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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:13 pm 
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AndreaO wrote:
Romy wrote:
Behaviour is established and changed by adding or subtracting pleasant or unpleasant consequences. As I understand it, doing something because of the relationship means that something in your behaviour must be very rewarding for your horse. So for me it is conditioning anyway. Adding reinforcing stimuli.

Hm, that did give me a new thought. In that case I actually do not want the horse to do it because of the relationship 25 . I would wish the horse to realize, that I keep him safe and that he can learn useful things from me 23 My horses shall have a good time when they are with me.


But then what is "having a good time" or "learning useful things"? Isn´t that just experiencing the situation as being rewarding, too? I still can´t see the conceptional difference to a more intentionally reward based training, except that in the latter case you mean to be rewarding and do this by handing out foodrewards whereas in the first case you are rewarding by creating a certain situation which is rewarding in itself without you necessarily planning to do so. And I guess my inability to see a conceptional difference between the two makes me choose a way of training in which I can actually be sure that the rewards I am handing out are the ones that are appreciated most by my horses. Even more so as I see no contradiction between having a good time and lerning useful things on the one side and also giving food rewards on the other side - I think that can be combined quite well. 29

Bianca, I had a similar thought in the last weeks when I always gave them fresh delicious grass right before I had time to train with them to keep Summy away - and Titum always left the grass and came cantered towards me to train. Now if getting food was his only desire, it would not be very smart of him to leave all the grass behind just to get some small grains. Especially as he is not very interested in eating oat while he has the chance to eat grass when we are outside.

There is another aspect of giving treats that just came to my mind while I thought about the argument that treats would make your horse some sort of passive automatically reacting robot. 29 One of the things I like most about training with treats, especially in a free-shaping way, is that for us it has quite the opposite effect: The horses are actually learning to actively control me. Sometimes you can see them thinking so hard as they are trying to figure out what to do to switch the treat dispenser on. 29 And with that I feel that I am boosting the feeling of agency that they are experiencing in our training. Being in control of things. As that is one of my main training goals, I am very happy that there is such an easy way to help them to achieve this just by carrying around that treat bag around my belly and handing out small portions of oat. 23


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:00 pm 

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Thank you Miriam. You are forcing me to put into words what I think and have experienced about lots of things recently. This was the most enjoyable thing about starting a diary and having other people point out stuff that you may not have thought of before. Sometimes it's not what you want to hear, but sometimes it can force you to really take a good look at why you believe what you do. What NHE did teach me was not to listen to what other people had to say but to observe my horse (who after all is the best teacher). Every relationship we have with humans or animals is unique and they respond uniquely to each person. It has been very interesting to observe Morgan with other people and this gives me a good indication of where our relationship is.
I want my horse to be with me because he enjoys my compnay. At the beginning I would let him out of the camp and he would just run off. Now he waits for me, or follows me and if I choose to sit, he will graze a little way away and come back and basically keep me within a circle. The same as he would if he was grazing with a horse friend. From time to time I might call him and he will come to me or I might walk to him to talk to him, give him a scratch. If he gets a fright, he will go a short flight distance and then look for me and come back to his grazing distance from me. I can leave him to graze and come back later and approach him and he never moves away from me. To clarify the halter/line thing. From the start I halter trained him to leave the slack in the line and follow my body. Every time he put the line taut, I blocked it going further so he ran into his own end of line. At the beginning with NHE I walked him first on the line and gave him free choice to graze and then it became impossible to get him to lift his head with a soft tug. My intention was not there as I was dithering between "I need to go now and have to get you back to the camp" and "well I need to give you free choice". Once I made the decision to give no choice in walking on the line, he was back to the soft halter trained horse again.
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The thing was that Blacky and Sjors didn't like to do nothing, as they always dragged stuff in to play with when I was around, or started doing exercises

