Whats people's thoughts of the Monty Roberts methods then

Caol Ila

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One thing I dont like about IH is that many of ts supporters seem to think theres is the only way and everyone else is cruel. Which is absolute rubbish. I've met some real fruit-cakes who spout IH methods. Wouldnt want to let them near any horse with a barge pole TBH.
they also think they are the only ones who can break and school horses and again TBH most of these usually women, have great heavy fat doppey cobs which are half dead anyway. There horsemanship is dreadful but they think they are wonderful....................
I still have never met any of these people. And that's living in two different countries, assorted cities, counties, and stables, and I still must be under a rock somewhere. I only hear about these NH/IH/whatever followers who think "their way is the only way" when I'm footering about on the internet. Weird!
 

Vixen Van Debz

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Thank you Tess for clearing up the exact situation with the Buckstop in that article for me.

Can I say one thing that I've enjoyed about this thread? The amount of people who engage their brains about what to do and why it works, and the appreciation that one size does not fit all. Unfrotunately, the latter approach I find people can be dogmatic about, be it about training, riding, going unshod etc, and not only does it come across holier than though, such an approach does not appreciate what works best for each individual horse. I've rather enjoyed the thread from this regard 80)
 

neelie OAP

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Havn't read all this thread but the one thing that stood out from the parts I did read was that most of NH is common sense. I dont actually agree with this. Its only common sense if you understand the issue you are dealing with.
As for all the various NH methods? My thoughts.....
If you start from the premis that all horses have simple goals /reactions ie
They want to feel safe, survive and will take the path of least resisitance to achieve this then you are on the right track.
With this in mind it follows that to train a horse you simply need to make the desire behaviour the one that is easiest for the horse.
Now the tricky part is making that happen. To do that you need to understand the horse you have in front of you and select the method appropriate to that horse as an individual. This is what can not be gained from a book, DVD or any other media. Only from years of working with many different horses can this be learned.
Once you understand the horse in front of you it becomes fairly simple to work out the stimulus you need to apply to get the required behaviour.
That is where true horsemanship starts be it NH or any other label.
There is not and never will ba a one size fits all.
Couldn't agree more
 
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30 pages on I may as well get my bit in there!


- The IH website states that ‘The organisation is dedicated to bringing the best horsemanship ideas together from around the world to promote understanding and fair treatment of horses through courses , demonstrations and educational materials.’. Thought it obviously has a strong connection with Monty Roberts it obviously is not purely an organisation which reflects his methods, they are two separate entities. A lot of people criticising MR/KM and IH seem to be lumping them in together, I’m not sure this is wise. Furthermore KM is the head of IH, I wouldn’t call her someone who promotes her own ‘method’, she also has around 40 Recommended associates many of which have a number of strings to their bow other than the RA status so shouldn’t all be regarded as using identical methods.

- There are a lot of claims as to what an ‘IH method’ is, many of them conflicting. IH is not MR and vice versa. The IH courses do provide an opportunity to gain the MRPCH and IH also promote join up and dually use where appropriate but these are just tools for certain situations/horses and far from the only things they explore or offer. However I’d really recommend a read of ‘The Listening Post’ which is the IH members magazine (yes I am a member…one membership of many!), the variety of articles really do explore everything and I would wager that you rarely came across the words ‘ IH methods’. As the above section from the website suggest it does come across that the fundamental aim is to explore understanding of horses, there is a strong ‘non violence’ stance which does push the articles in a certain direction but I find it one of the most exploratory magazines available. Whilst I think MR does promote a ‘method’ I think of IH more as a frame of mind.

- The fact is that for every person who has had a terrible experience with MR/KM/IH or an RA there is someone who has had a life changing moment, a much improved horse or a positive experience. So the problem is a lack of consistency in the output, not necessarily weakness in the concept itself.

- With the above in mind I agree with PaddyMonty that I wouldn’t let a lot of people near my horse with a barge pole, IH or otherwise! People spout all kinds of rubbish claiming it comes from a particular ‘method’ or person because it sounds so much better. In a similar way one person can understand a direction in a very different way to another. Treat each person and their approach as individually as you think your horse should be treated. Just because someone is claiming to use a method doesn’t mean they a. Understand the original intention or b. Have the ability to carry them out.
 

neelie OAP

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30 pages on I may as well get my bit in there!


- The IH website states that ‘The organisation is dedicated to MR does promote a ‘method’ I think of IH more as a frame of mind.

- The fact is that for every person who has had a terrible experience with MR/KM/IH or an RA there is someone who has had a life changing moment, a much improved horse or a positive experience. So the problem is a lack of consistency in the output, not necessarily weakness in the concept itself.

