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post #21 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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I add the following quote to the fray, a quote which I'm certain some will feel compelled to disagree with.

The quote is from Lucy Rees's The Horse's Mind, page 167.

Begin Quote: ..., the deliberate use of aversion as a teaching method is unnecessary and seems an expression of the worst traits of human nature. There is little that is desireable in a horse that is frightened into dull obedience. End Quote.
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post #22 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Found this by Xenophon from On Horsemanship.

"But possibly you are not content with a horse serviceable for war. You want to find him him a showy, attractive animal, with a certain grandeur of bearing. If so, you must abstain from pulling at his mouth with the bit, or applying the spur and whip — methods commonly adopted by people with a view to a fine effect, though, as a matter of fact, they thereby achieve the very opposite of what they are aiming at. That is to say, by dragging the mouth up they render the horse blind instead of alive to what is in front of him; and what with spurring and whipping they distract the creature to the point of absolute bewilderment and danger.134 Feats indeed! — the feats of horses with a strong dislike to being ridden — up to all sorts of ugly and ungainly tricks. On the contrary, let the horse be taught to be ridden on a loose bridle, and to hold his head high and arch his neck, and you will practically be making him perform the very acts which he himself delights or rather exults in; and the best proof of the pleasure which he takes is, that when he is let loose with other horses, and more particularly with mares, you will see him rear his head aloft to the full height, and arch his neck with nervous vigour,135 pawing the air with pliant legs136 and waving his tail on high. By training him to adopt the very airs and graces which he naturally assumes when showing off to best advantage, you have got what you are aiming at — a horse that delights in being ridden, a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders."
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post #23 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 10:58 AM
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On Horsemanship: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1176/1176-h/1176-h.htm

How to get a horse to jump is in section 8.

From Section 7: "When the horse has to be led, we do not approve of leading him from in front, for the simple reason that the person so leading him robs himself of his power of self-protection, whilst he leaves the horse freedom to do what he likes." I've led my horses a lot. Admittedly, they are not stallions and two of the three were born in captivity, and all three have been part of a few thousand years of selective breeding for easy training. But if you have to worry about the horse attacking you while you are leading him, there is something odd - at least with modern horses.

In Section 3, on buying a horse: "It is also well to ascertain by experience if the horse you propose to purchase will show equal docility in response to the whip. Every one knows what a useless thing a servant is, or a body of troops, that will not obey. A disobedient horse is not only useless, but may easily play the part of an arrant traitor." He goes on to point out: "And since it is assumed that the horse to be purchased is intended for war, we must widen our test to include everything which war itself can bring to the proof: such as leaping ditches, scrambling over walls, scaling up and springing off high banks."

We tend to assume people from thousands of years ago were stupid. They were not, and Xenophon was experienced and had met and learned from professional trainers. Much of what he wrote is good. The tools he used were hideous...but then, this western rider find the bit section of catalogs billed with hideous bets - though not as obviously bad as what the Greeks used.

Quote:
My notion is that the trainability of horses is mostly due to their psychological make up of being a highly sociable animal. - @Hondo
I almost think the opposite. While horses can like other horses, and obviously feel comfortable in a herd structure, their social structure doesn't strike me as much fun. I think a big part of why Bandit likes me is because I like him...and the other horses do not. I make it clear I enjoy being with Bandit and doing things with him as a team - something other horses do not!

I also liked Mia. While the other horses accepted Mia as Leader, she was aloof and nearly unapproachable by the other horses. I think she liked my company because I gave her relief from the role of Great Leader. I took some of that burden away, allowing her to relax in a way she never did around other horses.

Watching my three horses, Bandit is valued for his tail. The other two admit Bandit is excellent at swishing flies from their faces. They also accept he is smarter than they are, and they go to him and expect him to make decisions when things are scary. But apart from that...they don't like him. It won't bother them in the least if he is left outside the shelter in a hail storm - even when there was ample room. He had to FIGHT to get them to accept his presence.

I can always offer two things to Bandit that he lacks: Very good judgment, and delight in his company. The first provides safety and the chance to relax while the second is something he has come to enjoy. I can offer him a type of acceptance and interaction he never gets with other horses.

I've come to believe what the cavalry officer wrote in the 1860s: "...There is another thing to be considered with regard to the horse's character - it loves to exercise its powers, and it possesses a great spirit of emulation; it likes variety of scene and amusement; and under a rider that understands how to indulge it in all this without overtaxing its powers, will work willingly to the last gasp, which is what entitles it to the name of a noble and generous animal..."

I've been told horses are lazy. My experience is that horses are lazy when they see no purpose, but can work very hard when they see a reason. Visiting a ranch last June, we moved the sheep up 26 miles of paved road in uncommon heat. My daughter started riding their 'guest horse' a few miles before the pavement, so close to 30 miles that day. The next morning, before sunrise, I mounted the "guest horse' - and he was ready to go. EAGER to go. The sheep were anxious to move. I had to do figure 8s with the horse off to the side because he was too anxious to get started to be held back by the bit.

