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post #551 of 1323 Old 11-01-2015, 11:16 PM Thread Starter
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I have to say though that moving from the old barn has really opened so many doors for me in terms of learning. It all stems from the amount of time I have free now, seeing that I dont have to spend hours every week feeding and spend 10 hour days at the barn every Sat and Sun. At the old barn, I wasnt able to learn really because I spent so much time feeding all the horses there.

Because of this, Im able to really educate myself and read books and take the time to refocus my mind by doing other stuff aeven s well on the weekends and even take a day off from seeing her from time to time. Remember at the old barn, I was so caught up in making sure my mare was safe by checking up on her every night because the BO didnt do this. I went to see her every single night, the 3 months she was there because I didnt trust the BO for anything. But at the new barn because I trust the BO, its amazing how much more confident and happier you are when you trust the BO.
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post #552 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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I had to reply to this, it was such a great piece of advice. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
First get comfortable with the other horses in her paddock and let them know that you are not to be trifled with. Say HI, get a pat and a quick scritch and off you go. They are not to come around and try to boss your mare, push her out, push you out, or interfere in any way. At first, I'd halter her and carry a lunge whip or carrot stick in with me to let the others know that you are in charge.
Ok

Quote:
Not at all. Pick one thing you want her to learn and every day that you go out, spend 15 or 20 mins. Working on that one thing until she gets it. If you go out for several hours, then break it up. For instance, in the first hour spend 15 mins teaching her one thing. Then go away for a while. 2nd hour, spend 20-30 mins grooming her and letting her stand quietly tied. Come back and turn her loose in a small corral or round pen for a little while. 3rd hour, work on a different thing for 15 mins. I wouldn't do too many sessions in one day, that can quickly lead to burn out for both of you. One of my trainers used to say, "Work him more than once a day, but allow him time to forget he's already been worked, feed him a meal and leave him alone for a while in between." I find that works pretty well.
Ok. Well right now Im currently still working on teaching her to lead away from me willingly. Shes getting better but still room for improvement. Ive been working on this with her for the past week, just casually though whenever I lead her (no more leading lessons).

One member mentioned I should teach her to come to me at the gate when I catch her. Is this a good or bad idea? I always thought its better if you go up to them to catch them and not have them come to you?

Quote:
I've never been in to clicker training, it's cool but I jest never saw the point, I guess. When my horse is doing well, good attitude, doing what I ask, I say a BIG, "GOOOOOOD BOY!" or girl, whatever. When we've had a bit of a disagreement over how things should go and he finally has the light come on and does what I have been asking, I usually go over and kiss him on his nose (I KNOW I KNOW, he doesn't have a CLUE what a kiss is) and I drape my arm over his neck and put my hand between his ears and get him to drop his head and I say softly, "Goooood booooooy!" and I tossle his forelock a little and then I rub the base of his ears. Softly and gently so that my praise is exactly the opposite of the little tussle we had.
I thought kissing a horse on the nose is bad? Is this something that needs to be taught before done? Im not sure how horses generally feel when they get kissed randomly. I would love to give my mare hugs and kisses every now and then.

Quote:
When I'm training I don't care if they think I'm a vending machine for treats, as long as they understand that the only currency accepted is doing what I've asked of them. Then they get praise and/or a treat. Frequently in the beginning, they get both.
Good point. But you over time phase out the treats? Do you believe that its much harder (if even impossible at times) to teach them new stuff without the use of treats?

Quote:
Licking and chewing is nice when you have a real demonstrative horse. I've had horses though, that you could watch all day long and if you weren't paying real close attention at just the right moment, you'd miss it, it was that little and that subtle. That kind of horse also tends to clench their jaws and get uptight. With one of those, I will wait until I see they have "locked up" and then I'll go over and very gently stick my finger in their mouth so they have to unlock their jaws, and they'll reflexively lick and chew. I just stand with my arm draped over that horse's neck and gently give them time to relax a little and digest what we've just been doing. I don't pet, don't talk, nothing, just BE for a little while. Once I can see they've reflected and processed a little bit, I'll back up to something they understood and did well and start over from there.
Are you standing next to them when you give them time to think it over and take it in? Or facing them?

Dumb question, but say shes on a halter and lead still, and I have her on my side standing next to me. Wont she see the fact that shes still on a lead, that shes being worked and she wont be processing what she just learned, but instead what is next and waiting for que from you?

Quote:
In the beginning, I praise lots and lots and lots and I give a lot of treats, consistently when they do something right. At this point, it doesn't matter if they think I'm a hot and cold drink dispenser, as long as they give me a good honest try, I'll give a treat and praise. We can work on weaning off of treats and such later on (like a year or 2 down the road), right now I want them to get what I'm teaching.
So the previous owner has always used treats when working with my mare when she had. I guess its not as bad of a thing as it sounds eh? Though, my past trainer swears that you should minimize the times you hand feed your horse. Do it too much and they will always expect and look for treats from you.

