The matter of protecting "space".
 
 

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The matter of protecting "space".

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        09-15-2009, 01:38 PM
      #1
    Guest
    The matter of protecting "space".

    The matter of “space”.
    Again I read a post mentioning the concept of protecting space between the rider and the horse - both seemingly have their own “space“. For me, my horse DiDi has no private space - indeed she has no privacy - at all. When I groom her, I brush her all over sometimes in sensitive areas. I lift her tail. I wipe around her eyes. I pick up her feet and pick out the compacted earth. I brush her belly. I comb her hair. I stick my fingers in her ears. Then I tack her up. I gently lay the saddle on her back and I reach under her to do up the girth. I put my fingers in her mouth and insert the bit. I wash her. I oil her feet. I clean up after her ablutions. I wipe her down. I choose and mix her meals. I wash up after her.
    How more familiar with her can I get?

    When the farrier comes, I stand with her. When the dentist comes I stand with her in her stable - she standing free of any restraints. When the vet comes with a syringe in his hands then I tell her, forehead to forehead, “HeH Girlie, this will only be a little prick“.

    I enter her stable, I walk around, I pick up the buckets. I walk between her and the walls. She lets me into her boudoir.

    Whenever I am within touching distance, I will give her a stroke on her her butt, her head, her back, her chest, her neck. If she were a female human I would be prosecuted for gross indecency.

    If I walk along with her in a head collar and I stop to talk with a neighbour, then before I know it, there is her head over my shoulder. She wants to hear what is being said. From time to time, she’ll lean against me. She’ll lick my hand. When she wants a biscuit, she’ll give me a little nudge ( OK a “horse” nudge).

    Of course, when she treads on my foot, that’s a different deal - she is not allowed to do that - then there will be a quick sharp “Oi” - get off my foot.” Oh, and she is not allowed to nudge me in the back either.

    But when she is in fear of something, then it is beholden upon me to calm her down. I have to get close to do that. I have to be able to stroke her neck - to touch her and say :”It is OK, don’t be frightened“- it is not the words that count - it is the tone of voice.
    And if she slobbers all over my jacket - so what, that’s what I buy soap for.

    I personally can’t see how respecting a horse’s space fits in with my philosophy.
    If I invade her space, then to a limited extent she is allowed to invade mine.
    But she must treat me exactly the same way as she would treat her foal.
    She must protect me and look after me.
    She is to carry me over uneven terrain - she is to look after me.
    And she must come to feel that is her duty. That is the deal.

    But of course my DiDi has a kind temperament
    I don‘t oat her up; I don‘t feed her high protein mixtures; I watch her sugar intake.
    When she is in season I keep just a little further away. I also keep her boyfriends away.
    I am equally cautious when the wind is blowing or there is a storm.
    I take care when she is on strange terrain. I don’t take her where I know it is dangerous for her.
    Neither do I ask her to jump high painted fences nor do I ask her to compete for my glory.

    She knows I am not a horse. I know she is not a person. We are buddies. We are a partnership of one biped with a quadruped. She eats grass & carrots; I eat meat. We both eat sugar lumps, crisps and biscuits, often we share.
    I watch, hear, speak and touch; she sees, listens, sniggers and feels. Somehow we communicate.

    But I don’t get too worried about her thinking she is the boss every now and again. I have learned to live with a similar concept with her indoors.

    HOW DOES IT WORK FOR YOU GUYS?


    Barry G.
         
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        09-15-2009, 03:00 PM
      #2
    Started
    As far as my personal horses, I see the issue of personal space much the same way as you, Barry, with the certain difference of not being nearly as able to put it into words as eloquently as you do.

    If I know the horse well, I don't guard my space any more than the horse tends to invade (by invasion I mean pushier, dominant behavior, not requests to get close). Scout is my buddy, he permits me to do what I will with him and "his" stall and pasture. All "touchy" buttons are gone, and I frequently clean and do barn chores around him, and groom him while he is loose in the stall, calmly munching his hay. If he gets nosy, being curious, I'll indulge him. Scout's barn "brother" is pushier, more dominant, and as I am not "his human" per se, I do keep track of him a bit more than I do Scout, but rarely do I ever need to defend my space, and even more rarely does he get defensive about his.

    Unfamiliar horses are another matter. If I don't know the horse well, I keep one eye on his ears and the other on his feet. Until we get to know each other, unless I invite him to me or I go to him, if I can touch him, he's too close. Until we have a mutual understanding and respect for each other (I for his size, instincts, and quirks, he for my authority, trustworthiness, and ability to provide for his needs), he has no personal space, it has all become mine. And he never really gets it back, since even if I allow him to put himself close, he does not dictate that I will yield to his space. It becomes a sharing sort of proposition, I think.

    Really an interesting topic, I'm curious to see how others reply.
         
        09-15-2009, 03:49 PM
      #3
    Yearling
    Amen Barry. Well said!
         
        09-15-2009, 04:10 PM
      #4
    Foal
    I've got a very pushy horse... we're still learning about space and respect every day so please keep the posts coming because this is a very interesting topic to those of us untrained owners!
         
        09-15-2009, 04:44 PM
      #5
    Yearling
    I would have to second Scout's post.

    That said, hubby and I have a professional horse transport business and the horse's we have the most problems with are the spoiled little princes and princesses that owners let walk all over them. The owners think nothing of the horse calling the shots and coming into someones personal space. When your trying to load a horse this not only unacceptable it can be dangerous. Some horse's are smart enough to know they can get away with little things with one person and not another, there are some that once you give them and inch they are going to take a foot and they are going to try and take that foot with everyone.

