View Full Version : Understanding what the equine says!!
23rd Dec 2003, 11:16 PM
A query at the end of 2003 and the beginning of 2004 re all of the different NH philosophies.
In your opinion (New Riders), which NH philosophy would you vote for in terms of listening (and understanding) to what is being said by YOUR horse?
24th Dec 2003, 12:46 PM
Well, NH is about teaching humans to understand their horses and communicate with them in a way they can understand. I think they all have their good points, but if we're talking about the raw ability to understand and interpret horse behavior, I guess I'd have to say Roberts' Join Up.
IMO the fundamentals of Parelli and Lyons are to teach the human how to effectively interact with or control a horse. I suppose thats the aim of Roberts as well.
24th Dec 2003, 03:48 PM
OK, I'm not sure if this is what you were asking, but I'll have a go....Though I may go off on a tangent!
I have now become very intersted in Mark Rashid and his way of working WITH horses (Passive Leadership). I Have been thinking SO much about this, and the more think, the more it makes sense (which makes a nice change ;) ).
I think that (almost) all NH methods are based on either horses natural behaviour with each other, or working with their natural instincts. Mostly, they also tell you of this so you gain some insight into their behaviour and why they do it (although mainly it is done to 'prove' how this particular method works). IMHO, Join-up only really teaches a small amount of the body language that horses are capable of (but maybe I'm biased, I dislike Join-up a LOT!).
I'm trying so hard to think of where I got the basic 'lowdown' on equine behaviour, but I honestly can't remember. It most certainly wasn't just one method or person. Partly Parelli, Kelly Marks, TTEAM, Rashid and 'ordinary' teachers, and many others as well. No one method has taught me this stuff, and I still don't know anywhere near everything about what horses behaviour means - but now I have some knowledge that helps me to read whatever signs the horse is giving me and interpret them.
In terms of training USING this knowledge of behaviour, what it means and more so, the horses natural instincts, I recently read 'Horses Never Lie' by Mark Rashid, and I can honestly say that it has changed the way that I think. I recommend this book to anyone. So I guess that I'm voting for him :) .
*Edited to add*
How's Kerry? I read the thread in the Health section and I really hope that she's getting better now. You both really deserve a more 'normal' time next year!
24th Dec 2003, 04:17 PM
I guess I need to say that I dont believe join up is a complete tool for solving all issues related to horse behavior. Its not a problem solver in other words. I dont fully endorse it either.
I supplied my answer on an objective view rather than what I personally view as my preference to NH techniques. If we're talking about what we like to use, I would then choose Parelli, but from what I gathered about your question, thats not what I thought you meant.
If we're talking about a focused technique to better understand a horse, I still stick with Roberts as he uses RAW horse behavior and emotion in his technique.
30th Dec 2003, 12:03 AM
well i did the joinup in a slightly diff. way . i stared my horse in the eye constantly,then i spread my arms out 2 look like a t-sha-pe twirled the rope 2 get him going then when he grinded his teeth i stopped.anyway,he has done wonderfully ever sinse . i am closer 2 my horse than ever.i also blow into his nostrils 2 do a horse greeting afterward.he blew back so we are official horse friends:D
30th Dec 2003, 04:25 PM
Sorry Tootsie - I guess what I was trying to say was that most NH techniques are based on horses anyway. They are (mostly) based on natural behaviour of horses, how they move and interact with each other but whilst they have the same basis they're not all the same. In other words, they all have the same foundations but have used different bricks to build the house!
But IMHO, methods that don't force the horse to see you as the leader/alpha in your little herd seem to listen to the horse, respond and allow the horse to be in a partnership with you where their thoughts/feelings are valued. That takes listening and understanding (just like any good relationship ;) ).
30th Dec 2003, 07:35 PM
Gotcha :D I see.....
I have a horse who pushed and pushed and was always trying to reach the alpha position above me. It is just his personality to be that way. I tried the "listen and understand" concept inadvertently and it got me into alot of trouble. I guess though in the topic of this thread, it was a very effective way to communicate with him, I was telling him that his pushiness had no consequences. I like to think that our relationship now is exceedingly better - more of that "listen and understand" type, but I dont think *we* would have gotten there without the tougher/forceful type techniques. Each horse is different and Im glad there are so many techniques out there to help us with our dynamic animals.
