Discussion: When is it Disrespect and when is it Mind Reading? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 35 Old 12-11-2019, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Discussion: When is it Disrespect and when is it Mind Reading?

Context: Casual Trail riding.
Horse: Trigger
Previous Issues: Go go go, no whoa whoa whoa. None. Straight up trying to run off with whoever is in the saddle.

Current thought for discussion:

Okay. Since he's a 'traveling' horse - we cover a LOT of ground at a speedy pace, and out walk people on quarter horses. A lot of times I kick him into a trot and we wait up ahead on the trail for others to catch up. He seems to enjoy a change of pace and then, the rest.

He's getting better about whoa. I've been cheating... when he listens and stops at my first request, I pull a horse treat out of a horn bag or my hoodie pouch, and tap him on the shoulder. He flexes back, I give him the snack and high praise. Then do likewise on the opposite side. If he ignores my request, he has to walk in circles until he chooses to stop and wait. He's figured out snack for stopping when asked > five or six circles, walking at his brisk pace + no snack. This makes his way the hard way, my way the easy one with a snack. We stop, we wait, and we wait patiently most of the time these days. The reaching back for the snack means he has to tap my shin to get it... so we're getting some flexions out of it too.

Here's the meat of it:

When the others have caught up... he always seems to be a split second ahead of my actual conscious cue to move out. I've not, to my knowledge, actually asked for it in any way... unless he's picking up the faintest change in my body position and body language, in my legs and seat (Possible).

I don't want to draw him up for this - because he's just doing what I was thinking and hadn't gotten from my brain to my hands.

I've had other people tell me oh hell no. He wouldn't move an INCH until I specifically told him to, that's disrespectful, etc.

Is he being disrespectful... or just anticipating my next move?

For little insight... My friend I ride with said she's never seen a horse that will react to the mood of their rider, the tone of their rider's voice or body language so quickly. It is immediate. Not a second lag. Immediate. He seems to be very finely tuned to human body language, and as a very low horse, I'm guessing that's how he's 'stayed alive'... being a quick study of body language, human, equine, or otherwise and reacting immediately.

I DO check him if I wasn't ready to move out and he does it anyway. That's when he gets to do some circles at his chosen pace and as mannnny as he wants. Once he settles down and stops, we wait a few seconds, and then I ask him to move out.


Let's discuss this - do you draw a horse up for being a split second ahead of you in a casual setting, or nah?

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."

Last edited by AtokaGhosthorse; 12-11-2019 at 06:21 PM.
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post #2 of 35 Old 12-11-2019, 07:51 PM
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He's sensitive. Stop trying to physically cue him and just think at him instead.

My horse, I bet, is not as sensitive as yours, but she generally knows what I'm thinking, if it is about her. And fairly often knows it before I do.

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post #3 of 35 Old 12-11-2019, 09:42 PM
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This new mare I have anticipates my moves. I've worked on quieting myself and doing what Avna suggested you try. I am a quiet rider anyway, but this mare and I have bonded so well that it's crazy. She is go go go as well, but we've quieted down A LOT. I don't punish her or anything for moving out before I give an official cue because I don't want her to be less sensitive or less responsive. I think as long as they do respond to actual cues along with reacting to our thoughts that I'm not that picky about it. I also don't do any type of showing that would make those casual allowances crucial.

Rhonda
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post #4 of 35 Old 12-11-2019, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post

When the others have caught up... he always seems to be a split second ahead of my actual conscious cue to move out. I've not, to my knowledge, actually asked for it in any way... unless he's picking up the faintest change in my body position and body language, in my legs and seat (Possible).

Most of the time, when you THINK about doing something, your body is already making miniscule changes in order to carry out that thought. It's very possible that you might not be aware you are doing anything, but he is picking up on it.



The same way that if you simply turn your head only to the left to look to your left, often times your horse will start moving to the left. You didn't change anything about your body ...... or so you think. But a simple turn of the head actually causes weight distribution changes and body language changes that a sensitive horse will easily pick up on.



