The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:07 pm 
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Birgit wrote:
I noticed that there havn't been any posts in this topic for over 1 1/2 years. Does this thread continue somewhere else?
In any case, I had a question about it. I would love to know if people have noticed differences in how long it takes horses to be interested in people depending on breed.


With me, it doesn't seem to be tied so much to breed as the horses' own personality and history. Blank slate horses, with no or little human interaction, seem more naturally curious about us. Trained horses with a long history of being used to the human's purpose even though there has been no severe abuse, seem more closed off to the bonding at first, though can be enticed if they are shown that you are something different.

I've found neglect cases are the hardest. This is actually true in human's too as when I worked with child abuse and neglect, it was neglect cases that were less likely to respond to human intervention then those who had experienced abuse.

Horses that are more alert to their surrondings seem to be more curious too. The horse that is always looking around and responsive to changes in his environment, such as pony, are very interested in interacting with the "new toy" aka human. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:30 pm 

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Quote:
I've found neglect cases are the hardest. This is actually true in human's too as when I worked with child abuse and neglect, it was neglect cases that were less likely to respond to human intervention then those who had experienced abuse.

Thanks for sharing that, I have had that same experience with animals. Animals that receive some positive interaction regularly but someone is abusive to them at times, seem to often have hope left, they may be unpredictable for a long time, but understand that good things can happen, too. In neglect cases something in the brain gets turned off, a reason for hope maybe, and it can take a long time to turn it back on. In some cases I think it takes a "positive shock" of some sort.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2009 7:41 pm 
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Birgit wrote:
In neglect cases something in the brain gets turned off, a reason for hope maybe, and it can take a long time to turn it back on. In some cases I think it takes a "positive shock" of some sort.


Of course in humans there is a developmental problem if the child never received mothering/nurturing as an infant. Developmental stages, if not met at the time, can have little hope of being regained.

I am not sure how that would work with horses. I know with cats that have been taken from their mothers too soon, have eccentric issues, sometimes anti-social or aggressive behavior, because of it. There is also a developmental stage in dogs (I think it's seven weeks?) where they are susceptible to gaining a long term fright if frightened during that time. And I was watching a show about a dog that had been neglected by a hoarder who had to re-learn how to trust.

OTOH abuse cases, just some of my limited experience, is that they remain unpredictable. You never know when old memories will be triggered or what triggers them. Like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) the trigger event may be even very unrelated to the actual past event.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:18 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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I think there is two different periods in dogs and in people and many other animals that are relevant here, the one is what might be called the imprint period. This the critical time of bonding with the mother. Failure to bond with the mother (or a maternal figure) is probably the most important to develop a normal emotional life. Then there is the socialisation period, which is the time period in dogs and cats where they learn about relating to others of their own species and to humans and other animals. This socialisation period can end anywhere between 10 and 20 weeks for dogs, quite a bit earlier for cats, depending on breed and genetic background. After that time it is very difficult and much more time consuming to socialize, if not impossible. For a long time there was the belief that there are also one or more fear periods in dogs, during which time they are much more fragile emotionally to negative stress experiences. This is now questioned my many animal behaviorists.
Horses' development is, like that of all prey animals, very different from dogs and even from people, who are predators. Horses can see well and walk, run and eat and eliminate on their own shortly after birth because this is essential for their survival in the wild. I know that people talk about an imprint phase for horses, but it seems that the term is used somewhat interchangeably with socialisation period. I believe the popular "Imprint Training" developed by Dr. Robert Miller is considered controversial precisely because it might interfere with the imprinting of mare and foal. I would love to know what the experiences are that people have had with socializing later, ranging from later in the first week of the foal, to several years old.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2009 12:39 am 
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Yes, I can see what you are saying about the 1.) Imprinting; and 2.) socialization period. Although horses are not prey animals, biologically we all have similiarities. The bonding and parenting from the mother; the socialization via the structure of the family.

When either is interrupted, the animal, whether prey or predator, develops strange behaviors. I mention cats and dogs because I live with them and have directly seen what happens when these patterns are interrupted. I am sure a horse has it's own eccentric behaviors that develop too.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:03 pm 

Joined: Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:11 pm
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Location: Barcelona
Hi everyone,

I have a question about this ¨game¨
I have a3 year old stallion. he always comes to me and loves attention, but he takes a bit too much space. I mean he wants to play with you and tries to dominate you.
How would I do this game with him?

