The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 10:57 am 
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Location: Belgium/Tielt-Winge
I would never have thought that some many people would have been dealing with this :) I makes me confident again that we are not on the wrong track. Thank you for all your advice, I will have to think about lowering my head too, because I get overexcited too ;)

I'll go out this afternoon and play with Beau, but also will put in moments of real relaxation, I'm looking forward to showing my horse I've learned something new :)


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2008 11:01 am 
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Hi Barb,

I think that is indeed it... you know when Owen reared the first time I acted as if it was going to be christmas all year and fireworks exploded in the air while I won the lotery and all my wrinkles had gone from my face...

Can one blame him for wanting to rear as soon as I come near :lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:03 am 

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Rosie will do this also. She'll push the ball and she'll come over running her lip along my pocket or tug on my jacket like a little kid would do trying to get your attention. I would praise her with words and tell her how great that was. Then she'll go back to the ball and push it even harder to the point of getting to the otherside. I'd clap and laugh with excitement. And here she'd come looking for the treat but I'd pet her and tell her how great that was. And usually we'd just hug.

There are times, that I would give her a treat just for the sake of the treat, but like everyone has added already, adding duration to the exercises is when the treats would come to play and I always give it after the excercise is done. There's the pause that Miriam was talking about.

April

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 9:34 am 
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Isn's this also a "treat" thing? I only reward with treats during training time and if Evita offers me things just when I'm around I say "well done, thank you :D " but no treats.
Evita tended to work as a mechanical horse outside a store, the more coins (or treats ;) ) you stuff in it, the more she will move :lol: so I'm very aware not to go in that direction again.
But foremost I like the offering of exercises without beeing asked (and not to beg for treats) GREAT! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Something in the air! :D

What is going on round here? Is it just the hint of spring?

Sunrise has had me alternating between fits of laughter and eye rolling exasperation lately, she's so keen to do her stuff. Doesn't even matter if I have no food treats ( I usually don't), she's throwing different behaviours at me gleefully and with abandon! But I'm finding it hard to get her to focus and pay attention to what I'm really asking. I've just about given up on my attempts at backcrunch and shoulder crunch and goat on a mountain at the mo.. she's far too distracted with her own ideas of what's fun. hmmmm. Glad to see the comments already shared here. I'm going to my diary to make a plan! Reinforcing calm, and do nothing, as tricks sounds like a good place to start.
Synchonize watches.. report back in 21 days folks! :lol:

CHeers,
Sue


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 16, 2007 2:28 am
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Sue

Could it be that it all just needs a break. Take a walk and leave it all alone for awhile, maybe weeks or months and bring something new in that you haven't done or haven't done for some time.

April

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Hi April, no just the opposite. We've hardly done anything lately because I've been too busy with study, and it rained for weeks. The break seems to have really upped her motivation levels. It's all good.. I just have to get myself organised to deal with it properly. Funny to ready so many others are experiencing a similar curve at the moment though.
:D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:20 pm 
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Hmm, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one having an overenthusiastic horse.

Our biggest problem is that Twilight never stands still. He keeps moving, head faced towards me and then turning around me or just moving around.

:twisted:

It just drives me crazy. At some point it gets that "bad" that I just cannot get next to his shoulders to ask him something to do through the cordeo.

That I move with him until he stops. And if he starts doing his own exercices, I just walk away.

But that doesn't help really.
:?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:05 pm 
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I can't give you an exact remedy because every horse is different, but Tam also has "busy feet" and a busy brain. He has a very hard time standing still, and he also offers things when I'm not asking. The thing that has helped the most, is to often reward backing up, or ramener...anything that happens in even a slight shift away from you.

I have not really discouraged Tam from offering things freely, because his free offerings give me feedback about what he's thinking at the moment. I also do not reward things that are offered without my asking, unless I want Tamarack to choose the game. Then he will go through things until I click for something and then that is what we will focus on for a time. Because I have been inconsistent in ignoring his offers, then I cannot expect him to stop doing it.

I also allow him very close into my person space as long as he is not nipping. pushing or running over me. He would make some people crazy...but as it is part of my goal to allow him some say in things, then if he finds some happiness in my space bubble, then I won't chase him out of it. if he is polite, he's very welcome to be so close that he's touching me. Same with Cisco.

But I have this to offer. If he wants to keep his head to you and not allow you next to his shoulder, then play that game with him (with no reward) until it no longer interests him. Keep moving...let him keep up with you. He will get tired of turning in the same circle over and over and over. When he stops...IMMEDIATE PRAISE! And reward him very well. Then don't ask anything of him. Just stand and stroke him or pet him, etc. Give him a break, then see if he will do it again. If he will stand still, PRAISE and reward again.

