I was curious, what parts of the CA methods did you find counter productive? I have a friend who is training her horse with these methods, working with a CA trainer, and I feel that some of what they are doing is really making the horse worse, not better. But everyone speaks so highly of CA, I feel like a grinch to say this.
Aw shucks. Anytime.
I'm just grateful I got the advice that I got because it really started me thinking in ways that I hadn't previously.
I was probably doing the CA stuff wrong (now there's a bone I have to pick with BNTs) but I found that it made Lacey a whole lot more distant from me and more reactive. She's a very calm mare about 75% of the time (the other 25% she's just bonkers, hahaha) so the stuff that he had as "easy" stuff (I don't remember the correct term) were generally crazy easy for her, like the desensitizing to the rope, that sort of thing.
But as soon as I stepped up the pressure, she'd freak out and become completely unhinged. Like the Lunging for Respect, that made her go completely off the wall. She didn't seem to understand the release from driving pressure concept, which may be an innate personality trait since I have never seen her back down from a challenge she thinks she can win. But she'd run and run and run and fall, hop back up, and run and run and end up breathing so hard that I was sure she was about to kick the bucket (and I'd have her stop because, well, I didn't want a dead Lacey!). Then, the next day when I'd see her, she'd behave in the really weird/half lost/needy way she does after she's really had a mental breakdown. Then, the next time I'd lunge her she would immediately go on the defensive and start running and running and running to get away from me, which broke my heart (and lunging was and is one of her most favorite "bonding" type things to do). It was just things like that where she ended up seemingly scared out of her mind and I couldn't, in good conscious, try to continue this technique everyone seemed to love because it seemed to me like it was really hurting her inside.
There were other things but the Lunging for Respect got the biggest negative response and that's really why I stopped.
Of course, I'm sure that CA has a place and I've certainly seen his methods work for some horses but my theory is that for horses like Lacey who are more relationship focused it just makes them scared that the relationship might be broken. That sounds super anthropomorphic but Lacey, though she is most definitely a horse, really does act like that - call it what you want.
Those are my CA experiences and more than you ever asked for. Haha
I agree and thanks, cacowgirl! That's one of the things I love best about Lacey, once you find the correct button to push and push it, she "transforms" into such a better horse. I kinda look at her like a food pyramid or something, we started at the top level (10, three years ago) with a jointed bit and ill fitting saddle, once those were fixed, we dropped down to like 8, daily lunging took it down to 7, Mare Magic took it down to 6, etc etc. Now I think we're at probably a 4.5
Neighborhoods are the best to ride in! You're going to love it. Basically every time I ride in one I hear people hollering to each other "Oh my gosh! Come here quick! There's a horse outside!!!!" and little girls come running out of houses like Lacey and I are delivering candy, or something, because they want to pet her. It's the best. And so great for desensitizing!