Monday, December 1, 2014
1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
Friday, October 24, 2014
Many off you have had a connection with someone close to you or your horse. How deep that connection goes, only you know, or maybe you don't. Maybe it just seems natural and you just go with it. That's how it should be anyway. Simple and without any thought.
Making the connection in the beginning took some work. You may not even have noticed. But soon enough you knew what they were thinking at almost any moment. You knew what they would say or how they would respond to certain things. This is a great connection. One in which I share with my wife, my horses and dogs as well.
Connecting on an emotional level and being able to feel what they are thinking or about to do is not always a simple task. Many of the great horse trainers talk about working or riding on a feel. So many people take that as what they feel physically in their hands, on a rein or a lead. Or even how the horse feels under them when they ride. It goes so much deeper than that. This connection and feel can be felt from 100 ft away. Not connected by a lead or rope of any kind. When you ride bareback and bridle less it goes beyond your body and leg cues deep into the core of your being and your horses as well. If you don't have that connection, it doesn't work. Anyone who has worked on the ground loose and from a distance or rode bareback and bridle less knows that it works awesome when the connection is there and not so well when it's not. When the connection is there. You are feeling each other on a deeper level that transcends your physical and emotional and carries you almost into a spiritual level. It is something that is very difficult to write about or explain. But I can tell you this. If you achieve this. "It Feels Awesome" This is something that in order to have it working for you when you need it to. You must maintain the relationship and the connection.
How do we get there? By heightening our awareness and understanding the important aspects of all communication principles first. Then digging deeper into ourselves through testing theories, pondering and even meditating. In short we need to constantly be looking for better understanding and not guess or make up answers. No excuses. Excuses will hold you back from the truth. Seek the truth in a humble way. Show no prejudice in any direction. That should help guide you there.
I hope you enjoyed this. I thought about this one on my drive to the barn and felt I needed to publish it.
Thanks for reading.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
Thursday, September 4, 2014
1) The Horse won't trust you.
2) The Horse won't like you.
3) The Horse will despise you.
When it comes to our Horsemanship, communication is our foundation. Our foundations are never finished. They always need maintenance and sometimes expansion. Without it there are many things that lack understanding. Not just that the horse doesn't understand us, but we don't understand the horse. A good solid foundation gives you and your horse a really good understanding of each other. I see many horses each year being ridden without having any form of foundation. Many people think a foundation is just getting a horse to accept a saddle and rider and have some directional control. A true foundation is being able to have an in depth two way conversation with your horse. Being able to communicate with each body part as well as having control over the horses emotions. If your having any problems with your horse at all. No matter what the problem is, its do to, in some way, poor communication.
1) The Horse won't trust you.
If your horse doesn't understand you or your intentions clearly enough, they won't trust you. A horse that doesn't trust you will be more likely to be very hesitant or very nervous. It can show up at any time and in any situation. This horse might react to its fear in many different ways. Like freeze up and not move, or bolt off quickly. Even though this is the least severe problem of poor communication, its bad enough and very dangerous. The lack of good communications leads people to think that the problem just happened out of the blue and they never saw it coming. Or they will make an excuse like, My horse don't like vets, or my horse doesn't like the trailer... Etc...Etc...Having a good foundation in place based on communication will build the trust and minimize any problems you may get like this. Mainly because you will see it coming or know your horses needs and respond to them appropriately.
2) The Horse won't like you.
This horse may or may not have some understanding of your wants or intentions. I have seen horses with this problem and they still do most of the things asked of them. They sometimes learn its just easier to respond. Whether they do or not they learn to not like you because of your method of communication. It could be that you are asking to much or being to forceful. It could be that you don't pay any attention to where you are and whats around you when you ask for something. It could also be that the horse has voiced some concerns to you and you either never understood them or ignored their needs. There are many other examples I could give.
A horse that doesn't like you will be more likely to not try for you. They may even purposely do everything but what you want them to. They will not have any concern for you at all if a problem arises. Even if the horse is responding to your requests, you can tell if they don't like you because they will not acknowledge you or even look at you. This horse may or may not be more dangerous than the one above depending on how much they dislike you. Good communication practices can not only get better understanding between you and your horse. But it can also get your horse to accept you, and with consistency they will learn to appreciate you. When your horse appreciates you, that's when the magic happens.
3) The Horse will despise you.
Like the horse that doesn't like you. This horse is just one step further. They may be even very well trained and have a good understanding of your wants and needs. But poor communication on your part will be what creates this and all the problems that come with it. This is the most dangerous because they will be more likely to run you down, bite, kick, buck or rear. This horse will need you to go right back to basics and build a hole new foundation from scratch. The most important part of this foundation will be your ability to listen and understand the horses needs and to respond appropriately to them.
I didn't want to make this to long to read so I kept it brief. In all three examples things are interchangeable. You may have a little of all three going on in your relationship with your horse. Some might have such mild cases that it goes unnoticed. Our goal should be to recognize even the slightest misunderstanding. Whether it be our own misunderstanding or the horses, and work toward better understanding. Our Horsemanship Classes and Clinics can help you learn to see whats going unnoticed. We can help you learn how to develop a heightened awareness and give some techniques and concepts to help you progress. This is also the reason I write these Blog posts. We hope they help in some way.
