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“Horse training is about building confidence one step at a time. It’s not about confrontation or respect or being the boss or winning fights.” — Neil Davies
“New things must be introduced one step at a time. Remember, you’re building confidence, you’re not “desensitising”.” — Neil Davies
“When teaching your horse never increase the pressure unless you KNOW the horse understands what you want. Wait for the understanding then release the pressure and reward. Give the horse the time he or she personally needs to process your request and make sure your request is perfectly clear.” — Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate
“Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.” — Buck Brannaman
“Work with the horse, not against him. Always listen to what the horse is trying to say. And always think for yourself.” — Mark Rashid
“We all make mistakes and by doing so we discover something about our limitations, but if someone or some horse suffers from these mistakes, then we must do our utmost not to repeat them. May every rider strive for a better connection with his or her horse by observation, closer understanding, and patient groundwork. It matters not what discipline is pursued, only that there be a perfectly balanced union between the two—man and horse—so the two become one.” — Frederic Pignon/Magali Delgado
“One of the primary ways horses communicate with us is through their behavior. Again, it is my belief horses don’t distinguish between how they feel and how they act. So if they act a certain way, their actions are reflecting the way they feel. A horse’s body then becomes a mirror for their emotions. So the body informs us of what is truly going on internally.” — Mark Rashid
“Once I quit fighting with him and began rewarding his efforts to respond to my cues, he became extremely willing to do what I was asking. The fight and confusion just seemed to melt away,” — Mark Rashid
“Do you stop breathing when you pick up your reins?” — Leslie Desmond
“Consider yourself from your horses point of view. Not many people do that. But we should.” — Leslie Desmond
“You don’t take the journey. The journey takes you. “~”Travels in a Stone Canoe”, Harvey Arden & Steve Wall
“Listen to the horse. Try to find out what the horse is trying to tell you. All we are trying to do is fix things up to where he can find them; then it’s the horse’s idea.” ~ Tom Dorrance
“Horses are intelligent and they can make decisions. This is the reason that they can sense what a person wants them to do and will try to understand a person’s intent. Through his natural instinct of self-preservation, a horse will respond to two kinds of feel that a person can present. He will respond to a person’s indirect feel, which means that he will either react to or ignore a person’s presence – and how a horse responds depends entirely on the person. This indirect feel is what you have out in the pasture or corral, when you don’t have any physical contact with the horse, like a halter or snaffle bit. A horse will also respond to direct feel, which is when you have a physical connection with the horse through some part of your body, the halter or the snaffle, or a rope any place on his body, even if it’s connected to the saddle horn.” ~ Bill Dorrance
“Pride and ego get in people’s way, it gets in the horse’s way.” ~ Ray Hunt
“Horses don’t do wrong things – horses are never wrong.” ~ Ray Hunt
“I will not change my horse with any that treads but on four pasterns…When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk. He trots the air, the earth sings when he touches it, the basest horn of his hoofs is more musical than the pipe of Hermes…When bestride him I soar, I am a hawk…”
~ William Shakespeare
“For what the horse does under compulsion, as Simon also observes, is done without understanding; and there is no beauty in it either, any more than if one should whip and spur a dancer.” ~Xenophon
“God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses.”
“A technique can have a “Here, horse, let me help you” feel behind it. Or it can have a, “You better do this or else” feel behind it. The feel behind the technique can be the factor that decides whether the technique is effective or not.” ~Mark Rashid
“It would take years to train Templado,” Pignon said. “He forgave me nothing. The slightest error, the slightest faux pas on my part, and I was made to pay dear.” Whether ‘man was training horse’ or ‘horse was training man’ was unclear, the result however was a new relationship was forged, horse and man as a collaboration of equals.” ~Frédéric Pignon, Cavalia
“Isness is the glorious state of God manifested in His entire creative spendor here and on all planes.” — Liz Mitten Ryan
“It is the active form of being, more a becoming, an awakened journey carrying one towards the adventure of vibrant aliveness, L.I.F.E. (love in Finitie Expression) forever. “~Liz Mitten Ryan
“It’s all about what’s in your heart and how you use it.” — Jeanette Baldwin
“BREATHE!” “EXHALE!” “BE!” — Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate
“Something we were withholding made us weak, until we found out that it was ourselves. ” ~Robert Frost
You’ve had it!
