Are there any horse enthusiasts out there?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jonathon Tillman, Apr 29, 2004.

  1. Jonathon Tillman

    Jonathon Tillman Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just wondering if there are any males or females out there that share the same interest in horses as I do, or anything related?
     
  2. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yes, very much. I own part of four. Whom I never see due to travel time (3to4hr turnaround) just to go back/forth.
    So I have to plot a whole day, which I never seem to have free. Quarter horses all out the same dam, diffrent studlines. Bred for cutting.
     
  3. Jonathon Tillman

    Jonathon Tillman Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well for me, being a 19-year-old as a second year student in college in radio, TV and film I took an equitation course for physical education. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to take private lessons over the summer last year, but I discontinued due to the fact that I just was not happy with the staff that was running the facility. I want to advance rapidly and be able to do things such as lead and take care of my school horse but I was told I was not advanced enough in rank.
    It began to be a wrestle with my lessons as I was not able to communicate to the horse what I wanted it to do, I thought this was suppose to be fun that’s why I pay for this? The horse was a draft and the instructor (all of them were female) did not do a very good job of telling me what to do, and reassuring me of what I was doing. A lack of communication was the thing, what was odd that the females had an easier time then me. Maybe it’s because they were doing it longer then me, or maybe they are better at manipulating a horse better then I am.
    So the point of all of this is that I don’t see a lot of excellent riding places in my area that are willing to teach me in a fun environment. Ever since I have quit I have been obsessed with horses thinking about them everyday and eager to get back into it and learn but I am wondering if there is a alternate route rather then going to take private lessons at a local barn. What do people usually do about getting into this type of thing and making a great hobby out of it?
    For those of you that have Dish or direct TV there is a channel called RFDTV (Rural Free Delivery television) that has horse programs among other things. I am very interested in the programs with Pat Parelli, Monty Roberts and Clinton Anderson. I am thinking about going to one of these clinics in my area.
    I am sorry to make a big long thing out of this but I am like a lost soul trying to find his way back into this.
     
  4. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    English or Western? Up North, I'd guess English.
    such as lead and take care of my school horse but I was told I was not advanced enough in rank ..are you referring to just leading the horse out of the barn, grooming the horse before tacking up, tacking up, unsaddling etc? How many lessons had you had? I never had ‘formal’ lessons but most teaching barns I have been around included grooming and saddling right off the bat. It helps you to know your particular mount ect. There are safety concerns so always adhere carefully to any the facility might have.

    Most men I have known particular young ones starting out tend to look at a horse as some sort of farm implement, or shop tool. Push the right button …the motor does this… Shift for forward and back. [​IMG] Its true females often have an easier time. But I will tell you one of their secrets; they really tend to look at the horse as a living being. With likes/dislikes character traits and PMS days.

    The advantage to this for the neophyte female is they tend to pick up on cause and effect around horses quicker than the novice male will. And believe me …cause and effect around horses can keep you alive.

    Most ‘students’ approach the horse with awe for their beauty tinged with fear for their power. But being a novice they take every single word and move of their instructor to heart, watching their instructor who is 'over there' with more intensity than the horse they are mounted on.

    Problem is riding a horse is so much ‘feel’ and ‘finesse’ which only comes with seat time and the slow learning curve of beginning to understand what works with each horses personality.

    You can see, the instructor move the rein ..just so…..the animal moves obediently in the direction requested. You do (what you think) is the same reining motion. The blasted animal suddenly becomes an irratractable beast, - balks, plants feet, turns circles, (or more alarmingly) proceed forwards or backwards at increasing speed in the direction of its own desires. Meantime your feet fall out of the stirrup, you teeth jounce out of your head and you really want it to WOH. (a word it pretends to be completely unfamiliar with)

    This horse just read you like a book. You don’t’ know what you’re doing yet, so it is screw with the tenderhorn play hour for him.

    What you don’t ‘see’ your instructor doing, and that which they would have a hard time relaying to you is the whole package, - not just moving the rein here, and kick for a cue. But certain shifts in their seat, (which warns the horse ..we are about to do THIS). Many subtle movements of hands (depending upon what you are doing) and pressure from the legs, - all in a sort of sync ballet. Teachers themselves have forgotten they had ever learned these almost ethereal commands, - therefore have trouble making you understand how to copy theirs.

