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De-spooking Dressage RIDER* Photographic Evidence#59

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  • Original Poster

    #21
    Originally posted by nhwr View Post
    That kind of attitude is not going to get you there. ...
    It's not enough to "not act nervous", we have to not be nervous.
    That's one of the more interesting part of horsemanship, IMO.
    Ah ... the nuance of language... "stay with her" doesn't mean stay ON her, it means something like "remain physically and mentally attentive and sensitive to your horse", which is both an immediate necessity and an ultimate goal.

    But thanks for your supportive and helpful contributions
    *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #22
      Originally posted by Guilherme View Post
      IMO an excellent place to begin a "de-spooking" program is to read a book entitled Evidence Based Horsemanship. It's less than 100 pages long, costs $17, and will give you some insight into equine behaviors that are based upon neuroscience, not folklore or custom.
      I don't find it easy to learn physical things from books (why I appreciate being in a dressage training program). I checked out some of the books listed along side Evidence Based Horsemanship and really enjoyed some of the reviews, particularly for Equitation Science.

      I think the greatest challenge many people have in communicating with horses is that we're not aware of where are bodies and body parts really ARE. I mean, I can't believe that riders are deliberately positioned so their horses are behind the leg, or consciously cock one shoulder in with hands at the chest I have had particular difficulty maintaining correct position while on the ground, longing, for example.

      It'll be more entertainment

      Random aside ... Interesting use of the term "evidence-based" ... I work in the field of human performance and instructional technology. We put a lot of stock in "evidence-based evaluation." That is, training that delivers consistent, repeatable and measurable performance. Sounds like mumbo jumbo spouted like that but practitioners consider it a science (BSU's graduate degree is an MS not MA).
      *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

      Comment


      • #23
        Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
        I don't find it easy to learn physical things from books (why I appreciate being in a dressage training program). I checked out some of the books listed along side Evidence Based Horsemanship and really enjoyed some of the reviews, particularly for Equitation Science.

        I think the greatest challenge many people have in communicating with horses is that we're not aware of where are bodies and body parts really ARE. I mean, I can't believe that riders are deliberately positioned so their horses are behind the leg, or consciously cock one shoulder in with hands at the chest I have had particular difficulty maintaining correct position while on the ground, longing, for example.

        It'll be more entertainment

        Random aside ... Interesting use of the term "evidence-based" ... I work in the field of human performance and instructional technology. We put a lot of stock in "evidence-based evaluation." That is, training that delivers consistent, repeatable and measurable performance. Sounds like mumbo jumbo spouted like that but practitioners consider it a science (BSU's graduate degree is an MS not MA).
        I agree that learning physical things from just a book is a tough road to travel. It can be done, but seems to be an inefficient way. Real, live coaching is much more effective.

        The book won't teach you much practical stuff. It will teach you a great deal about the equine mental process in ways you can actually use it. That is its value.

        As far as the title is concerned I don't know why they picked that one as opposed to something more specific or more general. I don't consider it in any way misleading, even though in some other disciplines it might not be the most illuminating. As a retired Naval Aviator and lawyer I can look back at dealing in evidentiary based activities as well. Not always the same, mind you, as each profession has some different day to day parameters. But each profession required a dealing with the hear and now, not the "gee, I wish..."

        G.
        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão

        Comment


        • #24
          I definitely agree that the rider plays a huge role in the despooking process. I was at a licensed show over the weekend with my infant son, and had him in his stroller (with rubber wheels....minimal noise...no "flapping accessories" etc). I noticed this horse and rider walking towards me about 30 feet away, and before the horse could even react, the rider shouts out "Umm...excuse me....could you please just STOP where you are??". I think he reaction is what creeped the horse out, because it wasn't until then that he started to really look at the stroller and wonder what it was all about.

          Had she just ridden by with some room, I'm guess the horse may not have even batted an eyelash at the stroller....but I believe the rider was scared, and therefore teaching the horse to get scared (the opposite of what she was trying to accomplish).

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by right horse at the right time View Post
            I want to hear about the alpaca death squad!
            It's on the Adult Re-rider thread on the h/j forum...I just can't type it all again...still in recovery!!! :O

            Comment


            • #26
              Ah ... the nuance of language... "stay with her" doesn't mean stay ON her,
              The nuance of language, for sure. I didn't think or mean to imply that you might be worried about coming off. But the issue lies with the way you are thinking about it, IMO.

