• Welcome to the Chronicle Forums.
    Please complete your profile. The forums and the rest of www.chronofhorse.com has single sign-in, so your log in information for one will automatically work for the other. Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are the views of the individual and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Chronicle of the Horse.

Announcement

Collapse

Forum rules and no-advertising policy

As a participant on this forum, it is your responsibility to know and follow our rules. Please read this message in its entirety.

Board Rules

1. You’re responsible for what you say.
As outlined in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, The Chronicle of the Horse and its affiliates, as well Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd., the developers of vBulletin, are not legally responsible for statements made in the forums.

This is a public forum viewed by a wide spectrum of people, so please be mindful of what you say and who might be reading it—details of personal disputes are likely better handled privately. While posters are legally responsible for their statements, the moderators may in their discretion remove or edit posts that violate these rules. Users have the ability to modify or delete their own messages after posting, but administrators generally will not delete posts, threads or accounts upon request.

Outright inflammatory, vulgar, harassing, malicious or otherwise inappropriate statements and criminal charges unsubstantiated by a reputable news source or legal documentation will not be tolerated and will be dealt with at the discretion of the moderators.

2. Conversations in horse-related forums should be horse-related.
The forums are a wonderful source of information and support for members of the horse community. While it’s understandably tempting to share information or search for input on other topics upon which members might have a similar level of knowledge, members must maintain the focus on horses.

3. Keep conversations productive, on topic and civil.
Discussion and disagreement are inevitable and encouraged; personal insults, diatribes and sniping comments are unproductive and unacceptable. Whether a subject is light-hearted or serious, keep posts focused on the current topic and of general interest to other participants of that thread. Utilize the private message feature or personal email where appropriate to address side topics or personal issues not related to the topic at large.

4. No advertising in the discussion forums.
Posts in the discussion forums directly or indirectly advertising horses, jobs, items or services for sale or wanted will be removed at the discretion of the moderators. Use of the private messaging feature or email addresses obtained through users’ profiles for unsolicited advertising is not permitted.

Company representatives may participate in discussions and answer questions about their products or services, or suggest their products on recent threads if they fulfill the criteria of a query. False "testimonials" provided by company affiliates posing as general consumers are not appropriate, and self-promotion of sales, ad campaigns, etc. through the discussion forums is not allowed.

Paid advertising is available on our classifieds site and through the purchase of banner ads. The tightly monitored Giveaways forum permits free listings of genuinely free horses and items available or wanted (on a limited basis). Items offered for trade are not allowed.

Advertising Policy Specifics
When in doubt of whether something you want to post constitutes advertising, please contact a moderator privately in advance for further clarification. Refer to the following points for general guidelines:

Horses – Only general discussion about the buying, leasing, selling and pricing of horses is permitted. If the post contains, or links to, the type of specific information typically found in a sales or wanted ad, and it’s related to a horse for sale, regardless of who’s selling it, it doesn’t belong in the discussion forums.

Stallions – Board members may ask for suggestions on breeding stallion recommendations. Stallion owners may reply to such queries by suggesting their own stallions, only if their horse fits the specific criteria of the original poster. Excessive promotion of a stallion by its owner or related parties is not permitted and will be addressed at the discretion of the moderators.

Services – Members may use the forums to ask for general recommendations of trainers, barns, shippers, farriers, etc., and other members may answer those requests by suggesting themselves or their company, if their services fulfill the specific criteria of the original post. Members may not solicit other members for business if it is not in response to a direct, genuine query.

Products – While members may ask for general opinions and suggestions on equipment, trailers, trucks, etc., they may not list the specific attributes for which they are in the market, as such posts serve as wanted ads.

Event Announcements – Members may post one notification of an upcoming event that may be of interest to fellow members, if the original poster does not benefit financially from the event. Such threads may not be “bumped” excessively. Premium members may post their own notices in the Event Announcements forum.

Charities/Rescues – Announcements for charitable or fundraising events can only be made for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations. Special exceptions may be made, at the moderators’ discretion and direction, for board-related events or fundraising activities in extraordinary circumstances.