- With the above in mind I agree with PaddyMonty that I wouldn’t let a lot of people near my horse with a barge pole, IH or otherwise! People spout all kinds of rubbish claiming it comes from a particular ‘method’ or Understand the original intention or b. Have the ability to carry them out.[/person because it sounds so much better. In a similar way one person can understand a direction in a very different way to another. Treat each person and their approach as individually as you think your horse should be treated. Just because someone is claiming to use a method doesn’t mean they a. QUOTE]

There seems to be so many people claiming to be and do all sorts of wonder things with horses out there now, but the actual ability to carry them out seems to be quite another matter, what do they say, yes can talk the talk, but can they walk the walk I wonder
 

tess1

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I think it would help to just focus on acquiring a really good understanding of how to train horses and how to meet their daily needs as best we can. Good trainers are calm and consistent; they don't get over-emotional, or lose their tempers. If it goes wrong, they take a step back and re-evaluate. Good trainers learn the value of breaking each task down into steps, reinforcing or rewarding every try the horse makes, working at the speed that is correct for that horse and that task. They don't set their horses up to fail, so they don't put the horse in a situation whereby the horse will become too scared or too excited and therefore simply can't respond to the trainer's requests. They expand the horse's comfort zones (and their own) at a pace both can cope with. And they don't blame the horse when it goes wrong

This is about as acurate a description of ih as you can get!! Your arguing for our approach as part of your argument against it!
I just taught a 2 day practical skills course that focussed specifically on these skills, on working out how to stretch the horses training at a speed that is comfortable, how to keep training enjoyable, how to use problem solving thinking to come up with individualised training plans that work for each horse and owner.
You would love kellys books as actually some of what you are saying is coming from a very very similar place! It's almost a catchphrase of kellys to say "set the horse up for success".
Did you notice that in recent demos the loading horses work over wooden boards, under tarpaulin tunnels and through narrow spaces before trying to load? It's a clear example of incremental learning, which is a massive part of ih training.

You know RAs are put working with problem horses and owners day to day, in different facilities and with different owner skill set and owner attitudes, we are pretty used to finding adaptive solutions! Yes leadership is part of the story, surely though you have noticed that training is always more successful with calm, confident, consistent handler/riders? It's just that ih actively tries to train these qualities in handlers and riders.

I also think your overcomlicatibg join up to refer to it as mind games! That's very anthropomorphic, it's just using body language to encourage the horse to engage positively with you, and to set up a line of subtle communication that will help to establish aids without any stress or evasion from the beginning, for instance, look at how easy it is to teach a horse the aids on longlines after join up.
I'd like to make clear that I have respect for the RAs and the job they do. In my book, anyone who goes out and successfully helps owners and horses is a good thing. You may well be working with owners in a way I've described (to be honest, I've heard mixed reports, good and bad about RAs, but I've never experienced one personally, so have no grounds to comment. The only time I ever saw an RA handle a horse I will say that she relied a lot on the dually - but she was not demonstrating training). However, I know that a lot of what goes on in demos does not fit my description. There may be a variety of reasons for that; time constraints, keeping the audience entertained, needing to show a result and so on. But I feel that often horses are taken beyond the point where it would be wise to stop. Horses are not worked "under-threshold" at demos - they are frequently pushed to the point where they have a reaction (fight or flight), which would occur far less (and only as a result of an error) if the focus were less on time and entertainment and more about the horse. And let's not forget that there is a huge reliance on the dually in these demos. Over and over again Monty or Kelly will "school" a horse with a dually (ie, jerk or yank on the lead rope when the horse tries to "leave"). This very quickly teaches the horse that trying to escape is pointless and horses will become temporarily shut-down. This may well look like "acceptance", but the horse is simply between a rock and hard place - not comfortable with what is happening, but knowing that to try to escape or retaliate will result in more discomfort.

I do notice that horses are led over or through a variety of obstacles in demos, and I think it's a good way to train - it's just that quite often I don't like the way it is done.

I don't think it's anthropomorphic to consider that acting like a predator in an enclosed space with a prey animal may well be psychologically difficult for the horse. Certainly not as anthropomorphic as Monty telling the audience that the horse would like him to be "chairman" of the meeting, or that "this horse thinks wow, I have my own personal predator". Do you really think that's an accurate assessment of what is going on in the horse's mind? :rolleyes:
 

mulledwhine

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Ok here goes, we may not like everything we read, see , watch.

When I had my mini jockey, I found there was a life long load of books telling me what to do!!!!

I bought the ones that seemed to suit me, I bought about 3 of them , and then picked and choosed the parts that suited me and baby!!

So I use that for my equines as well, although I dont really buy horse books, as I find I have a better common sense when it comes to them ( although use here for a second op :) )

Just trying to say that one way may not suit all, but bits and bobs put together may make for the perfect situation!!!

Sorry :eek:
 

tess1

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For example (to take this from something I read earlier on another forum) join up is much more about "you will" rather than "will you" - but Monty says things like "the horse is chosing to be with me" - well, there's not a lot of choice when you are in a small space and someone is chasing you round it by flicking a lunge line at you - at some point the horse is going to stop and figure out plan B - and if they revert to plan A they just get chased again. So there is no choice as far as the horse is concerned, and if that was clearly presented at least people could make an informed decision about whether they thought join up was a good idea or not"

I'd have to say the idea that a horse follows because he has to within 10 minutes is madness! He could very easy not follow: he could kick out, keep running, or simply evade catching. I I've met small ponies who had learned to evade being caught in a stable!


You're right, it would be madness to think that join-up took place in ten minutes. Join-up is a combination of the horse's natural behaviour and learning. In a demo situation, prior to being worked in the round pen by Monty the horses are worked by RAs - during this time the horses learn about duallys, and about what happens if they don't keep slack in the leadrope and stay in a particular "bubble" of space by the handler. They learn this in the round pen. Generally speaking learning can be very context specific, and the round pen is an important context for the learning about the dually, and the appropriate leading behaviour. So there's a very specific context, and a very salient set of reinforcers and punishers associated with what is frequently a new piece of kit to the horse (the dually).

