Thank you for this post. It's fascinating to read, and very useful to see such a perspective where you have the circumstances to directly compare to horses which are products of both methods.
Firstly do not worry, this is a simple matter to resolve without confusing your mare.
These differences I would suggest are a result of two variances.
1) differences in how the method is presented (ie how the learning materials are structured) between CA and PNH.
2) natural differences in any two people working with horses.
Let's look at the first. In terms of phases you are correct CA places less direct emphasis in his materials and shows that PNH does. He still states that you want reaction at the lightest request, but he does not break it down into phases as religiously as PNH does. Add to this the emphasis on 'getting it done' and complying with 'energy' and you can see how less experienced people might go straight to 4 all the time. Ultimately however when you use phases and exercises like these, it is not so much communication as conditioning. (not criticising just highlighting the important differences). Just like children if you always count to 4 then they will eventually start ignoring the first 3 count. The NH way to deal with this is to sometimes and unpredictably go straight from phase 1 to phase 4. That way the horse has still had the opportunity to react at 1 and learns not to assume he can wait through 2 and 3.
Now let's look at the second point. I am not aware of any bending at the waist in CA or maybe I'm just not clear on what you mean. The only thing I can think of is that often when asking for a hind yield many people will bend down, as if to make it more obvious to the horse that they are looking at the hind leg. As far as I have seen CA usually asks for a back up with very strong energy and very upright just as PNH. So I suspect this might be simply a personal issue relating to a lack of body awareness with the previous trainer.
I would recommend that you simply stick to what you know, which is maintaining the clarity between relaxed 'shrugged' body posture meaning relax, and upright strong energy, meaning do something now please.
Ultimately if you really want to communicate with your horses then all you have to remember is this. Horses read intention better than any predator can.
The actual signal is not important as long as you in your mind and body are clear as to what you intend to ask for, and are there in the now. Not yesterday, not what you have to do later, not what that noise is going on in the distance, the there and now, just you and that horse. Then the horse will quickly work it out for itself. That also why we cannot hide from horses they see us for who we really are at that moment.
I hope this helps in some way.
Last edited by Doe; 06-29-2011 at 03:23 PM.