You’ve tried EVERYTHING.
Now you’re thinking of retirement for your best friend or … worse.
For almost 2 decades I’ve been called in as a ‘last resort’ for horses with soundness issues, quirky health issues and behavioral issues* (since the 70’s)*. The individual treatments I’ve designed and used … WORKED! The following are just a few of the horses I’ve worked with …
Pegasus … Scheduled for euthanasia 17 years ago. Dx’d with Navicular Disease and dangerous attitude. Treated diet, herbs and hoofcare. Today still fully in work and healthy.
Lilly … Penetrating Founder. Devastating. Recovered fully. Cushings controlled with diet, herbs & homeopathy.
Libby … Abused rescue. PTSD. Recovered and loves her humans! PPT therapy.
Cisco … Severe PTSD due to aggressive training. Now a “pocket pony”. PPT therapy. ECBT.
Pepper … Dangerously aggressive. Blind in one eye. PPT therapy. Rehabbed to faithful partner with his owner until complete blindness forced euthanasia.
Spirit … Anxious, Lame, Lyme Disease. Issues with gaits. Rehabbed with Bodywork, Diet, Homeopathy.
Whinney … Penetrating Founder. Recovered and back under saddle in under a year. Hoofcare, Diet, Herbs.
Ginger … Severe founder. Aged (34). Malnutritioned. Neglected. Brought back to full health and was exceptional ‘schooling horse’ until 40 years old.
Cheyenne … Wild Mustang. 6 auction houses and 5 owners in 2 1/2 years. (only a shy 4 yo.). Dangerously defensive from former mishandling and abuse. Now ‘pocket pony’. Homeopathy, Herbs, Diet, PPT, ECBT.
E’toile … undetermined severe lameness for 3+ weeks. Abscess. Treated hoofcare and herbs. 100% recovery within a week.
Rira … Lyme. Treated homeopathically. 2 weeks all symptoms gone and back under saddle.
Curly … Cushings, IR. Homeopathy, Nutrition, Herbs. All symptoms of Cushings resolved.
Cody … Recurring Facial Abscess. 3 surgeries. Treated with homeopathics. 7 days and abscess resolved. Never returned.
Tammy … Colic. Treated homeopathically. Recovered in less than 1 hour.
Dorian … Recurring seasonal colic for 7 years. Treated homeopathically and nutritionally. Colic episodes resolved.
Misty … Cushings, IR, DSLD. Treated with homeopathics, herbs and nutritionally. Cushings and IR resolved. DSLD maintained until EOL.
Pony … Chronic lameness 3+ years. Hoofcare, Herbs, Diet. Fully recovered less than 8 weeks.
and hundreds more.
Have you “Had It!” ?
Email to me: email@example.com and tell me what’s going on.
There is no financial obligation at this time.
Find out how YOU can help YOUR HORSE!
In the light of excellent horsemanship on needs to consider the air in which the relationship forms between horse and human. Is it one of Master-Servant? Or, Is it one of Servant-Leader?
FIND OUT HERE: http://bit.ly/2gB4ucy
What is the opposite of bucking? “Not bucking” you say? Nope, that’s not it. What is the opposite of “jigging”? Nope, wrong again. It’s not “not jigging”. What is the opposite of shoving? Hmmmm, “not shoving”? Nope … read on, my Friend. (Yep, its an oldie but goodie!)
– Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate © Aug 8, 2005
What is the opposite of bucking? “Not bucking” you say? Nope, that’s not it. What is the opposite of “jigging”? Nope, wrong again. It’s not “not jigging”. What is the opposite of shoving? Hmmmm, “not shoving”? Nope … read on, my Friend.
