Does anyone else dislike the word "disrespect" for horses? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 27 Old 05-09-2014, 07:08 PM
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the way I look at it is that a horse , like any animal including humans, will look out for himself at all times. normally, in a herd situation, there is a real advantage to allowing the smarter, quicker, more dominant members make some of the decisions becuase they are proven at looking out for themselves well, so they are a good place to attach yourself for your own benefit. that leader doesn't care if you follow him, he's just looking out for himself, and the followers can receive some benefit by following. the leader goes for the food, 'cause he's doing like all horses; taking care of himself. but, it's very obvious that he is "taking what is his", and the only time there is conflict is if the followers get in the way of him/her taking care of him/herself. Usually, the herd follows behind or at the side, and they aren't so much obeying the leader as going with him/her . that leader isn't going to go back and chastise them if they don't follow (except a stallion trying to keep a mare in his harem) . they follow becuase that's the best place to be.


So, if your horse does not listen to you, walks over you, or in other ways is not available to your didrection, it's because
1. he does not SEE you as proven to be a leader
2. he does not realize that you are on a mission to look out for yourself, and he'd better get out of your way, and fall in behind/on the side, for his own benefit.
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post #22 of 27 Old 05-09-2014, 07:31 PM
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"That leader doesn't care if you follow him, he's just looking out for himself, and the followers can receive some benefit by following."

Actually, I disagree. Mia is very conscientious as a lead mare. After a cold spell, when we get some warm sunlight, it is the geldings who lie down and relax. Mia stands guard. On a trail, she wants to be in the front, exposed to the greatest danger. And if there is something (coyote, javelina?) in the wash near our corral, the 2 geldings run behind her. She'll move close to the wash, on high alert, snorting and doing the floaty trot thing, moving back and forth and seeming to indicate that any trouble will have to get past HER before it can reach the geldings. But if I show up, she'll move back and look at me as if to say, "Every once in a while, the King has to DO something..."

Another example is that no other horse can share her food...UNLESS they are all really hungry. Then she allows the other 2 to share her food, but only until I throw in a second flake of hay. And by the time the 3rd flake is in the corral, they'd best get their faces out of HER food. But when all 3 are really hungry, she shares. And only then. That tells me she is thinking of their welfare in a way we normally don't expect out of horses.

It goes along with the difference between a lead horse who is a bully and one who is fair. They will obey a bully if they cannot avoid the bully. They WANT the leader who is fair. Fair includes: signal intent first, be as consistent as possible, don't play favorites, and proportionate response.

My idea of natural horsemanship is to try to be to all 3 of them what Mia is to the 2 geldings. The problem is that she is much more aware of her surroundings, is very consistent...and in truth, she may have a better sense of right & wrong sometimes than I do.
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #23 of 27 Old 05-10-2014, 03:44 PM
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I also dislike the word used with horses. That said, I like tinyliny's description best so far.

Only difference in my case, I go with the attitude: "I am not a horse."

In other words, I don't expect horses to be with me exactly as if I were a horse. The "respect" isn't the same as herd leader. I can lead, but I'm not a horse. The things I expect are different.

Can they tell? Oh yes, I think horses can tell the difference between their trainers and their herds!

Mostly, they don't "obey." I try to set things up so that it just seems the right way to go. Yielding to pressure, for instance: it's like the law of gravity.

I'm not a horse, and can just barely imagine thinking like one. Sometimes it seems quite impossible that horses and humans can cooperate, and actually enjoy each others' existence. But we do!

(As for Mia, she's just so special! But does bsms really know the reasons she does things? )
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post #24 of 27 Old 05-10-2014, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post


So, if your horse does not listen to you, walks over you, or in other ways is not available to your didrection, it's because
1. he does not SEE you as proven to be a leader
2. he does not realize that you are on a mission to look out for yourself, and he'd better get out of your way, and fall in behind/on the side, for his own benefit.

this isn't very well worded.

what I guess I should say is that once your horse has had the experience of having you move him , direct him, or even observed you move other horses, there starts the kernel of proven leadership.

and for 2. I mean not that you are on a "mission", but rather that when you ask the horse to move , or not move, there is an obvious intent in your body. You ARE going for something.
intent is a better word than "mission".
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post #25 of 27 Old 05-10-2014, 04:33 PM
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Up until last month, I would use the word disrespect when it comes to horses. I had the opportunity to attend a Mark Rashid seminar, and he did an excellent job debunking the alpha and disrespect theories in horses. Basically, horses cannot understand the meaning of respect since they are not motivated by praise or recognition. They do not treat new rescue horses any different than a horse with a fancy pedigree. Older horses can be pushed to the bottom of the herd despite having the most life experience.

Often times what we humans see as respect in horses is actually fear. For example, they stay away from electric fences because they can hurt them, may "respect" you more when you hold a stick or wear spurs, etc.

This is not to say that horses don't need to be taught boundaries - because they absolutely do. Horses look out for their own safety, relief, and comfort and every interaction that they have with us teaches them something. It is my opinion that most, if not all, "disrespectful" behaviors were taught to horses by humans. Not necessarily on purpose, but we are the smarter species here and it seems unfair to blame our training skills (or lack thereof) on the horse.
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post #26 of 27 Old 05-11-2014, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Rialto View Post
...Often times what we humans see as respect in horses is actually fear. For example, they stay away from electric fences because they can hurt them, may "respect" you more when you hold a stick or wear spurs, etc.
...
Sometimes human respect is fear too.

But I also feel that a horse's fear is a little different from ours. It's an a priori caution--- they're prey animals, after all. We as predators, I think, have a harder time learning fear. It's why, perhaps, we're so good at waging war.

Sometimes, it is better to have a horse fear you. I'm thinking of foals brought up as family pets, who have never learned boundaries, and who have become dangerous, not through any fault of their own. As much as I hate to say it, I can see where a trainer might start a relationship based on some fear, to introduce "new" boundaries.
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post #27 of 27 Old 05-14-2014, 08:54 AM
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I've never operated on all that pecking order stuff, and I don't think about that when training. But my horses are well-behaved, including one I got with awful ground manners. I just trained him appropriately, and obviously I'm the leader when I do that, but I don't think in terms of "I'm one up from you" and all the human baggage that goes with it. My biggest influence in terms of horsemanship, besides horses themselves, was and is the late Australian legend Tom Roberts, who wrote four slim but insightful volumes on horse training, horse riding, bits and problem horses which basically answered all the training questions I ever had, and provided possible solutions for every problem and scenario I have ever encountered, starting with educating my first horse, beginning when I was 11. Tom Roberts doesn't get into pecking orders or the language of disrespect in his books, he is all about quiet persistence, keeping the horse calm, and the lesson/end of lesson principle. He's got a sense of humour and a great deal of insight and intelligence when it comes to horses' point of view, and he thinks in terms of "encourage and discourage" instead of reward and punishment. I do think it makes a difference what language we use in our thinking, since it's the software we operate on and since a lot of human language is loaded with connotations and baggage.

Personally I wouldn't want a master-servant relationship with my horses. I like to persist until I get their cooperation, and show enthusiasm when I get it. Even when I have to bop a horse on the nose because it is trying to nip I'm not thinking, "How dare you!" but "This is really a bad idea, you know!" - and then I get on with it, with a friendly attitude. A horse who wants to cooperate with you will give you so much more than a horse who is simply forced to. Same with a dog, or with people for that matter.

My husband, a non horse-person, is always saying to me, "Whenever you go into a paddock of any description, you end up surrounded by a cloud of animals. It doesn't matter they've only just met you. They just love you. You know where all their itchy spots are."

SueC is time travelling.
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