Occasional posts regarding horses available for adoption through IRS-registered horse rescue or placement programs are permitted in the appropriate forums, but these threads may be limited at the discretion of the moderators. Individuals may not advertise or make announcements for horses in need of rescue, placement or adoption unless the horse is available through a recognized rescue or placement agency or government-run entity or the thread fits the criteria for and is located in the Giveaways forum.

5. Do not post copyrighted photographs unless you have purchased that photo and have permission to do so.

6. Respect other members.
As members are often passionate about their beliefs and intentions can easily be misinterpreted in this type of environment, try to explore or resolve the inevitable disagreements that arise in the course of threads calmly and rationally.

If you see a post that you feel violates the rules of the board, please click the “alert” button (exclamation point inside of a triangle) in the bottom left corner of the post, which will alert ONLY the moderators to the post in question. They will then take whatever action, or no action, as deemed appropriate for the situation at their discretion. Do not air grievances regarding other posters or the moderators in the discussion forums.

Please be advised that adding another user to your “Ignore” list via your User Control Panel can be a useful tactic, which blocks posts and private messages by members whose commentary you’d rather avoid reading.

7. We have the right to reproduce statements made in the forums.
The Chronicle of the Horse may copy, quote, link to or otherwise reproduce posts, or portions of posts, in print or online for advertising or editorial purposes, if attributed to their original authors, and by posting in this forum, you hereby grant to The Chronicle of the Horse a perpetual, non-exclusive license under copyright and other rights, to do so.

8. We reserve the right to enforce and amend the rules.
The moderators may delete, edit, move or close any post or thread at any time, or refrain from doing any of the foregoing, in their discretion, and may suspend or revoke a user’s membership privileges at any time to maintain adherence to the rules and the general spirit of the forum. These rules may be amended at any time to address the current needs of the board.

Please see our full Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Thanks for being a part of the COTH forums!

(Revised 1/26/16)
See more
See less

Thinking horses.....

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Thinking horses.....

    http://www.eurodressage.com/equestri...-horses-injury




    Although this is an article dealing with turn out and other physical issues, I was struck by one comment in particular....


    Murray compared the brain of a horse to that of a cat. "They are not good at thinking but very good at coordinating their limbs."


    It got me thinking about event horses, modern technical XC courses, and the differences of opinion some of us have when it comes to either setting up horses to fences or those who believe horses should think for themselves.

    I, personally, am of the belief that we have an obligation to place the horse in the best possible spot for jumping...that means dictating pace, stride, and point of take off. If this vet is correct in her assumption, then would it not make sense for us to do some of the "thinking" for our horses where difficult combinations of jumps is concerned. It would seem that it would be the horse's job to coordinate its feet whilst it might be prudent for us, as riders, to actually think for them where pace, stride, balance, and take off are concerned. After all, it is not in the horse's interest/nature to jump technical combinations of jumps.

    Thoughts.....

  • #2
    Very interesting comparison. If true, might that support the argument that today's technical courses are too much to expect of a horse? It would seem that if it is true - the rider must think for the horse and the horse must listen carefully to the rider and react immediately to their instructions. If not, a recipe for disaster?

    Perhaps that is what is really going on behind many of the accidents over the last years - not the change from Long Format to Short per se and the perception that the horses are less fit because of the change, but the trend to use more and more technical fences to separate the "men from the boys" and the failure of fast and accurate enough communication between horse and rider.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I have lost count at the number of times where horses fall, run out or in the case of show jumping...pull rails, where the rider has remarked that they had waited too long to make "an adjustment" before a related distance. Surely the "thinking" horse would have summed up the question and made the adjustment themselves.

      I guess my question is... are we mistaking the horse's inherent ability/desire to stay on it's feet to actual "thinking"? We ask horses to jump and certainly combination/cluster fences when it would appear that they would rather avoid such questions. Perhaps...without us thinking for them (length of stride, pace, point of take off) they would not attempt to jump. Are we then, in effect, mistaking a horse's self preservation instincts for actual understanding of the question/effort in front of them...if we subscribe to the "point and kick theory".

