Clinton Anderson on Buddy Sourness - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 85 Old 03-01-2020, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Clinton Anderson on Buddy Sourness

Well, this is one way to "fix" a buddy sour horse, I guess.

My issue with this method is that the horses are not learning that their choices affect how they are ridden, but rather they are simply complying with Anderson's insistence upon loping a tight circle. And while they're doing exactly what he's asking them to do, he says things like "get the darn thing to lope" and "whoop his bum."

I like Schiller's methods, make them work if they choose to do the wrong thing, but give them the option to choose the right thing and be rewarded for it should they make that decision.

Anyone else's opinions, agreeing or disagreeing?

Mod note Warning - This video contains some language that parents might consider unsuitable for their children.
Jaydee.


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Last edited by jaydee; 03-02-2020 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Mod note re, language in video
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post #2 of 85 Old 03-01-2020, 09:19 PM
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I'm not really a Clinton fan. I think he has good basics, and a decent understanding of horses compared to a lot of "trainers" who really don't think past the tip of their own nose, but he's too aggressive and "one size fits all" with horses for my taste. I also don't like his tendency to really flex the heck out of his horse's necks. (I can't imagine that's super comfortable - flexing has it's place, but I don't think it should be used that excessively.)

Yeah. He's not my thing. I'll mix and match some of his methods with other trainer's methods depending on the horse I'm working with, but typically I'm dealing with highly sensitive horses and Clinton's methods just don't seem to mix well with that type of horse. I have used some of his techniques on my very pushy, in-your-face gelding(who is sweet as sugar, but has absolutely no concept of personal space), and they're worked with varying degrees of success.

Overall, I don't really like many of the "top trainers" such as Clinton, Parelli, Westfall(I don't know if you'd consider her a "top trainer" but she's decently popular). Anyone who thinks a horse is "out to get them" needs a re-think on what horses are and how they think, because I assure you - the horse's only concerns in life are eating, sleeping, making little horses, and staying alive. Anthropomorphism is where a lot of people wrongly assign emotions and motives to animals that simply do not have them, and that's where a lot of training goes wrong. Horses don't plot revenge or purposely forget things, and likelier than not that issue that they have is something you're causing, not something they're just coming up with.

One thing I can appreciate from Clinton is his bluntness with people. If someone's being stupid, he calls them out. I don't like some of his horse methods, but I think it's high time we stopped tip-toeing around people when they're doing something that can end up with either them or the horse(or both) getting killed. It's not funny or brave, some things are just plain stupid and ignorant.

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post #3 of 85 Old 03-01-2020, 10:46 PM
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I think in the cases where a horse has been previously well trained, but allowed to become a spoiled, dangerous, jackwagon, as in the Running Scared and Once Bitten, Twice Shy vids, CA does what he knows and it works. It slaps a hard factory reset into a horse's brain when they've been allowed to become rude, disrespectful, and dangerous.

His method on getting a horse to load is fantastic - I've seen it work... but on horses that already KNEW the drill and just wanted to be patooty heads - chief among them, Gina and Sarge. I have videos of the final result.

I don't like his 'method' used on a young horse that has no idea what's being asked of them. That same method to get a horse to trailer utterly failed with Outback. She was confused, no closer to learning what was being asked of her, and she closed off - it was like watching the shutters on a window close in her eyes. She was nothing but emotion and instinct. His method of being aggressive on a horse that gets in your space while being led sent Oops straight into the air and she came no closer to learning to not run over the back of a person or stopping when they stop. She. had. no. idea. what was being asked. In both cases, both horses were 2 at the time... babies... and honestly ignorant. In both cases they were being treated like adult horses that knew better. Was this a failing of the person using his method or was it a failing of the method on these two horses given their young age and lack of education? I have no idea... but I don't want it used on my youngsters again.

On being buddy soured - and again I'm no trainer, my experience is limited to my horses and mine only - I found what worked is to take them away from home to ride them and ride with people and horses they don't know.

