Tag Archives: “H factors”

Changing up the herd; New dynamics needed for teaching

The other day I decided to change things up in the herd in order to keep the youngster now 7 months in line and still learning herd dynamics and body language.  His good buddy , Mr, Bill,  I think is getting worn down by him. He gives him some discipline but not as it was and the little guy is now infringing on his personal space a bit too much for my liking.

I hesitated my change as it meant bringing in  a mare, not mom , of course , but Grandma! My alpha.

I  remember hearing for young geldings it is best to keep them with good solid geldings to keep them in place.  So far it has done so . Troubadour has a pal in Popeye but not a buddy. He has a buddy in Bill. Pop looks at Tru and he backs off. A tail swish and he flies! That’s what I’m looking for. The respect level he had for Bill is waining. Bill always alowed him in but he had to ask permission. That  is not so much any more.

My first thought was to move Pop to shed with Sarah, and bring Granny down. Granny is a toughy. Total alpha mare. She has a soft side which I saw with  Tru earlier but Im hoping she will see he needs to be put in his place more now. When I began to see the disregard Tru was having for Bill and infringing in his personal space, with no retort, I knew I needed to change things up.

So pony away for a break to shed with the Sarah, and Granny to the rescue. Pop likes having D , ( Granny) around as she is alpha in the herd. He has no issues with following her lead.

So far the change is great for all. Pony is in heaven and in peace! Sarah is content. Pop has his real leader, though pony too is alpha but not over D!  D is patient with Tru but  is not letting him infringe at all.  He is learning the subtle cues  she gives. Between she and Popeye he is learning a lot and will make my job a bit easier as he progresses.

My response to literature… Well, my opinion anyway.

 

My take on the NH post in the Vermont Horse Community group by Ross Jacobs/ Good Horsemanship

There is no such thing as Natural Horsemanship as a training concept. It is a brand name used for the marketing and repackaging of traditional style horsemanship. Its like Hoover has come to mean a vacuum cleaner, but it’s actually just a brand of vacuum cleaner.

 

Tom Moates wrote an excellent chapter about this in his book “A Horses Thought – A Journey into Honest Horsemanship.” You can read what Tom has to say about Natural Horsemanship by going to his web site.

 

NH started out as a term Pat Parelli adopted for his school of horsemanship that he was marketing. He used the term Natural Horsemanship as a catchy branding. Since then however, it has become synonymous with what many people consider is a type of horsemanship. It has taken on a wider meaning that extends beyond Pat Parelli’s specific systematized training. The term has become much more general in its meaning. So general in fact that most people can’t really define what NH is anymore.

 

repackaging of traditional style horsemanship”.

 

I have to respectfully disagree here. In my opinion, there is nothing Traditional about being in the Natural world. Granted there are times when for extreme cases, the last ditch effort to have a horse come around is to go to the extremes and maybe lay a horse down. I have seen the best do this and if it were not done, and the ground rules set firm, the horse, very dominant and spoiled, treated like a pet and it went bad, would be off to the meat market. The only hope would be before it hurt some one badly or itself.  That horse today is still a poster child for when  you have to go there. He is a perfect horse! Even in this extreme need to find a solution a more feeling natural approach is better than what is depicted in the Photo. 

 

NH started out as a term Pat Parelli adopted for his school of horsemanship that he was marketing. He used the term Natural Horsemanship as a catchy branding. Since then however, it has become synonymous with what many people consider is a type of horsemanship. It has taken on a wider meaning that extends beyond Pat Parelli’s specific systematized training. The term has become much more general in its meaning. So general in fact that most people can’t really define what NH is anymore.”

 

As a Parelli supporter and being very proud and thankful of it, “Natural Horsemanship” has become a very big business no doubt. Mr. Parelli is a master and has more natural ability in his little finger than I could hope for. Knowing Mr. Parelli’s more Traditional rough around the edges background in the rodeo world, he had an innate ability when opportunity knocked to see and be, a softer way. There is no way a person involved in the Parelli program who really studies it, can not take the road less traveled.   In my opinion, this is the way of Natural Horsemanship.

