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View Full Version : Tom Dorrance techniques/confusing to dressage horse?



Lambie Boat
Oct. 7, 2007, 01:43 PM
I am talking about ground training before riding. I was having respect and boundary issues with my young one and called in a Dorrance-trained NH person. I have no background with this stuff, but what I was doing was not working. The trainer did a wonderful job and got horsie's attention within 5 minutes, and managed some good work. I'd like to know if anyone else has had experience with this school of training and what you think. Will it be confusing to the horse? (not gonna use it under saddle, when I think things like contact and cadence are too different)

Some different things:
I always lead the horse by walking by their shoulder. TD way is to walk way far in front, back turned, and lead with a very long rope. Horse stops when they stop.

when I lunge, I want the horse to stop on the circle and stand square, facing forward. TD way, the horse turns in and faces the trainer.

I was using a leather cavesson. TD way wants a rope halter with the lead attached (no snaps)

SillyMe
Oct. 7, 2007, 01:46 PM
Put your selt belts on!

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 7, 2007, 01:50 PM
When I lead, my trainer has taught me that self carriage begins ON THE GROUND. So I walk by his shoulder, and make sure that he is moving his hind end underneath him and carrying himself. I can't expect him to go into an arena and go, "Okay - arena time! Time for self carriage!" It has to happen all thetime, and it can't using the Dorrance technique.

When I lunge, I want my horse, again, to have self carriage and halt with his hind end underneath him, not on his forehand, and balanced and straight. If he turns to face me, he'll be crooked. After all, do you want to halt in a test that way? In addition - the halt shouldn't be "the end." From the halt, you should be able to do whatever you want - canter, walk, whatever. So you need to think of the halt as a moving gait.

The whole idea of a cavesson is so that if you want to do in hand or lunge work on a lunge line you can, without creating an imbalance. I guess a rope halter could work but it would limit you.

goeslikestink
Oct. 7, 2007, 02:32 PM
when i lunge i linge lone reins 1st before i even attempt to lunge on the circle as i like to teach my horses basic commands and signals making sure hes balance and straight from behind you can se that especailly with a young horse as the cirrcle would put extra stresses and strains and un delveloped limbs
then when ready start him on the lunge line both ways to keep him even when lunging you must be in position with his hind quarters to drive him forwards and when lunging you asking him to perform perfect circles which means you must stand in one spot, if you walk about whilse lunging the horse will make oval shapes rather than circle ones.

try to privot on your inside foot that is the foot on the side you are lungeing if you are lungeing to the right pivot on the right foot whilse keeping the contact with the lunge line as near as possible to the contact that you would have when holding reins
there should be not slack in the middle of the lunge line- keep it taught iif there is slack int eh middle then the horse is going to do what he wants to do - ie turn in, run, etc and not what you are asking him to do , also he mustnt be allowed to move outwards on the lunge line so he pulls you off your pivoting leg and unbalances you ,

if the horse trys to turn in then you have got to be a lot quicker and any 1st sign of that
you should take a step towards the hind quarters for exsample if lunging right then take a a sharp step to the left to get behind him agian which is the only position to keep him oving forwards-- if you are palce in front of his you will stop him, if you are just at the schoulders he will turn in - you should be behind the eye-- and at his quarters

if you starting a new horse or youngster then make your triangle smaller
keeping your whip hand near his quartes you as the apex of thr triangle and your lead hand
to his caversson-- is the other side of the triangle and the horse is the bottom line to finish
by making your self smaller to start as he gets the idea gentle lead him out a bit more until hes in the correct position

always fold you lenght of lunge line so it doesnt get tangled when lungeing and is easier to release - the length..
you can lunge from a caversson-
or from the bridle --1--- connecting the lungel ine to the oppersite bit ring you are lunging from pass it over the horses head thread it through the inside bit ring--in effect the lunge is acting on the oppersite side of the head you are lungeing from the left on the the left rein
the lunge line will be fastened on the right side of the horse mouth passed over behind his ears and threaded through the left bit ring.
2-- you can also lunge of the bridle by passing the lunge line under his chin through the bit rings and attached it to the other side

you should never ever lunge from the same side when lunge ing on a bridle as if the horse pulls you can possiable do damage to his mouth by pulling the oppersite side of the bit through is mouth causing him pain and to learn to be advasive

Lambie Boat
Oct. 7, 2007, 02:37 PM
yes! I was not even addressing the self-carriage point yet, because when I lead my horse the usual standard way, the way I was taught, she will spook abruptly and run over me. She is all up in my grill, no matter how much I tried to impress upon her. So the whole Dorrance thing is a major departure from my personal training. TD trainer said horse was using her neck against me and there was no way to solve the issue the way I was approaching it. I am not getting her attention at all.

I'm not trying to start a train wreck popcorn thread. I have more respect for Dorrance than ,say,.....PParelli, Lyons, etc or the other games/carrotstick/b.s. artists...but I honestly do not know much other than his book (which is a love letter to the horse, basically) I just figured I need to do something different with better results, and I'm not tying the horse to a pole for a few days or beating the crud out of her.

OdhinnsMom
Oct. 7, 2007, 02:42 PM
A good dressage trainer can also help you with your horses respect issues. That type of training isn't exclusive to cowboys....

Yes, the turn and face you on the lunge will confuse the horse. But, that trainer isn't lunging the same way you are. My horse was started by a 'cowboy' trainer, and it took a bit to teach him that I wanted him to NOT turn in to me.

I still free-lunge my horse, and it works very very well to get him attentive and focused on me, but I don't let him walk in to me when when are finished.

CatOnLap
Oct. 7, 2007, 02:52 PM
With respect, I disagree that the NH work aimed at teaching respect and keeping distance and attention will have any negative effect on the under saddle work. After all, the horse spends 23 hours a day in whatever sort of posture or "carriage" he feels like, yet, when we mount, he will do as we ask in that context and adopt a posture more suitable to that work or what we have taught them. When we longe to develop gaits, to develop weight carriage of the hind, to develop impulsion, or whatever our dressage goals, we are doing a different sort of work than what the NH person is trying to achieve at that moment.
I agree that most classically grounded dressage trainers will also do their own version of obedience work and it is built in to the in hand work done all along with dressage horses brought along in classically grounded ways. but there are not too many trainers here who have the opportunity to learn the method the way it is taught in europe. However, there are many succesful trainers of other disciplines whose methods can achieve some of the same ends, especially where dominance issues are a problem.
Whichever way you choose to do it, it is better to ask these questions of your current coach and follow their method until you have learned it well. Then you can begin to question it and learn other ways that other trainers do it.

Sithly
Oct. 7, 2007, 03:33 PM
I agree with CatOnLap. Once you are communicating with your horse proficiently and understand the principles the NH trainer is trying to teach you, you can go off on your own and adapt them to your personal style. This is no more confusing to the horse than any other type of training.

Personally, I never lead from the shoulder. Too easy to get stepped on.

Posting Trot
Oct. 7, 2007, 03:40 PM
You should look at the Bill Dorrance book True Horsemanship Through Feel. He was Tom's brother (I believe), and quite an amazing horseman in his own right.

Personally, I think people should do what works for them, particularly on issues of ground manners. I just don't get why there has to be a rigid set of rules that would prevent you from using some NH techniques (the ones that you found useful) to do what you want to do.

Really some of the arguments among horsepeople over these issues make the old arguments among various stripes of Marxists (Menshiviks vs. Bolsheviks vs. Trotskyists vs. whomever) look like amateurish bickering.

CatOnLap
Oct. 7, 2007, 03:42 PM
well, and then, in my own version of NH, I always lead from the shoulder, because I can always keep eye contact with the horse. In my version, eye contact and body posture achieve a lot. My ponies are pretty respectufl of "Mom's look".
I am wary of walking ahead of the horse, having had a number of horses spook right up my backside in the past!

arena run
Oct. 7, 2007, 04:08 PM
I think the arguement of 'THIS is wrong because' and 'THAT is wrong because' is wrong.... because.... :)

If the proverbial One is able to do as One wants w/One's horse then what the heck is anyone else wanting to fuss about? The trick is to COMMUNICATE w/the horse and to realize that you are teaching them things. Teach them things you want them to do... things you want them to know... as YOUR OWN horse.

Lead from the shoulder.
Don't lead from the shoulder.
Lead from in front.
Don't lead from in front.
Turn and face.
Don't turn and face.

Whatever. :) If your horse is doing what you want your horse to be doing then that is a wonderful thing. Don't go nit-picking what someone else is doing w/their own horse just because it's not something you want your horse to do.

As regards dressage specifically I can see where certain way of training would interfere w/your ultimate 'goal'. Ok. So don't train that way - but you simply cannot say as 'point of fact' that way of training is wrong. It's not wrong. It's different. Celebrate the Difference!