Thanks for reading along.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
I am going to attempt to use a subject to get my point across." MILK " We all know what milk is. but there are very few who understand every aspect of milk that gets it from the animal to your home. Many of us don't care as long as its on the shelf when we go buy it. Now I am no expert on milk either but I do know there are many animals that produce it. There are many processes for getting a certain type . The care of the cow and even the fields that produce the feed for the cows, is just as important.
Milk is a process, a cycle in which many things take place in a never ending loop so we can have it with our breakfast, coffee, Lunch, dinner, in our recipes or even our mixed adult beverages. Without going into major research on this subject you can see with just this little bit of input I gave you, that there is a lot to know about milk if you should choose to learn more. I just scratched the surface.
So now that I got you thinking about what you know about milk. Think about the many ways you could find more information so you can get a much better understanding. You would be amazed at what you could learn. If we can get into the habit of digging deeper into things and learning as much as we can. This will take us from a simple knowledge of something into a much deeper understanding of something.
This is especially true with our Horsemanship Skills. Its not just us asking our horses to do something and they do it. It goes a lot deeper than that. Its about going through every process necessary so we can have a better understanding of them and them of us. Then we become connected on every level.. Mental, Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual. Its all attainable but we need to go beyond just knowing something. We need to fully understand it. I'm sure you all know this is a never ending journey. That shouldn't mean, lets not try to improve. If you are like me. Once you realize this, you'll want to make up for lost time. It also makes me more likely to go over things I already know just in case I can attain a better understanding. I don't even care if its a 100 times or more. Something will always show itself to bring you better understanding.
One of the things that gives me great respect for Buck Brannaman is when I heard him say how he would go to every clinic he could get to. After years of attending basic beginner lever clinics someone asked him why is he still coming to these. He said he was coming to learn. This is a perfect example of trying to get a better understanding of something you may already know.
Many of us stop learning once we know something. As I said above, knowing just isn't enough. You have to understand it for it to become useful. I have had conversations with many people. A lot of them know so much. Its impressive how much some people know. But on the other hand. Its also discouraging to find out how little they understand about the things they know. Acquiring knowledge is great, but more importantly, we need to develop our understanding of it.
I hope this will leave you all looking back or deeper into the things you know. Evaluate what you know to see how well you understand it. Remember that your understanding of something can change instantly sometimes so always keep and open mind.
Thanks you for reading along.
Saturday, July 5, 2014
If you have ever asked someone to do something for you, you will most likely remember them asking you questions about what it is you want them to do.They may have also given some insight about the subject in the way they understand it. They do this so they can understand what it is you truly want and give you that or maybe even something better than you thought was possible. Your horse does the same thing. They just do it differently.
Now a picture to paint so you can appreciate this concept. If you hire someone to do a job for you, whether its to fix your car, something at your house, or you need something built. You hire them to do the job because in most cases, they can do it better then you. You trust in them to do the job. They will ask you many questions to make sure you get what you want. They will also tell you the pros and cons of doing it one way as opposed to another. If they don't ask very many questions, or explain things clearly to you, then its possible you hired the wrong people. Also if you hire someone and don't leave them alone so they can do the work, they will most likely get angry with you. Maybe not angry but even if they are just annoyed by you, they may be less likely to give an extra effort to help out if needed.
When we work with our horses. We should look at it as we are the contractor hiring out a job. We ask them to do something and they ask all the important questions. Sometimes it seems as though they are being disobedient or troublesome but in most cases they are saying, is this OK? how about this? Can I do this? We need to respond appropriately to all of these questions, listen to their concerns, and leave them alone so they can do their job. This is a very difficult concept for many of us. We feel the need to hold their hands and babysit them all the way through it. The truth is, they are very capable of understanding our intentions if we are clear enough. They can do the job better than we can so we need to just let them do it. All we need to do is answer the questions as they present them to us so they can understand what it is we really want. If we trust them enough to leave them to do their job, then we gain their trust in us as well. They start to really appreciate us and will be willing to go the extra mile.
I wrote this as a reminder that our conversations should not be all one sided. Also that we learn to get better at meeting in the middle and compromising. Collaboration between you and your horse will produce better results than if you take it all on yourself and do all the talking or telling. Mainly because your horse will appreciate you more and be willing to try harder. These concepts when applied appropriately and practiced will help you get better connected. You will learn to understand each other at a much deeper level. This happens because you learn to know what is important to the other. You become more connected physically, emotionally, consciously, and unconsciously. At times it can feel like a totally spiritual connection.
Thanks for reading along with us. We hope you enjoyed this topic and that it helps in some way. As always feel free to comment and help bring better understanding to other readers. Thanks again.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Simply Perfect was chosen for the title because this is how I try to see life. Without trying to preach to much Religion, I would like to think I am a pretty spiritual person. The Bible tells us the original sin was that Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and bad. This is put into many different explanations from sex to betrayal. I personally believe it means just what it says. If we put a title on what is good and what is bad, that is how we will perceive it. The problem is you will never get everyone to agree that this is good and that is bad. So in that sense, no one will ever measure up.
My personal studies have shown me that good and bad - right and wrong have to co-exist. You can't have one without the other. I have also noticed that in whatever topic you look at, It can be good for some and bad for others. These are the challenges we all face with laws and rules. Within every right there is a wrong and within everything good there is some bad. We just can't escape these facts.
