The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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 Post subject: 2: Humming-tops + VIDEO
PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:29 am 
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Humming-tops/Brummkreisel

The humming-top is an exercise in which the horse turns around his own axis, while the human stands in one point. Here is a video example: Titum doing humming-tops

One way to start it is by using a tiger (target stick). There are other ways to teach it, but the nice thing about using the tiger is that it is a pressureless way that works without sending the horse away from you.

Before you start working on humming-tops with a target, your horse should have learned to touch the target with his nose. Now you want him to make a turn while following the target. This requires you to hold the target over the horse's back and move it away from his head, so that he has to turn away from you to touch it. Be careful if you have a horse that tends to be afraid of plastic bags, especially when they move over his head or back. In this case, some preparatory work might be necessary.

Once you have established a turn with the target, the next step is to fade out the target so that you will be able to do it only on voice cue or with body language later. With Titum, this worked best by becoming sloppy with the tiger. Whereas in the beginning I had made a complete turn with the tiger, later on I started to begin the turn with the tiger, but I did not complete it, but just moved the tiger upwards once the horse has started to move. When he was used to it, it was enough to hold up the tiger so that the bag hangs somewhere above the horse, and he would turn under it. Then you can just place the tiger next to you with the bag in the air etc. Make the tiger less important step by step.

Here is a video of our second day, when we began to fade out the tiger: Intermediate steps

The next bigger step is to do it completely without a tiger. This was quite difficult for Titum and me in the beginning. Before, I had not really used the tiger anymore for targetting during the turn, but the mere fact that I had it in my hand had profoundly changed my body language. Without a tiger, Titum just did not understand what I wanted. What we did to overcome this problem was using a "disabled tiger", a short and thick branch that had no real use and didn't act as a target for Titum, but I had something to hold in my hand and to pretend that I was holding a tiger. While you work with the disabled tiger, watch your body language. What movement do you make? Then you can try it with no tiger at all.

The body language cue you will end up with directly after you have eliminated all kinds of tigers will probably include standing next to the horse and pointing over his back with your hand. It might be helpful in the beginning not to stand in front of the horse, but at the side where he will turn away from. This is because when your horse doesn't know what to do, you can just reach over his back and initiate the turn by letting him follow your hand.

Once your horse knows the basic humming-tops, there are lots of possibilities for varying them. For example you can increase their speed so that they become a spin in trot, or perhaps even a chain of jumps. You can incorporate them into moving forwards, so that your hhorse is spinning while you are walking or running with him.

Have fun!


Last edited by Romy on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 8:41 am 
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Hey

Great topic. I want to try this too :D
Good explanation and clear videos.
Thank you

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 11:05 am 
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Nice one! I also love the video and the way he looks at you when he's turning back to you!
:lol:

But why is it called humming-tops? What does it mean?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:06 pm 
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Thanks! This exercise is usually called waltz, at least here in Germany. But at the time when I began to experiment with it, Karen and Sue were talking about riding and waltzing as a means to change directions. So this name wasn't possible anymore. Karen suggested to call it "ballet" in Summy's diary, but to speak about ballet when talking about fat little Summy was a little bit weird. So I called them humming-tops ("Brummkreisel" in German), which is a toy that turns around while making a humming noise... and as Summy's second name is "Brummi", so this was perfectly. Well, now we had a name for it to suit Summy, but it became Titum's exercise, because he liked it more than Summy did.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 7:42 pm 
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I also wondered about the name
Maybe we can add it to our excercises and make a sticky out of it :D

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 12:11 am 
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I will see the videos Monday...excellent instruction Romy! Thank you!!!!


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 4:03 am 

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:D

This will be interesting to experiment with Rosie.

APril

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:11 am 
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It's stickied!

If anyone has other methods to teach this to their horses, they're welcome to put them over here too.

Last week Blacky offered me a very fast humming-top too, but as that was during ar pirouette attempt (turn on the hindquarters in collected canter), I decided not to reward for the humming-top because I think that Blacky at this moment would then delete the difficult pirouette and exchange it for the easier and faster humming-top. But it is a very much fun exercise indeed. 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:54 pm 
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I have my humming-top with Tam down to two cues (it was three), but I think I will try to go back and do it as Romy has done it...it just seems so much smoother than the way I did it!

Thank you again Romy for the excellent instruction!


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:35 pm 
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Thanks Romy!

Yesterday I tried it for the first time with Amiro during play, the result is on the end of the movie placed in my diary, he did 'something like'it! Nice exercises, I think we will practise it more often.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2008 7:10 pm 
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I finally remembered to watch the video.

Romy, LOVELY! You taught this so well and so fast!!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 8:48 pm 
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I learned my horse doing a humming top by giving him a little push with my hand on his cheek and by turning myself.

He understood it quite fast. And when I turn to the left, he turns to the right. :D (see my video in topic: videos)

When I turn to the right, he turns to the left : so he mirrors me.

Another way to learn it is with a rope, but I guess it isn't fully in line with AND. You use a halter and a line which goes behind the hindquarters and then put pressure, so the horse turns.

Good idea to teach it with the catching tiger principles though !!


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 6:47 pm 
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I din't knew what to imagine by this title, so I started reading and figured out it is something Sjors and I are allready doing. :D

Not to often, because Sjors doesn't like this exercise very much, he cirles around,
ending with a face that says; :roll: "statisfied now?"
:lol:

I learned him to turn around by using two methods;
1. giving a litlle bit preassure on his neck, so he turned away his head, starting rewarding for that (easy, he just reacts on pressure). then rewarding him when he gives more reaction and asking him to come back to me when he turned enough away from me.

2. the moment where he had to figure out that he was supposed to complete the turn (cirkle), in stead of turning back to me, I used a rope. I didn't put it behind his quarters, but used it over his back / behind his neck. When I wanted him to make a circle to the right (for me left when he faces me), the rope was going from his halter among the left right side of his neck to my right hand. First I gave him the signal, and at the point he was a bit in doubt I helped him a little bit, pulling a little bit on the rope (so his head to the right, completing the circle and his body following). When he was over the half of the circle he completed it on his own, getting his reward at the end (when facing me again).

Just doing it a few times was enough to teach him. In the training area and his stable he does it perfectly. But in a pasture or when he likes to run more, he doesn't complete the circle :x :lol:


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:24 pm 
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Romy,

I tried the other day to put the target over Freckle's withers and "pull" him around with it. It worked very well! Now I need to think of a cue that makes sense, and practise it until I don't need the target!

I think this is fantastic, because Freckles "struggles" to move away from me, and there was no "awkward" feeling from doing it like this. THANK-YOU.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 7:51 pm 
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That is nice to hear! :)

I use a circling movement with my vingers as the sign to ask this exercise. Sjors understands very well.
The directin I make the circle is the direction for him to do it.


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