If the 'dressage' way of training isn't working for you and your horse and you want to explore - go right ahead. There is nothing in the Horse Book of Training which says a horse cannot relearn or unlearn something. We relearn and unlearn w/them EVERY day. If they learn to face on the lunge... they can learn to not face. If they've learned to not face, they can learn to face. They are quite the adaptable creature. :)

I lead from the shoulder. Sometimes.
I lead from in front. Sometimes.
I have them turn and face from the lunge. Sometimes.
I have them stay facing forward from a stop. Sometimes.

It depends on what I want. I give the cue... the horse obeys (usually <lol>). There are times you simply cannot lead from the shoulder, on tight trails, if you're leading 3 or more horses, ponying, whatever. But to have a horse who cannot be lead from the shoudler is a handicap for reselling. Having them turn and face you from lunging is not a sin. :) If I stop mine and cue for a turn and face they better turn and face.

One way I really like to teach them to sit down on their butts to stop is to lunge, change direction w/a turn and face, and then them right back the other way. If you pull their nose instead of push their butts then they'll learn to rock back, pick up the front end, check in w/you and then continue the front-end roll or stop facing you. If you've told them to reverse then they'll keep that front end roll and set down facing the other direction... and - hopefully - canter off again.

It's pretty cool to be able to subltly cue them for a stop, stop and face, or a roll back. And there's nothing wrong w/it. And there's nothing wrong w/not doing it that way.

It's a CHOICE. Outfit yourself w/the tools of communication and then have fun. sylvia

PS - If I'm thinking a horse might 'spook up my backside' then I'll do some space-respecting chicken-arm flaps. :) Meaning... I'll lead them out and then stop and flap both elbows as I'm backing. If they don't move back they get their nose whopped w/the elbows.... or their neck/shoulder. It's AMAZING how quickly they learn to pay attention to their 'leader' and to stop and GET BACK if needed. Even when leading from the shoulder you are not immune to getting run over by a spooky horse. Your best bet is to teach them to respect your space no matter what. If they feel the need to spook they'd best spooky forward or rearward or away... not toward - no matter what direction you happen to be in at the moment.

Halfbroke
Oct. 7, 2007, 04:59 PM
It depends on what I want. I give the cue... the horse obeys (usually <lol>). There are times you simply cannot lead from the shoulder, on tight trails, if you're leading 3 or more horses, ponying, whatever. But to have a horse who cannot be lead from the shoudler is a handicap for reselling. Having them turn and face you from lunging is not a sin. If I stop mine and cue for a turn and face they better turn and face.



agreed. I think that you can teach your horse whatever you want, and ask for differant variations of the same thing depending on the circumstance.
For example, my horse knows how to halt square on the lunge. My horse also knows how to halt by turning into me on the lunge. Both are halts, but they are asked for slightly differantly
My horse can lead with me by his shoulder. My horse also leads great if he is behind me.

The beauty with training is that you have choices. Let the training fit into your philosophy.. don't force an entire philosophy into your training (or abstain from an entire philosophy because you don't agree with one or two things.)

The biggest problem I see with people trying to adopt NH is that they focus on the outcome, not the thought behind it, which is funny to me because NH is focusued on how horses think. People see (insert favorite or not so favorite NH trainer here) wave a stick in the air, so they wave a stick in the air without giving any thought to why he might be waving a stick in the air. what he was asking for, when he started waving it, when he stopped waving it etc.

I'm sure if you asked your NH trainer exactly the reasoning behind where he wants you to lead your horse, he would give you a slightly more profound answer that was ultimatly aimed at improving your communication with your horse, which in turn gives you freedom with your horse...

DieBlaueReiterin
Oct. 7, 2007, 07:15 PM
i'm really wary of leading too far out in front. a woman who used to work for my bosses got paralyzed by doing that last year. apparently she was far ahead of the horse when it spooked and reared, and struck her right in the back of the neck. that's really stuck with me, and i'm super super paranoid about leading from the shoulder now, all the time. did the guy mention what his reasoning was for leading so far out in front, or what he was hoping to accomplish?

Lambie Boat
Oct. 7, 2007, 08:18 PM
the horse sometimes spooks INTO me when I lead next to her shoulder. She looks away from me, pops her shoulder in and runs me over. I have been able to push her away, or pull her head in/push her shoulder out but it is very strength based, and some days I'm weak.

the Dorrance or NH thing is walking way ahead, the horse pays way more attention to the handler. Although, the horse spooked with trainer way up in front and galloped straight for him. Would have trampled him too but he was too quick. Proceeded to back the horse twice as far back as the horse came forward. I will back a horse 3 to 5 steps but not that far.

at any rate, the horse is not really spooking. Just flipping the hoof and being feral and untrained. I am so embarrassed to even be having this problem (one of a few training 101 issues) I have started young horses for years in my youth but last time was about 18 years ago. The horses haven't changed. I have. My timing has. My body language has. My energy level has. So any new techniques that can nip the ground stuff is most welcome.

Sithly
Oct. 7, 2007, 08:38 PM
Some good points posted. I still think you should listen to your trainer, though, otherwise you are wasting your money. You can always add and improve later.

I lead with the horse's nose at my shoulder. That's is the habit I get all of my horses into. Ever seen a horse when they hit a patch of ice under a thin layer of snow? Legs splay sideways, and they will absolutely take you out while trying to balance. I'd rather not be caught by flailing legs. (I almost found that out the hard way one time when I let a horse get too far in front of me -- I can't believe I'm still alive after some of the stuff I've done.) Also, I've found that the horses seem to respond much quicker to an abrupt right turn when you lead with the head at your shoulder. I don't think you have as much control leading from the horse's shoulder.

Is this an english/western divide? I've never seen a western rider lead from the shoulder (on purpose, lol), but maybe they do and I never noticed. Just curious.

Lambie Boat
Oct. 7, 2007, 09:00 PM
my understanding is the western folks walk way ahead of their horse. When they stop, the horse stops. When they go, the horse goes. I thought it might be a QH vs WB thing too (like ground tying or standing tied to a trailer quietly at a show?) I just never gave it much thought.

I don't have a trainer right now. I just asked a local Dorrance student to come out for a consult. It was very educational, the horse responded immediately and I remain open minded to new things. But then started thinking about if there will be problems in the future, when I decide to 'switch' over to traditional "english" ways. I don't know anything about clicker training or TTouch or other stuff cuz I thought it was kind of 'circus' or porpoise or trick training.

slc2
Oct. 7, 2007, 09:09 PM
yes, the techniques and the basic principles are extremely different from dressage training and i've never found NH horses to be 'adjustable' later to 'personal styles'. because of the way the training is done it creates an extremely unvarying, rigid response that is very, very hard to change.

if it works for you fine, but don't kid yourself - NH methods, such as walking in front of the horse instead of at the shoulder, having the horse turn toward you on the longe - none of that was developed for teh same type of horse or training goals.

and no....self carriage and the kind of respectful behavior one wants on the ground - many riders with very good ground manners on their horses do not have self carriage - and self carriage does not mean not pulling or having a light contact.

Sithly
Oct. 7, 2007, 09:22 PM
SLC, how does leading from the front harm a dressage horse? That seems ridiculous to me. Like saying cross ties will ruin an endurance horse, or ground manners will "break a horse's spirit." :lol:

monstrpony
Oct. 7, 2007, 09:40 PM
my understanding is the western folks walk way ahead of their horse. When they stop, the horse stops. When they go, the horse goes. I thought it might be a QH vs WB thing too (like ground tying or standing tied to a trailer quietly at a show?) I just never gave it much thought.


It is NOT a QH vs WB thing; it's a horse vs human thing. The point of this kind of work is to interact with the horse with the kind of feel that others of his species use to interact with him. What you ultimately do with it makes no nevermind whatever. Once you have feel going between you and your horse and can manuver his whole body without resistance, you can stop him on the end of your longe line standing on his head, if that's what you want; just ask for it the right way, and with feel. It is not discipline-specific and should not negatively influence what you ultimately do with your horse. If it does, it is not being done correctly.

I will qualify that by saying that it is not done correctly a lot.

Lune du Cheval
Oct. 7, 2007, 09:44 PM
As a personal choice, I would never allow my horse to get ahead of me on the lead. I want their throatlatch right about even with my shoulder, so I can see what they are seeing, and see where the ears are pointed. I would only allow a dead broke, completely respectful horse trail behind me. It is a potentially dangerous position to be in, and I have, in the past, had horses run up behind and over as well as get a bit too far ahead and try to jump into my arms. Also, I will admit, that sometimes I have allowed my horse to trail behind me, but that is the exception, not the rule. (for me, that is)

I see no conflict in starting with NH, and transitioning to the saddle and then going where you want to go. Pick and choose your training techniques. What works for me may not work for you. I watch a lot of CA, but since he is more than a foot taller than I am, not everything that he does will work for me. Also, some of the stuff that I learned years ago still works.......

