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Anyone familar with Clinton Anderson's method?

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  • Anyone familar with Clinton Anderson's method?

    I've been to doing some of the fundamentals with my bratty pinto, and my one issue is when I do flexing he always tries to bite me! Both on the ground and on his back. I'm not sure what the right move to make is, because he is flexing but to hit him for biting seems to tell him not to flex. Any ideas?

  • #2
    I'm not familiar with his methods but he seems to draw on 'old time' horsemanship tidbits, so gonna take a swing at your question.

    It could be when your flexing your horse and he tries to bite you, he's hurting somewhere. This over-flexing of horses nowadays confuses me. I don't see the point, especially in a western horse. Just looks good I guess.

    To me, when you flex a horse, instead of forcing the horse around, where he's only bending through his neck from this shoulder, you should flex the entire body, from nose to tail. When his nose comes around on the left side, his ribcage should go a bit to the right, kind of bulging outward. Vice versa the other way. Flexing from front to back. Seems to me, when you only flex the nose, neck and shoulder, that's not doing much for the horse, just showing him how to be rubbernecked.

    You want the drive to come from the rear on a western horse. How can a bent double horse drive from the rear? He can't in the truest sense of the word. When flexing, you want to see the outline of his eye when your sitting in the saddle. Not much point in over flexing all the time, bringing his nose to your toe. That doesn't really do much. But it looks good and to the uninitiated, looks like some real training is going on.

    So, I'm going to take a flier on this and say he's hurting somewhere and prolly doesn't understand what all the flexing is about. It's okay for a horse to be supple but the flexing can, and often is, overdone.

    Or, he's just being a jerk.

    Try to cut down on the flexing and see if that improves things. I like a supple horse but to constantly flex from the shoulder only and not the whole body doesn't do anything for the horse. I'd be ticked off too, if I were a horse, and were always being asked to flex.

    Seems to me, reading your horse a bit better might help the situation.

    My horse came from a CA follower. I don't do half the stuff he was 'taught'.

    Clear as mud?? :-)
    GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Did you teach him to come around using treats, and now he's expecting food and biting every time he bends his neck?

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        He's not hurting he is a jerk, lol! That is why I am trying this method. He was a nursemare foal so he was mainly hand raised and a little too comfortable with people. He is a major space invader and he is constantly trying to nibble on me no matter what we are doing. And no I don't hand feed him treats. I'm not looking for full body flexion, it is just an exercise to get the horse to listen to you.

        Comment


        • #5
          I would smack him on the belly with my hand or knee (depending on height to horse ratio) when he bites. It's discipline for being naughty, but not influencing his head. Ideally, he'll be surprised and step away with his hip and you can reinforce the flex with your lead while you do it.

          Under saddle, inside foot to belly, with spur if necessary. Turn it into giving his hips, while still flexed. A horse that's a jerk will just think it's a great game if you start tapping them in the mouth with your foot for being nippy, and you don't want to start the flex/flinch game with him, anyway. He needs to be really uncomfortable, really fast, and then it's over, like it never happened.

          Escalate the discipline as appropriate. It needs to make an impression. He's found a fun game, for him.

          Comment


          • #6
            Flexing the way that Clinton Anderson does it, is both stupid and detrimental to horses.

            You NEVER saw the real cowboys do this in the old days and you will NEVER see it today in the real ones either.


            He is a fraud.Walk away.

            Tamara
            Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
            I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, ding, ding, ding... While rereading this thread I had a whatever you call it about my Mr. Leo.

              His former owner, I'm pretty sure since she followed CA pretty tightly, prolly flexed Leo over and over and over again. Since he wasn't legged up properly and had such a rough start in life, I'm thinking overflexing him might (read: probably) had something to do with his lameness.

              Going to have to think this through and do some investigating/research....
              GR24's Musing #19 - Save the tatas!!

              Comment


              • #8
                it is sideways western rollkur...nothing more.


                Tamara
                Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think it's a little strong to call him a fraud. (He may be a major capitalist though, charging a boatload of money for his products. They all sell those 'stick and string' things and you can make one by tying a grocery bag to a stick.) Anyways, I think the flexing thing does teach them that they can get a release from you. I taught it to my Haflinger mare and I laugh because as soon as I try it she buries her forehead in my side as though saying OK dummy, I'm with the program, let's do something interesting!