We often hear people say, "No one is perfect" I decipher this as, no one is perfect in anyone else's opinion. But to me we are all perfect. God made each and every one of us "PERFECTLY" It says so in the bible. We are made to his likeness. My faith tells me God don't make mistakes. That he has a plan for us. My belief says that we are here to do Gods work and that we all have a purpose. So to me we are all perfect in Gods eyes and everything is as it is meant to be, Therefore "Perfect"
The saying, "You have to take the good with the bad" is so true. It will never be all one sided. There may be times you can't see the opposite but I assure you, it is there. This phrase helps teach us about acceptance. If we can learn to accept things for what they are and not make excuses for it, that will lead us to a better understanding. As long as we are not just accepting in a way of "WHATEVER" Then we don't give it proper acknowledgement and we learn nothing.
Through acceptance comes appreciation. You just can't get to appreciating something without first accepting it. In order to appreciate we need to acknowledge, recognize the value, have realization of, knowledge of, awareness of, understanding of and comprehension of the topic or issue. Without accepting it first you will not make an effort to attain the rest. Therefore never learning to know what a great feeling Appreciation truly is.
You might be asking why I covered this topic in a Horsemanship Communication Blog? Well, Our relationship and understanding of things allows us to be better communicators. The deeper more meaningful reason is that if you truly understand acceptance and appreciation, then and only then will you be open to hearing and feeling the more important things that are communicated to you every day. Things we miss because we are not in tuned to it. When we work with our horses they tell us things in very subtle ways sometimes and we need to hear it and feel it. God speaks to us in this way every day as well. We tend to not hear it because we don't understand how to receive this type of communication. I don't think it is just coincidence that in the final book of the bible it speaks of the Horseman. A true Horseman has learned to listen to the horse in such a way that he/she makes a great connection with them. These listening methods will also help you hear and feel Gods communications with you as well. Its the Horseman that will bring this out to the rest of the world. For me it all boils down to accepting and appreciating that God made the world Simply Perfect. A difficult concept to grasp sometimes but if you can accept it, then you will start to appreciate life in every way.
I hope you all enjoyed this and that I didn't offend anyone. I know religious topics can be touchy sometimes. I just felt the need to write about this. I truly believe everything is perfect. It has to be or it couldn't be at all. Its Gods will. The plan is larger than we can comprehend.
Thanks for reading along.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Other forms of connection could be when you and a friend or a loved one know each other so well, that you just know what they are thinking or what they will do in certain situations. Phones used to be connected to wires that put you into a network and you could call anyone in the network. Now our cell phones, still connected to a network, just not with wires, but still, without the connection, you have nothing. Trailers connected to trucks, Train cars connected to each other as well as the tracks. Even a plane could not fly without the connection to air, volume and velocity. So many things rely on connections.
We are all connected in many ways. Take the electricity example. All our houses everywhere in the world are connected to the same ground (the earth itself) and all the neighbors in an area are connected to the same power supply. Our connections to each other and other things run so deep it would astonish you if you even start to look for the connections. I would describe it as an energy much like the electricity but closer to a cellphone connection. You are connected to people and things on the other side of the world in so many ways I wouldn't even be able to begin to describe it. But I will say in order to start to understand it, we all need to be grounded. That is where it all starts.
Connections are lines of communication as well. Its obvious in the phone examples. But some communications are so subtle and the connection sometimes is unnoticeable. Sometimes a gesture can communicate something. In this case the connection is seeing the gesture and knowing what it means. We can communicate through sound. In this case the connection would be our being able to hear the communication. We can communicate through scent. Horses and Dogs greet and communicate territory and personal traits through smell. We can communicate through touch. In this case you would feel something and learn to know what it means. We can also communicate through emotions and / or energy. In this example here it could be any combination of the above examples. The most unseen connection and line of communication is knowledge or intuition. In this case the communication is of an evaluating nature and your knowledge and understanding of what should, could or will happen next. The more knowledge you gain and understand, the more intuitive you become. This will help you to heighten your awareness. Intuition can also be described as a feel or feeling.
Most commonly people communicate using verbal or visual lines of communication. When we communicate with our horses we tend to communicate through touch. Whether it be with our leg or rein, our touch communicates our intentions to the horse. Most of us are pretty good at communicating to the horse, but most of us are also very negligent about listening to them. This is where knowledge and intuition can help you. You have to remember that to communicate, is to have a conversation. And if you have ever talked with someone you just can't get a word in edge wise, you know how aggravating this can be. This is why horses tend to act out in most cases. They are making their feelings known when they do this. Pretty much translated to, "Damn it, why aren't you listening to me" The better you understand them when they are telling you something and respond appropriately to it, the more they will trust you and relax when you take the lead.