Although I am just starting back, nothing that I have tried has set me back. Groundwork is groundwork. Some of it will translate under saddle, some won't. So far, I have had no trouble communicating the difference between a halt on the lunge and a reverse. They are separate signals, and once you have one, the other is easy enough to get, if you communicate clearly.

EqTrainer
Oct. 7, 2007, 09:59 PM
The longeing and the cavesson are no biggies. I have had to retrain so many horse to not turn at me on the longe, it's not hard at all. The cavesson/halter thing just isn't worth getting into.

But the leading.

I *know* they do it that way and I *know* they truly think it is safer. But I don't, and I won't. That is the one thing I had to have in agreement w/the guy that used to work with some of our horses. They MUST lead at the shoulder.

When a horse walks behind you, he is herding you ;)

When a horse walks w/you shoulder to shoulder, he is much more in the position he will be in while being ridden. Proper leading is in-hand work IMO. The Geek is right, the horse does learn a lot about going forward and being in carriage while being led. A horse that does not lead properly is not a horse I want to ride.. particularly a green baby. Another reason I want them up there is that they learn to face things that scare them, again, with you in the correct spot. A lot of horses don't even begin spooking in hand until they are leading correctly, as odd as that sounds. If they are naturally submissive and still walking behind you, then they have no worries <LOL> and besides that, the cougar will eat you first.

I understand that your mare spooks into you. Do you understand what that means? If she led properly, she would either 1) not spook 2) spook in place or 3) worst case scenario, spook forward and then spin around you to see what was behind her. SHE WOULD NEVER EVER SPOOK INTO THE BOSS MARE IN THE FIELD. No matter what. She can learn to not spook into you, too.

Now.. if this has gone on for a long time the fix can be quite ugly. You will begin with teaching her to move her entire front end away from you. The end result will be that if you lift the hand that is holding the lead towards her neck she will move away from you.. to the point that she will do TOH easily in hand. What can be ugly is that most likely she is going to simply ignore you when you begin this work. And you have to get her attention.

People will tell you all sorts of things about mares.. the loveliest mares I have ever ridden were ones who had impeccable ground manners. Their owners never, ever "made a deal" with them or "asked instead of told" or all that other happy crap people spout off to explain why their mare has awful ground manners or does horrible things undersaddle. In a herd of 20 mares, 19 of them get told what to do ALL DAY LONG :lol: you have got to be the 20th mare.

So think about that, and think about what your horse learns by walking behind you, and how very dangerous that is should she spook and run you down. You cannot influence what her reactions are when she is behind you.

4 years ago a friend brought me her then 3 year old colt.. who was 16h and weighed 1400 lbs easily. She told me - when I lead him, he will spook into me and run me over. He has no regard for my space when he is scared. So he had been doing this for years :no: very bad. When I was done with him, he had pretty much stopped spooking and when he did, it was safe. Fast forward 4 years later, I run into her and begin working with them again.. he's undersaddle now. Got a nice spook/bolt going on. But he always spooked forward :lol: anyway, that was super easy to fix in-hand because the basics were already there (albeit hidden away). My point is, it IS very important that this problem be addressed *directly* IMO and IME. It will not go away by doing something else (leading differently) Yes, she does not lead.. but why? Because she doesn't trust you to be her leader and she does not respect you as her leader.

I don't know.. the NH thing.. personally I think all the answers lie in dressage, because let's face it, dressage has been being done forever and documented forever. You can find the answer to this problem, and all others, from a dressage perspective if you find the right people to work with and study the right materials. If you cannot, then you may have to work with this person but try to keep your independent thought process going. I also have to add, that regarding respect - she may very well come to respect the NH person but not you. Training is training but relationship issues fall into an entirely different category. If you have a relationship problem, you will have to change. Someone else cannot train the problem you have with her, out of her. I hope that makes sense in a long, rather rambling post.

Good luck and most of all, be safe.

Lambie Boat
Oct. 7, 2007, 10:26 PM
very good post, thank you for that. now can you be more specific about what you did to stop the 3 yr old colt from plowing you over? I am trying not to go the major aggressive route, but if that's what it takes.......The NH trainer almost got run over by leading the mare on a long line, so it's not necessarily any safer. Big strong horse, no respect or attention on people at all.

my trainer in the past is a SRS classical (not klassical) guy with the absolute gravitas I need in order to listen to, and he's the one that insisted a horse must be lead shoulder/shoulder. He would only need his space entered once, and the horse would not do it again. He is always the 20th mare.....you nailed the issue completely.

I am enjoying everyone's responses- please keep the conversation going.....

katarine
Oct. 7, 2007, 11:28 PM
Reread 4H mom and halfbroke. Then read them again.

The entire idea behind 'feel' is to raise the horse's awareness of you, and respect for your wishes- whether the rope is 2 ft long or 20 = the respect and responsiveness can be there. I expect and train my horses to lead wherever I place them- me at their head/shoulder/girth/hip/tail- anywhere. They listen and learn. They stand on slack and don't graze unless given the all clear. That's 'feel'.

Please dig into the book suggested- take your time and sort it out. It's really nice to have a horse you can really enjoy on the ground, a horse that knows to watch you and be ready to respond...not react.

Good luck :)

frisky
Oct. 8, 2007, 01:03 AM
So think about that, and think about what your horse learns by walking behind you, and how very dangerous that is should she spook and run you down. You cannot influence what her reactions are when she is behind you.



I don't think it matters where you lead a horse. When they are not following you as a leader, you can get hurt. I used to lead at the shoulder. It's just as easy for them, when they panic, to lean their left shoulder into you-- to jump into your lap for safety. I lead primarily from the front with a long lead. I guess it's NH, but not really. My horses don't walk on me, period. But I can walk at the shoulder, too. I can lunge my horse and have her not turn into me. Or I can lead a la NH and have them follow a feel by turning on the circle or turning into me. The horse isn't supposed to go on some automatic pilot. You ask them to follow you or to keep their feet still. There doesn't have to be one right way.

The big complaint I hear about the NH principles is that your horse will magically get a snake neck, or that your horse with only think of backing up or whatever. Big no-no's in dressage. But it's not about that, at least the way that I understand it. I don't think this is "real" NH either. Not the stuff that I like. It's about getting your horse to follow a feel, whether it's turning on a circle or following your feel into contact. Do what you want with the information.

Yeah, all the old NH guys have their formula. They use a horse for a specific thing. But it's not really intended (?) to be learned by rote. They are just tools that you put in your kit. It's another way to figure out how you can teach your horse to find balance.

I doubt that there's reallly only one right way. I doubt that all the answers lie in dressage. Maybe they do, but maybe there are other ways of understanding some of the basic principles.

frisky
Oct. 8, 2007, 01:14 AM
The biggest problem I see with people trying to adopt NH is that they focus on the outcome, not the thought behind it, which is funny to me because NH is focusued on how horses think. People see (insert favorite or not so favorite NH trainer here) wave a stick in the air, so they wave a stick in the air without giving any thought to why he might be waving a stick in the air. what he was asking for, when he started waving it, when he stopped waving it etc.



Yes, I agree that this is the biggest problem. It's why many dressagies get distressed with NH. It's also why I'm not into many of the followers of the NH set. They buy the products and the system and start to "do NH." People get distracted by the stick and forget to think about what's going on and how it can relate to what they want to do with their own horse. It makes it seem like it's all about the stick.

Bluesy
Oct. 8, 2007, 01:25 AM
I don't think it matters where you lead a horse. When they are not following you as a leader, you can get hurt. I used to lead at the shoulder. It's just as easy for them, when they panic, to lean their left shoulder into you-- to jump into your lap for safety. I lead primarily from the front with a long lead. I guess it's NH, but not really. My horses don't walk on me, period. But I can walk at the shoulder, too. I can lunge my horse and have her not turn into me. Or I can lead a la NH and have them follow a feel by turning on the circle or turning into me. The horse isn't supposed to go on some automatic pilot. You ask them to follow you or to keep their feet still. There doesn't have to be one right way.



I totally agree with this. My horses will follow me or stand or step away or whatever when I ask them. One thing that really bothers me about some trainers is the whole "only one way" mentality, like they must always go away, or only forward, etc. I want my horse to do what I ask, not to always do this or that.

I don't use NH - I just use what I feel, have experienced, and am always trying to learn more.

Lambie Boat
Oct. 8, 2007, 09:21 AM
I am aware of feel and body language. But apparently what I know is not working. So now I either have to learn a new way or sell/get out of it (as I see it) because it's not fun now. I don't know how to get this horse on my page with me.

