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Friday, May 11, 2007

Harry Whitney Thu Feb 15, 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.]

The more I understand and try to deal with the horse's insides, the more I use just stopping them and am able to get a change.

Able to get it done without a lot of circling, etc. now.

What's the difference? Having a conversation versus trying to force something.

What all is going on when you ask a horse to stop and wait? ... offering him a place to stand still by not allowing him to be anyplace else.

This is not going to work, this is not going to work, etc. until horse finds the quiet place inside.

A lot of times you have to allow their feet to move so all that will dissapate.

Asking them to get centered -- not just a physical centered.

Harry referred to what SH said in the playground: The difference in what she was doing and what Harry was doing -- she was trying to stifle what the horse was feeling and Harry was embracing it: 'you need to do something? Let's go, let's do it; I'll help you jump and twist and back up.' But I had him close enough so it didn't really feel good to the horse. Pretty soon he tried to feel different because it didn't work out to feel the way he did.

SH said: history of combativeness so she'll now say "no, try something else", direct that energy; she has clarity about her ability to help him out if she helps him in to a fit, rather than stifling that fit.

With people we say, they have to hit rock bottom to make a change. To them it's not bad enough to want to make a change. Harry is helping the horse hit rock bottom, adding to how bad he's feeling to help him make a change.

Redirecting: there's a time to redirect it and it takes care of the bad feeling. There's a time when you redirect and the horse goes in your direction but is just waiting to follow their own throughts, hasn't changed his thoughts. You gotta do something about the bad feeling first.

Adrenaline and cortisol -- thinking and accessing solutions versus being frozen, etc.

To get a horse just to let go and go somewhere is an important thing that needs to be available, but does that mean he's feeling OK inside? Or maybe he thinks he'll be feeling better up there someplace, going in 'hopeful mode'?

SH's story of the first time horse was freed up and going rather than beating him to go fast (former race horse).

Relaxed horse, seeing the thought forward -- their mind is sucking them forward. What that feels like is when you're riding the horse following a tarp or something.

Sometimes you ask a horse to look and they turn their head but don't really look out there.

I would like to think each of you would get to the point of being intolerant.

If the horse is taking over, it'd be troubling to the horse if I made an adjustment. Horse carrying me can sort out feeling like taking over except he's mentally with me when he's carrying me and it won't trouble him when I make an adjustment.

A horse can't be truly forward in his thought and be too troubled inside.

If they're not doing their best, they're not feeling their best. And what's their best? It's their thought taking their feet out there.

Harry: I'm in the awareness business. Get out there and find it. If you don't know it exists, you won't look for it.

From time with Tom Dorrance: seeing how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be a few different ways.

SH/Legs, saddle. Most people think it's about the saddle but it's not, it's about the anxiety he brought to that moment. Harry's table story. People get so infatuated with the tables in life, but it's not about the table.

SH round pen: If horse knows what you want, be more insistent. If horse is figuring out what you want, be more persistent.

(My decision to work Rusty on lead first then at liberty, to help him understand what I want, so I can communicate more clearly what I want and improve his responsiveness. If I stay thinking about "help him be responsive", it doesn't matter what I do to improve that, he'll feel better.

SH/Legs/flag -- persistent when she could've been insistent. A little threatening with flag instead of with a promise you will do it. Nagging = repeat something repeatedly without getting a change.

Harry might have done enough so horse reacted and knew he meant it then deal with reducing the upset afterward. Maybe SH was avoiding troubling the horse.

These horses are really good at teaching us humans to wait.

Ray Hunt said 'Set it up and wait' when a horse doesn't understand. Don't make it happen. There comes a time when there's no waiting.

My question re flag: when to support a horse and when to be insistent that he let go of his worry about it?

(I start to see the value in teaching a horse to change how he's feeling so that is an option you can reach for whenever you need it.)

If horse thinks fleeing is the solution, he says 'fine, go ahead and flee but I'm right here with you so what are you going to do?;' Not driving him, but still there with him.

Not every horse has to flee in action like Ace. SH was going with him while he was exploring his feeling in round pen -- he found out himself that he didn't need to flee, that it wasn't working out for him.

Yesterday Harry took the end of the lead rope and slapped his leg and said 'search for a better spot'. Today no lead rope but still there with him asking him to search for a better spot. Kinda doing the same thing.

Back to my question about flag: Harry said Ace didn't even stop to consider it, just caught it in the corner of his eye and took up directly to his upset place. If he'd looked at it, snorting and quivering, then you might go slow and let him figure it out a bit. But Ace went directly to a very troubled place so SH did something about that -- insistently.

Harry: if you need to have a fit, OK, let's have a fit, go ahead.

"He spit the dummy" -- Australian phrase for having a fit. Dummy = pacifier.

Afternoon ride in arena, playground, desert.

Harry re reins and me on Cajun at the end of the ride: either he gives to the reins or they're not there.

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