You Aren’t Paranoid If They Really Are Out To Get You

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Sorry, I couldn’t help it. It reminds me of a cat we used to have.

It will probably give some people will screaming heebee jeebees. Those  people might be paranoid-just a little bit. After all, the disorder is defined as believing that somebody is always watching or observing you with ulterior motives or evil intent.

Now-that said, it is the anniversary of an infamous event here in the USA-September 11 2001. Like December 7, 1941 when Japanese war planes flew into Pearl Harbor, HI, and bombed our Navy fleet to hell and gone, we don’t forget those that died or those that fought back in so many ways. But we learn from those mistakes, too, thank God.

In the case of Pearl Harbor, our fleet does not allow but a certain number of ships to be docked at any one time in the harbor. The rest must remain at sea. Photography of the yard is forbidden now. Schofield Barracks is never totally ‘at ease’-there is always some level of alert. There are other measures of course-none of which are discussed with civilians. I was privileged to visit the U S S Arizona’s resting site-which I’ll never forget. The National Cemetery there is also quietly inspiring-it gets to you in ways that you do not expect.

The attack on the World Trade Center towers was then, and still is, one of the most audacious and vicious of terrorist strikes ever conceived. The use of commerical jetliners as, essentially, flying bombs defies both morals and ethics in every human convention known. You just do not use innocent people’s lives as a weapon-that was what was so completely stunning about it. It was also what elicited the visceral rage that was the response to it. Unfortunately, that was exactly was the planners wanted from us. I don’t think to this day that our leaders could have put a lid on the reaction. It was much too powerful.

However, because of that reaction and the ongoing  hostilities since, we have created more and more people who really are out to get us. So now we are justified in feeling paranoid-they really ARE out to get us. I’d like to think that use of some ‘horse herd’ psychology might change that. Why?  Well, someday, the oil is going to run out. Then all they’ll have is sand-again.

Horses fight, yes-but they rarely turn vicious on their own. They’ll kick, bite, squeal-and the loser will trot off to stand at a distance.  Now the loser might stay at a distance and just hang around hoping for another chance or might wander off to join a band of other losers. Point being-nobody has a reason for paranoia.

So why can’t humans use a method similar to this? Answer: Probably because herds are run by mares and humans are led by the males. Hmmmm.

eyes.

 

 

 

 

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Tying That Pony

halter barnNow I’ll be honest-as if you’d know if I weren’t-I have no use for a horse that won’t stand tied or a human that caters to one that won’t. “I’ll just have to hold her because she pulls back.” Well, sister (this is almost invariably a female) get your big girl panties on and teach that pony how to have some manners and stand hitched. It’s not that hard. Well, I take that back-it can be hard on both the horse, the equipment, and the owner, but the training sure as hell isn’t complicated.

BTW-Do NOT leave a halter hanging like that. It isn’t that it is bad for the halter, but you are just ASKING for some klutzy something-like me for example-to come along and stick a foot in that thing, and go flying, ending up with sprained wrists, dislocated shoulders, and god-only-knows what else. HANG YOUR STUFF UP.  For heaven’s sake, folks. All you have to do is hang it from the ring it is already attached to! 

Why do horses set back-pull back-can’t be tied-or whatever you want to call it?

Claustrophia and that sense of being trapped. Those two phobias will set them off and they cannot help themselves. They have to break free. They are open area prey animals and they have to have a certain degree of freedom or they’re not happy. (Which is why you will only find ulcers in stalled horses.) Let’s think like a horse-I’m being asked to put my head into something that restricts my freedom to move around (the halter). My head is what some predators will go for first in order to bring me down to eat me so this is a big deal for me. They’ll grab me by the nose and behind my ears. (Where does a halter put pressure? on the nose and behind the ears). Now you want me to be even more restricted with my head fastened in such a way that I can’t move it the way I’m accustomed to doing! (The horse can no longer turn its body 360 degrees to see all the way around itself.) My fear is building-I’ve got to leave-NOW! and they pull back violently.

Many, many people will tell you to tie horses solidly to a big post or tree with heavy ropes and heavy halters and just let them fight it out. You can do that. You run the risk of having a permanently injured horse or a dead one because they can break their own necks. I’ve heard of using something like inner tubes to have the give, too. That’s a little less dangerous, but not by much. I’m not crazy about either one. In fact, I’d call them abusive.