For every action there is a reaction and for every action there is a counterpart that is the opposite. The opposite of “bucking” would be walking forward. The opposite of shoving would be backing up. The opposite of jigging would be standing still or walking forward quietly. Instead of “punishing” an unwanted behavior in a horse why not think in terms of changing the negative behavior to a positive one and being able to reward your horse for doing something “right”. In essence, teaching the horse to do something else INSTEAD OF the offensive behavior? Give the horse a choice between the behaviors and making the “right choice” a rewarded experience. Sound pretty funky to you? Well, let’s take this scenario;
Susie has a 10 year old QH that is highly bred and extremely versatile. Susie has good riding background but limited ground training. (Notice that I said “Susie” has limited ground training vs. the horse having limited ground training!) … Roger, the QH, INSISTS on flying out the stall door whenever its opened, completely disregarding poor little Susie who tries desperately to stay out of his way yet at the same time, hang onto him. Susie’s trainer has suggested that everytime Roger begins to bolt out of the stall that Susie whack him on the chest with the crop. Susie’s TRIED to do this but Roger seems to be totally oblivious to Susie and her crop and manages every time to just keep on bargin’ through, dragging little Susie behind him. By now you’re thinking “I’d get a chain over that horse’s nose and that horse would learn a lesson or two!” Ah ha! What KIND of lesson would he learn? To be more respectful of Susie or the human standing in his way? Or would he learn to respond to pain, confusion, frustration and determination to get out of the stall and the experience even more quickly?
Horses naturally want to get along with their herd members. Part of their social interaction is learning to get along. Learning their own place within the herd and learning to respect those above them in rank. Horses are, by nature, gentle animals with extremely strong ideas about “fairness”. Doesn’t seem fair to me to punish Roger for barging out of the stall when all he wants to do is be a horse and get outdoors to move!
By whacking, or “punishing” Roger everytime he heeds his natural instinct as a horse without giving him a BETTER choice that helps him to stay safe and comfortable, Susie is doing nothing more than helping Roger build up his resentment and fear of humans and to learn to respond to a situation that gives him pain. So let’s think on this a bit. …
What could Susie DO, proactively, to 1. stop Roger from barging through and over her and 2. to keep Roger’s sensitive respect intact without adding fear or resentment to the equation? (You know that fear causes the horse to flight. That’s one of his primary behavioral standards.)
- Barging through and over human – represents lack of respect for one *supposedly* higher ranking. Represents the need to get out of confinement is greater than the need to be respsectful. Represents the “punishment” is not as strong of a stimulus as getting outside and responding to a natural instinctive call. — Issue of repecting higher ranking individual: Not the horse’s fault. Human needs to establish rank in a manner which the horse can understand. — Issue of the stronger instinctual behavior: There is no other motivator involved to override the instinctual need to get out of confinement. If confinement is associated with a pleasant experience that overrides the desire to leave, the horse will stick around! Food rewards, scritch rewards, etc. for a “right” behavior can override as motivators to initiate desired response in behaviors.
What is the opposite of barging? Standing still. Sub-Opposite behavior = waiting for appropriate cue to respectfully walk as leader requests.
Food as motivating behavior modification = MARKING the horse’s appropriate behavior at the INSTANT of that behavior then rewarding with a small enough tidbit as to motivate the horse to want more. (Please note that food rewards CAN be given from small bucket instead of hand if so desired. The transporter of the reward is not as important as the reward, itself.)
Bribery, you say? No. M-o-t-i-v-a-t-i-o-n. Every mammal needs motivation to execute a behavior. The level of motivation must exceed other motivators in strength in order to prompt behavior. In other words, would you rather “work” for a pat on the head or a homemade chocolate cookie? Personally, the chocolate chip cookie wins hands down for me!
How to teach the opposite of Barging … that is, standing still or stepping backwards
backwards away from human at stall door (better choice of behavior to teach)
Behavior desired = stepping backwards 3 steps when stall door is opened and waiting, respectfully, for human to request forward motion. Must break down the behavior as it is comprised of several “steps”. 1st step would be to step backwards instead of barging forward.