 

Maybe Mr Parelli, is the poster child for NH, but Hoover, is a great brand too! I say, well done and move on. No grudges, no chips on shoulders, just great appreciation for the doors that opened for all the others who followed, including me. 

 

As there is no horse alike and no human either, NH has to be, and become individualized. For me, I try to emulate my mentors, visualize moves and sayings and techniques. Ultimately though, its me, in my time, my environment, with my horse(s), so I have to make it mine, ( work for me and who I am). I practice what I preach and express this to all my students.

 

For Sable View it’s Hybrid Horsemanship, for others Good Horsemanship, or Honest Horsemanship, No Dust Horsemanship, TTouch, Clicker. these are all forms of more natural horse foundation or re-foundation work.  Regardless of the name, it needs to be  harmless , helpful, and inspiring, with results that make a positive difference in the horse world. No matter how big or small . I always say the reason there are so many clinicians out there is to suit the many different types of humans who seek help reconnecting with their horses. More times than not its the human who needs to reconnect with themselves and the horse is simple the ultimate teacher… patiently waiting for the right answer! I know this is true for me.

 

I will continue to segment the article and give my take on it in future posts.  It is a meaty article, and I appreciate how it causes me to  reflect, assess and appreciate who I am,  what I do, and how I do it.

 

 

An awesome re awakening: A Ph.D and my Horsemanship Journey, what??

Less than a week ago I had a great conversation with Brian Reid of HKTWH with its intent to work out some details re schedule an event spring 2013 at Sable View. Early- mid spring — fyi :)

The call was so not about the scheduling and I’m so happy. Oh sure we discussed some  details but it was the inspiration  absorbed and  the direction the call took me in that is truely awesome.

We discussed  visions and experiences, and how things  line up for a reason. Im all over that. We discussed  past  workshops Brian had held durring th yr, and the outcomes that Brenda inabled. The thinking was very “Forward” . I like Forward!  The negative stuff can’t stick if you’re on a roll. Your horse can’t buck as bad and twist if he is moving forward. Hold him back and bottle him up and , you better be ready to deal with the energy.

As a funny off shoot story here, I had a horse long ago, Oliver ( Ollie). An Irish Sport Horse. We fox hunted, evented into Prelim. He was cool. Anyway a couple of his “things” were , He would spanish walk  naturally, not taught.  So cool. Not a typical Fox hunting thing to do!  It was so easy to  ask him to do. Going down the dirt rds, while roading hounds , all fancy..HAHAHAHA !  I would have him do it long. Most of the time it was requested as every one loved to see it!  He would also on a flat our run across a field do “Airs above the ground” and leep out of his bell boots. Litterally they would go flying almost every time. Not rip but fly!  He was so exhuberant! Just loved life! Funny to other to watch. It was not a scary thing , powerful?  You bet, awesome  in fact, but not scary. Why?? Because once I knew it was his thing, it became  ”Normal”, ( great normal right!) and most importantly it happened with forward motion.  It happend all in stride and it was done and we went on. What a horse! What a teacher!

Now back to my conversation with  BR: Durring our conversation a couple names I hadn’t thought about in a while were brought up. TED (www.TED.com) and another  Brene Brown( www.BreneBrown.com). Its funny how things go full cycle, in this case re-appearing when the student is ready. The word “Vulnerable” played a big part in our talk. We discussed its meaning in some diferent ways . Not suprising I related it to my horsemanship journey as Brian discussed how  his experience with Ms. Browns work was still unfolding new  pages to get through. It all fit.

After our call I was fully charged and went straight to my computer to search out both teaching topics. What came from that is I noted a great opportunity to share with my daughter who is a Jr in HS . The Massechesetts Conference for Woman in Boston MA. www.maconferenceforwomen.org.  Dr. Brene Brown  is one of the key Note speakers, as well as Deepak Chopra and others, WOW!  Long story short  we and a few of her school mates and teachers are going .

