The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:53 am 
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Thank you very much! I merged your posts into the other thread so that we have everything in one place. Also fixed your picture links - lovely horse that you have there! :smile:

Like Leigh, I am also interested in hearing more about what you are actually doing in terms of actions with your horse (the philosophy behind the system I think I understand). I will summarize what I understood from what I read until now, maybe then it's easier to correct me where I am wrong. Forgive me if that description will sound a bit technical, I am trying to leave out most of the interpretations of the human's or horse's actions, just to get the specific steps clear. I added numbers where I have further questions, which I will ask below.

First you offer food to the horse, which he eats and then he comes to you. After you got his interest and willingness to interact, you suggest a certain very simple exercise that he can do (*1). If he does not do it, you don't put on pressure but simply ask again and then stop and continue later or repeat the former steps if there is still no reaction (*2). Once learned in the way you had planned before, those exercises become the building blocks for your future interaction (*3). With time you increase the variety of exercises and their difficulty. You use positive reinforcement (foodrewards) but in a very specific way: only the "right" answer from the horse gets rewarded, not any other offer.

If this is summary is in any way correct (and please correct me where I am wrong!) I do see a lot of parallels to AND, but also some differences - although AND is a study group, so everyone is doing things differently anyhow, but I mean the basic philosophy. The main difference is that I understand you are working in really preplanned steps which are the same for each horse human combination, whereas AND is more meant to go with the horse’s initiative. So that’s the point where my questions arise:

*1 Are these the same exercises for every horse or just the same more global steps? I am asking because when I am playing with horses, I usually find that they all have their own preferences and I mostly felt they had most fun when I went with that. If you indeed use only preplanned exercises, what is the reason for that?

*2 If the horse does react to your question but his reaction is different from what you had in mind, do you go with his initiative or do you persist and try to get to the exercise you had in mind initially?

*3 When your initial steps were done in a very specific way and in a fixed order, is that also true for later steps in your partnership with your horse or is it more like learning the alphabet first so that later you can freely combine the letters to words and then to sentences, eventually? So that for later steps there are certain guidelines but more room for the horse’s and human’s own ideas?

Thanks again for explaining! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Yes, I told Chuck to email info@artof..... because of spambots, he did say he had done that and I was expecting to see him here, oh well, soon maybe? xx

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 5:10 pm 
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I think someone who was named Chuck mailed me to say he was 'real' :)
I asked him if the problem was fixed and he said yes. So probably that was he and he will be able to snoop around here :)

As to the description of this training technique... I realise now that I am not looking for a bond with my horse, actually... I just want me horse to be 'all he can be'; Equus Universalis as I like to put it.

I do not want him to depend on me for his happyness. I want him to be happy because of who he is and what he can do, wants to do and the fact that he is able to persue this.
(which many indviduals on the planet are not, alas...)

The fact of the matter is that I love my horse probably as much as people often love human family. But by no means do I expect him to love me back, as love, to me means unconditional.
That I do get lots of love back just means that I am just a really lucky and happy person :love:

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
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Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
Josepha, the photo's I've seen of Chuck's horses, they are very independent minded like yours are.
These horses have developed a bond of friendship which has allowed them to be comfortable when offering the healing that horses so generously give to abused children in a Texas Pony Express. Patiently letting withdrawn, over noisy, damaged children to interact between their hooves, through their legs, and nurturing just as they do most young things that find themselves with a herd.
I hope Chuck will join and perhaps share some of his techniques for interested members, although the course is usually run via the internet through video commentaries and email exchanges, and it has been part of Chuck's professional income to teach instructors and owners his methods.
Just as many successful dressage, event rider's, trainers sell courses, books, articles, instruction tuition, this method has not been freely available but from those who have afforded it, as well as enjoying the many free articles and philosophies, I have heard only positive feedbacks. xx

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:50 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
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Location: Dallas County Texas
Quote:
Well ... he finished his meal and marched ALL the way through the ring and into the woods to find me and give me a big sweet kiss!!!!!!!! OH MY GOD! This is a horse that never moves a step more than he has to!


Though I've heard of countless other very similar experiences, they never cease to cause me to 'blink my eyes' a bit. That ethereal/spiritual connection is the most evasive, difficult aspect of FT to attempt to fully explicate.

“There are things in life we cannot see, taste, smell, hear, touch, or understand. But we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they exist because our heart tells us so. For the heart possesses a wisdom far beyond that of the intellect and a vision far grander than that of the mind.”

