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Day 8 – One Week Down!

Time To Check In

Congratulations!  You have made it through your first week!  Maybe this is truly the first week using the video library or maybe you are taking our regular advice of “starting over at the start” and that is why you have found yourself here.   We would not be acting in integrity if we didn’t stop here and bring something to your attention.

If you or your horse are not yet at a good starting point, then you should not move on to the exercise that we are introducing you to tomorrow.  You have had 7 days to absorb some information.  You know what kind of “horse trainer” you are, you know what type of horse you have and realistically, some horses are not ready to move on to this exercise after 7 days (and in some cases, the human isn’t ready).  Let’s revisit the passing grade podcast or the concept of a Good Starting Point before we move on!   In fact, this very crucial bit of advice is one that should not be ignored or skipped over for the sake of staying on the “30 day jumpstart”.  In reality, for you and your horse, this 30 day timeline might well turn out to be 45 or 60 or even 120 or more.

That is the thing about interacting with another sentient being in this way – because we are listening and responding to their needs as well – we may have to throw out the prescribed timeline and process from time to time.  We may have to backtrack, re-establish relationship, fill in gaps in either of our knowledge bases and then regroup and get back on track.  This is actually more normal than being able to follow something step by step to the letter.

Because we have people who really need a prescription for their horse training journey, we have attempted to put the first 30 days into a followable timeline, which we are going to turn into “steps” instead of days starting tomorrow.  But, please, take the time now to really give yourself grace and honestly – just remove the timeline from here on out.  You need to go at your own pace.   We give you our full blessing to make the timeline your own.  We feel strongly that the process and order of things is important and you will actually save time in the long run if you don’t skip around from the process order, but there will be times when you will have to deviate from the plan because your horse will present something that you will have to address. 

This is what we call Milk And Eggs. Let us explain.

Do you ever need to go to the store and maybe you’ve written a list of what you need to shop for?  Like, Milk and Eggs?  Let’s say that you have that list and you get up in the morning to go to the store to get the things on your list – like Milk and Eggs.  You go outside and your car has a flat tire.  You look at your list and there is nothing about fixing a flat tire on your list, so you get in your car and drive off anyway.  You would never do this!

Yet, we tend to do it with our horses all the time.  We overlook something that is very important because it wasn’t on our list or it doesn’t fit with our timeline.  The most common horse-related examples we get are those people who are usually being pressured by others to “just get on and ride” or “come for a trail ride”.  They are so intent on pleasing other people, that they forget that the most important other being in the equation is their horse.  So many preventable injuries, traumas, and setbacks come from us wanting to use someone else’s timeline or to stick to the “list” as it’s written.  Please don’t do this.

On this 8th day we would really like you to re-evaluate where you are with your horse.  Are you at a good starting point?  If so, great – tomorrow you are going to do an exercise.  If not, great.  Maybe in a few days you are going to start on Step 9.  Or maybe you are going to keep working on the hanging out and regulation and breathing for a week or 2 or a month and Step 9 of this jumpstart will be here waiting for you when you are both ready. 

 

A reminder how to use this course: click on Mark Complete below and you will move on to Step 9 when you are ready for it.

 

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I have been hanging out in the paddock with my horses. There are three horses in the fairly small paddock. It is not that long after I put them out, so they are mostly interested in the hay.
My daughter’s horses comes and hangs with me every time. My horse Óðinn did engage with me on the second day, and licked and chewed. My second horse Manni checked in yesterday -no cookies, no interest, but did lick and chew.

Now they simply eat hay, though Manni did come check out the dog on my lap this morning. Again, lick and chew and back to the hay.

I’m wondering if I should move the exercise to the ring before moving forward.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 5, 2024 at 2:23 pm

Hi laura

I think youa re fine to go to the next step. A big part of this exercise is having the human commit to doing nothing for a while, and you’ve done that!

