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Amber the Clinic Horse

Discussion in 'Ringside Chat' started by KP nut, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. CharliesAngel

    CharliesAngel Well-Known Member

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    i personally wouldnt use amber at the clinic if she was mine, id concentrate on finding an RI that can really work with you to produce what is clearly a super little horse and doesnt get you fiddling etc as you were in the video you posted. The clinic may have suited Amber when you first got her but now, so far along the line with her its not like you have this ‘unknown’ / ‘unbacked’ horse you are re-starting or a horse with an issue like it wont load for example or wont stand at the mounting block. It was always my perception that these clinics focused on sorting out issues.

    I dont subscribe to any one methodology , I would say I use pressure and release in what I do successfully but how I work with youngsters and my approach is very much my own style - informed by professional methods from which i pick and choose what suits me and the horse.
     
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  2. Lissie

    Lissie Well-Known Member

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    I too enjoy your posts @KP nut so please don't be put off posting. I don't think there's much wrong in going to clinics and having different trainers I've been to loads of clinics with different people I took what I wanted to from their teaching and all the little bits I took from each instructor has helped. I've now found an instructor who really gets my pony so I tend to just stick with her now but I'd still have a clinic with someone else for something different. I really don't think he's suffered from having trainers ultimately I ride him how I want to/feel he goes best.

    I wouldn't have anyone else to ride my horse at a clinic, I'd feel on edge watching in case they did something I wouldn't and he didn't like it although my pony is really chilled you can't do much that upsets him but I still wouldn't like it. But she's your horse and if you're happy with that then that's up to you.
     
  3. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    You see I think @KP nut your, with the best of intentions, chasing a rainbow:( (sorry! I'm not meaning to put you down or judge you deliberately) The reason I think this is because Amber only came to you a short while ago after what seemed to be a bit of a traumatic or at least unsettling period at a dealers yard with an unknown previous history. She came to you and very unfortunately was put in isolation etc. etc. For me this is the good reason to not unsettle her yet again in such a short space of time by taking her out to this that & the other & letting her be ridden and trained by anyone but your consistent self and a trusted RI.
    I do believe that you're doing it with the best of intentions but often wonder why the rush? When you speak of the trainers that you admire I'm not sure that you take into account that they "perform miracles" with horses because they've taken the time and laborious painstaking hours of ups and downs in order to gain the trust of these magnificent creatures.
    Maybe there is a miracle shortcut but I for one don't believe in it and consequently don't bother looking for it.

    In any case I sincerely do hope you have a great time at the clinic, learn lots and see miracles that you can take away and perform yourself :)
     
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  5. MrC

    MrC https://m.facebook.com/MrKiasLife/

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    Personally as far as these clinics go and having your horses trained in one I cannot see an upside unless you can ride exactly the same as The person who is doing the work for you.

    Its like these people who buy professionally schooled horses then a few months later the rosettes and wins drop off and the issues start. They cannot ride to the standard to the horse has been produced to. There is no shortcuts with producing young horses especially if you want lasting results. Take a breath and slow down.

    By all means your horses do what you want to do makes no odds to us forum users, I've always done what I wanted but when someone is pointing out potential issues or a different point of view it's worth taking a pause, even when it's not what you want to hear or read.
     
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  6. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    So what exactly do you want Amber to do when you communicate with her? Is it about her physically moving towards you in the field/arena, or is it about exercising/working her in a non touching way? Is it about trust? Does the clinic give exercises to develop that trust in a deeper way?
     
  7. KP nut

    KP nut Horsey problems: caused by ego; solved by gravity

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    It's about deepening understanding between us I think. One of the things I notice in myself (and in others) is the tendency to make assumptions about the reasons behind a horse's behaviour: he's throwing his toys out the pram, he does not like to work correctly as it's hard for him so he's evading, he's rushing as he's scared, he's rushing as he's excited, he's looking to the outside of the the area because he's distracted/disrespectful/not paying attention. He can't pick up left canter lead as he's unbalanced etc.

