How to speak horse - any guides? - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 12:02 AM
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Yes, yes, yes ShirtHotTeez. When you know an animal well, any kind of animal really, you learn to read them and when the least little thing is out of whack on them it shouts at you. It doesn't necessarily even have to be about not feeling well sometimes they want a little extra attention or an itchy spot they want you to help them out with or you're late to feed and they show impatience even though it's subtle enough that someone who didn't know them wouldn't notice a thing or they are just having a bad day. I can meet a strange horse and usually tell the basics about it but I certainly cannot read their body language to the extent that I can my own horses.
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post #22 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 12:20 AM
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I find Monte Roberts and Clinton Anderson to be two of the most irritating people I have watched around horses. Both are know-it-alls and CA is so loud and obnoxious around horses that I do not want him to touch mine. I have watched both in person -- CA, I have probably watched 4 or 5 times.

I have personally watched Stacy Westfall and Richard Winters and find them both much more effective as well as subtle around horses. You do not have to make a lot of noise like CA to get a horse to do what you want him to do. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to move forward or toward the horse at the right time and never give ground to the horse at the wrong time.

It is all 'timing and feel'. Learning good timing and feel comes quickly to the 'gifted' and never comes to a lot of people. People that are good at it make it look so easy. Others --- not so much. Horses just seem to 'read' some handlers' minds while other people can flail the air, beat the ground or even beat the horse and horses are still terribly unimpressed or just push back harder. Mostly, you 'set them up' and then get out of their way and let them do what you want them to do. 'Pushing' and putting too much pressure on a horse at the wrong time and you just get a lot of 'push back' and lot of resentment.

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post #23 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 12:54 AM
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Well, I just got back from the Mane Event, and took in the colt starting challenge. Parelli was there too, but did not bother to watch him
Steve Rother and Doug Mills impressed me way beyond anything I have ever seen by those more well known trainers, like CA and Parelli
Doug got a particular difficult colt, that bucked the first two days in the round pen. On the fourth day, and final competition in the large arena, he not only rode that colt through that course, doing the various compulsory elements, but in the time left for free style, dropped the halter he was riding in, and loped that colt in that big arena, with absolutely nothing on his head
That is communication, esp considering this was colt with just 4 hourly sessions on him.
Steve had a very good go also, but his filly was not as tough to begin with. He loped her both ways, swinging a rope, and then cracking a bull whip. Roped that cow head and dragged it,a s well as the log
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post #24 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 01:00 AM
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liking Cherie's post 10,000 times!
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post #25 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 09:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ShirtHotTeez View Post
Overread, you have/have had dogs? (Going by your avatar). You probably know their little 'quirks'. When the lay down and give a hefty sigh because you didn't feed them, or they sit at the door and look from you to the door because they want to go for a walk or a hundred other little things, and things more subtle...? Well it is pretty much the same intuitions/senses/vibes with a horse. Just to begin with you may need to consciously look for it.
Aye, though its taken me 10 years I think we are still trying to understand husky talk. Sometimes its easy and you can most certainly connect the dots between certain types of behaviour and what the animal is trying to say or want or feel. However there are also other bits where you can't so easily connect the dots; where you sometimes need experience or input from a source that has looked at way more information and example of behaviour to put it all together.

And of course each animal is individual and how they are raised and what they are will affect a lot of their talk. A horse in the wild won't speak quite the same language as a horse kept stalled its whole life ; but there will always be common elements that link the two as they are still horses at the end of the day.

For me this is about trying to "cheat" on years of observation by getting some second hand information. Giving a structured framework to build upon when dealing with horses infrequently or when there isn't a horsey person around to say "Oh that means XYZ"

Interestingly on the subject of horse communication or indeed any animal I think there are two parts.

1) Understanding; actually understanding what the animal is saying.

2) Responding; responding to that or not responding and sometimes knowing how to respond.

For the newbie, like myself, both parts are a key problem. A horse might well send a very clear message; but its then (at least when interacting with) also knowing how to respond to that message.

My hope is that by at least aiming to learn as much as I can of the former the latter will be more easily learnt. Furthermore I think the former is critical to how one chooses the latter as there are often multiple ways to respond to the same message; so a greater understanding of the message opens up a greater capacity to pick the right response.

Which is exactly what you're talking about greentree in how its understanding the horses language and then responding in kind to that message; in your case also then adapting it all to mould your desires around - in your example your desire to ride mixed with the horses language to accept being ridden.

The discussion on some of the big names in the horsemanship world are interesting and its interesting to hear not just about but first person stories regarding some of them and how they react around horses. What's interesting is that I see some making mistakes that I would consider more akin to beginner level mistakes - especially ones where you can see the trainer has gone into a situation or been presented with a situation where there's a demand for a certain end result and everything they do gets "blinkered" to that end goal regardless of what the animal is communicating. The story about the trainer ignoring the horses lameness in favour of focusing on the objective of riding/jumping being a prime example of this.
It woudln't surprise me if that trainer could see the message in the movements of the horse but was focused purely on their target of jumping the horse
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post #26 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 11:02 AM
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There would be a 3rd thing - timing. Cause and effect have to be immediate, or the association is not made by the horse.