When Monty takes a horse into the round pen, prior to join up he works the horse on the dually. Quite often I don't even think the audience realise what he is doing, because he will be chatting away, but at the same time continually positioning the horse where he wants it to be, stopping, starting, backing up and changing direction. Sometimes he will get a bit of plastic on a stick or something to "show the audience how spooky the horse is" which often results in the horse trying to "leave". Of course he fails, which reinforces in the horse's mind that trying to get away results in discomfort/pain (depending on how hard he tries). But all of this is teaching the horse that there is a "bubble" where there is no physical discomfort, and outside of that "bubble" things get scary and uncomfortable or painful.

When Monty takes the horse off the line and drives the horse away, quite often the horses don't even want to leave - they've already figured out the "rules". When they are first driven away they do sometimes kick out and are obviously looking to evade - however it doesn't take them long to figure out there is no escape. As Monty says himself, they will run the flight distance or thereabouts, and then start looking for another solution to the problem. The four signals seen are obviously natural body langague (although not used as horses use them with one another) but they are reliable and Monty has obviously identified them as a set of signals that horses display when the are uncomfortable with the status quo. When the signals are observed the pressure is gradually reduced on the horse. When the horse stops, and the pressure is removed by the passive body language of the human, many horses will immediately want to return (albeit a little tentatively at first) to the "bubble" where they felt safe. If horses don't walk forward Monty walks infront of the horses in an arc (in a similar way to asking a reluctant horse to step forward on the lead line). Sometimes, if the horse is particularly "stuck", he will even take hold of the halter and move the horse forward through pressure, then releasing it. Both of these signals remind the horse that it is better to be close to the human than feeling pressure from the dually and line, and so they follow the human. If it seems like they are about to move away, Monty often changes direction - earlier when he worked the horse it would have been obvious that the horse had figured out that it is much easier to change direction when the handler does than deal with the consequences - pressure from the headcollar. It does not matter that the line is not attached - the negative reinforcement and positive punishment is salient enough for the horse to want to return to the "safe bubble" - but you are right, it is not happening in ten minutes, it is happening all the time the horse is being handled prior to the join up - and it is because the horse is being taught where the safe area is through the continued use of aversives when he is outside the "bubble" - not because he is independently choosing to go there. So, yes, I do think this is a very powerful mind game to play with the horse - "stay with me, or life becomes a lot harder for you. If it was human to human we would call it bullying, or domestic violence ... or am I being anthropomorphic again ;)
 

tess1

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People frequently "throw horses in at the deep end" with little preparation and then put the blame on the horse when things go wrong by saying he's dominant, or he doesn't respect them
So to me the whole theory is backwards.


Just to be clear: totally agree with you this theory is backwards... It so definitely NOT ih though!! It's exactly what we are teaching against!
In a nutshell, my post said "learn to be a good trainer, and the horse will learn to trust you, and the 'respect' and 'leadership' aspects will happen as a natural off-shoot of good training skills".

In the book Perfect Manners, Kelly Marks says "First things first. Before doing anything else you first need to establish trust and respect and create a bond with your horse". This is on page 87 - "The art of join up".

So, yes, to me, the theory still reads backwards. Kelly advocates join-up as the way of gaining trust and respect - as opposed to good, solid training skills which give the horse a basis to build his trust on. And, on the IH forum, when people have "problems" with their horses, many of the answers contain the inevitable "he's testing your leadership". So, it seems to me that Kelly, and a lot of IH followers believe that "respect" comes before "training".
 

eahotson

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tess1 I noticed Monty working the horses on the dually in the round pen before join up.I noticed that he talked a lot, telling stories and thought that it was possibly to distract the audience.I made a point of screening out the chat and watching! He did exactly what you said.
 

rosiejones

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Hi tess,
Only a couple of points then I'm done!
1) horses are not schooled by RAs before being handed to monty, he actually asks you not to as he wants the audience to see everything.
2) your description of join up is slightly off in terms of timing. You don't release the pressure after you see the signs, the horse will only show the signs if you have taken enough pressure off first. Similarly, you don't release the pressure when he stops ( why would he stop while you are 'chasing' him? You use body language to invite him to you then he turns in. These small details re timing add more weight to the argument that it isn't learning theory and the horse is not forced. He could very easily not come in or not follow or not be caught. It's like suggesting you could teach an war shy horse not to lift his head by pinching his ears when he does, or a bolting horse to stop by hitting him when he runs. The target behaviour is not encouraged by the stimulus, chasing the horse o teach him to follow just wouldnt work, and certainly not that quickly.

3) confused by your dislike of the dually, what do you do if a horse tries to leave or run into you?

4) my main learning point from your posts is that we need to make sure we get the adaptive, subtle, clever, flexible, horse centred ih across in Kellys demos. It seems like we really are on the same page in many ways so it's sad that you have not felt positively engaged with ih.

Not sure il get time to come on here again for a while it's been hard to keep up with it but Thankyou all for the engaging discussion!! :)
 

HuntingPink

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Thank you Tess and all, you've explained something that's been niggling at me for a while.

I started out with Parelli but found it too harsh so moved onto IH. I have to say that it worked but there was something that I couldn't put my finger on, it still seemed to be all about dominance. Now I haven't got a problem with boundaries and teaching manners but I'm not convinced thatMonty or IH are about kindness, it's still about forcing the horse to comply IMHO.