- Author Unknown -

Perhaps explaining that 'FT Kiss' should be moved to the 'Theory: Research and Training Methods' Topic, (though it certainly isn't 'theory'). ;)

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
I think this belongs more in the research section :-)

Heart_of_Equus wrote:
Perhaps explaining that 'FT Kiss' should be moved to the 'Theory: Research and Training Methods' Topic, (though it certainly isn't 'theory'). ;)


Okay, okay, you all have convinced me, I moved it. :funny: :funny: :funny: Although I still feel it fitted better where it was before, but as it is now we have it all in one thread, which is great, too.

Oh, and welcome! :smile:


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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
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Location: Dallas County Texas
I've only had a brief opportunity to skim the previous posts here about FT but just for the record, the author of 'A Dressage Critique' is Ludvik Karel "Lee" Stane, (though 'Anke' is a 'four-letter word' in our house I do believe Ludvik makes some very valid points).



Chuck & Kids
Lady, Able, Sundance, Boss & Combustion
( And Rebel & Nikki )

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We can not solve the problems WE have created with the same thinking that created them


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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:33 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Dallas County Texas
Quote:
As to the description of this training technique... I realise now that I am not looking for a bond with my horse,


Then that is the difference between us.

Without that sense of 'oneness,' that 'complete connection' and melding, that sensation of being part of an entity that is neither human nor horse, but some indefinable mixture of both, I would feel alone and lost in the abyss of 'horsemanship and training.'

Quote:
actually... I just want me horse to be 'all he can be';


Again a difference, (neither right nor wrong.)

But I want US to be 'all WE can be,' (while sharing a very special part of our lives together) and enhance his spirit and 'sense of self' as much as is humanly possible in the process.

For I firmly believe that true 'impulsion,' that expression of inner pride and self-esteem that borders defiance to the world in general not in conceit or arrogance but simple confidence, comes not from the outside, but from within the heart of the horse itself.

But we're 'getting ahead of ourselves' a bit.

Let's go back to that 'FT Kiss.


Chuck & Kids
Lady, Able, Sundance, Boss & Combustion
( And Rebel & Nikki )




Chuck & Kids
Lady, Able, Sundance, Boss & Combustion
( And Rebel & Nikki )

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We can not solve the problems WE have created with the same thinking that created them


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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:58 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
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Location: Dallas County Texas
[VERY briefly] A horse's nostrils contain three delicate bones called turbinates. They are covered by a thick, soft, mucous membrane and long narrow rods which are called olfactory nerves penetrate the surface. The nerve cells lie just beneath the surface of the membrane, and they protect tufts of fine hair-like cilia into the nasal cavity. It is through these cilia that a chemical interaction is performed with the environment, and a bio-electric impulse is sent along the nerve to the olfactory lobe of the brain.

Excerpt from an article written by Dr. Bonnie Weaver and Dr. David Whitaker:

What prodigious nostrils a horse has, like Red Riding Hood's wolf--all the better to smell you with. And beyond those nostrils-- which can flare to draw in more scents--lie long and cavernous nasal passages that facilitate the intake of large quantities of air during exercise, as well as all the chemical messages in the air (see page 84). The horse's olfactory receptors--millions of elongated nerve cells that are specialized to analyze smells--are located in the mucous membranes in the upper portion of the nasal cavity. When airborne odor molecules come into contact with the lipid and protein material of the mucous membranes, they interact with the microscopic tufts of hair protruding from the receptor cells. By sniffing, the horse can intensify the currents of air in the nasal passages, providing more contact between the odor molecules and the receptor cells and more time for analysis.

The olfactory cells send out two branches, one that extends over the surface of the olfactory mucosa and another that acts as a direct pipeline to the brain. The twin olfactory bulbs, distinct areas of the brain which are responsible for identifying scents, are located at the very front of the cerebrum--one on each lobe--and are connected via the main olfactory nerves to the receptors in the nasal passages. Interestingly, the olfactory bulbs are one of the only brain structures that do not cross over; the receptors in the left nostril are directly connected with the left olfactory bulb, and the right with the right.

The whole arrangement sounds fairly simple, but it's only half of the story. For as it turns out, horses really have two olfactory systems.

