Why force?? - Page 14 - The Horse Forum
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post #131 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 07:31 PM
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There have actually been studies done to see if horses behave differently around vegetarians......I'd like to know the outcome of those studies. But what I mean is that horses can smell that we eat meat, and predators eat meat. Which only backs up why they can see us as predators.
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post #132 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 08:02 PM
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I would also love to see the results of those studies. If you find them I would love for you to share them.

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post #133 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 08:11 PM
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And, as far as I can see, humans are the definite exeption. Every other post Cretaceous Era predator that I can think of walks on 4. Lions, tigers, bears, cougars, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, hyenas, jackals...

We might be the exception, but would you disagree that humans are, as of this day and age, the ultimate predator? We can kill anything we want to given the right tools. Horses know we could kill them. That's in their DNA. One reason why I refuse to swin in the ocean is because when I enter the water I am no longer top of the food chain.....sharks are now top predator, and I don't like that! lol.

Yes, biologically humans are predators. But, have you ever seen one truly act in a predatory fashion around a horse (or at any time?)?

Yes I have. Your definition of 'predatory fashion' might be different than mine, but I have seen people yell at their horse then haul out and smack him for pawing in the cross ties. That is predatory. No doubt about it.

Modern humans are so far removed from the predator of thousands of years ago that, excepting extraordinary circumstances or grave danger/fear, most humans do not behave in a physical way analogus to the predators a domesticated horse is hard wired to instinctively fear.

It doesn't matter, IMO, how our ancestors acted.....that's how they had to act at the time. You are looking at the extreme. I'm looking at what is seen to be normal in the horse world today.

When you want a burger, does your predator mode kick in and you grab your spear?

No, but that is a really funny visual! lol!

Or do you hop in the car and take a trip to Burger King? I have seen horses react in identical fashion to a strange horse as to a strange human (with tension, hesitation, etc), but I totally agree with the sensitivity/skepticism to changes.

Even though we do not act like "cavemen" these days, the instinct to dominate, hunt, get what we want when we want it, and to do whatever it takes to get it is still in our DNA. I wonder if I could say that modern day humans are "domesticated?" lol. If one tool doesn't work for a job, you get a bigger tool. We will use force whenever is needed to get the job done. You see this same predatory instinct in the horse world (at least IMO). If a horse chomps on the bit, some people tie his mouth shut. If the horse carries his head high, some people tie it down. If the horse pulls while leading, some people put a chain over their nose in in their mouth. If a horse doesn't carry himself well, some people will strap his head down and MAKE him carry himself "correctly." Can you tell me these few examples are not predatory inclinations of the human? Humans are mechanically inclined, and unfortunately this instinct carries over to dealing with horses.

Yes, absolutely a domestic horse can have fear and is above all concerned about his survival, and it is the task of the handler to diffuse that fear when it rises.

Absolutely. I agree completely. The responsibility lies completely on the handler.

On the topic of disciplining a belligerent horse, who has NO physical pain issues, who is not afraid of what we are doing to or with him, have you ever seen such a horse exhibiting the tension or postures that you have described? I have not.

These horses, I agree, are not afraid of people. They have over-ridden that fear instinct, and this can be for multiple reasons. Once a horse feels safe around a human, he will try to dominate the human. That's the way of the herd. Some horses are very subtle about it, while others are very clear about their intentions! lol. However, this does not give the human an excuse to act forceful, aggressive and predatory.

Example: I turn my horse out in his paddock and return to the barn to get a bucket with his breakfast for him to eat outside. This is a daily routine, and he understands that he needs to stay out of my space and not crowd for the bucket. He is normally polite and gentle, but today decides to crowd me at the gate and grab for food. I look him in the eye and say "Scout, back," with no response. I give him a slap on the neck and firmly say "AHHCT." He steps away and permits me to cross the paddock to the feeder, calmly following about ten feet behind. He is not afraid, not tense. His normal behavior is calm acceptance of the routine, so he is not confused. And he comes right to me when I want to catch him again, no food, no bribes, rarely even a vocal call.

*sigh* Okay, this might not sound right, but it's the only way I can get across what I'm saying. Please know I am in no way criticizing you. Okay, in this situation, I agree the horse has no fear. So now we are looking at a dominance issue. IMO that does not warrent a smack. My question would be, WHY is the horse doing this in the first place? WHY, if the horse is TRULY respectful of the human, is he showing this negative behavior? A horse will not bite, kick or crowd the alpha horse. So if the horse does not see you as the leader, he might try the above things and more. If the horse does see you as a worthy leader, he will not try these things. If the horse tries this behavior every so often, the horse truly does not see the human as someone worth respecting. Further, if each time the horse crowds, he gets a smack for not getting out of the way, it's really not fixing the problem.....because the behavior keeps coming back and it's never resolved.

As a true horseperson should. If a horse hesitates, that is the time to better acquaint it with whatever made it hesitate, in a way that does not push him further into a fear reaction. When the horse is frightened is not the time to smack him. A frightened horse cannot learn, hs isn't using the "thinking side of his brain."

