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New rider needs advice on horse communication.

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    06-16-2012, 02:12 PM
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
Well, being aware when there is a shishm in the lines of communication is certainly a great skill to have. It sounds that you are maintaining a pretty solid focus on your horse, thus you can tell when he is with you and when he is not. This is kind of rare in a lot of riders. They just assume that since THEY want to slow down/speed up, that the horse is thinking with them. But the hrose is thinking about what the other horses are doing back at the barn, or what the rustling in the bushes is all about.

It really is absolute key to riding to be aware of "where your horse's mind is". Horses are programmed to keep being outwardly focussed and scan their environment for danger every 30 secs or so. We have to be aware of that and alway be aware of when our horse has left us mentally. But neither do we want to yank their attention back, unless the horse has yanked his attention far away and endangers us. If the though is still light, it may not take much at all to bring them back. It can be like a silk thread; I light hand brings it back, pull too hard and it will break.

I thought about this this morning when I tried like the dickens to get Zulu to cross the muddy creek and come to me for 'catching", instead of me having to cross it and go to him. The most of the herd came over to see if I had carrots, but Zulu stood watching. I tried to keep him watching me, and I watched his face to see the "click" when he makes the decision to move. I tried moving his rear feet a bit, because sometiems just moving a horse's feet will tip him over the balance into a decision. But, push too hard and he will decide to leave me for the open 40 acres.
So, like I said, I "broke" out his rear feet, but he did not come, and in fact, chose to start walking away. So, I crossed the creek and walked partly behind, partly in his left eye and gently scuffled the rope against my thigh to get his attention. When he looked out of curiousity, I paused and held out my hand (with small carrot, which he can barely see). He goes to eat the grass, and I gently scuffle the rope (hey! I am still here!) he looks back, pauses and then decides "well, she's not going to leave me alone so I might as well go see what she wants". He walks right up. Gets carrot and some rubs. No rushing. Just some petting and time together then put the halter on.

Walking him the long road back to the barn, if he starts to turn back to "hollar" at the herd, I look for him to leave me mentally, and I give the rope the tiniest little wiggle, . . He comes back to me. The sooner I catch the thought that is leaving, the lighter that thought is and the easier it is to invite it back to me.

Look to your horse, where is his thought? How heavy is it?
I woke up this morning thinking of about this wonderful slice of advice. You're quite the writer your own self! I realize now there's a certain quiet I haven't achieved. I'm so ****ed excited when I get up there to ride. For me, this is a great adventure. And now that I think about it, I go in to his stall probably too exuberant and while he always greets me in a way that seems happy: he nods his great head and then I'll hug him hello and rub his head and flank. Still, I must consider he's in a cow collar so he's not going anywhere.

My routine is I'll start talking nonsense, saying hello while I rub his neck and sides. Then I groom and talk and tell him he's great and we're going to have a good ride. Maybe it's time to stop being so happy and excited and be slower and steady with him.

They are very different, horses. I thought of them as I would dogs but I think in fact, they may be opposites. Dogs are predatory. So you can baby them, talk high pitched and keep them happy and excited. But horses, maybe not. Maybe it's time for deeper quiet.

Tiny I thank you for this particular bit of information about how they continuously scan for danger. I knew they are prey but it never occurred to me that they are proactively on the alert all the time. This is an exceptional horse, btw. He's got a strong personality but he's compliant, knowledgeable and **** near as perfect as he thinks he is.

I'm not in awe of him but I am very grateful for his good nature and his exceptional abilities. I know he'll provide what I ask for when I learn how to. Now I'll have to start asking quieter and more definitively. I think I understand a little more and for this I am very grateful. Thank you so much.
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    06-16-2012, 02:41 PM
Basically, you can affect horses by either "pushing" them or "drawing" them.
We push them when we ride, because we put our leg on and cause the hrose to move away from the leg. We push them when we ask them to step their hinds over, or to move their shoulders over, or to move away from us or to go through a gate, into a trailer and such. We apply either a direct feel of pressure via our hands or use a tool of some sort.
We draw a horse by using their intrinsic curiousity to make them want to come closer. They want to be near things that make them feel safe and stable. They want to approach things that they need to check out; safe or not safe?
A skilled rider also "draws" the horse, by using his seat he creates more energy than the horse's current gait, thus the horse is "drawn" into this state of more energy and picks ups speed or puts more "umph" into his movement.

