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post #31 of 61 Old 12-07-2011, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Barry Godden View Post
Jump onto a horse's back? - no I think not unless you are a young child.

In all this theorising I keep thinking of my own horse, whom I have known for four years. We have a good relationship and I ask myself what it would be feasible to do strap free with her. She is only 15 hands - which means to get my leg over her back I would have to jump and clear 5ft. Trouble is, I weigh in the buff about 225lbs, which would lead to 225lbs+ plus force coming down on her back.

I can say now with confidence that there is no way she would allow that to happen. I'd go to jump up and she would move out of the way - sharpish.
Then she'd move back, look down at me lying on the ground and ask:
"Why dummy, did you try that stunt?"

And as I lifted my bruised and bent body up from the ground, I'd ask myself the same question

I can even imagine 'The Look' haha Jumping up there is never a good idea!
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post #32 of 61 Old 12-07-2011, 03:23 PM
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Hello Barry
Did you determine the answer to the question I posed. It doesn't sound like you know; so think about it. What you are doing is communicationg; do it small increments. Train your horse to walk and turn whe you place your hand under his jaw and touch him on the oppisite side, an follow when you pull him as though you arm was a lead rope and your hand is the snap.
To continue with the matter of placing your weight on your horse's back; You may use a small sturdy latter which will afford you a position to allow you to progressively lay your weight across the horse's back. Each time you set up this contact you increase the amount of weight you allow to rest on the horses back. When the horse will allow your full weight to lay across it's back just lay there and have some place their hand under the horse's jaw and get the horse to at least move one or two of it's feet from the spot they are. You can, but again the size of the restricted are is going to enhance or make impair your efforts. You can do it; it is just going to take you time minutes, moments, hours and days .

Last edited by jackvance; 12-07-2011 at 03:31 PM. Reason: enhanced communication
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post #33 of 61 Old 12-07-2011, 03:46 PM
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Jack, if you were to see me with my mare, I hope you would acccept that I am trying to develop my communication and bond with her as far as I can.
I truly believe she trusts me. And I trust her - sometimes it is said by my friend - perhaps too much. But I don't think so.

I learned to trust her when she could easily have killed me but though terrified at the time by the course of events , she was more frightened of hurting me who was laying on the ground immediately in front of her. That was a day, of revelation that was.

I am not averse to the idea of attempting to work a youngster with the minimum of leather but I see no value in doing away completely with the aids which have been developed over the centuries to direct horses.

I use every communication aid I can think of to tell her what I want from her.
But there are times when I must protect her from her instinctive reactions -which may lead to her being hurt - or perhaps as importantly her hurting a third party. Then she must be restrained.

I am a fervent admirer of Stacey Westfall.

I don't attach a lead rope to my dog (a Rottweiler) unless I feel he is at risk. Sometimes his adrenaline gets the better of him and at those times he must come and stand close by me. He was taught how to live with me by the check chain and lead rope. In a similar way, I work with my beloved mare.

However, whereas my dog sleeps at the foot of my bed, my horse has some disgusting habits.

Barry G
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post #34 of 61 Old 12-07-2011, 04:21 PM
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Barry Did you not say strap free....but you just now stated minimum strap, that implies equipment? If you communicate with your horse as you have communicated here, you will continue to produce minimum results with your horse's progress.
It sound like You have not answered the question I posed to you.; about which comes first trust or training. Don't be offended by my words....just think why can say what I have just said.
There are only three innate mediums of two way communication for all be
On the subject of your dog. I also train dogs. A leash is tool to keep your dog from going to trouble orpull him out of trouble that comes to him. People observe your dog's conduct on leash and know it does not need that leash, they know it is a safety for his security. An obedient dog needs no leash and is a happy safe dog.

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Last edited by jackvance; 12-07-2011 at 04:23 PM.
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post #35 of 61 Old 12-07-2011, 05:28 PM
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My Rottie is cursed with uncontrollable bursts of adrenaline.
My mare, a very intelligent Irish Draught Connemara cross is sharp and is cursed by her hormones.
There are times when both of them react wildly before they think.
They both need the gaze of my paternal eye and a little restraint to avoid getting into trouble. I firmly believe they are safer when out in this human dominated world if they remain connected to me by a lead rope.

I sometimes believe both of them have the ability to outthink me and in some respects they do. When they are off the lead, then they can think for themselves but in putting them on the lead rope, I am asking them to listen to me. Once they have learned the meaning of the lead, I have a method of communication. I can then give them a clear instruction which they will come to understand and obey.