To understand the Horse we have to stop making excuses for their behavior and really give a solid effort to figuring it out. By doing this and doing it well, we create a connection with them that becomes almost spiritual. You will both become intuitively connected in so many ways. In order for this to take place you need to become a truth seeker. Making sure not to make any excuses at all. Find all the natural connections, site, sound, scent, touch, energy and emotion, and learn all aspects of how they work. This will increase your knowledge and intuition as well as the horses. The Horse will most likely get there ahead of you, but that's OK. This should help you get there as well if you are listening to them. If you listen with your heart most of all your intuition will grow stronger. The challenge in that is when things get to be higher energy, the heartbeat is silenced or ignored. The way to overcome this is to stay grounded and connected emotionally and keep the emotions down even when the energy is up. In this way, the heart will still be very prominent. There will be times the Horses emotional and / or physical energy spikes. When this happens we need to get our physical energy up with their energy but keep our emotions neutral. It can be a tall order sometimes but we get better at it the more we try.
I hope this topic has as much importance in you whole life as it does mine. This topic can be expanded on greatly so feel free to comment or ask questions to bring more information to everyone else.
Friday, April 25, 2014
The title "Information - What's It Worth" is something I was just pondering over on my ride home one night. The reason I wanted to write about it is. I feel that information is misused or discarded in many ways. For the information to be worth anything at all it has to reliable and we need to fully understand it. Anytime we receive information we owe it to ourselves to research it to make sure it is in fact reliable. We should also research it so that we can have a better understanding of it. Information is passed around these days with no regard to accuracy. In fact a lot of times it is purposely manipulated to get us to lean one direction. Whether it is to use someones services over another's, or so you buy their product instead of someone else's. Even the political parties will manipulate information on their own behalf to gain the favor of the voting public. In that sense, information can be more valuable to the person giving it than it is to the person receiving it. We need to research it so it becomes more valuable to us then it is them. Specially if we are being manipulated.
If we take information at face value. We end up living in a bubble and others are using us as puppets. Its when you look deeper into things to really try to figure things out. That's when you can start to live your own life and make a difference in others.
"Nothing is as it seems." This is such a true statement. It covers everything you can think of and there is so much more to it. We have a habit as humans to try to simplify things. That's great sometimes but not always wise. Miranda Lambert has a song out "Automatic" There is a line in the song "Cause when everything is handed to you, Its only worth the time you put in!!" I totally agree with this line. Even if something has great value, we won't see it if we don't take the time to look for its true value. This is especially true if we did not earn it for ourselves. This is also one of the reasons our Natural Resources are being wastefully harvested and used up. Even though we are paying good money for these products, their true value isn't seen by very many of us. That's why they over harvest and we become very wasteful. I could really take this part into a whole book, but then we would get off track.
When it comes to us working with our horses we tend to analyze things by making excuses. If we do this we never really get to find out what is really going on. Our horses will feed us a lot of really good information on a regular basis. If we don't take the time to figure it out, the information becomes totally useless. I try to find ways to "ask the horse" sometimes you need to get creative in order to do this. They will tell you. In fact they are telling you something every moment you are with them. We just need to listen and figure out what it is.
In the horse industry you can find anyone anywhere to give you some information on any subject you want. The information in most cases will be reasonably good information. But, it will be in the way that the person who gave it to you, understands it. If you take that at face value, it may be useless to you. If you take the time to fully understand it, you may find some value in it. Even the most useless information can have value if you take the time to put it in the right perspective and take the time to understand it. I guess in a way it all boils down to what matters most to us. Our own priorities will determine what information we want to hold on to and what we want to discard. I would recommend we do not discard anything without a honest effort given to understand it.
There are many things that are discarded or thrown away. Considered trash or garbage by the person who did so. There are many others who can see a treasure in these things. They take these things and do wonderful things with them. They make art, recondition it, or even re purpose it. There are many who make a fortune doing this type of thing. With information seen as a commodity, we can do the same thing. We pick up information in every moment of our lives. Most of it thrown away. Most often with no thought put into it at all. With a little thought and effort the info can become very valuable. It just takes a little effort and creativity to figure out what to do with it. You would be amazed if you stop and think about where information can be applied. Things you wouldn't even think are connected can be enhanced or modified by information you received in a total other subject or area of life. Everything is connected in some way. If we can learn to figure these things out then information of every type becomes a very valuable commodity.
I hope this topic gives you a new perspective and helps you learn to see the value in the information you receive. Whether its finding value in something you would otherwise call useless information, or to not put to much value on information without looking deeper into it. Find the true value for yourself, and don't rely on someone else's presentation of it. Listen to other peoples take on it, but remember they may have a different out look and will tell it as they understand it. They may be a little prejudice and give one sided pro's and con's. So put some effort into it. Information really is only worth the time you put into figuring it out.
Thanks for reading along with us and as always feel free to comment and ask questions, even answer someone else's question if you think your info can help them, or feel free to elaborate on something. We are all looking for more information whether we are aware of it or not. Thanks again.
Friday, April 18, 2014
The 3 categories I chose for this is like the title suggests. React, Respond, and Retaliate. Each term represents a different mental state. Your mental state and emotional status (or your horses) will determine the type of response. So in the same way, if we evaluate the type of response we are getting. We will know what kind of mental or emotional state we are dealing with. If we know this, it will help us make better decisions when it comes to trying to help.
