The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 1:23 am 
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I agree with Romy! :D :D :D

With both my horses, I taught the Goat first, but only because I thought it was easier. Your horse will tell which one he/she thinks is easier. And there's no reason you can't teach both movements within the same time frame. The cues for crunch and for goat would be very different. Even if you don't have a real cue, your body movements in trying to elicit the beginnings of either exercise would be naturally vey different.


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 Post subject: Crunch
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 8:48 am 

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Location: Cadet, Missouri USA
Here in the USA the Crunch/Park Out (what we all call it here in the States) is traditionally taught for showing gaited horses like Tennessee Walking Horses,Spotted Saddle Horses and Saddlebred Horses. The cue for them to do the Crunch/Park Out is to grab the neck above the wither and say "Stretch Out" or in this case Crunch if you want to. It is traditional taught by cueing the horse (grabing and squezing the neck above the wither while saying stratch out,etc) and tapping the horse in the back of the front feltlock, or you can physicall place the foot forward or use your foot or whip and push with your foot his foot forward while you ask the horse to come forward. Once the horse knows to streatch out his foot the other front foot will usually follow but if not you can again tap or push his foot forard. You can usually do this from the same side but some of you may have to go to the other side and repeat the same thing as the other side.
Now your cue for both on the ground and undersaddle is to grab and squeze the neck while saying stratch out or crunch!

I taught Dakota this way and it took only a few sessions to get him to understand. But he will also instead of Walking forward when I am asking for the Spanish Walk Do a big stratchy Crunch! Although seeing Pal raise his leg high and getting lots of grain ge now lifts his leg on the one side. We are still working on his Spanish walk.
As for Pal when I tap his leg’s he has no reaction at all to the whip. I have to physically put his foot forward. I hope though to later ad the whip to teach him to move is leg forward.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:11 am 
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Can anyone give me a clue, specifically what do you do, how do you respond, if the horse continues to move the wrong feet.. for example, you're getting hind feet to come forward for GOTM, but then front feet step forward to compensate, or, you're getting front feet to step further out front for BC, but then the hind feet walk forward as well....

What do I need to do first, before we do what we're going to do? :?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:05 pm 
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Is no one answering this question?? It's a good one!

I have not played with these much( but I plan to start which is why I'looked up the thread!). I have figured out that the little 'I've done Goat that you only ask for them to step up a little bit at first and do'nt take it to the point where they try to move their front feet. I sometimes stand in the way so he doesn't move his front feet forward, or use slight pressure on the hlater or cordeo to let him know not to go forwards. I think the biggest thing is to get rewardable moments. Even if the first time you tap a hind leg all he does is lift it- that is close. He needs to lift the leg to bring it forward, so hey, that counts (at first!). Maybe a few days of just lifting the leg and then on day three or four only rewad if he places it down further forwards.

The back crunch seems much harder to me, but i would love to leran it.

My horse does a one legged bow on each side, so I can use that to stretch each front leg, one at a time, and to close the hip angle. So really I wouldn't need Goat since the bow works on about he same thing, but the back is hollow in the bow and goat is realatively easy, so why not? :smile:

But we have nothing to stretch the hip out- unless rear counts. But ourrears are usually not high (Well, I try to make the not high!) and it is only a millisecond stretch.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:20 pm 
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I didn't know this question was here!

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Can anyone give me a clue, specifically what do you do, how do you respond, if the horse continues to move the wrong feet


I reward sooner, and stop before the wrong foot moves. If the wrong foot moves BEFORE the correct foot moves, then I let it move, and reward then, the split second the correct foot moves, even if it moves the wrong direction. Because first I need the horse to understand which foot I want to move. Once he is understanding that I am addressing a specific foot, then we can begin to shape how it moves.

In some cases, rather than a whip to touch the leg, I'll use my old parelli stick and touch and HOLD the stick on the leg, so when the horse lifts it, I can help him move it forward a fraction. The stiffness of the parelli stick (or anything similar) makes it easier to guide the foot if necessary.

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I think the biggest thing is to get rewardable moments


Absolutely! Set it up for success. And Danee, I too will hold the lead rope (or the cordeo) or put my hand against the horse's chest, to indicate not to move forward. Sometimes you have to have a hand on the lead rope to let the horse know to keep the head low...because a lowered head makes it easier for them to place the weight on the front legs and step the hind legs forward. In fact, the lower the head, the less likely the front feet are going to go anywhere (unless the horse feels he's falling forward).

I crouch down slight ahead of the front leg...almost beside it.