So if you are thinking to ask him to walk in the next 5 seconds .... your body is already preparing to do that if though you haven't mentally told it to do anything yet!

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post #5 of 35 Old 12-12-2019, 12:00 AM
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Reiterating the above. If he's responding to your thoughts (that most likely DO have very minor physical changes that he picks up on), just use that! I love having a horse that can respond to such minor changes. Punishing him would just confuse him, make him upset, and possibly deaden him to your little cues. "I thought you said move, so I moved, and now you're upset??"

I used to ride a pony who was very much how you described. Think it, don't cue for it, and she would do it. She'd pick up the canter from the walk before I even had a chance to gather my reins, but I was thinking it, so no sense in punishing her for it. Instead, I'd ride with my thoughts - clear and intentional, or else scattered thoughts create a scattered horse - and it made us one of the best teams at shows, because I would never (consciously) move a muscle and we'd do amazing in our equitation classes. At one show, I had tied in an equitation over fences class with someone else on an equally cute pony, so they had us do a tie-breaker by doing a unique jumping pattern. Clear a jump on the quarter line, then roll back about 270 degrees, clear another jump on the diagonal, and come to a halt immediately after. I didn't have to move my arms at all - I just looked where I wanted to go, then thought "stop" as we were clearing the second jump, and she came to a complete stop exactly one stride after landing with looped reins. Meanwhile, my opponent threw her arm all the way out to get her pony to roll back, nearly missed the jump, then fought her pony's mouth for a good ten strides while it held its head up in the air until it finally stopped. Needless to say, I won the class, and I don't think I've ever seen my trainer so proud!
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post #6 of 35 Old 12-12-2019, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtokaGhosthorse View Post
Context: Casual Trail riding.
Horse: Trigger
Previous Issues: Go go go, no whoa whoa whoa. None. Straight up trying to run off with whoever is in the saddle.

Current thought for discussion:

Okay. Since he's a 'traveling' horse - we cover a LOT of ground at a speedy pace, and out walk people on quarter horses. A lot of times I kick him into a trot and we wait up ahead on the trail for others to catch up. He seems to enjoy a change of pace and then, the rest.

He's getting better about whoa. I've been cheating... when he listens and stops at my first request, I pull a horse treat out of a horn bag or my hoodie pouch, and tap him on the shoulder. He flexes back, I give him the snack and high praise. Then do likewise on the opposite side. If he ignores my request, he has to walk in circles until he chooses to stop and wait. He's figured out snack for stopping when asked > five or six circles, walking at his brisk pace + no snack. This makes his way the hard way, my way the easy one with a snack. We stop, we wait, and we wait patiently most of the time these days. The reaching back for the snack means he has to tap my shin to get it... so we're getting some flexions out of it too.

Here's the meat of it:

When the others have caught up... he always seems to be a split second ahead of my actual conscious cue to move out. I've not, to my knowledge, actually asked for it in any way... unless he's picking up the faintest change in my body position and body language, in my legs and seat (Possible).

I don't want to draw him up for this - because he's just doing what I was thinking and hadn't gotten from my brain to my hands.

I've had other people tell me oh hell no. He wouldn't move an INCH until I specifically told him to, that's disrespectful, etc.

Is he being disrespectful... or just anticipating my next move?

For little insight... My friend I ride with said she's never seen a horse that will react to the mood of their rider, the tone of their rider's voice or body language so quickly. It is immediate. Not a second lag. Immediate. He seems to be very finely tuned to human body language, and as a very low horse, I'm guessing that's how he's 'stayed alive'... being a quick study of body language, human, equine, or otherwise and reacting immediately.

I DO check him if I wasn't ready to move out and he does it anyway. That's when he gets to do some circles at his chosen pace and as mannnny as he wants. Once he settles down and stops, we wait a few seconds, and then I ask him to move out.