The word Vulnerable is probably thought of in one main light by most of society, Including me till now.  Its a strength, not a weakness.  It allows us to do what  I have been prompted to do on a few occations at clinics. Get rid of the baggage and accept you as “Enough” . This is not normal for us humans, its a tall order for a lot of us.  I have had a manta developed  for a few yrs now after a ground breaking Parelli clinic with Jerry Williams, (one of many I might add), and I still  fight the negaitve tendancies. Hmm…guess Im not perfect!  My montra is “I AM GOOD ENOUGH”  made up of very  poignant words and phrases for which the mantra is an Acronym.

If we want to be real with our horses and have our horse be real with us, we need to be real with ourselves. They can see throught us like nothing else and when we even begin to get real they respond instantly. No invisibility cloaks to hide behind. Just be you in all your “Imperfect glory”,  and YOU are enough!

Stay tuned….

 

 

Eyes wide open…. Doesn’t mean you are committed, or does it?

Recently I attended an Intro to Clicker Training clinic at my own facilty.  I opened the door to a different picture to expand my  knowledge of it for knowledge sake and for others to  learn and  make choices on their own.  We had a nice group of  ladies and horses/ mini’s in attendance.

I will speak from my perspective only .

First, I want to Thank Sharon Zecchinelli for  enlightening the group with great basics.

From my perspective as a teacher I try to remain open minded to ideas and concepts. When  the topic came up about clicker training on the FB group Vermont Horse Community ,  the conversation lead me to think I should take this opportunity to learn about it, at least for basic knowledge of the concept. The seed was planted and Sharon and I began to set the ball in motion.

Last weekend we had a nice day to gather and learn.

Like everything in building a foundation, timing is everything.

We were each  given a period of some one on one time with Sharon to teach the  target , click, treat  flow. Not as easy as it looks. Timing is everythng! LOL

As we progressed we were asked what we  were here to try and correct. When I was asked I had no asnwer. Turely I was  there to  experience it and learn what I could and IF it pertained to my ideals I would honor it and incorporate  it as it fit per horse/ situation.

I had my doubts as to its uses and certiain issues but, durring the  day I saw some behaviors change and fair enough, if the human stayed true to the concept , as with anything else results would come. Clearly this is a wonderful style of training. I appreciate its finest forms and applaud its advocates.

We all branched off and tested the technique on our own with tasks. I saw some application for liberty work. So off I went On-line first , then  tossed the line  over  Pop’s neck and  tested things at liberty. Pop is a tough nut to crack and it was getting a bit redundant for him. I knew I needed to step it up. Liberty over a barrel – single barrel!

Sure we have done this on-line and  tested/ played with it  at liberty but not in this way. Ill be danged, we got it! It was a great baby step approach to completing this task. My task , should I choose to  go there, will be  to gain distance and flow.

For viirtual visual clarity, I was in a leading position, with my fist as the “Target” . we approached and off he walked and hopped over. No, not the first time, we had a few times on-line with adjustments and corrections to position but in the end  there it was! Fair enough!

I can see  how it might  be of great use in Horse Agility work. Online too but liberty it could play an even bigger  part. In my opinion  a lot depends on  how you choose to reward/release and develop your horse, as well as how far along you are in you foundation development to begin with. Pop and I have quite a history so some of what we already have played  part.

Lots of variables but I truely enjoyed the experience.

What can I say:

This….

I am Committed to learning with eyes wide open, unless you do somethng to make me shut them! 

I am Committed to doing what I feel is right for each horse/human individually  no matter what the “Tide” says.

I am Committed to never pigeon hole myself or any horse I work with. Every one /thing learns differently. I feel as a leader /teacher it is my resposibitly to  know which arrow to pull out for which situation. In order to do that I must have many different arrows!

This clinic gave me good  taste of what  can work, a different arrow . No I cant say ill be a clicker devote, but appreciate what I saw first hand as another  tool to  higher learning.

Bottom line: Never stop learning

Watching Troubadour grow, and allowing him to develop

Mr personality! You lookin’ at me? of course you are!

