The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 6:00 pm
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Hi guys

I have been doing Parelli for years and just stumbled upon AND and began starting this method. I just find that my horse, Sugar, is very disobedient, naughty, and disrespectful and everything I do seems like a fight with her. She doesn't want to do anything for me, just because she likes me but doesn't respect me. How do I create a willing attitude within her?


Words from: "Love of Horses" by Unknown

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:44 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:15 pm
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Location: Georgia (USA)
Hmm, not sure where to start with this.

I guess the first thing is to sit down by yourself an examine what you consider bad behavior in a horse. I learned alot of what NH says is bad is not truly disobedience. I came from a barn where the manager did Parelli, and all the man could talk about was horses 'disobeying' and them 'respecting' him etc. At first I agreed with him, my horse has always been a bit of a bully.

One of the things that opened my own eyes was watching a video of Alexander nevzorav's horses playing with him. Google the videos... you'll see his horses pinning their ears, kicking out and running around like mad. But they're not disrespecting him actually... I found it confusing at first. It didn't go with what I had leanred about respect and dominance in a human/horse relationship. But I was open minded and chose not to see it as disrespect (the kicking etc). I learned to look more closely at horse behavior. I think with alot of natural horsemen methods anything potentially dangerous to humans is labeled as "disrespect" when in fact the horse is just being a horse. It's US... our own egos that are the problem, we get angry when a powerful animal reminds us how small we are and how dangerous they are. We desire to control that (and them) so we discipline them into submission. For me I leanred the first thing that needs to go when I get angry at a horse is my ego, my "Well it should be like so.." type thinking.

I'm new here so I don't have loads of wisdom, but I'd say go with your horse. Try and see what's causing their behavior without thniking they're being 'bad", does that make sense? I had to do the same with my horse. In fact now that I let him have an opinion about things and I actually show HIM respect (we can't deman it of a horse, and we have to give ourselves as well) he's actually been sullen, cranky and sometimes just plain bored around me. He doesn't trust me yet...I spent too many years "making" him work "making him" respect me etc. After finding AND I realize the important of allowing him to go through the transition of being resentful at me for all I put him through. It has actually gotten alittle better, and I draw the line at really dangerous behavior obviously (though I try not to resort to my old ways).

I guess time is the best thing. Give them time, watch them closely and find out what your horses interests are, find out what they really don't like and maybe avoid that for awhile. By learning what they like you can tap into that eventually and build upon it. :smile:

Diego's Journal
There's no more looking back - no more grey skies black.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 9:00 pm
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Location: Belgium/Tielt-Winge
hi Laura,

welcome here, I haven't been on the forum that much lately but I would love to give you some things to think about...

First of all, why would you ever fight your horse, being with your horse should be fun, you are doing this because you love horses, not because it is your job and you have to have your horse do things, just always keep in mind that it should be fun for the both of you.

And that brings us to the second thing, why is your horse being naughty and why is he fighting you? Maybe she is trying to tell you something.. It took me a long time to get to the point that Beau never did something without a reason, even if he kicks me or bites me, it is because I went over the line, I hit him or got angry or nagged him around. And my friends horse was stubborn, would kick and would not go, our parelli instructor both told us we needed to give our horses more fase 4 because they did not respect us, but ever since we stopped being so demanding it has gone wonderfully!

Beau is happy that I am finally listening to him and so is Pascha with Kim. The most stubborn, fighting horses are the mostly very sensitive and very smart and really want to help you see the other possibilities of being with horses.

Just read the exercises and start with them and see everything as information... and mostly ENJOY your horse...

big hug!

ps. horses respect people who are always calm and make the right decisions for the horse, not the dominant one (Pat says so too, horses don't care how much you know, untill they know how much you care)

Horseriding is an art

My horse is a beautiful living sculpture

PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:38 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2010 4:08 am
Posts: 122
Location: Alberta, Canada
It can definitely be tricky not taking certain behaviours personally. You may perceive certain things your horse is doing as fighting you, but she may just be trying to talk to you. I know I am slowly getting better at listening to my girl Selene. Yesterday another boarder at our pasture was in the arena just watching me work/hang out with Selene, but found it hard to believe I was comfortable with some of the things Selene was doing, such as pinning her ears and reaching around, not to bite me, but to say keep that up much longer and I will bite you. The lady was wondering how I could be so comfortable with that, and why I wasn't reprimanding her for the angry looks. First, I was bothering Selene with cinching up a bareback pad, something she'd only had on once before. She accepted it fairly well the first time, but she had a halter on. Yesterday I was working with her without a halter so she felt much more free to voice her opinion. So I backed off on the cinching, and just let her wear it loose for a while. Later when we addressed it again she offered a little cow kick, so I just moved her butt away from me with my hand, then walked her about twenty steps before undoing and taking off the pad. I made it clear to her, both by pushing her haunches and telling her she couldn't kick me that I didn't like it, but I also listened to her, and took the pad off, within about 30 seconds of her kick---that didn't hit me by the way.

