The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:00 pm 
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Contiguity
Besides contingency, one of the main determinants of learning performance is contiguity, the temporal closeness between a behaviour and its consequences. Whereas the most effective contiguity depends on the type of the behaviour and its consequence, for the kind of consequences used in horse training it can be generally said that learning occurs in the most effective way when behaviour and consequence are close to each other. This principle is used for example in clickertraining, where the timely precision of the clicker makes it possible that the reward signal follows the behaviour immediately and in that way is associated with it in the most effective way.


Positive affect
Of course we want our horses to be happy. Positive affect is not only pleasant for the horse, it also helps him to be more creative, more flexible in problem-solving and to show a reduced tendency to perseverate on reactions that are no longer appropriate. The other side of the coin is that positive affect results in an increased distractibility and with that in a lower ability to concentrate, compared to a more neutral mood. So if we want to work on difficult exercises that afford a high level of concentration, it might be best to use a medium level of positive affect instead of doing them when the horse is extremely joyful. This does NOT mean, that you should make your horse unhappy ;), but maybe choose an optimal timing for different types of exercises.

......................

I wanted to add a text about arousal as well, but I´d like to include something about the task dependence of the optimal level of arousal. Unfortunately I can´t find the corresponding material at the moment and I can´t recall it from memory. So it will have to wait until Thursday when I´m back in the office.

Does this become too much off topic? I am not sure anymore, if this fits into the encyclopedia... Maybe we should create a "Psychological factors for training" topic in the Research Material section instead??


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:05 am 
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Arousal
Arousal describes a state of activation of body and brain. It ranges from being asleep over concentrated attention to being overexcited. As it is stated in the Yerkes-Dodson law, learning and performance are best at a medium level of arousal. Whereas slight deviations from this optimum (e.g. in slightly new situations) are experienced as stimulating, increase the motivation and lead to explorative behaviour, too much deviation (e.g. too much unexpected or too intensive stimuli) causes stress and leads to avoidance behaviour, or boredom in the other direction. The optimal level of arousal also depends on the task: for easier tasks a higher level of arousal is beneficial, whereas more difficult tasks show a decrement in performance when the arousal exceeds a certain level.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:28 am 
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Thanks, Romy!

I'll place them in the encyclopedia tomorrow or this weekend. Maybe I'll shorten them a little ;), or simlpify the text a bit as otherwise people who have some difficulties in reading English don't know exactly what you mean. And sometimes they could also be a bit more about the practical side. For example, I like your Seven Games explanation as it is very accurate, but maybe we should tell in a few words what each game is about - porcupine game being that you ask the horse to move away from pulsating pressure (don't know if the word pulsating is right though...). 8)

But you do a wonderful job searching out all these definitions, and they are very accurate too! Now try and find pictures for them... :twisted: :wink: Don't worry, I don't think everything needs pictures. 8)


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:34 am 
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Thanks, Miriam, but the Parelli and seven games definitions are from Danee. I know almost nothing about Parelli, so it wouldn´t be possible that I make them more practical... :oops:

Pictures would be nice, yes, and I thought about that, but I don´t know if that would make sense for definitions of psychological constructs. Of course I could add in graphs from experiments or something like that, but this would only be confusing, don´t you think? I´ll see what I can do.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:41 am 
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No, I don't think pictures would add a lot. But maybe there's a movie in which a horse is shaped, for that section? If you can find such a thing, it would be great, but if not, don't worry.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:13 pm 
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B Balance

To a prey animal like a horse keeping his balance is of vital importance. For balance means: able to move away with speed at any time.
Riding and lunging interferes with the horse's balance.
For healthy riding and dressage a rider has to know how to not interfere with the horse's balance.
Furthermore influencing the balance of the horse, in other words, knowing the horse wants to keep his balance at all time is the key to riding your horse on very tiny weight aids.
You influence the balance of the horse thus, that he makes the movement you desire in order to remain or regain his balance.
Balance is the starting base for collection. without Balance there can be no (true or natural) collection.
The weight aids are thus based on the influence of the horse's balance which are based on the laws of physics.