Quote:
No, you're not talking mumbo jumbo, but you ARE trying too much too fast. Some horses are like the nerd kid in school and seem to drink n everything you toss at them, training wise. Most are more like the Spay-shull kids that need individual teaching and someone who can be infinitely adaptable to their learning needs. I forget who said it, Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt? But, "It takes a horse at least 1000 repetitions before you can say he's truly trained." That means, 1000 reps of EVERY SINGLE THING you ever teach them. Before that, they may or may not have it and in a crunch may forget what they've been taught. They have to build muscle memory in addition to having "head" knowledge.
What do you mean Im trying too much too fast? I first started off with the word associating by just saying "good" then treating. Rinse and repeat. Then I brought it over to when I lead her and she willingly leads away from me. Also, when she unhaltered without fussing (this I still do the "good" and reward her after) but I dont do over the top praising anymore for this since sh doesnt fuss anymore.

Quote:
Absolutely it will happen. You just need to give her time. Do more with her, spend time just learning to hear what she's telling you and the more you learn her ways, the more she'll trust and rely on you.
What Ive really worked on with her lately is me focusing more on her body language. All the time. When I groom her, I pay attention to her ears and see what shes telling me. Yesterday and the day before I was grooming her and I was brushing the right side of her barrel. She immediately turned her head towards it and her ears went back for a quick sec. I stopped cause I thought maybe she was sore there. I tried again to brush that area but I did it much softer and worked the area around it first, then worked into that same area again. This time she seemed ok. Will have to keep monitoring this when brushing her. I have a feeling she may be sore in this area still and perhaps doesnt want me brushing this area. Hence the ears back and head turned right away to that area.

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post #553 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoofpic View Post
Ok. Well right now Im currently still working on teaching her to lead away from me willingly. Shes getting better but still room for improvement.

I'm not sure what you mean by "lead away from me". Are you talking about her maintaining space and not walking to close beside you?

One member mentioned I should teach her to come to me at the gate when I catch her. Is this a good or bad idea? I always thought its better if you go up to them to catch them and not have them come to you?

I whistle for mine and they come running. Remember the saying, "He who moves his feet loses.". When you go up to them in pasture, if they decide they don't want to deal with you and walk or run away then you have to deal with it and it wastes time. I much prefer them to come to me and I'll take the one I want and let the others go back to grazing.

I thought kissing a horse on the nose is bad?

OH MY GOOD GAWD A'MIGHTY! LOL! Who told you that? It's my nose or ear and if I want to kiss it I will. I don't think a hug and kiss means the same thing to a horse as it does to a human, but it's one of my "quirks" that they get to put up with. I kiss noses and ears from the time they are babies. In fact, if their disposition is such that they don't want their nose or ears kissed (ok by "want" I really mean put up with me kissing them) then they pretty soon get sent down the road. Not my kind of disposition.

Is this something that needs to be taught before done?

Yes, I start teaching them they can deal with it when they are days old. There is nothing funnier than having a foal walk up and stick his nose in your face to get the smooch over with. And you can TELL it's getting it over with, it's like Kleenex's and Mother's Spit, they aren't big on it but they deal with it. After a while they discover that it's also accompanied by scritches in their favorite spots and become very ok with the whole deal.

Good point. But you over time phase out the treats? Do you believe that its much harder (if even impossible at times) to teach them new stuff without the use of treats?

I eventually do phase out treats for training a particular thing, say whistle and they come to the gate. I can also holler, "Who wants an apple treat?" or dinner, and they'll come a-runnin'. If I call them up with the promise of a treat I always deliver, or if I use dinner I take them in to dinner. If I just whistle, I feel no obligation to give them a treat, it just means, "Come here.".

Are you standing next to them when you give them time to think it over and take it in? Or facing them?

I'm next to them. Think of it like you're training your 10 year old nephew on how to shoot baskets. But he's short and getting frustrated because he's not making many baskets. So you tell him to stop and think about what you've said and you go over and just stand beside him with your arm around his shoulders. You don't talk, rub his shoulders or do anything, just stand there and let him think and let him know that it's ok if he doesn't get it right now. He'll get it and when he does, he'll have it for good.

Dumb question, but say shes on a halter and lead still, and I have her on my side standing next to me. Wont she see the fact that shes still on a lead, that shes being worked and she wont be processing what she just learned, but instead what is next and waiting for que from you?

Well, technically she IS still working, but you're giving her some downtime to think about what she's just learned. If I do that, especially if I've had to unlock their jaws and I'm just trying to let them relax, I wait until they sigh and I can feel the tension leave or in my more outgoing horses, they perk up, lift their heads and look around at me like, "Ok, what's next?" Usually at that point we'll do something they're familiar with and stop for the time being.