    I do it CONSTANTLY. Much of the time maybe my assumptions are more or less accurate and my solutions more or less useful. But what if these assumptions are just wrong?

    The things that blew my mind at my first Rashid clinic was how he would have to interrupt riders as they were explaining 'the problem' and say 'please just describe the behaviour'. So not "he avoids me mounting by swinging his bum away' but 'he moves his bum away from the mounting block when I stand on it'. Not 'he is grumpy about having his back feet picked up and snatches them away' but 'after a few seconds of holding his back feet up he pulls back suddenly and puts his foot down. Not ''he's too unbalanced to canter' ; but 'he goes disunited in canter'. (All of those horses are described elsewhere. I can no longer remember the details without finding the old threads, but essentially in those examples the horses were doing their best and the problems were of understanding).

    So very often our assumption turns out to be wrong. We aren't very good at 'thinking horse' and they aren't very good at 'thinking human'. We project all sorts of stuff onto them that is just not present in their minds at all. And then we try and fix the projected (imaginary) problem. Rashid and Brannaman actually say they don't really think of that they do with horses as 'training'. It is all just communicating. Rashid talks about horses in the field moving from trot to canter and back to trot. No hesitation, no bracing, no resistance. Just an effortless, seamless shift in energy and rhythm in perfect balance. Compare that with a transition under saddle. A push on the bit, a raised head, a few faster trot strides before canter, a collapsing onto the forehand as they come down to trot again etc. That;s not a schooling issue - the horse already knows how to transition perfectly! But a communication one.

    Pressure/release, energy and intent, body language and feel are all parts of horse 'language'. It's how they communicate with each other. How they interact. How they threaten or reassure or play with each other. Some trainers have a much deeper understanding of that language than others and are able to both understand what the horse is communicating and to translate a human request into an instruction a horse can follow. If you connect with horses in this way then you can also build trust - depending of course on what you communicate. The 'be the alpha' type approaches (Monty Roberts for example) also use horse 'language'. Rashid's view is that such methods do not foster respect but fear. But they DO use the language of the horse. There are alphas in herds. And the other horses will obey the alpha. But they don't like or respect alphas. So I guess it depends on what you want in a relationship. I certainly don't want my horses to fear or dislike me no matter how effective that might be in gaining compliance.

    I think the clinic will a) help Amber recognise that I am trying to understand her in a way that is easier for her - so she is then more receptive to my inexpert attempts to communicate in future. And b) improve my own understanding of her by having an expert at this communication (ie Buck) translate some of her behaviours for me. I am making assumptions already - in fact I noticed 1 this morning: She always moves off once I have got into the saddle and she does not like standing still. (I think I have even posted that she 'does not like' standing still on another thread). Well how do I know she does not like it? She is more than happy to stand still when I am faffing about with the stirrups or having a lengthy chat on the yard. She rests a leg and goes to sleep basically! So why do I assume she 'does not like' standing still once I am on her back. Simply because she won't do it! She will not stand. But there could be other reasons she won't do it! I just don;t know what they are so I jump to a conclusion that is probably wrong. Then I correct repeatedly (asking her to stand) in a way she clearly does not understand because she is not responding to that instruction. There is a missing link somewhere which seems baffling to me: I mean stand means stand, right? Well not if you think of dogs who know how to sit from standing but have no idea how to sit from lying. The instruction 'sit' does not actually mean 'take up the sit pose', it means 'lower your behind'. If you are on the ground already the instruction is meaningless. So I am guessing something like that is going on. But I have had her several
    months and she has never stood still under saddle and it is only in writing this reply to you right now that it is occurring to me that she probably has no idea what i want....... Doh!

    Finally in terms of practicalities - Xavier was a pony who who would not allow anyone near him in 5 years. Within 2 days he was following me around. There was no training involved. Just the ability through how I approached and retreated (pressure/release) to let him know that I meant him no harm and that he could control the distance between us. That was all he needed to totally let go of all his worry and just become soft and willing. Immediately. So I do believe in 'miracles' - in the sense that I believe that there are lots of problems that will simply evaporate completely if you can find the right key/lever. Not all, of course, but I simply don't believe that it always takes years to build up trust or understanding. These trainers can meet horses they have never met before and achieve wonderful things with them very quickly, through clear communication in ways the horses feel comfortable with.