My hands and fingers will and do work as a limited communication aid, but my arms simply aren't long enough. A lead rope or a set of reins work better. What's more they can be used by my wife or my brother.

No, sorry. The first thing I trained my horse to do was to accept a head collar by lowering her head to permit me to fit it. I will have said : "Hello" - but I am not expecting she understands what I said - but by my horse lowering her head to accept the collar I know she has agreed to come with me.
This is my belief

Most, repeat most, horse tack, sensibly and humanely used is a valuable aid not to be discarded. Riding bareback has its limitations in the modern world.
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post #36 of 61 Old 12-07-2011, 08:42 PM
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Barry You have yet to answer the question. In a relationship with a horse which comes firs?t Trust or Training. It is one or the other.
If a one trainer can do it ..another can do it also. Perhaps not as well or as quick But none the less another trainer can do it. Obliviously all horse are not as amenable to learning, but they can and do learn. Think about what I am saying when I say training is all about Communication.....

Last edited by jackvance; 12-07-2011 at 08:44 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #37 of 61 Old 12-08-2011, 04:12 AM
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Jack, without Trust, Training can only be limited. I agree.

I see my horse submitting to the placememt of the head collar to be an act of trust on her part namely that I will not abuse the privilege of being able to restrict her movement.
My horse must bend her head down to allow me to fit the collar - a positive statement of her trust in me.

Some horses. especially those which previously in life have been badly handled, by man will resist having to learn. Such horses will resist having to give up their freedom to run away. They become difficult to catch.

However many relucant horses will submit to Routine - if by so doing so they gain a benefit - say food.
Some will ultimately submit even if they fear their handler but cannot flee.

Some horses will submit from jealousy of another horse.

But my resistance to giving up the head collar is not diminished by thinking about relationship between trust and training.

Jack, this exchange of words is esoteric when discussed over the Internet.

I have a belief that I have to show my trust in my horse to the extent that I should knowingly leave myself vulnerable to her so that she can sense I trust her. Trust can only be a two way process.
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post #38 of 61 Old 12-08-2011, 11:23 AM
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Jack, you have given cause for me to question my assumptions.
Here are some of them:

My mare can’t speak. She has no knowledge of words - in any language. She can hear sound and she can differentiate in sounds to a fine degree but words or language have no meaning to her.
She can’t speak ‘Horse’ or English.

I can touch her and she feels my touch but her idea of touch is violent, harsh, coarse compared with my touch of a human being.
She barges, I can caress. She doesn’t have fingers.
Yet her flanks will ripple to the touch of a fly ????

She can smell me. She can tell from my odour what I have been doing. She knows where I have been. I express an individualistic odour for her but I have to get in close to her nose. She is not allowed by me to sniff me where she might think to sniff.

She can’t see my face clearly. She can’t see my face as I see my own face, She recognises me by a combination of factors namely sight, smell, sound, body language, walk, familiarity, routine. But not by words.

I wonder where she places me, her owner and guardian, in relationship with her own kind - other horses. Am I more or less important to her than her current equine gigolo?

She fears me. I am the top predator of her species. If she has a comprehension of death, then I am at the top of the list of recognised predators.

Does she 'see' me differently from other human strangers?

She relies on me for routine, for food, maybe for water, for shelter. She could think:” I’ll look after him because he brings me food “. but that would assume on my part that she can reason. The experts say she can’t. But how do they know? Does life have consequences for her?

She knows a nudge brings a treat. She knows a nudge means 'more-please'.

I have made my peace with her. I never hurt her. I never carry a whip.
The bit I use in her bridle is as mild as I can find.
If I want her to slow and stop then I ask her by exerting a light back pressure on the bit.
I don't try to force her. I am asking her to respon d to my request.

As far as I can, I tolerate her behaviour.
She nudges me to ask for treats. Sometimes she nudges me in the back. She is asking for something. Her nudgee are sometimes for a human almost violent.
But she rarely nudges more than once.

Any chastisement by me is made by a slight raise of tone of my voice or perhaps I might resist her movement.

Whilst I am training her to respond to my leg, or the bit, she is training me either to desist or to acquiesce.

She trusts me so long as she understands. She will give me the benefit of the doubt but she retains the right to startle and resist. In actuality she rarely fights me but she might if she does not understand. or is fearful.

She is always frightened of the unknown or the unexpected but the touch of my hand can alleviate those fears - to a large extent.
A stroke of the neck can calm her. A whisper can re-assure her.
My beard touching the hairs of her nostril will sooth her.