    You go farther quicker, if you (never forgetting instructions as relates to proximity to other horses which might kick, distance from other riders etc). Attempt to forget your instructor and focus on the horse. From the second you arrive at the barn, and can see your mount. Watch his ears, watch his head, the noises (snuffs, etc) he makes, try to see that there is a reason for each of the things he does. Slow down and gentle down in your inputs, most early riders (unknowingly) are telling their mount, simultaneously stop..turn left and go.. all at once, and whilst attempting to make meatpaste of their poor mounts mouths! The horse gets too many signals and goes ‘his’ way.

    The cheapest way to learn is to use a similar method handy for advanceing skills in skydiving. That plane ride up (and very short freefall down) costs so much therefore much time is spent “dirt diving.” Try going to the barn where you pay for lessons (when you have the spare hours …tough with work and school). Tell them you would like to muck out a couple of stalls (gratis). You’d be surprised how much the groundwork involved in maintaining the daily chores at a stable will teach you about what to do when you are up-top your mount!

    With horses (for the scary moments) its all about preventing the ‘wreak’. Like a pilot, you have to be thinking out ahead of your craft. Pull your head back into the cockpit getting worried about the malfunctioning light and forget to think forward, …. you’re in trouble, …if trouble comes.

    You cannot win a physical battle against an unrestrained or spooked horse, no matter how strong you are. So you learn the non-power moves that prevent trouble or nip it in the bud before things get out of hand. You WATCH horses to learn all this. Not your instructor.

    But listen (and believe in) the tips. Like standing right up against that intimidating animal while brushing him is safer than leaning in from feet away. (if he kicks you - standing several feet away and reaches the full extension of his considerably force..its deadly, compared to standing close in where the momentum/power is not there yet)

    The joy of the moment when you realize that you just prompted your horse not to do something BEFORE HE DID it. ..and you realize you knew before he acted due to his body tense, eye roll, and ear flick….…are worth the work..

    Then you’re becoming that team which is both good to watch and exhilarating to be part of. He reads you, you read him and its earth and sky and the power of that ton of horseflesh under you..Fantastic.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    6,531
    Likes Received:
    15
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I have been around horses since I was 7 and I am a casual rider. My sisters owned horses and I learned the basics, to people who have never ridden I am an "expert":b just because I can stay on for a canter/gallop and make the blasted beast go where I want it to. I'd like to say that Mary's post is spot on correct and yes, females have an easier time with horses than males for just the reasons she states. Another reason is one that most men won't admit - we are deathly afraid of anything that much bigger and dumber than us, whereas women deal with bigger and dumber beings every day of their lives[​IMG] .
     
  6. Jonathon Tillman

    Jonathon Tillman Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    My first day of the equitation course, we were learning to mount and dismount. I was the only one who wanted to get close to the animal’s head and hold it in my arms. Even the instructor and students were impressed with awe for a beginner.
    Yes we do ride English, I just had a bad experience for that last ride, and it was like pulling teeth and my instructor yelling at me. I was trying to do everything she was saying to heart but I could not get it, it was a wrestle that never ended throughout my hour lesson, I walked away with anger. My instructor could have communicated a little better, telling me what was going on, maybe reassuring me, but I guess that's not there job.
    I took the course for 10 weeks through the college at the barn then afterwards took half hour lessons, then upgraded to one-hour lessons. I'd say I did it about 50 lessons for one day a week. I got up to the canter and jumping one up from cross rails. That's what I was having trouble with, I could not get this stubborn horse to canter.
    My instructor would tell me position feet their to canter on the correct lead, and hit him with your crop. It was like she would tell me to hit him and then yell at me not to. That was weird, I am a technical person I am not stupid.
    Don't get me wrong I have a love for horses I don't agree with hitting them, the very first time I rode I did not want to use the crop in fear of hurting them. I disagree with abuse while riding and racing. I would like to ride and train my horse (I don't have one) with peaceful methods.
    Have any of you heard about the professional trainers around the country, and do you know if their methods do work?
     
  7. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2002
    Messages:
    13,232
    Likes Received:
    889
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Malcolm
    Never mind. Answered my own question. [​IMG]
     
  8. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Don’t count on your instructor being a good communicator. Additional advice would be, watch the other riders and their horses, - particularly the novices and note when they overcome an issue. Watch as the instructor asks for them to do “this”…it does not happen…the instructor gives new advice and asks the student to repeat. You watch from the ground if the student is successful on their next attempt and try to ‘see’ what they just did differently that made it work. Students motions are much easier to spot than an instructors as the teachers motions will be so tiny (a compilation of those invisible shifts and squeeze’s) often from several places you cannot see at once, their seat-hands-thighs-feet which are very hard to get a visual on. It is much easier to see a student who over exaggerates these motions than the instructor who hides them due to experience.