But you're right...the key is to reward sooner, for smaller tries! :)

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 8:07 am 
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Hi guys! Welll.. I posted this ages ago.. and Sunrise has since learnt the joys of GOTM.. on a pedestal. I haven't transferred it to the ground yet, but I think it will be quite easy, as her understanding has leaped ahead. Previously she had enormous trouble with the concept of keeping one end still while the other moved.. However.. in the meantime, I taught her to crunch... It took MONTHS for her to get this.. I think she's a bit hypo.. she found duration very difficult, and the reinforcement seemed to distract her... for a very long time. Clicking early didn't help. She just kept on making the same wrong move, and misinterpreting what she was getting reinforced for. So.. kept on wandering towards me.. not getting that she was supposed to keep back feet still. She just couldn't make the connection to be aware of what her back end was doing it seemed..

So.. I finally decided to help her with a prop: I used a cavaletti height pole, asked her to step over it.. named it, "over the log" and spent many sessions just rewarding her for standing straddling it. If she walked over with the back feet, the rewards stopped.

Once she was clear about that, I began asking her to take a step forwards. The moment her back foot lifted off the ground I would "uhuh", and it would touch the pole, further clarifying for her just what I was talking about, then ask for the forward step again. Cogs whirring and clicking into place!!! :idea: She got it! We've been practicing that quite frequently for a couple of months, and just this week have tried it out without the pole. YAY! Just a little bit of correctiong for stepping with hind feet and then she got it! I took a video of it.. will try to post today for some comment.

So... now.. this is how I will teach her the GOTM on the ground also, if she has any trouble with not understanding to keep one set of feet still... :f:

I'm just wondering now though.. for GOTM, would it be better to teach her hind feet to step forward, or her front feet to step back? I'm thinking that front feet back might set her up for better balance and head set.

Cheers, and thanks for the answers!
Sue

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:22 pm 
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Ha Ha Sue!

Somewhere here we have a discussion on a Backward Goat. I started it with Tam, but other things kind of took over and I never completed it. I think I started it for the same reason...would the horse be more inclined to keep the front end lifted if the weight had to be on the haunches in order to move the front feet?

Ah...here it is. Took some searching:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=42&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=285
It's somewhere down that page.

Madeleine called it: la chevre renversée

It still makes perfectly good sense to me!

If you play with this, of course post the progress!

:applause:

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 5:56 pm 
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Oh cool! I remember this now. At the time I first read it, it seemed impossible to me, forwards or backwards, because I just could not imagine how to teach Sunrise how to keep her feet still. :D I'm still intrigued by this:
Quote:
I asked him to stand and not move his feet
How DO you teach this??!!!

I have been playing with this tonight though... I just used a prop. :green: . I started by reinforcing Sunny for standing with her back feet again a drum on it's side. She'd been offering me cruch positions voluntarily tonight, so she was well primed up for moving her feet and getting into a stationary position. I just asked her for a head down and she naturally stepped back with her front feet to balance. YIPPEE! Reinforce, and she was stepping back each time with head down. It seems a very natural and easy thing for her to do.. much easier than the opposite of moving her hind feet forward.. this looks uncomfortable, even when she does it on the pedestal, because as her hind feet step forward, her weight is very uncomfortably balanced and teetering on her front end. Going backwards is much more balanced and secure, as she stands easily on her hind legs and steps back! I like it! :D

Sue

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2008 6:26 pm 
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Quote:
How DO you teach this??!!!


Well I should have some thoughtful response that would show my clever and creative horse training prowess and a capability to think things through in an organized way.

But I don't.

I haven't got a clue.

Somehow, I can indicate that I want all feet to stop, then look at or touch the foot I want moved.

Somehow!

How helpful is THAT? :huh:

It has to be through not rewarding when the wrong feet move, and it has to be that I verbally indicate that was a wrong choice (uhuh! or Nooooo or wrooooong).

It has to be. Doesn't it? :D

Really though, with so many movements we can effectively limit the horses' choices so they are more likely to make the choice we desire. At worse, a 50/50 chance. Better, if we can set it up better. But with four feet, you only have a 25% chance if you're out in the open.

I do remember in trying the reverse goat, I stood Tam with his butt in the corner of the arena...or next to a wall.

I know I did something..... :think:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 1:33 am 
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:D :D :D

Okay..thanks for trying! :D When I have Sunrise standing still and ask her for a movement forwards or back with one foot, I've almost always had TWO feet move at the same time.. or so close to the same time that it's nigh impossible to isolate and reinforce the right foot. :huh: Does she have some weird gait that other horses don't have?? :huh: :D So there goes the 25% theory.

However... she's finally totally got it with the back crunch and can walk out her front feet confidently without moving her backs now.. so I guess it will be only a matter of time till I can achieve single foot movements. Perhaps I need to do more back leg work to help her to be more aware of where her hind feet are and when they move.. perhaps her back end is a kind of afterthought.. hmmm :idea:

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 4:54 pm 
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Thanks for this level of detail on how to work towards GOTM -- we've been having trouble figuring out how to move those hind feet without moving the front as well.