That’s great. Thanks. I have to admit I am an electrical engineer and a Virgo, so I am a bit of a perfectionist. Looking forward to going forward. I’ve been overdosing on “Creating Connection Through Change In Focus” videos. So glad I spent the time.

Thank you. I needed this. I have acquired a 6 yr old molly mule with huge holes in her training, although she is known to have been ridden and driven single and ‘pairs’ when she was very young (Like… two) Fortunately, I have two local ‘mule people’ who offer encouragement and help… but there are also questions like ‘Why haven’t you rideen her yet?”

Part of that, I know, is my scattered mind (a side effect of teaching middle school… in florida)

If i can develop some good foundation and excellent trust between now and end of May… (retirement)… well, you get my drift.

I did sign up for the sessions on managing our nervous systems…

I have had to take several weeks to get through the first week of this course. I have five horses and this takes time as you say. I admit, I’ve had some unexpected outcomes from the hanging out and matching steps. I usually pick one horse in the herd to match steps with and just follow them around for awhile, no expectations. They have become very peaceful with my presence and even feel welcoming when I join them for some quiet time.
It’s been a wet winter and there is lots of green grass all around their paddocks but all of my horses are on a strict diet due to metabolic reasons. The grass brought on by the rain has made them crazy to escape their paddocks and eat. They got out yesterday and my poor husband tried catching them, which became a big exciting game of chase! When I saw what was happening, I grabbed a halter and walked out to help. As I approached them, I mirrored their actions with my own, focusing on my breathing. In just a matter of seconds they literally opened up a space for me to join them. They obviously felt I was one of the herd and NOT the mean mom coming out to spoil their grass time. I picked the lead mare and just matched steps with her. She immediately started calming down, reached over several times to touch my hand, like she was saying, “Thank God you’re here! I couldn’t control myself!” It was a complete “non-event” to softly put the halter on and lead her with the rest of the horses following back to their paddock.
I think we were all relieved to make such a chaotic event calm and easy. In the past, I’ve had to resort to a bucket of pellets or treats to catch them. Thank you for these tools!

Janna

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 29, 2024 at 10:44 pm

Great work.

Wow, how cool is that?!?!

These exercises aren’t new to me – but after struggling for 3 years, having bad training, several “events”, I decided when he came home finally I would start at zero. So, he is in a pasture with 9 other horses. The 3 at the bottom are unpredictable. One is a rescue who doesn’t seem to have ANY qualms about getting into peoples’ space. So, I take my carrot stick, because all three try to join in the fun. It’s outdoors, and it’s cold, so now I have issues with my hands & hip (injured in an accident). The week went well. he was engaging. LIcking and chewing a lot. And, several big yawns, and a couple “blow outs”. I’ve done all these exercises before (been following since 2019) but this time, I know exactly why the relationship has to be #1. So, due to the reasons above I decided to try bringing him in the arena, and letting him loose. He did engage with me, but not near as much. He spent 50% or better of his time looking intently toward his pasture. He did some L&Cs, and he did show some curiosity (as opposed to concern) with the woman grooming her horse, and the barn cat. No spooking. But then, back to the window. So, breathing exercises is next. While he was away I rode another horse, and I practiced my breathing (tend to hold my breath when trotting), and I will go thru the exercises Robin outlined. I understand very well how much my nervous system affects his. So – is it better to just be out in the pasture for as long as I can handle it to move forward? I feel like haltering him and bringing him in was me wanting something from him, rather than me following his lead. But I wanted to spend more than 30 or 40 minutes with him.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 11, 2024 at 9:32 am