Olfactory Accessories

There's a second pair of olfactory organs lurking under the floor of the horse's nasal cavity--the vomeronasal organs (sometimes called Jacobson's organs, after the Danish anatomist Ludvig Jacobson who first described them in 1813). Almost all animals are equipped with vomeronasal organs (abbreviated VNO); in fact, humans and cetacean sea mammals (whales and dolphins) are among the few species which seem to be deprived. The structure and function of the VNO have been extensively studied in reptiles and rodents, so although there has been little research that's equine-specific, there's quite a bit we can extrapolate about the organ.

We do know that the VNOs in horses are tubular and cartilaginous, and are about 12 centimeters long. (Despite their size, they're so carefully concealed that it's little wonder anatomists before Jacobson completely missed them.) They're lined with mucous membranes; they contain more sensory fibers of the olfactory nerve; and they're connected to the main nasal passages by a duct called the nasopalatine duct. (In some animals, the nasopalatine duct also makes a connection with the mouth, making it possible for scents to be drawn in through more than one entrance, but in horses, which aren't mouth breathers, the VNOs communicate only with the nasal passages.) The VNOs seem to expand and contract like a pump with stimulation from strong odors, and they have their own pathways to the brain, functioning almost as completely separate sensory organs.


Why do horses have two olfactory centers?

The VNOs have a separate job description from the "main" olfactory apparatus. The VNOs' main purpose is the detection and analysis of pheromones, the chemical signals emanating from other horses (and, on occasion, from humans). And the main purpose of pheromones is to indicate an animal's sexual status. In a way, then, the VNO is really a sex organ, helping stallions to identify when a mare is in heat and receptive to breeding, when she is out of season and likely to reject his advances, and when there might be a rival stallion in the area ready to steal his mares.

In some species, horses included, stimulation of the VNOs has a profound influence on the animal's endocrine system.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Estimates vary as to exactly how much greater a horse's sense of smell is than a human's from hundreds to thousands of times greater. In many cases, it is not clear whether those estimates are exponential or linear, but safe to say that the horse's olfactory sense is very much greater than ours. It is perhaps their greatest survival sense in many ways greater than their very unique vision that allows him to see both sides of his body at the same time and detect incredibly tiny movements at a distance. Their olfactory system has many uses other than detecting predators that are beyond his range of vision. Amongst other things, they may use it to locate water, select food, mare/foal identification, absolute individual identification and sexual responses.

When approaching something uniquely new, (and potentially threatening) both their eyes will be focused directly on the object, their ears will be pricked, their head and neck will be stretched far from their body and their nostrils will be open drawing deep breaths of air, (blowing inhalation and snorting) to accumulate as many scent molecules as possible. This gives an accurate 'reading' as possible while minimizing bodily exposure and preparing for flight mode at the same time. It is also his final means of identifying anything in his world, including the absolute identification of other horses and their intent. For unlike the world of humans, in the animal world, it is pretty difficult for anyone to purposely disguise their scent. (That could very well be the primary reason why large predators often roll in the feces of their prey.)

In addition, the horse carries around his own laboratory to instantly analyze and identify different pheromones. It is called the Organ of Jacobsen (or Vomeronasal organ.) It is the primary contributing factor of truth to the old adage that states, If you're afraid of your horse, he'll know it. He will also judge you by your eye movements, the angle of your head and the position of and how you advance your body. But even the best actor in the world who was afraid of his horse and put on a superb act of confidence as though he was NOT being afraid could never fool the horse. The reason is because no matter how well the actor changed his physical appearance, he could not change his scent of apprehension and fear.

Anecdotally, I've personally experienced numerous situations and ran controlled studies (Equine Air Scent Rescue) that overwhelmingly demonstrated the extreme sensitivity of a horses sense of smell. Perhaps the most memorable was riding a mature stallion that detected a mare in estrous who was upwind over a mile and a half away. The wind was blowing fairly steady that day at about 7-10 miles per hour and it took us over an hour and a half to zigzag across fields, through marshes, wooded areas and cross trails to find out exactly what he was SO interested in. Needless to say, his reward was not what he had hoped it would be.

This olfactory sensitivity can be attributed to the many horses getting punished by their frustrated riders for suddenly balking, jigging or "acting spooky" on a familiar trail or area they have traveled many times before without incident. All it would take is another horse that had experienced a fright stimuli in that spot or a predator recently crossing the trail or a small animal kill nearby or a drop of blood to immediately activate his survival instincts and prime directive (Self-Survival.)

Chuck & Kids
Lady, Able, Sundance, Boss & Combustion
( And Rebel & Nikki )

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We can not solve the problems WE have created with the same thinking that created them


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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:08 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Dallas County Texas
The FT Kiss.