I’ve used a soft cotton rope tied in a bowline around the girth line and run through the front legs, through the halter, up and over a high tree limb, and over to a tree with a quick release knot for my pullers and I ain’t gonna stand tied. It has the advantage of the tree limb having the natural give in it, the bowline won’t slip but it is secure, and the tree won’t leave. The student can dance, protest, and generally raise the biggest stink in the horse world, but they will go no where at all and they can’t get hurt. I don’t-however-ever leave one like this. But they do learn that standing tied will not be the end of their world.

Two things that must be learned and learned well before you start: how to do a bowline that will not tighten, and how to do a proper quick release.

THE best quick releaseThis is the BEST Quick Release knot-there are others, but this one keeps ALL of your rope on ONE side after you pull the release. The only thing the diagram doesn’t show is the ‘lock’-which is to simply pull the tail through the loop.

underhand bowlineMake sure you learn how to do the bowline correctly. You do not want it to slip.

 

 

 

bowlineI included two diagrams to help learn how to correctly do the know. Please practice until it is habit.  All it takes is one slip and you’ll be reaching for a knife to cut loose a choking horse. I know because somebody did that at my barn-and swore they had tied a good bowline.

 

 

Another thing is to use the devices know as ‘Tie Blocker’ or ‘The Clip’, or some people even make their own out of old snaffle bits. The principle is the same as wrapping the tie rope several wraps around a good STURDY hitch rail. (Please don’t do this to a fence rail-you’ll be chasing a horse with a fence rail slapping him in the butt.) The idea is that they get enough slack when they pull back to satisfy the urge, but remain tied. With the devices, you can adjust the tension via a screw or just tie a knot in the end of the lead so the horse cannot pull out and just leave. With the hitch rail, you start with four or so wraps, and as the horse improves, you can reduce the number of wraps needed thereby reducing the amount of resistance. It takes patience, but it does work.

Please be respectful of the horse. Being tied is not natural to the species, but it is necessary to interact with humans and for their own safety. Kindness and patience gets to the goal faster that force and fear.

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Don’t Rush Your Horse

I’ve ridden, trained, bred, and competed in the horse world for over 50 years now. I learned the same thing that just about everyone does:

  • that you need the right bit to stop and control your horse.
  • you kick to make the horse go.
  • Spurs are to make them run faster (or spin harder or whatever)
  • Whips are for punishment.

Every bit of it is wrong. Yep, WRONG.

Took me a long time to learn that, but I finally did. Here’s the truth:

  • Your seat stops your horse–you don’t even need a bridle or reins.
  • Your weight and legs direct your horse-bits and reins really are superfluous.
  • Likewise, the way you  use your seat and legs can be the throttle that increases or decreases speed, increases or decreases relaxation or collection.
  • Spurs and whips should be used for signaling only. There are very few instances when punishment is warranted. Why? Because 99% of the time, YOU are the one who missed the signals the horse was giving and was trying to tell you something was off. YOU are the screw up. So if you just want to beat the crap out of somebody, go take yourself out behind the barn.

Now then–about that waiting on your horse stuff. 10790_592824257459405_128563812_n

Let the horse tell you when they are ready for the next step of doing anything. Break everything down into SMALL steps. For example, I have a trailer with a ramp. So to get one to load onto that trailer, I start with just asking one to pass by me and walk ACROSS THE RAMP. Then maybe I’ll feed them with the feed way up high on it so they have to reach for it-maybe even putting a foot on the ramp to get to it. No pressure-just if you want, go after it. Then maybe I’ll load a pasture mate and feed them inside.  Then I ask the newbie to just approach-they don’t have to load, just approach. I’ll let them stand-think about it-back up, then we’ll work for awhile. Repeat. After awhile, they start getting the idea “hey, if I approach the trailer, I get to stand and rest, but if I’m out here, I’m out running around”.

Usually takes about two hours to get one on for the first time. Let them eat, then back off and put them up. Let it soak. Don’t force it. Let the horse ask for another try at it. Let them get comfortable in there. Just grab a cold one and sit in the shade.

