Does licking and chewing mean the horse is "digesting a thought"? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I disagree. First...why do I want to teach the horse to do circles in a round pen? In what sense is "circles in a round pen" useful or helpful to a horse, or something they would find helpful in the real world? If you, the human, are the creator of tension, and you do it specifically to cause tension, then why would the horse learn trust, or anything other than appeasement?

I have taught my kids and now my grandkids how to handle things without ever chasing them in circles. Or creating artificial tension - Move or I will whip you - and then learning that acting submissive will result in my allowing them to rest. We do not teach the horse trust by making OURSELVES the scary object.

We can teach submission that way, and that is how I believe much of round pen work is done - to teach submission. And SOME submission is needed. But I have never seen any sign we build trust by first making ourselves scary, and then letting the horse's submissiveness buy him peace.

And meanwhile, licking and chewing remains almost irrelevant to learning, since it only signals a release of tension - not WHY the tension is released.
If you have an un trained horse, are you going to try and do some ground work out in the wide open spaces?
The round pen, is atool, for short term putting some very basic fundamentals on a horse, BEFORE he is saddled and ridden. I think you bought both of your hroses broke, whether well broke or green, they had been ridden
If you are scaring the horse, then you are using round pen work incorrectly.
Do you see where you are going, with this argument-same direction as taking ATD to the extreme, implying it means force or aggression
Why use the lick and chew ?, because it is body language, same as how a horse uses his tail, his ears, his body posture, and various vocal sounds
You drive a horse, control his direction, not to the point of scaring him, but to the point that he sees you comparable to a dominant horse, and you read how willingly he complies, to adjust the degree of drive or energy that you use
You are also always thinking of a broke hrose, versus one never really yet taught boundaries
I don't know about you, but I learned to put some of these fundamentals on a colt, before riding him for the first time. In the beginning, I used to just saddle a colt a time or two, let him eat with a bit in his mouth, twice a day, for a few days, and then get on and ride. Never used to mind coming off much in those days!
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post #22 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 04:22 PM
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Obviously, Cowboy was round penned incorrectly (now I am using round pen as a verb! Must be going NH! )
You also had a horse afraid of men in Black cowboy hats
We have spoken of negative associations, with actual obstacles, entities,then fear that have nothing to do with that obstacle itself, but by what happened near/in it
My horses trust me. Don't think Smilie or any other hrose I have ridden for awhile, licked their lips or chewed in years, even though perhaps they did in those few round pen sessions years ago. To tell you the truth, I can't remember
It certainly has not scared them, they ride out with trust I never lunge ahorse that is broke before riding, including when they have been tied up all night, in the mountains, then riding out in pre dawn, with wind blowing and at times, elk bugling.
When you can control the direction of a horse, using your body language, showing him that he can;t change directions whenever he wants to, he starts to see you as the better hrose, for lack of more fitting word at the moment
It is 30 degrees out, and I just finished riding Charlie some. That is hot for Alberta, so my brain is a bit slow!
How is that so different, then showing a horse he has to respect your personal space?

As for the grandkids, I don't think they are going to leave if you teach them something in wide open spaces-not until they get the keys to your car, anyways!
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post #23 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 04:30 PM
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I think you might have referenced the same site, BSMS, but perhaps this paragraph helps? Maybe not, for you

'Misconceptions and mistakes aside, the lick / chew reflex can be used as a reliable indicator that can be valuable for training. Licking and chewing consistently indicates that the horse has just changed from a state of higher anxiety to a state of lower anxiety. By recognizing this emotional change during quiet encounters with the horse (as opposed to running the horse to distress) we can determine if the horse is accepting of the stimulus, activities or objects being presented.
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post #24 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
If you have an un trained horse, are you going to try and do some ground work out in the wide open spaces?
The round pen, is atool, for short term putting some very basic fundamentals on a horse, BEFORE he is saddled and ridden...

...why use the lick and chew ?, because it is body language, same as how a horse uses his tail, his ears, his body posture, and various vocal sounds

...You are also always thinking of a broke hrose, versus one never really yet taught boundaries...
Of course some work is going to be done. I bought one horse totally unridden (Lilly) and had her trained. And the lady who trained her later gave me lessons in round penning a new horse.

