Good news and bad news

Good news and bad news

Post by Judi » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 11:55:13


Well the good news is George is coming along very well and is ready
for his first show on Sunday and my trainer thinks I should take him
in the very low hunter over fences classes because we have been doing
a great job riding courses. George has some natural inclinations in
that he does auto lead changes, has very nice big strides (even though
he is only 15.1 h), and he can judge the distance to the jump (or
ground pole) and lengthen his stride on his own so that he has good
placement. He can make a fairly sharp turn across the diagonal to a
jump that is only a few strides in. He seems to learn fast and does a
great job.

The bad news is I am not the leader. As long as we are in our home
territory or at my trainer's arena he is good as gold and I have the
false security of feeling like I am the leader. But when we are out on
a walk and there are things to look at, I am a back seat driver. I can
make him slow down, I can make him back up, but the whole time he is
fighting to keep his head up and looking around and sometimes he even
walks into my space while looking the other way. I can circle him make
him yield and soften his neck with his head lowered, but it is all
temporary. As soon as we move on he just goes right back into thinking
he's the leader mode. I noticed this on Sunday when I took him out for
his first walk of the year. So I decided to do some more work with him
today. I lunged him first and although he had a lot of energy he was
cantering and trotting around with his nose to the ground for much of
the time and I have been told this is a *** posture. Like I
said he is great at home.

Back to our walk. We encountered the same donkeys we saw on Sunday
where there was a tiny bit of shaking but kept feet still and finally
relaxed. But today, we were walking in an open area next to a
different part of the donkey pasture and one of the donkeys saw George
staring at him and totally flipped out. He was running and bucking and
running into things in his steel barn. He was acting crazy! This did
NOT sit well with George. I thought if I could just get him to do some
circling and listen to me, I could get him working. But while circling
I got a big kick from his left hind into my upper right thigh. It was
very painful, but thank goodness for my winter fat because at least
there was cushion and I am OK just sore.

But I am very worried. I think that George is going to have the same
behavior at the show because it will be unfamiliar so I have a few
days to work the heck out of him on the ground and REALLY convince him
that I AM THE LEADER. How could I be so blind? There must be little
inuendos where he is telling me he thinks he is leading. I am also
cutting his sweet feed way down because his weight is really good so
hopefully he can sustain it on the hay. I think I will go back to beet
pulp too. Right now he is on a mixed hay with 15% alfalfa, and about 4
scoops of Equine *** plus 1 scoop of rice bran. I give him lots of
hay but he doesn't like most of it. Unfortunately, I bought 24 bales
at one time and we are now about 3/4 done. It was not what I expected
(they were out of what I really wanted at the time) and it is very
straw like. So I am just trying to get through it so I can get
better.

I just don't get it. He is so good at home or at the trainers.

Judie

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by betse » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 21:17:06


Quote:
> Well the good news is George is coming along very well and is ready
> for his first show on Sunday and my trainer thinks I should take him
> in the very low hunter over fences classes because we have been doing
> a great job riding courses. George has some natural inclinations in
> that he does auto lead changes, has very nice big strides (even though
> he is only 15.1 h), and he can judge the distance to the jump (or
> ground pole) and lengthen his stride on his own so that he has good
> placement. He can make a fairly sharp turn across the diagonal to a
> jump that is only a few strides in. He seems to learn fast and does a
> great job.

> The bad news is I am not the leader. As long as we are in our home
> territory or at my trainer's arena he is good as gold and I have the
> false security of feeling like I am the leader. But when we are out on
> a walk and there are things to look at, I am a back seat driver. I can
> make him slow down, I can make him back up, but the whole time he is
> fighting to keep his head up and looking around and sometimes he even
> walks into my space while looking the other way. I can circle him make
> him yield and soften his neck with his head lowered, but it is all
> temporary. As soon as we move on he just goes right back into thinking
> he's the leader mode. I noticed this on Sunday when I took him out for
> his first walk of the year. So I decided to do some more work with him
> today. I lunged him first and although he had a lot of energy he was
> cantering and trotting around with his nose to the ground for much of
> the time and I have been told this is a *** posture. Like I
> said he is great at home.

> Back to our walk. We encountered the same donkeys we saw on Sunday
> where there was a tiny bit of shaking but kept feet still and finally
> relaxed. But today, we were walking in an open area next to a
> different part of the donkey pasture and one of the donkeys saw George
> staring at him and totally flipped out. He was running and bucking and
> running into things in his steel barn. He was acting crazy! This did
> NOT sit well with George. I thought if I could just get him to do some
> circling and listen to me, I could get him working. But while circling
> I got a big kick from his left hind into my upper right thigh. It was
> very painful, but thank goodness for my winter fat because at least
> there was cushion and I am OK just sore.