The other night I was leading her out of the pasture and she really didn't want to come, so not really thinking I swung the lead rope and hit her on the flanks a couple times. She really didn't appreciate that so she nipped me on the elbow. No teeth but just a reminder that we should treat each other better. So we moved very slowly out of the pasture, no more big pressure from me. I think it takes a while to figure out how each horse communicates, and to be able to listen to them. So many people think my horses are naughty, rude etc. but usually they are just voicing their opinions, and have put up with a lot more extremely rude behaviour from me or someone else before they point something out. It is always a good reminder to see what the behaviour is telling you. Is it mirroring something you are doing or feeling? Is the horse insecure or uncomfortable? Or hungry or bored?

A really good place to start, so that you know your horse wants to be with you is just spending time together with no tack, no brushes, just space and time. Read a book, sketch your horse or listen to music together until your horse tells you it's time to do something. Then move together however the spirit strikes you. For really great inspiration check out Carolyn Resnick if you haven't already. There is a topic on her here viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2123

I really recommend her work, and a good place to start is by listening to the podcasts. There is a link to them on the first page of that topic, posted by Karen.


PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 2:40 pm
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Location: Belgium
The first question you could ask yourself is; why should your horse respect you.
And a second could be; what reason could your horse have, to do the things you ask or even demand?

I would also suggest that you read our F.A.Q. Many of your questions will probably be answered already :)

Good luck and enjoy your stay :)



PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:48 am 
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Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 11:57 am
Posts: 1983
Location: provincie Utrecht
What you can do also to look if your horse is realy disobedient, naughty, and disrespectful. i hope for the horse he or she is in a group in the fields.
Take a chair and sit down for a few ours and see how the interaction is between your horse and others and visa versa.
Maybe she use an other kind of body language, a language which is more closer then an other horse.

I know that Fjord horses are very close contact horses, they dont have a long distance talk together. This is the same as for example a haflinger, shetty, icelandic. It mean not each horse in the breed i talk about but most of them.
They dont have that very fine feeling such as an arabian horse can have. They will see every signal or what ever, for sure, but they are not that sensitive to give big reactions.

So maybe you have to be in the first time more clear with your body language and slowly each time less and less.
And i mean with your whole body specialy the inside of you, your own mental power. Can you follow me??
More clear means not use a carrot stick / whip / reed / rope with power, but use it clear.

For example you wanted to make clear to your horse your private space.
Stay were you are, feel the ground, your own power and show this to your horse, here i am and this is me.
Around me it is also from me. Make with your rope a circle around you as big as you wanted or needed for your savety.
You can use a whip or reed also, it doesnt matter as it is bigger than you.

The horse have to respect that circle around you and may not come closer as long you dont wanted that he is comming closer to you. then you can play with it, sometimes you allow the horse to come to you and sometimes you come closer to the horse and make contact.
This is only to make clear that you are "you" and you decide when the horse can make contact.

i hope this helps you a bit

PostPosted: Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:45 am 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Hi Laura,
You have got some great responses here already and I wanted to add my two cents too!!
Coming from a Parelli background I can tell you what happened with my horse. As soon as I stopped and took the leads away, my horse wanted nothing to do with me!!!!
Although Parelli is a huge step in the right direction I personally feel it is more for the human than the horse. The difference between Parelli and AND is that in AND we are really listening to what the horse is saying and adjusting what we do accordingly. A big part of this at the beginning is learning to let go when the horse says no. With parelli, if the horse objects then the pressure (mental as well as physical) gets increased. For me I might have backed off but would come back the next day and ty again. My horse really didn't have a choice other than to comply to get the pressure released (again this may have been just mental, but was pressure all the same).
The real turnabout comes when your horse actually wants to do something for you and for me that motivation came from clicker and treats. For others it is praise and scratches!
It took me about 9 months of almost daily interactions with my horse, with me only offering good things and asking nothing before my horse trusted me enough to leave the herd at liberty and follow me. It is not an easy route, which is why few get there, but it can be done and everything you need to learn is right here on the forum.
Others diaries will help you enormously as you realise it is not just you, but many others taking two steps forward and one back as they learn what they need to do to get that relationship they seek. :D
There are lots of links here too and understanding how your horse percieves her world and uses body language and reads others is where you need to start, then you will be in a position to know why your horse is doing what she is.
Good luck and let us know how it goes. :D