Today , a day off 2 months old, I took Tru out with his Mom, and big friend Popeye. I lead Sarah off Pop and the little  guy followed along. We traveled up the rd a bit to the trail head and  had a couple trots and a couple  breaks to munch on grass.  Bugs were horrific.

When  Tru found an opening  on the way home he decided to be adventurous and scoot ahead of us.  Too funny!   So great to see him explore uninhibited. He is developing so well. He is confident in most things. Still has an opinion which I acknowledge and move through if need be.

On our rd ride back to barn he decided he would lead us home. Popeye looked at him like , “Yeah right, shove over and get back in line”. Pop  stuck his nose out to Tru’s butt and shoved him lighlty. Tru took the hint and moved over and let us thru and he snuck back in behind Mom.

He loves Poppy and has a healthy respect for his size( in comparison). In fact I think he really looks up to him. I love going to the barn and seeing Sarah, Tru and Pop sharing a stall together, just chillin’ and staying cool.

Allowing Tru to  grow and explore and devolop as naturally as possible is such a gift. Im so happy I know what I know. Raised Sarah( Mom) the same way but I know more now and have a real level of confidence in “My way” of doing things, “Hybrid Horsemanship”, than I did then ( 8 yrs ago).

Tru is teaching me already. What works and then again what doesn’t. Then, how to find a way that works for him while still not  micro managing.

I can totally  understand how easy that would be and  how much more time effecient it would be … but not gonna happen here! We will take the time it takes!

Stay tuned for more updates!

 

 

 

Proud to see them moving on!

Lots of time and thought and emotion has gone into a few select horses who have crossed my path over the last yr. Im happy to say that the last two are readying to move on in their lives with their owners or a new owner.

Support, wisdom and insight can be given only so long and then  everyone needs to step up and out and find how to make it their own. So much potential for  these horses but as not mine I have to also let go and say thank you to them  for lessons learned: Life lessons, horsemanship lessons, and managing humans lessons! the toughest of all.  The horses are the easy part! 

Everyone is on their own journey and  I can see so much more that these humans can gain from these partners they have. Bottom line is, it is not the right time, the students aren’t ready.  This is such a frusteration for me but again a lesson , acknowledging what I know and accepting what is. Tough!

I am very happy to say well done to the horses and best of luck going forward. Never stop teaching  your humans, whomever they may be, especially the hard lessons they really need !

 

 

 

 

Winning friends and influencing horses.

Welcome to an excerpt from my up coming E book !

…..And so began my real journey, Unwrapping “D”

Layer by layer, “My Onion” , as I call her, began to reveal herself to me. How privileged I was. In my opinion she was just passed on owner to owner due to her very pretty head and finer features, but not really seen for who she really was. Im thinking the issues I found, were  what others came across  as well and passed her on rather than venture to help her find her real self. Take the time it took.

I made a promise to her she would never be passed on again. She needed to be grounded and trust, to feel like she belonged. We have a special bond. Not always perfect, sometimes like oil and water, but to me it is special and good. Why? You ask, if its not “Perfect”. You see D is so sensative she can feel you coming a mile away. Read your mind  before you even know your thoughts. I had to do in myself what I knew she needed to do. This is a part of Horsemanship not many promote. It should be!  Im blessed to have linked up with the perfect program to go forward for both of us.

The first witner I had her it took all of a couple months to just get her to relax with me ,or anyone else, for that matter in her personal space. A very big personal bubble. Treats, time and quiet all came together along with my little voice tellng me I needed to find a different way to be with her.

As fate would have it when we moved here we got satalite TV. Now I had horses on TV, how awesome! I began to watch the shows even more so when I knew I needed help, to see who made more sense to me. I had many years, since age 7, of ridng experience. Fox Hunting both as a lay member and as professional staff, hunter paces, eventing , showing , collegiate team riding etc , but something was missing. Innately I knew D needed to trust, so I was on track with taking that first winter to allow her to chill.  Imagine what the “Real” world was saying? Peer pressure, Phooey!