I am very happy for those of you who have your horses with you. I've also had that in the past and enjoyed it a LOT. I'd really love some help in how to get there. I agree it's a relationship thing, a respect thing, a 20th mare thing.
I'm very frustrated. I've been able to train certain things on the ground so far but if I skip others, there will be big holes, in my opinion. I could just get on and deal from the saddle but that's just taking my chances whether I had the velcro I had in the past

monstrpony
Oct. 8, 2007, 09:44 AM
I could just get on and deal from the saddle but that's just taking my chances whether I had the velcro I had in the past

I have a good friend who has spent her adult life doing very classical dressage. She has dug deep in order to find the resources and people who treat the horse with respect and consistent but firm kindness. Her horses are lovely, lovely under saddle.

She recently bought a young horse and is in the process of introducing him to the world. He's a very sweet, submissive horse and is a delight to handle at home. Away from home, however, he's an orangutan. Not intentionally rude, just wide-eyed at how much is out there. He paws on the trailer, steps on people on the ground, and is almost dangerous to tack up--not maliciously, just uneducated. BUT--as soon as her butt hits the saddle, he's all business. All of a sudden, he knows where the boundaries are and how he's supposed to behave, and who the boss is. Totally.

Holes in her horsemanship, much??

Get it going on the ground. Not necessarily first, but get it going there, too. You'll be much happier. And I've noticed the disrespectful ones are the ones who carry the disrespect over to under-saddle work, so you really need to get it fixed.

The thing about this work is, someone can't give you a recipe in writing for fixing it, beyond saying that you have to become the leader. They'd have to see you and the horse, and meet the horse, to begin to tell you what specifically to do. It has to do with stuff with this horse that your feel isn't refined enough to see, perhaps. It takes years and many horses to learn this stuff, and then there will be another horse that takes you to an even higher level (sounds like that's where you are now). You have to read a lot, watch a lot, do a lot, fail a lot in order to learn a lot. You're on the right path because you recognize the problems, but I don't think anyone can tell you on the internet how to fix it. Keep looking for the right person to help you get there. This NH person apparently can get the horse's respect; now they need to help you get it, too. It doesn't necessarily translate from person to person--with some horses it does more than others, but seldom with the difficult ones. They'll always be checking to see who the leader is, and you have to show them that it's you.

It has NOTHING to do with where you position yourself when you lead the horse. Ahead or beside or behind--if you're the leader, he isn't going to crash into you or (he knows) you'll have the right to kick his head off--you may or may not do it, but he isn't going to want to find out the hard way. THAT's what you have to establish. There are ways to do it without being perpetually rough and tough, though you may have to make your point a couple of times. The rest is just window dressing.

CatOnLap
Oct. 8, 2007, 11:30 AM
I imagine that most people buy horses that are already started or "broke" and do not start their own here?

How many people actually spend time teaching their "broke" horses to lead? How many dressage riders concentrate on just getting their butt in the saddle and riding and have not been taught the other parts of dressage, like the longe work, or the in hand work? The way I was tauight, you do a few minutes of in hand work before mounting or after riding, to establish pecking order and obedience, and to work on advanced prep, like the half steps and hindquarter control.

I do take time to teach the horses to lead from the shoulder, or from in front with my back turned, or from in front with me facing them, or by being ponied from another horse,or by being driven on a short longe, also by being long lined. All these techniques have their place. Once I got a reluctant loader into a trailer by driving him in on the long lines. It's good to have a lot of tricks up your sleeve! I do not prefer to lead from in front unless it is not possible to lead from the shoulder. IMO it is less safe to lead from in front with no eye contact. I am sure the Dorrances have eyes in the backs of their heads, I do not and my hearing ain't that good either!

I learned from a european trainer how they present them for the young horse shows. There, they "lead" from the shoulder and you bet no horse is allowed to get a smidge ahead or behind the handler. The handler carries a longish dressage whip with a heavy end, carried in the left hand. The right hand holds the neatly looped lead line about 12-18 inches from the halter. The horse is encourage to really be impulsive with the whip reaching back behind the handler to tickle the hindquarters along if they start to fall a centimeter behind. The same hand comes forward quickly at time, aiming the butt of the whip toward the face, to direct the horse's head straight if the horse should lean into the handler or attempt to cross in front. The butt end of the whip give a sharp knock on the tender leading edge of the shoulder blade if the horse attempts to budge the handler with the shoulder. This all starts the moment the handler walks into the stall. The horse is positioned immediately against a stall wall and asked to stay there as the handler puts on the halter and lead. From the moment these handlers walk into the stall they are asking for ( and usually getting) strict obedience as to exactly where the horse is putting each foot.

I do a modified version, where I turn the whip and point, with the lash, where I intend the horse to travel. Linda Tellington-Jones taught me that modification and it seems kinder than almost smashing them in the face with the butt end of the whip. The flippy lash catches their attention and they naturally turn to follow it. I can quickly swing my arm back to encourage the forward movement. And any horse who budges me with their body is being RUDE. I am alpha mare! How DARE they! :lol any other alpha mare in this position will give the offending horse a good knock with their closed bare teeth on a bony part- just like the european handlers knocking the shoulder blade with the whip butt.

I find leading from the shoulder safer because I can always push off from the horse's shoulder blade and jump free if anything unexpected happens and they try to jump in my lap. I do not get horses walking up my heels or jumping on my feet- if you are directly beside them, it is hard for them to do either.

Although I do find the mental image of someone doing the "chicken flap" to keep the horses backed off, amusing!

mp
Oct. 8, 2007, 11:39 AM
What katarine and monsterpony said.

Don't worry about what someone calls the "Tom Dorrance" method of leading or anything else. His only method was to make it easy for the horse to do what he wanted him to do. It's beneficial for any discipline and any horse. But there is no playbook or step-by-step instructions for it. It's all about feel and timing.

When the TD-trained guy worked with your horse, did he talk about what he was doing? Or coach you and let you try to get similar results? Because when you're watching someone who's really good, it can be hard to figure out exactly what they're doing. It's like a watching a really skilled rider put a horse through his paces -- you know he's cueing the horse, but you can't really see that. All you see is what the horse does. Try another couple of sessions with him and see if he can help you get the feel of this horse.

You don't need to unlearn anything you already know. You'll just be adding to your knowledge.

arena run
Oct. 8, 2007, 11:48 AM
It is NOT a QH vs WB thing; it's a horse vs human thing. The point of this kind of work is to interact with the horse with the kind of feel that others of his species use to interact with him. What you ultimately do with it makes no nevermind whatever. Once you have feel going between you and your horse and can manuver his whole body without resistance, you can stop him on the end of your longe line standing on his head, if that's what you want; just ask for it the right way, and with feel. It is not discipline-specific and should not negatively influence what you ultimately do with your horse. If it does, it is not being done correctly.
I will qualify that by saying that it is not done correctly a lot.

You took the words right outta my mouth. :) I've never dealt w/a warmblood and the closest I've gotten to a TB is our appendix gelding (3/4th's TB). BUT.... I have dealt w/ponies and mules... successfully. And I know myself well enough to know that - even if it took 3 years - I would have ground manners on my WB before I had my butt in the saddle. **edited to add that the reason I would hold off riding until I had ground manners is because I'm not as good a rider as I am ground handler. :) I tend to fix saddle issues from the ground before climbing aboard.**




I imagine that most people buy horses that are already started or "broke" and do not start their own here?
How many people actually spend time teaching their "broke" horses to lead? ...
Although I do find the mental image of someone doing the "chicken flap" to keep the horses backed off, amusing!

Quilty as charged for restarting 'broke' horses. :) There is a certain way I want my horses to view me... a certain way I want them to respond. It doesn't matter HOW broke a horse is when I get them home, I'm going to restart them on the ground as soon as they're mine. :D sylvia

PS, the chicken arms are intermittent - and I do try not to cackle. <lol> And it is VERY amusing to be walking along, stop, and run backwards as fast as you can and your horse gets OFF you as fast as they can. Very amusing. :) I had a pony who would canter in hand, sit on his BUTT to stop, and then back like a reiner... all according to what I did, and on a slack halter lead. He was an extra smart, super willing little man.

merrygoround
Oct. 8, 2007, 11:52 AM
The "safety zone" is at the shoulder, from that location, with a proper length lead rope, you can "read" a horse, pop him on the shoulder if it comes at you, avoid strikes, kicks, cow kicks, and be able to move with a rear, circle the horse around you in case of a bolt.

A properly fitted cavesson keeps the outside cheek piece out of the horses outside eye.

Horses trained to turn in to you can sometimes develop a habit of rushing in. and as someone else observed sometimes after a halt, you then ask the horse to again walk off. Harder to do if turned in.

JMHO :)

CatOnLap
Oct. 8, 2007, 12:10 PM
the chicken arms are intermittent - and I do try not to cackle-4Hmom
I think I would find the cackling irresistible!
I have been known to pounce at my horse on the longe and go "POOF" really loud to get them to bend their barrel correctlyto the inside...