              If it's your job to stay with her, then she is already leading-not you.
              It should be her job to stay with you. It's your job to facilitate that mind set in her.
              See those flying monkeys? They work for me.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #27
                Checking in to report happiness ... other than stinkin hot weather and a little concern over flakey patches of skin, things are going really well on the physical front.

                Guilherme ... mentally, Evidence Based Horsemanship is kicking my mental butt, but it's all good.

                Yesterday we addressed walking over tarps (including wrinkled up ones), crossing a narrow wooden bridge, walking by "scary" things: a gate with a billowing sheet hanging on it, pie pans hanging on a brick wall (and clattering in the breeze) and a white swing, dragging a stuffed toy and smaller tarp, passing by rustling palm fronds and seeing moving deer.

                All but the last two I started from the ground and when DCM was completely nonplussed, did the little exercises mounted. The deer and palm fronds were during a trail ride with a steady buddy. While the ride was more energetic than relaxed, I thought "we" did great for a first trail ride. She followed, she led, she crossed little streams (the one with banks she jumped instead of walking down and then back up, but all the other puddles and tiny streams she marched right through). By the the third palm "alley," she didn't even flick her skin.

                Ground-tying is on my wish list. Is that a reasonable expectation for this horse?
                *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post

                  Ground-tying is on my wish list. Is that a reasonable expectation for this horse?
                  I don't know why not.

                  I have a lookie horse (he's 13 and will ALWAYS be that way) and he ground ties very well. A few weeks ago, a loose horse unexpectedly went flying down the barn aisle behind him as I was tacking up. He spun around to look at the racket and snorted, but he stayed right with me.

                  Go for it.
                  __________________________
                  "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                  the best day in ten years,
                  you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    I once knew this gorgeous, but extremely spooky Arabian mare, who the resident trainer and the owner thought too spooky to get under saddle. One day, the owner came around the corner by her barn in the parking lot, and her new barn helper was sitting on the mare smoking a cigarette, bareback, and with only a halter and a lead rope on her, and asked the owner which field she wanted the mare turned out in...LOL The mare was just fine and had the owner wrapped around her hoof and very well trained..

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                      The mare was just fine and had the owner wrapped around her hoof and very well trained..



                      I have had my horse (also an Arabian) since he was born. Early on, I figured out when he was genuinely bothered by something and when he was just more interested in the scary thing than he was in doing whatever I was asking of him.

                      Sensitive, yes. Stupid, absolutely not.
                      __________________________
                      "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
                      the best day in ten years,
                      you are SORELY MISTAKEN, MY LITTLE ANCHOVY."

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Sigh. My Arab/App is now 9. I have exposed him to anything and everything....and he is STILL an idiot on the trail. He starts out fine, then, if something sets him off (loose horse in turnout, e.g.), he piaffes, passages, goes sideways, semi-rears, etc., etc., etc. I wish I were on the east coast or somewhere where I could just give him a good kick and ride him forward at a brisk trot - but on rockhard adobe trails with cliff drop-offs - not an option.

                        He used to be freaked out at shows, but that phase seems to have passed. While he gets a bit on the muscle sometimes, and may occasionally flinch from another horse in the warmup or something strange near the arena, it's much scaled down from before. But the trail behavior? I am at a loss. It's not even "spookiness," it's more of, I don't know, a version of being barn sour, I guess. He was injured at 5.5 and didn't leave the property for a year. Since then trail riding has been problematic. Before that, it was just normal 4 year old sillies on the trail.

                        I had a cowboy work with him while I was laid up for a few months and couldn't ride, and HE didn't get any further than a "ride around the block" - never got him out on the actual trails. He talked about "gradually expanding his comfort zone," but my efforts produce the same result: I've ventured out onto the actual trails, and he's "good" for about 30 minutes then all bets are off. I've pretty much given up, though I get him out occasionally. Alone or with quiet "babysitter" companion, he's the same.

                        I've posted some of this before, but so far most suggestions haven't seemed to work. I'm open to new ideas.
                        Last edited by Sandy M; Jun. 13, 2013, 06:13 PM.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          Sandy M ... no need to cross the country, just go west and a bit south to http://www.openspace.org/preserves/p...an_antonio.asp.

                          There are LOTS and lots of moderate inclines with wide tracks for that kind of work. I miss it so much here in the flatlands!