      We all have heard some trainers say that it the horse's job to figure out where to put it's feet but maybe we are asking too much of them to do just that where combination fences are involved.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think that there is a significant difference in training a young horse....and what you do at the higher more complex levels.

        Even Jimmy would agree that when you are at a higher level...you as a partner need to do your job and put your horse in the best position for your horse to succeed by setting them up well.

        The issue comes when from the very start....a rider is always placing a horse to the perfect distance in all of its training that the horse doesn't have the skills or confidence to coordinate their foot work when the rider makes a mistake and doesn't put them in the perfect spot....or more...even when the rider does, the question requires quick adjustments.

        I always thought that teaching the horse their foot work at low and confident building fences was NOT really about teaching them how to solve all questions. The rider is still the only one who has walked the combination and knows that the striding is short or long etc. The rider does have a job too. But the training in creating a "thinking" horse is to get their coordination sharper and quicker.....not to make the rider just a passenager who doesn't have a job other than to sit and steer.
        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by snoopy View Post
          I have lost count at the number of times where horses fall, run out or in the case of show jumping...pull rails, where the rider has remarked that they had waited too long to make "an adjustment" before a related distance. Surely the "thinking" horse would have summed up the question and made the adjustment themselves.

          I guess my question is... are we mistaking the horse's inherent ability/desire to stay on it's feet to actual "thinking"? We ask horses to jump and certainly combination/cluster fences when it would appear that they would rather avoid such questions. Perhaps...without us thinking for them (length of stride, pace, point of take off) they would not attempt to jump. Are we then, in effect, mistaking a horse's self preservation instincts for actual understanding of the question/effort in front of them...if we subscribe to the "point and kick theory".

          We all have heard some trainers say that it the horse's job to figure out where to put it's feet but maybe we are asking too much of them to do just that where combination fences are involved.
          Could be true...maybe why some horses are more clever and careful than others? A more natural ability to see a spot and get their legs out of the way?...Some horses can do this amazingly no matter who the rider...and some horses can have the BEST riders and still not get over the jumps properly.
          Boss Mare Eventing Blog
          https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

          Comment


          • #6
            Another aspect to this might be the horse's ability to see the jump, process the physical demands of the jump and then remember the details long enough to get over the obstacle. Jimmy Wofford draws pictures of the horse's actual visual "screen" and says that it only extends down about 15 degrees from its eye. And we all know that horses can't see what's at the end of their noses. In sequence, they have to see the jump a couple of strides out, accurately assess the height and width so that they can produce the correct amount of physical effort to clear it and then remember it long enough to accomplish same.

            When jumps come in close succession as in combinations, are we overwhelming the horse's ability to do this sequence?

            Great topic, Snoopy!
            They don't call me frugal for nothing.
            Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by frugalannie View Post
              Another aspect to this might be the horse's ability to see the jump, process the physical demands of the jump and then remember the details long enough to get over the obstacle. Jimmy Wofford draws pictures of the horse's actual visual "screen" and says that it only extends down about 15 degrees from its eye. And we all know that horses can't see what's at the end of their noses. In sequence, they have to see the jump a couple of strides out, accurately assess the height and width so that they can produce the correct amount of physical effort to clear it and then remember it long enough to accomplish same.

              When jumps come in close succession as in combinations, are we overwhelming the horse's ability to do this sequence?

              Great topic, Snoopy!


              Great post!

              Comment


              • #8
                snoopy, I posted a variation on this theme last month, about mental effort and physiological fatigue.

                food for XC thought: mental effort increases physical fatigue...

                Whether it's conscious decision-making or 'reaction', a horse has to make a lot of physiologically significant decisions on course. Many studies have shown that decision-making leads to fatigue; there's no reason why this wouldn't apply to horses as well as humans. Our resources are limited.