Annette O'Sullivan

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

PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2011 7:17 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:28 am
Posts: 9

I too have done Parelli for a couple of years and found many things missing. It is not that I do the exact AND exercises yet, because truly I have just found this forum as well, but let me share some of my insight with you.

Although time is great, and so is spending time just being with her, the best thing is to find your self- your true self. Fighting is not something that is optional when you do not fight with your self (*and it should not be done even if you do have conflict in your self). Often horses react to you- what is inside of you. If you have mental and emotional tendencies to be frenzied or aggravated, or if you are not at a point of peace with yourself, your horse will react accordingly. The ability to be able to know your self and to be at peace and ask nothing of them is the greatest. For this, you do not have to have magic powers or experience or be able to do a hundred tasks. You simply have to find the place that your horse is asking you to be and go there. The negative that you are getting is simply feedback (which is something I am sure you have heard of before if you have done Parelli) and really, all you need to do is to change your self. Respect is only something that you gain in not doubting your self- if you doubt your self in the least, then she will not see you as an adequate leader. You must prove your self as the greatest leader and the greatest partner you can be. I understand that in Parelli, with dominant horses, you are often taught to "outwit" them. This works to a certain extent, but often does not work. Outwitting them only puts you at a lower dominance level because you are going around and out of your way to solve a solution. I am not at all saying to march up and smack them in the face- that is the worst thing you can do.

Do not try to teach her anything. Do not try to tell her that she must do this or that. If you tell her how she must do something, she will most likely disrespect you more. Find your self, willing and excited to be, and you will find a willing horse in front of you.


(the fifteen year old girl)

~There is no such thing as impossible.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:11 am 
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willowsong wrote:
Although time is great, and so is spending time just being with her, the best thing is to find your self- your true self.
Do not try to teach her anything. Do not try to tell her that she must do this or that. If you tell her how she must do something, she will most likely disrespect you more. Find your self, willing and excited to be, and you will find a willing horse in front of you.

Dear Kara,

nice that you seem to feel at home enough here to share so much of your thoughts with us these days. It’s also great that you have found your personal answer to so many of your questions. However, please keep in mind that it’s your own personal answer. It might be what works best for you, but that does not necessarily mean that it’s the one and only way for everyone else.

At AND we believe in a multitude of different approaches to horses and life in general. We have so many different people here and they all have something interesting to share. Often those things are very different from each other, but I think there is a huge potential in just that.

Bianca once expressed this in a way I have remembered ever since. She said that when writing in the AND forum everyone was putting the things he can offer on the table, and then everyone could choose what fits him best. But after putting your things on the table your responsibility ends. With this I do not mean that once someone has chosen to try out your approach you shouldn’t help him. I just mean that after offering something, it’s not our responsibility to make the others choose it. Referring back to the table analogy, you might have offered the most delicious salad dressing, but if someone thinks it’s not something he wants to put on his ice cream, that’s completely fine. And even if you were convinced that what he’s eating is not (or should not be) ice cream but indeed salad – and therefore you believe that enforcing him to try out your dressing is just for his own best – it still doesn’t mean that he must take it. Maybe he simply prefers his salad without dressing or is even allergic to it.

But back from salad dressings to finding your self. I am really glad that this is working for you to be very aware of that. But it doesn’t work for everyone. I for example am someone who would neither want to be aware of myself all the time, nor do I think it’s possible, nor do I think it’s beneficial, nor am I sure that there actually IS something like an unchangeable “self” at all – and please add “for me” to all the things I said before, because when I say this, I really don’t mean to let it sound like a fact, but just my own personal view. This might have nothing to do with your own view of the world, and still this doesn’t mean that you are wrong or I am wrong – it just means that we come from different perspectives.

Enough of my babbling, all I wanted to say actually is that at AND we prefer not to present our offers as “You should…”, “Do not…!”, “The best thing is…” or anything like that. Please feel free to present you offers, but please be aware that they are really just offers of what is working for you, not necessarily the truth for everyone else.

Again, great to have you here. :)

Warm Regards,

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