    What may be occurring (very very common) is something like the following. Your instructor asks you to go from a dead stop (or trot) into a canter, cueing the horse onto his right lead using a gentle crop application. As you try to start off, - the horse balks partially, then just as he is starting off (on the correct lead) you try to hurry up the situation…at this point (even though you are not aware) you throw your weight in the saddle to a different side as you reach to apply the crop. Your horse may have just haltingly started on the ‘right’ lead, but when you lean (if he’s very well schooled) he feels your weight shift, switches leads, then feels the crop at that moment (you are late with it) gets confused and then may start to switch his leads, -(all motions he and you are making at that moment are very uncomfortable up through your saddle and seat, - causing your hands, legs etc to give him even more mixed up ‘cues’ from all your jouncing around. So he balks and stops. At this point (although your instructor started you off by requesting you to ask the horse to canter by applying crop). ..becomes contrary and starts yelling at you…”No NO don’t use the crop”

    You’re confused and irritated; they said, “use the crop for canter” you used the crop for canter. What your missing (and instructors are not good at explaining) is that you used these cues either too early…late…or interrupted the horse (who had just started) on the correct lead by cueing him (again) after he had begun to start off correctly.

    Try to work your way into the ‘free helpful hand’ spot. Muck stalls, graduating from that (if you hang out enough) to someone asking if you would mind moving this horse to that pen, brushing them for saddle, picking out hoofs etc.

    You will be amazed at how much you begin to absorb.

    The problem with a horse that won’t canter for you is they have a Hard Drive, just like a computer. You have written to “THAT” horses harddrive, that he can ignore your command to canter. (He’s figured out you don’t really know what you are doing, or that he can ‘get away’ with ignoring you. Then depresseningly your instructor gets up on the same horse, give a squeeze, or a light tap….off he goes beautifully.

    You have to reformat this horses hard drive memory of you. will make you [canter] even if it takes extreme input from me till you ‘get it’ the first several times. After that …he will accept lighter inputs from you, putting you into the ‘respect authority’ partition of his brain.

    I don’t like spurs or crops, I understand your feelings, used VERY VERY lightly though they are the cueing tool many horses are trained to. Using force no heavier than a fly alighting on them. Particularly in English, and in my case spurs (not crops) are used to cue cutting horses.

    The beginner needs to go lightly, -however, - at the beggining using just enough overstated force, (since the horse has learned to ignore you) till he sits up and starts to pay attention to YOU … just the first few times. Then you can revert to lighter input (breath of a tap) once they get it.


    I have seen some bad accidents, the deaths of horses, etc through the years and the ‘path’ as I see it lies in the middle. Two of the best trainers I have had the blessing to observe were old school cowboys, who grew their careers around horses during the ‘brute force’ era’s. These guys who are top of their class always used both methods. They would never allow a horse to create a danger or repeat a bad habit more than once in their presence. Therefore their horses were perfectly trained AND well mannered. Although these guys could maintain physical mastery over a ton of horse, (if they had to) - hog tying the horse, lay it down on the ground incapacitated, and ‘teach’ it a lesson, these were not methods they employed (but necessary to know in emergencies). Say one of their yearlings or 2/3 yr. olds suddenly attempted to bite or kick a handler (BAD habit to let get started). The animal would only attempt it once, and never again. These trainers nip that kind of behavior in the bud before they ever have to use extreme methods of retraining on a horse who has built upon and got away with a collection of ‘bad’ habits. They are always thinking steps ahead of the horse and never give it the ‘opportunity’ to pull any shenanigans! Being trainers they do have to handle other peoples problem horses regularly and have every trick in the book from brute force on down if needed in extremity. In fact I only ‘heard’ of one of these two trainers, - I did not see this incidence myself (.before my time with him) …. but I believe the story. He used very cruel and extreme brute force while trying to save a stud from euthanasia. The stud (very valuable) had killed his prior handler, and since the death had been virtually uncontrollable from the ground and could not be saddled or mounted. It’s a tale with the trimmings of the old west. Several trainers were at this ranch (the story goes) the day Jack broke the will of this stud that was a danger to all.
    Jack Newton salvaged that stud, but it was a cruel road coming back for him. This stud could only be handled in future, even though semi salvaged, - by the most experienced of hands due to his background.