Quote:
However... she's finally totally got it with the back crunch and can walk out her front feet confidently without moving her backs now..


I've discovered that the back crunch is an unexpected element to our working on Spanish Walk with Circe -- she's still figuring out that she needs to bring her hind feet with her...

Yesterday, she was enthusiastically offering one jambette after another as she was lobbying for attention. I rewarded her, and then Stardust and I took off again with the soccer ball.

I looked back to see if she was going to join us and she was standing in the most beautifully parked out back crunch! :) She stood there for quite a while, quite content to stretch.

Now I just need to figure out how to ask her how to do this on purpose... 8)

And then we can reverse it...

Leigh

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 6:06 pm 
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Sue, the new videos (in the video section) are so sweet!!! You and Sunrise both do a very nice crunch!

I know that by touching the legs, you can be clearer in what you ask...whether to move a foot, or to stop moving a foot. Sue, have you not touched Sunrise's legs to do this at all? Did you only use mirroring?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 1:39 am 
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Hi Karen, no I never touched Sunrises feet to teach her this.. only mirroring.. I should take a video of how I eventually managed to teach it to her. I tried for ages with touching her feet and it just confused her.. ... perhaps because I"m a hoof trimmer. :huh: :huh: She just balances herself up on the other three and then lifts the one I'm touching.. :D And if I try to touch a foot to STOP it from moving. :rambo: Huge frustration for both of us. I've learnt the best way for us is to keep my hands to myself. In the video, I'm putting a hand on her chest to stop her moving forward, and giving an "uhuh" but that's only working because I've already taught it to her without any touching. This was just transferring it to a propless situation. And now she's doing it just for fun if I even look like I'm scissoring my legs apart! :D

By the way.. I was hoping you could give me some pointers on how to ask her to stretch once her feet are "parked out". :pray: Do I ask for up and out, or down and in? She should be trying to bring her front legs to vertical right?
Quote:
I've discovered that the back crunch is an unexpected element to our working on Spanish Walk with Circe -- she's still figuring out that she needs to bring her hind feet with her...
:D Leigh, what a clever pair you are! I hope you reinforced her for it..... Then you can just ask it by doing whatever you did yesterday, and don't reinforce for a Spanish walk.. she'll figure it out.. you won't have to!

This is a huge leap in understanding I think I"ve just arrived at.. the change over from thinking along the lines of "I need to figure out how to ask" to.. "She'll figure out how to do it.." The "asking" only comes later when she's already learnt how to do it. :green: (This is me reinventing the wheel Brenda!)

A very happy no longer pedestrian Sue.

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 2:48 am 
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Quote:
Leigh, what a clever pair you are! I hope you reinforced her for it..... Then you can just ask it by doing whatever you did yesterday, and don't reinforce for a Spanish walk.. she'll figure it out.. you won't have to!


I didn't yesterday! :blush: Stardust and I were on the other side of the arena by the time I saw her doing it...but I will have my eyes open for it in the future and we'll go from there.

Quote:
This is a huge leap in understanding I think I"ve just arrived at.. the change over from thinking along the lines of "I need to figure out how to ask" to.. "She'll figure out how to do it.." The "asking" only comes later when she's already learnt how to do it.


I've been having some happy accidents with this, mostly due to my innate laziness... 8)

Sorta...I've been really focused on just playing when I've been over there for the last few weeks -- life in other contexts is moving fast enough right now that I've not had a lot of focused energy to really "work" when I'm with them. And, lo and behold, they are beginning to tell me that they have games they like playing, and things that they like to figure out!

Same day as this, I was running with Stardust (we'd been playing with the soccer ball) and then I took off without it -- Stardust came with me on a big loop and then trotted over to the ball of his own volition. I was so jazzed! I reward when he comes with me, so it wasn't an "I'll get a treat if I nudge the ball" -- he looked at me like I'd forgotten something and then went over to it on his own...a Sally Field moment "He likes it, he really likes it!" :)

I keep having to learn this over and over again -- play is fun. Work, not so much. When I go there in play mode, we have a blast and their learning speed seems to accelerate enormously. And they start coming up with their own solutions.

So I guess there's something cool about being lazy! I knew it would pay off some day!

:green:

Leigh

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 7:14 am 
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Oh yeah! The soccer ball game! :cheers: This is where we had our first breakthroughs in motivation too I think! I think there must be something intrinsically encouraging to independence about it.. the fact that they need to move away from us, they can control the speed and gait, a kick or a nudge, and everything they do we love. It's very hard for me to be controlling when playing football! :green: The first time Sunrise heard my marker but decided to keep playing instead... :love: what a wonderful surprise!

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I have not sought the horse of bits, bridles, saddles and shackles,

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