The human reaction to the physical act of receiving a kiss (platonic or otherwise) has a tremendous emotional impact. Amongst other things, it gives us a very special feeling of self-worth in that another entity regarded and cherished us as an individual to such a degree that they felt the need or desire to express that intimate regard physically. In essence, receiving a kiss momentarily seems to validate our sense of self in that we are special enough to someone to receive one from them.

Unfortunately, horses do not normally share the physical act of kissing another horse (nor do they share with us the emotional stimuli associated with it.) Granted they will stretch their necks to minimize bodily exposure to a possible attack and seem to 'almost bump noses.' But the reason they seem to 'almost bump noses' with another horse is one of two (or both.) #1. To make an absolutely positive identification of the other horse. #2. In doing so, they will automatically catch the emotional scent (and with it the intent of the other horse.) If there is any aggressiveness or hostility detected in the scent of the other horse, the bumping/almost bumping will be followed by squeals and/or screams and varying degrees of a physical confrontation may ensue.

The FTXs are implemented twice a day when a supplemental feed is offered after a very brief period of structured recreation. The Approval/Release after an FTX lesson is the request for a kiss by the horse's 'teacher.' An FT Kiss is given by the horse softly touching his teachers cheek with his nose *momentarily as his teacher stands slightly perpendicular to the horse, offering an easy target area. This is immediately followed by a joyful, overzealous series of verbal GOOD BOYS, (or GOOD GURRRLS as the case may be) a few affectionate rubs and the immediate sharing of nourishment.

In the beginning, the horse simply regards the Kiss as a non-demeaning, non-debasing, easily accomplished part of the lesson plan his teacher has offered. But as he gives that Kiss, he detects a scent of approval, acceptance and intimacy from his teacher. For just as a frightened human actor could not avoid the horse detecting his fear, our scent cannot help but evidence the act of receiving a kiss (and our sincere appreciation/approval.) As the relationship progresses, the horse will use the Kiss as a means of communication for other things.

Sometimes it may be used as a greeting. Sort of like a friend walking up to you and asking you how everything is going while shaking your hand, or gently slapping you on the back or putting their arm around your shoulder. The more the relationship is accepted as friendship, the more he will associate the Kiss with a form of friendly greeting as an acknowledgment of that relationship.

Sometimes it may be used to simply ask/beg for a treat.

Sometimes it may be used as reconciliation, (anthropomorphically -- an apology) for some wrongdoing (real or imagined.)

Sometimes the horse may use the Kiss to ask permission to do something (and vice/versa, to NOT do something.)

And sometimes, the Kiss will be given for seemingly no reason at all other then a sign of acceptance and intimacy. (Those are the best kind.)

But in all cases, the Kiss is a unique mode of interspecies communication, (an aspect of a 'bridge language') between horse and human that enhances not only expressing their true feelings to each other, but also offers one more facet of reciprocal communication, understanding and bonding.

(Cont.)

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:02 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Dallas County Texas
The FT Kiss (and a few facts)
(cont.)

Science and Psychology:

From Proxemics we learn that humans, (and all animals) have
spatial preferences as to how close they are to another individual.

Intimate distance for embracing, touching or whispering

Personal distance for interactions among good friends or family members

Social distance for interactions among acquaintances

Public distance used for public speaking

The horse/pupil, (as we teach, not train) being habituated to repetitiously being invited to enter our, (and their) 'intimate zone' tells them two things: #1. That we desire to share an intimate relationship with them. #2. That we Trust them and desire Reciprocal Trust.


Ethological Sources:

From empirical ethological studies, we learn that in the affiliated pairing, nonsexual bonding, peer attachment, pair bond, mutually beneficial coalitions or preferred associates equine relationship, only the one
horse they bond to is invited into, (or enters without permission) their 'intimate zone.' They can also be observed 'sharing food,' sharing restive time, playing and allogrooming together.

*Note: Neither the lower ranked horse, nor the higher ranked horse, appears to have any apprehension or concern about either their own rank, or the other pair bond horse's rank in this type of relationship. (They do not share this level of Trust, Communication, Understanding or Intimacy with any other horses in the herd.)


Ethereal Aspect: From documented experience, we learn that quite often when this relationship occurs
between horse and human that, (anthropomorphism aside) there is an ethereal or spiritual aspect that cannot be denied.

As to 'sharing food'?