So the previous owner has always used treats when working with my mare when she had. I guess its not as bad of a thing as it sounds eh?

This is another one of those ask 10 horsemen and get 20 different answers situations. I, personally, use treats. I don't have a problem with getting mugged because I don't allow that. When they do something right, especially right in the beginning, I treat, scritch and praise.

Though, my past trainer swears that you should minimize the times you hand feed your horse. Do it too much and they will always expect and look for treats from you.

When I'm teaching, I don't care if they look to me for a treat. Pretty soon they make the connection that they only get a treat when they do what I ask or give me an honest try. I don't indiscriminately hand out treats when I'm using them for training. Now, my older horses, they never know when I have a treat in my hand or my pocket and they know better than to sniff search me. Other people swear that hand feeding and treating is awful. I've been around horses my whole life and never found it to be a problem for me. Find your own happy spot with treating.

What do you mean Im trying too much too fast? I first started off with the word associating by just saying "good" then treating. Rinse and repeat. Then I brought it over to when I lead her and she willingly leads away from me. Also, when she unhaltered without fussing (this I still do the "good" and reward her after) but I dont do over the top praising anymore for this since sh doesnt fuss anymore.

I mean that your horse is in training and being taught a lot. You're working on haltering, leading, standing tied and talking about trick training. Pick one thing and work that until she's got it and then leave it alone. Especially since she's in training, I wouldn't be trying to teach her too much on the side, she needs time to just relax and be a horse.

When I start working with the babies I start with getting them to let me touch them while they are suckling. Then I get them to let me walk up and touch them. Then I take mom for a walk and let baby follow. This all takes a week or so depending on the baby. Some go faster, some slower. After I can walk up, scritch and pet and mess with them without them getting upset, then I put a halter on them, probably about their 3rd or 4th day. In a week or so, I'll attach a catch line and we work inside the stall on being caught. By the time that foal is weaned he'll wear a halter, lead on his own, stand for the farrier, let me check his teeth, tongue and gums, play with his tail and stand for a bath (if it's warm enough) and he'll walk on and off the trailer all by himself. He'll ride fine with mother in the trailer with him. That takes 4 solid months, to introduce, get him accustomed and finally feel like he knows those particular items. Oh, and he'll let me clip him, a little at a time. I might have 3 short sessions a day, never more than 10 mins apiece, and I continue that all through his training. Once he's older, about 2ish, I might have worked up to working on new stuff about 20-30 mins.


What Ive really worked on with her lately is me focusing more on her body language. All the time. When I groom her, I pay attention to her ears and see what shes telling me. Yesterday and the day before I was grooming her and I was brushing the right side of her barrel. She immediately turned her head towards it and her ears went back for a quick sec. I stopped cause I thought maybe she was sore there. I tried again to brush that area but I did it much softer and worked the area around it first, then worked into that same area again. This time she seemed ok. Will have to keep monitoring this when brushing her. I have a feeling she may be sore in this area still and perhaps doesnt want me brushing this area. Hence the ears back and head turned right away to that area.
I think you're right about maybe being either sore or ticklish on her ribs. If she turns out to be sore, after a while, you might consider a chiropractor for her. There's not much more painful than having a rib out. Good job of watching and catching her signals!

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post #554 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 02:05 PM
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I thought you might like this article I found about Bill Dorrance, from 1999, right after he died.



Published: July 24, 1999
There is no such thing as a horse whisperer. There never has been and never will be. The idea is an affront to the horse. You can talk and listen to horses all you want, and what you will learn, if you pay close attention, is that they live on open ground way beyond language and that language, no matter how you characterize it, is a poor trope for what horses understand about themselves and about humans. You need to practice only three things, patience, observation and humility, all of which were summed up in the life of an old man who died Tuesday in California, a man named Bill Dorrance.

Dorrance was 93, and until only a few months before his death he still rode and he still roped. He was one of a handful of men, including his brother Tom, who in separate ways have helped redefine relations between the horse and the human. Bill Dorrance saw that subtlety was nearly always a more effective tool than force, but he realized that subtlety was a hard tool to exercise if you believe, as most people do, that you are superior to the horse. There was no dominance in the way Dorrance rode, or in what he taught, only partnership. To the exalted horsemanship of the vaquero -- the Spanish cowboy of 18th-century California -- he brought an exalted humanity, whose highest expression is faith in the willingness of the horse.

There is no codifying what Bill Dorrance knew. Some of it, like how to braid a rawhide lariat, is relatively easy to teach, and some of it, thanks to the individuality of horses and humans, cannot be taught at all, only learned. His legacy is exceedingly complex and, in a sense, self-annulling. It is an internal legacy. The more a horseman says he has learned from Dorrance the less likely he is to have learned anything at all.

