Friday, May 29, 2009

Blinding Flash of the Obvious

Funny what you think about, for ages, one way, then suddenly you go 'oh'. OH.

When I first got Garbo I was a brand new horse owner and while I think I was perceptive I didn't really know how to read a horse well. I noticed he was grumpy about being groomed so I enlisted the help of a Natural Horsemanship Trainer and she said 'just use softer brushes - he must be sensitive'. Well I accepted this and have done so, for the whole time I have had him.

In the last couple of years I have really been studying how Garbo interacts with the other horses in his herd (and other new or strange horses). So far I have never seen another horse boss Garbo around, he has always been the more dominant horse - and quite quickly. He asserts himself quickly and uses phases and once the ground rules are laid he is very fair with his phases and hardly ever connects with his teeth.

It usually only happens once (poor Coco)...

The reason I have been studying this so much is because this is basically what I am trying to achieve with him. Pat said last night in the Teleseminar that horses do not get 'offended' by us doing something (phase 4 for example) but they do get scared if emotional or anger is added to our actions. I have always worried that Garbo gets offended when I use Phase 4 but I look at Maraschino and he just idolises Garbo for bossing him round.

I have, in the last few months, therefore been more assertive and particular about what I am asking him to do (if he doesn't do it - like stay out on the circle for example), and he has not seemed to enjoy our sessions as much. So perhaps I have been getting angry or emotional about it. I shall really work on staying emotionally neutral even at phase 4. Perhaps I need to practise that hitting the barrel with the carrot stick and then friendlying it straight afterwards.

Anyway - back to the subject at hand.

So - no other horse has ever groomed Garbo. It was something Pat said about dominant horses last night - that you can have dominance with respect, and I suddenly realised that when Garbo gets me to itch him in his itchy spots - he is allowing me to - I should take it as a compliment. The fact I can groom him is not something I should take for granted. I know most non PNH people just do things to their horses without asking permission - and will laugh at this but I looked at our grooming session this afternoon with completely new eyes.

My goal has always been to be a passive leader, not an aggressive leader, like in the book by Mark Rashid - Truth About Horses. It's great.

The other thing I got from the Tele-Seminar was someone asked how to get their LBI out away from them (instead of circling close to them) - hah the bain of my life.... Pat said to use Yo Yo and sideways to get the horse out and away on the end of the line, and for sideways to swing the carrot stick and string like you would a rope and if they walk into it- well... (rather than hitting)... so looking forward to trying that.

I know alot of people would be envious of Garbo's 10m canter circles round me at Liberty, but we really need to expand our repertoire. I think he is bored with that now and he tries to dominate me. Another thing that was discussed last night -dominate vs leadership. There is no fear with true respect and you can be dominant with respect. Just like a horse.

Pat also said to train your horse to 'load for life'. And if you can train your horse to load well, do lead changes and liberty, then you will have a well trained horse.

He also said on the last audio cd that a horse in training should not realise he is being trained - it should be fun for him.

More information in!!!


Twinnie said...

Very thought provoking.....

Vicki said...

that will get you licking and chewing for the day! lol