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Join up... Is this a bad thing?

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  • Horse join up fear bad

 
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    03-16-2009, 10:13 PM
  #11
Foal
Just curious, but do you ever scratch your horse's butt?

When I had to stall my horses (they're normally pasturized. Ha ha).... I got into the habit of scratching my one horse on the butt with the poop rake. Well, he enjoyed that immensily and after that one time, he'd see me enter the stall with the rake and turn his butt toward me for a scratch.

I would tell him to move the butt away and he willingly did, and if I wanted then, I would scratch his butt with the rake. (If I didn't, then he'd lower his head and twist his neck, move his upper lip, his way of saying, "please"). I never scratched his butt if he put it towards me, and he soon learned that he has to wait for me to decide to scratch his butt or not.

Anyhow, if that's not the case at all with your horse, and she doesn't show any sign of wanting to kick you or otherwise unwanted behaviour, I would say that she just simply isn't 100% sure as to what it is you expect of her.

If she were to back up to kick you, or turn her butt and raise a hind foot to kick, or show any other sign of trying to move your feet....then I'd say she needs to be instantly corrected (not punishment, but tell that butt to move away pronto and when she turned her head toward me, release of pressure)

BUT (no pun intended) if you don't get any kind of dominance vibe, just the butt in your face, then I'd say she's just not clear about what you expect of her.

That's the trouble with Monty's version of Join Up. I rather follow Lyons version which teaches the horse specific cues so the horse understands what you expect = butt never toward you, two eyes on you instead (it's more for no contact leading, a definite set of cues to let the horse know what is expected and when).

I think just plain "join up" isn't good enough, that is, it's like telling the horse "join me if you feel like it and if you don't feel like it, oh well, guess I'm out of luck" .... I would recommend being more definite with your cues so that your mare doesn't learn this habit, so that she learns that she is either to stop her feet when she's parallel to you (facing your left or your right) or better yet, is facing you with two eyes, not two butt cheeks.
     
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    03-17-2009, 12:09 AM
  #12
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkamile    
difference between horses responding out of "respect" and out of "fear". The fearful horse has not trusted the handler to be a true leader, and probably justifiably so. A respectful horse to me is attentive to it's handler as it would the leader of the herd. It is beneficial to its well being/safety. It is earned and a true partnership is formed. ...
Respect and trust is a two way street, but only one can be the "traffic director" and that should be you.
I agree fully with you on that. I definitely believe in gaining a horse's respect, when we're talking about our apparently similar perception of it. But unfortunately, especially since things like 'join up' became fashionable, the term seems to more frequently be used to mean other things, and I think a lot of people mistake fear or confusion for 'disrespect'. "You have to MAKE a horse respect you" for eg. & any horse that 'disobeys' for almost any reason whatsoever is labled 'disrespectful'. It's not *true*(IMO) respect that I disagree with, but I think it's important to clarify these things when giving written advice, for those who don't understand words in the same way.

Quote:
Have I earned this "respect" and "trust". Yes. But , whether they are having an off day for whatever reason, too bad. But remember If I'm having an off day, well that is not allowed either, I do not get to behave poorly and badly around them either. I stay away.
This bit I agree with to an extent. I wonder, when they're having an 'off' day, do they get to choose not to be with you?? When I ask something of a horse, I expect it to do what I ask, but I am considerate & respectful of their feelings too, so on 'off' days I may not ask certain things of them.

Calamity, my mare would back up to me from one side of the paddock to the other, stand with her rump in front of my nose because she loved a butt scratch so much!

Quote:
I think just plain "join up" isn't good enough, that is, it's like telling the horse "join me if you feel like it and if you don't feel like it, oh well, guess I'm out of luck"
I don't see it like that at all. I don't see it as 'joining up' or bonding at all when it's done in the manner that I've seen MR & others do it. It's not "oh well, guess I'm out of luck" if the horse doesn't want to join you, it's "run, run, run, then run some more if you don't 'want' to come follow me". The horse doesn't really have a choice. It is trapped in a small pen & made to run away, without release of pressure, until it eventually gives in & shows submissive(broken) bodylanguage. At which point the person declares it has 'bonded', because it has realised the lesser of 2 evils is to follow the person.

I realise the above is also not the way many do it and I also think it depends on the previous training & relationship with the horse as to whether doing things this way may be helpful. I think 'roundpenning' & lunging & the likes has it's place in training & I've seen it done well just as often as badly. But equating 'Join up' to natural horse behaviour, IME is not about bonding(nothing like Monty's observations of a wild herd he is apparently trying to replicate) but more like the behaviour a horse will display after being pulled down & giving in to a predator.