I accept that my fitting a head collar is akin to my taking care of her security. Whilst she is under the control of my hands, nothing must happen to hurt her. It is like taking the hand of a child and leading him/her across the road. I believe she understands that concept. But am I correct?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????? ??
In these concepts of mine lie lots of assumptions!!!!

But the head collar, and later on the bridle and bit, form important elements in my handling of her. They are to me essential communication aids.

Last edited by xxBarry Godden; 12-08-2011 at 11:28 AM.
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post #39 of 61 Old 12-08-2011, 01:02 PM
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Your mare does not need to speak but she does communicate
You must first learn what she communicates with the signal she presents. You can the create signals of your own and associate them with movement you incite her to perform.That with repetition will teach her to respond expediently.

I will attach material of some length. You argue it for discovery

Cup of blended T’s is an excerpt from US in Equus
Total words 102,589
81 Illustrations
Author: Jack Vance
859 6630 4435
Copyright 2001
Cup of blended T’s
Before one may become a good trainer of horses or dogs, or any animal for that matter; they must understand that training is all about communication. In my relationship with animals, I discovered for myself the Three Innate Mediums of two-way communication common to all animals; which are Visual, Sound and Touch, which are in part, inter specie; perhaps not to the intimate level as is intra species, but the generality of a given message is clear.
These three mediums are the only way I know of to train a horse.
The more signals within the mediums of communication one recognizes and understands; the more enhanced is their training ability. This is the profound, but simple reason why some people become good trainers and why good trainers become great trainers.
When in the presence of a horse; I endeavor to learn the signals with which he conveys information. He is the teacher;* granted, his teaching role with me may be unintentional, but that does not lessen my role as willing student. Upon learning his signals I can begin training* him to learn mine.
If you have “Horse in the Heart” you are one of”US in EQUUS” we are a family that learns through sharing. I believe when you understand the three innate mediums of two-way communication; your life and that of your horse or dog are enhanced.
Of the three innate mediums of two-way communication; the human communication of sound; as in the spoken words of a sentence; is excessive of what a horse requires or is able to understand. For this reason, we use very few (Compared to the many at our command) human word sounds in training.
We may talk at or to them using sentences, but the horse only recognizes the key directive word(s). The tone or attitude, such as harsh, friendly, or playful sound of the other words in the sentence, merely enhance and support the message of the key word. For instance, the soft drawn out key word of “whoa”, supported with the “Easy it will be alright”, which we often accompany with touching; as when we are wanting to sooth and calm a horse. One could also use intimidating tones and attitude when saying Whoa!
I recognize some of the Sounds horses make and I have a good idea of the message or intent of the sound. I do not recognize the profound intimacy of all the horse’s sounds. In addition, there may be sounds with which the horse communicates, which I have not heard for whatever reason?
Communication conveys information. Clear intentional communication is the essence of any enduring relationship. Communication when Understood leads to Predictability.
As humans we are able to develop sounds that mimic those of some animals. Animals, however (for the most part) cannot produce sound to mimic us. At the same time both humans and animals seem to learn quickly the superficial aspects of each other’s visual and touch mediums of two-way communication.
Horses, throughout the world, or dogs for that matter; communicate using the same signals, it is universal. An Italian horse understands the communication from an English horse, even though neither has never before heard or seen the other. To appreciate the horses’ simplicity of communication via sound, one would merely note the complex and perplexing sounds in the multi language and dialects in which humans communicate.
An interesting note; horses are not able to lie, so we do not have to wait for that which they communicate to prove true, if they communicated it that is what they mean and their intent.
On the other hand, we humans are not only able, but apt at lying, misleading or deceiving each other; using all three innate mediums of two-way communication.
In my practicing of training horses, I have accepted definitions of certain words which I hold fast to. I feel they are fundamental and aid me in maintaining and understanding the horse. However I am open to learning new ways of enhancing my life and that of the horse.
These words in part are; Training, an intentional endeavor to modify behavior; Good training enhances our relationship with the horse, while bad training destroys it. It is not uncommon for a well trained horse to end up in the hands of a bad trainer/rider.
Learning can be an intentional or unintentional process.
Trust, a status we extend to others when they prove trustworthy.
Confidence, an ever changing state of mind an animal or human holds of themselves.