Let's discuss this - do you draw a horse up for being a split second ahead of you in a casual setting, or nah?
I don't see it as disrespect but rather as an extension of his go go go tendency. IMO, he hasn't learned to wait for your obvious cue. I'm going to say he's reading your body language (slight tightening of seat and/or legs, sitting up straighter, raising of a hand, that kind of thing) and using it as an excuse to get out ahead of the pack. How's he do if you ride him drag?

And NO, I would not be real hard on him, I would just put him back where he was before he started off and let him stand while everyone goes by him and then make an obvious ask for hi m to go forward. The idea being, you need to give him an obvious ask or tell to go forward. That will get both of you thinking about your body language and make sure that you aren't tightening up in anticipation and he's reading that as the go go go cue.

***ETA*** An obvious ask doesn't need to be a kick or big squeeze of the legs. It can just be rather than you unconsciously tightening your butt muscles, you think "I want to go forward now" and give a conscious tightening of your butt muscles, one he can 'hear' clearly.


Last edited by Dreamcatcher Arabians; 12-12-2019 at 07:24 AM.
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post #7 of 35 Old 12-12-2019, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
He's sensitive. Stop trying to physically cue him and just think at him instead.

My horse, I bet, is not as sensitive as yours, but she generally knows what I'm thinking, if it is about her. And fairly often knows it before I do.
^^^THIS:)

I could tell stories about Duke (RIP), starting with the first time I rode him, that would have some people thinking I need to be locked away

There was once a serious discussion on this subject on a now defunct forum.

Some horses are much more in tune to human thought than others.

The bottom line to that old discussion is that people who think in pictures have a much better chance of silent communication with their horse than someone who thinks in abstract; especially as it applies to training:)

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #8 of 35 Old 12-12-2019, 09:14 AM
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I think he's just sensitive. :) They can sense everything, you may not even realize you're doing it like you said. You could just be 'thinking' it...& they will sense that.

For example, my mare knows what I'm thinking, before I even ask her to do something. I don't have to really 'physically' cue her, she just knows. If I think 'trot'...bam, she trots. LOL. It's pretty cool...how in tune they are with us!

I agree with the above - just use your thoughts!!!

Ride more, worry less.
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post #9 of 35 Old 12-12-2019, 11:34 AM
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Bandit does the same thing. He sees no reason to wait forever for lollygagging horses. When they get close, he's ready to move out again. I consider it a plus. If I want Bandit to stay still, I've got to tell him - notice the reins:

The moment he got slack, he turned 180 and continued down the trail.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #10 of 35 Old 12-12-2019, 11:43 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
He's sensitive. Stop trying to physically cue him and just think at him instead.

My horse, I bet, is not as sensitive as yours, but she generally knows what I'm thinking, if it is about her. And fairly often knows it before I do.
Oh I rarely need to consciously cue him. And I tend to not do so at all. He's 98% of the time on the ball with what I'm thinking. I just brought this up to see what other opinions were. I'm to the stage now that I do me, and you do you... and most comments go right over my head... but I still get the occasional cluck of the tongue and how disrespectful, he didn't even wait for you types of comments, or: you're too soft on him, if he were my horse he'd by gawd wait till I told him to move out, blahblahblah.

More than anything I thought we could just discuss it and debate it if need be and hopefully help anyone else that wonders the same thing and is being told the same thing.

He IS very sensitive to my body language, moods, tone of voice and yes, more than likely he's just reading my split second in the future intentions through my change of position in the saddle, maybe even what I'm saying... because:

Trigger and I will turn to face folks that are catching up - he seems to be less inclined to press forward if we turn to face the way we came. Me to folks catching up on the trail as we're facing them: All caught up?

Reply from folks: Yeah! We're good!

Me: Alright... *Annnnd he's already turning around and moving out...and I've not knowingly, consciously asked for it.*

I'm glad to see everyone else is in agreement - he's just reading me better than I read myself, which is what I'd come to suspect over the years, not that he's spoiled or ignoring my authori-tye (Cartman voice).

It's nice to have confirmation of this, and hopefully we can discuss the difference between reading us and reading us quickly and accurately... and just being disrespectful and hasty.

"We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that death will tremble to take us."
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