CatOnLap
Oct. 8, 2007, 12:10 PM
Its part of my "Majickal" training. I think I need a wizard hat to longe.

MontanaDun
Oct. 8, 2007, 02:27 PM
This may sound dorky, but see if you can get a human friend to mimic your horse's behavior and you try different things to deal with it. Then swap roles. It can be quite an eye opener!

I had a student who was trying to learn to longe her horse - it was hysterical. He would stand there pivoting on his front legs as she scrambled around trying to get him to move. Once I "longed her" and had her "longe me", she was able to get past the issue and actually longe her horse.

A person can verbally express stuff to you, but you can also then control the experiement and chunk it down in manageable bits for learning.

MD

des
Oct. 8, 2007, 02:34 PM
The
I don't know.. the NH thing.. personally I think all the answers lie in dressage, because let's face it, dressage has been being done forever and documented forever. You can find the answer to this problem, and all others, from a dressage perspective if you find the right people to work with and study the right materials. If you cannot, then you may have to work with this person but try to keep your independent thought process going. I also have to add, that regarding respect - she may very well come to respect the NH person but not you. Training is training but relationship issues fall into an entirely different category. If you have a relationship problem, you will have to change. Someone else cannot train the problem you have with her, out of her. I hope that makes sense in a long, rather rambling post.



This is probably the sanest comment someone's ever made about NH.

NH didn't originate in dressage or anything else. It's origins trace back to cowboys who decided to be better horsemen and stop "cowboying" their horses around. It's really about good horsemanship and understanding the horse as an animal of flight. With good horsemanship, a horse can do anything. Will the OP learn from the TD trainer.. yes if you understand it from that basic concept. Good horsemanship is good horsemanship no matter where it comes from.

I think the negativeness out there has come from the gimmicky commercialism that's resulted from the big names. (And I rode with some of those guys when I was younger before they had all their gimmicky games etc.)

As for the OP, I don't like horses to follow me although I realize on a trail sometimes that's important. However, the key is to be alpha mare. What would you do if your kid decided it was ok to knock you around or backtalk to you? Me, I'd come unglued.. as Dr. Phil has so succinctly put it.. her world would come crashing down on her. Does it mean abuse.. no... it's becoming the focus of attention. What will it take for your horse to realize you don't want to be walked on top of? Is it a fingertip in the shoulder or is it a big whack with the end of the rope. You use as little or as much force as needed.

Try a little.. if it doesn't work move up the pressure until it does but always start with as little as needed to get the job done. Eventually they understand that not responding to a little gets them a lot more pressure than they want. That's how we get responsive horses.

The other part of the equation is just setting your horse up to succeed. Help him understand what you want him to do. Say you want your horse to stop with his head pointed around the circle rather than at you? How do you stop a horse? Step towards the front of the horse's bubble and pinch off his forward motion by getting in front of his shoulder and his "bubble" from inside the circle. Let your whip back down from his hind end so it doesn't send him forward. How much depends on the horse.

A good exercise for the OP might be to go into a round pen open or walled doesn't matter and see how easily you can control where your horse goes and how fast he goes while he's loose with only your body position. He doesn't have to be madly galloping around to do this.. you can do it at a walk. Once you can do that go back to whatever equipment you want him to go under and use your body position to reinforce whatever cues you're giving him. Eventually he should pick up the meaning of those cues.

AdAblurr02
Oct. 8, 2007, 03:31 PM
<snip>
It has NOTHING to do with where you position yourself when you lead the horse. Ahead or beside or behind--if you're the leader, he isn't going to crash into you or (he knows) you'll have the right to kick his head off--you may or may not do it, but he isn't going to want to find out the hard way. THAT's what you have to establish. There are ways to do it without being perpetually rough and tough, though you may have to make your point a couple of times. The rest is just window dressing.


AND HALLELUJAH!

In my long life with horses, the one constant has always been getting and KEEPING their attention. If they are able to just ignore you - at any time - they will, and all it says is that you are not in charge of the situation.

A lot of my own experience has been handling stallions - from foaling onward to adult breeding stallions. I will absolutely guarantee that if that stud does not respect you as the Leader, there will come a time when he will make you almighty sorry for it, regardless of how good, and kind, and safe he's been up to that particular moment in time.

Being tough on a 1600 pound 16:3 stud colt with "other things" no his mind can be a challenge - first you have to get his attention. It's a LOT better to practice having his full and undivided attention before you really need to have it, and that means when he comes charging up the paddock, he'd better be willing to stop when you wheel around, pin your ears and show your teeth and point THE FINGER at his face and holler WHOA!

I do not condone horse beating of any description, but a good sharp whack at the right time will go a long way toward making a believer out of a disrespectful unruly youngster. When you can back them down on your voice and body language alone, you have a good beginning.


Funny story - my old stud, who we raised from a two month old baby, was hanging out in his stall as I cleaned up his ginormous mess around his stall door. I backed into the stall from his paddock pulling the wheelbarrow, and unthinkingly gave him a push with my behind and asked him to "move over". He just stared at me.... I pushed again and he pinned his ears and actually showed me his teeth, with the most unbelieving look on his face! It then occurred to me what a totally RUDE thing I'd done, in horse language. I'd backed up and threatened him - if I'd been another horse he might have kicked my lights out.
I dropped the wheelbarrow and immediately asked his forgiveness and made a very sincere apology to this gracious elder gentleman, who had just taught me yet another thing about horses and how we communicate with them....

EqTrainer
Oct. 8, 2007, 04:03 PM
FEI, I am going to PM you. I am just not going to get into a NH versus dressage argument.. particularly on the dressage board ;) not to mention when I was pregnant w/LMEqT I did enough of it to make me entirely sick of it :lol: I should have saved those posts and made a book out of them.

Anyway. Expect it when I have some spare time between teaching paying lessons :D probably closer to the weekend!

Sithly
Oct. 8, 2007, 04:15 PM
Okay. So if we follow a trainers methods, we're drinking the kool aid, but if we don't, we're taking the easy way out. Man, SLC, you are hard to please.

EqTrainer, I don't think that walking ahead of the horse means he's herding you. Every day I watch my horse's herd follow the lead mare down to the water cup in single file. Her space is inviolate, and she always drinks first.

(Just to clarify, I don't advocate walking directly in front of the horse.)


You have to read a lot, watch a lot, do a lot, fail a lot in order to learn a lot.

Well said.

monstrpony
Oct. 8, 2007, 04:32 PM
I am just not going to get into a NH versus dressage argument..

I can't speak for the others who've written in this thread, but I have not, nor would I ever say that the kind of work I've mentioned here is exclusive of dressage. Indeed, there are many dressage riders who do it as well as it can be done. However, there are also many who do a very incomplete job of it--the friend I mentioned above's horses longe beautifully, as well, probably as well as I've ever seen horses longed, but they still step on you on the ground when the wind gets under their tails, or in a new situation.

Respect for a leader really is not discipline specific. But it is also not a given unless the person makes it a priority. An amazing amount can be accomplished without it, or it can be situational.

And then, one day, you bump into a horse with whom establishing leadership is NOT an option, and that horse could be wearing any kind of tack, or none at all--because the horses don't care how you dress them, they are still ... horses.

BEARCAT
Oct. 8, 2007, 04:38 PM
The bottom line is: what do YOU want?
Your horse will rise to meet your expectations. Usually I want mine to walk at my shoulder, but we have some tight spots on my property where we have to go between trees. Then I expect him to follow a few feet behind me on a loose lead.
Same for stopping on circle vs. turning and facing you. For me, a WHOA! means stop your feet right there. Do not continue walking to turn in. I also have a cue to tell my horse to turn and face, and one to tell him to come to me..

Also, I know John Lyons often gets bunched in with all the "natural" trainers, but I just got back from spending all day on saturday with him, and his training is extremely relevant to dressage. He has changed so much in the past few years, if anybody has a chance to see him, give him another try... He was getting beautiful collection by just lightly picking up 1 rein, demonstrated haunches in, leg yields, etc.... (I even spied a few copies of Dressage magazine in the office ;)

(Oh, and not once during the 8 hours did he ever try to sell you anything at all. He did not even take a break or have any lunch during this time because he was too busy answering questions and helping people with their horse issues... He is one of the kindest, most generous man I know - a true inspiration! )

EqTrainer
Oct. 8, 2007, 04:45 PM
[quote=Sithly;2727677]Okay. So if we follow a trainers methods, we're drinking the kool aid, but if we don't, we're taking the easy way out. Man, SLC, you are hard to please.

EqTrainer, I don't think that walking ahead of the horse means he's herding you. Every day I watch my horse's herd follow the lead mare down to the water cup in single file. Her space is inviolate, and she always drinks first.