I haven't read too much of Michael Peace or Mark Rashid, Im familiar with them, but maybe I should take a closer peek. :)
31st Dec 2003, 09:30 AM
I see what you mean. From what I've read, there seems to be a very fine line between having a 'partnership' and being walked all over. The difference between 50/50 and a relationship where the horse has 51/49 is SO small. 'Passive' leadership really isn't a very good name for it - it tends to imply that you do absolutely nothing and maybe one day your horse will do everything you've ever wanted ;) . Not really.
You're still using the principle that you're allowing the horse to make a decision, but that doesn't involve forcing that horse to do what you want. Two examples from Marks book, 'Horses never lie' (I only have two, but I recommend that one first) spring to mind.
One was a horse that had had a pretty rough start in life. He'd been backed and everything just fine, but his owner had really made him sour by showing him to excess. As well as other problmes that he had, he refused to be caught. No trick, not anything would work.
So what Rashid's 'Old Man' did was to leave him to settle in first. Then when all the other horses needed to be moved across fields to better grazing he was given a chance to be caught each time some horses left. He refused to be caught every time, so eventually he was left on his own. And he didn't like that! The 'Old Man' offered him the chance to be caught every half-hour, for the rest of the day to no success. The next day, however, he decided to let himself be caught. His own decision, no-one forced it onto him, when he realised he's kinda made the wrong choice. After that, he was fine to catch.
The other one was a mare, I think, that would resist in the school. She'd be fine just following the rail, then she'd start tipping in her nose and then her shoulder, as she wanted to go to the inside. After trying conventional, increased pressure to keep the mare straight, Rashid switched to a different approach. He'd correct the mare once (give her a choice as to wether she'd continue doing something undesirable) and then they'd do as she wanted - circle to the inside and then return to the track. In effect, they both got what they wanted, the mare got to leave the track and Rashid got to return to it. Needless to say, the mare soon realised she was doing more work than she needed to and didn't try to leave the rail unless she was asked.
It's not about being afraid to use pressure if you have to. Indeed, body language and touching the horse are how we mostly communicate. If a horse is threatening me, I most CERTAINLY would do everything within my power to stay safe! Even if that involves a large use of pressure.
Definately one thing I think everyone should learn about is finding and rewarding the 'try', regardless of what approach they take, NH or not. Finding the smallest thing to reward (by releasing pressure), and building up from that, instead of increasing the pressure on it's own (which also sometimes means that you miss the try entirely). In fact, I've got quite a lot from that book. It's very very good (and has the extra plus of being really easy to read!).
There are some really good articles on Rashids site: www.markrashid.com
and then the articles button at the side. Try: 'Respect is a two way street' and especially 'Is it really necessary that we become head horse?'. Just some food for thought, if you'd like it.
I've written far too much now, but never mind. If you got this far, well done :D !
31st Dec 2003, 12:46 PM
We've hijacked this thread haven't we :D
I've read both those articles awhile back and they are super. I agree, this sort of "partnership" is ideal and since I've achieved it just a few short months ago, my life is heaven. How we got there is probably a combination of my horse and I *both* coming to a new realization. This also has alot to do with that 50/50 or 49/51 idea too.
Have you conversed yet with Harry Hobbes (member here on NR)? You'd like him very much.
1st Jan 2004, 04:53 PM
The posts are very interesting to read.
I, too, like 50:50. That's why I like Mike Peace's approach and also, of course, Mark Raschid.
I found 'though that it (partnership) wasn't the type of thing that once you get you've got for all time. I'd say that it isn't an easy thing to go for - and I think I all too often let the side down!! When you've got it, however, it is SOOOOOOO good to experience. It's not always that easy to keep things constantly at a partnership level 'though I find.
For me it is like a constant challenge (a very positive but constant thing that needs my attention all of the time we're together). It wouldn't be I guess if life every day was an absolute repeat of the previous day - but it isn't - certainly not with Kerry who is very able to revert back to her "pushy" style if she feels the situation warrants it!! Constantly attending, understanding where she's coming from and reacting quickly enough in the right way is something that I actually think is very hard to do. I often get it wrong!!
Also, when you're actually interacting in this way it isn't the kind of thing that necessarily looks special at all. To the observer you may often look like you're doing absolutely nothing yet you may be expending loads of effort (of thought and/or to actually do nothing or to do something).
4th Jan 2004, 12:39 PM
Just a bit Tootsie! I haven't spoken to Harry personally, though I have read some of what he has written to others.
I agree with you Sandra, in that whenever you are with your horse you should be constantly attentive. Everything you do is training for them, even the relatively 'mediocre' things such as grooming and tacking up. Training doesn't start in the arena, it starts as soon as you can see your horse in the field/barn/etc.
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