You are on the right track. So where do you start? You start with normal. What is your horses normal? When you groom him how does he stand? Does he totally relax and rest a leg with no particular focus, or are his eyes following you everywhere you go? Are there other horses or dogs around that he watches? Does he move about impatiently or seem agitated? What is his normal in the paddock (field for UK, I believe)/yard/stable? Do you talk to him? Does he move his ears to listen. (I chat to them the whole time if its just me and the horse, mostly). What is his normal with other horses? Where is he in the pecking order? What is his normal when you are riding?

When you ride a different horse for the first time it takes a little while to feel comfortable with him, his movements feel strange and you are never entirely sure how he will behave. By the time you have ridden that horse every day for a month you get on and it feels familiar, comfortable, and you know what to expect. You walk and trot, and he is relaxed, his head is low, and you know he will go where you want and how he will respond. His normal.

So one day you get on and walk around, then trot. But his head is up, he doesn’t feel like he is listening to you because instead of moving comfortably where you want his stride is short and his attention is elsewhere, even if he is still going the direction you want his focus is (for instance) outside the fence. So here he is telling you something is different. You will know by the feel if he is just distracted, or worried, excited, or plain nosey.

When you ask him to do something new and he doesn’t understand he may toss his head a little, or do nothing and just keep going with what you are doing, or tense up and move away from what he sees as a problem. There are lots and lots of variables, so context is important. What are you doing with him, or asking of him, what do you expect of him/ are you getting it/ why not?

And to make it even more complicated, even when your horse is doing everything ‘right’ he is constantly giving you information and receiving it from you. Picture it this way: you are jogging down the street with a friend and you are holding their arm lightly above the elbow. You can feel when the friend speeds up, slows down or turns. If you don’t want them to you respond with pressure on the arm – don’t turn, I want straight ahead; a slight pull back to prevent speeding up … etc.

Am I explaining ok? I’m a bit long-winded trying to explain things sometimes. It can be hard to put into words when it has always just been there for me. If my attempt at explaining is not clear to you, just say and I’ll try to put it differently.
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post #27 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 12:57 PM
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This is an hour long documentary made by a trainer, judge and instructor with national titles, who felt she needed to seek a deeper understanding of the horse. She sold her ranch, gave up her profession and went on a quest to speak with trainers worldwide that she felt through their books had found what she was seeking. She is in a different place in her horsemanship journey than you are and yet, it seems for her to have come full circle.

There is a lot said in this film that some will find highly controversial, but there is a lot of good footage in it that shows the communication of the horse to human and human to horse. I would suggest watching it twice, first without sound and concentrate on the body language of the horses. Then watch it again with sound and see if what you saw jibes with the narration.

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer

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post #28 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 02:02 PM
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I sort of skimmed through that documentary, and while it has a few grains of truth, it has the agenda of any 'reborn' person, be it a recovering alcoholic, reborn religious person, and in this case, someone who became involved in the 'win at all cost', scene, taking the worst examples to try and prove her stance.
Not one scene that I watched, showed either a bit or A BOSAL USED HUMANLY AND CORRECTLY, EXCEPT in the scene with Rashid.
The aprt where that man, whoever he was, allowed that horse to buck and even kick out towards him-sorry, not my idea of either good horsemanship or communication.
There is ahappy medium, in the 'before and professional phase of the Author's life with horses, and the journey to the extreme opposite side, where all bits a evil, all horses trained with force and fear of pain, in any good traditional training program
Change the scene and characters, and you could have a prisoner, jailed for murder, then becomes a born again Christian, while in jail.!
Far as learning to speak 'Equus' , like any language, that takes time, and can no more be short circuited then learning to Speak french in some quick lesson

I ride my horses with both bits and saddles. I never abuse a mouth, as shown in that footage, my horses work happily for me, com,e when called, enjoy going down a trail with me, on a loose rein, so I'm not buying her revival footage!
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post #29 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 02:09 PM
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I love this book and found it very helpful!

Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post

How to Think Like a Horse by Cherry Hill is a good book I'd give to anyone new to horses and their body language. You can look inside it on Amazon to see some of the content. It does have some nice pictures of horse postures and some things their body language might be saying.
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post #30 of 37 Old 04-26-2016, 02:12 PM
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^^^like I said Smile, it has some controversial parts, thus my suggestion that she watch it first without sound. I put it out there because it does a good job of filming horses in different "moods" and behaviors which is what the OP is looking to learn.
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“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer

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