    Try to find a copy of Tom Dorrance’s “TRUE UNITY”, he is one of the original western ‘horse whisperers”.
    Realize you will need to get to a point where you are starting to be able to ‘read’ horses' signals whom you are handling. But its good reading for forward thinking. Then what Dorrance does (with 50 years of horse observation behind him) will start to come naturally to you. Additionally many who handle and train horses from English to Western to Racing are of two schools …brute force…and the horse whisperer types. The brute force school makes mock of the horse whispered types and its best to be quiet and keep your reading material to yourself with these types of extreme disciplinarians. Every horse and every one who handles a horse, has something to teach you…both what to do …and not to do. Watch them all carefully and quietly….it helps. Keep what you think about them to yourself, just observe. (There are terrible ‘clicks’ and politics among the horsy set…stay away from that).

    I am in the whisperer camp, if you do that ‘right’ the brute force is never required.
     
  9. Jonathon Tillman

    Jonathon Tillman Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mary, the things you mentioned were absolutely true. I was trying to get the horse to canter and had trouble. It's because I am a beginner with this, I decided to stop for awhile because I was not happy with the training I was getting. Maybe it will be like this everywhere. The thing's you mentioned about shifting my weight to get the horse to canter on the correct lead, why didn't my instuctor mention anything about that? I was told to move one of you legs forward that you want the leg for the horse to canter on and then move the other back or squeeze. I have spoken to allot of people on the net about this because I don't have a great relationship with the stables in my area, and don't know who to talk to. Most of the replies I have gotten was what you said, to muck stalls.
    Thing is, if I wanted to get really good at this, is private lessons the way to go? Is there a national club or class that I can join and learn about this? Where do the people that do horse jumping come from? How did they learn how to do this? Where they born into it? Are they just wealthy people?
    I really am passionate about horses and sometimes I regret quitting my lessons. I want to learn more about horses how to train them, ride them, take care of them and play games. Is taking private lessons the only option? Because it can get pretty expensive, and that's not even my horse! then again every hobby can get pretty pricey.

    Jonathon

    P.S Thank you for your input and comments they really do make allot of sense and great information, keep it comming.
     
  10. Mary M S

    Mary M S Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,544
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just to give you an idea, this is what my horses do:
    http://horsecity.com/photo_galleries...chaderby.shtml
    (click on each pic to enlarge) Note 1st row, 3 pic from the left. See that cowboys face, cut and paste him onto a dock with a fishing pole and you would see the same relaxation in his body and face. The horse is doing gymnastics but the rider is centered and quiet on top.
    For cutting once you "set" on a cow your hand stays down in the two-inch gap between the saddlehorn and the horses neck. If you let your hand rise above the horn ..major fault. If you click each pic you will see in all photos the riders hand is down (not pulling back, up or sideways on the reins).
    So how do you think he is controlling that horse? Asking it to turn 180's at lightning pace, Set its hindquarters or face down into the dirt while herding the fleeing cow.

    Notice 2nd row, 4th picture from the left. See the cowboys hand is not moving (not pulling back on reigns to stop the horse or have it 'sit down' But notice that the cowboys body is very slightly leaning back. That is one of the rider's many cues to this horse.

    Third row, 2nd from left, see the girls weight is just slightly forward? She is pushing the horse forward.
    More pics, see how centered and 'quiet' all these riders are compared to the hardworking horses?
    http://horsecity.com/photo_galleries...ersweeps.shtml

    Now combined with weight shifting, - each rider is also 'pushing' the horse using leg pressure and reign pressure to indicate go forward/ back /left/ right/ or stop. If you know what to look for you can spot the riders in these pictures using the reigns. Just a quick glance at all pics shows the reigns and riders hands all in basically the same locations. Just looks like the reigns are flapping around from the horses movements (which they are). But the riders ARE reigning those horses
    Cutting horses are trained so that if they feel the reign lay against the neck on one side, they will turn away from the rein to the opposite side. (I.e.: reign touches horses neck on the right side - horse turns left)

    Back in the first link of pics again: Third row, 3rd from left. Hard to see but you are looking at the right side of this horse. Can you see the reign is touching that side? (the right side of the horses neck) What you cannot see is the rider has the left reign NOT touching the horses neck. You can tell by the stop action that horse is 'bent' to its right side, it just made a right side turn at the moment this pic was shot to stop the cow which was going to the horses right. So you might think, - well the reign is touching his right neck and the pic looks like the horse is turning rightish. What you are seeing in this picture is the end of the horses right turn, and the rider cueing the horse as its come back up - NOW go to the left. You can't see the cow in the picture but I guarantee the cow is headed to the horses left side where the rider is next directing him. (This is what is called 'neck-reigning'.