See also: Weight Aids, Collection

I will do those some other time :)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:21 am 
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Stimulus control
When you are working on an exercise with your horse, you reward him for doing it. Nevertheless, you may want him to do it only when you have asked for this exercise and not do it when you did not ask or when you asked for something else. Stimulus control means that your horse is only rewarded when you gave the corresponding cue (stimulus) and the horse does the exercise. So it learns to perform the exercise only when asked for it. This makes the communication more controlled and can be especially necessary for exercises that are potentially dangerous in some situations, like rearing. The other side is that the more stimulus control you use, the less spontaneous your communication will become and the horse will have less room for creativity. To benefit from the advantages of stimulus control and to minimize the disadvantages at the same time, you can specify a situation, for example a certain place, where your horse is free to offer what he wants to.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 12:54 am 
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Josepha, I did start one on collection, but I think we all need to contribute to such an important definition!!!

Romy- I loved some of the words you introduced that I wasn't familiar with!! It is nice to have a more concious awareness and description of things I may already do without realizing it!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2007 10:51 am 
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danee wrote:
Josepha, I did start one on collection, but I think we all need to contribute to such an important definition!!!

Romy- I loved some of the words you introduced that I wasn't familiar with!! It is nice to have a more concious awareness and description of things I may already do without realizing it!



o yes, please do. I read over it... I am not in a fit state as you might have noticed... some sharpness of mind has been lost... :?

If I our someone else has something to add we can always put it here. :)

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:49 pm 
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Hi Everyone:
Can someone explain what "shoulder out" is and when it is used and how and when to show this to our horse. I see this often on the forum but I don't know if I've seen the move anywhere on the forum.
Thanks
Jocelyne


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 1:37 am 
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Shoulder-out: Is the same as counter shoulder-in and is simply a shoulder-in left ridden to the right (or clockwise) or a shoulder-in right ridden to the left (counter clockwise). In a shoulder out going clockwise the horse will be bending left (towards the wall)with the hindlegs tracking straight and the front legs walking partially sideways. Technically the right front foot and hind left foot will shar the same line of travel. See shoulder-in for more info.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:02 am 
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Shoulder-in: In a shoulder-in the horse's hindlegs will track straight while the front legs will be moving partially sideways, and the horse bending poll to tail. In a shoulder-in to the right the horse will be bending right and the right hind leg will follow the line of travel of the front left leg. This engages the right hind leg causing it to step further under the horse's torso that therefore bearing more weight. This will also lift and relax the horse's back. When ridden the rider's shoulders should be parallel to the horse's shoulders (facing to the right in this case) and the riders hips should face forward as do the horse's.

Haunches-in: Also caled Travers. The horse's front legs track stright while his inside legs are to the inside and moving partially sideways. The horse is bent in the direction of travel. In a haunches-in to the right the horse is bending to the right with his haunches to the right so that his left hind leg follows the line of travel of his front right leg.

Travers: Also called Huanches-in. The horse's front legs track stright while his inside legs are to the inside and moving partially sideways. The horse is bent in the direction of travel. In a haunches-in to the right the horse is bending to the right with his haunches to the right so that his left hind leg follows the line of travel of his front right leg.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 4:39 am 
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Re: shoulder in and shoulder out...sometimes a picture REALLY is worth a thousand words.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:33 am 
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Image

This is the best I've got on a shoulder in pic, but the neck is way too cranked to be a true shoulder -in (I was just going for a muscular release- not really a specific move) If I get a photographer I can get all the laterals.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2007 11:50 am 
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danee wrote:
Romy- I loved some of the words you introduced that I wasn't familiar with!! It is nice to have a more concious awareness and description of things I may already do without realizing it!


Thank you, Danee. :D
I wasn´t sure anymore if this wasn´t too much off topic... But great to hear that it was useful to you.


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