This is exactly it....Morgan does want to interact sometimes and I grab those times and use them.
I have done the Parelli type passenger lessons, and I can ride him in a halter. In fact I started him this way. I then moved to a snaffle and started to ask for some sort of schooling/obedience. Once he had the basics I got off the reins except when I needed him to stop or turn and he was not responding to voice, seat or legs. I basically only corrected unwanted behaviour and was extremely mindful of being super quick to catch it, preferably before he had done it and even quicker to release it. When I stopped riding him 5 months ago I was trail riding him with the reins on his neck and using one rein only if needed.
The more I explore this the more I believe that even the cordeo puts us in a position to still be on our hands instead of refining our skills in the saddle.
It is a great question you raise...I am happy to answer. I selfishly want to ride for my own pleasure as I enjoy nice countryside and the feeling of riding and being as one with my horse! (or at least trying to!!!!). There is no better feeling than heading off on my own and getting away from civilisation and back to nature.
I don't believe for one minute that he enjoys being ridden but I do think he enjoys seeing new places and smells and it stimulates him to have a more interesting life. I for one would not like to be stuck in the same paddock for years on end seeing the same scenery all day long.


Well I guess we have gone pretty much off topic....but there are lots of posts, so we are all contributing and thinking and questioning...which is just great!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:35 pm 
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Morgan wrote:
The more I explore this the more I believe that even the cordeo puts us in a position to still be on our hands instead of refining our skills in the saddle.


That's a good point: I don't believe either that just putting on the cordeo brings Nirvana for the horse. 29 What you most often see is that people get off the bridle, ride with a cordeo but use the cordeo as if they were still riding with a lot of pressure on the reins. I guess that with the cordeo it's the same as with reins: the biggest, toughest lesson to learn is not to use them! 29

I'm not sure if you'll burn in hell for wanting to ride either. 25 I rather think that you won't (but who am I to decide on that), and that it's our job to make those things we want from our horses as easy and pleasant for him as possible. We also want him to ride in a trailer, not kick the vet, walk over grass without eating it, do tough dressage exercises... But I do believe that if you can teach all those things in a pleasant way, your horse can even start liking them. When you have a trailer-scared horse and teach him that he doesn't have to be afraid of the trailer, even better, that you can do a lot of fun stuff around and in that trailer, then that's the best thing you can give him in life. So yes, if you can make riding a pleasant experience for him as well (get off when he's reluctant, not ride that same circle in the paddock all the time, go to nice places to look at, even put in the occasional treat 29 or grazing pause in a special grassy spot along the road), then I think he really can enjoy it - if only because it's something different from walking/training in the paddock all the time!

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:39 pm 
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Wow, great conversation!

And, Annette, no jumping! 23

Lots of thoughts cooking here:

First, as Karen wrote about listening:
Quote:
I think, more than anything, letting a horse know that you are listening (as Leigh found out with Circe?) and then of course to convince them that in hearing them, you will respond in a fashion they feel is appropriate - is the key to the relationship.

That's absolutely true. I would totally agree, Karen, that learning to listen and communicate that I am listening is the bedrock for the work that we're doing. And, like Karen, I see the treats as a tool towards getting there, not a replacement of that.

Second, my thoughts about your thoughts 23 about treats and discipline, Annette:
Quote:
The horse can get nippy with treats and at some point if they are persistent in this behaviour then discipline is need to stop this. So the treats have caused this behaviour.


I don't see treats as being a separate discipline issue -- and I actually try not to think about any of our interactions in terms of discipline, per se. Circe is a good example with this, as she's young and is still figuring out how to interact with people and horses. There are a number of things that Circe is capable of doing that I'd rather her not do -- and instead of disciplining her when she does them, I instead communicate that I don't like it and ask her to stop. Generally, a verbal "please don't do that" is enough, or simply walking away a few steps. Occasionally, it's physical, as in the case a few weeks ago when Circe decided that body slamming me was appropriate while we three were wild playing -- in that case, after I'd suggested that this wasn't a good idea, she continued to do it, and I put my fist out and planted my legs as she headed back into me so she bounced off my hand. This wasn't, in my mind, discipline, but instead was my saying -- nope, you just ran up against a boundary! She got it immediately and felt badly -- she's still learning how hard she can play with me -- she came back to me and apologized, I spent several minutes reassuring her and loving on her, and then we went on with our play. And she hasn't banged into me like this since.