Lets start by talking about the term React. If we react to something it ends up being more of a reflex type response. Usually something scares or startles us and we have a reaction. A nervous person or a nervous horse will tend to react to things. Examples of a reaction could be if we touch something hot enough to burn us we will react by pulling away. Also if we walk around a corner and we just about bump into someone we might instantly freeze or back up. A loud noise may startle us and we react by jumping or freezing up. Another could be a fear we have of something like a mouse, snake, spider, bee's or bat's that whenever we see one the fear takes over and does not allow us to think very clearly and we react in ways like, turning and running, climbing on a table, swatting and ducking. Sometimes bumping into things and just not thinking about anything we are doing till the threat is gone.
Many people who ride horses are Reactive riders. Meaning they sit on top of the horse and react to whatever the horse does. If the horse gets startled the person will tend to react by clamping or pulling on the reins. Another example of a Reactive rider is the person who may not be aware of their horses movement all that well. They sit on top of the horse and as long as they are going where they are supposed to they don't do anything. Most times they are oblivious to the horses mental or emotional status. So when the horse strays or changes speed the rider reacts with a correction as to say don't do that. The opposite of this type of rider would be the active rider. This will be covered below in the respond category.
This term is quite universal. Every type of a response means you respond in some way or another. As above states to React is to respond most often in a reflex like manner. The next topic Retaliate is to respond in objection. The term Respond means to answer or reply. I am talking about this category as a neutral response. One that is of making a conscious effort to understand and respond appropriately. The phrase,"How would you respond appropriately?" is a question asked of a lot of people. The effort to give thought into a decision to respond makes it a response in which we can learn, it can teach, and or make a positive outcome. Doing this will minimize disagreements or arguments. As the definition suggests to respond is also to reply. So when a question is raised we must make a conscious effort to reply. Your horse will ask you Questions every moment you are with them. If you listen to them and not just sit up on top of them you will have many opportunities to respond appropriately and reply to the many questions they raise. This here is an example of an Active Rider. Even on the ground, they listen and respond with conscious thought and effort put toward understanding the needs of their horse. All this is done with every step, every breath and every movement.
To retaliate is to respond with objection. It can be out of anger, stubbornness, or just plain disapproval. People and Horses retaliate physically and verbally for many different reasons. Sometimes they are sticking up for themselves. Other times they may just not want to do whatever is asked of them. When we get this type of response from someone or a horse we need to evaluate why they did it. Making sure not to make excuses for why but really look for the answer. We do not want to guess at this. If we just react to retaliation then we end up in a war. We need to think it through and figure it out so we can respond appropriately. This way we can learn, teach, and make a positive outcome instead of going into battle unnecessarily.
As I said above, we may have all or just a few of these in play at any one time. We need to take the time to evaluate who is doing it, what they are doing, when they are more likely to do it, where it might be likely to happen, why it happens, how it comes about and think about how to go about responding appropriately to make a difference. That was just a quick run down and another way to look at a previous Blog Topic called, " The Who What When Where Why and How of Horsemanship" You may enjoy reading this one as well. It can help you with your evaluation skills.
So in closing here I would like to say the middle of the road in terms of responses would be to respond in a logical and ethical manner. The times that we need to react quickly in response to something should be something we have planned out ahead of time. "A Conditioned Response" would be when a reflex like response is needed during certain times or conditions. We can train ourselves and our horses to respond in a certain way during these conditions. In this way, we or they, can respond appropriately with a proper reaction. I have to say I enjoy the compliments I get on my horses. I hear people say, "they respond so well" This is do to me taking the time to respond appropriately to them and their needs, as well as teach them to think things out and respond appropriately instead of reacting mindlessly. I don't get any retaliation because they learn to appreciate me and want to do things with me and don't feel threatened in any way. I work with their fear and emotions in a way they learn to respond under pressure and not just react or retaliate. As we all know, no matter how good it is, there is always room for improvement. We should all strive to find the knowledge and understanding to do that.
I hope this all makes sense to everyone and you all enjoyed reading it. I want to thank you all for reading along. Please feel free to comment or ask questions. It may help expand all of our knowledge and understanding.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Understanding the source of information is real important. Even if the source is a real reputable source. What I mean by this is. No one will repeat something exactly the way they heard it. So as this information goes from one to another, It will change a little each time. Not because they want to change it, but because they will repeat it in the way they understood it. I learned this lesson young by playing a game at a Halloween party as a child. If you haven't ever played this game I highly recommend you try it. The larger the group the better (or worse) the results will be. It starts with everyone in a line. Then someone in charge will have a simple sentence written on a piece of paper. They will show it to the first person and ask them to whisper it to the person next to them. Each person doing the same till it makes it to the last person. Then the last person is asked to say out loud what they were just told. Every time I have seen this done in the past the last person says something almost totally unrecognizable to the original sentence. Which every one will get to see because it is written on paper. The conversations of what each person heard on down the line are amazing to listen to.
This game was an early lesson for me in the need to seek the truth. Now Truth is never absolute. It can only be relative to our own experiences, knowledge and understanding. No matter how much you try to discover the truth it can never be absolute truth. The more information you get the closer you get, but something will always be missing.