    There's a very thin line between acceptable and letting things slide too far. If your horse is still respective of YOUR space and you have no training issues then by all means cuddle away. LOL

    In your case Barry you have a horse who is currently trying to rip the reins out of your hands during your rides...........not what I would call being respectful. (sorry)
         
        09-15-2009, 05:05 PM
      #6
    Guest
    G&K
    DiDi's reaching down I don't see as a matter of disrespect - I think she has a problem and she is distressed. What I am seeking for her is a clue as to why she is distressed. Then I can do something.

    If she were to be presented to enter your horse box,indeed any box, she'd walk up readily with no questions asked and she would behave well once she was in the box.
    She generally speaking does what I ask of her and if occasionally she doesn't then there is a reason.
    I don't see her "reaching down" as a "space" issue.

    Barry G
         
        09-15-2009, 05:34 PM
      #7
    Yearling
    [Barry G.[/quote]
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Barry Godden    
    G&K
    DiDi's reaching down I don't see as a matter of disrespect - I think she has a problem and she is distressed. What I am seeking for her is a clue as to why she is distressed. Then I can do something.

    If she were to be presented to enter your horse box,indeed any box, she'd walk up readily with no questions asked and she would behave well once she was in the box.
    She generally speaking does what I ask of her and if occasionally she doesn't then there is a reason.
    I don't see her "reaching down" as a "space" issue.

    Barry G
    It may be a distress issue or it maybe a training issue......I'm interested to hear on the other post what you find out.

    Good for your girl if she's well behaved. Many aren't and that was my point. Just because DiDi knows her place doesn't mean that other owner's can get all lovey with and about their horse's and end up with the same result. We handle 1000's of horses every year, well behaved is in the eye's of the handler.

    A horse observing our space is obtained through training, trust and respect. A horse going well under saddle or on the ground is obtained the same way. One relates to the other.
         
        09-15-2009, 06:01 PM
      #8
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by G and K's Mom    

    Good for your girl if she's well behaved. Many aren't and that was my point. Just because DiDi knows her place doesn't mean that other owner's can get all lovey with and about their horse's and end up with the same result. We handle 1000's of horses every year, well behaved is in the eye's of the handler.

    A horse observing our space is obtained through training, trust and respect. A horse going well under saddle or on the ground is obtained the same way. One relates to the other.
    Amen! I know several owners who think that their horses are absolute gems of perfection in the manners department, but I think (as the horse tries to chew through my arm as I'm leading him...) are true pigs. My sis has a horse very much the same personality as several "pigs" that I know (and was pointed down the road of having many of the same behavioral and respect issues), and he is a much more predictable, pleasant horse, because he knows who he can give crap to and who he can't (a.k.a. Humans in general).

    I'm a big believer in having a horse quiet and respectful on the ground before I set foot into the stirrup. Even before an everyday ride on my own horse, I do some simple groundwork (yield the shoulders, yield the hindquarters, back up, step sideways, etc.) to warm up his mind and for him to "prove" to me that he is willing to respect my plan once I'm on his back. When I go some time without riding (happens a little too often, ow, with school back in), I see his ground manners begin to get rusty. After even an easy ride, I see a definite change in his attitude.

    Manners on the ground definitely relate to how your riding experience goes. No question.
         
        09-15-2009, 06:41 PM
      #9
    Guest
    We are reaching a difference in concepts
    Are we seeking that our horse should do what it is asked to do.
    or should it do what it is told to do.

    Should all horses follow the same system of control - "either do it or pay the price for not doing it".
    Or I ask you to do it, please do it.

    The professional horse handler would seek universal compliance to a standardised system of horse control

    The amateur pet owner seeks compliance to the master's command - however ineptly given.
         
        09-16-2009, 10:08 AM
      #10
    Yearling
    After ten years Gypsum and I have a pretty good understanding of the concept of space. I can touch her all over, like Barry describes with his mare, leave her loose in her stall, leave her loose out of her stall, leave her loose in an arena while I faff about with jumps, hang on her neck and cuddle, maneuver her forehand or her hindquarters around from the ground with pretty light cues,. Whatever I want, really. She knows she is not allowed to push me around, move my feet, although she is an alpha mare so there is the odd moment where she experiments with what will happen if she shoves her shoulder into my space. Then she gets told off sharply and made to back up a few steps. This is fine though, confirms that the our little herd structure is still intact and she likes that kind of security.

    That all said, she is always thinking. We do have a partnership and she is allowed to make some decisions. For example, she knows more about footing than I do and if she thinks it's stupid to go somewhere or pick up canter or gallop in a particular spot because we might fall and die, I go with it. She's usually right about that sort of thing. If she decides a particular horse in an arena is going to kick anything that comes within two horselengths of him, she maintains a wide berth on her own accord. Similarly, she would have made a rubbish warhorse since if you trot or canter her at someone on the ground (don't ask how I know this, lol), she breaks to walk when you get within about a horselength of the person.

    She is also the best judge of anyone's riding level and I have seen her challenge riders in exactly the way they need to be challenged. For the complete beginners, she jogs around and breaks to walk every single time they lose their balance in the trot and will not maintain trot until they find their balance and their centre. For the more intermediate rider who knows how to charge around on a horse but hasn't learned the finesse of dressage, she charges around on her forehand and becomes a royal pain to get down to the walk, until the rider starts figuring out how to use their seat and leg for effective half halts. The horse is half Shire so she can pull like a freight train when she wants and the only way to stop it is with seat and leg. She's fecking brilliant. For the more advanced dressage rider, she requires them to be even more precise and correct before she'll go into her second level frame. Through my own faffing and bumbling and assorted mistakes over the years, I have trained an excellent schoolmaster, through no fault of my own. LOL. Probably a testament to her intelligence and temperament than my own skills, which are pretty good now, thanks to Gypsum's untiring tuition and patience, but definitely were not when I was 17.
         

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