In an established herd, the leader does as they please and grants indulgences as they wish.

When teaching a young horse, or retraining an older horse, to lead - the herd order is at least partially what is in question. Allowing such a horse to walk behind you invites them to herd you.

EqTrainer
Oct. 8, 2007, 05:15 PM
I can't speak for the others who've written in this thread, but I have not, nor would I ever say that the kind of work I've mentioned here is exclusive of dressage. Indeed, there are many dressage riders who do it as well as it can be done. However, there are also many who do a very incomplete job of it--the friend I mentioned above's horses longe beautifully, as well, probably as well as I've ever seen horses longed, but they still step on you on the ground when the wind gets under their tails, or in a new situation.

Respect for a leader really is not discipline specific. But it is also not a given unless the person makes it a priority. An amazing amount can be accomplished without it, or it can be situational.

And then, one day, you bump into a horse with whom establishing leadership is NOT an option, and that horse could be wearing any kind of tack, or none at all--because the horses don't care how you dress them, they are still ... horses.

Sigh. You know, you are right.. and yet all of these threads seem to devolve into 40 people saying she needs to develop "Feeeeeel" but no direction on how to do it.. and I'm the only one saying "you know.. you could learn to work your horse in-hand and not even have to cross disciplines!"

I totally disagree with everyone who says she can pick and chose pieces of different disciplines to solve her issue. Podjhasky says it right off the bat - you need to learn a system from beginning to end if you want to learn to train horses. I agree with this. I see so very few people who can train a horse from a foal thru even basic undersaddle training and produce a reliable riding horse. Training horses is an encompassing task and it takes time and dedication to learn how to do it.

If she already knew how to teach a horse to lead properly and then wanted to branch off and learn something new that would be one thing. But instead the message here is: You didn't learn how to do it the way your discipline teaches. So learn to do it another way instead. It will be good for you!

But dressage, just like all other disciplines, builds on each step. If she teaches her horse to lead behind her, she loses the opportunity to teach him to move forward off the whip at her side and face issues in front of himself without her there first. Sure she can teach him it separately but why not incorporate it into his leading work? That is the way the dressage system teaches it for a reason. It ties into further in-hand work and riding.

I have studied NH. I love the rock/loading story, it is hilarious. What I do not see is a system that cohesively ties into the process of backing a young horse and turning it into a dressage horse. If that is your goal, then you should IMO and IME be teaching each step from a dressage perspective. The end goals of NH training and of dressage training ARE NOT the same. If they were, you would end up with a dressage horse from both systems.

Picking and choosing is, IMO, usually a cop-out. In this instance the OP may not have very many choices. There may be no one to teach her the proper way to teach a horse to lead. I do understand that dressage people tend to poo-poo the idea of paying someone to teach them ground work/in-hand work. They tend to take a lesson a week and they want it to be "worthwhile" ie: undersaddle. Or they send Baby away to get started. It's not only a hole in the system but its a hole in their way of thinking. NOT saying this is you, OP. Just pointing out how we got this way ;) as a discipline. NH people take ground work much more seriously than the average dressage person. I have a good idea about why and it involves the average age of the person learning to do NH and the average age of the person's introduction to horses in general but I digress. So anyway, when something like this goes wrong, instead of the hole in the training being addressed as dressage, people think "groundwork.. NH!" And look for that fix. NH ties into this so neatly.. where else have you ever heard of, for instance, a 2-day "Colt Starting" clinic?!!! Certainly not at anyones dressage barn :lol:

Anyway. NH away, folks. But you will not, in the end, have a dressage horse. You will have... something else. But it won't be a dressage horse. The fewer steps you stray off the path when training a dressage horse, the easier/quicker/less painful it will be in the long run.

slc2
Oct. 8, 2007, 05:31 PM
i agree with the previous post.

what i don't agree with is that few in dressage are interested in ground handling or want to work on that. au contrair, definitely. while it is true that there are some people who aren't interested, i find there's a lot of interest.

nor do people send horses away always out of disinterest in something that needs improvement. often they send the horse to a trainer because they are petrified of the animal, or realize they are so inexperienced they haven't a prayer of straightening the animal out.

i also find that the methods a good dressage trainer uses on the ground go hand in hand with his riding and training in the saddle, and actually assist him in training horse.

the shoulder is the neutral position from which one is most easily in the position to restrain the motion, bend the horse's neck to control a bolt or spook, or use driving aids. walking toward the shoulder is the neutral way to approach a horse, walking to the head drives him back, walking to the body or hind quarter drives him forward.

walking in front of the horse puts one out of range to discretely apply driving aids in a prompt fashion; they can be applied, but are neither discrete nor prompt and are not as effective or quiet, and are usually applied to the shoulder, foreleg or neck, which tends to drive a horse backward or to the side, not forward.

walking in front of the horse means you can't bend the neck and stop the horse from a bolt or spook, either back, to either side or towards you in front of him. you can't apply driving aids, you can't bend him, and you can't prevent him from running over you.

the method of leading a horse at the head or in front of the head was designed for quiet older stock, and not for dealing with younger, larger or more spirited active animals that want to go forward and have a lot of natural desire to do so.

arena run
Oct. 8, 2007, 05:57 PM
...
Funny story - my old stud, who we raised from a two month old baby, was hanging out in his stall as I cleaned up his ginormous mess around his stall door. I backed into the stall from his paddock pulling the wheelbarrow, and unthinkingly gave him a push with my behind and asked him to "move over". He just stared at me.... I pushed again and he pinned his ears and actually showed me his teeth, with the most unbelieving look on his face! It then occurred to me what a totally RUDE thing I'd done, in horse language. I'd backed up and threatened him - if I'd been another horse he might have kicked my lights out.
I dropped the wheelbarrow and immediately asked his forgiveness and made a very sincere apology to this gracious elder gentleman, who had just taught me yet another thing about horses and how we communicate with them....

Wow. You allowed your horse to tell you what to do? If I were to back into a stall and 'bump' the horse they really had best move over.

He showed his teeth to you? And you LET him. *shaking head* I just about can't get over this.




...
And then, one day, you bump into a horse with whom establishing leadership is NOT an option, and that horse could be wearing any kind of tack, or none at all--because the horses don't care how you dress them, they are still ... horses.

Such a good statement, had to post it again. ;)




In an established herd, the leader does as they please and grants indulgences as they wish.

When teaching a young horse, or retraining an older horse, to lead - the herd order is at least partially what is in question. Allowing such a horse to walk behind you invites them to herd you.

What I've seen my herd do on occasion is, when a newbie is put in, that newbie will walk around - checking things out - and the entire herd will follow behind. Usually the dominant one right behind the newbie. The Alpha isn't 'following' and established leader but the newbie certainly isn't being 'herded'. They're pretty much going where they want to go. If they stop, the alpha stops. If they turn to investigate... well, things might go south for a bit. :)

So, what I'm reading into what you're saying is... if you're allowing a horse who is not admittedly subordinant to you... to FOLLOW you.... then you're possibly putting yourself into the newbie's place. When push comes to shove and you turn around to 'tell' your supposed-follower what to do, well, they could have some issues w/your instructions.

That is, imo, not a herding problem but a basic dominance problem. Establish the dominance/respect first. THEN teach them to obey no matter where you are and no matter how long of a line happens to be between you at the time.




I do agree w/you ET that using non-dressage-oriented training will, indeed, result in a non-dressage-oriented horse. If you're into dressage, that COULD be a problem. <lol>

Using dressage principles to train a trail horse could possibly backfire. You don't always want super engagement in their hind end. That takes alot of effort and if you're out on the trail 5 - 6 hours a day, 3 days in a row... he could literally wear out. ;) You would also make a point (using my own trail experience) of making sure your horse could be controlled from just about any length lead - up to 20'. If you strictly trained according to dressage there would be huge Trail Holes in your horse.

Also, if you're training your horse for barrels you might want to borrow from dressage but you would also want that horse to be free-running. Meaning, you don't always want to have to cue for speed every single time nor do you want to have to cue for a lead coming to the barrel. You want the horse to take responsibility for some of those things.

So, basic training being descipline-oriented isn't a bad thing. BUT... Learning to communicate w/your horse (in other words, learning how he learns) should give you the tools you need to turn your horse into whatever you want your horse turned into.

