"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.
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.
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.
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!
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.