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About historyrider

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    Saddle Tramp
  • Birthday 08/05/1967

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    Helping people communicate better with their equine friends.
  1. What Happened To?

    Thanks for missing me everyone. I have missed the forum and having the time to offer up my experiences to help folks. I am trying to get used to typing on this little thing and it's not so bad when you practice (like everything else). See you on the board. William (historyrider)
  2. Dealing With Rain Rot And Kicking...

    As you see Frisbee you have two problems (or had by now) at once. The rain rot sure but then the attitude about you working on it. For the itchy scabs, the only thing to add to this topic is that an honest ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A regular currying will beat and certain ward off this nussiance. Once you have it, lots of things can knock it out inclucing Vetrycin (sp?) but it is the giving it your attention that means the most. To that end, your horse has got to respect you enough to be patient with your treatment. Everything can be a training opportunity if you plan for it. Instead of working on the treatment in the horse's stall for instance, go out to the round pen or a small enclosure. Take your training tools but also take your medications and grooming aids. Work with your horse and get their feet moving and them paying attention to you. Then when you think they would welcome a break and a chance to just stand still and catch their breath, bring in your curry comb or the medication you wish to apply. Make a clear choice to your horse that they can stand patient and let you work on them or they can run in circles. This is not a hard choice for them but a horse is a horse and sometimes you need to be patient. Keep it simple and the choices clear. If you can't tend to their needs without fear for your own safety you are not likely to enjoy looking after a thousand pound animal. This is their job to be respectful to you but they won't do it unless you hold a high level of expection and show them that you deserve their respect. Horses can be such a joy to be around but they can also be quite dangerous if they aren't sure who's in charge. Take charge of this situation and set yourself up in a place where you can make the best impression and get the job done safely. William (historyrider)
  3. Clinton Anderson's Downunder Horsemanship

    I have always tried to be frugal when it comes to my horse and equipment. There is one thing I have learned over the years and that is often you "get" what you pay for. My first long lead rope was just the hardware store variety and I had a few of those 8 dollar tack shop rope halters. Certainly I could practice the exercises and get results so I was content. One day I borrowed one of Clinton's set from another boarder and I couldn't believe the difference in how expensive rope feels in my hands and how it transfers the energy from my hands to the horse. Just a little wiggle at one end of a 14 foot rope goes all the way to the other. Clinton's "Handy Sticks" are a bit like that too. I have used just about every tool I could pick up in a pinch to help motivate a horse but those handy sticks are made tough. The first one I ever bought is still with me and one time I had to glue the string holding tip back on because I was smacking the ground so hard it came off. I've been doing that to it for 8 years or so now and only suffered that one failure. Good equipment doesn't make one a good trainer but good tools do make just about any job easier. Like anything of value it is an investment that should serve well and last a long time. Just another thought on it, William (historyrider)
  4. Trail Problem