If you understand how to teach a horse, and you understand what you desire in your 'end result'... Then, it shoudn't be too hard to use those principles to create the horse you want. Be it dressage, barrel, trail (and I'm not talking about pleasure trails riders but those folks who really attack a hard trail). You would keep in mind your end result as you go day-to-day through your training. It would go w/out saying (I think) that a pre-requisite to training would be a thorough understanding of what you DO want at the end. ;)

That is, usually, through experience w/a horse that's already accomplished it. At the least you should be well-versed and well-read in that descipline and willing to backtrack and undo something you inadvertantly let slide (fill in the holes, so to speak). sylvia

Kit
Oct. 8, 2007, 06:06 PM
i haven't read all the posts. Just the first page and I agree with the posters who are saying that the training you are using via the Dorrance method will do no harm to your dressage training. You have a young horse with whom you are having trouble controlling on the ground. So the trainer's methods work - good! Use them and gain the respect of your horse. Then you can adapt them to the way you want. You should be able to lead your horse from in front....and at the shoulder. I do and did. I want her where I want her when I say so, not when she says so. If you teach her that respect now she will be so much the better for it. I can go for a hack up in the hills and if I'm leading down a steep hill, I want my horse behind me to the side, not leading the way! She has to be respectful of my slower steps. (Lots of people I've seen are towed around by their horses and it's really frustrating for them.) I've shown her in hand lots so she leads well from the shoulder as well. But first you need her respect and like you say without beating up on her and getting all frustrated. (you did say he was teaching your horse to stay way behind and not right on your heels so he could jump on you - once you can do that, you can put him anywhere). Use the knowledge and then develop it as you want to. I just don't think we need to go one way alone. Use the knowledge out there and first and foremost, get your horse working for YOU! Then continue with how you want to proceed. Your horse is young and needs to learn the boundaries. And you need to be safe and in charge. JMO as it has worked for me. But the guy is teaching your horse respect.

monstrpony
Oct. 8, 2007, 06:32 PM
... But instead the message here is: You didn't learn how to do it the way your discipline teaches. So learn to do it another way instead. It will be good for you!


Some of us are intentionally NOT saying HOW to learn it, we're simply saying that she DOES have to learn it, somehow. She can pick and choose all she wants, but if she's learning what she needs, it will be the same, regardless of discipline--that is my belief about horsemanship. At the fundamental level, it IS the same.

I had never been exposed to what I've learned from my NH guru from any of the dressage people I've worked with. It just never came up, because my easy back-yard amateur's horses were already pretty civilized on the ground, and I've never had one of the difficult ones. And the emphasis was always on riding, the other was not a priority. Today, I consider that a flaw of every one of those clinicians, a serious flaw.

One of the most liberating experiences I've had in my study of so-called NH was when I went to see the SRS in Atlanta the winter before last, and was able to really see, for the first time, the thoroughness of their horsemanship. Okay, I'm a retarded dolt that I had to get to this point in my equestrian career to be able to see that, but it was my exposure to NH that equipped me to see it.

Go figure.

mp
Oct. 8, 2007, 06:54 PM
Anyway. NH away, folks. But you will not, in the end, have a dressage horse. You will have... something else. But it won't be a dressage horse. The fewer steps you stray off the path when training a dressage horse, the easier/quicker/less painful it will be in the long run.

Maybe if you could define your concept of a "dressage" horse, I could understand this better.

The best person I ever saw long line a horse was a dressage instructor. A close second was a WP trainer in Oklahoma. If you'd seen them work these horses, you'd never have been able to tell which was which. They were simply two skillful horsemen working young horses.

Yes, the training paths diverge -- and rather quickly, too. But when it's done correctly, the foundation is the same because the basic nature of the horse is the same. I don't see how it can be otherwise.

egontoast
Oct. 8, 2007, 07:07 PM
I don't think this is about NH methods vs, dressage methods. Chris Irwin, an NH guy, teaches leading with the horse in self carriage at the shoulder (even though early videos show the drag behind method).

So not all NHers are the same just as not all dressage people are the same. I agree with Eq Trainer's comments. I want the horse beside me and on my 'aids' so to speak. I don't want the horse behind me in a position to pull back or barge over me or rear. I always learned never to be directly behind a horse and never to be directly in front.

That said, when I lead an old faithful to the pasture, I don't have to have them in any particular spot. (Editing to add that I do lead them all in self carriiage just out of habit-theirs and mine) For control, with a young , pushy , rude or unpredictable type, I want them where I have the best control- in line with their shoulder and a whip in the left hand pointing back and ready to install forward.

If the Op has found someone to help her with problerms she is having, that's fine, but that is not the only way to do this and it's not the way many of us would choose.

DressageGeek "Ribbon Ho"
Oct. 8, 2007, 07:33 PM
EqTrainer - exactly what I have been trying to say, but you stated it far more eloquently.

Lambie Boat
Oct. 8, 2007, 09:44 PM
just came in from working the horse using the TD techniques. boy, she sure was alert TO ME and watching ME and doing what I said, and immediately. Such a refreshing difference. But.......so much backing......can't be good, right?

and......mare was listening, but had a very frightened look in her eyes :eek:
I wasn't "over the top", but I didn't like the fear. Or...was it ....respect?????

Perhaps I had more conviction than usual. I am not a "I Shall Train Them With My Looooooooooooove" type at all. I'm going to try to figure out how to post a picture, so you all can see the expression on this mare's face.

JackSprats Mom
Oct. 8, 2007, 10:27 PM
FEI- Sounds like you are making progress, just remember that at first you may have to use harder/sharper commands (hence the wide eyed look) but it should, very quickly, change to using minimal commands, a simple 'ack' when she thinks about misbehaving.

One thing that might help is the UDSF 'showing your horse in-hand' goes through some exercises to help to get them to listen.

As others have said sometimes, in the beginning, its not pretty. I got my 2 year old colt and he was a biting disrespectful machine :eek: I wondered what the heck I had done. In the early days I got after his HARD and FAST for the behaviour, and it made me uncomfortable as I had never had to get after a horse like that before (evertime he went to bite me, or rudely invade my personal space he got to meet his maker for 3 secs- I watched my 7 year old gelding do the same thing to him twice when my colt would be rude, the colt learnt to play nicely and those two LOVE each other :yes:). He learnt fast and as he did the need to get after him became just a look or a sound and he backed off. This is now a stallion that I can lead from in front, at his shoulder, stands loose and stays respectful (ie will come up for scratches but not get pushy). Its a horse that I now TRUST and he trusts me.

She may look at you wide eyed for today, this is new for her, you're making your mark and standing your ground. Each day will get easier and easier.

Chief2
Oct. 8, 2007, 11:23 PM
Okay, I am in the distinct minority of one in my barn, but I strongly feel that if the ground manners are not in place, then I don't care if the horse can piaffe or jump over the moon, he ain't worth a dime, period. But then, I was started western.. :)

Western people don't put up with crap for ground manners, and that's what the OP's got. Her horse does not value her space. I know, because I just finished rehabbing a horse who did the very same thing. Scare him or wind him up, and he would leap four and a half feet sideways right on top of you and take you out. I wanted to lead him at the shoulder, where I much prefer it, but it was too darn dangerous. I don't trust horses coming up behind me, because I don't like getting run over, so the NH way of leading was out.

So, the purists will have to hide their eyes here, but in desperation, I did the John Lyons mini-exercise, saying 'move your shoulder, move your hips, back up (3-5 steps), walk forward', and then do it again, alternating sides, again and again. In the arena, in the pasture, in the driveway, down the aisle, we did this anywhere we could do it, at any time. It started with shoulders and hips that moved about as much as a brick wall, and I had to keep repeating the command and shove with all my might to get them to engage and move. Backwards was almost a straight refusal. After three straight session, I was exhausted at the end of each one. (And no, I didn't use a dressage whip. He was scared of things as it was.) Then, each part began to move better. And better. We added in a lot of work on the ground that made boarders in the barn impatient with me being down on the ground so long, because they wanted to sail around the arena on their horses, but that was too bad. It was low tide in the arena, and I got there first. We did Simon says commands, we learned easy side by side dance steps forwards, backwards, sideways. We walked and trotted together down the arena, and threw in lateral work along the long sides. All in the name of saving my skin. And it worked. Fear left, he got hooked on the work, and learned that I have space that I value, and that there are consequences if he invades it. More work!

Now, he wouldn't think of taking me out. He is a complete gentleman on the lead line anywhere we walk, including strolls in the pasture with a herd of 60 horses running right up our backends and tearing off past us. Stays put in his place next to me, and doesn't join in. And his shoulders and hips are so sensitive to touch that all you have to do is reach out with a finger and touch and say 'move your------' and he moves right over, and sails backwards if that's what you want.

Longing will get him to listen to your commands better, but will not solve this one. Trust me, I tried. He's got to have respect not only for your voice, and your whip, but also your very physical presence regardless of where he is once you've got him on the line. Once you've got control of this, you can figure out which longe technique you want to use, but turning your ballet leaper into a respectful ground lover comes first. JMHO.