                          Still, I have no idea if that would be de-spooking or just exhausting. Is he the same in-hand as mounted? Have you tried the book recommended in an earlier message on this thread?
                          *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            I really think that when you take your horse out for a "trail ride" that involves "sight-seeing"...that's exactly what they do..they look at whatever is there, but if you have a goal...like training for an event of some kind, like competitive trail or cross-country as a "goal", then they tend to get into the job frame of mind. I'm not sure I've said what I'm trying to say, but I think it has everything to do with intention; otherwise when left to their own devices..they find "things", i.e., maybe they think they are on a trail ride to find things to look at, etc. I had a mare that used to "point" like a pointer dog when on the trail, if she saw something she thought I should be aware of. LOL I dunno. An oldtimer told me to just treat them all from day one like an "old, broke gelding".

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
                              Sandy M ... no need to cross the country, just go west and a bit south to http://www.openspace.org/preserves/p...an_antonio.asp.

                              There are LOTS and lots of moderate inclines with wide tracks for that kind of work. I miss it so much here in the flatlands!

                              Still, I have no idea if that would be de-spooking or just exhausting. Is he the same in-hand as mounted? Have you tried the book recommended in an earlier message on this thread?
                              He's generally well-behaved in hand, but that doesn't seem to translate under saddle. I've done groundwork to a farethewell following a path set by the colt-starter who started him under saddle, and you can flag the bejesus out of him and he'll just stand there and stare at you, perhaps try to nibble at the flag. He'll casually walk on tarps, but spook at a squirrel/cat at the edge of the arena. At a recent show, I ended up parked near the entrance/exit. Big rigs/trailers/diesel trucks passed very close to him, and he just kept eating or gazed calmly at them and/or shifted a little closer to the trailer to allow them more room to pass.

                              He is both charming and exasperating (well, that's the Appy part, right? Arab spookiness/Appy contrariness/stubbornness: "I'm gonna spook (arab) and I'm going to keep on spooking (Appy stubbornness). It is to laugh - if it weren't for last year's broken arm.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                                He's generally well-behaved in hand, but that doesn't seem to translate under saddle. I've done groundwork to a farethewell following a path set by the colt-starter who started him under saddle, and you can flag the bejesus out of him and he'll just stand there and stare at you, perhaps try to nibble at the flag. He'll casually walk on tarps, but spook at a squirrel/cat at the edge of the arena. At a recent show, I ended up parked near the entrance/exit. Big rigs/trailers/diesel trucks passed very close to him, and he just kept eating or gazed calmly at them and/or shifted a little closer to the trailer to allow them more room to pass.

                                He is both charming and exasperating (well, that's the Appy part, right? Arab spookiness/Appy contrariness/stubbornness: "I'm gonna spook (arab) and I'm going to keep on spooking (Appy stubbornness). It is to laugh - if it weren't for last year's broken arm.
                                Mine does this too. People that see her under saddle first and later on the ground are shocked that it's the same horse.
                                Pisgah: 2000 AHHA (Holsteiner x TB) Mare (lower level eventing, with a focus on dressage)

                                Darcy: 7? year old Border Collie x Rottweiler? Drama Queen extraordinaire, rescued from the pound in Jan 2010

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                                  Sigh. My Arab/App is now 9. I have exposed him to anything and everything....and he is STILL an idiot on the trial. He starts out fine, then, if something sets him off (loose horse in turnout, e.g.), he piaffes, passages, goes sideways, semi-rears, etc., etc., etc. I wish I were on the east coast or somewhere where I could just give him a good kick and ride him forward at a brisk trot - but on rockhard adobe trails with cliff drop-offs - not an option.

                                  He used to be freaked out at shows, but that phase seems to have passed. While he gets a bit on the muscle sometimes, and may occasionally flinch from another horse in the warmup or something strange near the arena, it's much scaled down from before. But the trail behavior? I am at a loss. It's not even "spookiness," it's more of, I don't know, a version of being barn sour, I guess. He was injured at 5.5 and didn't leave the property for a year. Since then trail riding has been problematic. Before that, it was just normal 4 year old sillies on the trail.

                                  I had a cowboy work with him while I was laid up for a few months and couldn't ride, and HE didn't get any further than a "ride around the block" - never got him out on the actual trails. He talked about "gradually expanding his comfort zone," but my efforts produce the same result: I've ventured out onto the actual trails, and he's "good" for about 30 minutes then all bets are off. I've pretty much given up, though I get him out occasionally. Alone or with quiet "babysitter" companion, he's the same.

                                  I've posted some of this before, but so far most suggestions haven't seemed to work. I'm open to new ideas.
                                  There is one thing you could try if you have not already done so....try putting a little vix vapor rub just on the edge of his nostrils. I had a roll-on product for my young stallion that worked extremely well, but can't for the life of me remember the name of it. ( I no longer have a stallion)

                                  Sometimes reducing their ability to smell helps to keep them calm and more focused. And it supposedly works on all horses not just stallions.