                A good rider might conserve his horse's resources by putting him in the right place most of the time. Some horses might be more resource-rich than others. Some horses might have a more dangerous 'fail' mechanism than others -- like not lifting their legs quite high enough or by not getting off the ground at all.

                Like frugalannie says, I think you can overwhelm a horse. Just look at Burghley or Badminton, you'll always see a few who are past their limit -- and often this does not end well.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  I will check out your link. Many of my posts have indicated that I believe that horses are mentally tired from the increased clusters of fences on modern course design.

                  This could also show itself in "schooling" fences. Some have a tendency to over school...that means that we jump the same combination over and over "until the horse gets it right", but perhaps "getting it right" is just basically luck and what we want the horse to produce. We then go on to think that the horse "understands" the question.

                  It seems that there are a lot of accidents in the schooling process....could it be that our horses do not really "understand" or that we are exhausting them mentally and beyond their capabilities as a "thinking" creature....or BOTH.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    snoopy, I'd agree with you on the combinations, especially with no let up in between combos.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by snoopy View Post
                      I will check out your link. Many of my posts have indicated that I believe that horses are mentally tired from the increased clusters of fences on modern course design.

                      This could also show itself in "schooling" fences. Some have a tendency to over school...that means that we jump the same combination over and over "until the horse gets it right", but perhaps "getting it right" is just basically luck and what we want the horse to produce. We then go on to think that the horse "understands" the question.

                      It seems that there are a lot of accidents in the schooling process....could it be that our horses do not really "understand" or that we are exhausting them mentally and beyond their capabilities as a "thinking" creature....or BOTH.

                      I would agree with this....but I would also say that the riders can also get mentally tired on those courses too.

                      That is the element where good course design is so important.....and the difficulty of designing a test for the elite level. How to make the test difficult enough but at the same time not so difficult that the result of a mistake is a fall or worse.

                      And where a rider's horsemanship needs to be sharp...to know when either they or their horse is too tired (mentally OR physically) to safely continue.
                      ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by bornfreenowexpensive View Post
                        I would agree with this....but I would also say that the riders can also get mentally tired on those courses too.

                        That is the element where good course design is so important.....and the difficulty of designing a test for the elite level. How to make the test difficult enough but at the same time not so difficult that the result of a mistake is a fall or worse.

                        And where a rider's horsemanship needs to be sharp...to know when either they or their horse is too tired (mentally OR physically) to safely continue.

                        Which leads to me another question....multiple rides at horse trials for riders. Some ride upwards of 6-8 horses in one horse trial. If we have to "think for our horses" to a certain extent, are we not keeping up our end of the bargain. This could also be said for the rider who has many horses to ride in training.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by snoopy View Post
                          Which leads to me another question....multiple rides at horse trials for riders. Some ride upwards of 6-8 horses in one horse trial. If we have to "think for our horses" to a certain extent, are we not keeping up our end of the bargain. This could also be said for the rider who has many horses to ride in training.

                          I agree with you.

                          It is a professional issue....that is faced in lots of industries. I, as a lawyer, have to know my limits and know when to say "no". I have too much on my plate already.

                          In the horse industry...the consequence of not knowing your limits (or your horse) can be more damaging than in my industry (where I'm just looking at malpractice as opposed to a serious injury to myself or my horse).

                          Learning your limits is critical...and it is very hard to teach/learn. Especially when it is your way of making a living.
                          ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            When we school/train dressage we as riders are "influencing" our horses through our aids to produce what we want from them. Should we not then be doing that "thinking" for our horses where jumping is concerned....as perhaps they are not capable to think to the degree that we are taught to believe....e.g. letting them figure it out for themselves should they not really have the mental capacity to do so. As I have always said....are we asking too much of our horses in the modern sport????


                            Could we be mistaking "reaction" for "understanding"????

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Snoops, JER and BFNE, you're really crystalizing this/ these concepts in my mind.

