Why I Gotta Trot - Page 299 - The Horse Forum
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post #2981 of 3134 Old 06-29-2019, 11:35 AM
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I get where all three of you are coming from! My dad is an excellent horseman, and his theory is to completely ignore it. Horse spins sideways and he just keeps riding him forward pretending nothing happened. Ignoring things sometimes is the best plan.

That seems close to the plan for Isabeau. A lot of hot horses seem to need that to be the response. Yet, my General and I believe Cash, worked really well with Hondoís plan. It also was a brilliant way to learn rollbacks. General was great at rollbacks, and he hated doing them, so often he pretended nothing was scary. With Bones that theory would backfire fast, so he needed me to ignore things or push him forward.

I think it is hard to judge a horse from the outside. I know I have no idea where Hero is coming from by watching. It is easy to me to feel the difference between simple arguing and fear, but watching Hero I wasnít sure. Watching I didnít feel that he was scared. I felt more like he was tantrumy, but I donít know because he isnít wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

I only say I wasnít sure of his motivation because he wasnít fast. I donít know if that makes sense, but that was my hang up with it. Same thing in the round corral; it confused me.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2982 of 3134 Old 06-29-2019, 05:39 PM
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I operate like your dad does Knave. In the last few years I have been perfecting total relaxed seat and body. My one horse is a great arena horse, lousy on trails if he's by himself. He did the funky chicken walk in extreme rollkur on a loose rein and sweats. I thought I am relaxed, I'm giving him a lot of rein but using my body to hold him back. So I stop using my body to hold him back and became totally relaxed, stop telling him to slow down and take it easy, and just rode him like we are on a lazy trail ride. Works like a charm, I could feel the tension just leave his body when I let everything relax on my body. Works for him, admittedly I haven't tried it on any other horses, my other two are fine on the trail.

I am not here to promote anythingNo, that's not true, I am here to promote everything equestrian and everyone enjoying horses!
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post #2983 of 3134 Old 06-29-2019, 06:23 PM
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I try to roll that way on nervous horses too @waresbear . Bones relaxes when I ignore him, but I have to push him forward if I have to cross water, because I actually have to get to the other side. Lol

I found General to be exactly how you describe occasionally. One day I decided to tell him, ďokay, letís do rollkur and dance. I like dancing. This is a great idea.Ē After a little bit he realized I was going along with him instead of holding him back. Then, for just a moment or two more, when he decided it was getting to be work, I said ďLetís keep dancing. I like it.Ē Lol

He actually stopped doing that after I went along with him! If he ever started again I joined, and he wouldnít keep it up at all. ;)

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2984 of 3134 Old 06-30-2019, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knave View Post
I think it is hard to judge a horse from the outside. I know I have no idea where Hero is coming from by watching. It is easy to me to feel the difference between simple arguing and fear, but watching Hero I wasnít sure. Watching I didnít feel that he was scared. I felt more like he was tantrumy, but I donít know because he isnít wearing his emotions on his sleeve.

I only say I wasnít sure of his motivation because he wasnít fast. I donít know if that makes sense, but that was my hang up with it. Same thing in the round corral; it confused me.
All the good thoughts are helpful. Today I worked Hero a little in the field because Nala's rider wanted to trailer her two horses together for a ride.

Something seemed to click for me, and I think I have figured something out about Hero. I think he is like Amore used to be, when she did not have any tolerance for fright. Except I think what he cannot tolerate is unhappiness i.e. anything less than perfect happiness. It might appear like he is not wearing his emotions on his sleeve, but he actually is. When he is scared, he does something fast like spook or run forward. When he is hesitant or unsure, he freezes. When he is unhappy, he squeals, grunts, bucks, hops or rears.

So what I believe is that I need to do what I did for Amore, which was to increase his tolerance for unhappiness, and to decrease his reaction to it. That sounds sort of mean, but it's not like Amore wanted to be frightened either. But what registered for her as fright was at such a low level that other horses wouldn't notice it. And it is the same for Hero with unhappiness. He registers unhappiness and reacts strongly to it for something as simple as "I want you to walk in a circle" when he is thinking of doing something else.

I have been so focused on his physical issues that I've not spent time on this. So for example today I had him do some lunging but despite unhappiness, had him do the gait I chose. If he wanted to canter and buck, I had him trot. If he wanted to trot, I had him walk. Basic obedience to commands, but for him it is practicing tolerance for doing things he isn't choosing.

When I rode him, he decided not to go in a circle, and we practiced doing it anyway, and walking/not rearing. He was successful, and I know this is something we will have to practice over and over for a long time.