I'd been advised to watch Join Up videos without the sound and was really shocked. What seems rather magical when you listen to Monty prattling on suddenly seems not so magical. I've done some reading and lurking on various forums and realised that Join Up is about giving the horse a choice between a rock and a hard place. It isn't about speaking the horse's language and it isn't anything to do with trust. Why would you trust someone who chased you away for no apparent reason?

I've done a lot of thinking about this and have gone from being 'traditional' to thinking that I was being kind and back to traditional again. I actually think that the traditional way of handling is more honest and less manipulative than any of these natural horsemanship cracks.

BTW Tess, I found this thread because of Kelly Marks, it would seem that you've rattled her cage, well done :)

http://ihdg.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=gh11&action=display&thread=122724

Methinks she doth protest too much!
 

HuntingPink

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The pressure-release (dually)stuff is just standard so OK if you agree wiht pressure-release as the basis of your training methods, but I don't think the dually is all that 'kind' which is what it is marketed as. He said in a demo that it 'shouts praise and whispers corrections' which made me laugh. Release of pain - or uncomfortableness, at the very least - is not exactly shouting praise.

I think there are much kinder ways of treating horses, but some of what he does is OK. he is certainly a very likeable person and has a nice way with horses, but I don't like what he actually does with them a lot of the time, if you see what I mean!

I hate the Dually halter. I've got one and I've used it and it doesn't whisper anything, it's another example of Minty's deception. That 'schooling ring' is harsh and could cause a lot of pain. It whispers nothing apart from comply or else. I'd actually rather use a rope halter which I've always been dead set against as I thought they were too thin and could cause a lot of discomfort, at least they don't put pressure on the nose like the Dually, the thought of that makes my eyes water.
 

pip6

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I've taken several horses to demos. You may think I'm an inexperienced horseowner to have done this, but I did it as I try to keep my mind open to different approaches. Two were for starting, one loading (having taught many youngsters to load, this was the first that refused, she was terrified of the ramp), & another youngster who after extensive veterinary treatment for a bad injury to her hock was terrified of having her leg touched).

The first starter was used in a demo. No-one fully sat on him (got to leaning over), as MR thought it was too far for him & didn't want to be pushy with him just to satisfy the audience. This was a very green horse (belonged to a friend) who had never even worn a rug before. He has since been very easy to back & is a fab competition horse.

Second starter they didn't use in the demo, but started by an RA for us the afternoon before the show so we hadn't had a wasted journey. She is now having a very successful start to her eventing career & is a lovely person.

The loader whose legs turned to jelly when her feet touched the ramp was used in a demo. Before I get lectured I had spent about a year leading her over all different surfaces from tarps to sheets of plywood. As soon as a lorry or the (extra large Ifor) trailer was put in front of her, the shutters went down. MR sent out KM lorry, with panels & helpers to collect her. Even with panels & manpower, it still took 45mins to get her in the lorry. She travelled well. Tried to load her again once we'd got to other end, didn't want to know so hadn't 'cured' her. She went into the demo, responded willingly (at no point looked stressed) & learnt to load. We came home uneventfully, & kept practising. She has since been sold to an eventing home. We took her to a local showjumper to back her, she loaded beautifully.Aged 3 she has gone out in her new owners trailer & lorry, loads perfectly. This is no half-dead cob, but a 3 yr old sportshorse (Kiltealy Spring x Catheston Dazzler), who qualified for Trailblazers on her first attempt by winning her class.

The fourth is my 4 yr old arab. Somehow she got her hind legs over electric fencing (set high enough to keep the arab stallion apart from the mares) & took a huge amount of skin off her hock getting her legs back over. The treatment wasn't pleasant for her, despite being sedated each time. This left her scared to let anyone touch that leg. I spent a year trying gently to get her over this. I took her to a MR demo, & she wasn't picked. MR spent an hour working with her that afternoon. I know have a calm, confident horse, whose leg I can handle, the vet can trim her etc. There was no audience, no playing to the crowd, just a guy working with a horse. He did lovely work, took the time to run through with me what he was doing & why. He didn't have to do it, there were plenty of other things he should have been getting on with. He saw a young filly who been physically injured that had left a mental scar. He helped both of us to work through it. Anyone is free to call me a 'novice' owner (after 30 years experience & many horses), I don't care. The only thing that matters is that my girl is no longer stressed.

None of my horses appeared stressed whilst being worked with. None experienced a dually before the demo or before they were worked in the afternoon having not been picked. The horses do go in the pen to check for lameness, & that there is a problem so yes the stimulus is introduced. Let's be honest, MR would look pretty daft if he said this horse is scared of xyz, then it just stood there calmly. People believe what they see, so they want to see there's an issue. From going to several demos, personally I think a lot of 'problems' are due to spoilt horses behaving badly. If a stronger person (such as a nanny) was to take charge of spoilt children, toys would go out the pram before they just got on with what they were asked to do. If we're going to compare human / horse, then I think this is a reasonable analogy.

As for the dually, I do own 2. I'd rather use them than deal with horses in a bridle or a normal headcollar. All my horses are very friendly, people loving, willing, happy, with excellent work ethics. The 2 youngsters (1 to my vet) I've sold have had impeccable characters, are loved by their owners & I get regular updates which I love. They are all happier, less stressed animals (as they don't get upset as the fear stimulus has gone or had an easy time being ridden away) than they were before their meeting with MR.

