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Rituals Of Connection

Rituals Of Connection

There are many things you can do that can become Rituals of Connection. Hand grazing, matching steps, using essential oils. You will be doing things repetitively that will communicate to your horse that you won’t just be showing up every day and asking them to do something that will only benefit you. You will be, instead, communicating that you are interested in their company, for their company’s sake. This will bring you and your horse into connection and the social engagement nervous system.  

A reminder of how to use this course: click on Mark Complete below and you will be taken to the next topic.

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This was a great video. it also answered one of the questions I had about my new horse that wants to be in my space constantly. Pushing him away with finger pressure did work, and I plan to continue to do it until it clicks for him. He gets too close to me constantly and has nipped at my jacket sleeve. I don’t want to scare him away, but I also don’t want this to turn into a bite. He’s super sensitive to pressure and over-reacts to things, so I want to get this right.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 1, 2023 at 12:21 pm

IF HE’S NIPPED AT YOUR JACKET SLEEVE, HE IS TRYING TO CONNECT, SO ENGAGE WITH HIS MUZZLE.Oops, not yelling, I bumped caps lock.

Ann, thank you for posting this comment. I have a new young (for me) gelding who does this, too (nips at my jacket sleeve) and when I make a big gesture to get him out of my space (as I was previously taught) he rears (that was a new one – and my being a small person had me a bit shaken up). I could tell he was frustrated and it was making him anxious and me a bit fearful and that wasn’t a great place to be working from. That’s actually what brought me to Warwick – because I hope to have a long partnership with him and we definitely need to get this push/pull dynamic from the start for the sake of our relationship. Warwick’s comment on this was super helpful (he has a YouTube video showing this, too) in knowing I’ve come to the right place.

I have an extremely sensitive horse who is always alert to danger. After watching horse buddies in larger herds match steps when going to water, etc, I wonder if by matching steps we’re indicating to them that we are allowing that fraction of a second between foot steps to hear predators approach. It may be my imagination but I think that is very important to my horse and he appreciates that I understand the need for that.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 22, 2023 at 11:16 am

That may be it.

How do you know whether horse is trying to engage with you and you play with muzzle or push away with fingers..?? I see Bundy as wanting to engage with you here but you’re pushing him away. I obviously missed the point somewhere?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) December 27, 2023 at 12:09 pm

I wouldnt do that these days

That was great – I have a youngster and we spend a lot of time in the pasture together and he always comes and finds me when I’m cleaning paddocks etc…. looking forward to matching steps with him
When I got him he had never been handled and now he’s under saddle after 2 years – I’ve taken a lot of time building a trusting relationship – so appreciate these simple techniques , such as: match steps with him, sitting a chair and just being present – I think he’ll love it – me too

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

Great work

Hi there,
Quick question. When bonding while grazing what to you do when you ask your horse to move to a different place and they refuse?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 3, 2024 at 11:37 am

Thats not bonding, thats asking. How’s the leading with energy. before there’s grass involved?

I was interested in Warwicks answer to this question for the Day 4 exercise, but it looks like he replied with asking how your leading with energy is – but that’s not until Day 18. Does he recommend to jump ahead and try that exercise for the horse refusing your ask to move while grazing?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) May 18, 2024 at 9:45 am

Can you ask me the question on the relative video?

I believe I am learning and connecting. I have a 19 month old that is extremely curious and sensitive, inquisitive and smart. Darn that nipping was annoying. I did that finger pushing , and I also learned to NEVER MOVE MY FEET, thank you, Warwick. Seemed to go hand in hand. Even when I catch myself moving a half step back and so now I come back forward– he no longer walks into me and the 1/2 nipping has stopped as well! Until I watched a video of a palomino coming into a clinic I never realized I did it. Let his little bum run into me. I never had to recorrect it or anything on his end— he just said to himself- she isn’t moving. He never tried to bully or anything. It just STOPPED.

