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Addressing Some
Bonder Nuance Questions

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Since you seem to be in town, Marv, at the hitching post, I would like to ask a horse question. When I see you doing bonder, the horses seem to be mostly turning out. What store do you put in the turning out or turning in? I am feeling the out turns are the result of greater pressure, and may be more convincing to the horse in the early sessions of bonder.

When I am putting a horse through the Bonder I don't really care which way it turns because I am basically presenting the horse with leadership actions and I want to do that as simply as I can.

I have played with the inturns by stepping back & "pulling" the raw recruit to me, (to do an in turn) but in the early stages, of convincing, I am not sure that that is wise. For one, a horse that has not done the whole process, has then an opportunity to pass closer to me or suddenly decide to cut across in a 40ft pen, & conceivably, run over the human or aim a kick. Not all are going to do a lovely 180 rollback to the inside & go the other way. Especially ones who are getting initially bonded. There must be a nice place to insert inside turns, is it just when one is about to intro lunging? Or, is it a refinement of bonding?

Could you expound a little on what you have noticed on this little dance, Marv?

I have noticed that you have hit on a nuance that I have overlooked.

As I said earlier, I simply do not care which way it turns during the connection work because I'm basically telling it, "Come into my space before you acknowledge I am the leader and there will be a major problem and I'm going to do everything I can to be it."

So if I ask for an inside turn and it comes close enough to reach me before it shows me leadership respect I do the lead mare thing, "Here's a set of teeth for you to think about! Do not come near me until you are showing me the respect I deserve!"

I have done the procedure so many times it is instinctive to me yet I am always learning.

You bring up a very good point.

For increased safety when bondering horses one should always use outside turns by cutting the horse off until you are reasonably sure the horse is listening to you.

While free longeing a horse who is compliant one may use which ever turn one wishes to use to polish communication. Inside turns are made by pulling the horse toward the center or drawing them in as you have pointed out. When the horse is committed to the turn toward you you move toward it which then causes the horse to complete the inside turn.

One more thing, since you have bondered so many horses, Marv. Do you feel it is a longterm advantage to be verbal with the early bonder? Kind of as an extra garnish while working the horse? Saying things like whoa, back, come here, turn, go out, etc. just to begin to name the action for the horse. And of course, your indignant "excuse me". Or, should the first bondings to capitulation --yielding of horse--be all body language? What do you find gives the maximum effect? (I keep wanting to squeeal like a mad mare) Or, does talking human talk get in the way of the initial experience for the horse?

The most important thing is the presentation of herd leadership actions. I can't think of any way to do that short of physically conveying to the horse what you expect it to do. Each person really does that in a manner that feels right to them after they understand the reasoning. Talking really isn't needed to get the idea across. Does it hurt to talk to the horse? Absolutely not. Can you talk to the horse? Sure, whatever floats your boat.

You do the bonder once or twice while determined that you are going to be the leader and with an understanding of the concept, you can usually figure out your own style.

If you feel the need, or desire, to talk to the horse, do it. I only talk to the horse when there are humans around who need to know my thought processes. If there is no one around I never verbally talk to the horse but we have this gushing two way conversation with neither making a sound.

I personally don't see any difference.

Whatever floats your boat. If you want to squeal, do it. I've heard enough horses do it and one needs to be horse like to be a herd leader.

Here is a well said thought by one of my Horses list members during a discussion of this subject...

I think the reason they seem to understand better when you are verbalizing isnt really your words & voice....... I think when we "talk" & verbally are trying to explain to the horse what it is you want them to do.... you dont realize it but you are focusing, visualizing & actually expecting the correct response... when you do these things they carry over in your body language & physical actions which the horse is more apt to be responding too. For example you are leading your horse through the arena & there is a brand new huge tarp laying on the floor of the arena.. If you see the new obstacle & in your head think "oh a new tarp - no problem, & continue to walk right past it confidently like its been there forever... more than likely your horse will pass it with little suspicion... he has read your reaction & follows your confident lead... where on the other hand you see it & immediately begin to visualize it to be an obstacle that is really going to spook your horse.. your body language will give off hesistation & concern the horse in turn will pick up on that & again follow your lead & spook... the difference is when you are talking you are verbally setting up your own reaction,,, just like when your hear a creak in the house in the middle of the night you talk yourself into being brave enough to go see what it is LOL.... hope this makes sense...

KL

Yes, it does.

I am continually asked why I am not more demanding when it comes to "proper bonder form." Some gurus insist that you have to wiggle your fingers a set way while wearing a correct facial expression, your body has to be at exactly the right angle and so on. Bunk. I let people develop their own way of performing the bonder as long as they direct the horse to do what they want it to do and get the horse to obey the direction.

The essence of the bonder in a nutshell is this: You give the horse a series of directions you know you can get the horse to do until it says, "Whoa! This being is telling me what to do and I'm doing it! This being must be a leader. If this being is a leader, I must be a follower."

How or when or if you wiggle your nose is not important.

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