> But I am very worried. I think that George is going to have the same
> behavior at the show because it will be unfamiliar so I have a few
> days to work the heck out of him on the ground and REALLY convince him
> that I AM THE LEADER. How could I be so blind? There must be little
> inuendos where he is telling me he thinks he is leading. I am also
> cutting his sweet feed way down because his weight is really good so
> hopefully he can sustain it on the hay. I think I will go back to beet
> pulp too. Right now he is on a mixed hay with 15% alfalfa, and about 4
> scoops of Equine *** plus 1 scoop of rice bran. I give him lots of
> hay but he doesn't like most of it. Unfortunately, I bought 24 bales
> at one time and we are now about 3/4 done. It was not what I expected
> (they were out of what I really wanted at the time) and it is very
> straw like. So I am just trying to get through it so I can get
> better.

> I just don't get it. He is so good at home or at the trainers.

> Judie

hi Judie--

i know lots of the nh people will cringe at me...but.....

does he know how to work to the chain?  as in over his nose?  i am NOT
suggesting that you through the chain over his nose and yanky cranky
on him...but if he does know how to work to the chain (showmanship
horses are tought this, both to work to it over the nose, and under
the chin...) it can be a very effective means of establishing who the
leader is.

this is perhaps something the trainer can help with?  Macho does know
how to work to the chain, so if it's over his nose, not only do i have
his attention, but i also have a very soft horse work on the ground
with.

Betsey

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Mary Heale » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 22:05:53

Quote:

> does he know how to work to the chain?  as in over his nose?

IIRC, George is off the track. He's likely quite accustomed to being led
with a chain over his nose, but probably not trained to the more refined
technique you suggest below.

Quote:
>  i am NOT
> suggesting that you through the chain over his nose and yanky cranky
> on him...but if he does know how to work to the chain (showmanship
> horses are tought this, both to work to it over the nose, and under
> the chin...) it can be a very effective means of establishing who the
> leader is.

If there's a discernable difference between the critter's behavior with and
without the chain, and the behavior is viewed in terms of leaders and
followers, the chain becomes the leader.  After all, it is the "authority"
of the chain the horse is reacting to and not the leadership of the human.

Quote:
> this is perhaps something the trainer can help with?  Macho does know
> how to work to the chain, so if it's over his nose, not only do i have
> his attention, but i also have a very soft horse work on the ground
> with.

Why view that as a leadership thing?  It's a training thing.

Don't misunderstand me.   Sometimes we wimpy humans need an "angle" to help
us get started.  Prior training to a particular piece of equipment can give
us that angle.  But using those bits of leverage doesn't really establish
true leadership.  

Judy, George doesn't sound all that bad, really, although I hope you
reminded him quite firmly that equine tootsies should not be slapped
against human anatomy for *any* reason.  I'll remind you that leadership is  
a means to an end, not the goal itself, and the more you concentrate on
*becoming* the leader by demanding and doing, the further you are from
*being* the leader.

Leaders are calm.  They are safe, and safety.  Leaders don't spend a lot of
time reminding everyone that they're a leader -- they just lead and expect
others to follow as a natural consequence.

The more you concentrate on George, on scrutinizing his every move, the
less you lead and the more you're following HIM.  You're focused on him,
not the other way around.  You're reacting to his behavior, not the other
way around.  Go for a walk.  You go where you want.  As long as he's
keeping a safe and respectable distance, let George figure out for himself
that you are the one certainty in his ever-changing universe. I'm not sure
you can get that across to him in a few days, but I certainly hope so.

--
Mary & the depleted Ames National Zoo
(Ranger, Duke, Rhia-cat)

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Judi » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 23:11:49


Quote:

> > Well the good news is George is coming along very well and is ready
> > for his first show on Sunday and my trainer thinks I should take him
> > in the very low hunter over fences classes because we have been doing
> > a great job riding courses. George has some natural inclinations in
> > that he does auto lead changes, has very nice big strides (even though
> > he is only 15.1 h), and he can judge the distance to the jump (or
> > ground pole) and lengthen his stride on his own so that he has good
> > placement. He can make a fairly sharp turn across the diagonal to a
> > jump that is only a few strides in. He seems to learn fast and does a
> > great job.