    Anyway, sorry for the essay. I have no problem with people having no interest in this and thinking it is all far too over-complicated (though to me actually it feels like a search for simplicity!) But you asked! And as you rightly said I am obsessed by this.....
     
  8. Mary Poppins

    Mary Poppins Well-Known Member

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    I agree with much of what you have said. I remember a horse I loaned years ago (probably 15 year or so) who wouldn't load. I will always remember one horrible day when his owner and a yard 'expert' attempted to train him to load with lunge lines and whips. It was horrible, the horse was stressed and still wouldn't load despite about 2 hours of trying. One day a new instructor came to the yard and he said that he would have a go. Within 5 minutes the horse was walking in and out of the trainer calmly. There were no whips, no force etc. Just a quiet handler who knew how to communicate with the horse.

    I also remember one of my worst times handling Ben. He was going through a sticky phase of being caught and after being turned out on lush pasture he didn't want to come in. I asked for advice on here and some people suggested that I 'chase him away' and 'keep him moving' if he didn't come in. Well I tried this, but I got so upset and frustrated at him I ended up screaming at the top of my voice while swearing at him and chasing him around. This resulted in him not wanting to come anywhere near me for 2 weeks and our relationship suffered in the short term. It is a mistake I will never make again.

    I do think about body language and more subtle non verbal methods of communication between horse and handler is something that is often overlooked in favour of the heavy hand or quick fix using gadgets.

    I do however, think that some of methods used to get an apparent 'quick fix' are not ideal. I follow and admire the work of Richard Maxwell for example, but I do not agree with the pressure he uses on the rope halter to get the horse to 'respect' it. At Your Horse Live one year he put his whole body weight on the rope halter of a horse and only released when the horse showed signs of submission. I couldn't help thinking that this horse would have been in quite some pain by the halter, and if this was really any different from whipping him?
     
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  9. KP nut

    KP nut Horsey problems: caused by ego; solved by gravity

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    Loading is a great example of what I mean. I am quite good at loading so I am sometimes asked to help out. I can often see what a person is doing that is unlikely to work. I can predict that a horse is about to shoot backwards unless they release the pressure and I can see then someone's timing is way off so they are encouraging the horse forward when they should be backing off to reward a try and letting the horse who has made a little effort relax and think about it, so they are comfortable making a little more effort. And I can see that people are releasing the pressure at the point the horse become evasive. This effectively 'punishes' trying and 'rewards' evasion. It's very simple but it is all a matter of timing. Anyway when I do load a horse someone else has struggled with for a while the most common reaction is annoyance with the horse for 'trying it on' and 'taking the piss' when clearly it did not have a problem in the first place. The next most common reaction is to see it as some sort of horse whispering nonsense. The least common - which always baffles me - is to just ask what I am doing and how? It is not difficult but people don't seem interested. It's as if they would rather it be a naughty horse or something woo-hoo out there than just admit they have a gap in their knowledge. Anyway loading and catching are such small part of horsemanship and are about the only area I feel pretty confident in - I want that understanding for other areas - especially ridden work. And I just don't at all at the moment.
     
  10. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    Hi @KP nut - I've picked your last post to bits I'm afraid just in order to pose a question - If you are confident doing this with loading why can't you just use the same method/common sense in ridden work i.e.: see the try, reward, repeat, repeat, repeat, gradually asking for a bit more over time?
    PS: IMO only, if you're surrounded by idiots that can't see the obvious thats there shortcoming not yours.
     
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  11. KP nut

    KP nut Horsey problems: caused by ego; solved by gravity

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    Because my timing is rubbish and I dont have the skills, sensitivity or insight (the 'language') to understand what the horse is saying! But yes I do try to do exactly that. :)
     
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  12. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    Ok, now I've got another question (sorry!) : why doesn't your RI help you out with this?
     