How do I know this works? I used this on my CTR horse. That horse would load any time any where-and what’s more, he’d stand in that trailer until I asked him to come off. One time I dropped both the ramp and the butt bar, but got called away before I unloaded him. He was still waiting for me 45 minutes later. He was not tied, but just waiting on me.

Don’t rush your horse.

A Great Horse Will Do Whatever You Ask, A Great Horseman Will Never Ask

I read some equestrian news yesterday that Sinead Halpin retired one of her top mounts, and she quoted her husband, Tik Maynard, as saying, “A great horse would jump through fire for you if you asked, and a great horseman would never ask.” I can think about this for hours. It might be one of […]

via Never Ask — Patently Bay

I’m sharing this because I love the quote-I love the wisdom in it.  I think you will, too.

 

 

What Horses Can Teach Human About Life-Intro

Humans have, over the centuries, learned to become worshippers of the warriors and predator mindset. In doing that, we’ve lost a great deal in being able to know ourselves and those who love us, live with us, and work with us. I find that incredibly sad.cave painting

But-and this is important-horses can bring this back to us. They have always held this wisdom. They use it every day in their interactions with each other, with humans, and with other species. All we have to do-incredibly enough-is open our eyes, ears, and minds to learn.

How is this possible?

Watch how a mare teaches her foal. She’ll nudge the baby towards her udder. But in a couple of weeks, after the baby has learned to nurse and found out that bumping her hard and pulling hard will make the milk come down faster, she’ll object if the baby bites and hurts her. She’ll nip it in the rear quickly-but if the baby does it again, she may deliver a fast cow kick AND a nip to the butt plus a total refusal to allow junior access to the diary bar. There’s no loud “boo-yah”, fist pump, or anything else. It’s quick, quiet, and Junior is just left standing some distance away from mom wondering what the heck just happened. The lesson?  Treat me right or you don’t get what you want-and you get left socially isolated. Not fun-but it is surely effective.

Likewise, as young horses mature, they interact with each other and adult horses learning to find their own place within a herd’s hierarchy. A ear position, the gesture of the head and neck, the whipping of the tail or a tail held high or in a clamped position, rearing, striking, a single or a double hind leg kick-all of these translate to messages that horses use to convey emotions, warnings, and information. They are masters of reading body language. Not just equine body language-but that of their entire environment-which includes that of other animals, both prey and predators (including humans). In fact-they are ‘hard-wired’ for the job then trained by their dams and herd mates into black belt masters. Even the dullest is good at it. We are the dullards. 

 

 

Breaking vs Training vs Relationship

bronc We’ve all seen the rodeo bronc rider-and we may have ridden a few bucks in our days of riding. I know I have-none as seriously into as a rodeo horse, but definitely intended to deposit my fanny somewhere other than where it was at the time. Only one consistently successful was a Shetland pony mare who, as it happened, foaled the next day. No one had a clue. But she could buck!

Most of us are pretty much of the persuasion (or at least I hope we are) that the old grab a wild one out of the corral, rope him, throw a saddle on him, and climb up with the objective of riding the bucks out of the horse ‘eventually’ is at best ineffective, hard on both man and horse, and makes for a horse that is never totally reliable. Any time you train with force and fear you can never truly trust that the training will hold when you need it the most.

But it was fast-or so they thought at the time. We now know that if you take enough time to start with that it will take less time in the long run. I know for a fact it sure does save a lot of wear and tear on both human and horse.

lunging But if you don’t do it that way, do you do it this way? Do you use all the straps, bits, lines, and gimmicks? Don’t get me wrong-I’ve got a few in my barn. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. What I can tell you now-after 50 years of study, experimentation, and a lot of thought-is this-most of this stuff is pretty damn near useless and is humans trying to find a way to shortcut their way into doing things correctly. Bottom line-if you aren’t getting the result that you want, you aren’t asking the horse the correct question. It is not the horse that is wrong-it’s you. And it nearly knocked me on my fat fanny when I realized that.

dressagesans Which brings me to this-why are we still requiring dressage competitors to use double bridles, spurs, and a dressage whip, when you can get the exact same frame as Xenophon’s horse without a bridle or a saddle? Dressage should be about the communication between horse and rider, shouldn’t it? In its purest form, you should not need anything. What do you see with this horse? Face is vertical, fully collected, round and beautiful sitting trot. Isn’t this what we are really after?

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