In the process of Natural Selection, Mother Nature has deemed only the fittest survive to ensure the best possible opportunity for 'propagation of species.' When the scarcity of available nourishment leaves only enough for a few of the herd, only those individuals at top of their hierarchical society will survive.

(This is why we hear so many horse owners complain about what they perceive to be 'bad manners and behavioral issues' at feeding time.)

Thus the misconceived 'bad manners and behavioral issues' are only the horse acting in a manner that Mother Nature has dictated he SHOULD act, (for survival of self and species).

Which brings us to a FT Prime: "There is no such thing as a 'bad horse."

(Cont.)

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:03 pm 
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First many thanks for the welcome (back), and I will go and put in my full intro... haha Also MANY huge thanks for fixing my image links. Being a software engineer one would think I could manage that stuff, huh?? *sigh* :D Thanks for the compliment about my girl, I adore her, she is lovely, in ever respect not just her face, I think she is beautiful but am just a tad biased. haha Anyway on to the topic at hand.

Bear with.... This may get lengthy!!
Romy wrote:
Thank you very much! I merged your posts into the other thread so that we have everything in one place. Also fixed your picture links - lovely horse that you have there! :smile:

Like Leigh, I am also interested in hearing more about what you are actually doing in terms of actions with your horse (the philosophy behind the system I think I understand). I will summarize what I understood from what I read until now, maybe then it's easier to correct me where I am wrong. Forgive me if that description will sound a bit technical, I am trying to leave out most of the interpretations of the human's or horse's actions, just to get the specific steps clear. I added numbers where I have further questions, which I will ask below.

First you offer food to the horse, which he eats and then he comes to you. After you got his interest and willingness to interact, you suggest a certain very simple exercise that he can do


Actually this is NOT what we do, not at all. It's not something that should be explained in depth here. Let me offer a bit of an explanation to what I mean.

I fully understand AND is a place to share and help people learn HOW to do things with the horse. (it's why I joined when I did in the first place) And it's not that I don't want to shout out what and how to do FT, it's just not my place to do so in any environment. Firstly I am not a certified teacher of FT, and secondly this is Chuck's livelihood. His sole income is in FT students. Don't get me wrong, you aren't paying him forever, it's a one time charge for the course, but he literally holds your hand daily through it, so he gives you loads of his time and expertise to be sure you are doing things the right way.

Everyone always wants to know the details of how to do FT, well if you really want to know, sign up! ;) Seriously you wouldn't ask this of Anderson, or Parelli, or Lyons, nor would they be able to give you all of their training program in a few lines or paragraphs. You BUY their program to really learn it or attend a clinic, or whatever. Now, granted they're on TV and have programs to help people with their horses. Chuck doesn't have that kind of reach or income, otherwise I am sure he'd be right there with them. ;) But most people that have horses won't "get" what's being taught through those all too short TV shows. And many of them unfortunately get into trouble. True enough those with enough experience do really "get it" and can go out and apply it, or do something very similar and achieve similar results.

What really irritates me though is that you would expect to have to pay for the course to "do" Parelli's PNH, or Lyons' whatever. But people want us FT'ers to just say "oh, do this this way and then this and then this...." and fully explain in great detail how to do FT. *sigh* We cannot do so, because we basically sign up to learn, we pay our money and promise NOT to share the intimate details except with each other. A secret society? No, not really. Now, he does have certified FT people, I am fervently trying to get there myself so that I can share it more. But no, there is a danger is sharing parts of FT and how we accomplish what we do. And it is because of the possible danger that we all agree NOT to give anyone the details. Parelli wants only certified PNH people to share their program, same with Anderson, Lyons, all of them. Chuck is no different in this. And you (the collective you) should not think less of him for wanting to have people learn it the RIGHT way, just like all the other big names do. I once asked Karl Milkolka why people are not allowed to take notes or video etc when auditing a clinic, his response was simply, "because they are not the one riding, they will take things out of context because they aren't the one I am working with, and then share it and people do things incorrectly and blame Karl Milkolka when things go wrong." Tooo true.

Quote:
If this is summary is in any way correct (and please correct me where I am wrong!) I do see a lot of parallels to AND, but also some differences - although AND is a study group, so everyone is doing things differently anyhow, but I mean the basic philosophy. The main difference is that I understand you are working in really preplanned steps which are the same for each horse human combination, whereas AND is more meant to go with the horse’s initiative. So that’s the point where my questions arise:

*1 Are these the same exercises for every horse or just the same more global steps? I am asking because when I am playing with horses, I usually find that they all have their own preferences and I mostly felt they had most fun when I went with that. If you indeed use only preplanned exercises, what is the reason for that?