                  I give CA credit for showing people how to keep horses out of their space and putting together a simplistic program that is easy to follow. He may have saved some rank beginners from getting hurt.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lisae View Post
                    I think it's a little strong to call him a fraud. (He may be a major capitalist though, charging a boatload of money for his products. They all sell those 'stick and string' things and you can make one by tying a grocery bag to a stick.) Anyways, I think the flexing thing does teach them that they can get a release from you. I taught it to my Haflinger mare and I laugh because as soon as I try it she buries her forehead in my side as though saying OK dummy, I'm with the program, let's do something interesting!

                    I give CA credit for showing people how to keep horses out of their space and putting together a simplistic program that is easy to follow. He may have saved some rank beginners from getting hurt.

                    I don't.

                    John Lyons taught women to run horses in the round pens.

                    Parelli taught women to use an Amish buggy whip.

                    and now

                    Clinton Anderson teaches women to "flex" their horses.

                    Give me a break from all of them.

                    There is nothing about him or his program that is not crap.There is no "release" taught to these animals as their owners/riders are mostly not horse trainers and just think it's cool to bend the horse to their foot and the one with the most bend wins...

                    bleech.

                    they lack feel and tact and any judgement as to when to STOP "flexing"....

                    they lack any judgement as to what this majikal "flexing" does...

                    They have no idea what and when this "flexing" did have a practical application and why...

                    (anyone wanna shoot a guess?)

                    it is at best obnoxious like a crest release in English riding and at worst the Dressage rollkur...

                    in any case you'll never see a horse of mine afflicted with it.

                    Tamara
                    Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                    I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Flexing causes the horse to relax. Might not work with all horses, but it certainly did the trick for my gelding. I started him myself at age 12! I followed Clinton Anderson's instructions somewhat, and found it to be very useful. But that's just me. As far as the biting goes....I wish I knew what to say. If it were me.....I'd pop him gently when he bit. PRAISE him when he flexes and does not bite. He will learn to associate the discomfort of the "pop" with the bite, and will enjoy the praise he gets ehen he doesn't bite. It might take time, but he WILL get it eventually....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I feel like the flexing CA does, when on the ground, is more for obedience and preparation for doing the exercise in the saddle. I have never seen CA hold his horse's head in those positions for a long time like those who practice Rolkur in dressage do. I do think this exercise can be effective. I've had to start a handful of horse's by myself and the flexing is very helpful in the beginning of training, especially when getting them to stand still when you're on them for the first time and mounting. With all of these horses though, the flexing gets phased out pretty quickly as they learn.

                        For Very stiff horses this exercise may take a while. But you don't have to crank the horse's head around to it's side to start out. Just ask for some bend in the neck, without moving hooves, then release. I don't think asking a horse to bend like this is detrimental - horse's reach around to scratch their sides or get flies in the paddock. Of course though, if a horse is or was injured, this may not be the way to go. Every situation is independent.

                        As for your horse, if you position yourself in a good way (that's hard for me to explain) you make it so he can't bite you. Stand towards his flank with your belly button facing about inbetween his flank and shoulder. Your hand closest to his face should have the rope. Instead of taking your hand up to his withers, lower your hand a bit to get some bend in your elbow. Stand pretty close to his body. I usually put my other hand over their hip or something so I'm very close. Then when he turns his head to bite at you, the side of his face may hit your elbow - causing him to run into you. Of course, you can't ask him to bend too much because your elbow will be in the way. You may have to be ok with a very small give on your horse's part. If he gives to your pressure release right away.

                        The other thing I would try is releasing the pressure earlier. Is there a point when you flex him before he bites when he's actually giving? If so - that's a fabulous opportunity, just release the pressure as soon as he gives before he bites. Now, if he comes around to flex teeth bared, ready to chomp, this may not work. I also agree with what someone else said - about not flexing a whole lot so he doesn't get sour on it - or get worse on it.

                        Best of luck with your horse

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by fillytracks View Post
                          I feel like the flexing CA does, when on the ground, is more for obedience and preparation for doing the exercise in the saddle. I have never seen CA hold his horse's head in those positions for a long time like those who practice Rolkur in dressage do.
                          so you have never seen him live, "behind the scenes" have you?

