Horse Problems? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 04-07-2011, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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Horse Problems?

I've read and posted my opinions on many threads on this forum. So many problems that people are having with their horses all boil down to a relationship with the horse, past experiences of the horse, and the competence of the human interacting with the horse. I personally think that Temple Grandin is one the greatest thinkers in our society today and in particular her insight into animal behavior. She's made many contributions in the animal industry and continues to enlighten us all. Although I have not read her books, after reading this blog I'm excited to read them. So I thought that I would post the link with my preamble and hope that you take a few minutes to read what Temple has to say about horses and how they think in pictures and have emotional memories that never leave whether they be good or bad. It makes me feel even more committed to providing good emotional memories for all my equine friends.

Have a great day everyone!

On Horses and Autism – America’s Horse Daily
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post #2 of 15 Old 04-07-2011, 05:10 PM
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I also think a little like Temple. But in a different way. Mainly looking at horses as they are in a herd or as a herd animal. That is where their thinking is all from. If people could realize that I believe training isn't all that difficult. Just my opinion
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post #3 of 15 Old 04-07-2011, 05:15 PM
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Well, I am gonna check her out!! Thanks!!

"If you talk to the animals they will talk with you and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them and what you do not know, you will fear. What one fears, one destroys." - Chief Dan George
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post #4 of 15 Old 04-07-2011, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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So true mbender.
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post #5 of 15 Old 04-08-2011, 05:03 AM
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though i'm not too familiar with her she sounds pretty great
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post #6 of 15 Old 04-08-2011, 08:54 AM
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I do think the main reason for the issues is lack of experience (and even someone riding for years can lack an experience dealing with the problem horse). The "no bond/relationship" usually just a consequence of it (although there are exceptions too). And "bad experience in past" is an icing on cake.

Interesting article. Although from what I read/experienced "Thinking like an horse" is a baseline almost every NH trainer says and tries to teach/explain to the students. Whether it's PP, CC, Stacy, Ray or pretty much anyone else I know of.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #7 of 15 Old 04-08-2011, 12:35 PM Thread Starter
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Yes Kitten_Val I agree that all the NH people do emphasize that you must think like a horse and engage in horse behavior to open lines of communication. I think Temple goes just a little further and helps us understand more of what horses are perceiving and why some training strategies will actually ruin them or cause them great stress. I think it's so important to use teaching strategies with our horses that are effective and make sense to the horse. I see people having relationship problems with their horses that compete at Grand Prix level and most of the problems are routed in people not preparing their horses or forcing their horses into situations that they are unprepared for.

It's hard for us too because we have to grow not only our knowledge but our emotional self must be extremely well developed. That is we must learn to control our thoughts and our emotions. Hey that's a tall order But can you imagine if everyone in the horse world did that... we would rock!
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post #8 of 15 Old 04-08-2011, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by TheLovedOne View Post
But can you imagine if everyone in the horse world did that... we would rock!
I think its pretty impossible for everyone to learn to control emotions and feelings. Just because every person is so different. It's not even about loosing a temper (which is of course a big no-no), but some people can't handle emotional stress. An example would be dealing with the horse you like so much that doesn't want to socialize with you. I do think it would be stressful when you give it all your heart and get nothing in return. Some people are OK about it, some are getting upset.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass: it's about learning to dance in the rain..."

"When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves."

"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."
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post #9 of 15 Old 04-08-2011, 03:18 PM
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I don't see much difference between what she is saying and what others say. Her discussion on fear isn't really any different than how human minds work. Fear is the subconscious connection between something and a bad outcome, and the something may or may not actually be associated with the bad outcome. In Trooper's case, bad experiences on a ranch caused him to be afraid of cowboy hats...

The same is true in reverse of confidence. If we have been successful in the past, we have confidence, even if our success was totally due to good luck. Many mountaineering accidents are caused by people getting away with bad habits on gentle slopes, and then confidently trying them on difficult slopes.

I'd suggest a lot of problems between man and horse come from false confidence, built up by mental pictures rooted in movies instead of reality - the Black Stallion Syndrome. At the subconscious level, our brain doesn't differentiate between stored pictures of movies and stored pictures of the real world. According to the FBI, about half of the people shot with a gun will fall down not because of their injuries, but because the movies have taught them that shot people fall down.

In the movies, horses are animals that seek to bond with someone (the hero/heroine) and then will just magically understand what the hero wants and do it. One of the things I've learned from riding Mia is that a well-intentioned horse can become afraid or nervous because we are unintentionally and unknowingly sending conflicting signals (cues) that she must resolve without having the mental tools to do so.

But that never happens in the movies, so we think the horse is bad or rebellious when in reality we are incompetent (and I mean me). If we didn't grow up with horses, then the majority of our stored images come from movies, and those stored images create expectations the horse cannot match.
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post #10 of 15 Old 04-08-2011, 03:28 PM
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bsms, that's a really valid point.

Elaborating on it, I think part of the problems come from the fact that we tend to anthropomorphise our animals. Our problem is we think like humans, instead of like animals. That is one of the reasons that Dr. Grandin is so successful in her work.

Prey animals like horses are driven off of fear. They seek safety and leadership. They do not seek a best friend that they can gallop bareback on a beach with.
We tend to think that if we love on these animals and care for them and try and build this mysterious bond that they reciprocate. When this doesn't happen it's not uncommon for us to think that something happened. We get our feelings hurt or think we have a bad horse.

Like bsms mentioned, they read off our body language. It is the best tool we have to communicate with our horses and if your horse is responding negativly, it is a very high chance that you are speaking a different language like him. IE: Talking horse, rather than human.

The great horse-human partnerships we see are based off of mutual trust. The horse has accepted the human as leader and that the human will not let him get eaten or make any dumb mistakes for him.

But when we say that, it's far less romantic than saying that he loves you and has a deep spiritual bond with you.
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