :ieks:. It seemed all so normal to the horses. Then again there are days when Mucki would not stop screaming for the others even if we are only 100 meters away and for only 10 minutes :roll:.
But our BO told us that the rest of the herd was very disturbed when our two didn´t show up before the first nightfall. And then I wonder if I have the right to put them through such a commotion every time we leave for a longer trip. I don´t know...

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:17 pm 
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I can imagine that it's a very special experience. I even think it's great to go for walks of just some hours with several horses together, because observing how they deal with certain situations as a herd is so interesting. But going away for several days must be absolutely fantastic. If I had a chance to do this, I most certainly would. :)

Houyhnhnm wrote:
And then I wonder if I have the right to put them through such a commotion every time we leave for a longer trip. I don´t know...


For us I have decided that I can only separate them for a longer time (say, more than just a few hours) as long as there are still at least two of them together in each group - and this just doesn't work with three horses. If it was possible, then personally I wouldn't worry too much about a whole herd being left behind. But then maybe that's just me being not a very sensitive and thoughtful person. :blush:

My horses also get stressed when only one leaves and two are left behind, but it's still very different from being completely alone. So I try to minimize the times when I have to leave one alone. But sometimes this just isn't possible, like when I have to bring them to the summer/winter pastures and no adult or older child comes with me. Then I simply don't dare to do a 2.5 hours walk with three horses at once, so I take Summy by bike first and then walk with the other two. Summy likes going by bike, but he really hates being alone in the new pasture and waiting for the others to arrive.

For some strange reason, the horse who leaves never gets scared. Pia sometimes seems to miss the boys a little when we are out alone, but not that much. Titum and Summy never seem to care, as long as we are on our way and they have something to do. Then it also doesn't matter how long it takes. Sometimes I have been out with Titum for seven hours and more, but he never seemed to be very fond of going home.


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2011 1:40 pm 
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You´re right, it is so interesting to see how horses behave on such walks. It is my experience too, that usually the ones who stay behind are more concerned than the ones who are leaving. But that is also very much depending on the status of the horses. Lily for example is a low ranking mare and a very exploratory character. In my experience these two properties often coincide - in a situation where a new path has to be explored, often a low ranking horse is sent to check for danger.
So with Lily, it was never a problem to go for extended walks, even alone. She attaches herself quickly to humans and follows their lead.
Mucki is a whole different story. He´s the lead horse of the herd, always at the back except when contact with other horses is made. When a dangerous situation arises, he hides behind my back, waiting for others to test the situation. When I go for walks with him alone, he often stops in the beginning, waiting for the herd to follow. It seems to me like he feels as if he is abandoning his post when he just leaves the herd like that. He whinnies a lot and is more spooky than others, when we are walking alone. On the other hand when we arrived at a new stable on our trip, Mucki walked in like a pro and remained much calmer than Lily.

It was so interesting to learn more about the characters and traits of our horses. We could see how flexible the herd structure really is, how the roles are changing all the time and how every member of the herd contributes to the well being of the whole group. It is very rewarding to observe a herd on the pasture, but it must be completely priceless to be with a herd on the move...

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 9:54 am 
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Yesterday we had our camera with us again and did some filming. I did some inhand groundwork first, partly with reins, partly at liberty. And then some riding again after quite a while.
There were some noticeable changes to last time. Mucki seemed stronger, or better balanced and much more confident about the whole riding thing. He stood like a pro when I mounted and was generally very attentive to my cues. Problem is, my cues are more experiments to get Mucki going, so we both had to figure out what could be a working cue for going forwards. But I think we made some progress there ;).
He is so proud of his mounted jambette, so it´s on video too 8).

Also on video is his huge belly, which we have to work on :roll: :funny:. But over winter this will fix itself, I think...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSoaafaKV4w

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 11:06 am 
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Excellent! :applause: The way he starts checking his environment as soon as you get on, he the feels responsible for you!

May I offer a little suggestion for your groundwork in hand?

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
May I offer a little suggestion for your groundwork in hand?
Oh please do so! When I saw myself on video I was not so pleased with myself, so a little help is much appreciated. Also for the riding of course, which still feels very awkward.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:50 pm 
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Okay :) Nothing I see you doing wrong though? you are doing great!

If you see Mucky falling into his inside shoulder, ask him to take his shoulder away from you sideways. By doing so he will prevent himself from leaning on his shoulder.

With the riding, it might be a good idea to start with collected halt, so when Mucky starts walking, he will start from rounded back? First form then movement, so to speak. Like a dancer or martial artist would :)

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:47 pm 
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Sorry to interrupt your thread Volker...

But, Josepha could you direct me to more information about the 'collected halt'... that's what I'm searching for right now with the questions: how, when, what and so forth ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:58 pm 
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No problem at all, Kirsten! That was the exact question I was about to ask! ;)

Josepha wrote:
Okay Nothing I see you doing wrong though? you are doing great!
Oh, OK, thank you. One of my problems is that I get ahead of Mucki in groundwork. That´s in fact our oldest problem - the problem of getting Mucki to move. It´s much better than it was, but still a challenge.

Josepha wrote:
If you see Mucky falling into his inside shoulder, ask him to take his shoulder away from you sideways. By doing so he will prevent himself from leaning on his shoulder.
I´m doing this a lot. Especially on his right hand, he tends to fall inside. Right hand should be his hollow side. Now I was wondering if someone can give me an explanation why that is so? I always thought on his hollow side he would tend to fall out of the circle. Or is it just the other way round?

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 5:26 pm 
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The not moving forward is because he immobilises himself with falling into his shoulder.

On his hollow side he will fall into his inside shoulder and his hind quarters will fall to the outside.

Help him as such :) :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KkBGxu84kY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZH-HMd3ShD8

Owen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE1z9DcOPl4

Owen freestyle:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TaonaraTV?f ... Rp087wTkM8


Collected parade:
http://www.youtube.com/user/TaonaraTV?f ... i0t1t5WHMI
Collected parade is always a good idea. If you horse hollows his back, putting the hind legs behind the body, no quality movement will come of it. Best to point that out to the horse and help him correct before he or she starts moving.

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