That wasn't lazy. That was a ranch horse who understood his work and who obviously wanted to go do it! All he needed was a human to enable him. My daughter riding him the first day in 90 degree heat and with very little water - hot, dry work:



I believe we have a symbiotic relationship with horses. Mutual benefit. Our corrections, on the whole, are much milder than what another horse would offer. Our judgement is better and our acceptance of the horse much more freely given. They are not zebras or truly wild horses. I think they have been bred to find completeness in man.

Xenophon writes about horses making us feel like gods. I think we make horses feel like a god. Or we can.

Or maybe we make them feel like PARTNERS to the gods.
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post #24 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 11:14 AM
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Horses live with aversion training every day of their lives. Or they do if they live with other horses. It is not "an expression of the worst traits of human nature", but the expression of EQUINE nature. Bandit has too many bite marks on him for me to believe otherwise.
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post #25 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 11:16 AM
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So, Hondo, going back to your perceived threat of pain, when a horse does not respond to a mild clue, lets look at your buddy Xenophon again
He states everyone needs at least two bits, the first, and the one used to train a hrose, being a very harsh bit, with prongs on it. Now, if that does not show ahorse being trained through pain, using a bit for that purpose, rather then a gradual education in a mild bit, as is now done by 'enlightened horsemen of our time, you will need to explain that to me!
The horse is then ridden in what he calls a smooth bit, but not by any definition today, and he also states that when the horses fails to listen to the smooth bit, the rider goes back to that rough bit.
Thus, pleassse , take off those rose colored glasses just taking translations and what they state, without any reference to the times and actual facts
Xenophon might have been on the enlightened end of the spectrum, in a day very cruel bits were used but still miles from what is considered good modern horsemanship
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post #26 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 11:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Found this by Xenophon from On Horsemanship.

"But possibly you are not content with a horse serviceable for war. You want to find him him a showy, attractive animal, with a certain grandeur of bearing. If so, you must abstain from pulling at his mouth with the bit, or applying the spur and whip — methods commonly adopted by people with a view to a fine effect, though, as a matter of fact, they thereby achieve the very opposite of what they are aiming at. That is to say, by dragging the mouth up they render the horse blind instead of alive to what is in front of him; and what with spurring and whipping they distract the creature to the point of absolute bewilderment and danger.134 Feats indeed! — the feats of horses with a strong dislike to being ridden — up to all sorts of ugly and ungainly tricks. On the contrary, let the horse be taught to be ridden on a loose bridle, and to hold his head high and arch his neck, and you will practically be making him perform the very acts which he himself delights or rather exults in; and the best proof of the pleasure which he takes is, that when he is let loose with other horses, and more particularly with mares, you will see him rear his head aloft to the full height, and arch his neck with nervous vigour,135 pawing the air with pliant legs136 and waving his tail on high. By training him to adopt the very airs and graces which he naturally assumes when showing off to best advantage, you have got what you are aiming at — a horse that delights in being ridden, a splendid and showy animal, the joy of all beholders."


Again, look at the bits from Xenohon's times. There is NO WAY, those bits could ever have been used in a humane manner, and contact of any kind
He is also talking of riding stallions, as was common in those days, esp as war horses., and letting them show their natural stallion like behavior in the presence of mares-tail flagging, high head, prancing-all hormone induced.
Most of us now, don't need to get a macho fix, by riding stallions and letting them act like stallions under saddle!
My horses enjoy trail rides, I am quite sure, and I ride them on a loose rein, plus I don't have a bit with hedgehogs in heir mouth,but I rather not have them high headed, prancing, versus watching their footing
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post #27 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I add the following quote to the fray, a quote which I'm certain some will feel compelled to disagree with.

The quote is from Lucy Rees's The Horse's Mind, page 167.

Begin Quote: ..., the deliberate use of aversion as a teaching method is unnecessary and seems an expression of the worst traits of human nature. There is little that is desireable in a horse that is frightened into dull obedience. End Quote.
There is a spectrum, Hondo, when it comes to training horses, and neither end of that spectrum is ideal
One one end, you have harsh methods used, without any empathy, fairness, softness, and yes you create a fearful horse, one who works out of fear, versus trust
On the other end of that spectrum, you have a horse never taught boundaries, one spoiled, one who constantly tests humans, intimidates them, learns he can act aggressive towards them., all the while that human who never has shown the horse acceptable boundaries, tries to gain the horses 'love' with food
I think I posted on the topic of using 'balance', when training horses before.