Well they are preplanned exercises, but we do listen and work with the horse we have at the moment. But the exercises are always the same. Not so much unlike riding, well the way I have been taught anyway.... I do the exact same thing on every horse I ride, they ALL respond the exact same way. As we progress and I ride horses at varying levels of knowledge the way I do things changes a bit. But I can say that my foundation of riding is exactly the same no matter what horse I am on and I get exactly the same reactions/actions out of every horse. The key is in the listening to the horse and of course feeling. Do I modify based on that horse? yes eventually or somewhat, but the basics are always the same.

FT is kinda like that, it's the foundation if you will. It's a foundation for developing a relationship. Yes we use food as a reward but not as you would think. These planned exercises are designed to build the relationship in steps. They trigger a two way communication. The main difference in FT and other formats is the "bridge". ;) We use a "bridge" language so the horse has a means to tell US what he wants or doesn't want. For Owen, my TB this is what made the biggest difference. He had a way to say to me "can we stop now?" and I would allow him to have that say. He'd ask and I would say "ok, we're done." Complete difference in him. I think I shocked him the first time I agreed that we could stop. He rarely asks to stop, rarely, so when he does I usually always say "ok. no more." Same with Bella, even under saddle where she isn't able to use the bridge, I know what she is saying and yes if she asks to stop, we simply stop. This makes people crazy! haha Most of my horse friends cannot fathom allowing the horse to dictate what we do. I know that AND people will understand this much better. When we let the horse have a say they become much more willing to play.

Owen would rather be with me doing whatever I ask than be doing anything else, he leaves his food and his herd to be with me. Always. I have had more people comment on never having seen a horse so completely trusting and loving of a person before. He like gushes his love. (Not unlike Frederique Pignon's horses.) And now Bella is becoming the same way. How would you feel if you walked into a huge pasture and your horse(s) comes running to you, and gently kisses you and wants to just be with you?? How would you feel if (for those of us still using bridles and bits) your horse pushes his nose into the bridle opening his mouth and taking the bit before you even put your hand on it?? but I digress....

Quote:
*2 If the horse does react to your question but his reaction is different from what you had in mind, do you go with his initiative or do you persist and try to get to the exercise you had in mind initially?


Depends... ;) Typical horse answer there, HUh?? The goal is to perform the exercise, but we may have to go with the horse. So for instance if I were to ask Owen to move his forehand to the left and he instead moves backwards, I will just watch him. Then I need to think about HOW I asked, and try again. But if I ask him to move fully sideways and he pins ears and tries to attack me, then I will take a hard look at alot more than just how I was asking. Course with him, I know he doesn't want to move that way. ;) He should never feel he has to resort to even pinning ears though. So it depends. If the horse can do what is being asked, and I know I have asked correctly, depending on the "reaction" I get I may just decide to leave it alone that day and try again another day, or I may decide to try again. But yes ultimately we want to do the actual exercise. fwiw, I have found the only time my horses have given me an action that wasn't expected to the FT exercise was when they were not physically able to do as asked.

Quote:
*3 When your initial steps were done in a very specific way and in a fixed order, is that also true for later steps in your partnership with your horse or is it more like learning the alphabet first so that later you can freely combine the letters to words and then to sentences, eventually? So that for later steps there are certain guidelines but more room for the horse’s and human’s own ideas?

Thanks again for explaining! :)


YES, exactly!! Very much the learning the alphabet before learning to read, and like learning to walk before running.

These days we just do random exercises here and there to keep the FT edge. Some days I hardly ask for anything, others I ask for the while she-bang. The exercises are done at feeding time and only take a few minutes, yes only a few minutes!!! So you aren't working for an hour or more, if you find it taking longer than a few minutes then you're not doing FT, or you have a confused horse. hahaha

As in learning any approach to working with your horse, you change. You change in how you do things, and your horse may change in how he responds to you. Just like when I began to learn classical dressage, I changed in my overall riding approach. And with FT my overall approach to horses (any horse) has changed. For the better I hope.