Love,

Helene

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:29 am 
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Helene,

Try this topic! Dealing with a Pushy Horse

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=441

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 8:04 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:23 pm
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Hi everybody, I am new on this forum and would like to react to Birgit's question about particular breeds and if there are differences between in play and training in f.i. warmblooded horses and the more "coldblooded' horses. I have two fjordhorses and first of all they are very human orientated (I would like to add that have owned also 2 straight egyptian Arabs and a Friesian stallion) and they are so gifted in groundwork exercises. They know immediately what I mean and perform it beautifully. My fjordhorses are quite sturdy, but they are so flexible and loose. From these horses I learnt the most. Especially my younger gelding is very clear in what he wants and shows it when he is not amused or when he loves something (he loves showing off his tricks and loves driving the carriage). We have joined a training from Nathalie Penquitt and I am proud to say that he was the best in his group (in this group were Morgan horses, Irish Cobs, Merens and Friesians). Training in liberty gave me something that I never thought I would learn, a way to be with your horses that feels good and without pressurizing the horses.

Sorry for my long reply but I am also thrilled to have found this fantastic forum.

Warm regards,
Sandra


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:17 pm 
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I had the opportunity to work with several fjords and they where absolutely sensitive, intelligent, awake and sooo fast, clever and spirited.

I also observed that, when humans are pushy and unsensitive with them, that is exactly what humans will receive back from them.
And then their vast proportions and strength realy show :green:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:20 pm 
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Quote:
If your horse believes you - which he will show you by starting to spend more time with you - he has accepted you as his teacher.


And I would add:

"and playmate/friend and is prepared to teach you".

For in my case, anyway, the horses really do the teaching :)

I myself teach only humans, and then again, I only teach the humans what the horses have said/are saying :green:

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:42 pm 
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Quote:
We have joined a training from Nathalie Penquitt and I am proud to say that he was the best in his group (in this group were Morgan horses, Irish Cobs, Merens and Friesians). Training in liberty gave me something that I never thought I would learn, a way to be with your horses that feels good and without pressurizing the horses.


This is so nice Sandra! And so nice you have joined us here! If you ever have the time, it would be great if you could explain more about Nathalie Penquitt? Perhaps start a new topic in the Research and Training Methods section? I would love to know more but there doesn't seem to be an english web page for her.

Thank you and welcome!

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PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 12:07 pm 

Joined: Tue Feb 03, 2009 4:27 pm
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Location: Corneto di Toano, Italy
This first exercise as you explain it is what I call: become horse with the horses.

Parelli gives a little hint on this sort of exercise in his dvd, where you should be with the horse for half an hour or so and do nothing.
But I interpreted that as a constant way of hanging about with them and doing my own thing in the meantime. Whereby I would stop in between to give hugs or a little scratch to the one that stayed near me. I could read a book (they would come to see what I was reading) or even doing some work on the laptop (beats working in a boring office...). But the best way is when I started to pick up the droppings daily in order to prevent worm spreading. This is a very good exercise to keep you busy and be with your herd at the same time.
I only had to watch them coming near the wheelbarrow to inspect what's in it, especially when it is very full... as they like to fling it over so you can start all over again, the villains! :rambo:

I agree with Susan on the handgiven treats.
It depends not only on the horse and the human, but even on either one's mood of that day/moment.

Tachat will not be bothered too much about treats, if he's not in the mood you can forget about it!
Wodan would come over to earn some as soon as he sees something could be received...
My Billy is very mouthy so with him I have to be very careful on the treats or they become a threat... to me! :roll:

Since I started with clicker training recently, this was one of the first issues.
I was acting quite like you suggest in the first exercise, while picking up the droppings taking an interval when one of the horses came to 'check' on me :smile:
But the problem was that the others than quickly noticed that he got a treat, so they also wanted one and I got surrounded by horses all wanting something from me: treats.

My trainer suggested therefore to separate the horse I would like to work with from the others, so at least we were left in peace and could concentrate on each other. I will try that but somehow I feel a little sorry about that because before it was really the 'natural' way...

ama


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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 7:19 am 
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I read this after I had starting working with Ra. It makes sense. Now that hes back home and Laska is here and is unsure of this new place and new human I have intensified(?) my "do nothing".

I pick the pasture daily and sometimes they come over but mostly they just graze and give me more presents to pick up!! :funny: :funny:

Afternoon times are the best as I go into the barn and sit on the saw dust bales and read a book. Or I just lay there and let them whuffle me. Freckles is quiet used to this behaviour but I can see Laska thinking it over.

I dont mind doing nothing with the boys. In fact its the highlight of my day when they choose to come over to me and see what I'm up too. I think Freckles wants me to read to him as he is always trying to see the book. I have quite a few pages with horse slobber on them :D

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Quote:
I dont mind doing nothing with the boys. In fact its the highlight of my day when they choose to come over to me and see what I'm up too. I think Freckles wants me to read to him as he is always trying to see the book. I have quite a few pages with horse slobber on them


I have NO doubt that Freckles can read!

8)
:yes:


Leigh

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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 5:50 pm 
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:funny: Do you think I could post a "No Horses Beyond This Point" sign and have him actually pay attention to it? You see, he broke a "temporary" 2-strand rope barrier today - after leaning how to climb through it yesterday ... :rambo: :funny: :funny:

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