> > The bad news is I am not the leader. As long as we are in our home
> > territory or at my trainer's arena he is good as gold and I have the
> > false security of feeling like I am the leader. But when we are out on
> > a walk and there are things to look at, I am a back seat driver. I can
> > make him slow down, I can make him back up, but the whole time he is
> > fighting to keep his head up and looking around and sometimes he even
> > walks into my space while looking the other way. I can circle him make
> > him yield and soften his neck with his head lowered, but it is all
> > temporary. As soon as we move on he just goes right back into thinking
> > he's the leader mode. I noticed this on Sunday when I took him out for
> > his first walk of the year. So I decided to do some more work with him
> > today. I lunged him first and although he had a lot of energy he was
> > cantering and trotting around with his nose to the ground for much of
> > the time and I have been told this is a *** posture. Like I
> > said he is great at home.

> > Back to our walk. We encountered the same donkeys we saw on Sunday
> > where there was a tiny bit of shaking but kept feet still and finally
> > relaxed. But today, we were walking in an open area next to a
> > different part of the donkey pasture and one of the donkeys saw George
> > staring at him and totally flipped out. He was running and bucking and
> > running into things in his steel barn. He was acting crazy! This did
> > NOT sit well with George. I thought if I could just get him to do some
> > circling and listen to me, I could get him working. But while circling
> > I got a big kick from his left hind into my upper right thigh. It was
> > very painful, but thank goodness for my winter fat because at least
> > there was cushion and I am OK just sore.

> > But I am very worried. I think that George is going to have the same
> > behavior at the show because it will be unfamiliar so I have a few
> > days to work the heck out of him on the ground and REALLY convince him
> > that I AM THE LEADER. How could I be so blind? There must be little
> > inuendos where he is telling me he thinks he is leading. I am also
> > cutting his sweet feed way down because his weight is really good so
> > hopefully he can sustain it on the hay. I think I will go back to beet
> > pulp too. Right now he is on a mixed hay with 15% alfalfa, and about 4
> > scoops of Equine *** plus 1 scoop of rice bran. I give him lots of
> > hay but he doesn't like most of it. Unfortunately, I bought 24 bales
> > at one time and we are now about 3/4 done. It was not what I expected
> > (they were out of what I really wanted at the time) and it is very
> > straw like. So I am just trying to get through it so I can get
> > better.

> > I just don't get it. He is so good at home or at the trainers.

> > Judie

> hi Judie--

> i know lots of the nh people will cringe at me...but.....

> does he know how to work to the chain? ?as in over his nose? ?i am NOT
> suggesting that you through the chain over his nose and yanky cranky
> on him...but if he does know how to work to the chain (showmanship
> horses are tought this, both to work to it over the nose, and under
> the chin...) it can be a very effective means of establishing who the
> leader is.

> this is perhaps something the trainer can help with? ?Macho does know
> how to work to the chain, so if it's over his nose, not only do i have
> his attention, but i also have a very soft horse work on the ground
> with.

> Betsey- Hide quoted text -

> - Show quoted text -

My trainer will help me at the show. At least we are going the day
before and stabling so that should help. There are 5 of us going and
the other horses will be familiar to him as he has stayed with my
trainer a couple of times for a week's worth of training. So hopefully
he will settle in and realize it is not a race. Maybe he was
encouraged to act up in order to psych out the other horses and\or
handlers. He is impressive looking when he does this.

Judie

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by jsarana » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 23:28:50


Quote:
> Well the good news is George is coming along very well and is ready
> for his first show on Sunday and my trainer thinks I should take him
> in the very low hunter over fences classes because we have been doing
> a great job riding courses. George has some natural inclinations in
> that he does auto lead changes, has very nice big strides (even though
> he is only 15.1 h), and he can judge the distance to the jump (or
> ground pole) and lengthen his stride on his own so that he has good
> placement. He can make a fairly sharp turn across the diagonal to a
> jump that is only a few strides in. He seems to learn fast and does a
> great job.

He sounds wonderful!
/snip of donkey story?

Quote:

> But I am very worried. I think that George is going to have the same
> behavior at the show because it will be unfamiliar so I have a few
> days to work the heck out of him on the ground and REALLY convince him
> that I AM THE LEADER. How could I be so blind? There must be little
> inuendos where he is telling me he thinks he is leading.

Don't assume he'll be that way.... Donkeys (or horses) freaking out is up
the ladder from just plain old new things usually... your worry I am
guessing is that if other people don't have their horses under control and
they freak out that George will too... sometimes your making it an event
feeds him.... did you breathe while it was going on and try to make it a Not
Big Deal?  If not, try to work on that in you.