When I do 'roundpen' type work - iow free lunging - I work in the open or sometimes a 'pen' made from a piece of sight tape approximately 2' off the ground. That way, I know how much the horse really 'respects' & trusts me, because if he doesn't & I push him too hard, he will just leave. This is my way of testing our relationship. If he leaves, I've obviously done something wrong so I work more on the foundations to overcome that hiccup.
     
    03-17-2009, 10:40 AM
  #13
Started
CJ.. No, I don't really scratch her butt, haha.

I didn't get any other kind of dominance vibe, so that's why I just sent her out again.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Jane    
I think just plain "join up" isn't good enough, that is, it's like telling the horse "join me if you feel like it and if you don't feel like it, oh well, guess I'm out of luck"

I have to disagree with you there... most people I know that use join up will keep doing it until their horse joins up with them. They don't get the "oh well, guess I'm out of luck" option.
     
    03-18-2009, 01:06 AM
  #14
Foal
I don't think I explained this very well:
"...I think just plain "join up" isn't good enough, that is, it's like telling the horse "join me if you feel like it and if you don't feel like it, oh well, guess I'm out of luck..."

Round penning and Join Up (to me) aren't the same thing. So, I think that's the confusion here that I caused.

Round penning to me is using the pen to turn the horse in specific outside turns and then specifically asking for inside turns. I used to do this, but then I saw it as too much pushing the horse away and it just took too long. I don't like the driving the horse away.

Instead I do what Chris Cox calls quartering, where you act like a cutting horse and the horse is the steer. But it's not in a hurry. Can be done at a walk. It's not about driving the horse away at all. Just making "away from you" work, and making stopping and facing you for even a split second... the absolute release. Every time I've used this method, it's given me faster results, more instant and it's way less stressful to the horse, cause he seems to pick up the point pretty fast.

Join up to me, as I had seen MR do it, was "oh look the horse is following me. Wow." and he never talked about any specific cue or any movement. It was just "I'm giving the horse my shoulder/back when he turns and looks at me, now he's choosing to follow me." I haven't studied him and since he didn't offer any step by step cues, I just dismissed it as too mystical, like look the horse is following me,...but what's keeping the horse there? Just the fact that if he leaves the horse gets chased away? That's not enough for me to say that's any kind of real cue.

Quote:
When I do 'roundpen' type work - iow free lunging - I work in the open or sometimes a 'pen' made from a piece of sight tape approximately 2' off the ground. That way, I know how much the horse really 'respects' & trusts me, because if he doesn't & I push him too hard, he will just leave. This is my way of testing our relationship. If he leaves, I've obviously done something wrong so I work more on the foundations to overcome that hiccup.
I always wondered about this Parelli way of "round penning" with the 2 ft fence. Thanks for mentioning this. Makes sense.

The only thing though is that I can't see this working for anything other than an already tame horse. What if you're working with a wild Mustang or a high strung fearful horse or a horse that's got zero respect for fencing? I started a draft once in a 4 ft pen and the first thing he did? I wasn't doing anything but closing the gate and he went around the pen, leaning against it, trying to get out. He bent it outward! If he'd of been in a 2 ft "pen," I'd of spent plenty of time going to get him and bringing him back.

A 6 ft round pen (or other sturdy enclosure like an arena or something) is a necessity when you're working with horses that aren't already somewhat broke. What's your opinion about this?
     
    03-18-2009, 02:17 AM
  #15
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calamity Jane    
Instead I do what Chris Cox calls quartering, where you act like a cutting horse and the horse is the steer. But it's not in a hurry. Can be done at a walk. It's not about driving the horse away at all. Just making "away from you" work, and making stopping and facing you for even a split second... the absolute release. Every time I've used this method, it's given me faster results, more instant and it's way less stressful to the horse, cause he seems to pick up the point pretty fast.
This is pretty much how I teach a horse to be 'caught', to come when called. Don't tend to use a pen tho, as it can be too restrictive. Round pen work is much more than that IMO, like 'lunging'.