Set up a cue that you can use consistently when asking the horse to back up for you. Choose your “marker” of behavior, that is the audible sound you will use to indicate to the horse that it has executed the proper behavior. A mechanical clicker will work, a tongue click, a “kiss” sound, a “cluck” sound … a verbal Good! … whatever works for YOU but sound must be clear, crisp, short and easily identifiable by the horse. (I’ll use “click” just as the marker word for this article)
Begin teaching the horse what a marker is:
“click!” and give 1 or 2 Cheerios as “reward”. Repeat this process until your horse associates your marker sound with the reward. Now you’re ready to begin simple exercise of backing up 3 steps.
Ask horse to back up – use pressure and voice command. Instant the horse even thinks to back up, “click” and reward. Repeat several times until you’re receiving 100% result.
Ask horse to now actually move body backwards (vs. merely indicating he’s “thinking” about it) … give the cue to back and keep the pressure on the horse until he actually MOVES his body back one step. Click! Reward. Repeat until horse is responding 100%.
Now, do the same again but ask for 2 steps back. Then 3 and … now you’ve taught the horse the OPPOSITE of barging through you – you’ve taught him to respectfully back up 3 steps away from you! You’ve given him a CHOICE of behaviors to execute when you open that stall door. (Susie, this really isn’t difficult – just takes a bit of time and patience.)
Ready to teach him to stand still? (2nd part of the overall behavior that you’re trying to reach)
Now that you have the horse backing up, ask him “Whoa” … if he moves forward, ask him to back up and CLICK! and REWARD the second his stands without moving. Repeat and gradually request that he stand longer and longer until YOU say, “OK! Good job! NOW you may walk through the stall door!”
door!” … So now you’ve added more to the exercises by teaching the horse another opposite of “barging” behavior. You’ve taught him to stand still. Standing still is a CHOICE the horse makes which makes the behavior a decision and not an empty, thoughtless behavior.
Think of the difference between, “I’m not doing anything!” and … “I’m doing nothing.” Two completely different behaviors. “Doing nothing” is a decision based behavior. “I’m not doing anything” is a thoughtless, lacking in thought, of doing anything. So, the opposite of “I’m not doing anything” is … “I’m doing *nothing*.” In essence, I’m also saying that we’re teaching the barging horse to “do nothing” while standing quietly and waiting for his human to request forward movement. So, another “opposite” of barging would be to do “nothing”.
Whenever you’re working around a horse it is imperative to always think of the consequences of what YOUR behavior and requests will reap from the horse. Every action has a reaction. Our requests have reactions from the horse. They can be thoughtless reactions or they can be thought-FILLED choices that the horse makes.
Every action has an opposite. Think of the opposite actions that your horse chooses to execute today for you and start teaching him the proper action/behavior that you REALLY want.
Bucking? Move forward. Rearing? Move forward. Barging? Step back and wait. Jigging? Walk quietly. Doesn’t lift hoof? Lift hoof! Doesn’t lead? Give to pressure.
Think of your opposites and start working on them today. You’ll have a safer day and a much more pleasant relationship with your horse.
- Susie? If that’s you, drop me an email if you’re still getting “stuck” in front of your barging horse and I’ll see what I can do for you! Simply write to firstname.lastname@example.org!
GREAT articles on the COGNITIVE HORSE!
Free-roaming horses in Italy, 2010 – Pic by José De Giorgio-Schoorl
How many people actually really know the horse as he is? This is the more important question. A lot of people think that in nature horses are reactive animals, always in an emotive inner state, searching for their leader to have guidance. False. Horses become highly reactive/emotive due to human breeding, management and activities. In nature horses are cognitive/emotional animals. They are thinking animals. Each their own balanced individual, capable of belonging to something bigger as a herd.
But what does cognition really mean? Cognition usually refers to the cognitive mechanisms involved in learning, memory, perception, decision-making and other. Cognitive ethology starts from the animal as sentient being. In the same way, the zooanthropological philosophy starts from considering animal as dialogical subject and not as passive object.
Equitation, modern or classical, more or less “natural”, using negative or positive reinforcement, has…
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