Tag Archives: puzzle solving

A ride with out Granny!

This week I took Tru out on the trails again . Rode Pop, lead Sarah and he toddled along.  We were about 1/3 the way through our ride and I looked back and NO Tru! Sarah ws looking back too.  Ok so I Know he will wander off trial but not that far. Hmm? I stopped and called to him , I, we, heard him far off. Then very quickly he ran up to us and we moved off.  Wasnt sure what had happened but it was all good so we  went on. Then again he did the same thing and  I caught him out of the corner of my eye just stop and go the other way . Calling out  and running back. I was baffled. We Pop , Sarah and I, stood , listened , called, and in less than a minute he was back at full speed. I let him suckle off of Sarah while we gathered out thoughts. Nothing was different about the ride we were on.. what could it be.

Then the third time and he was gone back even farther and calling out.  I called to give him a point of reference to come back to and it dawned on me he was missing his Granny who always up till this ride bringing up the rear. He was looking for her. He is very attentive  to all who is where in the herd members while turned out, Most especially Granny.

He was really  tuckered this time, came flyin back to us. We  held hard for a minute or so to gather our brain and began our ride again. I was hoping this was the last ventrue, It was. I think he finally realised she was not there and he best stick with us. We as a team , Pop , Sarah and I, saw him through his  Moments. Points for us!

What did I learn ? well among other things…  Tru is RBE when change happens.” The sky is falling!!!” He REALLY  Likes patterns to fall into to keep him settled. Facinating to see him develop. I see LBE as well but that is the kid in him . Mouthy, curious and funny!

Lets face it he is a mixed bag. He loves to dominate at play! Gets all huffy when tired, like a kid having a stomping fit!

Great Kid number 5! Or 6 if we include hubby!

LOL

Stay tuned for more Tru adventures!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

….even if you stand on your head!

What???

Yup , that’s what I tell my students if it gets their horse in a working mode while ridden.

I recall back when I was studying in England for my AI certification I learned so much about riding.  You had to be a part of the barn life , chores etc , have lessons , burst through  comfort bubbles right and left and do this 6 days a week. And on the odd saturday we had schooling shows.

OMG barn work and show in a day, half day actually!… so warm up, NOT!

I had this one horse Biggles, a grey gelding, that I was to show. He was not my charge horse but  we all knew his rep.  Cold backed! Yeah!

Well this day I proved a lot to myself… not how I would do  it now but then I was young,  in college, and dong what I was told. It was a grade and a certificate on the line. Had  a lot riding on my outcome.

No pressure!

So my AM chores were done and I was needing to get to my dressage test time and so  had groomed Biggles early , had to tack up after a quick brush off and yup hop on and yup hang on! HOLY….!!!  well Im still here so it all worked out. Honestly I dont recall if he got me off or not. I know  I had a time with him but  dont think I came off.

I went in and did my test and it was ok.  I dont even remeber my score. I didnt care I just knew I needed to do what I had to do to get him to chill through it.

Muriel Harris was out head master in charge of the program and  she was having a ball with the American style of equitation. I was not  a show rider so it didnt bother me to not look perfect, like  a china doll. She liked me as I was more of a ride by the seat of my pants rider , who hunted and rode a variety of horses in uncontrolled situations,  so I had good instincts , what I call servival instincts! Literally!

Anyway the whole experience of that one Saturday of my time(6 weeks) there was so telling, Obviously as I can still recall the events.  As Muriel told me before I went into my test and durring a lesson after the show…yeah I had to ride him again… and again, and again… she said, ” losen up!!!! I dont care what you look like nor does he , he just  need to be ridden how he needs to be ridden, now get on with it!” She was a no non sense person!

Biggles was a huge  influence on me…. I know why Muriel had me on him  often. She knew I had it in me and she was right . By the time I was done I had him pegged and others as well.

So, comes my attitude of justice. I dont care if you ride on your head if it gets your horse to travel in a fluid forward frame.

I thought of this whole expereince today as I was on route  to teach lessons .  One lady very much uptight to be perfect and had some fear issues etc etc, so I knew I needed to recall on my own past to pull her forward.

I also thought of my own Sarah especially and Popeye who I have  been bringing on as they developed not on my schedule but theirs. I have been serching for a real connection for Sarah and her riding and have made huge progress but deep down know I need to think for myself an acknowledge my little voices.  I have great instruction with my horses, yes i get lessons too! but ultimaltey as I tell my own students it’s your horse and when they, we, are not there it up to you to make it work so make it your own. We cannot be a mirrow image of our instructors, we are not them. We surely can learn from all, lick and chew and use our own minds to make it work and find the puzzle pieces that are missing.

I thought on this and made a dicision as I drove and recorded a reminder on my phone to write this blog about my thought pattern.

**to go with my recurring thought re sarah, its recurring  for a reason. I pride myself in being well educated horseperson , up to date, a good thinker, and listener (especially with my eyes). I instill confidence with ease.

**Im the best judge of my horses and know how to balance things. I needed to remind myself to trust my own expertise, (The Hybrid Method), and just do it! Even instructors are human! We should NEVER forget that…

**Follow their feel and feel my way through.

**Allow a “2 way conversation” to take place.  Allow questions to be asked and anwers to be acknowledged, never ignored.

** Never forget where you came from.

10/24/11 addition!

Got thinking about this and wanted to clarify a bit. I don’t want to promote  not listening to or trying to mimic your, our instructors.  Its how we all have to start and then we develop our own styles. What I do want to promote is this:

My head is saying try something different.  Push a little bit to let her see what it is you are looking for. Dont blow her away by doing too much but go to where she can explore the new frame desired  not only in walk but in trot.

Open hands , closed hands?  Hands to the side and high , or low? soft outside rein to allow the bend , or maybe a more steady feel? Or maybe one way its one way and another its another. Seat position??? How does it effect her if  I move this way? No thats not good, shoulder dives in, how can I correct it? Leg, one or both? don’t stiffen, push sideways, open a hand/ rein(direct), raise a hand? Let the contact go and not play the game of holding her stiffness.

You see this is what I mean. Eventually we are all in our own little world and need to be able to work things out on our own in  our own way., in full conversation with our horses.

Remember to be just in your responses and reward tries.

In the typical english riding world a relaxed back is not advocated, but if it gives the feel to the horse of release and they do  then DO IT!

Who cares?  Your horse! The only one who should really matter!!

I hope this makes sense. It took me a long time to get so I saw and accepted the “holes” in the most vested of my foundations methods and sought to fill those holes with other methods in order to find harmony and the best communication per horse, not to mention body awareness.

Now with each of the three main methods I encompass in my work with horses, I can confidently say I have the bases covered. What ever might be missing , needs a tweak, Ill stand on my head! 

So go ahead and “Stand on your head!” if it gets the message across and you have a horse under you who is free, fluid and happy.