"Lick & Chew" is NOT body language. At least, not in any certain sense. It tells us a horse has felt significant stress, and now feels less. That is all.

The title of this thread is based on what I was taught when I took round pen lessons, and while I watched Lilly being trained prior to her first ride:

Does licking and chewing mean the horse is "digesting a thought"?

I was told it MEANT the horse had learned the lesson and was putting it into long term memory. But the people who study behavior say that is not true. They say it is like me checking my speedometer and sighing after seeing a cop car.

No particular lesson. And no, seeing a cop car does not bring me terror or overwhelming stress. But it gives me concern, at least.

I also wish to repeat that my own belief is that licking and chewing CAN mean something good, depending on the total picture. If I ask Bandit to do something he isn't sure he can do, and he is successful, he may lick & chew for a moment. And get light on the front end, and curve his neck, and act quite proud of himself. All good. He's processing something good: "I didn't know if I could do it, but I did! I DID it! I'm such a fine horse!"

And at times like that, I'll scratch his neck and tell him he is "Bandit the Brave! Bandit the Bold! Bandit the Strong!" And Bandit, with equine modesty, agrees!

But I remember looking, during a lesson given by an experienced local professional, at a horse with heaving sides, sweating hard, head down, licking and chewing - and being told I had done well. That I was teaching the horse "trust".

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Originally Posted by Smilie View Post
Well, you picked two trainers that I have no use for, so tell me what you find offensive in Stacy;s video, when she uses that lick and chew to read ahorse, so we have some common ground to discuss
I picked two famous trainers with many followers. I will download and watch Stacy's video sometime during the next day or so. My Internet is leisurely at best, and we're starting the time of day when it crawls.

But again: For years, I was taught that licking & chewing MEANS the horse is learning, and "digesting its lesson". My point is not that it is total evil, but that it is frequently misinterpreted. I don't panic if my horse licks & chews after something, but neither do I assume it means he learned anything good. He isn't digesting a thought. He is just going from a time of stress to a time of lower stress.

That may be good: Bandit doing something that challenged him. Or bad: Cowboy scared in ANY round pen.

I also want to emphasize NO ONE has to agree with my conclusions. I'm a total nobody in training. I wanted to present some opposing views by some people who study horse behavior professionally. And anyone can disagree with them, too! It is OK. I disagree with a number of scientists and studies. But I also like thinking about WHY I have come to certain conclusions. And sometimes, after years of thinking something, I change my mind or views...

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #25 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 08:52 PM
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"It tells us a horse has felt significant stress, and now feels less. That is all." @bsms . I do agree it is a way for a horse to show us they are relieving tension or stress. But, my horses will lick and chew when I open the back door in the morning to feed. They have been on pasture all night, so I am assuming they haven't been stressed. Binging on green grass maybe, but I can't imagine that is stressful. Yet there they are staring me down like I was a bale of alfalfa, licking and chewing.

So I agree with you that it can be a tension release, but I think horses lick and chew for more than that reason alone. And it is our job as owners to figure out why they lick and chew under all the different scenarios we present to them.

PS. Even before I open the back basement door to feed, I step out on the 30x40 party deck with my first cup of coffe (I am not human until that first cup by the way), in the old ratty PJs and some flip flops. As I stand there gazing down at them with the heavenly sent coffe, the Dales whinnies in frustration at my lack of movement, but then licks and chews. The Arab mumbles deeply, muuuuummmmmmuuuummmm, then licks and chews. Maybe licking and chewing can also be a sign of impatience .....lololol....I don't know, I don't speak horse well, nor do I think like one.

Food for thought!
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post #26 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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My horses are on dry lot. They can see into the house via the sliding glass door. My son & his family are living with us now, and he leaves for work before 6 AM. He tries to be discrete, but he says at the smallest sign of light, all three horses are staring in with Border Collie intensity, thru the back door...and he HAS to go feed them hay. "Their will is too strong..."