    Hello SpottedT, I have a few thoughts for you. Do mind riding in the rain? I think I'd saddle up with my slicker and just head out when everything is a puddle. Your horse will be so "flooded", pun intended, with puddles that they will all collectively mean less. Another way to look at this problem is to avoid the puddles yourself and work around them. Since your horse has this puddle aversion, let her fear work for you. Find a few "puddles" or something she doesn't like around otherwise good footing. Trot circles, do quick stops and rollbacks letting the puddles help your horse to suck back and turn around through herself. Just pretend you don't care where she puts her feet but work her rather hard all over the place around them. She is bound to step in them at some point but don't make any deal about it. Once you feel like those killer puddles are just not that important to your horse anymore, let her rest in one. If she starts to associate getting her air back and resting with standing in a little bit of water, puddles will take on an entirely new appeal. I do understand your need to beat this silly trouble. Our horses need to trust us and go where we point them. If your horse has an issue and you skirt it, it's only a matter of time before that comes back to bite you. Try and make this work fun for you so it doesn't seem like a chore. That always helps me be more patient. Just laugh as she works hard to avoid the puddles but keep her feet moving. She won't change her mind just because you ask so you are going to have to make this work feel like WORK to her. Then when she's looking for a rest and you invite her to air up in a "scary" puddle she'll start to feel differently about them. Btw, I really do love riding in the rain so I wasn't kidding about that suggestion. The first time in the woods while raining horses are all ears and looky but once they get used to the steady sound of the rain they chill right out. It's quite peaceful and solitary as you might imagine but dress for it. Best wishes toward helping your horse through this, William (historyrider)
  5. For the first time I had the privledge of actually being there live at the "Road to the Horse" event with these 3 excellent clinicians. Pat P offered after his unscheduled dismount that his horse suddenly offered him a "Red" light about disengaging his hind quarters and admitted that it caught him off guard. In my opinion he was mentally committed to dismounting just as the horse cut loose on him and he ended up nearly diving off. It wasn't pretty and I am certain he gained a dose of humility over it. In my back seat quarterback position in the stands I felt that I would have snatched that horse's head to my knee as he was speeding up and let that energy spill through his hind end but once his nose went down it was full-on bucking. Chris C had a horse that was more fearful than he expected. He spend quite of bit of his valuable time helping him gain some confidence and learn to accept pressure and human leadership. Chris' performance once he came out to demonstrate his horse was incredible. He clearly, to everyone around me, deserved the win. Clinton A gambled on the hottest, fracticious horse in the remuda. The crowd had loudly picked "number 11" out loud as the challenging one in a light hearted attempt to "dare" someone to pick him. I'm fairly certain that Clinton had already decided he was going to and admmitted to asking the 6666 ranch wranglers about him. One of them said something about how hard he was to brand. Had there been more time I think Clinton would have showed his work better but that's the nature of this particular contest. It's a race and there is nothing easy about it. No one left RTTH thinking that this is the way to start colts. Every Clinician at some point discussed specifically that this is NOT how it is done at home. RTTH is simply a showcase for the most elite trainers and clinicians to demonstrate their skills and feel by starting a horse in the fastest and most effecient means possible. None of those horses were "broke" or "trained" by any means, they were simply started. It was incredible I must say to watch what all three of these gentlemen could accomplish in such a short amount of time. I doubt this years competition will ever be forgotten. William (historyrider)
  6. Thinking About Taking In An Apprentice

    What a great opportunity. I really liked Shelby's insight on the matter and found myself nodding often. Your teaching is valuable but so are the extra hands. Once they are useful of course. I think the selection process will be the hardest part but first you need a pool of applicants. Keep spreading the word Cheri. This is a good idea. William (historyrider)
  7. Gelding Having Diffuculty Stopping

    I don't think there is one Judy. I think Richard is just suffering from I cannot contribute syndrome. You don't mind if I call you Richard do you Cowboy? I could abbreviate. Offer intelligence or get off the keyboard. William (historyrider)
  8. Gelding Having Diffuculty Stopping

    I hope you're still with us Ashlynn. The responses that you are getting are from the heart and written by people who train horses, not just ride them. It really is a different set of skills that the average rider just doesn't need for an occasional jaunt around the park. Cheri explained the difference perfectly already. I feel the emotion you have for horses in general and this one in particular and it is not your fault that you do not know how to speak "horse" like a horse does. The fact that yours is running with 7 other "wildish" horses only proves to me that his "horse" is fluent and he just has little patience for you. With no one else to ever handle and school him for you, I am confident that you cannot move on without guidance and knowledge. You just don't know what to do and that's okay, unless you do nothing to correct it. The list of DVD's mentioned was great and I agree and own just about everything the others have offered. You must have a guide and if you can't have one in person than you are going to have to learn horse the hard way, on your own. Sit on the fence some times and watch how the other horses talk to your horse. There are good lessons there for you. Instead of baiting your horse to you for grain, just set a bucket with a taste of grain in it and see who gets to eat it. Watch how the one that "gets" it tells the other horses what to go do with themselves. This is how to speak "horse" and until you learn it you will not be able to improve your relationship with yours. PLEASE don't be offended or run off. That will not help. You are so lucky to have the interest and kind offerings from some highly respected horse folk who contribute to this forum regularly. Cheri is even close enough to you that you might get to learn from her in person. You must do something and I can only feel delighted that you took the time to ask. What you do now continues to be up to you. William (historyrider)
  9. Becoming Dangerous