Sithly
Oct. 9, 2007, 01:38 AM
walking in front of the horse means you can't bend the neck and stop the horse from a bolt or spook, either back, to either side or towards you in front of him. you can't apply driving aids, you can't bend him, and you can't prevent him from running over you.

the method of leading a horse at the head or in front of the head was designed for quiet older stock, and not for dealing with younger, larger or more spirited active animals that want to go forward and have a lot of natural desire to do so.

:lol: This is just plain false.

First off, just so we're on the same page, I'm talking about leading with the horse's head at my shoulder, not directly behind me. I can absolutely do all of the things you described, very easily, from the head. Plus I won't get stepped on if he spooks sideways or slips on ice, a real danger in these parts.

Secondly, I have worked with both "quiet older stock" and their antitheses, and I've actually found leading at the head to be more effective with a very forward moving horse. The reason for that is because it's easier to use your body language to stop a forward horse when you're ahead of his shoulder. When you're at his head, you can make your body language "bigger" to create a barrier. Get too far behind, and your only options are to pull on the rope, circle the horse, or try to reach his chest with a whip and hope he stops.

EqTrainer, I wasn't saying that letting a horse follow you means you are automatically dominant. I was only saying that it doesn't make you automatically submissive. I hope that makes sense. Just because a horse follows you doesn't mean he's herding you. FourH mom said it in a way that I agree with:


That is, imo, not a herding problem but a basic dominance problem. Establish the dominance/respect first. THEN teach them to obey no matter where you are and no matter how long of a line happens to be between you at the time.

She also said:


So, basic training being descipline-oriented isn't a bad thing. BUT... Learning to communicate w/your horse (in other words, learning how he learns) should give you the tools you need to turn your horse into whatever you want your horse turned into.

If you understand how to teach a horse, and you understand what you desire in your 'end result'... Then, it shoudn't be too hard to use those principles to create the horse you want. Be it dressage, barrel, trail (and I'm not talking about pleasure trails riders but those folks who really attack a hard trail). You would keep in mind your end result as you go day-to-day through your training. It would go w/out saying (I think) that a pre-requisite to training would be a thorough understanding of what you DO want at the end. ;)

Amen to that. That is EXACTLY why I think NH is not harmful to a dressage horse. And that is exactly why (most) people pick and choose different training methods -- not out of disrespect to any one trainer or personal laziness, but out of an honest desire to learn from and teach the horse with the best tool for the job.

IMO, part of good horsemanship is NOT drinking the kool aid, because no one trainer has all the right answers in all situations, and that goes for dressage trainers, too.

Halfbroke
Oct. 9, 2007, 01:46 AM
originally posted byeqtrainer
I totally disagree with everyone who says she can pick and chose pieces of different disciplines to solve her issue. Podjhasky says it right off the bat - you need to learn a system from beginning to end if you want to learn to train horses. I agree with this. I see so very few people who can train a horse from a foal thru even basic undersaddle training and produce a reliable riding horse. Training horses is an encompassing task and it takes time and dedication to learn how to do it.


uh.. *raises hand*.. I've seen it.. and doing it combining nh, dressage and reining principles together to boot..!
I truly believe as someone else mentioned previously.. that basic horsemanship is basic horsemanship.. it transcends discliplines.
Granted, I think that it is quite wise to have a system in which you learn solely, because then you learn consistency. I think that it is important to have a solid foundation in place in which to compare new and differant training methods to.. so that you don't lose your way b/c there is a lot of crap out there. But I think its really important to evaluate other methods and see if there is something there thats good.
Sorry to say, but dressage is not perfect. :( Classical dressage training was created by humans, and since humans make mistakes and errors, the training system has inherent errors. Or even if you don't want to admit that, you at least could admit that human error occurs in applying dressage principles...And so does every OTHER training method out there.

I don't particularily want to get into the differances in leading because I think that again people are focusing on the process not the philosophy behind the process. Like I mentioned before, it seems that people get in a tizzy about "waving the stick in the air".. but to be quite honest I didn't think it mattered all that much where I lead my horse from.. as long as while I'm leading, I'm in charge and he's listening to me.. and my horse is where I want him.

And.. everyone keeps saying that the goals of dressage are differant then the goals of NH. I am very interested to know this board's opinion on the goals of dressage.

arena run
Oct. 9, 2007, 09:50 AM
I don't think it's so much about 'goals of dressage' as the end result you have in your mind's eye for your horse.

A good foundation is a good foundation - no matter what. But once you get into discipline-specific exercises it would behoove you to keep that mind's eye focused. :)

Although - in opposition to that view - there are alot of happy horses out there who's owners dabble in various disiplines. The horse doesn't know dressage from cutting from barrels. But... they DO know their rider/handler is their leader and they're amazingly forgiving, willing, and adaptable creatures. They will figure it out - and they, most likely, won't die from the doing. <lol>

The old adage - between the rider and the horse, SOME-body needs to know what's going on... is very true. :) sylvia

mp
Oct. 9, 2007, 12:47 PM
just came in from working the horse using the TD techniques. boy, she sure was alert TO ME and watching ME and doing what I said, and immediately. Such a refreshing difference. But.......so much backing......can't be good, right?

Since I don't know what the guy showed you, you can take this with a grain of salt. I'm not a fan of the back back back stuff. When one of the young horses is blowing me off, I do back them. But I also do a lot of other things -- move a shoulder over, turn right, turn left, move the hip over, move your right foot back one step, halt and drop your head. Just about anything they already know how to do that will help them focus on me and forget about their agenda. I can't let them take over -- even if we're just leading from the barn to the pasture. If it takes 15 minutes instead of 3 to do it like a lady or gentleman, then that's what we do.


and......mare was listening, but had a very frightened look in her eyes :eek:
I wasn't "over the top", but I didn't like the fear. Or...was it ....respect?????

Hard to say. But think about this: your mare has had her way for how long? And now things are changing. She's bound to get a little wide-eyed at first. Give her a chance -- several sessions at least -- to settle down and start behaving better. If she doesn't, then you need think about what you're doing and what you need to change.

Because we can sit at our computers and give you all sorts of advice. But your horse is the ultimate judge of what works and what doesn't.

CatOnLap
Oct. 9, 2007, 02:49 PM
NH away, folks. But you will not, in the end, have a dressage horse. You will have... something else. But it won't be a dressage horse. The fewer steps you stray off the path when training a dressage horse, the easier/quicker/less painful it will be in the long run
someone said that with a straight face? It must be someone on my ignore list. for good reason.

Please tell my horses they are not allowed to do dressage because they were all NH'd to death before I ever got on them. Of course, I don't do brand name NH. Just the stuff I learned from the old guys back in the 60's when they simply called it "horsemanship".

EqTrainer
Oct. 9, 2007, 04:13 PM
CatOnLap, I must be on your ignore list so you won't ever see this.. :lol:

I don't call what I do NH either. But oddly enough, a lot of it is in the NH stuff I have reviewed. I was also taught ground work by someone who was just plain good with horses and had never even heard of NH.

But if I *continued* down the NH road with a horse, I would not make a dressage horse. I would be making something else.

So you are saying, you just did NH and got a dressage horse out of it?

If so, please explain. Pictures would be nice, too.

Or are you saying you did ground work that so happened to have NH principals and coincidences in it, then you trained your dressage horse using dressage?

I am so sad that I may never get to know the answers to my questions since I am on your ignore list :lol::lol::lol:

slc2
Oct. 9, 2007, 04:17 PM
we come to the forum to learn, we say, but anyone who doesn't agree with your training methods, is on ignore? how are you going to learn anything that way?

NOMIOMI1
Oct. 9, 2007, 04:18 PM
I don't think this is about NH methods vs, dressage methods. Chris Irwin, an NH guy, teaches leading with the horse in self carriage at the shoulder (even though early videos show the drag behind method).

So not all NHers are the same just as not all dressage people are the same. I agree with Eq Trainer's comments. I want the horse beside me and on my 'aids' so to speak. I don't want the horse behind me in a position to pull back or barge over me or rear. I always learned never to be directly behind a horse and never to be directly in front.

That said, when I lead an old faithful to the pasture, I don't have to have them in any particular spot. (Editing to add that I do lead them all in self carriiage just out of habit-theirs and mine) For control, with a young , pushy , rude or unpredictable type, I want them where I have the best control- in line with their shoulder and a whip in the left hand pointing back and ready to install forward.

If the Op has found someone to help her with problerms she is having, that's fine, but that is not the only way to do this and it's not the way many of us would choose.


Ditto!

I really like to have my own personal horse able to walk every which way and move away from the feed bin with respect if I am in his stall. I like to move them around where I want them and have them be respectful and pay attention to what I am doing. Young and frisky horses get the stay at my shoulder and in between my aids treatment too. I really like horses entering the trailer at my shoulder too with all aids in effect. Some horses I have even chased out of their stall into the runs before I put a halter on because they are obviously used to being dominant with their owners.