:>)
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post #27 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 09:09 PM
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I think they have 'puppy dog eyes' that are better than puppy dogs!
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post #28 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 09:42 PM
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The dry lott where both Smilie and Charlie spend the night, is visible from my back door and also from the patio deck off our kitchen
Hubby goes out, and usually nothing (they have slow feeder hay nets all night )
I only need to get as far as the dog dish outside the back door, and a chorus of whinnies great me
Back tot he licking and chewing. Anyone that runs a horse until he is dripping sweat (an aggressive horse being retrained, being an exception) is using that entire concept wrong
Licking and chewing is also not like the submissive teeth clacking foals will make, often just greeting an adult or older horse they do not know
Okay, don't call it body language, and if that licking and chewing is loud enough, add it tot he vocal language of Equus
Sometimes when I dismount Charlie, she gives me a soft nicker. I can only conclude she likes to see me, versus just knowing I am on her .
If the horse is not stressed out perhaps chews after completing a task, is standing there relaxed, what is the big deal?
I don't believe in working a horse until he chews or licks his lips, and most times in those early sessions, I had many young horses that never did the chewing or licking
If one happens to engage in that, after a work session, is not stressed,is relaxed, ends on a happy note, then I don't agonize over it.
I can see where your negative impressions come from BSMS, as It seems all of your hroses were started by bad trainers for some reason or another, that used these various tools, including a round pen incorrectly
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post #29 of 62 Old 07-07-2017, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I disagree. First...why do I want to teach the horse to do circles in a round pen? In what sense is "circles in a round pen" useful or helpful to a horse, or something they would find helpful in the real world? If you, the human, are the creator of tension, and you do it specifically to cause tension, then why would the horse learn trust, or anything other than appeasement?

Round penning is NOT NOT NOT about teaching a horse to go in circles! that's absurd.
It's about getting a hrose to pay attention, to listen to your body language, to transition up and down at your request and do it without getting upset. It's about being able to ask your horse to move away from you without mentally 'leaving' you . It's about allowing a hrose a bit of expression of his opinion in a safe manner, it's about pushing AND drawing.
The circle is mearly for convenience.
And as for creating tension on purpose, we want the hrose to respond WITHOUT tension, but in the beginning, that might not happen.

The Parelli video is a very bad example, as the hrose is now operating on automatic and is ready to jump out from under him. who would want to ride a horse in that frame of mind?
I have taught my kids and now my grandkids how to handle things without ever chasing them in circles. Or creating artificial tension - Move or I will whip you - and then learning that acting submissive will result in my allowing them to rest. We do not teach the horse trust by making OURSELVES the scary object.

Again, you are taking my analogy to absurd levels. I never suggested we teach our children by running them in circles.

We can teach submission that way, and that is how I believe much of round pen work is done - to teach submission. And SOME submission is needed. But I have never seen any sign we build trust by first making ourselves scary, and then letting the horse's submissiveness buy him peace.

Maybe to a horse, it isn't trust, but rather reliance, or just 'get along'. again, it's not about scaring the horse, but about saying "can you move away from me? now, can you come back to me? Can you go at a trot, and now , a canter? . . . etc. Doing this until the hrose is doing it WITHOUT fear. What's important is how you end up
I'd like to know, before hand, if a hrose is likely to loose it if I ask them to canter, or if they will politely move their shoulder over, without becoming resentful, or just turning and fleeing. there's a good place in the middle. we are looking for the good place.
And meanwhile, licking and chewing remains almost irrelevant to learning, since it only signals a release of tension - not WHY the tension is released.

my comments in brown.
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post #30 of 62 Old 07-08-2017, 12:19 AM Thread Starter
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The subject of THIS thread is licking and chewing, and what does it mean. I posted it because I think the consensus of animal behaviorists is that it doesn't really mean what people often says it means, and that is independent of round pens.

It is challenging NH dogma. It is meant to. Folks will have to decide how to view licking & chewing, by THEIR horses, on their own. At a minimum, though, I think it is fair to say it ought to be viewed as just one part of the equation, and that the rider/trainer needs to take into account the total horse.

And if you hear someone on a video saying, "See him licking and chewing? He's thinking, this person is someone I ought to trust"...view it with skepticism. It MAY mean nothing more than "That jerk had finally stopped tormenting me!"
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