Don't assume that you are not ever the leader with him, and don't assume
that you can't be... your worry may be partof the problem.  He sounds like
an alpha horse.  Horses test other horses all the time, even their "known"
leaders in the herd.  Pal tests me too but he seems to get reassured when I
don't let him get away with things.  But some days are better than others,
some days they are going to be more right brained or more ADHD, always.
You've only had, what, a year with him?  Give the bond more time as well.
Do more groundwork with him too.  And stuff that keeps his interest... maybe
he gets bored easily.

I am also

Quote:
> cutting his sweet feed way down

That could be the problem right there!  Does he really need sweet feed?
It's like feeding candy bars to your kids IMO...

/snip/

Quote:
> I just don't get it. He is so good at home or at the trainers.

> Judie

I'm sorry you are hurting... hope it heals fast.  Work on trusting George a
little bit more maybe? Sounds like you are doubting your leadership can only
make things worse.  Just Be the leader, have no doubt about it in your
brain, don't allow a doubt about it to even creep in sideways.  He'll
respond, I bet.

Good luck at the show!

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Judi » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 23:30:31


Quote:

> > does he know how to work to the chain? ?as in over his nose?

> IIRC, George is off the track. He's likely quite accustomed to being led
> with a chain over his nose, but probably not trained to the more refined
> technique you suggest below.

I haven't used the chain for walks in my neighborhood.

At Christmas time my trainer had a horse\rider caroling event in her
neighborhood and I was going to walk George and even with the chain I
could not handle him. It was just too much for him. He was acting like
a stallion as we walked out to the road and there were little kids so
I decided to ditch him in the arena where he could fling himself about
and act like an idiot.He had started out fine until he saw that we
were all walking out into the road (even his buddy, Pip) and then he
just flipped. It must have reminded him of going to a race track.

Quote:

> > ?i am NOT
> > suggesting that you through the chain over his nose and yanky cranky
> > on him...but if he does know how to work to the chain (showmanship
> > horses are tought this, both to work to it over the nose, and under
> > the chin...) it can be a very effective means of establishing who the
> > leader is.

> If there's a discernable difference between the critter's behavior with and
> without the chain, and the behavior is viewed in terms of leaders and
> followers, the chain becomes the leader. ?After all, it is the "authority"
> of the chain the horse is reacting to and not the leadership of the human.

Yeah, this is what I don't like about the chain. I don't feel like I
am really being looked at as a leader.

Quote:

> > this is perhaps something the trainer can help with? ?Macho does know
> > how to work to the chain, so if it's over his nose, not only do i have
> > his attention, but i also have a very soft horse work on the ground
> > with.

> Why view that as a leadership thing? ?It's a training thing.

Because horses live and breath hierarchy and I don't want to be low
guy on the totem pole! Training is easier when you are a rung higher.

Quote:

> Don't misunderstand me. ? Sometimes we wimpy humans need an "angle" to help
> us get started. ?Prior training to a particular piece of equipment can give
> us that angle. ?But using those bits of leverage doesn't really establish
> true leadership. ?

I agree...

Quote:

> Judy, George doesn't sound all that bad, really, although I hope you
> reminded him quite firmly that equine tootsies should not be slapped
> against human anatomy for *any* reason. ?I'll remind you that leadership is ?
> a means to an end, not the goal itself, and the more you concentrate on
> *becoming* the leader by demanding and doing, the further you are from
> *being* the leader.

I got after him as much as I could while taking breaks to double over
in pain!!! But he was scared and shaking and looked like he really
wanted to get the *f* out of there. I don't think anything I did
registered. He easily could have pulled away and run home but he
didn't. After my "3 seconds" was up I just sort of stood back and
stayed away from his feet. If he went into my space I poked him with
the whip. I just let him figure things out while I just stood there.
The donkey went to another area so we had some time to chill. Then
walking back I would stop every so often and ask him to back up
because he was getting in my space.

Quote:

> Leaders are calm. ?They are safe, and safety. ?Leaders don't spend a lot of
> time reminding everyone that they're a leader -- they just lead and expect
> others to follow as a natural consequence.

> The more you concentrate on George, on scrutinizing his every move, the
> less you lead and the more you're following HIM. ?You're focused on him,
> not the other way around. ?You're reacting to his behavior, not the other
> way around. ?Go for a walk. ?You go where you want. ?As long as he's
> keeping a safe and respectable distance, let George figure out for himself
> that you are the one certainty in his ever-changing universe. I'm not sure
> you can get that across to him in a few days, but I certainly hope so.

OK, so I think what you state above is more or less my default
behavior. I am not zealous about what he needs to be doing, just like
I said, he is very good at home or at the trainers. But that is why I
questioned myself -- thinking I needed to do something different.