    Honestly the way to handle this is precisely the way your horse has dominated you. He has been using soft cues and suggesting that you move and "get out of" his space. Finally, he had to actually kick you and it sounds like he really tried to govern himself to do so in a way that would get your attention without killing you. Now, when he "threatens"you with his hind quarters, you know that he will in fact kick you so you are much more motivated to respect and get out of his space. The riding crop will get you in real trouble with this horse. It's not effective enough and you are forced to be much to close when you wield it. You don't go into a round pen, stall or working area with the mind set of "I'm going to beat this horse." That's foolish and extremely unproductive. A correction needs to be a lesson and none of us would ever want to get into a fist to cuffs brawl with a thousand pound animal. We have to out think our horses to teach and dominate them, not beat them up. The first thing you will need is better feel and timing before you change "tools". Then you need to learn to ask softly with just body language and focus whenever you make a "request" that your horse moves it's feet. THEN, you create and escalate pressure in many possible ways to cause your horse to get a bit uncomfortable for ignoring the softer cue. Honestly your gelding has been trying to teach you this method so I promise you that he knows it. That last element you are going to need to change is the determination to be the leader. That takes some confidence and you must accept the responsibility that YOU are in charge. Horses respect effective leaders regardless of species. They do what we ask of them because we demonstrate an ability to consistently lead them safely and effectively. A horse will not trust any creature that they do not respect. That is a really important element that is often missed in a human/horse relationship. Do not confuse tolerance with trust. A horse will TOLERATE a great deal with clear exceptions. They will only go along with the "program" when it's easy, well inside their comfort zone and no requests are made that push those boundaries. A trusting horse however will go above and beyond their comfort level because they have faith and respect in their leader who they believe will insist they do whatever it was that was asked and expected of them. I think you are going to need someone in person to show you how this should work. Please understand that your horse is very frustrated with you and is quite capable of making his points. He CAN hurt you. It is a credit to his confidence that he hasn't so far and that is going to work against you for quite a while. I am afraid to offer anything more specific to help you turn this relationship around. If you can find someone local who you trust and would be willing to watch you work with this horse I'm certain they would be able to be more helpful. You have my best wishes and I only hope I might have helped bring to light the danger and problem you now have. Your horse is not "bad" or "mean" he's just a horse who has decided that he needs to be in charge of you. Horses don't lie and they don't bluff so please pay attention to him at all times until you get some help with this. William (historyrider)
  10. We Did It

    Maybe I need some review here NAY but if you are just working on getting your horse to go, and to canter comfortably with you, I wouldn't be worried about collection. It sounds like his head is up because you're in his mouth and he doesn't understand to give and accept "contact". Would you mind repeating what it is that you or your horse is recovering from and what your goal is now? William (historyrider)
  11. We Did It

    I expect that cantering might have been just as exciting for your horse as it was for you. If that is the case than asking for it more often for longer and longer durations will help to put that exercise into your horse's comfort zone of things he can relax over while doing. Like so many things cantering improves with practice. Now that being said you don't want to practice bad things such as riding without balance using the reins or your legs to grip the horse. You will need an independant seat and have the ability to relax yourself and move with your horse in order for him to relax and enjoy the work. For most folks, getting comfortable is easier when you honestly feel in control. Practice stopping in an enclosed riding area until your horse takes cues from your seat and is not so excited that he is running away with you when you make canter requests. If you have any trouble with control in your ring I would not make canter requests outside but, sometimes things happen so you should work hard on getting your horse used to all three gaits and paying attention for cues. Congratulations on what sounds like a breakthrough for you! William (historyrider)
  12. I Just Got Bitten!

    Do you think your horses knew that you were there? Surely "Luna" did as I think she was following you but what about Blue? Certainly this could be an isolated incident and your suspicion about the other mare coming into Blue's space could be an explanation but, she should be more careful. It does sound like she gave the "Oh sh~t!" reaction and took off. That's good. I think I would make a little more noise and make really sure your presence is known when you move into a common area where horses are at liberty in the failing light. I guess the lesson to you is to not allow yourself to get complacent. A thousand pounds of horse is capable of great harm without warning. Even if they didn't "mean" it, you are still the broken one. When in doubt or if you even have a suspicion that a horse doesn't know it's you OR is not paying attention, make them move. That's safer and better for your relationship than surprising them. I wouldn't loose any sleep over this but I would make a mental note to mind your personal space. When in doubt, push them away before you move in. A good example of this is at the main gate when many horses are cued up to come in each evening. When someone goes in to get "their" horse from that mix, they better be on their toes. I've seen unwary people lead their "low ranked" horses right through several dominant ones. For those who can "see", the horse being lead is very worried and unless the human drives away those top horses, it might as well be a gauntlet of bites and kicks worthy of a fraternity hazing. Watch your back as well as the back of any horse that you have taken responsibility for by haltering them. For them to trust you and follow your guidance, you had better do your part and keep them safe. Just keep your wits in there BellaLuna. William (historyrider)
  13. Training New Horses