When one reads posts on this forum, the majority of posts, where people ask for help with ahrose, is due to the last end of that spectrum-horses refusing to go forward, horses charging people, horses biting, horses walking into people, horses pulling away when led.
Yes, those horses need some aversion training, making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.
It is also a fable that any aggressive horse has been abused,is acting out of perceived fear when that horse becomes the aggressor. Very often, it is the horse just being ahorse, taking up that leadership, higher 'herd' position, because their human failed to be a clear leader
"if you don't lead, the horse will'.
"We' the enlightened horse people, also use logic, unlike seen in a herd of hroses, where that dominant horse doe snot recognize the lower down horses can't in a particular situation, yield to him
Ever see a submissive horse, trapped in a shelter the boss horse thinks he owns, personnal space wise? That dominant horse will start to kick the snot out of that other horse, who is pinned against to wall, unable to comply
I like to think we use some reasoning power, in any situation where we need to correct ahrose, and also use only as much R- as is needed
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Last edited by tinyliny; 06-29-2017 at 06:37 PM. Reason: removed mild obsenity
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post #28 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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@bsms Did you like Mia when upon your own volition you chose from the smorgasbord of recommendations to smack her with double harness leather? Did that make her think you liked her?

Do you kick Bandit in the gut because you like him? Does that make him think you like him?

Until I read On Horsemanship this morning I did not realize Xenophon separated how to train a horse for war and for show or personal use. The war method is not used in the book I have.

If ever I decide to train a horse for war, I may need to reconsider and alter my methods. Otherwise I will stick to his recommendations for training a horse for show in which he recommends no use of whip or spur.

Henry Wynmalen's book Dressage, which I purchased at your mention advocates teaching a horse to lead while walking beside the horse and never in front. I have actually tried the method as he describes it on Dragon and by golly it works. I plan to use that on both Dragon and Star before I try to ride them. His explanation of why he recommends it makes sense to me.

RE: I almost think the opposite.

Comment: Well, good for you. But with that, my comment is that you are mostly alone in the world on that one.

RE: Horses live with aversion training every day of their lives. Or they do if they live with other horses.

Comment: I would not call a horse's experience in the herd aversion training, but even if one chooses to call some of the herd experiences aversion training, that offers no support for the monkey on their back to resort to it.

Aversion training generated from a herd is a far cry from aversion training from the authority figure I believe they see in us humans.

The horse is on a somewhat equal footing in the herd. When interacting with a human, the playing field is nowhere near level. To pretend it is a level field may be why Lucy feels that brings out the worst expressions of human nature.

Horses don't have the ability to experience empathetic feelings. We do have that ability whether expressed or not.

@Smilie

See my comments above. My comments about my buddy Xenophon are limited to training a show horse. Ok?

RE: Thus, pleassse , take off those rose colored glasses

Comment: I'm wearing the glasses that I look at the three horses I've worked with to some extended degree and now the fourth horse.

Two birds sitting in a tree looking down at the same valley. One was a humming bird. What he saw was a valley filled with nectar bearing flowers.

The other bird was a vulture. What he saw was a valley filled with dead and rotting things.

I reckon everything in the end boils down in some ways to perspective.

I think if you see a horse as an animal that can be taught without coercion, then he can be.

If you think he can't be, then he probably can't be.

I like the old saying, "If you think you can't, you're probably right. If you think you can, you're probably right".

I could go on but I'm still interested if anyone thinks under some circumstances that a horse can experience the same fear and emotional trauma with a light cue as it can with a harsh cue.
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post #29 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
Horses live with aversion training every day of their lives. Or they do if they live with other horses. It is not "an expression of the worst traits of human nature", but the expression of EQUINE nature. Bandit has too many bite marks on him for me to believe otherwise.
Allow me to add: Three horses living on a small 2 acre dry lot do not display normal herd interactions and social life and no conclusions should be drawn or suggested from observations under those conditions.

Depending on the setup and and also whether they have free choice food can alter their behavior considerably. Those that are stalled develop what is called "stall vices" which are nothing less than symtoms of various types psychological breakdowns.

The four horses in my care have 60 acres to roam in and have both grass hay and natural forage free choice 24/7. The rest of the herd roams at around 600 acres although they have 28,000 they could access if they wanted.

I have not witnessed the behavior as you describe and i am with the horses much of the time.
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post #30 of 197 Old 06-18-2017, 02:53 PM
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No, to your last question. If a horse has been trained in a fair manner, that he understands, that horse never fears alight cue.
Your job is not to lie to him. In other words, if he responds to alight cue, he never fears taht you will break your promise and go to demand.
Horses ridden correctly with spurs, do not fear that ride's legs
Now, if you wish to apply some dictionary term, and fixate on that, that is your prerogative
Even when Xenophon rode those horses on a loose rein, how do you think they were trained in the beginning?.Do you think he just threw a bridle, where even the mild bit was what we would consider severe, as decoration on the hrose, and the horse just rode from day one on a loose rein?I assume many of his contemporaries always rode with contact, and where a bloody mouth was an accepted part of riding a horse, so in that respect, he was enlightened
However, today, those of us who ride on a loose rein, have perfected that training, by starting out with a very MILD bit or a bosal. We then also ride on a loose rein, but done correctly, that horse's mouth was never abused.
Sometimes the past is just that, the past, and not always better, even when the ' Dorrance brothers', of the day were blazing a new idea in horsemanship Mildness, is subjective, as to standards of the times
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