Hi! Lots of questions. I saw you said in the comments that you no longer push their muzzles away. My main horse often checks my pockets for treats which I do push away, but very often he comes up to me and kind of puts his forehead in my sternum, when he does that, I give him a rub and a hug. Also while grooming he turns to me (for some reason more to the right than the left) and asks for, well, smth, I hug his head and rub his neck. Sometimes we stand in a hug for a full minute. I hope that is ok.
He is definitely busy with his mouth, so when he is asking for connection with his muzzle, how do I “engage his muzzle”? Scratch his noze? Play with his lips?
The reason I am asking is because sometimes he moves around a lot while I am grooming or tacking. He is not trying to get away, he is just a very easily agitated and active dude (ASB/DHH cross, i.e. enegrizer bunny/freight train). So that moving around gets really annoying, and often he swings his side into me.
Am I making this behavior worse by being kissy/huggy with him? I try to be very aware of him walking too much into my space when we are on the ground, but when is close too close? Obviously when he puts his face in my chest, he is half a step away from me – should I not allow that? I let him be close but not walk into me and I stand my ground. What am I missing?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 15, 2024 at 4:20 pm

“so when he is asking for connection with his muzzle, how do I “engage his muzzle”? Scratch his noze? Play with his lips?”
Any of those are fine.
“The reason I am asking is because sometimes he moves around a lot while I am grooming or tacking. He is not trying to get away, he is just a very easily agitated and active dude (ASB/DHH cross, i.e. enegrizer bunny/freight train). So that moving around gets really annoying, and often he swings his side into me.”
Is he tied up while doing this ?

My question is
While working on building connection with my horses, do I stop asking things of them?
Is it ok, to spend some time building connection and in the same day then groom and lunge?
Or is it better for the next, how ever long it takes to just work on the connection?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 16, 2024 at 4:11 pm

I do things in order. I get the first thing solid before going to the second thing (and none of those things are grooming). Watch “whats important to your horse).

Hi, I’ve already previously (before joining this course tried hanging around and grazing /matching steps; I admit “a bit” so definitely lacks consistency. But my trouble is the anxiety of my horse: how do I manage to work on connection outside the pasture with a horse that has separation anxiety , in fact has a habit of being constantly hypervigilant, nervous about a lot and chronically disconnected to a pint where I may not be safe because he’ll jump at small stuff, go into 1000yard staring and stiffen up.. he doesn’t even notice I’m matching steps(sometime si just can’t because he’ll walk all over me, actually he just forgets I’m there at all and sometimes i don’t feel safe and I often take over his tension! He often stays tense a very long time and I can’t get him to relax unless he can see another horse somewhere.. so I don’t feel like his mind is connecting with me, he’s just connecting with the distant horse .. I hope you understand what I mean.. I suppose I need to work on the separation issue differently first before taking him out grazing? Thank you

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 20, 2024 at 11:05 pm

This exercise is something you do where they live , and usually are reklaxed there. Does your horse constantly have separation anxiety? Or do you move him to a place that gives him separation anxiety and then try to start this exercise?

He’s already anxious when we’re just on the other side of his barn, so very much on his own turf, but where he can’t see other horses, so I can’t take him any further than that before it sets in. He’ll be alright with another horse around. So the first step would be to accept that “the other side of the barn” is already too far and “hang out” with other horses in sight then.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 21, 2024 at 1:06 pm

“He’s already anxious when we’re just on the other side of his barn,”
What do you mean “we”. Did you lead him there, or did he go there on his own?

Loving the content and organization of this course – thank you! Question about Matching Steps, my two mares are long legged for their height, while I have short legs. Matching steps with them while hanging out in the paddock is not a problem, but when walking somewhere with purpose I simply cannot do it, I end up looking like one of the “Ten Lords A’Leaping” from the Christmas carol. So is being present with them and matching pace enough in this instance?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 26, 2024 at 9:24 am

Yes.

I have been matching steps with my horse for the past 3 days. I had done a bit of this in the past; so I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. I had gotten up to step 9 in this program and after a week of trying to create connection through change in focus and getting no results, I decided to go back to this exercise. The past 3 days I just turned him loose in the arena and matched steps with him. Every day has resulted in him laying down and going to sleep. Today was the first day he trotted in the arena, I matched his steps when he did. He looked at me kind of surprised when I did that. Shortly after that he laid down and went to sleep. He slept for about 15 mins and was disturbed by the noise of another horse so he jumped back up. He walked about 15 ft and dropped down again and went right back to sleep for another 20 mins. How will I know it is time to go back to trying the creating connection by change in focus exercise?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) January 29, 2024 at 10:45 pm

Id go back to it. Ive not ever had it not work. What part wasnt working ?

