Whilst I believe Kelly Marks, Monty Roberts and Pat Parelli have some horse sense and include some gems worthy of inclusion in training horses, I do think that the interpretation of licking and chewing as a thought process has been disproved by the behavioural studies and science.
I don't have time to find the links at this moment.
When you do I'd like to review this subject again. I recall having read some conflicting information that immediately provoked a response from me: "In context, please."
What I've seen, and this dates from as far back as 1950s for me, is that a horse has an entire set of communication responses, varied and complex as our own or moreso.
When I've seen clinicians point to one single element, such as chewing and licking, I have to laugh. Alone it can mean a number of things, but of one looks at, as I'm sure Kali did and does, the context of events, the expression from around the eyes, the tensions over other body parts (or relaxation) a quiet lowered tail, Kali read it correctly.
I liken it to reading human silent or non vocal symbol signs that indicate one's internal state. I learned it from adolescent mental health work. And I believe what Kali was responding to, as she schooled the ridden canter depart, was the same as in humans that are presented with a challenge problem, and find both solution and resolution - a state of relaxation - release of inner tension.
It is why we love to learn, and so does the horse, if we create a learning environment that allows for tension release, pressure release, and a sense of accomplishment.
I found her description of the dismount interesting. I'm sure she didn't choose this from reading any of my ramblings here in AND or other forums, but on her own, by recognizing the ultimate release of pressure that dismounting and hand walking produces for the horse. That's the "learning environment," I was trying to create for the horse, and my student team members in eventing and showing, back in the 60-'s.
The ex bronc rehabing we were doing coupled with my experiments with bridless riding where I borrowed the technique of calf ropers dismounting and their horses coming to a stop without further cues, and my current teaching brought me to the same conclusion, the UPR, as Madeliene from Canada labelled it for us, Ultimate Pressure Release.
Possibly we can work on our language of schooling/playing to indicate that moment where the horse does relax, lets go of tension, has a quiet tail, a softening of muscles over body and face, and licks and chews, that means he has learned something, or solved something, or absorbed some event to its accepted resolution.
I have used "resolution," in mental health work where I am helping someone problem solve as an assertive self managed exercise to change unwanted social behavior, or integrate a new social skill, a behavior, that is the goal.
This can apply across many challenges we face, from learning to wait quietly in queue, or crest a hill at a run, or express empathy to a loved one in pain or battleing loss. Resolution to me means acceptance of what is true in the moment, even if we have had no hand in making that moment, or conversely we have engaged energetically in creating that moments events.
So I think, when Bonnie finally gets that I don't want her, when I hold my flat palm toward her hip it does not mean the same as wiggling my two fingers - the former means 'move away please,' while the latter means, "move hip - or nearest body part - to touch my target fingers," we have, Bonnie and I, resolution
in the moment.
Not that we won't have other moments where she swings her big hip (she's an 800 pounder now) right into me and my flat palm. LOL
One of the fascinating, and to me most valuable, things happening in AND is our development of horse handling (companionship styel) language. We might not notice it all the time, but it is most assuredly happening.
I had an old horse with a few heart problems who yawned quite a lot, usually after exertion and my vet said this is a stress indicator, as are licking and chewing.
To interpret any behaviour it is necessary to see the whole context and then the same gestures might have differing results.
You can see that obviously I didn't read your complete post before replying. But then I knew you knew this before I began my ramble above.
I thought it may be PonyPros or Relaxed Horsemanship webpages that I read an article discussing rider squeeze, tap etc when transitioning upwards. If the horse has offered a good walk, or trot our (even gentle) persuasion can result in faster rather than change of gait and be seen as punishment for having been offering a "nice" walk or trot, which we don't wish to lose and need to re-establish.
That deserves some careful thought and attention. You touch here on the "art," of AND, and too even the ancient classical riding art. To cultivate willlingness in human or horse affairs we must attend to how "the other," experiences our behaviors as motivation to respond. A tough call, but worth the effort of joyful and playful cooperation.
I have been reading the free articles on SATS and I can appreciate the use of the intermediate bridge signal to suggest "right track to try" offering encouragement towards achieving the target or required response.
There are permutations that I've been experimenting with, such as duration of the IB (intermediate bridge signal) sound, intervals between each sound, and intensity or sharpness.
It's obvious that the management and handling of the IB can either calm or energize and excite. Couple it with food (like teaching rising energy at feeding time) or with site specific environmental cues (making an area a high energy play field only - leaving it for calming), or other inventive and creative use makes IB a powerful communication.
I notice that SATS people, some of them, have a tendency to become very artistic with IBs, and even use them without reward (other than the -r of tension/pressure release) and even without a terminal bridge signal (TB).
When I had been sitting at liberty on my pony I would ask for walk, then he would manage a few paces and turn for a treat from my pocket. "Walk On" is understood by him but following me, or having me walk at his shoulder was easier for treating and he of course preferred that.
Thus we see who is "master," here.
I have no bounce, have never had ability to vault and if I get off I need to ask my pony to stand by something I can climb from. It was at this point Donald suggested I look into Syn Alia Training Systems. I did need a bridge to explain that pony would be rewarded but was required to do a little more to achieve his treats. xx
I too have lost "bounce," and my dismounts and mountings, once things of grace and beauty
have become a bit less so, shall we say.
Your solution is a nice "save," I must say. I need to think more like that. I do with my dog Rio, but could be a bit more sensitive to my horses in the same way. Bonnie might not care too much for an interval and further behavior before the reward and I've not thought to use IB to cover that interval. Thank you for waking me up.
Between IBs, skill with pressure release, learning to ask (rather than demand), developing scent talk communication, full body use language, we are building quite a human/equine vocabulary. Equihomotalk?
Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake