Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Approach and Retreat

Much of Charlie's learning has been using a technique called approach and retreat. Whether it has been helping him become familiar with objects or having his feet picked up, the idea has been to begin to do something and do it long enough for the horse to relax and stay, rather than mentally or physically resist.

Pat Parelli has many sayings which help when being around horses. One is "take the time it takes and it takes less time"

With this in mind Charlie has been able to advance his learning and make better progress because we didn't rush the process and took the necessary time. An example of this is getting used to having things waved at his sides. Then over his back, resting on his back. Larger things were introduced. A blanket, a saddle pad and eventually a saddle then a rider.

Charlie is quite laid back but sure of himself. He has a strong opinion about things and he could be described in Parelli Horsenality terms as being  predominantly left brain introvert.

Linda Parelli spoke about when horses don't do what you ask of them and reasons why this may be. Fear, lack of interest, respect....

Here is an excerpt from one of Linda's articles,

Right-Brain Introvertcan’t do it. That’s because their emotions get in the way so their first reaction is stress, and stress makes them clam up and shut down until they trust you and can feel completely confident around you. Putting it in human terms, this is the Right-Brain Introvert mother who is both caring and effective with her children. She can think on her feet and do the right thing in the moment. But in another setting, she is tentative and easily intimidated. The more extroverted the situation, the more introverted the Right-Brain Introvert becomes. These horses are often called unpredictable, aloof, tense, and oversensitive.

Left-Brain Introvertwon’t do it. That’s because their opinion of you gets in the way – they think you are lower than them in the pecking order! These horses are often called stubborn, lazy, and arrogant.
When a horse is acting tense, over-reactive, stubborn, lazy, etc., that’s because the rider is bringing out those behaviors. Rushing an introvert will do this – not giving them time to think, and in the case of the Left-Brain Introvert, not being provocative enough at the same time. Note that “provocative” does not necessarily mean to do it faster!

Now, about extroverts:
Extroverts don’t take time to process things, so the slower you are, the worse it is for them (well, and for you too I guess!). Extroverts are either reactionary or domineering. Can you guess which is right-brain and which is left-brain?

Right-Brain Extrovertreactionary. Right Brain Extroverts tend to react rather than respond. How to tell the difference? Reaction is usually faster than you want, and it’s accompanied by tension and braciness (which means fear). These horses are often called crazy, hard to control, and wired.

Left-Brain Extrovertdomineering. You’ve probably experienced this in the human world, but in the horse world it is often terribly misread. I’ve heard it called naughty, aggressive, untrainable, bitchy, disobedient, and argumentative.

You can read the full article here
Linda Parelli on Horsenality

The reason this article is poignant at the moment is that we are trying hard to find ways to communicate effectively with Charlie. If one way does not work another way is tried. It is important HE doesn't get blamed or feel blamed for "getting things wrong."

More on Charlie and what he is learning soon

Monday, 12 August 2013

Two months on...

Four year old Charlie's training: 

Charlie has been learning so much over the past, wow, nearly eight weeks. 

He has a long list of 'firsts' including having a rug on, a fly mask, learning how to go over and between things. He has been walking out to view the local area and get used to tracks, roads and activity around him.

Charlie's day to day adventures and photos tracking his training appear on Facebook on his page

Here on this blog is more detailed information about useful ideas and sources of information that have already helped during Charlie's training.

One nugget of information came from David Archer, a cowboy from the US who has videos on just about every aspect of horse training.

When Charlie first arrived he was quite on his toes and in a rush to do things. I didn't want to fall into a trap of thinking, well, that's his breeding. I needed to find a way to give him permission to relax more. In this video David Archer is quite critical of horse owners who seem to allow the horse to prance and dance about the place. Almost as though this is what these horses are supposed to do.

David shows how to ask the horse to simply w a l k and slow down.

I tried this approach with Charlie and his attitude changed and stayed changed. Now we have a more comfortable communication and things happen in a calm and controlled way.