That was a really interesting video to watch, thanks. I have tried matching steps with my pushy gelding but he got quite anxious so I stopped and have been sitting in the paddock instead which seems to be working much better. My horse is very pushy with his head so I will try the finger push to the side and see if that works.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 7:49 pm

Hanging out with a horse creates more draw. If you have a pushy horse, hanging out with them will only make them worse.

Ah, thanks…. I have noticed it’s made him worse so I have stopped and putting some distance between us now.

One of my horses that I have had about 18 months now is still nipping at me when I am trying to halter him or work with him. It feels dominant, playful but possibly like I am hitting a boundary. He also likes to close the gap when I am leading him and nips especially when my back is turned …. do you have any tips beyond engaging with his muzzle? I have been trying this but it is not stopping the behaviour and I am having a really hard time reading this horse and I am not inexperienced but something is different with this one! :(

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 5, 2024 at 8:10 pm

” when I am trying to halter him or work with him.”
Have you started at the start? Thats usually where this is taken care of.

Thank you for the reply! I thought I had watched all of the early videos but it could be that I missed one as there is a lot of material in here (which is a good thing!). So I will go back and look for haltering ones ….

Thank you!
Jo

What about using essential oils as mentioned in the article above ? I’d like to hear more about that !

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 17, 2024 at 9:51 am

You certainly could use them

Hi Warwick,
In response to the question below, you said you wouldn’t do that these days.
Could you clarify if you meant you wouldn’t push him away with your finger or you just wouldn’t push him away at that particular moment of matching steps?

How do you know whether horse is trying to engage with you and you play with muzzle or push away with fingers..?? I see Bundy as wanting to engage with you here but you’re pushing him away. I obviously missed the point somewhere?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 28, 2024 at 11:05 am

I wouldnt push him away. There is one video of me doing that in the whole 800+ videos in the video library.

Thanks Warwick, my reason for asking was because I have a lovely boy who is mostly well balanced with the drive and draw but he can be a bit in my face at times when I’m in the stable, I usually just engage with his mouth and play till he gets bored and goes back to his hay but there are times when he can be a bit overwhelming with it, in which case I’ll usually just leave his space. I don’t like to push him away unless it’s really necessary but I also don’t want to be encouraging his pushing into me.
Thanks for your reply.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) March 29, 2024 at 9:42 am

Do you have to be in such a small area with him?

Hello, I’ve been enjoying this course and look forward to the journey with my mare. My mare, (coming 10 year old Arabian), currently lives in a mid-sized pasture with 10 other horses. Once the grass is of sufficient height this spring, they’ll all move out to the larger pasture, but for now they have communal round bales.
Where is the best place to practice hanging out with her? In the pasture with the other horses, or should I move her to the corral on the other side of the barn?
If she’s in the corral, she can’t see the other horses and has separation anxiety. She paces along the fence, runs, kicks out (not at me, but it’s enough that I’m hanging out on the other side of the fence), and works herself into an anxious sweat. She came over to say hi and nibble grass stubble under the fence beside me a couple times, then went back to her pacing.
I’ve only done one session so far, should I keep trying with her in the corral or should I keep her in the pasture with the other horses so that separation anxiety isn’t an issue?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) April 1, 2024 at 10:29 am

As long as its safe, in with the other horses is fine

is there a suggested range of time to spend on this exercise? Not sure if I am overdoing or underdoing. Thanks.

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) May 15, 2024 at 11:25 am

Until you see a positive change.

Thanks Warwick for the reply I don’t see how to reply to your comment. I meant more like about how long do you hang out with your horse 15 minutes 45 minutes or whatever feels right?

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) May 18, 2024 at 9:49 am

Its not a length of time thing, more a consistency thing. You are trying to show up without expecting anything

HI Warick – I’m doing the 30 day jump start in order and read some comments on the Day 4 exercises. Two questions please:

You replied to one question ” I wouldn’t push him away. In the 800+ videos I only did that once”. Sounds like you no longer recommend doing this?

Matching steps: I’m only on Day 4 and haven’t gotten to the Day 18 Leading with energy exercise – my horse drags behind me when I lead him. Any advise or should I jump to the day 18 leading with energy exercise?

TSM!

Warwick Schiller avatar Warwick Schiller (Administrator) May 18, 2024 at 9:47 am

I would not recommend pushing the jaw away any more.
Im unsure why you are referring to day 4 and 18. Please tell me your situation

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