I ma not a member of IH, have not been on their courses, have no business interest, not a cult member & don't think it's the only'method'. I can only say it has been a positive experience for my animals & am pleased that they went to the demos. It's not for everyone, I too don't like the showmanship, but under that is someone who is a horseman.
 
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HuntingPink

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Yes - well i have found other things that DO work for me and my horse and I'm happy wiht them so that's fine.

I guess really what I'm syaing is that there are lots of inconsistencies in the method, and nobody 'in the know' will address them so they are obviously therefore some kind of flaws, so just maybe these are things other people might want to consider before they undertake this method too.
Do you think that they are deliberately not answering or aren't answering because they don't actually know themselves? The impression that I've got is that they believe in the Monty method but actually don't understand how it works, why it works or the ACTUAL effect that it has on the horse.
 

eahotson

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I've taken several horses to demos. You may think I'm an inexperienced horseowner to have done this, but I did it as I try to keep my mind open to different approaches. Two were for starting, one loading (having taught many youngsters to load, this was the first that refused, she was terrified of the ramp), & another youngster who after extensive veterinary treatment for a bad injury to her hock was terrified of having her leg touched).

The first starter was used in a demo. No-one fully sat on him (got to leaning over), as MR thought it was too far for him & didn't want to be pushy with him just to satisfy the audience. This was a very green horse (belonged to a friend) who had never even worn a rug before. He has since been very easy to back & is a fab competition horse.

Second starter they didn't use in the demo, but started by an RA for us the afternoon before the show so we hadn't had a wasted journey. She is now having a very successful start to her eventing career & is a lovely person.

The loader whose legs turned to jelly when her feet touched the ramp was used in a demo. Before I get lectured I had spent about a year leading her over all different surfaces from tarps to sheets of plywood. As soon as a lorry or the (extra large Ifor) trailer was put in front of her, the shutters went down. MR sent out KM lorry, with panels & helpers to collect her. Even with panels & manpower, it still took 45mins to get her in the lorry. She travelled well. Tried to load her again once we'd got to other end, didn't want to know so hadn't 'cured' her. She went into the demo, responded willingly (at no point looked stressed) & learnt to load. We came home uneventfully, & kept practising. She has since been sold to an eventing home. We took her to a local showjumper to back her, she loaded beautifully.Aged 3 she has gone out in her new owners trailer & lorry, loads perfectly. This is no half-dead cob, but a 3 yr old sportshorse (Kiltealy Spring x Catheston Dazzler), who qualified for Trailblazers on her first attempt by winning her class.

The fourth is my 4 yr old arab. Somehow she got her hind legs over electric fencing (set high enough to keep the arab stallion apart from the mares) & took a huge amount of skin off her hock getting her legs back over. The treatment wasn't pleasant for her, despite being sedated each time. This left her scared to let anyone touch that leg. I spent a year trying gently to get her over this. I took her to a MR demo, & she wasn't picked. MR spent an hour working with her that afternoon. I know have a calm, confident horse, whose leg I can handle, the vet can trim her etc. There was no audience, no playing to the crowd, just a guy working with a horse. He did lovely work, took the time to run through with me what he was doing & why. He didn't have to do it, there were plenty of other things he should have been getting on with. He saw a young filly who been physically injured that had left a mental scar. He helped both of us to work through it. Anyone is free to call me a 'novice' owner (after 30 years experience & many horses), I don't care. The only thing that matters is that my girl is no longer stressed.

None of my horses appeared stressed whilst being worked with. None experienced a dually before the demo or before they were worked in the afternoon having not been picked. The horses do go in the pen to check for lameness, & that there is a problem so yes the stimulus is introduced. Let's be honest, MR would look pretty daft if he said this horse is scared of xyz, then it just stood there calmly. People believe what they see, so they want to see there's an issue. From going to several demos, personally I think a lot of 'problems' are due to spoilt horses behaving badly. If a stronger person (such as a nanny) was to take charge of spoilt children, toys would go out the pram before they just got on with what they were asked to do. If we're going to compare human / horse, then I think this is a reasonable analogy.

As for the dually, I do own 2. I'd rather use them than deal with horses in a bridle or a normal headcollar. All my horses are very friendly, people loving, willing, happy, with excellent work ethics. The 2 youngsters (1 to my vet) I've sold have had impeccable characters, are loved by their owners & I get regular updates which I love. They are all happier, less stressed animals (as they don't get upset as the fear stimulus has gone or had an easy time being ridden away) than they were before their meeting with MR.

I ma not a member of IH, have not been on their courses, have no business interest, not a cult member & don't think it's the only'method'. I can only say it has been a positive experience for my animals & am pleased that they went to the demos. It's not for everyone, I too don't like the showmanship, but under that is someone who is a horseman.
I wouldn't like to suggest that because people tried different methods/ideas that they were novice or inexperienced.Not at all.The worst people are those that think they know everything and have nothing new to learn.I know that you are not personally suggesting that.The over all picture I did get at the demos that I attended though was that a lot of the horses were probably unsuitable for their owners and had got maybe confused/spoilt/nervous.In all fairness to the Monty Roberts/Parellis and Kelly they do bang on quite a lot about getting the right horse for you as you are NOW not as you would like to be in the future.Monty says 'Use your head not your heart when choosing a horse' and Pat Parelli says 'Choose your partner not your poison' but a lot of their disciples never seem to hear those bits unfortunately.Kelly thinks that some women in particular are drawn to difficult relationships with their horses as they are with their partners and some people do seem to sell a horse as unsuitable and then buy another just like it!!
 