That sounds oblique, but it reflects the fact that what you could learn from Dorrance was a manner of learning whose subject was nominally the horse but that extended itself in surprising directions to include dogs, cattle and people. If you learned it, you would know it was nothing to boast about.

There is no mysticism, no magic, in this, only the recognition of kinship with horses. Plenty of people have come across Bill Dorrance and borrowed an insight or two, and some have made a lot of money by popularizing what they seemed to think he knew. But what he knew will never be popular, nor did he ever make much money from it. You cannot sell modesty or undying curiosity. It is hard to put a price on accepting that everything you think you know about horses may change with the very next horse. VERLYN KLINKENBORG

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post #555 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 02:43 PM
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"cannot be taught at all, only learned." Wow, so much said in just 7 words.
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post #556 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 05:11 PM
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Dreamcatcher, I think he is talking about turning the mare right from the left hand side. His trainer told him this may teach her not to barge into him.

"If you learned it, you would know it was nothing to boast about" -seems the polar opposite of the rest of the NH world, to me.
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post #557 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 08:05 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by greentree View Post
Dreamcatcher, I think he is talking about turning the mare right from the left hand side. His trainer told him this may teach her not to barge into him.
Yes thats exactly what i mean by leading her away from me. Not just her left side though, whichever side im on, I have her lead away from me willingly. This im still working on and she has gotten better but im still not 100% sure if she has fully caught on as to what im teaching her and wanting from her.

Dreamcatch I will reply to your post in a bit.
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post #558 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I think you're right about maybe being either sore or ticklish on her ribs. If she turns out to be sore, after a while, you might consider a chiropractor for her. There's not much more painful than having a rib out. Good job of watching and catching her signals!
Im not sure she shes ticklish on her ribs but she will turn her head back right away when I rub or brush both sides of her ribs. Its either shes sore or shes thinking shes doing flexions for a treat lol. If I put my hand on the sides of her barrel and rub she doesnt do anything.

Hmmm I should probably ask my trainer and see if shes noticed this when she rides her and brushes her.
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post #559 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 09:03 PM
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I think this is my favorite from the article:

"It is hard to put a price on accepting that everything you think you know about horses may change with the very next horse."

WOW is that ever true!

Ok, I understand what you're saying now. Funny, I have always pulled their noses toward me, to swing their butts away from me. I suppose having her head turned away from you would cause her backside to be closer but would stop her from barging over the top of you. I think that once you have really cemented that purposeful, head up, shoulders back walk, she'll feel the authority in it and you'll find she automatically starts to be less bargey (if that's not a real word, sorry!). More than anything that, "Don't you DARE mess with me" attitude will get through to her and she'll start coming around. Actually, it really sounds like she already has.

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post #560 of 1323 Old 11-02-2015, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians View Post
I thought you might like this article I found about Bill Dorrance, from 1999, right after he died.



Published: July 24, 1999
There is no such thing as a horse whisperer. There never has been and never will be. The idea is an affront to the horse. You can talk and listen to horses all you want, and what you will learn, if you pay close attention, is that they live on open ground way beyond language and that language, no matter how you characterize it, is a poor trope for what horses understand about themselves and about humans. You need to practice only three things, patience, observation and humility, all of which were summed up in the life of an old man who died Tuesday in California, a man named Bill Dorrance.

Dorrance was 93, and until only a few months before his death he still rode and he still roped. He was one of a handful of men, including his brother Tom, who in separate ways have helped redefine relations between the horse and the human. Bill Dorrance saw that subtlety was nearly always a more effective tool than force, but he realized that subtlety was a hard tool to exercise if you believe, as most people do, that you are superior to the horse. There was no dominance in the way Dorrance rode, or in what he taught, only partnership. To the exalted horsemanship of the vaquero -- the Spanish cowboy of 18th-century California -- he brought an exalted humanity, whose highest expression is faith in the willingness of the horse.

There is no codifying what Bill Dorrance knew. Some of it, like how to braid a rawhide lariat, is relatively easy to teach, and some of it, thanks to the individuality of horses and humans, cannot be taught at all, only learned. His legacy is exceedingly complex and, in a sense, self-annulling. It is an internal legacy. The more a horseman says he has learned from Dorrance the less likely he is to have learned anything at all.

That sounds oblique, but it reflects the fact that what you could learn from Dorrance was a manner of learning whose subject was nominally the horse but that extended itself in surprising directions to include dogs, cattle and people. If you learned it, you would know it was nothing to boast about.

There is no mysticism, no magic, in this, only the recognition of kinship with horses. Plenty of people have come across Bill Dorrance and borrowed an insight or two, and some have made a lot of money by popularizing what they seemed to think he knew. But what he knew will never be popular, nor did he ever make much money from it. You cannot sell modesty or undying curiosity. It is hard to put a price on accepting that everything you think you know about horses may change with the very next horse. VERLYN KLINKENBORG
This is wonderful!
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