Thanks,

Judie

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Judi » Wed, 02 Apr 2008 23:52:05


Quote:


> > Well the good news is George is coming along very well and is ready
> > for his first show on Sunday and my trainer thinks I should take him
> > in the very low hunter over fences classes because we have been doing
> > a great job riding courses. George has some natural inclinations in
> > that he does auto lead changes, has very nice big strides (even though
> > he is only 15.1 h), and he can judge the distance to the jump (or
> > ground pole) and lengthen his stride on his own so that he has good
> > placement. He can make a fairly sharp turn across the diagonal to a
> > jump that is only a few strides in. He seems to learn fast and does a
> > great job.

> He sounds wonderful!

Thank you. I can judge by my trainer's glowing face that she is seeing
something in him and you know how that is... But we are going to just
move him along slowly and keep the fences low, unless he starts to get
bored. He is not a "Cruiser" or "Chock" who could jump the moon, but
he has skills.

- Show quoted text -

Quote:

> /snip of donkey story?

> > But I am very worried. I think that George is going to have the same
> > behavior at the show because it will be unfamiliar so I have a few
> > days to work the heck out of him on the ground and REALLY convince him
> > that I AM THE LEADER. How could I be so blind? There must be little
> > inuendos where he is telling me he thinks he is leading.

> Don't assume he'll be that way.... Donkeys (or horses) freaking out is up
> the ladder from just plain old new things usually... your worry I am
> guessing is that if other people don't have their horses under control and
> they freak out that George will too... sometimes your making it an event
> feeds him.... did you breathe while it was going on and try to make it a Not
> Big Deal? ?If not, try to work on that in you.

I hear you. I need to work on that for sure. I can make myself
nervous. I have a pasture that currently is not fenced and is between
the arena and the road so most of the time, after our ride, while on
his back, I open the gate and we ride out to the road and then come
back into the long driveway to our home. George is fairly calm. The
other day Pip gaves us a suprise by running up to the fence in the
other pasture and going through some brush. George only startled for a
1/2 second. So Sunday I actually took him up the road a bit and then
we turned back and everything was fine until a neighbor drove up and
rolled down the window and started talking. George was calm for about
30 seconds and then got antsy and started backing up they drove away
and I circled him so he wouldn't back down the embankment into a
barbed wire fence. And then after more circling and backing finally
got him on a level footing in the neighbor's yard where he was
momentarily calm and I got off. It was down hill from there to my
house around a blind curve and I just did not feel safe.

Quote:

> Don't assume that you are not ever the leader with him, and don't assume
> that you can't be... your worry may be partof the problem. ?He sounds like
> an alpha horse. ?Horses test other horses all the time, even their "known"
> leaders in the herd. ?Pal tests me too but he seems to get reassured when I
> don't let him get away with things. ?But some days are better than others,
> some days they are going to be more right brained or more ADHD, always.
> You've only had, what, a year with him? ?Give the bond more time as well.
> Do more groundwork with him too. ?And stuff that keeps his interest... maybe
> he gets bored easily.

Pal sounds similar. I think that George likes me and seems to want to
please me but it has only been 6 months for us. He totally gets bored
so every time I ride there is a new configuration of poles and cones
( and sometimes a jump) and a task to be accomplished. He is
blossoming with these types of "challenges." And I thought I was
giving him a break by taking him for walks but he neighs to Pip and
seems generally distressed about it.

Quote:

> I am also

> > cutting his sweet feed way down

> That could be the problem right there! ?Does he really need sweet feed?
> It's like feeding candy bars to your kids IMO...

It hadn't seemed to matter. In fact he was nappy during the winter
without much exercise. Now he is more fit so something needs to
change...

Quote:

> /snip/

> > I just don't get it. He is so good at home or at the trainers.

> > Judie

> I'm sorry you are hurting... hope it heals fast. ?Work on trusting George a
> little bit more maybe? Sounds like you are doubting your leadership can only
> make things worse. ?Just Be the leader, have no doubt about it in your
> brain, don't allow a doubt about it to even creep in sideways. ?He'll
> respond, I bet.

This is good to hear I will remind myself.

Quote:

> Good luck at the show!

Thank you, I will give a report.

Judie

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by AKogle » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 00:45:54


<snip>

A couple of things will help. You may or may be doing this, but I see
people be somewhat lax in their normal handling and then have probs
when circumstances change. Make sure that George knows, every second
that you are together, that he marches to your drummer. Dont let him
fidget in the cross ties. Dont let him walk away or step away when you
are just*** out. You might have to take extra time sometimes, but
it will help in the overall scheme of obedience.