In the stall, you can push the horse to move his bum away from you, if he doesn't do so on his own when you arrive at the door (you should always have the horse with bum away from you to enter), or you can 'draw" him to you by pickng on his natural curiosity and making him want to look at you, approach you and see what you might have for him. One is him responding by moving away, (he wants to keep his bum safe , because if a dominat horse asks him to move and he doesnt', he'd get a sharp bite). The other is him checking out a stiumuls to see if it's good or bad.

I like to draw a horse to me, whenever I can. And I enjoy seeing how little I can use to achieve this. You watch the horse's eye and ear and when you see him make any kind of change, you know he has seen your draw and is thinking about it. Stop right there. Let him make the decision to come and investigate. You stop BEFORE he actually turns, you stop where he is thinking about the decision, but you let him tip himself over into being committed to moving his feet. It's a very fine line, but if you can let the hrose make this decision on his own, it carries much more weight, so to speak. He may decide NOT to come toward you. So, you put a little more activity into getting his attention, but not much more and wait to see if he'll come this time. When he does make that decision, you stand calm and steady, and may even turn your core (your belly) away from him at a slight angle . This takes off pressure. You can also take a small step backward or off to the side, if the hrose needs a bit more "invitation".
    06-16-2012, 03:32 PM
Originally Posted by wild old thing    
they are very different, horses. I thought of them as I would dogs but I think in fact, they may be opposites. Dogs are predatory. So you can baby them, talk high pitched and keep them happy and excited. But horses, maybe not. Maybe it's time for deeper quiet.
That's the ticket!

They assess & read YOUR manner/state-of-alertness/etc extremely well. If you seem "excited" then he'll perceive that and may become agitated/excited as well. He doesn't know if you are excited because (1) the feed truck just turned over and there is an all-you-can-eat buffet a few feet away or (2) there is a dragon a few feet behind you ready to eat both of you; he just knows you're excited! You are right on target with the "quieter manner" on your part. He'll perceive that as well....

A while back, right before a trail ride my horse and I had to chase down and drive a runaway horse back in through the front gate.
He's a very quiet/calm trail horse but he sensed MY sense of urgency and he ramped up to "roundup mode" almost instantly. After we had (with much Divine help) driven the runaway horse back inside the gate, he was keyed up and all but asking me "come on dad, who can we chase NOW?". So, I calmed MY manner back down to trail ride mode and he followed suit almost immediately. They are incredibly perceptive.

I bet your horse will pick up on your quieter manner very quickly....
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    06-17-2012, 11:10 PM
(quietly subbing, because I want to read this later, when I'm not so tired, and I don't want to forget to look it up. Things are quieter when they are in parenthesis)
Posted via Mobile Device
    06-17-2012, 11:36 PM
Originally Posted by katbalu    
(quietly subbing, because I want to read this later, when I'm not so tired, and I don't want to forget to look it up. Things are quieter when they are in parenthesis)

Posted via Mobile Device
I could barely hear you....
Posted via Mobile Device
    06-18-2012, 12:02 AM
Quit whispering, you two!
    06-19-2012, 10:55 AM
Son of a b****. I didn't mean to kill this thread :(
Posted via Mobile Device
    06-19-2012, 12:41 PM
Hey! Ain't dead yet!

(But ask me later - unseasonable heatwave moving in and that stall can get hellishly hot even with fans going.)

I have a lesson late today. And I've decided on a plan to reintroduce myself to him, assuming he thinks I'm an idiot and has settled on his own plan which might be to either ignore me mostly and look at what everyone else is doing or what he thinks everyone should be doing, or respond slowly while trying to figure out what in hell I'm asking him to do. The last one is okay with me. I'll ask. I'll keep asking. If I think he's being stubborn, I'll press harder, but I'm going to take it slow this time around. And maybe the next. However long it takes. We'll find our way. And I'll find my voice.

Today I won't enter his stall but stand a bit outside his range and rustle a rope or something or talk to my neighbor, but I'll have a carrot close by, figuring he can smell it and me. When he looks at me, then I'll move in his stall slowly and give him his carrot, rub his head and proceed to grooming, slowly. Low pitched, low key talk. And being that it's hot and I'm old they won't push us during our lesson like they might the kids, and I can take it slow and easy with the big boy until he and I have found a way to understand each other.

Like I've said, he's a real good horse, a gentleman. So we'll proceed from that vantage point, and I'll try to be a lady with all fingers and toes crossed.
kac7700 and SoldOnGaited like this.
    06-19-2012, 01:18 PM
Green Broke
How did it go today?
    06-19-2012, 01:25 PM
Lesson's at 4.

I promise to report how it goes!
kac7700 likes this.

advice for a beginner, books, communicating with horses, videos, websites

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