And, I do things that they don't like, and they're learning how to tell me they don't like them as well. For me, discipline suggests a hierarchy of power that I'm not totally comfortable with. And, part of what's shifted for me is how I perceive behaviors that I don't like. Pre-AND, I'd been taught that if you let a horse "get away with" bad behavior once they would be very difficult to "train" out of the behavior. I don't see it this way any more! Instead, I treat each situation as a learning experience -- for me, that old model of "things we can never let our horses do!" (insert scary music 23 ) vastly underestimates our horses' intelligence and responsiveness to specific situations.

Next, as Miriam wrote about riding:

Quote:
Another option is to use no pressure, no treats, and just be a passenger from your horse. Parelli has a similar thing called the passenger lesson: you just follow every movement of your horse while riding and whenever he thinks about going left/right/forwards/back, then you immediately follow that thought by giving the cue for that. My sister has done that with the pony's (she combined it with foodrewards in order to tell them that they could experiment freely) and the wonderful thing is that when you start following your horse, pretty soon your horse starts following you and your cues too.


Circe and I are actually starting one step before this. I'm being a passenger, completely, while she grazes. She gets to decide when and where she moves, and we're doing this in a spot with lush grass (unusual in Southern California, so a real treat) and apple trees. I'm seeing this VERY much as a positive operant conditioning move -- as she begins to adjust to having me on her, it comes with pleasure. She can begin to explore how if feels to move with me on her in this context. As this becomes old hat, we'll begin to explore what we can do together next, and I will begin to work at doing the mirroring of intention that Parelli suggests, but the baseline will be about pleasure. (This is a huge deal for me with her, as riding has been so traumatic for Stardust that I'm on a real quest to build this process differently with her -- if riding isn't fun for them, how can it be fun for me?)

Again, Miriam:
Quote:
I don't think you can create an automatic trick-robot out of your horse by just using treats. Because when you just use treats and skip every ounce of pressure in order to make him deserve that treat, you give your horse a total free choice to say 'no' to your requests. And they will use that freedom pretty soon.
A 'robot' will happen sooner when you treat for the right behavior, but at the same time put pressure on for the wrong behavior. The horse then has no choice, and will have to do what you say because refusing is not/a less pleasant option.


I absolutely agree with this as well! My horses have learned that they can almost always say no if they want. (And they do decide to say no sometimes!) Again, with the baseline of my listening to and respecting them and their opinions/needs/desires, treats don't get them to do anything they don't want to do. Stardust, who is a complete food hound, will choose to walk away if he doesn't feel comfortable with what we're doing. Circe is the same way. So, for me, treats are a part of the invitation -- would you like something yummy while we play? Sometimes the answer is yes, and sometimes they prefer to hang out doing whatever they want to do. Both answers are fine! And when the "no" isn't fine -- as in when it's time to go home, or we're all lined up at the gate of the paddock to go out and I'm putting on halters and Stardust is helping by nipping at Circe and Circe is helping by hurling her halter around, my "no" is about how we all can work together to get what we want faster -- we are a team.

And from Annette:
Quote:
Does my horse think of what he is doing as work? I don't think so. Maybe he does it because he thinks it pleases me? I also don't think so. I think he enjoys doing the movement. If he didn't what reason would he have for doing it.


I think that's a great point, Annette, and that's our goal, in many ways. However, with Stardust, I've needed to find a way to invite him to try things -- as I mentioned in my first post, if left to his own devices, he would basically just hang out. This is both from physical and emotional trauma earlier in his life -- and he was taught, fairly brutally, that to move was to work, work was painful, and resistance would not be tolerated. So I've needed a way to open up a different cognitive process for him -- moving can be pleasurable, and people can bring pleasure. I'm working against 11 years of trauma with him. With Circe, it's about learning what's possible. She's learning she enjoys different movements that we've been learning together -- but our rather loose version of CT has been a way to show her what she might try. Again, this way of working with rewards has been a clear opening for us -- away from pressure. And, again, this is about positive operant conditioning -- creating a cognitive landscape where learning is pleasurable and exciting.

Like many here, I also give treats just because -- our rhythms are not particularly stringent! If Circe does a movement that I'm excited about, without my cueing for it, but because she wants to, I can reward for that, and emphasize that this is something that I'd love for her to do again. Or sometimes its even less goal-oriented, and I'll just hang out with them as they're grazing and give a treat and scratch when they wander over to say hi, or because I've got one in my hand and I know they'll love to have one!

