Natural experience - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 10 Old 10-23-2011, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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Natural experience

Hi guys,
I really want to learn how to understand and communicate with horses, for example I'd like to learn more about reading their body language and better ways to communicate with them. I already do know some, but I'd really like to become good at it. Does anyone know of anywhere I could go or what I would do to learn this? I don't necessarily want "natural horsemanship" but I'd rather know just how to read the horse and get an experience figuring out different horse problems, ect. I just don't know where to start! Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-23-2011, 09:05 AM
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The best way is to spend about 10 years riding hundreds of different horses. Then you might have a pretty good start on it. There is no book or video that can take the place of experience.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-23-2011, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, that is what I am looking for. I was asking if anyone had experience with a program or horse person that they enjoyed. I do not want a video or book, I want a place where I can really experience this kind of stuff but with someone who really knows what they are doing. I do not expect to learn everything there is in a short period of time or anything, I'm aware it takes time to learn these things and I just want a place to start. Thanks
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-23-2011, 10:33 AM
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I find it helpful to watch my horses interact in a herd. My mares talk to each other all the time. You just gotta watch em when they interact. This helps because I can't ride a hundred different horses ;D
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-23-2011, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Five Furlongs View Post
Yes, that is what I am looking for. I was asking if anyone had experience with a program or horse person that they enjoyed. I do not want a video or book, I want a place where I can really experience this kind of stuff but with someone who really knows what they are doing. I do not expect to learn everything there is in a short period of time or anything, I'm aware it takes time to learn these things and I just want a place to start. Thanks
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Look around for a professional trainer in your area or in an area you would like to move to and then fight to get a job with him/her. Even if you don't end up wanting to do things the exact way the trainer does them you will still get the experience of riding many many horses.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-24-2011, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinshorses View Post
Look around for a professional trainer in your area or in an area you would like to move to and then fight to get a job with him/her. Even if you don't end up wanting to do things the exact way the trainer does them you will still get the experience of riding many many horses.
Agreed - there's no need to pay for a "program." In fact, beware of most of the "programs" out there. Attempting to follow them can get pretty pricey, and they tend to make up new names for very common concepts just to make it sound like they've come up with something new and original.

Nothing can beat hands-on learning, actually observing horses and how they interact with each other, while getting guidance from someone who has the experience and knowledge to work with you and answer your questions directly.

"Parelli horsemanship is just like painting by the numbers. You need absolutely no skill. You just put this color here and this color there, and when you're done, you have ... a mess no one wants." mp
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-14-2011, 02:29 PM
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While I agree there is no substitute for hands-on learning, a great deal can be gained from reading and watching videos. IMO, the best way to learn is never to write off any particular style of learning. I live 6 hours away from my horse. I'm able to spend a lot of time with her in the summer months, but I sometimes go a few months at a time without seeing her in the winter. When I can't spend time with her, I keep educating myself so that when I see her again, I can maximize the time we have together.

I consider all of the following valuable:

- Auditing clinics. I watched one day of a Buck Brannaman clinic this weekend, and took a ton of notes so that I can try some of the things he talked about next time I ride.
- Reading. I don't tend to read "how-to" books, but prefer pieces like Tom Dorrance's "True Unity" that try to offer a glimpse into the horse's mind.
- Videos--DVDs and online, from a variety of trainers. The people who feel the need to choose ONE path or program and stick to it in order to be successful are misguided. I watch videos, or simply clips of videos, from Jonathan Field, Parelli, Stacey Westfall, Buck Brannaman, and others. They all have something to offer.
- Observing. I volunteered at a horse rescue a few times this year. Simply being around horses I wasn't familiar with, and especially many who had emotional or physical trauma, was extremely enlightening. You learn the most about horse behaviour by simply watching them behave.

The trainer I work with back home is nearly 70, and still attends clinics herself. Her philosophy is that you can never stop learning. Wise.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-06-2011, 11:41 PM
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I had my very first NH "lesson" last night. The young lady came out and helped me to see how my horse was responding to certain things. Things that I either never noticed, never cared about, or never knew were either bad or possibly questionable behavior. I have been riding for 20+ years. I have ridden hundreds of breeds, personalities, levels of training, even six figure show horses... and I will honestly say that what I learned in that 3 hour lesson on ground work and communication with that NH trainer, I have never been taught by any trainer in my life.
I'm entirely with Fancy on this one...
If you can gain exposure to this facet of horse ownership, communication, and understanding... it's well worth it!

Life seems mighty precious, when there's less of it to waste.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-07-2011, 12:30 AM
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I guess you could read up on horse behavior, research articles, etc. There isn't a book that I know of about this subject specifically, so books like that are your best bet. But this kind of thing calls for pure first hand experience, really. Sorry I can't help much.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-07-2011, 12:43 AM
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It is true that nothing can substitute for time and experience hands on, as Kevins is saying, but not everyone has access to that sort of lifestyle. And IMO there's nothing wrong with also reading. I mean, when I read something interesting in a book about training, then when I go out to the horses I see them in a different way and it can really open up growth..

I am not a killer rider at all and will never be one. I am too old to start on that, but I never stop increasing my awareness of horses.
It's really a matter of watching them. Their way of thinking is very changeable, and very present. Spend some time watching them and ask yourself every 2 minutes, "where is his thought now?"

And when you work with a horse, and you apply pressure, try for the smallest amouth you can to see a "change". It's a change that you are looking for.
When I ask my horse to move over when I am tacking, I often put a little pressure on him (not actually touching but using pressing on the air with my hands toward his hip) and wait until I see him THINKING about moving over in response. THAT is a change. Moving over is a change, too, but even him thinking about moving over is a change.
So, when I see him thinking about moving, I stop pushing and see if HE can carry out that thought on his own, without me actually pushing him all the way to a step over. If he doesn't, then I removed the pressure before his thought had really set into "step over'. In which case, he was not really listening, and I need to speak louder and longer.

That kind of feedback loop is somthing that a horse person can spend a lifetime improving and the masters are so subtle at it that we cannot even see it.

I wish !
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