See, you have to ask yourself if he is keeping you at his head because that is rewarding for him in some way, or if he is avoiding allowing you at his shoulder because he knows you are going to ask him to do something he doesn't want you to do. If he doesn't want you to do it, then you should think about asking in a different way, or doing something else entirely for a while. Try to figure out a way to make what you are asking, very rewarding for him...so he will want to do what you want to do. Otherwise, just play the game he wants to play.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:38 am 
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Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Hi, Lanthano (?) We've had exactly this problem with Harlequin! I'm shaking my head and chuckling as I read. So exasperating!
I came up with a plan to solve it last week, and it has worked beautifully. In just two days of training, he's learnt to stand still, relax, let me all around his body, even when I have a big pocket of treats and am sometimes rewarding him for something.
I've put it in my diary - Sunrise and family - a few days ago.. the four point plan. It's really simple, just counting and treating without asking him to do anything.
Sue

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:01 pm
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Location: Quebec, Canada
Hello Lanthano:

The other day I was in the arena with Corado. He was at liberty and was acting very excited. Great, but when it was time to relax, he wouldn't of course. He would come running to me. As soon as I treated because he came to me, he would be off again. I asked him to stop. He would but a few feet in front of me. Then when he stopped I would say good boy and go to him and treat. Again, he would walk off.
What I did then is decided that I would walk in the opposite direction until he came to me. Then I would treat. I also put my thoughts into my energy. It was completely off! I put my hand on his withers when he was beside me and lowered my head. Then when he did the same, I would treat but kept my energy down. I even would say "sshhhhhh" softly as if I was sleeping (hope you can see what I'm doing). Anyways, it worked, maybe not for long but he did calm down and stayed in one spot. I was able to stroke him on one side. then I let him play and walk where he wanted.
I will do this everytime I bring him out. I hope that he will understand that when my energy is down, I want him to bring his down.
We'll see if it works.
Jocelyne


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:41 am 
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windhorsesue wrote:
Sunrise has had me alternating between fits of laughter and eye rolling exasperation lately, she's so keen to do her stuff. Doesn't even matter if I have no food treats ( I usually don't), she's throwing different behaviours at me gleefully and with abandon! But I'm finding it hard to get her to focus and pay attention to what I'm really asking.


I agree with you that abandoning training for a longer period probably won't work, or even have the opposite effect. I know that with Sjors it would have... :roll:

If a horse is going all over the place, showing every new behavior he knows, it's probably wise to check what you're unconsciously rewarding: even without foodrewards you can still send out strong signals that you love all the improvising, or even unconsciously stimulate it. You can very easily cure that, simply by upgrading all the other kinds of calm, focused behavior with treats: halt, regular walk, being calm, standing still, lowering the head, the ramener: if your horse does such a thing for only a millisecond, just reward big time! Show her that all the wild stuff is great, but that the calm stuff at this point is even greater - untill you both have found your balance again and can alternate between the two things.

By the way, with Blacky I noticed the same about a week ago. It could be the spring, but maybe also the bad winter wheather? Our paddock has been wet and slippery 90% of the winter, so whenever it was only a bit dry, we would start to do wilder things because finally we could. With the result that when the paddock finally was totally dry two weeks ago and I wanted to train again, Blacky only wanted to canter-canter-pirouettes-terre a terre-collected canter-whatever, if only it was a collected canter. :roll: Trot, walk and other things were completely deleted. So after a few minutes when I wanted to see those other things too, I just started rewarding everything that wasn't canter. So when I said 'trot', Blacky started a collected canter 8) and I rewarded immediately when he dropped down to a trot again. The same I did for turning the walk into a walk again (not canter 8) ), the halt in halt again (not piaffe 8) ). That took about five minutes, in which I really had to force myself not to reward all those beautiful canterjumps that he showed, and then we were back in balance again. So the hard work is mostly on the shoulders of the trainer, not so much on the horse. ;)

The funny thing is that his canter actually got better when I installed the other movements back in again, probably because Blacky was more assured in what he should be doing, and could really focus on doing it well.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2008 6:41 pm
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Hi Jocelyn, Sue and others

Thanks for your help!

Sue, I started reading your diary (looking for the four steps), but it is a quite long diary :wink:

I'm at page 3.

I must say it: you have a "cow" too!!! Those are the best!

And the tricks are in the spots !! Is your horse a bit cheeky and cocky?

Jocelyn, I did kind of the same thing today, but I would just breath out and relax my body and look down with my hands on his body and just moving with him.

The rest of our session is in our diary (so I do not have to type everything twice .. :wink: )


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:26 pm 
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Well, if you have the time, you SHOULD read all of Sue's diary. It's very worthwhile to understand how she works through things.

But I don't think she meant for you to have to read it all to find that one post. So here it is...6 posts down from the top of the page:

viewtopic.php?t=237&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=105

You'll know the post because it's broken in to four parts, numbered 1 through 4.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 9:34 pm 
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Karen wrote:
Well, if you have the time, you SHOULD read all of Sue's diary. It's very worthwhile to understand how she works through things.


And I will. I love her way of writing!

But I'm still gonna peak at the page where she explains her 4 steps :)


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