For Trigger specifically, I had to redirect his attention back on me. He goes to hollering at or for other horses - I have to talk to him, turn his head, maybe even get out of the saddle and redirect his attention to me. I tell him often: Nooo, you're with me... lean forward and scratch his neck, snap my fingers, whatever it takes to get his ears to swing back to me so I know he's listening or get his head to turn just a bit so he's looking at me. If he tries to hook on to other horses on the trail... we do circles at the pace he chooses. I have had to get out of the saddle before, and lead him off in another direction while the other riders go on down the trail. It's worked for him. I'll keep doing it.

I think there's more than one way to skin a cat and I'll keep working to learn what works for my horses and what doesn't. I really like Warwick Schiller - he's humble enough to admit he's been wrong in his way of thinking in the past, and he's willing to try something new - I mean the man taught a chicken to lunge... he seems like a gentle soul, and think he's probably a genuinely nice guy. I like Gord Searle - he's unflappable and makes the showing out a naughty horse does sound like no big deal. Just a horse being a horse: Oh lookie there - you just ran into my elbow. Huh. Wonder how that happened?

CA strikes me as an arrogant tool... but I think there are times his no nonsense, 'I'm the boss, you aren't' approach is useful, specifically for a horse that knows better and has been allowed to get away with murder. He gets their attention and demands their respect immediately and I think some horses need that.
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post #4 of 85 Old 03-01-2020, 10:49 PM
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Yeah, seen that once April, and like other CA stuff I've seen, have no desire to see it again. He wants a 'mechanical' horse slave, who does what it's told regardless, who is not allowed to think for itself. In his words, 'the more you scare him, the quieter he will become' ~ which means the horse has become mentally 'shut down', shell shocked, 'broken' of spirit. If that's what you want of a horse, unfortunately, IMHO, it's your call. But it's far from what I want - I'm into horses because I love HORSES, not just what they can do for me, and as such, I don't just want an 'obedient' beast of burden.

While there is absolutely value in 'make the wrong things difficult' principle, I think we've got to be careful not to use that as the 'be all' kind of approach, esp when fear/anxiety is involved. And for something like 'buddy sour', it often is. So, if your approach is just to make it unpleasant for the horse when he's near his buddy/at home/whatever, remember that leaving his place/buddy of security is often 'hard' too, so his choice is then between a rock & a hard place. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. Choice becomes only the 'better evil'. Rather than focussing on & teaching him that it's OK to go out with you, that he can trust you to keep him safe, that it's fun & rewarding to go out...

The other thing with 'working' a horse as punishment is a) it associates that work with punishment. I personally want to teach the complete opposite, for horses to ENJOY their 'work' & see it as fun. b) it associates YOU strongly with punishment/unpleasantness. c) It DOES NOT cause his buddy/place of security to feel any less secure, to make the Big Wide World less scary/unpleasant.

And I won't go into his 'whooping butt' of a horse who's already doing what it's told, or his lack of release & poor timing I've seen in vids which cause far more confusion & fear. But hey, I suppose when you want them 'quiet' from frightening them...

