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When A Whip Is Not A Whip

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She writes...

Hello, I'm real new in this list. Just a few days ago I asked for the bonder, ( Bonder@MarvWalker.com ) but still didn't use it. I have some questions to make. I have 3 horses which we bought very recently. My horse, a gelding (a lot of thoroughbred in him) is around 8 years. He is a jumping horse. My daughter (11 years old) has a 4 1/2 year old mare which we purchased along with her filly (2 years old). The major problem is with my horse. I bought him in June. He was kind of nervous as also scared to death if he saw a whip anywhere close to him. So we suppose he was abused. Since then of course nobody uses a whip near him. His progress has been quite good. He now lets us touch him and bath and comb him as also his tail but we still cannot make sudden movements with our hands or arms. The nervousness he had when riding him went almost completely away until about a month ago (spring in Argentina) he suddenly became quite crazy again when riding him. So I'm thinking about using the bonder with him in the next few days. I'm not sure if I can do it myself. Can I have a person help me do it? What should I have in my hands (remember the whip issue).

Can you have a helper? If they know what they're doing, sure. You can have someone with a copy of the Bonder in their hands calling it like a dressage test, but it's not really needed. Just read it over until you think you have it down then go at it.

When I have young children performing the bonder I'm always behind them until I'm convinced they have it down pat. I'm there to take the bullet should something go wrong. An example of that can be seen in my DVD, Focusing The Unfocused Horse where I work with a terrified 9 year old and her totally out of control horse.

I'm sure you can do the bonder yourself even if it takes you a half-dozen starts. The goal is to give the horse a series of directions that you KNOW you can get the horse to obey without being physically connected to it until it says by its actions, "This being is presenting me with herd leadership actions and I'm responding to them. Therefore this being must be a leader and I am a follower."

If you keep everything low key and quiet the sessions won't be a failure. Don't get all sweated up, don't let the horse get all sweated up. There are no hills you must die in. You will learn what works and what doesn't each time you do the bonder. How are you going to get the horse used to the whip if you don't have the whip around the horse? My suggestion would be to not think of the whip as a whip but rather as an extension of your being.

I personally would put the horse in the enclosure, grab the whip and go in with the horse. There have been a number of times I have been stopped by horse owners as we went in with the horse. "Ahhh, you're not going in there with a whip are you? He goes berserk when he sees a whip." I usually thank them for the warning and in I go and the horse seldom pays attention to it.

Why is that? Because I don't view the whip as a whip. I view it as an extension of my being. It only becomes a whip when the horse becomes aggressive toward me and it only stays a whip until the aggression is past.

If the horse should appear agitated I would simply wait at one side of the enclosure until it calmed. At that point I'd begin working my way toward the center of the enclosure. If it started running around the enclosure I'd stop it by going back to the side and simply standing there. I would tell the horse, "For your own good, don't come into my space." It will end up stopped on the other side of the enclosure and then I would continue. Bottom line, I would say to the horse, "I'm going to carry this whip, you'll accept it and no harm will come to you."

If one loses control of a horse in the enclosure and the horse starts going around wildly the way to stop that is to immediately go to where the horse was the second you decided to gain control of the horse and be waiting there when the horse comes back around and telling the horse by your actions, "You and I end up in the same spot together someone is going to regret it and I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it ain't me!" The horse will more than likely stop and head back the other way. If it comes all the way back around, same response. Sooner or later it will stop as far from you as it can get which will be the opposite side of the enclosure. Be sure and leave enough room between you and the horse in case it should happen to keep coming. This is rare but it does happen on occasion and you don't want to be physically blocking his travel.

My daughter's mare is very reliable the only problem we have with her is that out of nowhere she suddenly wants to go another way and drags anyone who is leading her where she wants to go. Do we have to use the bonder with her for this problem? WHo has to do the bonding? My daughter alone, my daughter with someone else with her, or any person? The filly is now at another field and coming back in a few weeks. I suppose we have to use another bonding method with her as she is so young but was quite spoiled by the previous owners.

It's a problem, isn't it? You'd like to change it wouldn't you? When the horse is going its way without regard to you, who's in charge?

Anyone who deals with the horse and who wants to be the horse's leader needs to perform the bonder with it if the horse appears to be the leader in the relationship. Horses are extremely aware of who in the herd is the leader or whether there is no leader. If you have five humans and one horse in a "herd," the horse will know where everyone ranks. This is why some people can get along fine with a horse and some others can't. If your family is with the horse it will know who in the family actually is the true leader of the family (herd) and act accordingly.

2 YO horses are on the top side of immature. For the most part they respond like older horses. Just go a little easier.

You also mentioned that the horse was doing good and then all of a sudden became excessively spooky. The very first thing I eliminate with abnormally spooky horses is physical issues. I start with an examination by an equine chiropractor to rule out skeletal issues followed by a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist to back up the chiro should he find anything. Chiros handle the skeletal, CESMTs handle the muscular. If the skeletal health is out of whack the muscles are compromised as well because they are trying to protect the skeletal issue.

If you cannot find an equine chiro in your area you might try AVCADoctors.com. You should be able to find a CESMT by Googling

Click here to check out my very reasonably priced DVD inventory covering many of the subjects featured on my site's pages in greater depth.

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