Now, we have all heard the term,"Right From The Horses Mouth" This by far is the best source for information. Just as in the cases above and when communicating with your horse this information is only relative to your knowledge and understanding of what you received for information. We will interpret it the way we understand it. Not necessarily the way it was intended. It requires us to do some research on the subject, no matter what it is and no matter what we think we might know. There have been times that a person has said to me,"This is what my trainer or instructor told me to do." Knowing what I know in most cases they just misunderstood the original instructions. I say this because a few times I have instructed people on some things and moments later (sometimes days later) I would have to explain it better because they interpreted it in a way that I did not intend. But this is human nature. We understand things each in our own ways. So this is why more research is always needed. With our horses it might require us to try a number of things to rule things out. A few examples I could give referring to horses could be, 1) an injury or health problem, and 2) any problem a horse might give you while working with them. Whether its on the ground asking them to do something or mounted. Not just asking them to do something but maybe they are doing something we would like them to stop doing.
In both examples above, knowing how to build a foundation will help. If you already have a reasonable foundation going back to the building of the foundation can help you ask all the important questions so you can get to the underlying issues. Most problems with a horse come from either a total or partial lack of foundation. The actual problem being that the horse does not understand. Or. Does not trust the out come of the situation. When a foundation is built and maintained it grows stronger. When it does the horse learns to trust you and will do anything you ask them to. Also you will have developed ways to ask them not to do things that you would like them to stop doing. In this way you have the ability to ask the horse directly and if you understand your horse, you will get the answers directly from the horses mouth, so to speak.
In the examples above, if fear and anxiety are the underlying issue. Then we need to go back to basics and rebuild our foundation. Working on building trust and understanding in as many areas as we can. We need to get this to a point that the horse appreciates us so much that no matter what we ask of them, they will try. Because they want to, not because we force them to. Some horses are more fearful then others. Some of them will never stop being afraid. But we can communicate to them, "Relax, I got this. You don't need to worry one bit" and no matter how scared they are, they will trust in you. This is an example of a sold foundation. The more you get them through scary moments without incident and in a positive way, the more they trust and learn to let go of their anxiety.
Having the ability to ask them to do many things gives you a better chance of diagnosing a physical problem as well. If our horse has a limp and we want to learn whether its a foot, joint, or muscle problem. If we have the ability to ask for some precise movements, then we can narrow it down. An example of this is, if the horse limps, and you can ask them to walk straight, back up, turn on the haunches, turn on the forehand, and stand still but shift there weight to be carried mostly on any one leg of your choosing. Then you have a lot of ways to ask them where the problem is. If there is heat or swelling you can find the problem easily. If there is not then you will need to ask them. If they have a hard time putting weight on a leg then you know which leg is the problem. to find out if its a joint or muscle issue you would ask them to load the muscle and not effect the joint and then avoid affecting the muscle while asking for an easy move that affects the joint. Each joint should be tested individually. Whichever is harder for them to do, that is where the problem lies. If you and your horse do not have this type of communication and they refuse or don't understand your request. Then it can be very difficult to figure things out. Of course it is wise to seek out help from a vet, farrier or hoof specialist but these things can still help you help them get a better answer and understanding of the problem.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the topic. If you have anything to add please feel free to do so in the comment section. Thanks Again.
Friday, February 14, 2014
What exactly is respect or to be respectful?
We all know the words and feel as though we know what they mean. But there are many times when we want to show respect for one and by doing so we disrespect another. I think the problem in this lies in the fact that we take things personally and not for what it really is. Facts are facts and sometimes we need to learn to accept the facts and move on and not feel disrespected.
There are many of us who do our best to respect others. Or at least try not to disrespect them. Sometimes by doing this, the other party will disrespect us. The main reason for this in my opinion is we are not accepting and or acknowledging the fact that we deserve respect in return. We all deserve respect. Its a two way street. Of course we need to show respect to others if we expect them to respect us back. There may be times that we need to say, "Hey, I'm trying to show you some respect, How about a little in return". This will show that we have self-respect. We need to respect ourselves if we expect others to respect us as well.
How about the times we don't tell people the things they should hear because we don't want to hurt them or we think they might misunderstand? We feel we are being respectful by not saying and hurting them. But we are really disrespecting them by hiding this from them. Hidden facts are a very disrespectful thing, especially when you are communicating something to someone or your horse. They deserve to have all the facts.
So how does all this relate to communication?
Well communication is used by all forms of life to communicate our wants, needs and ambitions. Many species play games with their communications to gain an upper hand, but none more than the human race. So much purposeful disrespect is shown by humans its sickening. We see it very clearly in Politicians and Business men. In commercials and advertisements everywhere. We see all forms of slander adds, not giving all the facts, trying to get us to their side or to buy their product. This all plays on our own self-respect, making us feel like we have to make a definitive choice. In many ways it takes so much away from us if we fall for any of it. Taking sides closes our minds and blocks the paths to understanding. By not allowing ourselves to see the different views of others, and or discrediting them, we lose out on comparisons that would lead to better understanding. Many of us jump on a band wagon and join the cause, even if it is a demise to humanity. This in turn breeds more disrespect. Sometimes through retaliation from the other side but mostly because people want to feel like they are liked by others so they join in. The disrespectful behavior becomes the most important part of the communication so they can tip the scales in their favor and persuade us to think in that way.