  13. KP nut

    KP nut Horsey problems: caused by ego; solved by gravity

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    She is focused on things like Amber's way of going, what schooling exercises I need to use, how to improve my hands/seat. Which is all very important but is a different emphasis. I think you'd be lucky to find an RI who taught it all. I get my 'connection/relationship/language' instruction from Rashid/Brannaman clinics or DVDs and the Considering The Horse online classroom. And the more technical skills from my RI and various other skills based ridden clinics.
     
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  14. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    I didn't realise that @KP nut, thank you or explaining it as I've not ridden in the UK for, wow, 27years! My RI has taught me all sorts apart from just my riding skills and includes I suppose what I would simply call how to get the best out of my horse and how to encourage her down the right roads and back up the wrong ones. I do confess though to spending lots (& lots & lots) of time asking her questions about why we are doing certain things and what will my mare or myself get from it, not because I'm questioning her training but because I want to learn what she knows.
     
  15. KP nut

    KP nut Horsey problems: caused by ego; solved by gravity

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    @orbvalley my RI does obviously also offer her guidance on behaviour - take Max's napping for example: various suggestions have been offered: he's over-attached to Oscar after being out 24/7 with him for 3 months, he's hit 6 and is experiences 'the Kevins', he;s taking advantage of a younger rider, he's weak in his back, he's riggy, it's spring grass, too much hard feed, he's unfit or he's overfresh!! Well it's not all of those is it. Maybe it's a combination of some of them. And together we are trying to work it out. But people like Rashid, Brannaman are (imo) the best in the world at this! So the answers are more obvious to them. They don;t have to guess, they can observe the horse and SEE what the issues are.

    Have a look at this article by Kathleen Lindley - a student of both Rashid and Brannaman (who themselves are students of Ray Hunt). This is how I see Max. He is juts saying 'no' when he naps and we have to turn that no into a yes without getting into a fight. And in a way that in the end leads to co-operation and willingness not merely dull compliance.

    http://www.greyhorsellc.com/giving-up-the-fight.html

    Point 4 and point 7 are where you need 'masters'. I am trying to focus on the thing that happens before what happens happens! ie watching his ears and stopping a session when he is still happy rather than going too long and triggering 'no'. Like a skilled parent re-directing a child BEFORE the tantrum. But I sometimes miss it. And also miss the tries. I agree that developing this skill is a life's work. There are no short cuts. I'm not looking for short cuts. But I AM looking for teachers which is why I am jumping at the chance to have one of the best teachers around teach my horse.Even if I only get to watch!
     
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  16. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    One of the best tips I work with 99% of the time is not to get into a fight with my horse unless I am 100% sure of winning it - she has half a tonne more muscle than me I'm therefore almost always going to lose in a fight so I have to use something else, my knowledge/brain/mind/common sense or basically something she has less of ;) I do admit though to thee 1% of times when i lose my temper or self control and generally en up on the floor!
    I agree with you about dull compliance, I want my horse to do what we're doing with me because she chooses to not because I've beaten her into switching off into a miserable black void of feeling nothing. But I can only do that by coaxing her into it over a long period of time by rewarding the tiniest effort and gradually increasing that by encouragement and praise.
    Anyhow, sorry for the ramble but thanks for the chat:) its nice to exchange views and understand people better :)
    So, good luck at the clinic and love to Amber xx
     
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  17. KP nut

    KP nut Horsey problems: caused by ego; solved by gravity

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    Thank you too! I agree it's good to exchange ideas and to be challenged. I have a clip of Max being ridden through a napping episode which I don't feel confident sharing on the main forum but I think shows a good example of the rider refusing to fight even when the horse is trying to fight with you. But still finding a way through to co-operation. Eventually! I can pm it if you would be interested? I'd appreciate fresh eyes on Max tbh.....
     
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  18. orbvalley

    orbvalley Well-Known Member

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    No probs, I'd be very interested to see him. I'm absolutely no expert whatsoever though! I just like learning and accumulating knowledge and better riding skills like most do :)
     
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