For me, while the goal is to get them to express themselves with movement they want to do because they want to do it, I don't know how to build to this without pressure unless I find rewards they respond to. How else can I help to shape and expand their movement? How else can I teach? Circe likes (sometimes!) scratches and caresses, but not always -- part of what I'm trying to do is respect their sense of personal space. Stardust has not liked to be touched. So, this has not been a clear alternative for us. They both definitely respond to my energy and voice when I thank and praise them for what they do, but this is MY language, not theirs -- I feel like food is a universal language. And, interestingly, as we've worked with treats over the last six months, they both have become more physically affectionate, and much more comfortable with having me in their space. So, for us, treats have been and continue to be a valuable tool.

And, as I think about it, I don't have a problem with them doing something to please me -- because I am trying, equally, to do things that will please them. This is how a relationship grows, in my thinking. We are all working/playing to make each other happy and have fun. I think a horse doing something to please us is only problematic if it's a one-way street -- and suggests some kind of pressure, casting them as a supplicant for our favors. This feels very different than building equal generosity!

Oh -- and I didn't want to miss Andrea's question (oops -- am not finding it now to pull it out as a quote, sorry!) but it was about traditional training and whether I'd put Parelli in that category.

First, let me say I'm not in any way an expert on Parelli! But I've watched Parelli trained people work their horses and done a fair amount of reading, and from what I've seen I think while that Parelli is a big step closer towards what I understand AND to be from most traditional training, I still perceive it as inherently pressure and negative rewards based. (Negative reward meaning the release of pressure as the reward, not as any value judgment!.) I have seen horses that feel a bit like automatons to me through this training -- they are exceedingly responsive and obedient, but they sure aren't expressing their own opinions much! That isn't necessarily, by any means, how all Parelli trained horses emerge -- but it does seem to be the pattern in most that I've seen. And, ultimately, I guess the biggest way I see Parelli (and most other NH work I've seen/read) differing from AND is the baseline assumption that the person needs to be the herd leader and in control at all times.

Philosophically, I've always had trouble with this, and now, in practice, I can see how approaching this as a conversation among equals really does work. We don't get to "performance" very fast, necessarily, but we are engaging in an incredibly vibrant co-learning process that pleases us all and keeps widening and deepening as we go. I use my best human intelligence to bring insights and ideas to the conversation, and trust that they will bring their best equine intelligence to bring insights and ideas. There are moments when my brains trump theirs, but there are also moments where their brains trump mine!

And, I end all of this by saying that of course you can completely disagree with everything I say! 23 So much of this is, I think, based on our own goals, experiences, belief structures -- and that of our individual horses. I truly don't believe there is one right way to do any of this.

I'd love to learn more about how you both, Andrea and Annette, find ways to encourage the behavior that you want without pressure and without treats -- I would love to expand our vocabulary with this!

All the best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 11:08 pm 

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I have seen a lot of that. People hauling on the cordeo and their body is saying something else again.
I think for me this is the biggest task. I know I am not the greatest rider and probably never will be but by getting off the horse's head, immediately I have a better position.
The art of co-ordinating different parts of our leg, seat and hands all independantly and feeling movement under us at correct tempo, rhythm, impulsion and straightness is too much for most people. Then we expect to the horse to know what we are asking....
I'm amazed always at their amount of patience with us dumb humans!!!!

Right now I don't think I will go back to the snaffle, and will ride in a halter with no contact......
I have a pretty good one rein stop should I really need it and will work on my other aids and use hands as a very very last resort!

I will be going through to see Josepha on Wed and looking forward to what she can teach me.
Perhaps I will have more insight then.
Will move to my diary so this topic can continue as planned. I haven't closed the door on treats, just not ready to explore that yet.

