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Step 12 – Judgmental Thoughts

Step 12 - Judgmental Thoughts

Up until this point, most of what we have been working on has to do with you!  That is by design.  So much of what happens with our horses has to do with us.  We have to be aware and observant.  We have to come with no expectations or judgements.  

Revisit Day 8 – and think about where you are with your horse again.  How did the Creating Connection Through Change in Focus go for the last few days?  

I get the question all the time – “When do I know that I can move on to the next thing?”  I think this is another area where there is not a clear cut answer.  There is a mix of intuition and evaluation.  

For this exercise, I would be asking:  After 3 days of doing the exercise is my horse easy to draw with the flag?  Their thoughts?  Their ears?  Their feet?  If so, then yes!  Let’s move on.  If not, then you will stay here until it works well.  

Remember to forget the timeline, this is between you and your horse now.  You will move on when you are both ready.  No judgment!

A reminder of how to use this course: click on Mark Complete below and when you are ready to move on, go to Step 13.

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Love this video – its like you read my mind and see where we are in our training :)

? – he sometimes comes at me with his ears back and tries to bite – how would you handle that?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 22, 2023 at 11:20 pm

When you do what?

Its inconsistent and not as often as it was:
He’s done it when I was hanging out with him in his stall and he’s done it when I go into his stall and I walk up to him (even when I have nothing in my hands and happens unexpectedly, for example it might happen after we’ve been in the stall together quiet nicely, engaging and muzzle rubs/touches when he reaches out w his mouth like horse in this video but I had to leave and when I come back in he will reach for me with his ears back and swing to bite)

When I was on the days with just hanging out with him and wasn’t walking up to him, just leaning against a wall – I would do a jumping jack and create energy bc he was pushing into my space (hope that was correct)

FYI – He also has done it when I have things in my hands (blankets, saddle pads, etc) but I’ve been responding the way you show in the video

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 24, 2023 at 12:14 pm

Ok. So the rules are , if you approach him and he does it,step back. If he approaches you and does it, the jumping jack is a great response.

What if they still pin their ears/kick out when you try to scratch on the spots they normally like scratched loose out in the pasture during the saddling? I’m thinking you would do as you said above, as you approach and the ear pinning or kicking comes step back? Do CAT-H?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 26, 2023 at 1:27 pm

If they are perfectly good with it in the pasture, but pin their ears during saddling, Id look at the steps betwen the two.

This has been the most helpful video for me so far! My 4 year old horse’s actions are very similar to Dale’s (I think you said Dale? Hope so!) Nippy, mouthy, chewing on the halter, leadrope, his blanket, etc. Of course, I would say “no”, try to pull the halter out of his mouth, etc. I did see another video of yours about engaging and rubbing their muzzles, which I have started but I think it’s my attitude about what he is doing that needs to change. He isn’t a bad horse, he just needs some understanding and help. I do think he has anxiety. I was going to get him checked for gastric ulcers because of his attitude but am rethinking that now, after watching this video with Dale and seeing the same behaviors. He is in training now and the trainer was trying to teach me how to lead him a few weeks ago. The first time we did well together; no nipping. The following week, not so well. He told me if he comes into your space and tries to nip you, to hit him hard in the muzzle with the butt end of the whip. It may work for him, the horse respects his space, but I can’t help but think there has to be another way; a way to make him want to walk beside me without nipping. The trainer is telling me that my horse gets frustrated with me because I don’t know how to lead him and that is why he nips. The trainer says he never saw a young horse with such a bad attitude but I am done labeling him as “bad” or “evil.” I am going to engage with his muzzle more, let him chew on the halter if he wants to, and take my time with him, trying to build a good relationship first. Thank you!

I’m a bit confused- please excuse me if I’ve missed a vital bit: But, if the ears are pinned back and we give them lovely scratches until their expression changes to show they like it, we then stop scratching and put on the thing that they were wary of in the first place, how does this help? Is it just the process of getting them to be more chilled about it through giving them pleasure?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 7:50 pm

” and put on the thing that they were wary of in the first place”
Im unsure what you mean by this?

Hi Warwick Schiller,

I’m a 17-year-old boy with a 4-year-old gelding. I have big ambitions in the show jumping sport, but I’m determined to achieve my goals in a way that minimizes stress for my horse. That’s why I’ve been drawn to your program. Recently, I’ve also learned about Positive Reinforcement. Advocates claim that there’s evidence suggesting horses trained with positive reinforcement exhibit fewer stress-related and avoidance behaviors, and display more positive emotions compared to those trained with negative reinforcement. How do you view Positive Reinforcement and how do you incorporate it into your training methods?