    Hello Teeny, It sounds like you have quite a project on your hands. The first thing I would suggest that you consider is not trying to think like a human, expecting your horses to understand and trust you. Better instead would be for you to start thinking like a horse and become the herd leader for your group. Horses respond quickly to effective leadership either from a dominant peer or a human. To earn a horse's trust you first need to gain their respect. That means you need to show them all that you can move their feet. Instead of patiently trying to encourage their curiousity and acceptance of your presence, show them all that you can control them. When they feel that you are capable and consistent about how you make requests for them to move about you, that will develop the trust that you seek. What your horses need to learn to become "good citizens" and working saddle mounts is how to correctly interperet human body language. Since they are living together in a herd, they should all speak and read horse body language very well. By emulating their ways of communicating with each other, you will be much more effective in teaching them. What it takes is good timing for the application of pressure as well as the release when you get the correct response. It is that release or reward that teaches them they did the right thing. It is this practice of making requests and getting correct responses that develops your working relationship. It is just like the one the Alpha horse has with the others. A sour face, pinned ears or a thrusting head moves feet. So for us, a pointed arm, a drawing action with a hand, or any tool that we might twirl or raise to create pressure is understood and responded to by our horses. The reason this works for both types of leaders is that the subordinates KNOW from experience that more is coming if they don't respond quickly. An Alpha never makes a request and fails to see it through. With unwavering dedication they will go to kicking and chasing if a lower horse does not yield and move it's feet. We can't generate a 10th of the force of another horse but we can out think them. All we must do is make them, uncomfortable. When they respond, we take that way and go passive again. This is training and it takes time and effort but I promise you that it will work much better if you assume the role of leader and expect your horses to follow your guidance. Instead of waiting from them to come to you, drive them away. This makes them interested and attentive to you. After you can effectively "move" them, by changing your body language to passive, you can also draw or invite them in to you. I realize this sounds completely the opposite of what you want to do but you will find out that the more you drive them away, the more they will want to be next to you. Conversely, the more you follow them around and try to get near them, the more likely they will be to continue to avoid you. They will "want" to be with you when they know who you are. They learn who you are by what you do. This is what you need to demonstrate in order to be the leader of your herd. Once you fill this role, the rest of what you would like to teach them will be much easier depending on your ability and experience with horse training. Take your responsibility to lead seriously and also consider if you are capable of this task. It will take much of your time and quite a bit of effort. This could be very rewarding for you and your horses but it could also be terribly frustrating and a dreaded chore. I wish you the best of luck on it. William (historyrider)
  14. Over Anticipating

    Good topic and a great discussion so far. I think you might be missing some desensitizing work in between your "feet moving" or sensitizing exercises Sarah. We don't want our horses afraid of us, our tools (even brushes), or anything we might move around them. The reason we try and teach them our body language is so any horse we train can tell the difference between our active and our passive expressions. Active of course means "move" and passive invites them to stand stall and RELAX. Passive does not mean idol where nothing about the handler moves but rather it's a don't worry about this movement suggestion. What I think you should do is use more tools, specifically a training stick with some reach to it. This is only an extension of your arm, nothing more but it will give you remarkable reach while you keep yourself in a much safer and more convenient position. Before you do anything active, just move your new tool in the air around your horse with rhythm. Keep doing it until they stand still and relax. Classic approach and retreat here. Then rub your new "tools" over their top line and ultimately everywhere on their body. Now, use the tool to help exaggerate that active body language BUT don't forget to go back to rubbing with rhythm between requests, especially when you get a horse that anticipates the request as yours is. Rubbing always means relax so be sure you are doing it with that consistent PASSIVE body language. Do not TIP TOE here. Move with authority, rhythm and confidence around your horse. When you sneak or fear a bad reaction around a horse you make yourself very suspicious. This too is body language they can read so have purpose and authority in your motion. A leader is confident when active or passive remember. Stand up straight, relax your shoulders and point your focus away, bend a knee a bit or a hip and look down, relax and exhale, all these are expressions of passive body language. Now when you want to make a request, turn on the active. Focus, crouch forward, thrust your head and neck toward the targeted body part, raise your arms or a tool and tap the air (or just a finger) but keep raising this pressure until the horse is uncomfortable enough to take you seriously. In order to get your horse to respond to a glance at their hind end for example, you need them to believe that more will come if they don't pay attention and snap to it. What you have done however is to fail to properly distinguish between a request to move and an invitation to stand still by not offering enough desensitizing exercises that positively demonstrate "passive" while also displaying motion. Practice tossing a rope around and over your horse, flick that stick and string, beat the ground, whirl it in the air over their heads all while keeping your focus off the horse and expressing RELAX. Keep doing whatever it is until they stand still and relax themselves. You might have to follow them but keep the pressure steady and wait for them to figure it out. This works best with a halter and long lead rope to bump their nose back towards you if they try and quit you and turn away. Another easy way to work with this is with your fingertips. Steady and driving pressure, meaning putting a finger on your horse that pushes them lightly means move over. Driving pressure with a tool or another hand is a warning and suggestion to GET OFF of that soft steady pressure. Now rubbing is the opposite. If the steady pressure changes to rubbing, that is a cue to relax and stand still now. So, once you teach this to your horse and practice, moving your horse around in his or her stall or while grooming or doing trail maintenance is as easy at pushing a puck on an air hockey table. Touch, give a moment but then tap the air or the horse while keeping the soft touch with the first hand, then rub the moment they respond. This is a very useful skill for any horse and further conditions them to pay attention for the difference in our active and passive body language. Do not underestimate how the most subtle expressions we make whether intentional or not are perceived by our horses. They are masters of body language but what we have to do is practice showing them ours enough that they learn it. It is productive and more than okay to exaggerate this when we teach. So a long stick is still just an extension of your arm. By using your softest cue and body language to initiate each request or offer to stand still, soon the stick is completely unnecessary and just your bare finger will serve to remind occasionally. See if this doesn't help you as well as the suggestions from the others. William (historyrider)
  15. Becoming Dangerous