I see this in the horse world as well. There are many Trainers and Instructors out there. All of them have something to share with us. Many are very similar in their concepts and techniques. It bothers me a lot when I hear another person say discrediting or disrespectful things about someone who works to help others. Especially when it is someone else in the same field. To me its not that they are knocking a person down, I see through all that and seek the facts. Its more that I see a person who has little to no self respect, and that saddens me. The fact that they want others to think they are better than the person they are knocking says real loud and clear that they are insecure, or in desperate need to show that they know something about the subject or topic. Even though the way they understand it is just different than the person they are running off about. If we have enough respect to try and understand other points of view it will help us in the long run by giving us another path to better understanding. To me there is no one person better than anyone else. Regardless of skill level. I have learned as much from my students, (some of which were very green and inexperienced) as I have from very experienced trainers. We all have something to share, and we all have different strengths and weaknesses. We just need to learn where to look to find understanding. You would be amazed at some of the places it shows up. Sometimes understanding of one thing comes from something you would think is totally unrelated. Sometimes the path to understanding is covered up by things we can't see through. But if we look for it we will find it. It truly is everywhere you look.
So why did I go through all that?
Well us humans we tend to carry this into our work with our horses. Not showing them enough respect. We tend to go in and act as if we know it all and they need to listen. We can be so arrogant without even trying. Its learned behavior and getting worse as generations come up behind us. It should all start with having self respect. Self respect comes from confidence and knowledge and helps us find understanding; When we understand that we have the ability and responsibility to provide for the horses needs, that leads to respecting the horse. Then we move to respecting the fact that the horse has every right to have self-respect and to demand respect from us.When they do, they will do the same for us. Then the cycle can continue. Each time it does we gain more respect, better communication and more understanding.
We can respect them by evaluating and being aware of their needs and providing for them. This is more than just giving them food, shelter, and water. They have emotional needs as well and we should provide for those needs. We do that by listening to them. They can't tell us verbally but we can learn to read them. They are always telling us something. Sometimes many things all at once. The more I do this the more it amazes me how much they say to us and we just didn't understand. In most cases this is from our lack of awareness and acknowledging respect for them.
An example of how better results come through respect.
Have you ever worked at a place or been in a situation where one person suggests something and its ignored while someone else could suggest something even more ridiculous and it would be accepted? This would be an example of a person having more respect for one over the other. Even though in this situation it isn't warranted.
I gave the example above to show that if there is a mutual respect for each other, then you can ask things that may otherwise be ignored. Your conversations can go in almost any direction and not be dismissed as ridiculous. This when it comes to horses will give them so much try and open the lines of communication like you never imagined. A simple concept that will get your horse to respect you more is,"Encourage don't Demand" Give them the respect to choose and think things out for themselves. Just remember you may need to gently guide them there. We discussed this in our last post, There Are No Wrong Answers"
I hope many people get to read this and it makes sense. I also hope others have more to add to this through the comment section in ways that help us all make the world a better place.
If you like this and think others will to, please share it out to your friends.
Thanks for reading.
Friday, February 7, 2014
At a few demonstration last year I had an example of how this works. I started the Demonstration with a card trick. I tell everyone that this card trick will teach you everything you need to know about working with horses. The card trick starts with me getting a volunteer. I ask them to check the deck of cards to make sure it is a real deck. I then ask them to shuffle the deck. Then we cut the deck, put the bottom half on top and I put the deck in my pocket. I then ask them to make a number of choices. Starting with picking 6 numbers and or Jack, Queen, King. After each choice I ask them if they are happy with their choice and would they like to change any of the choices. If they do, we make the change. We move on to choosing 3, then 2 then 1 until we have a card. Then I ask them to choose 2 suits, then 1 suit. Again every time asking them if they like their choice and asking if they want to make any changes. Once we have a card and a suit, I ask them to say the first number that comes to their mind no matter how large the number is. We then reduce this number numerically until it is a value of 52 or less. I then start pulling cards out of my pocket and when we reach the number value, out comes the card they picked.
This card trick is the best example of Redirect and Reward that I can come up with. I do explain how it works. You see I know the end result by looking at the bottom card before it goes into my pocket. So I keep asking questions till we get there. We choose numbers, if they choose this card we work from those numbers, if not we eliminate the ones they chose and work from the ones that are left. We do the same with the suits. The number they choose is totally irrelevant but say they chose 5280, we reduce it numerically by adding 5+2+8+0= 15. So I take the first 14 card from the top of the deck and the 15th is taken from the bottom.
This tends to amaze people the first time they see it. All it is, is me gently guiding them to my end result. I know what the end result is and I keep asking questions making sure they never feel wrong or intimidated into making a choice. I use this same concept while working with a horse. If they do something other than what I'm looking for, I just redirect them and reward every try. With the one exception that if they challenge me in any way, like try to run me down, bite or kick at me, I will tell them with and unconditional "NO" This doesn't happen if I get a chance to start at the beginning of my program but does happen on occasion when helping someone with their horse and the horse doesn't have much of a foundation. (All problems are do to a lack of something in their foundation) Its a shame to because a good foundation takes 5 hrs or less to install in most cases. Its not finished at that point, there is still work needed over the next few months to help it cure to being solid in their minds and will need maintenance throughout the horses life.