Last edited by loosie; 03-01-2020 at 10:58 PM.
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post #5 of 85 Old 03-01-2020, 11:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie View Post
The other thing with 'working' a horse as punishment is a) it associates that work with punishment. I personally want to teach the complete opposite, for horses to ENJOY their 'work' & see it as fun. b) it associates YOU strongly with punishment/unpleasantness. c) It DOES NOT cause his buddy/place of security to feel any less secure, to make the Big Wide World less scary/unpleasant.
I think it depends on how you use it. Rather than using "work" as a punishment, "work" is just the thing we do and may be fun on its own, and resting is the reward for doing something particularly special. Like a job for us is not meant to be a punishment, just something we do, and a bonus is a reward for doing our job particularly well. Even then, it only works on rest-motivated horses. It does not work on my horse whatsoever. She loves to work. She will happily stand still if asked, but will not do it of her own accord and will not see it as a reward. On the other hand, I've taught horses in five minutes to use the whole ring on their own (as opposed to reverting back to one side) by trotting at their favorite spots and walking at their least favorite spots. Totally depends on the horse.
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post #6 of 85 Old 03-02-2020, 12:10 AM
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Yeah, coming from a behavioural psych background...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aprilswissmiss View Post
Rather than using "work" as a punishment, "work" is just the thing we do and may be fun on its own, and resting is the reward for doing something particularly special.
I'm using 'punishment' here to mean something unpleasant that is done *at the time of* an undesirable behaviour in order to weaken it. So, when you use 'work' to 'make the wrong thing hard' punishment is precisely what it must be - no point in trying to punish a horse with something he loves doing. And there is no reinforcement to be had from 'resting' from something if he loves it either.

And 'rest' or cessation of 'pressure' is NOT the same as reward/positive reinforcement. Rest/pressure release is an eg. of 'Negative reinforcement' - removing something unpleasant in order to strengthen a behaviour. It is indeed a valuable tactic, but not the same. Many see this just as semantics, but I do believe there is a very different attitudinal outcome if you use actual rewards(something the horse desires) as opposed to just removing the unpleasantness, as reinforcement.

Quote:
Like a job for us is not meant to be a punishment, just something we do,
Yes, it's not strictly punishment in the sense that it is 'applied' for the purpose of weakening a behaviour. And certain people in certain jobs actively enjoy their 'work'. But there's a reason 'work' & 'play' aren't interchangeable words. We don't generally work just because we enjoy it, we work because a)we're paid for our work, b)we need to work to survive and c)it is drummed into us morally as something we 'should' do. Horses don't 'do' any of that, except partly the first one, if someone uses positive reinforcement(reward) well.

Quote:
Even then, it only works on rest-motivated horses. It does not work on my horse whatsoever. She loves to work. She will happily stand still if asked, but will not do it of her own accord and will not see it as a reward.
Yep, whether we're talking reward, punishment, negative reinforcement... it's all so individual to the particular horse & situation. And rest/negative reinforcement, and working as punishment works for most horses, because they DON'T like 'work', no one's taught them to enjoy it.
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post #7 of 85 Old 03-02-2020, 09:45 AM
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I think CA was good for the older people that have lost confidence - his step by step approach really gave the people something to do when working with their horses. Also good for beginners. My issue has always been that it is just badgering the horse - constantly badgering them. We have a mare that ridden by a novice and he loved the CA method. But now 15 years after we purchased her if you get after her for anything she will still swing her head to her side like CA's one rein stop - it is scary and annoying when you are riding down the trail!
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post #8 of 85 Old 03-02-2020, 10:23 AM
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i went to a walkabout tour for CA because I wanted to see his methods and i have to say i wasn impressed but the liberty and the trailer loading was good
and also i heard that he made a lunge whip that a horse cant see the color i seen it around online

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post #9 of 85 Old 03-02-2020, 10:34 AM
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This works fine if the horse is stubborn. It does NOT work fine if the horse is buddy sour because he's anxious and seeks security with others. My Paso would gladly have worked near his friends until he dropped dead before standing and catching his breath away from them. All Clinton's method did was make him more worried and worked up.

Once we addressed the anxiousness, most of they buddy sourness disappeared altogether. Now he only makes a fuss if the other horses both leave, and he's alone, which is not anything unusual with horses.
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post #10 of 85 Old 03-02-2020, 12:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classybarrels View Post
i went to a walkabout tour for CA because I wanted to see his methods and i have to say i wasn impressed but the liberty and the trailer loading was good
and also i heard that he made a lunge whip that a horse cant see the color i seen it around online

Well. Horses see blue... and his carrot sticks (he calls them) are blue... so...

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