A good example of unintentional and intentional learning is; I fall off a bridge into the water and don’t know how to swim; I would probably frantically begin flailing my arms and legs about, trying to stay afloat. If I did stay afloat and made it to shore I would have unintentionally learned to swim, to a small degree. An example of intentional learning is: I now take swimming lessons, I am intentionally learning to swim, and the instructor is teaching me.
As a trainer; in order to develop mutually respect in the relationship and a positive, residual affect; the animal and I must experience each other face to face. As a trainer, I communicate to the horse, my true intention; that being, I mean him no harm. The horse, by accepting or rejecting what I do with him; shows me my communication is working… or not working. Training is sometimes a process of trial and error.
The moment the Horse and I realize; neither of us intends harm, we are both standing at the thresh hold of mutual trust. As our training sessions continue, and our communication is learned and refined we both hold the status of mutual trust; and our continued sessions of Ground Training, enhance my future efforts of training the horse for riding or driving.
My nomadic life style, has allowed me to experience and learn from many people, horses and dogs. My experiences led me to create an aphorism, titled: A CUP of Blended T’s; the letters C. U. P. are an acronym for Communication, Understanding, and Predictability. The Blended T’s, segment is stated below.
I find keeping this in the forefront of my thinking, fuels my search for new or more subtle communication of animals, as well as people.
C.U.P. Defined
The letter C = Communication through Visual, Sound & Touch, which are also three of the horses’ five senses.
The three innate mediums of two-way communication listed below are not prioritized.
The first medium of communication is visual. I call it visual because one must have and use their eyes to understand the physical signals conveyed via the horse’s extremities; individually or in correlation.
In the Deaf community this visual medium of communication is called Signing; and is well refined in that community.
Horses’ communicating visually use their eyes, ears, bearing of their teeth, rapid opening and closing of the mouth, lip licking, movement of the head, feet, tail, and the overall demeanor of their body.
One easily understands visual communication when one sees a strange dog wonder into the pasture of a horse; if the horse is territorial; the horse, not knowing or liking the strange dog in its pasture, will bear its teeth, lower its head and make an attempt to bite, kick or strike the dog.
Mules, unless trained otherwise, are known to be aggressive about dogs, strange or otherwise; for this reasons Burros (One of US in Equus) are often a protective member of a Sheep herd.
The dog understands what the horse is communicating; which is, get out! The communication can be a threatening aspect or one of a deadly serious nature. The horse’s action is an intentional visual communication.
When a pack of carnivorous animals on the hunt see a prey animal limping, unable to keep up with the herd, that is another example of an unintentional visual communication from the prey animal, conveying the message; I am hurt. The predator(s) knows from past experiences, this prey animal will be an easier catch than would be one not limping. And the chase is on.
The Police officer, directing traffic; conveys directives to the motorist and pedestrian using Visual communicates via his arms and hands.
I may use my entire body or my extremities, individually or in correlation; to communicate my directives to a horse. With the aforementioned; I am able to create and develop signals which I present consistently and persistently, while at the same time; I incite the horse to perform a certain action or movement corresponding with that signal.
The second medium of communication is Sound. Horses create various sounds via their breath flowing from the lungs, through the nose and mouth. The sound might be a slight “mmmmm” as horses do when, I am ever so slightly late in feeding them, or like that of a mare nickering a message to her foal to stay close or the scream of a mare that lost track of her foal, or the screams of warning…from a stallion telling another stallion to stay away, or to give alarm to his herd as to the presence of danger.
The squeal or whine of a wounded prey animal is an example of an unintentional sound communication. A predator recognizes this sound and moves toward the sounds of the wounded animal.
During riding or driving I use sounds (such as the word Whoa) to direct my horse to stop or encourage them to stand still when In-hand. My horse can just as easily be trained to stop’ or stand when they hear other sounds, such as a whistle; if I were to consistently associate that sound with the act of stopping or standing. The old teamsters trained their work horses/mules to turn left to the sound of Haw’ and turn right to the sound of Gee’.
The third medium of communication is touch: An example of touch communication between horses would be when a foal rubs against his mother for comfort or bumps her in the flank to demand she let him nurse, still another touch communication; is when the stallion nips, nuzzle or rubs against a mare during the mating ritual to determine her receptiveness. Still another would be when two horses walk up to each other and both, using their teeth scratch the other on certain areas of their body.
Another example of Touch is; when a blind person is holding the harness handle of a guide dog walking forward. Suddenly the dog stops and refuses to walk forward upon command. The stopping and refusal to walk on upon command is noted in the non movement of the dogs harness handle, as the handle does not move unless the dog moves. This non movement communicates to the person holding the handle; there are dangerous or undesirable conditions ahead, in which case the person will heed the dog’s communication and stand still or direct the dog to go another way.