    You are going to need some kind of guide lilmilford in order to pick up some useful techniques and knowledge to become more effective. An experienced horse handler at your barn or nearby who you respect would be great to guide you in person. Observe how they handle their horses but even more importantly, notice how they handle yours. They will be a stranger to your horse possibly but that doesn't really matter as long as they can "speak" horse. It's that body language and good feel for the timing of pressure and release that I want you to notice. I'll bet your mare doesn't struggle with someone else as much as she does you right now. You see you are "acting" differently with your mare than she expects and if you continue down this road of course this will be even more drastic. She is "used" to the old you. The one that probably hasn't asked her to do any work. The "you" that brings treats and nice scratches. The "you" that every time you show up she gets something good or really easy. If you ride her, I suspect you only go where she has been many times or where she is comfortable. Now, you are making requests. You have a training stick or a long rope in your hand and you are "telling" her to do things. This feels like work and you are pushing on the boundaries of her comfort level. "Who are you stranger?" "This isn't our relationship!" "Stop waving things at me or I'll go crazy and start kicking out at you!" "You do not out rank me." Do you see what you are up against? A stranger would get more respect quicker simply because that human is not familiar so she will not have any preconceived notions. Now all of this doesn't really matter at all for what you mean to fix. I just wanted to help you understand your mare's perspective. The quicker you become this "NEW" person, the better and once done, going back to your old routines will only create more confusion. If you can't find someone in person to work with you and your horse than the next best thing will be to get on a program like the Parrelli's to gain the knowledge you need. It's no good trying to teach a horse something that you don't know yourself. What would be great for you is to work with a horse that is already experienced in the program you want to learn while another person with more experience teaches your horse. Ah if only we lived in a perfect world right? If you want to consider another guide that I know you will find easy to understand you might look up Clinton Anderson. He is often recommended in the forum for his no nonsense and easy to follow exercises that will help you figure these things out on your own. I will still say that someone right there with you is best but.... It's very hard to change into a new person overnight but that really should be your goal, at least for the eyes of your horse. I would love for you to test my theories and ask someone you trust with lots of experience to simply handle your horse for you doing whatever it is that you are struggling with. Keep back but observe or perhaps even film it. Then maybe have someone else film you doing the same things. This would be very helpful for you to study. Best wishes and congratulation for wanting to enjoy your horse more. Make these changes and you will have the partner you have been dreaming about. Owning a horse is a huge responsibility. I don't think I could imagine going through this every day if I couldn't ride my horses anywhere at anytime right out of the stall or off the trailer. I have high expectation for every horse I work with and they rise to meet it and stay there. If you don't trust, don't ask and don't expect anything from your horse, well then exactly nothing is all that you can expect back from them in return right? Be your horses leader and marvel at what they will now do for you. William (historyrider)