The good thing is I believe he's come farther physically than I'd hoped he would. He doesn't drag his hooves anymore and they keep getting more balanced. I think he will maintain now, so I can focus more on training rather than just fitness and body issues. In case you are wondering, he is the same in the field. Any small unhappiness has him reacting strongly, even if he just steps wrong. But overall he is not an unhappy horse, and today came nickering and running when he saw me. He doesn't see life as a whole negatively, I don't think, but instead reacts strongly to every small inconvenience like a person with a short fuse.

After working Hero, we took Nala and Nickel out for a trail ride. Nickel is great at trails and was very fun to ride. He's big but can weave through trees better than almost any horse I've ridden.

I like his tail here.



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post #2985 of 3134 Old 06-30-2019, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by lostastirrup View Post
Why have I not been following this journal? I do not know. But I am now.
You will need a time machine unless you're a fast reader! The interesting journals effect...

SueC is time travelling.
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post #2986 of 3134 Old 07-01-2019, 03:11 AM Thread Starter
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Several short musings...
I went through Hero's diet again on FeedXL and see that when I changed his vitamins a couple months ago I decreased his magnesium by quite a bit. Also (we have hay tested) it looks like his diet might be deficient in Thiamine. So I'm going to add a supplement for those and see if maybe his extra enthusiasm for rearing recently might be related. Both Magnesium and Thiamine deficiencies can cause issues.

It's interesting how Nickel seems to try to make things work, or tries to figure out how to work with what you offer him. We changed his bit before the ride yesterday (from a thick single joint snaffle to a thinner french link), and he chomped it a few times and then decided it would work for him. He also has been used to a tall rider for the past ten years, and I could tell some of my cues were a little off for him but he tried anyway. I lengthened my stirrups and later he started getting excited and cantering away, and I could tell my cue to slow did not have enough leverage for him to relate to. So I tried getting strong from my core, and doing a counter bend, and then he was like "Oh, we're doing dressage again?" and he curved around my leg and did a half pass canter for a few strides. Very nicely diagonal. This did focus his mind, and then I was able to bring him down.

Something that was funny though was a spook he did when we were cantering (it's on the video). He actually spooked UP. That's something I haven't experienced a lot, I only remember once when I was on Halla and a snake ran between her legs, she spooked straight up. It wasn't a rear or anything, just a spook into the air with all four legs. I guess if you're worried, just go up and see if the scary thing will run away underneath you.

This is a funny article about a horse's critique of bipeds.
https://www.chronofhorse.com/article...nNlmrWZnGEvqRQ

OFF TOPIC:

If anyone likes fantasy books, I finished a sequel to my first ebook novel on Amazon, and it's free for several days to download.
The first book Labyrinth has the theme of the usual young girl is chosen as the sacrifice to the monster/volcano/etc. My sister and I as kids read all the fairy tale books, and we always liked it when someone like Robin McKinley made the stories longer.
I always write stories to entertain myself, and was wanting a Minotaur to not be an evil monster, and also wanted to imagine someone in that situation who was an optimist and thought everything might turn out OK. Although there is supposed to be some romance (not the steamy kind), my sister says there is a stronger relationship between the girl and animals, which she also said she understands, knowing me. I will warn you that the girl in this book does not particularly like horses.

Anyway, for the second book, I always wanted a longer version of the princess on the glass hill fairy tale. I also wanted a phoenix bird in a story. And the king in my first book seemed so nice, I thought he should find someone too. Well, the characters just kind of did their own thing. This one is more of a romance but the princess does have a pet rat who is quite cute, of course.

The Glass Mountain:
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=evelyn+ma...ref=nb_sb_noss

Labyrinth:
https://www.amazon.com/Labyrinth-Eve...gateway&sr=8-1

Authors take so long to write books I am waiting for. I want the third Name of the Wind book from Patrick Rothfuss and also Robin McKinley wrote a book called Pegasus and it ended abruptly and needs a sequel!
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post #2987 of 3134 Old 07-01-2019, 01:15 PM
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I logged in only for a moment to scold you. You ruined my morning! ;) Iíve accomplished nothing because I read your book, and now I need to get to work.

Anyways, I loved it. It was your best work yet.
Congratulations on a great book.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2988 of 3134 Old 07-01-2019, 06:59 PM
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The recent discussions have got me thinking and wondering about associations, emotional associations that is.


I have a sweet gentle dog from a shelter. He was clearly abused, sadly, and if he accidently hurts himself he also becomes terrified. He associates the pain with fear.


I wondered if Hero, in his past, was asked to do new things which led to scary experiences for him, so that now, he is actually afraid if he doesn't know yet what he is being asked to do, or where it will lead.
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post #2989 of 3134 Old 07-03-2019, 07:54 AM
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Thank you for adding to my mile-high pile of quality reading material, @gottatrot !