Sorry had to add as I just saw Leigh's post.
One of the most helpful ways in which I got Morgan interested in me: ( and I have to back track, I started him with Parelli and other natural horsemanship ideas and after working him for about 6 months he was not too keen to come running. He was soft but slightly automated as I didn't really listen and looking back he was actually shouting!).
To begin I backed off from all types of dominant behaviour. I hung out with him on his terms and started to really explore what he liked and what he didn't. The first thing I noticed was just how big his personal space was. I then had to learn to accept his no's without disappointment....this was very hard. I then learnt about physical contact and where and how he liked it. I mean really learnt, all the spots and after some time he opened up to start to show me where he wanted to be scratched and how.
It is interesting to explore fear too, as whilst we have this and don't really trust our horses, they are suspicious of us. I guess in this way we have become intimate with each other. I allow him to explore me and he allows me to explore him. This was big barrier for me to cross and went against everything I had previously learnt or believed. It has taken 5 months and we are still learning every day. Since I have been on his back the last week, nothing has changed, but I am always mindful of his needs and feelings first and he trusts that I won't ask anything that will put him in danger. It is very special and he will leave the herd to be with me because he knows he can ask for what he wants and I will oblige. This may be to come out of the camp, (he will go to the opening) to have a shower (he will go to the hose and paw), to play, (he will bite my shoes/nudge on me), to scratch, (he will move into position and stand very still when I get the right spot), he will even ask me to pick out his feet by backing and lifting and resting. He is persistent in what he needs until I understand.
Does that help?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 12:57 am 
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AndreaO wrote:
A reward is ADDING something POSITIVE.. If the horse is feeling like the task is less pleasant than standing still and relaxing, then what you are doing by releasing the pressure is REMOVING something NEGATIVE.


Just a few clarifying definitions....

A REWARD is a slang term referring to giving something to another creature that the giver PERCEIVES as appetitive. IOW it is a consequence that does not necessarily affect the behavior of that individual, it might but it might not?? i.e. petting is NOT reinforcing to an animal that finds touching aversive. Hugging another person is NOT reinforcing if that person finds that frightening.

A REINFORCER, on the other hand, is defined as a consequence that increases a target behavior. If the behavior increases as a result of a consequence, then that consequence is a reinforcer, either positive or negative. ALWAYS, you need to look at the behavior to determine whether or not the consequence that was applied is reinforcing or punishing!

POSITIVE and NEGATIVE refer to adding and subtracting, not GOOD and BAD.

REINFORCEMENT increases behavior. PUNISHMENT decreases behavior

Therefore, BOTH positive reinforcement (adding an appetitive) and negative reinforcement (removing something aversive) increase behavior albeit in very different ways.

Some 'food' for thought <G>!!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:47 am 
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Oh, thanks, Brenda -- this was really clear and really helpful, to me anyway!

I still get myself tangled about this...

And Annette, thanks much for your description of your re-inventing your process with Morgan!

Quote:
he first thing I noticed was just how big his personal space was. I then had to learn to accept his no's without disappointment....this was very hard.


Oh, man, I identify! We've made great strides -- me with getting this, and Stardust with welcoming (and now, even, occasionally asking for) physical contact -- but receiving "no's" from him, especially about being touched was SO hard for me! I SO wanted to hug the daylights out of him and he SO didn't want that!

Other no's were easier, in part because I was so willing to help him to learn how to say no, since he'd never been given a chance to and had real fear about it for a while. It has been harder to work through other 'no's' without them feeling personal with Circe, but we're getting there.

I'm gradually finding more and more gratification out of just hanging with them and watching them interact with their world -- it's lovely to hear that this was such a big and productive step for you. In many ways, I feel like I'm just starting to show up to spend time with them with my eyes really open.

And I'm genuinely thrilled that this conversation got started -- I learn so much when I'm talking with people who don't do things exactly the way I do, both from hearing their perspectives, and from needing to go back and really think through mine.

It sounds like you and Morgan are building a fantastic connection.

23

Best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 8:43 am 

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That's really good that you are starting to "see" clearly.
It was very hard for me to let go of my schedules and agendas. That is exactly what they were....MY agenda's! Once you shift this way of thinking (and I do believe it is very much a process within us and has nothing to do with the horse), you start to really see the horse differently and then you can be open to what your horse wants to tell you. For some horses they are so shut down mentally that it can take many months, for others it is almost instant. Some become quite aggressive when given a chance to express themselves and it can be hard to trust and work through this. It's also hard not to go back to our automated responses we have used for so long.
It is interesting to me to see how small children and those that have no experience with horses react and behave around horses and how the horse perceives them. They don't have the fear issues (us old timers have!).
That is what is so great about hanging out with your horse at liberty, they can came and go as they want and when they choose you over their herd buddies, you know you are doing something right.
Good luck with your experimenting and learning....I will have to find your diary so I can see how it's going!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:44 pm 
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What a grat topic!!! So many interesting and helpful thoughts and ideas, this is exactly what I need in my actual situation. And I'm really impressed about the deepnes and high level of discussion!