"Just the fact that if he leaves the horse gets chased away? That's not enough for me to say that's any kind of real cue. "

That sentence seems much as you've described your 'method'. I see MR's as a lot 'heavier' than that. For one, he has the horse trapped in a small area with him & chases them regardless of whether they have learned yet not to fear him or his behaviour. Secondly, from what I've seen, he generally chases a horse hard - doesn't just accept walk or slow trot - doesn't accept whatever, but continually pushes the horse. Thirdly he doesn't just accept the smallest 'try' - a hesitation, the horse slowing, looking at him, whatever, but continues to chase the horse until the horse has displayed all his proscribed signals - IMO, he doesn't stop until the horse has pretty much given up.

BTW, this is not just my personal feelings, but my opinion of 'join up' is also from studying behavioural psych, equine behaviour & ethology. I believe MR's method is an example of 'learned helplessness'

Quote:
The only thing though is that I can't see this working for anything other than an already tame horse. What if you're working with a wild Mustang or a high strung fearful horse or a horse that's got zero respect for fencing?
Yes, the 2' string fence is indeed for horses who already enjoy & trust being with people. With a wild/fearful horse, yes, solid fences are safer, but I believe space is much more important & I don't agree with putting a wild or very fearful horse in a small enclosure, whatever 'method' you're doing with him. For many horses just being trapped in a small enclosure with a human is too much pressure for then, let alone if they're chased but can't escape.

With wild, fearful or 'uncatchable' horses, I like to work in a large yard/small paddock(don't care what shape), where the horse can get away or stay at a comfortable distance from me. I often do this in a 1/4 acre triangular paddock I have. It can be a big paddock, but it's easier on me when I don't have too far to walk. I basically play a low key version of your idea of 'round penning'. I just continually walk quietly but assertively after the horse, focussing the pressure on his rump, to ultimately teach him to move it away & face me when I do this. When he gives the slightest 'try', be it initially just a momentary hesitation or an actual stop & face me, I immediately quit pressuring him. Depending on the horse, this might mean quit being so assertive about following him, stop following all together & relax my body language, or if they're really worried, I will turn completely away, or even walk away.

As you pointed out, it doesn't take the horse long to work out how to 'turn off' the pressure & if you also positively reinforce(reward) him for being close, coming to you, follow you, it won't be long before he's running to you in his paddock, following you out of desire, not just because it's the lesser evil.
     
    03-18-2009, 09:46 PM
  #16
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
"Just the fact that if he leaves the horse gets chased away? That's not enough for me to say that's any kind of real cue. "

That sentence seems much as you've described your 'method'.
I don't chase the horse away, though. This is how I've seen MR's way...which can be very hard on the horse. The "quartering" or cutting horse method doesn't push the horse away at all, just turns him over and over, nothing heavy, just turn OR if the horse is in a pasture or arena or big enclosure or whatever, you follow (shadow) the horse, and he stops then you stop and back off, and approach and retreat....I believe the same as what you describe your own way....I think we're on the same page here.

Quote:
I see MR's as a lot 'heavier' than that. For one, he has the horse trapped in a small area with him & chases them regardless of whether they have learned yet not to fear him or his behaviour. Secondly, from what I've seen, he generally chases a horse hard - doesn't just accept walk or slow trot - doesn't accept whatever, but continually pushes the horse. Thirdly he doesn't just accept the smallest 'try' - a hesitation, the horse slowing, looking at him, whatever, but continues to chase the horse until the horse has displayed all his proscribed signals - IMO, he doesn't stop until the horse has pretty much given up.
YES! Exactly! It's how he says he "tamed" Shy Boy, by basically running that horse into the ground. Personally, I think this is exactly why people misuse round penning, thinking that it's just chase the horse around the pen til it gets tired or chase him to get the bugs out or chase him to.... but point is to chase the horse.....which I think is totally against what you really want, so chasing can make the whole process drag on longer than it needs to....a lot of times, I see people think they're round penning and they never really get any result, just chasing their horse around.

Saw a lady at the barn the other day shaking a milk jug of rocks at her horse to chase her around. Misuse of round penning.

Quote:
BTW, this is not just my personal feelings, but my opinion of 'join up' is also from studying behavioural psych, equine behaviour & ethology. I believe MR's method is an example of 'learned helplessness'
Good observation. I highly agree. It's like when a trainer throws a horse to the ground and tarps it. There was even a so-called trainer in Texas who actually peed on the tarped horse to make sure the horse got the idea: I own you.

Pretty sick stuff. I 'm not for any of that "make the horse helpless" crap.

