The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 10:39 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
HinnyWhispererE wrote:
Josepha wrote:
Hi Donald,
Patricia, did you like Mr. Mccleans book?


Josepha,
I learn something from everyone I read. McLean is trying to be a behaviorist. There is a lot to learn there. But the focus is on operant conditioning... well, AND seems to be interested in the behaviors that come out without conditioning. So I would say that McLean and AND are on opposite spectrums of horsetraining.

Yrs,
Patricia


Thank you Patricia :)

What was suprising and dissapointing to me when I first started reading Mclean was that he based the equine intelligence 100% on human reference.
Which also surprisingly, a lot of scientist seem to do. And in my book science needs to take place from a neutral point of view.



The object of setting a scale of measure and sticking strictly to that is supposed to offset some of the human based bias.

And our problem is, even we here at AND, have as the only reference (since horses seem unwilling to share what a "horse IQ" consists of) we must create a measure. A scale. A "horsestick" or "one horse ruler length."

And that brings us round to the real problem. There is NO standard about horse behavior that is universal for humans to use.

As you point out an example below.

Josepha wrote:

I remember him stating that horses are really stupid because a few horses died behind a fence, while some miles further there was an opening.

I wonder how native nature people would do, if they never ever saw a fence for one.
Second, if it were indeed 3 stupid horses that died there, does that mean every horse in the world is stupid?

and third... did the horses die because they did not find nor searched for the way out? Or did they die of something totally differnt like poisoning for instance?


When someone makes a claim, that is or should be a scientific claim, as he did, my first question is, "may I see your report, protocols, demographics, statistical analysis please?"

And you are so very right. There were those and more variables unaccounted for, I presume, or he would have said so.

What makes me laugh at humans, and this one in particular, is that human beings themselves, just like these horses, can do the most stupid things. Often it's out of instinct and habit, but it does kill us in so called "accidents," all too often.

Take tobacco for instance. (No offense to any smokers, I too smoked for 20 years).

Josepha wrote:
As I was learned in school... science is 'taking every possibility in account'.

And a lot of scientists, as in this case Mr. McClean do not really practise science in that way, from my point of view.

And as he stated his book: 'the truth about horses'... well that is a heavy verdict to state, if you know what I mean.
Goes to show that there seem to be many truths out there (not meaning the X files ;) )


I'll cut the poor man some slack and say that he was using a common expression rather than trying to be accurate in his choice of words...but, cheezzz, still.

Josepha wrote:
That is why I choose to not read on as it only annoyed me to the core (sorry Mr. McClean, I am sure every thing I do and say would annoy you even more :lol: ).

So indeed, I am curious just as Donald what you found in his book that is helpful... Of course I should take it up and read for myself... but I have no shame in asking your for the useful info :)

warm regards,

Josepha
ps: and it cracked me up when you said 'trying to be a behaviorist' :lol:


Yop, fur shure. :lol: :lol:

In all fairness, I have not read his book, so I'm being subjective without proofs of my own to offer pro or con his opinions. But I am sure of one thing. They are, if he is being quoted accurately, just that: opinions.

I try to rank horse intelligence not against other animals, not even the human ones, but from horse to horse.

It immediately forces me to take other things into consideration.

Such as that there is no standard measure I've heard of.

And that horses have personality types too. Some horses, like some humans are clever, when it seems they are intelligent. But in fact may not be that intelligent at all about what constitutes IQ for a horse.

Intelligent horses, to my mind, use their instincts first. It's lousy for humans around them, but I very much trust the intellect of the horse, with a bucking strap around his flanks, a nutty carnivore on his back with great flapping wings (leather chaps), and spurs raking his sides, waving his arm, flopping back and forth, when the horse bucks that person into the ground as hard as they can and tries to stomp them into pudding.

The mare that defends her colt against the same predatory smelling, and predator moving creatures. Though we get hurt, she was doing what horses do best.