Ladyinred

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Do you think that they are deliberately not answering or aren't answering because they don't actually know themselves? The impression that I've got is that they believe in the Monty method but actually don't understand how it works, why it works or the ACTUAL effect that it has on the horse.
HuntingPink I think you have got it in one!!
 

eahotson

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One good writer albeit with horribly expensive books but worth it is Marlitt Wendt.www.pferdsein.de The website can be got in English as are the books.The 2 I have read are How horses feel and think and Trust instead of dominance.
 

rosiejones

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BTW Tess, I found this thread because of Kelly Marks, it would seem that you've rattled her cage, well done

Bit mean isn't it?! I mean, she is a real person, and really quite a nice one who is incredibly motivated to do the right thing for any horses or people she comes in contact with. Do you know when I worked for Kelly as an envelope licking poo picking wannabe she actually sent me to go see all sorts of other practitioners so that my equine education was well rounded. She couldnt be more open minded and positive. I don't think it's nice to try to rattle anyones cage deliberately, but certainly not someone who I know will never have been looking to diminish anybody else on a public forum. It's really not her style to get tough or nasty with people (or horses!) so she can't/won't really defend herself against this type of attitude but I think someone needs to say hang on, play nice!
 

HuntingPink

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The buck stopper is made from cord similar to cotton washing line. It is made into an oval shape, with another piece like a brow-band. The oval goes over the poll of the horse and into the mouth under the lip and over the gum. There is another piece of line from poll to saddle or surcingle.

I'm afraid that you've lost me now.

I don't mean that you've lost me in that I don't understand but that you've lost any credibility with me now and I was reading your comments with interest as you're obviously well acquainted with Monty's methods. How can something which is similar to a cotton washing line FORCED SHARPLY against the sensitive gums not cause pain?

Ms Marks did herself no favours with that very strange and very personal response to Tess. If you can't defend your chosen method without resorting to that sort of behaviour then you need to question your method. I thought that the thread was very civil up to that point, then Ms Marks did what that classical dressage trainer did a few weeks ago and made a fool of herself. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the Monty clan do what they do but don't understand the whys and wherefores. I had my doubts before but you've now shown me that I was right to have those doubts.

It is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt
 

HuntingPink

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I apologise, it probably was a bit mean but I only found this thread because of the rather mean post from Kelly Marks on the IHDG. I don't know Tess, although I've seen her on various forums, but Ms Marks was obviously having a dig at her which is why I made the comment. Glass houses and stones come to mind. However, I was wrong, I shouldn't have stooped to her level and I apologise for that.


I have to go now but would like to say thank you for an interesting thread and a special thank you to Tess (who I don't know and have never met despite the 'accusation' in the pm) who has both answered and brought up a lot of good points.
 

neelie OAP

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HuntingPink I think you have got it in one!!
:) Well said 'Hunting Pink' think you have nailed it, can you just imagine what a mine field it must be for all these people that are less experienced or confident for whatever reason, that are having problems with their horses, having their heads filled with all sorts of idea's, some good some not quite so good, to my mind trust and respect comes before anything else, and that you have to earn, for horses/animals read us far better than they are ever given credit for.
 

Alyth

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I read Montys book and tried the join up as my first foray into natural horsemanship!! Yes, join up followed the pattern as stated, but it didn't make sense in my mind to establish a connection and then shove a bit into the horses mouth and start long reining!! What about teaching the horse to follow a feel? Nothing said about rewarding every try.... just go for it!! So I moved on and found PNH. OK, that's not perfect either!! But it does start at the very beginning and gives us the basics....after which we should move on and find our "specialist" trainers/mentors....so my feeling is that we should use the brains we have been blessed with and decide what is kind and considerate to both the horse and ourselves and do the best we can....
 

tess1

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Hi tess,
Only a couple of points then I'm done!
1) horses are not schooled by RAs before being handed to monty, he actually asks you not to as he wants the audience to see everything.
2) your description of join up is slightly off in terms of timing. You don't release the pressure after you see the signs, the horse will only show the signs if you have taken enough pressure off first. Similarly, you don't release the pressure when he stops ( why would he stop while you are 'chasing' him? You use body language to invite him to you then he turns in. These small details re timing add more weight to the argument that it isn't learning theory and the horse is not forced. He could very easily not come in or not follow or not be caught. It's like suggesting you could teach an war shy horse not to lift his head by pinching his ears when he does, or a bolting horse to stop by hitting him when he runs. The target behaviour is not encouraged by the stimulus, chasing the horse o teach him to follow just wouldnt work, and certainly not that quickly.

3) confused by your dislike of the dually, what do you do if a horse tries to leave or run into you?

4) my main learning point from your posts is that we need to make sure we get the adaptive, subtle, clever, flexible, horse centred ih across in Kellys demos. It seems like we really are on the same page in many ways so it's sad that you have not felt positively engaged with ih.