@Knave , how on earth do you do it? It takes me at least two days to read a book...

SueC is time travelling.
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post #2990 of 3134 Old 07-04-2019, 01:53 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knave View Post
I logged in only for a moment to scold you. You ruined my morning! ;) Iíve accomplished nothing because I read your book, and now I need to get to work.

Anyways, I loved it. It was your best work yet.
Congratulations on a great book.
Thank you! I appreciate that you read it!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SueC View Post
Thank you for adding to my mile-high pile of quality reading material, @gottatrot !

@Knave , how on earth do you do it? It takes me at least two days to read a book...
I am sure we all read way too much. It's much better for our brains than what a lot of other people do with theirs though...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alder View Post
The recent discussions have got me thinking and wondering about associations, emotional associations that is...

...I wondered if Hero, in his past, was asked to do new things which led to scary experiences for him, so that now, he is actually afraid if he doesn't know yet what he is being asked to do, or where it will lead.
It's interesting, and seems complex to figure out what motivates horses. They are definitely all different. The TB I was riding the other day, Nickel is conditioned heavily to respond to forward cues. So several times we stopped to look at scary things, and twice I felt his heart pounding so obviously he was afraid. Elk kept crossing our path or popping out of the bushes. But when he'd stop, I would give a squeeze with my legs, which apparently I am in the habit of doing this even though in my experience a "stalled out" horse is going to just stand there anyway.

What was disconcerting was that when I squeezed, Nickel would immediately start forward. Then I was like, "Hold on a minute, are you sure you're ready?" It made me realize I am always asking horses to go forward when they stop to look at scary things, but I don't actually expect them to continue on until they are in the right frame of mind. Nickel was going to obey, whether that meant he was ready to face the scary things or not! That is strange to me, and means I better be prepared myself if I am asking him to go, since he's going to rely on my judgment.

Something that makes Hero difficult to assess is that most of the time he does not seem afraid. I'm not just relying on other horses and their reactions to judge whether Hero is afraid, but on his own responses when he is afraid. When he is afraid, he has pretty normal responses such as head up, nostrils flaring, tense body/staring at what concerns him, unwillingness to move toward that object. This is in contrast to when I believe he is not afraid, but rather unhappy.

For example, he does not seem afraid to leave behind horses in the fields in order to walk away from them with me. If I lead him out, he'll be alert and want to go see what we are doing. If we go to graze, or do something interesting, he will have no concerns. But most of the time his more extreme reactions seem not related to fear, but to unhappiness or over-excitement (anxiety?). For example, if a horse picks up the canter on the beach and goes by him he will often buck. I don't think he is afraid, but he seems unhappy either that they are passing him in that manner or that he thinks they may run off faster than he can follow. To me that seems less like fear and more like unhappiness or anxiety.

It seems that he has emotional associations about certain things that make him upset. He can stay in that upset state for a long time. But it doesn't seem like fear to me. It's more like he has made a decision, and anything contrary to that decision is upsetting to him. If he decides he should stop and graze, then anything that is not stopping and grazing is going to become a problem.

When I first got Amore, if anything made her afraid she would panic and start bucking. What I had to do was get her to stop the bucking, starting with a few seconds. Once I got a few seconds of lessened panic, I built on that. To me the feeling is almost the same with Hero, except it's not fear that is getting him upset, but rather unhappiness or frustration. This he doesn't tolerate the same way Amore didn't tolerate the fear. So I think I have to work on having him tolerate feeling frustrated, until he can cope with it and give me longer stretches where he does not feel the need to act up due to those emotions.

It would be impossible to avoid frustrating him, because his threshold is very low. Amore would fear/panic from the tiniest things like the breeze against her tail, a donkey braying on a nearby farm, or the rattle of a ladder. Similarly, Hero has strong reactions to the smallest things, and ones that are necessary for simple ridden work.

I have a theory about how he might have been conditioned this way. Judging by his physical appearance, he had dealt with the locking stifles for a long time. People with chronic pain often have this "short fuse" because they use up so many endorphins and so much mental focus dealing with the pain. Anything beyond that can be too much for them to cope with and can cause overly strong reactions. Hero was in chronic pain for a long time. He probably developed this habitual response during that time. Now he has to relearn how to cope with things in a less dramatic way, so hopefully I can teach him how.

Hero does not seem to associate me with negative things. He always nickers loudly when I come to the field, and usually comes to greet me. Last night I let the horses out to graze, and Nala and Amore ignored me but Hero came back to sniff at me and see what I was doing. He's always willing to be caught and to go out, and actually much better about that than when I first got him.
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