I see my job to kind of fit into the various cracks presented by the horse that is not quite so intelligent. One that will tolerate me and other humans just a bit until they become accustomed to us.

There are very few really stupid horses using that kind of measure.

Instinct is not "stupid."

Fortunately for us, horses come with more than one or two. Besides flight or fight they also have curiosity and play. I believe both are instinctual too.

And I hope, or at least from a human point of view, that a particular horse I might be working with will have those four things in their assorted measures that let me in a bit.

Finally, I hope to find in my work, always, ways to be respectful of the horse as it is, not as I project upon it what I want it to be.

That's the hardest one, of course.

Because far too often what I want the horse to be, just for me, is stupid.

Donald R.

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:38 am 
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Brenda wrote:
So how does what KH does fit into AND??


What he showed me, is that it really is a possibility to collect horses without a bit and without contact reins, and that you can really teach your horse to collect with your own bodylanguage as cue.

The funny thing is that yesterday I accidentally saw a video on youtube on SATS training with horses in which a white arabian was doing a Spanish walk. As I use to watch everything on the computer without sound, I saw that the horse was listening really good to the bodylanguage and whipcues of the trainer, giving a beautiful Spanish walk. Only then my brains registered that this was a SATS video, which means that the horse was supposed to do everything on voice cues. So I turned on the sound and indeed now the trainer was giving a lot of voice cues, showing how the horse responded to all the different words, but they were accompanying her bodylanguage. The interesting thing though I thought was that she cued with her body before she gave the vocal signal, and that the horse already responded to the bodylanguage when the voicecue came. That too showed me how extremely good horses notice our bodylanguage - and how unconscious we are of it most of the time, including myself. 8)

For me personally it were Hempfling and Chris Irwin who opened my eyes to how subtle bodylanguage can be and how much you can tell(ask) your horse by just moving in a special way. They reinforce that with pressure, I do it with rewards, they don't accept a 'no' from the horse, I do.

That's also why I don't use a whip to ask for more action, speed, upwardsness 8) or anything anymore, because it doesn't add anything positive to my bodylanguage. Even with the ponies, who are 100% unafraid of the whip and learned to see it as a regular part of tricktraining, without ever getting more pressure than a subtle tap, I noticed that they really disliked that kind of cue. And that made them dislike the exercises that were asked with it. The dislike was very subtle, but once our training because AND and therefore even more subtle, I noticed their responses to whip cues. And with Blacky the whip actually took away the fun from collection and turning it into work. So his reward wasn't just the treat after a canter, but also that he could stop cantering. And that actually was totally the opposite that I wanted to achieve: that the ponies would see collection as something that really was fun, something that was theirs, and not a stupid task that was imposed on them. I don't want the 'being allowed to stop doing a dressage exercise' being a relief or a treat for them, because I want them to thorougly enjoy the entire training session and all the exercises we do.

So I do recognise your whip-issue, and for me after struggling with it for a year I decided to finally just toss it away. The funny thing it that it also freed my body even more for giving subtle cues, because I wasn't hindered anymore by carrying a 1 meter long stick in one hand, always taking the symmetry out of my body. And I just became much, much, much less annoying. :roll: 8)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 7:40 pm 
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Miriam wrote:
For me personally it were Hempfling and Chris Irwin who opened my eyes to how subtle body language can be and how much you can tell(ask) your horse by just moving in a special way. They reinforce that with pressure, I do it with rewards, they don't accept a 'no' from the horse, I do.


When I first started working with Gouch very subtle body language would trigger an aggressive response, it was very difficult to understand what I had done to cause this. For this reason I always carried a whip, when he ear pinned and came at me I would hold the whip in front of me, without fail he would attack the whip and never me. I can never be sure if the whip was part of the problem but as our understanding of one another's body language has progressed I no longer need to protect myself so the whip has become redundant.