I printed the thread yesterday evening and read it in bed and it inspired me to many many thoughts. I'll try to write some of them down here.

As I mentioned in my introduction I recently had a phase of working with food reward in a CTway (inspired by the "theorie into praxis"-lessons here) and could teach things to Filux with it very easily. But than I was not happy about how he was, always focused on the treats, presenting all kinds of tricks all the time and it was not possible just to be with him in a calm way... you all will know this and it was discribed in here several times. So I decided to not give any treats (for a while) and at the moment I’m very happy with this.

One thing I really struggle with since I started with NHE is: How can I get interesting for my horse, how can I motivate him to do things with me, when I quit using pressure.
Is it really possible that friendship, love, good relationship becomes so great, that the horse prefers my companionship and doing things with me to the pasture and beeing with ist herd? (Especially after that „keeping horses in a herd is forbidden-scandal“ I doubted this.)

On the other hand: Filux came always at least a few stepps towards me on the pasture, when I came to get him, so he was always at least a little bit interested in me. And when I restarted taking him to the arena lately after a second phase of doing nothing, he was really eager to come with me and even left a pile of hay to come the last two times. As I didn’t use treats recently, he must have been interested in something else, I think in some entertainment, in some alternation to his daily routine in stable and pasture. So as he now has realized that he can say know, perhaps he starts also to say yes more clearly? This would be wonderfull!

At the moment I still have problems to start the playing or moving. I need a starter, a first impulse (the last times with putting a little pressure by throwing a ball – this is an old game or „method“ we did for years - , some weeks ago through rewarding him with food reward in chasing the tiger game)
And then he will run and play and follow even in trott and canter for a while with no new pressure or reward.
And so at the moment I think it’s not bad to use either of the two (pressure or reward) as a starter because only if he starts somehow, he can discover that it is fun and than later do it because it is fun.
I think it is a little bit like when I sit on the sofa and think "you should go for a walk" but are too lazy. Then somebody comes and sais „come on, let’s go“ and when you are out there, you are really happy you did it and enjoy it a lot.

I wanted to write much more, had so many thoughts about all your posts, but I just get too tired now and have to go to bed. Perhaps I’ll go on tomorrow.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 3:17 am 
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Franziska wrote:
What a grat topic!!! ...

One thing I really struggle with since I started with NHE is: How can I get interesting for my horse, how can I motivate him to do things with me, when I quit using pressure.
Is it really possible that friendship, love, good relationship becomes so great, that the horse prefers my companionship and doing things with me to the pasture and beeing with ist herd? (Especially after that „keeping horses in a herd is forbidden-scandal“ I doubted this.) ...


Your question above uncovers one of the most profound of challenges in AND.

If you "own" the horse and rely on pressure for results, and performace at the goal, as I did for over 20 years, switching to "relationship," is a difficult challenge.

You see, I got good enough to pretty much guarantee that I could get X from a horse if I was determined to do so. It still colors my thinking and my work with horses. Witness my recent contribution to the "Trailering" thread.

But when we determine, as so many AND members have, that we will rely solely on relationship as our goal with our horses, the change is drastic. Dramatic.

Every time one asks one's horse to DO something one is faced with the reality that one would or would not do this to a friend.

There is a very small subset of "asking," that we include a demand. Anything doing with health care, for instance. Anything to do with human's (our own and other's) safety.

Everything else is up to the horse to determine if he or she wishes to engage -- just like our friends.

So, when you want a friend to go on an outing with you, or play a board game, or get a little buzz on and giggle or gafaw togeter, how do you do it?

AND, here is the kicker: when your friend asks YOU to play, or wants an argument about what to cook how do YOU handle it?

There is considerable more scope to the AND philosophy, in a practical sense, than one might at first recognize.

Do we follow this religiously? Nope!

But it is always there. And we compromise, I suspect, a bit to much back toward pressure.