It’s fine to bring him in

I wasn’t able to bring him indoors. There were two other owners using the arena. So – I decided to put him in the outdoor arena. It butts up against the round pen and the mare’s pasture. His is on the other side of the mare’s. So, I thought perhaps this would provide him with something to focus on, since the other day he seemed intent on his herd from the indoor. Well, today was the get-your-attention day. I filmed it, because I wanted to make sure I could review and see where I needed improvement. He was curious about the arena, so I watched as he checked things out. Then, he went and stood by the mares. So, I started. Twelve minutes and I think 3 or 4 times I got his attention. Then, on the fifth (I was probably 30 feet from him) I turned back toward him, and he was coming right for me. So, I let him engage, and he just started grooming me (without me having to scratch him first). Then he mosied back to the fence where he found grass, and I started over. I think probably 15 minutes the 2nd time. This time, he followed me across the arena, and around. So, I decided to stop there. Gave him a carrot, took him back to his pasture. And, called my husband before I even got into the barn. Also, I stayed aware of my breathing the entire time. I feel so GOOD that this is where we are, after where we’ve been. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 15, 2024 at 11:14 am

Great work

This has been a wonderful first week, thank you! I have always done a lot of hanging out with my horses – they live out 24/7 but have a hard standing yard with shelter and hay and water to come onto when they wish, so this usually means all our hanging out together is done on the yard. The weather in Britain has been atrocious for months, continuous heavy rain and wind, so I haven’t done as much of this as I usually do, believing that if I’m grumpy and out of sorts and soaking wet, I’m not going to be a very good companion at that moment! What I hadn’t thought about until now, is that really applies to our horses as well. Now that I’m open to hearing them again (I had shut down for many months because of personal problems in my life) I clearly heard my 2 year old Clydesdale today saying that he hadn’t had a lot of sleep due to the storm, no proper REM sleep, and that he was feeling edgy and out of sorts. Instant decision from both of us not to do anything at all today, no agility games in the arena, no “training” (I often wonder who is training whom! 😁) no handling, not even picking out feet practice. Nothing. Zero. Just a quick check over to make sure the horses are all ok, no injuries, no problems, and I retreated indoors. I don’t see accepting the no as being defeated by the horse any longer. I just see it as communication. We have to set our horses up to succeed and pushing through when it’s obviously not the right moment seems stupid. How that translates to having a visit from the farrier for hoof trimming, which has to be done on that day and that time, I’m not yet sure! My 2 year old Clydesdale isn’t fond of standing with his feet up for long for the farrier, sometimes it can be difficult and requires much patience. I do now ask the farrier to trim two feet, then take a break and do the other horses, then come back to my youngster, to show that we are listening to him. That seems to help. But do you have any other suggestions Warwick? This farrier is very patient and kind, he’s been trimming him now for over a year, so I’m not sure if it’s still a trust issue. I think that as a foal before I got him, his first interactions with a farrier weren’t particularly good. Also my Clydesdale of course doesn’t see hoof trimming as high up on his his list of things that are important! But with a big heavy horse, we have to keep their feet healthy, especially at the moment in our constant wet deep mud, there’s so much weight being put on them. I’m wondering whether the breathing techniques would help during the trimming, if I were to align my breathing with my youngster’s, bring his worry down a little.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) April 10, 2024 at 10:27 am

Hi Carolyn

You are on day 8, of the 30 day jumpstart. We created this jumpstart to ensure people slowed down and did all the little things that create success in the long run. This is not about getting what you want, but providing them with the things they need.

‘Instant decision from both of us not to do anything at all today, no agility games in the arena, no “training” (I often wonder who is training whom! 😁) no handling, not even picking out feet practice.”

There is no feet picking (if you’ve watched one of the “fundamentals” videos Called “What’s important to your horse” which says picking out feet and brushing are NOT important to your horse) in the 30 day jumpstart, and there are no agility games ion. the 30 day jump start. Those things require some basics on your horse, and the jump start is about people forgetting about what they eventually want to do, and getting the basics good.It souns like your horse is easily worried. A horses sense of safety requires him to be able to flee at any moment, so a worried horse will not willingly stand still on 3 legs, as he has given up his avenue of escape. So its not about picking up their feet, its about them feeling safe. ALL of the work in the jumpstart is about that.

The feet will take care of themselves.

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