A lot of problems come from a horse that is just saying, "No I Don't Want To" This horse has lost its TRY, or There Want to Please. Maybe they just got tired of being told no themselves to many times. Working in the way described above will make them feel better about you, the task at hand, and themselves. They learn to think things out and start searching for intention in all things and situations. It boosts their confidence. This creates a very calm and willing horse. With each cue and or situation you work through, they get a much larger vocabulary. This leads to better understanding. Not just that your horse understands what is going on but they understand us and our intentions as well as we understand them to a much deeper level. The more you understand each other, The better the relationship. Remember we not only want them to accept us and what we ask of them. We want them to appreciate us and want to do these things because they enjoy being with us. Its very easily attainable if you keep an open mind and search real hard for understanding yourself.
If we know the end result we are looking for, and we create a path to get there. Knowing there will be challenges along the way and prepare for a way to get past them. There is nothing we can't achieve.
Thank you for reading along.
Friday, January 31, 2014
Thanks for reading along.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
WHO as in who's turn is it to speak, or who needs to respond, and who needs to listen?
WHAT would be more than just what do i do now. It would refer to what is it I need, or what is the horse saying to me and what do they need from me? What goes so deep that we want to know spot on what we want or need to happen, Like front end or hind end movement, forward or backward, what position or body shape are we looking for?,,,etc...etc. What could also pertain to what is the anxiety level in us and or our horses. We should ask what could happen if we try this, as well as what should happen? So we need to think what do we want to happen and what is actually happening?
WHEN as in when is the best time to speak or respond or when is it best to stop and listen? When should something be introduced or asked for? Timing is everything. We can do all the right things at the wrong time and that is the same as doing it wrong.
WHERE is a huge question as well. Where do we want to go, not just in direction but with the conversation. Where should we focus our energy? Where do we need to be for this to work? Where is your horses and your own attention? and Where would you like it to be? Also we could ask where is the horses head, neck, or body position and or where would we like it to be? This would be the same for all body parts as well.
WHY and why not should be asked and answered. Why do we want this? Why is this happening? Why should we try this? Why is it important? The why not's also apply here.
HOW is about how we would like to go about things. How do we communicate this better and how do we understand what they are communicating better? How do we want things to play out or how is it supposed to go? There are many variations of how. Which how you choose isn't all that important. Its just important that you fully understand the how you chose to use. Just remember that no matter how well you know it, there is always more to know and learn.
HOW MUCH Lets not forget to ask How much and how much is to much? Keep this one up front in your mind. Its real important we know what works and what may be getting greedy. We don't want to be at a level of, its just enough, but it should be almost effortless. Sometimes the applied level may need to go up and down to fine tune it to that effortlessness. Just beware not to over do or under do it.
We can go so much deeper into every one of these questions. These are things I do instinctively whenever I am communicating with a Horse, a Dog, a Human, or a Cat. Its all part of my evaluation of the situation. In which I am constantly evaluating things as we go. I should mention that these questions are often asked on the fly and need to be analyzed in a blink of an eye. Its difficult to get the correct answer sometimes. But we need to shoot for it or we miss so much. The more you work on getting answers, the more you open your mind to the possibility of new knowledge and understanding. Understanding is relative to our knowledge and experience. The more we learn and the more we do, the better our understanding will be.
I hope this helps you all open your minds and understand the great possibilities that can come through better understanding.
Lets make the world a better place.
Thanks for reading along.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This can be the same when working with our horses. It is true that we need a very clear understanding of where we want to go, or our end result. But we should do proper evaluations so we pick a good path to get there. We may find ourselves making a detour because something came up and we need to go a different route. Or the horse needs to understand something else first before they can understand the next part.
I say this because many people go at working with a horse in a planned out route. Using a method they learned from someone else. Even very well known trainers. Sometimes the timing is off and we need to do something else first in order for us to continue. Many methods are broken down so that if you follow it and make sure you're at a reasonable place to move on to the next step, it can be a clear path. There will always be something somewhere that will make you detour. It will either be a horse that is struggling to get the lesson, or maybe a person missing out on a proper evaluation and not being aware of the horses needs. If we miss out on the horses needs then they miss out on understanding us do to them not wanting to except us. We need to ask our questions at the best possible time. In order to do this we must fulfill the horses needs and only ask the questions they can answer.
I to have developed a program and method that I use when working with horses. I follow a path that I've learned to be most productive. But there are times I have to back up because the horse showed me something that needs more or individual attention before I go any further. Sometimes its in me, sometimes its in the horse. Either way the horse always shows me what it is.
When working with students I like to show them the way I do it. Making sure they know that they need to develop their own way. Sometimes what we think is the best way, may not be the best way for us at this time. Sure we can practice anything long enough and well enough to get good at it. But just like the detours in our travels, or with our horses. There may be a detour we need to take in order to get there. We all have limitations. Sometimes they are emotional, physical, mental, even spiritual. We need to take them into consideration and develop them accordingly in order to progress. If we play to our strengths and work on our weaknesses, we can make progress. The horse can tell us these things as well if we listen to them.
In short the point I'm trying to make is, "Be sure to carefully take care of your horses needs before asking them to fulfill yours" Its easy enough to do but sometimes gets forgotten when we are focused on other things. Also, "Be honest with yourself and your limitations so you don't try something you are not ready for" We need to progress in an orderly fashion. We may need to work on our weaknesses first before moving on.
Thank you for reading and I hope this helps and makes sense to everyone. As always this is an interactive Blog, so feel free to comment or ask questions.