                              My next question is how to to prove that what is being described happens in some reproducible (and, one hopes, nonlethal) way so that the limits of what "the horse" can do can be identified? I suppose one answer is by trial and error, which is essentially what we're doing now. When courses get too dangerous (in the sense that too many horses fail and some catastrophically), we readjust course design. This is my interpretation of the changes made in course design over the last few years. But can we define the tipping point for a representative population of horses without carnage?

                              Of course, upper level horses are only representative of their own ilk, having been selected out from the larger group already because of their ability.
                              They don't call me frugal for nothing.
                              Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by frugalannie View Post
                                My next question is how to to prove that what is being described happens in some reproducible (and, one hopes, nonlethal) way so that the limits of what "the horse" can do can be identified? I suppose one answer is by trial and error, which is essentially what we're doing now.
                                I think the ability to adjust to and to 'read' situations going forward is one of the things that distinguishes a top event horse. It's also something that indicates where a horse maxes out. He might do okay at CCI*** but CCI**** is an overload, even though he is well capable of clearing the jumps.

                                Some riders are better at discerning these limits in their horses and then not pushing their horses beyond their capabilities. Other riders are more likely to give it a go anyway, on the chance they might get around.

                                But really, this is where riders and their coaches/mentors/loved ones/owners need to be brutally honest with each other and themselves about their horses.

                                I'll also say that horses that do well in the dressage, especially as young horses, are more compliant types who might not thrive after a point in the more independent-thinking world of XC. I feel bad for these horses (there are some well-known examples) because they're just not cut out for the job, even though they have the ability.

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by JER View Post
                                  I think the ability to adjust to and to 'read' situations going forward is one of the things that distinguishes a top event horse. It's also something that indicates where a horse maxes out. He might do okay at CCI*** but CCI**** is an overload, even though he is well capable of clearing the jumps.

                                  Some riders are better at discerning these limits in their horses and then not pushing their horses beyond their capabilities. Other riders are more likely to give it a go anyway, on the chance they might get around.

                                  But really, this is where riders and their coaches/mentors/loved ones/owners need to be brutally honest with each other and themselves about their horses.

                                  I'll also say that horses that do well in the dressage, especially as young horses, are more compliant types who might not thrive after a point in the more independent-thinking world of XC. I feel bad for these horses (there are some well-known examples) because they're just not cut out for the job, even though they have the ability.


                                  Yes ma'am!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JER View Post
                                    I'll also say that horses that do well in the dressage, especially as young horses, are more compliant types who might not thrive after a point in the more independent-thinking world of XC. I feel bad for these horses (there are some well-known examples) because they're just not cut out for the job, even though they have the ability.
                                    You just described my horse. Physically, he has more talent for eventing. But he was starting to school upper level x-country and totally able to get over it... and lacked any kind of decisiveness and self-motivation as far as it went. He was looked at as an upper level prospect for eventing by several people who felt he didn't take initiative.

                                    On the other hand, now that he's just doing dressage, he's VERY happy. Loves being told what to do. He does sometimes lock on and try to jump the 4' arena fence, though. I just appreciate his increased impulsion and turn him away, hoping he doesn't get too mad at my not letting him jump it.
                                    Originally posted by Silverbridge
                                    If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      netg, you were wise and compassionate to listen to your horse.

                                      Not everyone would do the same.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by netg View Post
                                        You just described my horse. Physically, he has more talent for eventing. But he was starting to school upper level x-country and totally able to get over it... and lacked any kind of decisiveness and self-motivation as far as it went. He was looked at as an upper level prospect for eventing by several people who felt he didn't take initiative.

                                        On the other hand, now that he's just doing dressage, he's VERY happy. Loves being told what to do. He does sometimes lock on and try to jump the 4' arena fence, though. I just appreciate his increased impulsion and turn him away, hoping he doesn't get too mad at my not letting him jump it.

                                        What JER said...

                                        Dressage horses enjoy a bit of a gallop, hacking. hill work....and GASP... even some jumping!

                                        Comment

                                        Working...
                                        X