Not sure il get time to come on here again for a while it's been hard to keep up with it but Thankyou all for the engaging discussion!! :)
Hi Rosie

1. Horses are worked prior to the demo to indentify their suitability for the demo. that's enough for them to be learning things - if an animal is awake, he's learning.

2. Here's what Kelly says about join-up in the book "perfect manners" -
"By now, in a 50 ft round pen, the horse will have travelled approximately 1/4 of a mile. This is the average 'run' of any predator that would be chasing him in the wild. By now, the horse will either have got clean away or be taken as dinner. Be clear that we are not imitating a predator in this process (my question - is the horse clear on this point, surely that is what counts?) but we are using our knowledge of how horses interact with each other. However, it is still interesting to note that, perhaps because of this predator/prey process that is inherently in their mind, after about a quarter of a mile some horses will often start giving clear signals to 'renogiate the deal'.[/BI must confess, this does seem to be a very confusing description - in the round pen is the human meant to be acting like a horse, or acting like a predator? I guess only the horse can decide.

So there is no mention of dropping the pressure before the first signals are seen, however it is quite clear that the pressure needs to come off bit by bit so the horse can begin to feel "safe" enough to "communicate" - ie, show the stress and displacement signals. Even Kelly says licking and chewing means "phew" - so to lick and chew the adrenaline must be coming down (to simplify) and therefore the horse must be realising he isn't going to be lunch. By default, of course, this means that the horse was stressed, and feared for his safety in the earlier part of the process. And, as I have said, the "triaining" for join up (ie, the "safe bubble/keep the lead loose and stay with the human) is happening long before the lead is unclipped. Stick with the human has become the default behaviour before the horse is sent away - so it makes sense that the horse would return to the "safe" default at the earliest opportunity. I think the "send away" must be extremely stressful and confusing for the majority of horses.

Here are some interesting interepretations - from Kelly - of language in join up.

The ear locked on signifies "respect". I think an alternative explanation is "I need to keep a close eye on the predatory like human in this cage with me ... Lord knows what they are going to do next".

Making the circle smaller. Kelly recommends that the handler needs to be sure that the horse is trying to come closer "because they want to" and not because "it is an aversion to the pen wall". Never mind about it being an aversion to the pen wall, I should think they want to get back to the human/middle of the pen because they are averse to running pointlessly around the outside of it with no opton to escape.

Lowering the head - apparently this is a "bow". Isn't that a bit anthropomorphic :rolleyes: Apparently it is submissive, and not a signal that should be forced. Kelly then goes on to say "what greatly assists in achieving this response is to let up the pressure in the area of the pen where the horse shows any sign of this gesture; for instance, look closely for the slightest dip or relaxation of the neck. He will tend to do this on the same spot where he feels most comfortable on each circuit. When he gets to this spot, keep him moving but don't throw the line at all, or put any additional pressure on ... if you still haven't had the lowering of the head at this spot you can try letting your horse really relax ... and even let him walk for a stride or two to see if that will encourage the head to drop". So what we have here is the negative reinforcement of head lowering - removing the aversive stimulus (pressure) whenever the horse shows the slightest sign of beginning to relax and continually reinforcing that posture by removing the pressure when it is seen.

Licking and chewing - apparently this is a throwback to what the foal does with the mares and more dominant members of the herd :rolleyes: In the paragraph on licking and chewing it is referred to as "submissive", "a sign of anxiety" and also "respectful" :confused: Submissive - well others would argue horses do not submit, only avoid. Anxious - yup, I'll buy that. Respectful ... where does that come in - unless of course round pen training is meant to be setting the human up to be the "dominant" member of the herd - again a theory that his been dismissed by many other equine experts. So it seems licking and chewing is most likely to be a sign of anxiety. I really like to avoid making horses anxious when I train them.

3. Please don't be confused about my dislike of the dually - it's really simple, I don't like devices that tighten across horses noses in order to control them. I particularly don't like the use of these devices when they are being used to coerce the horse into doing something they are afraid of, or pushing the horse too fast in the training process, thereby producing a flight reaction which is then inhibited by the sharp use of the dually. As I have mentioned earlier, in many instances the horse is difficult to lead, load or whatever because they are scared, incorrectly managed, or uneducated. I would address these issues through changing management and appropriate training at the horse's pace - not simply forcing the horse to comply through discomfort. Sometimes there is a particularly difficult situation where stronger control-type devices do need to be employed for the safety of all concerned and I happily accept that. However, when someone says "my horse will load with the dually, but not otherwise" you know it's because the horse has learnt the dually is uncomfortable, not that loading is an acceptable process. Monty and Kelly and the RAs rely hugely on the dually - far, far, too much, imo.

Yes, if IH is adaptive, horse centred, etc, that needs to come across far more - whilst modifying the questionable interpretations of body language and fanciful notion that chasing a horse in a small, enclosed space is the way to achieve "respect". Less coercion and more training would be good, as well.
 