Quote:
Yes, the 2' string fence is indeed for horses who already enjoy & trust being with people. With a wild/fearful horse, yes, solid fences are safer, but I believe space is much more important & I don't agree with putting a wild or very fearful horse in a small enclosure, whatever 'method' you're doing with him. For many horses just being trapped in a small enclosure with a human is too much pressure for then, let alone if they're chased but can't escape.
With wild, fearful or 'uncatchable' horses, I like to work in a large yard/small paddock(don't care what shape), where the horse can get away or stay at a comfortable distance from me. I often do this in a 1/4 acre triangular paddock I have. It can be a big paddock, but it's easier on me when I don't have too far to walk. I basically play a low key version of your idea of 'round penning'. I just continually walk quietly but assertively after the horse, focussing the pressure on his rump, to ultimately teach him to move it away & face me when I do this. When he gives the slightest 'try', be it initially just a momentary hesitation or an actual stop & face me, I immediately quit pressuring him. Depending on the horse, this might mean quit being so assertive about following him, stop following all together & relax my body language, or if they're really worried, I will turn completely away, or even walk away.
Youknow, I am still in total agreement with you. How about that?
It brings to memory one young stallion that I started for someone. He was immensily fearful. They couldn't catch him and certainly couldn't put a halter on him. He ran with a little herd (literally, he was put in a herd of miniatures) and he was second to the bottom of the pecking order. The stallion wasn't a mini, he was a full grown horse.

Anyhow, the owners didn't have a round pen, so I asked em to at least make me some kind of enclosure. They did. Out of 4 ft panels (remember, they have mini horses, so they don't need anything higher than 4 ft!)....and it was 70 ft....not round....kind of weird oval shape....it was pretty funny. And I did the "quartering" in there, always careful never to push the stallion hard enough to make him consider jumping the 4 ft fence. And it did work just fine. It took me 4 days (1 hour each day) to get to touch him and halter him.

I'd forgotten about him. Hm.. Guess I need to retract the idea that you need a high fence/corral to work a horse! Ha!

Quote:
As you pointed out, it doesn't take the horse long to work out how to 'turn off' the pressure & if you also positively reinforce(reward) him for being close, coming to you, follow you, it won't be long before he's running to you in his paddock, following you out of desire, not just because it's the lesser evil.
YES! This is what I want the horse to do. To follow me because it's the easier thing to do, but not because i've run him hard if he didn't. Then I would take that beginning and really turn it into a real cue with body language and pressure and release....so he then learns that he is to turn and face me when he sees me approach and come to me or at least stand still to be caught.

I also like to let the horse "catch me" (come to me) and stick his own nose in the halter.
     
    03-24-2009, 07:50 PM
  #17
Foal
Make the horse want to work with you! :)
     
    03-25-2009, 04:12 PM
  #18
Foal
Yes! I think getting a horse to want to work with me is the big goal in everything I do with any horse.

I don't buy into the fear is respect. For example, a horse that's deemed lazy is whipped to go forward, so that horse learns to go forward, but for what reason? Because he's willing or because he's fearful of more whippings? I'm totally for taking the time to let the horse figure it out...give him a chance to think....and then he makes the willing decision to work with me....it might seem like slow process in the beginning, but you know what? I end up not having to repeat the lesson, only to remind and the horse says, yeah, I'll do that. Not because he's fearful, but because he's learned what I expect...just through pressure and release and more so,..letting him think things through.

He'll retain the info if he's not afraid of me or of any of my tools and he'll be more willing to comply, knowing that there's a reward for him if he does try....he gets a total release of pressure. But there's never any fear attached to it.

So, round penning the wrong way, where the horse is chased....that's just fearful prey running away, then he's winded and wants to rest and he's allowed to...if he's looking at me and if he stays with me. Yes, it does work, but when there are better ways, why not go the better way....

I think we're all on the same page.

Cool.
     
    04-03-2009, 07:24 PM
  #19
Weanling
To me, respect is where the horse treats you like the lead mare or stallion. What you say goes, and if they ignore you or show disrespect, you make it uncomfortable.
I heard about join-up in a book I read. As far as I could tell, it was where you sent the horse away from you at a canter, and you make him go until he licks his lips/turns an inside ear to you (I think you make him change directions somewhere in there). Then you release pressure and invite the horse to meet, or join up, with you. Am I correct? I'd like to try it with a Mustang cross that Sam's owners have, but I want to be sure I've got it right.
Sounds to me like your mare is testing the waters, like someone has already said. Clinton Anderson does say that you can't just do groundwork one day, earn your horse's respect, and think you've got it down forever. They will test!!
I may be repeating what has already been said, as I didn't read through all the posts, so do forgive me if I have.
Good luck and keep working at it!
     

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