My Missions: How to be with her and have her feel the same trust while riden, and to not be so bracy. Is it Physical? Is it emotional?  Is it Me? ( This is a whole other topic but you do know “most often” it is us.)  These are all questions we should ask when things don’t go right. Follow the journey your horse is laying out for you. I did!  Grow and get uncomfortable. This was not simply a door opening, it was a gate way to a powerful journey,

“Making” her didn’t compute, aside from the fact I wasnt 16 any more. 4 kids and a few growing yrs with kids off from real intence horse time changed my perspecitve. Age begins to enter the picture. Any way, enter my decision to follow the world of “Natural Horsemanship” and what an amazing addition that was to my already well established foundation.

NH filled in so many pieces and allowed me to acknowledge my feelings, good bad or indifferent as well what I felt the horse was relaying. Imagine that taking the horses perspective into consideration. Wow!  This was like the best thing. Now I could acknowledge what I had instinctively done but never spoke of it.

To date I still refer to D as “My Onion” I also call her my monitor. When I’m good with her I’m great with everyone else. I am still peeling back layers on both of us. Even as rescently as the last 6 months or so we have reached a new level of communication and understanding. So cool.

Biggest lesson, you cannot make anything happen, and expect to win friends and infuence horses.

***** Look for more excerpts from the E Book, slated to  launch early summer.

 

Re-naturalizing….

And so it begins, naturally!

Meet and greet

Recently on a FB question asked  about herd dynamics, I got to thinking about some of the answers given. While doing stalls a few days ago I got chatting to

Myself , a usual occurrence, I may add. The topic came up of this question and  I began to answer it  myself,  taking in all perspectives and came up with ,

“Hmm? Can you re-naturalize a horse?”  In turn I posted that question to the FB community and was asked to give my version of what Re-naturalize meant.

So here it goes as it pertains to mainly the Herd Dynamic thought.

Sable View , has been termed by many a sanctuary! Horses and riders come to me, Sable View , misunderstood,  missing puzzle pieces to the  ”Fun” part of being with horses and riding, and horses forgetting how to be a horse.  Honestly I can not tell you what it is but with out a doubt horses here change  regardless of weather they are assigned to work with me or not. There is a great energy here, calm , quiet, and safe.  I try as much as possible to keep  the horses here as natural as possible , integrate the herds, full turn out 24/7 unless bad bad weather.  All this makes a difference right off the bat. The quiet  nature of  what I do and how I do it  permiates and  as much as they can with hands off so to speak, they settle. Some horses by request of owners are mutually worked with. By this I mean owner/ horse  time is spent with me. This is more for the relationship and safety  parts of the puzzle, but still can relate to the herd dynamic as well. Acknowledging, and reading  body language with respect.

I have had horses come in very boldened to humans and so clueless to equine signals its mind boggling.  All I can do is refer back to the Movie “Buck” . No, my experiences were not as extreme, Thank God, but the basic  premise of human error , or lack of  herd socialization as a youngster  jumps to the fore front as reasons.

Why?? Money, production, the prize,  OR maybe a mare dies, or rejected the foal, lots of reason why humans step in but I beleive the error is we  raise them as our “Babies” and not as  a by nature a wild herd animal. Those instincts are still there . All of a sudden  the baby is big and has no manners. Bad news!

I hear all the time, ” I don’t want to hurt him/her”. Or “I don’t want him/ her to not like me”, OMG people, REALLY! Think, in a herd  if they don’t get it by the third signal they get a swift  double barrel , a snaking charge,  and or a chunk taken from them.

Think do we take lip from our kids? I will answer for me, NO! I can tell you , I’m a tough mom, and my kids and I still laugh and  kid around  together all the time. They still love me!  There is a respect that is understood. Boundaries! In herd or house gotta have them!

So, in horse body language and communication, how would the mare correct her foal?   You all can think  through this  and Im sure can see in  your imagination at least the answers , as there are many. And , for as many as there are there are degrees of severity too.

