The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Where do I start?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:32 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:52 am
Posts: 8
Location: New Zealand
There are possibly other threads about this, but I would love to have some support here :friends:

I'm having some difficulty starting... I have read a few books now, but none seem to quite satisfy what I hope to achieve. I know what I don't want to do, that part is pretty easy, but finding a way that I would like to follow is proving pretty hard. I see plenty of video of what I would like to be able to do with Ra, but finding a way to start...

Some days are great, he is very willing to play and loves some wild games. But most days he just wants to eat, he comes with me, but begrudgingly.

Ra is kept at grass with about 7 other horses, we have some great places to train, but all are grassy paddocks. How do others in this situation manage it?

Would also be great to get some book (or website) suggestions.

Help and support very much appreciated :f:


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 Post subject: Re: Where do I start?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 7:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6231
Location: Dresden, Germany
In the Links to threads there is a whole collection of threads dealing with this question. If you scroll down to the bottom of the first post, you will find them. Good luck to you and Ra! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Where do I start?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 1:22 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:57 pm
Posts: 149
Hello Anna,

Romy already gave you a link to many helpful topics so I'll only add some of my thoughts.

AnnaNZ wrote:
Ra is kept at grass with about 7 other horses, we have some great places to train, but all are grassy paddocks. How do others in this situation manage it?


You may find some helpful information about this here.

AnnaNZ wrote:
Some days are great, he is very willing to play and loves some wild games. But most days he just wants to eat, he comes with me, but begrudgingly.

I would try to find out what he already likes to do and then would try to find a way to do it together. Therefor, I wouldn't focus on exercises. If it's primarly eating he likes this is useful to. Then you can try to find the best grazing spots for him or you can hide some treats on the ground and then walk around with him and show him where they are. I think it's great when you have a horse that is very food focused because it is easy to use the food to become interesting for the horse.
Do you use foodrewards? That may be very motivating for him :) .

AnnaNZ wrote:
I'm having some difficulty starting... I have read a few books now, but none seem to quite satisfy what I hope to achieve. I know what I don't want to do, that part is pretty easy, but finding a way that I would like to follow is proving pretty hard. I see plenty of video of what I would like to be able to do with Ra, but finding a way to start...

I had the same problem some time ago. I read so many books and saw so many videos and they all showed amazing results. That made me think that I want to get there too and want to be able to do all these great exercises with the horse as well. The problem was that that totally blocked me from achieving anything at all. I was unable to see what was there already, to notice the horses actions and work with them. Instead I always focused on what was still missing and the plans I had in mind about how things should work. For me, things never work as they "should" :funny: . And that is great because it opens up a larger variety of possibilities than I could imagine before.

I wrote about how I exchanged the concrete plans in Avaris diary:
Quote:
In the past I made the experience that it is very difficult to implement an exact plan I have for an exercise. While being focused on sticking to the plan I could not involve the horse's suggestions and responses to my cues anymore. By now I think that it is more important to listen to the horse and capture a movement it offers and than try to do what you did (when the horse offered the movement) again. That way we can develop exercises in a way that fits to us and at the same time we encourage the horse to offer movements/exercises on his own 8) .

It helped me a lot to read through the diaries and the threads about the exercises because it gave me an idea how they could be developed. Now I have many plan fragments in my mind and can put them together how it feels natural and logical at a given moment.


I can't give you an advice which exact way you should follow, I think only you can answer these question. But there are some other more concrete questions you can answer to get closwer to the way and maybe to find your personal new way:

What is the most important thing you want to achieve with your horse? If it is a big concept (for example friendship) than how do you define it and which concrete actions result from this concept? If it is something more concrete (for example riding) then which plan fragments could you try?
What feels good for you when you are with your horse, what are the moments you like? How do these moments arise and how could you increase the chance that they arise?
How do you want your horse to think and feel about you, what kind of person do you want to be for your horse? Which traits do you need to be these kind of person? Which concrete behaviour show these traits?

What is most important for me is to break down the fuzzy concepts into concrete behaviour from my side so I have something I can really do. And then I know where I have to start. This may not result into a concrete plan for an exercise but rather into a way I can let exercises arise from the context and the actions the horses already shows. I found out that it is great not to follow a way but to walk actively on my own even if I have to build a way first. So, maybe it's more about learning how to build a way than about how to find a way. And to learn how to build it we first have to choose the tools.

I hope the text isn't too mazy because I wrote it in a very loud school-library :blush: .


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 Post subject: Re: Where do I start?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:55 am
Posts: 117
Location: Bavaria, Germany
Great, Anni :f:

I think it is important to get inspired by these kind of videos oder photos etc., but, as Anni already said, it is important to find and even build own ways. To get to this point, it may be helpful to start pretty small. Be it sitting in the pasture and simply watching the horse or be it just walking around and interact with your horse at any time the chance arises.

The most important thing I guess is to find concrete things you and your horse love to do. Actively searching for situations in which you feel good may be a step in this direction. Mabye it would even help you to write down the things you like to do so that you focus more on them. By focussing on it, the chance to find it again and again will rise in a significant way. And to reinforce the frequency, you can think about how you can connect the things you already know to something new that makes it feel naturally to do this thing. And often situations just emerge from the basis of simply wanting the best for your horse.
Oh, and what I always think is important to remember: All your relationship will depend on only two things - What you believe about your horse and which environment you create for him.

The rest is already very nicely described by Anni and in the linked posts. Maybe you could post your questions and ideas about concrete behaviours here, so that we all could do a brain-storming to find ways, that in the end fit for you and your horse.


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 Post subject: Re: Where do I start?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2015 2:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 am
Posts: 94
Location: America
Like everyone said, it does differ between each horse and each person. What works for one might not work for another, but that's okay. Just keep experimenting, and find out what he likes to do and build on that. I had a pretty rough start too, but it worked out well. Just keep going, do what seems right, get creative, and you guys will start getting it!


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