Kind regards,

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 8:01 pm

I cant really comment on what “advocates claim”, but many of them have only seen poorly done negative reinforcement, and dont understand attunement at all. I thionk postistive reinforcement is a great addition to training

So when Dale rubs on you, nips, and moves his head into your space, I thought this was considered clingy/pushy behavior? I understand we are trying to achieve attunement, but am struggling with knowing what is too clingy/pushy and what is a reach for connection.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 8:02 pm

Clingy is usually done with the body.

I have a rescue mare we are in our 3rd year together. She rubs her nose on things as a release. On her stall wall when being saddled sometimes for instance. We always walk around the arena together before tightening her girth and I do my best to match steps with her during this time. She will nudge me with her nose, or if I get ahead of her will nudge me in the back. Is this a sign of disrespect or connection? i have generally ignored it but wonder if I should instead engage her muzzle as you suggest here.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 8:13 pm

Id only engage with her muzzle if she wants to engage. I dont think the behaviour that you described is that.

Since I have started doing the creating connection through change in focus exercise, my horse sometimes wants to be biting the lead rope or he will even hold it in his mouth as we walk.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 8:24 pm

It sounds like he’s expressing how he feels, which is a good thing,

I am into minute 5 and this is sooo good!

I rewatched this video today and had an ah ha moment! I have been out of sorts the last few days and my young new almost 8 year old arab I restarted told me so! I was distracted impatient and when we went out for a little ride ( escorted of course and separation anxiety remains but is improving) She too was out of sorts. A challenging ride, not her usual behaviour and an intentional amount of acting out per se. Even in the cross tie post ride she was challenging! Ah HA!!! She is a horse that requires 100per cent of me being present and she was telling me I was not. She was also a mirror image of my mood.
I love reflecting….tomorrow a better focus!

Interesting that I am watching this video now (I have watched it before, but nothing is by accident!).
Setting the scene – I spent my weekend at my son’s place. Painting his back pergola. 10 hours every day with no break. Painting to me is a very mindful activity, and at times during my painting, I listened to your interview with Tristan Tucker who I admire, but for the most part I was just with myself, the paint and my thoughts. A lot of thoughts!
And I came to realise, during this mindful state, of how many judgemental thoughts passed through my mind! More than three pebbles, and probably more along the lines of too many to count ha.
Light bulb moment: how many judgemental thoughts I have and how non-constructive and unhelpful these are :-)

I’m re-watching your videos and picking up advise that sinks in more now that I finally have a horse (6 wks now). This vidi reminds me to engage with his muzzle when I’m sitting in his turn out visiting and he nuzzles my leg. He eventually starts to bring the teeth out at which point I was backing him out of my space. Now I know better. Thank you Warwick!

I loved this video- it was so helpful – thank you. It really helps to see how you interact with Dale and what you are saying when he is using what one may call coping mechanisms.

My horse is quite similar to your wife’s palomino. Very mouthy.
When I take the bridle off after a ride, he always gives his head a rub on his knee. He would rub for about 30 seconds or so. I’m not quite sure what to think of it, it’s kinda irritating, not to mention he’s wearing out my good head stalls. I havn’t figured out what to do about it, other than let him have a bit of a rub and then, hey, come on now, I gotta get your halter on, dude!
Would this head rub thing possibly be a coping mechanism, similar to biting the halter in this video? Should I respond with a muzzle rub, or maybe the head?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) June 13, 2024 at 3:24 pm

Im unsure how he is “wearing out your good headstall rubbing it on his knee”? Just allow him to do it.

Interesting to me how many negative thoughts this brought up for me! Those old ‘rules’ and judgements about that behavior. ‘Don’t let him, don’t touch their muzzle, make him respect you’!
I am suddenly aware how those thoughts are there with my horse. I no longer act on them, but that feeling of I am not enough dang sure is still there! ‘See that is how women ruin horses!’ My horses feel those thoughts about myself! Dang this is not comfortable! LOL
Thank you!
Yep Brene’ is my drug of choice! I see lots of shame…this video brought to the surface another place I carry on the shaming from my past.

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