    I don't pretend to understand the ends and outs of English the extent of my English training is having warmed up a few horses under English saddle. (and once under english warming up a 16 hand gelding who nearly killed me when a light plane buzzed us, - not my favorite saddle).

    Horses are trained to various cues that can vary by work class (western, english, reigning, and dressage) but you often see a common range in our country. Generally all horse are taught to move away from pressure, reigns and legs.

    What you described above if I'm guessing correctly reflects the method your horse is trained to cue by. Instructor asked you go into a canter with the horse on its right lead? right?

    Your horse feels the forward right leg, which cues him to 'step out' or start out on his right lead. In other words you are telling your horse my right leg forward means I want your right leg forward.
    The instructor asking you to put your left leg back and squeeze slightly with it, tends to tell your horse, 'move away' from pressure, - so that left leg applying pressure is simply reinforcing what you asked him to do with your right leg.

    Move (bend) away from left pressure and start (go) out on right lead.

    What you have yet to put together is the fact even if you are well balanced in your 'seat' when you shift your right leg forward (without leaning) you will be (ever so slightly) shifting your seat weight forward and right. This adds to the whole mix of signals you are sending your horse, which combine to tell him clearly what you want him to do.

    A student might think okay I Put my right leg forward, (his weight shifts a hair forward). Then the student thinks, "OH, I need to squeeze with left leg back." At this point instead of making it a smooth all-at-once motion, - he may even look over to his horses left side and down to be sure his own left leg is back and squeezing. That action will send your weight at that moment slightly left. Telling your horse something different from what you really want to tell him.

    The reason I showed you the cutting pics, was to demonstrate the first rule of horsemanship. STAY quiet in your seat, tiny tiny shifts and inputs cue (an already well-trained seasoned horse). SO the quieter you can stay centered and balanced in your seat when giving commands, the fewer 'mixed' signals you will accidentally send your horse.

    Make sense?

    By the way many new students are too embarrassed to tell their instructor that they cannot tell which lead the horse they are riding is on. If this is your case, admit this to your instructor then ask if you can canter in a straight line with the instructor shouting out to you which lead the horse started off on. Rise up in your saddle (a little) and lean (slightly) forward looking over the top of the horses shoulders from above. At the canter, in a right lead, - the horses front right leg will be extending farther out ahead than its left and vice-versa. You can then feel the motion of the horse under you, I see the right lead, and note how it 'feels' to the right, go back and forth on each lead, until you can feel it through your seat without looking. If practicing alone - to force a horse on its right lead; take a tight right hand circle at the lope (canter) if the circle is very tiny, the horse will literately fall down if he does not switch to his right lead, after a few tight circles gently steer him (so as not to make him jump to the other lead) out of the circle into a straight line moving out forward in a staright line. Notice how that right (or left) lead feels as he is on a straightaway.

    Here are some pic with 'click story' link similar to what you are working on. This is work on collecting the horses canter in prep for Calvalletti work. But note the pics have a small amount of talk concerning where the riders head, weight, etc should be in asking for the canter.
    http://horsecity.com/photo_galleries...ntershow.shtml

    Yes, it takes a lot of money to be in horses, even owners that make a living at it, struggle and often run in the red.
    Because the expenses after you buy a horse are so high. It would be best to keep paying the high price of lessons.
    The reason you get the muck out stalls advice is that this networks you into the horse community. Maybe some horse owner will take pity on you (although you have to shovel a lot of you know what [​IMG] before that happens) and allow you occasionaly to take his mount around the arena a few times. After months of becoming familiar with the stable staff and boarders. Etc. these things can happen. At the minimum doing the chores will teach you so much more about how to handle and work around horses in general.
    (NEVER PESTER A HORSE OWNER TO RIDE HIS HORSE). If the horse is well trained and you are not yet qualified you undo all its training. Up until a year ago there was not one horse at the ranch where my horses are boarded which a novice rider could be safely placed upon. So go slow with new 'horse' friends, (more opinionated than AV'ers believe me!) they will tell you when they think you might be safely allowed to do something, on ground, or in saddle. Don't ask, just hang out and let them offer.

    Google the horse shows, boarding barns with rentals, training facilities, etc in your area, keep hanging out. Networking helps. Through these facilities you can see if there are any training clinics, or trail rides, (horse provided) you can sign up for.
    (my posts are the length of 3, but this won't be the most populated section of experince in After Hours).
    Hope any was helpful, just keep chipping away at it.
    I consider it a privilage to be allowed by a horse to harness and experince their immense power and speed. BOL
     

Share This Page