When I have a horse come in with an owner who is fearful, It’s usually the “Oh my Baby ” thing. Fixable once owner gains ground in confidence  as the alpha of  their herd of 2. When it stems to the herd, and not being able to  mingle and find a place without  endangering others , whether it be dominance or submission or shear confusion, (I have seen it to where it would be banishment in the wild, my alpha knows its not  quite right and  will not allow it in ,  entering horse just doesn’t get the idea to keep his place. and ask permission to enter closer, sound familiar!). I begin to think something is missing from its “Natural” development,  social skills.

Enter “Re – Naturalizing” as  I put it. To try to get a horse to be accepted into herd and be aware of  the natural cues after missing the memo is not an easy task. I  am very fortunate to have  for the most part two herds with inter-changable members. So if full integration is not a doable thing, a herd is still an option with less pressure . 2 herds , 2 different energies. With inter-chageable members  I can  slowly  allow my more dominant  members, mare or gelding, to meet and greet, supervised  of course. This is a slow process.

For sure over the fence happens first, and  one on  one time in a private paddock area. I learn a lot from the over the fence time  I carefully watch, as to  how far I can  take the next step and who I can make it with.

In the one on one time I personally am hands off  as  I see the behaviors are not  ”Bullying” but clear and consistent with “Natural selection of a pecking order”.

I will and do make my presence known in the intro process. I feel it is important to let my place in the order of things be very clear.  In the end , the buck stops with me. Among themselves ,  they have their own order, enter human, owner, me , whomever,  a shift should be made to give  acknowledgement and respect with a feeling of comfort and ease.

In a nut shell this is my interpretation of what i call Re-Naturalizing” a horse. It can be taken deeper  in many aspect , but for this post my point was to just give an overview. I look forward to  more posts on this topic. Its unfortunate  they are needed.

 

 

 

 

 

“Catatonic”, Learn to read!

Of late I have been blessed, really, to have been personally enlightened to the potentially scary life of a  RBI.

Ask yourself what it means to you to be “Catatonic.”

Sarah and her water

Just take the time

For me it is any of the following:

Vague, A lost or far away look , gone to happier place, Non responsive, frozen any of these can be used to discribe the word.

A few days ago I was put in a situation where I was so aware of what a RBI(Right Brained Introvert), must feel when being pushed to a point of needing to hide. I guess though a RBI would tend ot go there more readily if pushed, any Introvert or horse treated without a say in the conversation would or could go “Catatonic”.

Lets just say there would be a degree of difficulty in scoring as in diving or gymnastics.

Never have I felt so scared and unsure.

My only way to find escape from the pressure of the external enviroment was to close my eyes and go away, litterally to an instant deep sleep.

I figured it out pretty quickly and used it to my advantage when I didn’t want to deal or answer questions. it was clearly a very deliberate  response.

If any of you have not seen this happen in a horse, take a better look at your own! Most of us are guilty to some extent of  not understanding how to read our horses language when it is subtle and not explosive. Is it “Submissive” or is it “I can’t cope, Im going far, far away”.

To the untrained eye and spirit it could be mis read, IF read at all. 

Trying to please all around me and coping with building stress I had not filtered well, my error, I was mentally and emotionally fried! I had no options given to me other than do, this try this, etc etc .

Finally by default, I was given an opportunity to have a voice and choose a way out. OMG, what a relief!  Time was running out,  and people needed to move on so by necessity  I was given an option to get relief. Ever seen a horse push you to a point where you have to stop pushing and give up, all of a sudden they make a move and start to offer things? Yup! They just needed to be given an option!

I have a whole new respect for the impact of pressure for both ” H factors”. I do have a very good eye for reading horses and humans but this expereince has been a lesson I will never forget and will bring with me as I interact with my own horses and others. A real gift!

Always read your partner ….. Don’t make them have to escape because they are not heard and cant cope. Just because we think they should do it or others are watching! and putting pressure on you!

Don’t get me started!

Gage your pressure and monitor your mind set.

LEARN TO READ!!