                                  Just a thought...

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    I would be very careful about the vapor rub suggestion - like any training tool, you don't want to rely on it. For example, what if you are at show/out on trail and don't happen to have the vapor rub with you ? It could work well at first, but its something, IMHO you should not rely on .

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
                                      I really think that when you take your horse out for a "trail ride" that involves "sight-seeing"...that's exactly what they do..they look at whatever is there, but if you have a goal...like training for an event of some kind, like competitive trail or cross-country as a "goal", then they tend to get into the job frame of mind. I'm not sure I've said what I'm trying to say, but I think it has everything to do with intention; otherwise when left to their own devices..they find "things", i.e., maybe they think they are on a trail ride to find things to look at, etc. I had a mare that used to "point" like a pointer dog when on the trail, if she saw something she thought I should be aware of. LOL I dunno. An oldtimer told me to just treat them all from day one like an "old, broke gelding".
                                      The problem is our trails. Up and down, twisty, mostly fire roads with drop offs, some narrow track, ALL hard adobe. I'm disclined to trot out a barefoot (or booted) horse for very long on these trails, so it's mostly walk, not "let's trot on and get you in condition for....(whatever)." I feel guilty: I've always felt bad for the horses whose lives were "round and round the arena." I've ALWAYS trail-ridden my horses, and I'm not happy that this guy seems to have such an issue with trail riding. He has a stall and large-ish (long and narrow) paddock, and I turn him out when I can, but I still feel bad about doing mostly arena work, then just a stroll down the driveway and/or around the property. Sigh.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by Sandy M View Post
                                        The problem is our trails. Up and down, twisty, mostly fire roads with drop offs, some narrow track, ALL hard adobe. I'm disclined to trot out a barefoot (or booted) horse for very long on these trails, so it's mostly walk, not "let's trot on and get you in condition for....(whatever)." I feel guilty: I've always felt bad for the horses whose lives were "round and round the arena." I've ALWAYS trail-ridden my horses, and I'm not happy that this guy seems to have such an issue with trail riding. He has a stall and large-ish (long and narrow) paddock, and I turn him out when I can, but I still feel bad about doing mostly arena work, then just a stroll down the driveway and/or around the property. Sigh.
                                        There are horses who just. don't. do. trails. I really hope, for your sake and your horse's, that he isn't one of them.

                                        I have access to a 1200 acre state forest right next to the barn, but like you face footing issues as it's very rocky and the ground is hard. So we do a lot of walking, even though I know my mare's less likely to spook when we're trotting or cantering... we just pass those "boogers" by at a quicker gait.

                                        It's been a very slow process, and she did start out liking out-of-arena work, but I can now ride her safely and comfortably out there on her own. Sure, she would prefer to have other horses with her (though not too many, as then she worries trying to keep track of all of them... more than two or three others doesn't work that well.) But I went very, very slowly... a brave expert could have done the job much more quickly.

                                        A lot of this had to do with my own fears. We can feed off each other's tension. By not pushing her *or me* too fast, I went from afraid to ride her outside a very controlled situation to where we are now. I literally started by riding her just up and down my old trainer's very short driveway, then venturing maybe 50 feet up the road, and each time doing a little bit more. Ten feet more was good enough, some days. Over time I found that I would set a goal to get a certain distance, and most rides we went further because she was more comfortable and so was I.

                                        I actually do take her out looking for particular types of spooky things. Puddles, for example. She's backslid this year, but last year, at our last schooling show in the fall, she was one of the few horses in the Training 2 class who did not have issues with the puddles in the arena, because I'd spent a lot of time going out looking for puddles and getting her to walk and trot through them.
                                        You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                        1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Sandy, I have three horses (it's somewhat insane really, but I digress):

                                          1. The Exploding Pony, now approx 29, will never, ever be safe on a trail. He is spooky, insecure and will never be confident outside an arena. That's who he is.

                                          2. The Little Mare, confident, honest spook but totally solid in almost any situation. Can be a mare but I have never felt so safe as I am on this horse. She is completely solid on trails.

                                          3. The Little Orange Gelding, confident (mostly) has a bit of a temper, only spooks at stationary items, never anything moving. He is completely solid on trails.

                                          Now keep in mind, I am not a trail rider. Don't enjoy it. I feel an obligation to get the horses out of the arena so make sure we go on ranch "walk abouts" once or twice a week.

                                          I just think some horses like it, some don't. I tired for years and years on The Expoding Pony. It never got better.

                                          Comment

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