Absolutely! I wish more people knew and understood this.....but this understanding comes with knowing how to correctly and accurately read the horse.

When he knows the drill, understands what you want, and is not in physical pain, yet behaves in a belligerent manner, "force" is in order, whether a verbal repremand (a mare's squeal), or a more physical pinch or smack (a higher-rung horse's nip or kick

I wil disagree with this. Just because the horse says "No" doesn't give us the right to smack him. A brace in the body started as a brace in the mind. So my question would be, WHY is that mental brace there to begin with? It can be narrowed down to several things: the horse is not motivated, he's bored, he's sour to whatever the rider is asking him to do, the rider has been forceful which makes this horse fight back.....in each case it is the rider's fault, not the horse's, so he should not be punished for the rider's lack of understanding, attention, patience or knowledge.
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post #134 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 08:25 PM
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NM computer problem.

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post #135 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 09:40 PM
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One of the things that I like about what Spirithorse is saying is that she starts with the question "WHY". I feel that this is very in line with the "Natural Horsemanship". To work with a horse and approach any problem with the idea that you will "Command" a response is really a very different way and not one that I am interested in at all. Now I can accept that in certain situations a person feels trapped and out of ideas so they grab a bigger tool,But after it keeps happening,then a quality handler asks "Why".
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post #136 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 09:48 PM
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Thank you MareCare :)

Not all, of course, but a lot of people rarely ask the question WHY......WHY is my horse biting me? WHY is he strong when I'm riding? WHY is he lazy? WHY are his ears back? WHY is he chomping on the bit? Why why why?! lol!

Just to comment further on something MareCare said, if I do so happen to be caught in a situation where it is dangerous and I HAVE to do something in order to save my own life, I WILL do whatever it takes to keep my body intact lol. I do think that with the proper knowledge and being able to read a horse correctly, you can avoid situations like that.
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post #137 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Spirithorse View Post
There have actually been studies done to see if horses behave differently around vegetarians......I'd like to know the outcome of those studies. But what I mean is that horses can smell that we eat meat, and predators eat meat. Which only backs up why they can see us as predators.
I would also love to see the results. Not just that, but also how the study was conducted. I have a research background and find way too many studies lately being scientifically unsound.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #138 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 10:20 PM
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I'll see if I can find the results. I believe I read about it in a magazine.....Equus maybe? It was awhile ago, but I'll see what I can find out.
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post #139 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 10:26 PM
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I disagree with the notion that asling why is mainly a NH approach... I do agree that it is essential.

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post #140 of 231 Old 07-19-2009, 10:52 PM
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I do believe I mentioned something in an earlier post about how the horse does not want to be the leader (too stressful), but even more than that, he does want the greatest safety possible, even if it means being the leader. THAT is the why. That is why an otherwise quiet horse who knows and understands what is being asked of him will be pushy, or nip, etc. (as long as he is not in pain) He is, in effect, asking me, "Are you strong enough to keep me safe? If you can't be my leader, and control my feet, my actions, then I have to be the leader." Horses in a leadership role are not relaxed, not happy. It sets up a vicious cycle for the horse and the human. Even horses with wonderful relationships with their humans, whose humans do provide excellent leadership, will occasionally "check in" and test to see if you, as a leader, are still up to the challenge. A horse who frequently tests is simply a more self-preservation oriented animal, within the herd dynamic setting.

Yes, a human can kill anything it wants to with technology. But, does the horse understand nuclear weapons, even guns? The sound frightens them, but they do not understand that a bit of lead flies out of the end and has the potential to kill. It is just a sound to them. As far as the horse knowing I could kill him, I know that he could kill me just as easily. It's a matter of healthy, mutual respect and trust.

Yes, there are some nutjobs out there who will smack for no reason. Trust me, I've seen about the worst horse handling that there can be. My impression was that we were discussing not the problems with poor horsemanship, but the place of force within the realm of natural, common sense, sound horsemanship.

Moving to a bigger tool is not neccesarily predatory. Now, please understand that I am not at all condoning the practices that you outlined, but if a horse doesn't get the reaction he wants, doesn't he go for a bigger tool? If a squeal doesn't get another horse out of his space, doesn't he kick out? As far as the mechanical inclination of humans in horse training, it is unfortunate that some people use gimmicks and gadgets instead of finding the real problem, but, again, I thought we were discussing the place of force within a more natural horsemanship setting.

Again, I think the ever changing definition of force is causing us to misunderstand each other. There is a MAJOR difference between force as an escalation of aid (ask, suggest, judiciously and appropriately encourage), and force as a discipline tool. 2 totally different applications, to be used with different "intentions," if that makes sense. A horse who says no needs to be asked again, a horse who behaves as though he is the leader and you are not needs to be disciplined. A horse in the leadership chair is not healthy for him, or safe for the handler.

Interesting thought about people being domesticated, love it!

A stubborn horse walks behind you, an impatient one in front of you, but a noble companion walks beside you ~ Unknown
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