Gouch came to us as a three year old so I do not know if he has past issues with whips. When I first started working with him at liberty he was unpredictable and at times could be unsafe, even though I was using positive reinforcement this did not always work. He suffers from PTSD and could react suddenly and almost without warning. I do not enjoy working with whips and much prefer to use hand signals. Sometimes we have to stand back and do what is best for the horse, I followed my instincts and believe I made the right choice. I find a lot of what Hempfling teaches to be very useful with Gouch as he is a horse that responds very well to body language. With another horse I might take a different path. With him I am learning to use my body language to ask and I am getting some very positive answers. In some ways he is becoming an easy horse to work with because if the ask is to loud or inappropriate he reacts with a strong no. I know this is working with him because through his own choice he is turning into a very polite and well mannered young stallion.

Eileen

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 2:31 am 
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Miriam wrote:
So I do recognise your whip-issue, and for me after struggling with it for a year I decided to finally just toss it away. The funny thing it that it also freed my body even more for giving subtle cues, because I wasn't hindered anymore by carrying a 1 meter long stick in one hand, always taking the symmetry out of my body. And I just became much, much, much less annoying. :roll: 8)


That is so great to hear! Makes great sense! Early on I taught Lucy to move away from a whip using C/T but even then I didn't like it, tho I think she did and thought the whip made treats happen cuz she would always follow me around when I had it! And these days I am fading the target from many exercises so I too am being freed up to use better body language!

And thanks for answering my question! Now I can see what you find useful with Hempfling, and how we can use positive reinforcement instead of pressure to enhance it!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:02 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:27 am
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Location: NW New Mexico
Sorry to have to go back to this issue, but I am just catching up....
[quote="Donald Redux"]

[quote="Josepha"]
And as he stated his book: 'the truth about horses'... well that is a heavy verdict to state, if you know what I mean.
Goes to show that there seem to be many truths out there (not meaning the X files ;) )
[/quote]

I'll cut the poor man some slack and say that he was using a common expression rather than trying to be accurate in his choice of words...but, cheezzz, still.

[/quote]

Well, I discussed this issue with McLean and he says that book does not represent his true thinking about horses, but that it was a book to please the publishers, including the title.

He says his other book "Training the McLean Way" is more true to him and that he hopes to revise it.

It does not escape the man that The Truth about Horses isn't an accurate title. Life is full of irony.

Okay, here is who you would really like::: Oscar Scarpati Schmidt and his son Christobal from Argentina. Find them on YouTube.

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No training plan survives contact with a hinny.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2008 12:27 am
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Location: NW New Mexico
About whips:

I replaced my whips with back scratchers for most work. Sometimes I need a real whip, but it's very very rare, unless we are talking about the upward transition into the canter at liberty in the round pen. My lazy boys!!!

If you are carrying a backscratcher it will do almost anything that a whip will do, it makes you feel benevolent to be using it, and it makes a great target. And you can scratch your own back.

Yrs,
Patricia

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========================

No training plan survives contact with a hinny.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:42 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
HinnyWhispererE wrote:
About whips:

I replaced my whips with back scratchers for most work. Sometimes I need a real whip, but it's very very rare, unless we are talking about the upward transition into the canter at liberty in the round pen. My lazy boys!!!

If you are carrying a backscratcher it will do almost anything that a whip will do, it makes you feel benevolent to be using it, and it makes a great target. And you can scratch your own back.

Yrs,
Patricia


Me, I favor iridescent orange fly swatters (unused on flies, by the way). Highly visible in a part of the spectrum horses see more easily, very easy for me to see if I throw it down somewhere in the grass. Doesn't look like a whip.

Not that I don't use whips. I do, but only like I use the flyswatter, as targets and hand extension.

And besides, it bugs any onlookers. They just cannot figure out what I am doing with a damn flyswatter ... the guy must be crackers.

But, flyswatter, whip, stick, whatever, always, for me, gives way to using my bare hand fairly quickly. In fact I moved out of use of whip to get movement to and away from me today and put Dakota in a wonderful little spin in both directions. Just leading an pointing with my hands. He is the cutest goof and loves these sorts of games.