                          I have...it's gross

                          Tamara
                          Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                          I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            I know some people don't like him and that is fine. So far what I have been doing has really helped with this particular horse. I think any "method" can be done wrong and therefore not be benefical to the horse. It is a competely differnt way of doing things then I have ever been taught but I find it really interesting. Also I was hesitant to buy the equiptment (halter, rope, stick and string) because I felt anything would do, but I was going to go to a clinic and it was required, so I broke down and bought the stuff. I have to say it is really quality stuff and the halter makes a huge differnce. The stick and string take a little getting used to but now I really like it much more than a standard lunge whip.
                            I wound up not being able to participate in the clinic but I went to watch and I really loved it. I've worked with horses my whole life and worked as a groom for and International level Jumper rider and ridden really nice horses, so I'm not some idiot, lol! I think you can always learn something, even if it's what not to do.
                            farmgirl598 that is what I am trying to do, I just wasn't sure if there was some expert advice as how to handle it.
                            fillytracks, it's hard to release early or stand out of the way, because he will just stay bent and if he can't get me he bites himself!! He is getting better I just wondered if there was something I hadn't thought of!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              so you have never seen him live, "behind the scenes" have you?
                              I saw him live at one of his Wahl Walkabout Tours... but that was it. I didn't see him doing anything terrible while he was out. So I have no idea what he does "behind the scenes". His methods have helped me with my horses and I am thankful for that. I don't think it's healthy for anyone to "obsess" over one trainer. there's so much to learn out there. And I guess my point is that I feel just because someone uses some CA methods doesn't mean they are doing "western rolkur" or anything else abusive. Of course, they could be, but many of the CA/natural horsemanship followers are softies likely to get run over by their horse I think.

                              I have to say it is really quality stuff and the halter makes a huge differnce.
                              I agree the rope halter makes a big difference - but it's best to switch them back to a nylon halter once they know what is being asked and they get lighter on the line. The rope halter is so effective with pulling horses for a reason - it hurts.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Tamara in TN View Post
                                Flexing the way that Clinton Anderson does it, is both stupid and detrimental to horses.

                                You NEVER saw the real cowboys do this in the old days and you will NEVER see it today in the real ones either.


                                He is a fraud.Walk away.

                                Tamara
                                Clinton loves Flexing. Saw him at RTTH and he was flexing that poor horse to death. It's his fix for everything.
                                The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  He may call it flexing, but it looks more like avoidance to me.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I saw his show on TV one night, and I must say I didn't like the look in the horses' eyes AT ALL. Yes, they were focused on him alright--but in an obvious state of pure apprehension.

                                    While I fully recognize that some methods as strong is these may be useful, even necessary, when you've got that "hard nut to crack," with a horse who already has a willing mind and is trying to please I think it's just WAAAY too much.

                                    I'm saying this because I own a filly that was broken in with methods very similar to some of these, with whom I've had to back way up and work on building her trust. She was looking forward to each ride with the demeanor of one anticipating an assault, and I recognized that identical expression on Anderson's horses on that TV show.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      While I fully recognize that some methods as strong is these may be useful, even necessary, when you've got that "hard nut to crack," with a horse who already has a willing mind and is trying to please I think it's just WAAAY too much.
                                      Absolutely agreed. My young horse didn't take to CA's method well at all! So I use very little of it with him. With my other horse - a pushy mare - I don't know what I would've done without a form of natural horsemanship.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=goneriding24;6381936] This over-flexing of horses nowadays confuses me. I don't see the point, especially in a western horse. Just looks good I guess. QUOTE]

                                        All horses should know how to bend, otherwise you are riding a stiff board. Have trained some of those that were owned by people who didn't understand why the horse should bend and they are aweful rides until they have learned. I cannot imagine a cowhorse that can't bend or a reining horse. The horse cannot build a proper topline if they move incorrectly and the horse will have more wear and tear issues due to that. Without bending you do not get collection, which is important in any horse. All horses english or western should be working from their hind, thats the basis for dressage. Many riders don't know what lead they are on in the canter or even what a posting diagonal is but that does not make it any less important.

                                        For the OP's horse, he may be stiff and a bit sore from stretching. Imagine how it can feel if you stretch out too much, and thats exactly what he may be feeling. Take it easy and in small amounts until he gets used to it!

                                        Comment

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