FairyLights

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Excellent post ^^^^^
interesting comments about the Dually. Many moons ago I used to post on IHDG. When i queeried the need for controlling type halters [ eg Dually] [ whats wrong with a decent ordinary leather headcollar----the many horses I have trained over the years have never needed more than a headcollar or bridle ] [ and lunging cavesson when being lunged, obviously] I found that my post was deleted. I persisted only to be eventually banned. Any post queerying MR methods was also deleted. censorship big time. And very childish.
 

neelie OAP

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:)
Excellent post ^^^^^
interesting comments about the Dually. Many moons ago I used to post on IHDG. When i queeried the need for controlling type halters [ eg Dually] [ whats wrong with a decent ordinary leather headcollar----the many horses I have trained over the years have never needed more than a headcollar or bridle ] [ and lunging cavesson when being lunged, obviously] I found that my post was deleted. I persisted only to be eventually banned. Any post queerying MR methods was also deleted. censorship big time. And very childish.
:) At long last the mention of the most useful bit of kit the 'lunging cavesson' a far better tool than this modern day 'dually', which in my opinion only encourages the horse to rear, when yanked and tightened around its nose, like was seen on the S4C program when the coloured horse was trying to get away from the plastic on the stick thing being waved at in, it just wasn't very pleasant to see, no a cavesson for me does the job yes maybe old fashioned, but to me much more useful !
 

amandap

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When i queeried the need for controlling type halters [ eg Dually] [ whats wrong with a decent ordinary leather headcollar----the many horses I have trained over the years have never needed more than a headcollar or bridle ] [ and lunging cavesson when being lunged, obviously]
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a plain head collar or no head collar (in a safe environment) for training. Perhaps you can explain to those struggling with dangerous, bargy horses how to manage them day to day until they can be taught/relearn how to lead nicely?
Hopefully everyone will realize that we are training our horses all the time and wont let them learn panic or pushy behaviours and learn to spot 'problems' a horse is having earlier and nip it in the bud rather than the crash and burn approach.

My credibility is already trashed on here as I believe in an holistic approach that includes ruling out physical problems first, horse centred management and :)eek:) barefoot thinking. However, I don't recall ever being nasty as well. :(

ps. Lungeing cavessons are something imo that need to be chosen carefully. Have you felt the weight of some of them? Yikes!
 
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Wagtail

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I don't use a dually, but I do use a rope halter on occasion. Those people who disagree with anything other than a normal head collar, what do you do when a horse that is nine times out of ten a wonderfully behaved, well mannered horse that you can do absolutely anything with, but on the tenth occasion is bargy and runs over you? I have two such horses on my yard. One is a typical opinionated cob. Most the time he is extremely cooperative in all respects, but occasionally, when you are not bringing him in fast enough from the field for his liking, he will bolt off! If I know he is going to try it on, then I thread the rope over his nose and this stops him and he walks respectfully by me. He knows it is there and so doesn't even try it. The second horse is a lovely well behaved and respectful mare. However, when she had her foal, she became impossible to handle in her ordinary head collar and so we have changed it to the rope halter, and we can manage her safely in this. I have no doubt, once the foal is a little older and she is less anxious, we will be able to return to using her normal head collar, except for when the vet comes and she will throw people against the walls to avoid being jabbed!

What I am saying, is that even horses that have been well trained and are normally well mannered can sometimes behave out of character, either through fear or through naughtiness (as in the cob's case). And I don't see anything wrong in using a stronger method of control in these circumstances.
 
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rosiejones

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1) horses are looked at before the demo in their own headcollars not Duallys, and led to and from the rp by the owners. We specifically can't train. Once I was holding a horse to look at a tractor problem and renember feeling out of control as all i could do is literally hold the end of the rope to see what he did when a tractor came in the other end of the building, yes horses alway learning but no deliberate training to be near.

Somantics aside, I still hold that you would have a hard job training a horse to follow by using chasing as the negative stimulus to be removed, that simply isn't all there is to it, it couldn't be it wouldn't work, you cannot easily teach a horse to slow down by whipping him till he does or to speed up by pulling his mouth til he does. It's not as simple as any pressure will do if removed at the right time, to learn so quickly via learning theory along the pressure has to be one that instinctively generates the target behaviour.

I like to think of the eat on as attention. I personally agree that lickig and chewing is also consolidating/relaxing/after an event: you will see this often when you dismount, fall off, put the horse in his stable, finish a jumping round. It could follow trauma but does not indicate trauma took place.
The nice thing about ih is we have these discussions all the time and are always watching the horses Ns improving our understanding of reading body language, which is never finished and complete.

You say that the horse is uneducated who does bot k ow how to lead safely, I'd agree but wonder how you would retrain a horse that pushed through you? I have found the dually extremely effective, recently took a 3 to to bath and west an he was by far the most beautifully behaved in both his classes with judge comments on how happy an mannerly he was, he was a delight all day and the dually was a big part of his education.

Finally, we all have our own ethical boundaries, I always make sure my own training fits within those of the owner and don't insist my ideas of kindness or cruelty should be universal.
All horsemanship is more stressful than living in a quiet herd in the sun I guess!
Hammering a horse round a pen and jerking hard on the dually are beyond my ethical boundaries too, but good ih training is more a way of thinking and a bringing together lots of techniques that could be productive and picking the ones you agree with. Sone of my owners feel it's cruel to ever hack a horse on his own and they are group animals. Some feel shoes are cruel. Some dislike bits altogether. Some are professional point to point yards who get me out because it works not because it's kind at all.

I really must go and stop coming back as I can tell there will always be one more negative comment... Only had time to come back today due to weather meaning that this mornings appointment doing the first sit on a baby in an outdoor arena was not a good idea! But the next week is hectic so please don't take my absence as avoidance, I just don't have time anymore!!! Rosie
 
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