Donald R.

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:22 pm
Posts: 43
I read a long and convoluted text from before few years ago :) ufff....
I am interesting in Hempfling by few months, I didn't read his books (I'm going in the near future), now I use websites, youtube, etc.
I was very interesting about the girl which was on his seminar. She said about whip, rope and personal space, that at first the hore can't input.
In the statements on forum members appeared passwordabout is dominance. Personally I haven't problem with this word ;) Previously, I had.
For my horses I was a friend by all their lives and it leds me nowhere. I don't know how to be only a friend for my horses and at the same time give them this, what they need the most. It is not possible for me and for my horses.
Now I understand from where our problems come from. And now I understand why first meeting is so important and why slow building relationship between a man and a horse can bring disastrous consequences, what happen with me and my horses.
For my horses being a friend is not enough, now I am aware of this. Maybe your horses are other and they haven't such needs as my horses, but I know one thing- that I have to be strong and be a leader for my horses. It even does not matter what I want, but the most important is what my horses needs and I have to find to much strenght in myself to give them this, what they need.
Much love for everybody! :love:


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:43 pm 
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Quote:
why slow building relationship between a man and a horse can bring disastrous consequences


I think that for people like Hempfling, or Buck Braneman, that can develop relationships quickly with horses, that's great. It's just that most people can't do that. Just like in relationships with people, you can't become best friends in 15 minutes. Becoming friends with someone takes a while to get to know them, and then longer to build a close relationship. I've always felt that to be true for horses, too. When most people go for the 'quick fix' on horses, it rarely solves the problem, but sometimes even makes it worse. I'll repeat in saying that for people that can develop fast, and real, relationships with horses, that's amazing and great for both parties. I just don't think it works for everybody. Could I ask why you think that the long route is bad?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:47 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:22 pm
Posts: 43
Dear Rose :)
I am not like Hempfling is ;) I haven't so much inner strenght. And really I am very poor creature who often cries. I think that now I would be able establish a hierarchy (because it does Hempfling) with a new horse in 15 minut (and now it seems to me not so much difficult). This is not the same what friendship is. Because what do Hempfling in first meeting is usually defend his own personal space what makes him someone who is worthy to honor his sentence in horse's eyes. The horse sees that he is not dangerous, aggressive, he is always calm and knows what he is doing, horse knows that he is aware of all situations. This makes that horse sees him like someone who is safely (horses lives in herds, their instinct tells them to be close to thats safe and strong horses.., it is absolutely natural thing for a horses).
But getting to know each other, finding out new things about ourselves, getting to know our personality is completely different thing and no one will do this in 15 minutes (even Hempfling). It takes months, years.

Quote:
Could I ask why you think that the long route is bad?

Because my horses and me, we haven't capabilities to make first good impression. By long years I made so much errors, so many time I failed trust in my horses. I was sure that I do good things, then I didn't know so much about horse's behaviour, about their instincts what I know now. And now it will be very very hard rebuild this what was lost by my ignorance.
Little sad, but this is not the time to feel sorry for myself, now I have to be strong because otherwise does not change anything for the better.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:22 pm 
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Okay, I think I get what you mean. You weren't talking about friendships, but more of a pecking order? Sort of showing the horse that you're a good leader? I agree that the first time you meet a horse is very important for setting up a relationship. :yes:


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:04 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:22 pm
Posts: 43
Yes Rose, I was talking about pecking order at firs meeting.
And I think that when we meet the horse first time and he will see that we are strong, calm and trustworthy it will be have very big influence on frienship in the futre. When first meeting was done good then the most difficult is never disappointed the horse.
But when we made "bad" impression on the horse during the first meeting he will be remember this and he will not take us seriously.
And sometimes, during frienship we are very unstable- one we are strong and after some time we aren't or we are shure of this what we are doing and then, we aren't- the horse will be not think that we are someone, with who he can feel safe, because he never know who we will become in a moment ;)


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