Somewhere down the road the newer, younger, and less experienced with pressure, and amply experiences with the friendly 'ask,' and spontaneously friendly 'respond when asked,' will look at us with a kind but pitying eye.

We were soooo out-of-it, compared to what will come.

Pioneers though, will be envoked as historical figures that set standards. That's what you and I have to live with.

That all of us are maintaining this flux allowing for creativity, explorations, discoveries, and I sincerely hope this will continue for fifty or more years before you are looked at by new acolytes of AND, as an old fogie. 23

I believe that AND, of all the methods and disciplines (of which it may be neither), will continue and outlive them all. None compare for considering the relationship. Those that do will continue to come to AND and join with AND.

AND, unlike the others at this point in time has no official certifications. Thus no one can claim special knowledge and charge others for it in clinics, seminars, instruction.

AND has no fixed boundaries as to method. Nor, I hope, will it ever. That we, like true scientists, adhere to the axiom, "There is no final answer, only the next question."

So your question is now profound, and will, because of the very nature of it, will always be profound when asked, even a thousand years from now.

How do I conduct my relationship with a dear friend.

Because that, Franziska. is exactly what you just asked.

Welcome to AND, where we do not really know what is going to happen next. But it will be magical.

Donald

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~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:52 am 
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Morgan wrote:
That's really good that you are starting to "see" clearly.
It was very hard for me to let go of my schedules and agendas. That is exactly what they were....MY agenda's! Once you shift this way of thinking (and I do believe it is very much a process within us and has nothing to do with the horse), you start to really see the horse differently and then you can be open to what your horse wants to tell you. For some horses they are so shut down mentally that it can take many months, for others it is almost instant. Some become quite aggressive when given a chance to express themselves and it can be hard to trust and work through this. It's also hard not to go back to our automated responses we have used for so long.
It is interesting to me to see how small children and those that have no experience with horses react and behave around horses and how the horse perceives them. They don't have the fear issues (us old timers have!).
That is what is so great about hanging out with your horse at liberty, they can came and go as they want and when they choose you over their herd buddies, you know you are doing something right.
Good luck with your experimenting and learning....I will have to find your diary so I can see how it's going!


Hey Annette:

Beautifully put!

This has been a five year process with Stardust -- he was the shutdown variety -- years of physical and emotiona trauma, and it's been a long road back. Though he never went through a cranky/aggressive phase -- his generosity of spirit humbles me repeatedly. Through out everything in his life, he never got angry, he never struck out at anyone. I wish I could say the same for myself! He's taught me a lot about grace.

We've been breaking away from schedules and plans gradually through much of that time -- with a big spurt forward into free form when I started playing with them supported by AND in April.

They've both been great teachers about not regressing to automated responses in different ways -- Stardust, because he shuts down if I push too hard, and Circe, who pushes me right back if I push too hard! Earlier this summer she and I had a huge breakthrough with this, and I finally managed to work through my underlying nudgy pushy gotta get things accomplished or you're in trouble nonsense! For Stardust, it's been a learning process to trust me and himself enough to be able to express his opinions. Circe, on the other hand, heaved a huge sigh of relief when I finally shut up and started hearing her! 23 (Mom is SOOOO slow on the uptake!) 29

And the more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn -- this is, perhaps, what I most love about all of this.

:-)

Best,
Leigh

PS: Donald, I loved your last post ! :love:

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:06 pm 
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Dear Donald, thanks a lot for your profounf post! I have to let it sink a little bi in my mind before I answer.
And there are so many more thoughts I'd like to share here, but my children (and husband) don't let me sit on the computer as long I'd like... 24

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:08 pm 
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My dictionary didn't tell me what "acolytes" and "fogie" means. Can anybody help?

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:35 pm 

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acolytes.....followers or attendants
fogie.....slang term for old person in terms of inflexibilty in thinking/conservative/set in their ways.

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Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:45 pm 
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Donald wrote:

Quote:
Somewhere down the road the newer, younger, and less experienced with pressure, and amply experiences with the friendly 'ask,' and spontaneously friendly 'respond when asked,' will look at us with a kind but pitying eye.


Oh, I HOPE so!!! I WANT to be in that position...where someone looks at what I am doing, and knows in their hearts there is a better way, even, than what I am doing.

30

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