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Monday, February 26, 2007

Harry Whitney Tue Feb 13, 2007

[I've put Harry's comments that I took down word for word in bold italics. There are more of his words here, but when I wasn't 100% certain what he said word for word, I did not quote him as such.]

'Surging' on Ace -- he moves up rather than forward, energy up but without being asked for it. Energy up means horse is having his own thought.

Doing something to help the horse let go of thought that triggers that increased energy versus energy up and I'm thinking how to move him.

BD suggested SH give the horse Rescue Remedy. Harry said: A lot of times, if you take the Rescue Remedy, the horse will be fine.

PV -- what is important from the horse's point of view? -- asking what happened with Harry that the horse looked to him a week later (in a prior clinic). Was it that Harry was being black and white? That he put his focus on getting the horse's attention?

How can there be clarity if they aren't mentally with you? If they're not mentally with you, how can it be clear?

Can't separate those things. Horse won't get anything from your presentation if he's not paying attention.

Clarity in everything. Clarity about horse staying present and clarity about what you present.

And, is that what meant so much to him?

Ray Hunt is quoted as saying: They know when you know and they know when you don't.

It's not necessarily what one does. Horse picks up on some sort of intent and horse knows you have faith it's going to come through. Another person has a doubt and horse might read our question mark and know we don't have certainty.

PV: understands clarity is really important and attention is really important.

Harry asks about yesterday with Legs -- what did we see differently between what SH did and what Harry did? When Legs started to get trouble, Harry tried to hang in there and keep presenting something that caused him to have to search for the better spot within himself, then it was over. He didn't say 'dang you for feeling bad' then leave him hanging. He kept wiggling the flag until he saw a change then stopped and said 'thank you.'

Poor timing, or good timing with poor intent, leaves horse feeling criticized.

As someone said, "We're always chasing a reaction."

Harry and Legs -- trying to stay in touch with what's happening in the present and reqarding/noticing/marking when he makes a change on his insides.

It's not about what he's doing, but about how he's feeling.

In the wild, a very troubled horse would be coyote food.

A horse kicking another horse -- aggression -- based on insecurity, would not want to avoid other horse. Cranky/unresponsive?

A less responsive a horse is, the more trouble it is every time we ask something of the horse.

SH: let's make this marriage work rather than be black and white about the approach.

My question about 'riding the line' versus 'riding the path' -- Harry's story about teaching someone to drive out in a field between two ditches.

Feeling of the horse, then interpreting it -- two parts.

There is a feeling of freedom of forwardness that you can get at a walk. Mental change and feeling of freedom when a horse is let go -- at a walk, you don't need speed.

You're working on the external to get the change even though it's an internal change you're getting.

Analogy: for leading them into where they should be versus chasing them into it. Carrot on stick in front of horse versus beating their butt with a carrot on a stick.

Thought for today: me using less leg activity for forward and more thought coming up through legs, etc.

Harry never ever asked Legs to go because he wanted first to have a connection. Legs chose to go, a lot, but Harry never asked him to go. He was asking Legs to be here and settle and allow connection.

Ziggy last week: Harry rode her then BD was a little scared to ride her afterwards. It felt so unusual to have her so responsive, so ready.

Told a story about a fellow who said his mare was "notional" -- she a notion to do it and she did. She had a notion not to do it, and she didn't.

It can trouble a horse if you get him to let go of a thought without having a place for him to go. You need to ride with a place to be.

PV got her horse "here" then dropped him -- too much of a release.

How difficult or easy did he let go of a thought? Where is he in his understanding of what you are doing? All goes into your judgment call about what to do there, how close to ride the line, how wide are the ditches.

Work at not only him letting go of a thought but helping him know where to be.

SH in round pen: Harry: I don't want his attention all the time but when I do want it, I want it available. If it's not, I'm sure going to do something about it.

We joked about this being "Judgment Call Horsemanship".

Legs -- he has to do other things while he's arranging himself to get with SH. Like BD filing her nails while listening to conversation per Harry's report. So now maybe don't be so picky about him lowering his head while he's turning to come in. Later SH might be more particular.

Sometimes, you don't need to get bigger, you just need to hang in there.

Other things to do with him (in addition to round pen activities) to be getting him to slow down, think, get with you mentally and be available: in and out of gate, over poles, etc. but watch how he's feeling not so much what he's doing.

Mouthing the lead rope -- give him something to focus on and it will stop. Like with pawing.

Pawing -- I know he doesn't feel very good about being here so how about trying this? Or this?

These patterns can change. He may not have to blow today because he started in a better spot today and maybe he can settle without having to blow.

SH: There's a spot where Harry was being more supportive before he got stronger.

'Keep asking till the back up is straight' doesn't mean back up straight away from you. It can be he gets his thoughts lined up to go back straight but not necessarily away from you.

He couldn't hear me when I asked him to stop so I asked him to back up and there's a stop there before he backs up.

That straightness will bring a change. You'll only get the straightness when you get a change of feeling.

Helps him physically to find the straightness so he can find the OK inside.

A horse's best is straight, not quantity but a desire to be here, present, taking care of this.

PV in round pen: Horse takes over running the program if he sees we're not running it at an adequate level.

Fulfill the role of leadership in a way that makes sense.

Going with him in the round pen, walking when horse is walking, more energetic when he's trotting.

Before you get on a horse, get him OK with walking with him, like at his hip, while touching him.

Thor had been made to flee (when lunging in his former life) so he's unsure, he thinks PV is confused (because she wants something else from him).

I don't care where his nose is. I care about how he's feeling. What does his nose tell us? Get him feeling better. Don't kill him for turning his butt in on you. If he felt good enough, he wouldn't be trying to protect himself ... I don't get worried about a horse's nose tipped to the outside.

Be infatuated with how he's feeling inside.

We have to prove to this horse that we're not going to get him. Ask him to go while standing at shoulder and go with him when he walks. He shouldn't have to think he has to save himself.

PV saddling in round pen -- she took her time for him to be OK without halter or contraint.

Me and Cajun in round pen then riding in arena, walk, trot, canter with saddle. He's more responsive today. It worried me a little having more life when ridden. Harry directed me to trot, whoa, backup, turn on hinds, trot, whoa, etc. -- lots of transitions to check his responsiveness and build my confidence. We did lots of trotting and some cantering. He has a big trot.

SH and Harry in round pen. Helped horse let go with Harry really close to him. We work on lead but it's not the same feel as when we ride and get a little scared and ride close to the horse. Working close on the lead line replicates that more closely.

All directions should be just as free -- forward, backward, sideways, shoulder over, hind over.

Slippery saucer feeling -- it shouldn't weight anything to go any direction with life. (Slippery saucer was phrase from a person describing when you're doing dishes and put a saucer that is covered with suds down on a surface that is wet, referring to how easily it slides.)

My riding lesson with SH:
- seat bones
- energy down back of thighs and calves through heels
- puppet strings hold up my shoulders and rib cage and hold out my shoulders
- 'engage belly' means push belly out, not pull it in.
- contact through inside of thighs
- transitions -- ask for trot and start posting right when horse trots = horse trots right when I start posting. No gray area, either we're walking or we're trotting.
- down transitions -- make it clear, no sitting trot as horse slows but when I stop posting, horse walks.
- hands on reins like squeezing sponges tells horse to slow.
- right shoulder back through turns to left!

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