Quote:
(*1). If he does not do it, you don't put on pressure but simply ask again and then stop and continue later or repeat the former steps if there is still no reaction (*2). Once learned in the way you had planned before, those exercises become the building blocks for your future interaction (*3). With time you increase the variety of exercises and their difficulty. You use positive reinforcement (foodrewards) but in a very specific way: only the "right" answer from the horse gets rewarded, not any other offer.

*1) yes usually no pressure, again depends on what they do. Ask again, try to make sure you are asking correctly, etc.
*2) Yes...
*3) mostly. Yes we build and get more creative at times. Positive reinforcement is always used, but they also learn and understand "no". We can at this stage use a 'nooooo' and he horse will actually think. I have seen Owen stop and think a moment and then do just as I have asked, after giving him a 'nnooooo'. Have I mentioned he tends to be fairly goofy??

So I apologize for not giving full detail on HOW to do FT with your horse(s). I hope my explanation has helped though.
If you want a deeply intimate relationship with your horse, then I HIGHLY recommend FT. If you are not interested in that then fine please forget all about FT.

Now I need to add my usual tag line:
'Has your horse kissed YOU today?'

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:22 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:02 pm
Posts: 1072
Location: UK Worcester/Hereford border
H_o_E and BlkHrsRider, :friends: :friends: :friends:
thank you for those full explanations, really appreciated them.

I think most AND members share breath exchanges with their horses, but nice to have such a detailed reference, I really like those science bits. It helps to understand why the Kiss is important in FT.

Love Susie xx

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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:30 pm 
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Posts: 6231
Location: Dresden, Germany
Thank you for your answers, BlkHrsRider! :)

BlkHrsRider wrote:
What really irritates me though is that you would expect to have to pay for the course to "do" Parelli's PNH, or Lyons' whatever. But people want us FT'ers to just say "oh, do this this way and then this and then this...." and fully explain in great detail how to do FT.


Oh, I just think we came from different perspectives. I don't expect anyone to give any info away. It was just that, given the fact that AND is not a marketplace but a studygroup, I simply assumed that when somebody comes here to talk about his experiences with a certain way of interacting with horses, he does so in order to share and discuss. That's just what the forum was designed for and that's what pretty much everyone does here, so I somehow thought that when the FT followers arrived at AND, that was their intention, too. :smile:

Thank you for your explanations anyhow, actually I think that was just as detailed as I hoped it would be! :)

Quote:
If you want a deeply intimate relationship with your horse, then I HIGHLY recommend FT. If you are not interested in that then fine please forget all about FT.


Thanks, I am actually not looking for any other relationship with my horses than the one I have. Personally I don't feel that the program (or what I read about it until now) would fit better with my goals in my relationship with my horses than the way we are interacting at the moment, but then that's just me.

Anyway, as happy as I am that you have found a way that works for you, I would really appreciate if you and other people who are passionate about FT could reduce the amount of suggesting that it was the only way and that if you want a close relationship with your horse, you have to follow FT, otherwise that means you are not interested in being a friend to your horse. That's most likely not what you were trying to say, I just wanted to make sure you know that it might sound like that to others.

Good luck with your horse! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Friendship Training
PostPosted: Sat Sep 25, 2010 11:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:26 pm
Posts: 51
Location: Dallas County Texas
Quote:
Oh, I just think we came from different perspectives.

Could you please explain the 'different perspectives'?

Quote:
I don't expect anyone to give any info away. It was just that, given the fact that AND is not a marketplace but a studygroup, I simply assumed that when somebody comes here to talk about his experiences with a certain way of interacting with horses, he does so in order to share and discuss.


I thought that's what we were doing...



Quote:
That's just what the forum was designed for and that's what pretty much everyone does here, so I somehow thought that when the FT followers arrived at AND, that was their intention, too.


Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but is Anne Louise supposed to delete her post? Or mine?



Quote:
Anyway, as happy as I am that you have found a way that works for you, I would really appreciate if you and other people who are passionate about FT could reduce the amount of suggesting that it was the only way and that if you want a close relationship with your horse, you have to follow FT, otherwise that means you are not interested in being a friend to your horse. That's most likely not what you were trying to say, I just wanted to make sure you know that it might sound like that to others.


Oh gosh NO! There any 'many roads to Rome,' (but naturally it depends on what part of Rome you seek).

Could you point out any other interactive formats designed specifically to establish the Peer Attachment relationship between horse and human? (Especially those that do not use restriction or gadgets.) I'm always interested in learning!

Chuck & Kids
Lady, Able, Sundance, Boss & Combustion
( And Rebel & Nikki )

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