I think some horses, like our Bryan, get ***ed to their adrenalin.
When I got him he would flip over backwards, break things, flip out
when you reached up to take the halter off, very reactive and TOTALLY
barn/herd sour. I never let him look, lift his head, fidget, ever. I
was so totally consistent and strict and expected him to be obedient
regardless. Some days it would take up to three hours to get his to
stand quietly, facing away from the barn. He was not even food
motivated when I first tried to clicker him. He was totally not home.
He is the only horse I have almost fallen off of cause he would spook
so ***ly and run me into trees or into the lake. Once it was
become a friend standing near opened a piece of gum and the paper
rattled. We are talking over sensitive, here.

All of this helped tremendously and he was even totally good when we
had to evacuate he walked by the flapping plastic etc with great
obedience and self control. I was so proud.

I also really dealt with his physical issues. Ulcer meds helped so
much. He is on Succeed now. No alflalfa. Only bermuda and Ultium which
all my TBs have done really well on and it has not made them wild. U-7
was the first product I saw make a difference in Bryans paciing
behaviour in turnout.

Richard Maxwell is a Brit eventer guy who has a real nice approach to
horses, control, and safety and obedience. I highly recommend going to
his web site and reading his stuff/getting the vids.

Some horses can look and be reassured and go on confidently. With
horses like Bryan, the more I would look and reassure the worse hed
get. He would just check into that hysteria immediately. He is so good
now and I actually ride him off the property and he is pretty good
most of the time. If he starts to do his thing, we do the exercises
that we always did on the ground..thrun on the haunch, head down, no
staring, time to back, etc. It works fast now and seems the best way
to reassure him.

So, reassess his diet, do a cheap Succeed ulcer test and address that
if he has them, maybe do Ranitidine regardless, and put him in a
stricter program from the minute you go into his corral to the minute
you put him away.

Abby

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Francis Burt » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 01:02:46



Quote:
>[snip]
>> this is perhaps something the trainer can help with?  Macho does know
>> how to work to the chain, so if it's over his nose, not only do i have
>> his attention, but i also have a very soft horse work on the ground
>> with.

>Why view that as a leadership thing?  It's a training thing.

>Don't misunderstand me.   Sometimes we wimpy humans need an "angle" to help
>us get started.  Prior training to a particular piece of equipment can give
>us that angle.  But using those bits of leverage doesn't really establish
>true leadership.

Well said, Mary - couldn't agree more!

Quote:
>Judy, George doesn't sound all that bad, really, although I hope you
>reminded him quite firmly that equine tootsies should not be slapped
>against human anatomy for *any* reason.  I'll remind you that leadership is  
>a means to an end, not the goal itself, and the more you concentrate on
>*becoming* the leader by demanding and doing, the further you are from
>*being* the leader.

>Leaders are calm.  They are safe, and safety.  Leaders don't spend a lot of
>time reminding everyone that they're a leader -- they just lead and expect
>others to follow as a natural consequence.


"The herd has a leader (here the silver-maned mare on the left), usually
an older mare, bold and wise, who leads the group to new grazing, water
or shelter. The younger and more timid horses trust her and readily
follow her leadership. The stallion's task is to keep the herd together
and stop other stallions from stealing his mares. Some horses always
stay together anyway: horses make strong friendships. The two mares on
the right and scratching each other's necks in a common gesture of
friendship. We often notice these strong friendships in tame horses.
When we keep horses together, we also often notice that one becomes a
bully about food or attention. The other horses try to avoid the
bullying. In natural conditions, bullies do not often exist because
there is rarely anything to fight over.

You, too, can be bully, leader or friend to your horse. If you bully
him, he will want to avoid you, though he may do what you ask if he
cannot escape. If you are a good leader, wise, dependable and calm, he
will follow you through thick and thin without your having to bully
him. Horses are natural followers. To a horse, his friend is one who is
there all the time, which you are unlikely to be unless you are
travelling together. But if you want to develop your friendship, note
that horse-friends touch, rub and scratch each other often (and they do
not feed each other tit-bits)."

Francis

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Francis Burt » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 01:12:47


Quote:

>> Why view that as a leadership thing? ?It's a training thing.

>Because horses live and breath hierarchy and I don't want to be low
>guy on the totem pole! Training is easier when you are a rung higher.

This is certainly a common point of view - you'll hear it repeated
in various guises wherever you go. But what actual evidence is there
that "horses live and breathe hierarchy"? Is it more important than
anything else to them? How much of their time is spent preoccupied
with it (and how would we know)? It's certainly easy to imagine it
to be the case. However, I sometimes feel the idea gets extrapolated
way beyond what we can observe in groups of horses.