Brail’ is another example of touch communication; where in the reader must use their sense of touch with their finger tips moving along upon an array of raised dots on a Brail board. The arrangement of the dots, convey the message.
Another example of touch communication is a man and woman holding each other while dancing.
Still another example of touch communication is; when in the presences of a domestic cat, it rubs against me, this is an intentional touch communication from the cat; perhaps showing affection or marking me.
When I pet, rub or scratch my horses, I am communicating peace, and friendliness and pleasure, which brings comfort to them and me. When riding or driving and I apply pressure and release of my personal aids in an effort to direct a horse’s movement, I am using touch communication.
Once I begin riding the horse, I incite the horse through (touch) my personal aids of legs, seat, and hands individually or in correlation. I apply pressure and release of these aids in a timely manner associated with a movement or action I want him to perform.
U = Understanding: When I recognize, and understand the signals horses uses to communicate; I know the generality of message they convey.
P = Predictability: Which means I am able to forecast the outcome of various circumstances and consequences.
Blended T's = Training & Trust: The sequence is definitely training first, and if done humanely, kindly, consistently, the horse will extend to me a degree of trust.
Trust between me and an animal is simply: willing participation in degrees without fear. The more I train; the greater degree of trust the horse extends to me.
I must mention the absence of fear, does not necessarily reflect the presence of trust. The Lion in the wild having never seen me certainly does not fear me; he may move away from me until he discovers what I am about, who knows what he will do then. I guess it would depend on if he was hungry or wanted to use me as a chewy to play Tug of War with his partner?
One should remember; both fear and trust are learned and earned.
Training can be accomplished two ways. One way is face to face, where we train the animal through ground work, and he learns to trust us. We then continue training him to ride, drive or perform at liberty. This training begins at the first encounter when both parties are present and aware of each other. I feel; with a psychologically sound horse; humane, good training will produce trust.
The other way to train a horse has limits; it is through Pavlov’s involuntary response to a stimulus. Take an example of a wild horse held captive in a pen. Where in, without the horse being aware of my presence or participation; I will train him to open a gate or load into a trailer or something of that nature.
In either case he will develop trust for the environment, but he will not develop trust for me; I wasn’t in his presences, so how could he.
In closing, may I suggest; while incorporating a "Cup of Blended T's" will not make one a trainer, it certainly is a fundamental aspect of good training. I myself enjoy a "Cup of Blended T'S" every day.
Footnote: Oder
Communication conveys information; therefore Taste and Odor are mediums of One-way Communication. However these two senses convey only incoming information about the matter they smell or taste. When a horse taste or smells something, the horse cannot convey information to another being via its senses of taste and smell. Any information conveyed must be conveyed via visual, sound or touch and will be unintentional.
On the other hand with humans’ odor can be unintentional or intentional; as is the case with use of perfume, after shave or the absences of same. However one can taste something or smell it and convey one’s feeling about the taste of it, but that communication must be via visual, sound or touch.
Having said this, I question the conduct of a dog rolling in a dead, smelly animal, manure or other debris and I ask, is his rolling in that stuff, an intentional act or a biological, involuntary function to hide their own odor.
Whatever it is; a horses’ ability to smell or their odor is a non-cognitive, biological, involuntary function. It communicates status or presences, it is unintentional communication.
The definition of certain words in the English language is often multi in meaning, yet different in application. Therefore I define the words to express my application of them. Yours may be different and so be it.
*Teaching: the endeavor to convey information to another, where in they may use this information at their discretion.
*Training: The endeavor to modify the behavior of another. In the case of animals, we train them to perform an action or movement upon cue from the trainer.

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post #40 of 61 Old 12-08-2011, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Makoda View Post
Yes I hope to get an unhandled horse, mainly just don't want it to have learned anything. And cost will play a part in that, gotta be able to resell it and make a buck. As far as taking it out of the pasture for a ride, that would really depend on how it was doing. Just for fun I rode my mustang mare on a 4 mile (one way) trailride with nothing. But no I am not looking to use my life insurance policy up just yet, if thats what your asking.
so you want to train a horse using no artificial aids, but you also want to make a buck on it ?

i didnt mean take it out for a ride, but take it out of the pasture period, to lead around or whatever.

sorry, but your plan does not seem very realistic to me.

Gypsy & Scout <3
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein
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