Francis

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by betse » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 02:34:12


Quote:

> > does he know how to work to the chain? as in over his nose?

> IIRC, George is off the track. He's likely quite accustomed to being led
> with a chain over his nose, but probably not trained to the more refined
> technique you suggest below.

> > i am NOT
> > suggesting that you through the chain over his nose and yanky cranky
> > on him...but if he does know how to work to the chain (showmanship
> > horses are tought this, both to work to it over the nose, and under
> > the chin...) it can be a very effective means of establishing who the
> > leader is.

> If there's a discernable difference between the critter's behavior with and
> without the chain, and the behavior is viewed in terms of leaders and
> followers, the chain becomes the leader. After all, it is the "authority"
> of the chain the horse is reacting to and not the leadership of the human.

> > this is perhaps something the trainer can help with? Macho does know
> > how to work to the chain, so if it's over his nose, not only do i have
> > his attention, but i also have a very soft horse work on the ground
> > with.

> Why view that as a leadership thing? It's a training thing.

> Don't misunderstand me. Sometimes we wimpy humans need an "angle" to help
> us get started. Prior training to a particular piece of equipment can give
> us that angle. But using those bits of leverage doesn't really establish
> true leadership.

> Judy, George doesn't sound all that bad, really, although I hope you
> reminded him quite firmly that equine tootsies should not be slapped
> against human anatomy for *any* reason. I'll remind you that leadership is
> a means to an end, not the goal itself, and the more you concentrate on
> *becoming* the leader by demanding and doing, the further you are from
> *being* the leader.

> Leaders are calm. They are safe, and safety. Leaders don't spend a lot of
> time reminding everyone that they're a leader -- they just lead and expect
> others to follow as a natural consequence.

> The more you concentrate on George, on scrutinizing his every move, the
> less you lead and the more you're following HIM. You're focused on him,
> not the other way around. You're reacting to his behavior, not the other
> way around. Go for a walk. You go where you want. As long as he's
> keeping a safe and respectable distance, let George figure out for himself
> that you are the one certainty in his ever-changing universe. I'm not sure
> you can get that across to him in a few days, but I certainly hope so.

> --
> Mary & the depleted Ames National Zoo
> (Ranger, Duke, Rhia-cat)

Mary, while i agree with you....i also realize that a piece of
equipment, is just that, a piece of equipment.  it's an aid, like your
leg, your hand.  My horses have been taught to yield to pressure-
wether it is in the form of a lead rope, a bit, or my space.  But
ultimately, I want a horse that is focused on me, and not on the scary
robin.  sometimes, i'm not always successfull <grin>....

My old Dink came to me with notoriously bad ground manners.  SHortly
after bringing him home, i found out i was pregnant with Katie.
Because of health concerns, i did NOT ride while pregnant...so i had
lots of time to work on ground manners.  we began with teaching him to
work to the shank, and worked on moving forward, backward and
laterally.  to the point where if i leaned forward, he leaned away, to
maintain personal space. Towards that end, when i am grooming a horse,
working around a horse, and such, i want the horse to be aware of
that.  no reaching for treats (oh horrors! i don't hand feed treats!)
and no head butting to get a scratch.  You can call me hardnosed, but
then again, i'm not then forced to reprimand and correct because the
horse just head butted a small child, etc.   Yes, they get lots of
hugs, kisses, pats and rub downs....but not cause they were obnoxious
about it.

We can use different terms, leader, heirarchy, training, etc.
however, if i'm attached to a horse via  a lead rope, i want his focus
on me.  I will also say i want the same thing when i am riding, but I
readily admit this is a much steeper learning curve for me <g>.

betsey

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Aunt Nast » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 02:54:31


Quote:


>>> Why view that as a leadership thing? ?It's a training thing.

>>Because horses live and breath hierarchy and I don't want to be low
>>guy on the totem pole! Training is easier when you are a rung higher.

>This is certainly a common point of view - you'll hear it repeated
>in various guises wherever you go. But what actual evidence is there
>that "horses live and breathe hierarchy"? Is it more important than
>anything else to them? How much of their time is spent preoccupied
>with it (and how would we know)? It's certainly easy to imagine it
>to be the case. However, I sometimes feel the idea gets extrapolated
>way beyond what we can observe in groups of horses.

>Francis

Horses enjoying satiation don't bother to enforce it much,
but the hierarchy is still present.

It becomes more important to horses who are striving to get
their needs met.

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by John Hasle » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 02:56:51

Quote:
Francis writes:
> This is certainly a common point of view - you'll hear it repeated in
> various guises wherever you go. But what actual evidence is there that
> "horses live and breathe hierarchy"? Is it more important than anything
> else to them?

No.

Quote:
> However, I sometimes feel the idea gets extrapolated way beyond what we
> can observe in groups of horses.

It certainly does.
--
John Hasler           Boarding, Lessons, Training

Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI USA
 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Mary Heale » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 05:11:43

Quote:

> ...But he was scared and shaking and looked like he really
> wanted to get the *f* out of there. I don't think anything I did
> registered.

Sure it did.  He didn't actually *leave*, did he?

Quote:
> He easily could have pulled away and run home but he
> didn't.

And that' s how you know he's still "with" you.  Trust me, you couldn't
hold him with a logging chain and the anchor off an aircraft carrier if he
really wanted to go.  It wasn't the lead rope that held him in place -- it
was you.  You're doing fine.

Quote:
> ...If he went into my space I poked him with the whip.

The downside to making yourself "home base" and the place of all safety is
that some horses try to crawl inside your skin with you.  Seems like you've
got that well in hand, though.

Quote:
> I just let him figure things out while I just stood there.
> The donkey went to another area so we had some time to chill. Then
> walking back I would stop every so often and ask him to back up
> because he was getting in my space.

Excellent!  If George is like Abby's Bryan in the reactivity and focus
departments, you may have to tighten up your awareness of the small, minor
disobediences that (when successful and unchallenged) can snowball into big
misbehaviors.  Try to catch the small stuff, fix it with small stuff, and
the big stuff just doesn't happen.

(P.S.I abjectly apologize for mis-spelling your name earlier.  It was not
intentional, and I *do* know better.  All I can claim is momentary brain
malfunction.)

--
Mary & the depleted Ames National Zoo
(Ranger, Duke, Rhia-cat)

 
 
 

Good news and bad news

Post by Sue Leopo » Thu, 03 Apr 2008 08:42:15

Quote:

> Well the good news is George is coming along very well and is ready
> for his first show on Sunday and my trainer thinks I should take him
> in the very low hunter over fences classes because we have been doing
> a great job riding courses. George has some natural inclinations in
> that he does auto lead changes, has very nice big strides (even though
> he is only 15.1 h), and he can judge the distance to the jump (or
> ground pole) and lengthen his stride on his own so that he has good
> placement. He can make a fairly sharp turn across the diagonal to a
> jump that is only a few strides in. He seems to learn fast and does a
> great job.

The skillset for a natural-born hunter. Judie, you are going to have
a *blast* with this horse. But it is still very early in your
relationship with him and he is still pretty green. Which leads me
to....

Quote:
> The bad news is I am not the leader. As long as we are in our home
> territory or at my trainer's arena he is good as gold and I have the
> false security of feeling like I am the leader. But when we are out on
> a walk and there are things to look at, I am a back seat driver. I can
> make him slow down, I can make him back up, but the whole time he is
> fighting to keep his head up and looking around and sometimes he even
> walks into my space while looking the other way. I can circle him make
> him yield and soften his neck with his head lowered, but it is all
> temporary. As soon as we move on he just goes right back into thinking
> he's the leader mode. I noticed this on Sunday when I took him out for

<snip>

I don't think it's necessarily a negative for him to want to get into
"leader" mode. Sometimes when you hit "OMG, out there, somewhere,
there *must* be a distance!" mode coming to a jump, having a horse
who is willing to take over a bit Ain't Necessarily Bad. <grin> (Ask
me how I know ;-))

Just a couple of things to keep in mind:

1) It takes *time* to establish a real relationship with a horse. My old
trainer used to say six months to a year before you really click esp.
for amateurs and juniors. So be patient, keep working with him, it
will come.

2) My sister has a good attitude to "problems" Now, Choc is a
watchful horse. That is, he is a spook. LOL. When he raises issues,
instead of calling them problems, she calls them tools. How can
I use this tool to advance the training of my horse? So, with donkeys,
she wouldn't say "OMG DONKEYS!", she would say "Silly horse,
how about we do a little leg yielding. Some shoulder fore. Transitions
between gaits." Etc. Think positively rather than negatively. If he
raises his head and looks around, just go do something with him
and don't get all stressed out about being the leader.

3) For OTTBs horse shows can be stimulating, but are seldom
really scarey. They usually have been exposed to a wide range
of activity and handle it pretty well. Be prepared to perform a
bit of a prep with the longe line to take the initial edge off and you
should be fine.

I think you will be fine. Remember you can train a lot into them,
but a lot of what you described in your first paragraph is just
part of George.  Some trainers would kill to have horses like him.

Good luck.

Sue