For awhile a graduate student from New Zealand was going to do a paper on the horse handling methods I used. She was going to do a study that would prove, or disprove, the theories and techniques I use and teach.
I thought, "Cool Beans!" I was really up to having my methods scientifically proven or disproved.
However, as time went on it began to dawn on me that the study could not be rigid enough to meet the criteria of her professor. It is not enough to demonstrate, for instance, that the bonder removed fear. It had to be demonstrated that ALL the subjects in the study have the same degree and type of fear. In the professor's zeal to eliminate variables he went beyond the reasonable probabilities of producing a study group of like individuals.
As we were trying to put together a baseline for the study she sent the following...
I like to know this from Marv. Can you state that any behaviour problem in a horse can be reduced by the bonder?.(nothing else, just the bonder) (or may be disappeared).I really like to know how you would train a young horse, what "type " of method do you use . I also like to know, do you ride with a bit? If so why?. I do have a view more questions , but this will be enough. If you do not understand what I "mean", due to the language barrier,**smile**, I might try to find another way to ask my question(s)
There are a number of questions in the query but the one we'll be dealing with here is, "Can I point to *ONE* behavior problem that can be reduced by the Bonder and nothing else?"
In dealing with horses and people I tend to get caught up in it and the next thing you know I'm touting the Bonder as a wonder procedure that does everything including removing paint splatters from your boots.
When someone comes to me with a problem, the first thing I usually say is, "Let's run the horse through the bonder." Afterwards I then ask, "Now what is the horse's problem?"
They tell me and I then "test" the horse. The huge majority of the time the problem is not there. Because the owner saw nothing but the bonder (herd dynamics) being performed, the bonder gets credit for the cure.
I vividly remember the event that ***HAMMERED*** home to me the stunning power of herd dynamics.
I have always had an area reputation for "getting into a horse's head" even before I became enlightened and left horse *breaking* behind. I began to do pretty much the same things that I do now but I did them to the point the horses were screaming at me, "LOOK YOU MORON!! I"VE DONE EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD TO SHOW YOU I'VE GOT THE IDEA!!! WHAT ELSE CAN I POSSIBLY DO???" At that point I would pat myself on the back and say, "Good, glad *you* finally got it."
The horses had gotten it LONG before *I* was convinced they had it. I was a little fuzzy on the timetable. While I had some ideas of the transition points between uncooperative and cooperative, I was having difficulty saying, "AH! **THIS** is the INSTANT this occurs. And **THIS** is WHEN this result is reached. I wasted a lot of time working on things I didn't need to work on any longer which caused the things I did need to work on to suffer .
Then I read Mr's paternal angst book and out of the whole book there were only two thoughts that had any value to me. He mentioned the acknowledging ear (and now I forget what the other was) and when I read those lines I then began thinking in terms of what is the horse saying to me and how is he saying it? Is it possible that he is addressing me as if *I* were a horse? I then compared the various displays I'd seen horses doing with each other to what I remembered was happening at the time.
It hit me that I make the most headway with a horse when I am acting like a horse! Imagine!
At that moment I *****KNEW*****, take it to the bank*****KNEW*****, it's a fact Jack*****KNEW*****, that I could from then on accomplish in minutes what took me months before with practically any horse. I say "practically with any horse" because I haven't worked all horses yet so I really don't know. I only know that so far it has not failed me.
We have a 24 year old Morgan broodmare/park saddle/harness mare that we have owned since she was 3 or so. We were breeding and showing Morgans at the time and our trainer kept her in New England for about 16 years at no cost to us. She was a guaranteed ribbon horse. She went to all the rated shows with his training horses and when he was having a blue ribbon drought he'd enter her in the show. Ribbons on the wall are seldom questioned.
If you were on her, or in the cart, when the class was over you placed extremely high in the ribbons.
When we pensioned off the show string she came home at 19. The trainer's brother handed me her leadline and said, "I rode that horse, once." Kellie, my partner called her a religious experience, "Let me off alive and I'll never ask for anything again." Her husband, Bob likened her to riding a motorcycle with no brakes. The trainer gave us strict instructions to NEVER let anyone ride her.
She was goofier than a loon. When you were around her you could not take your mind off of her for a second. If something spooked her you better hope you weren't in front of her. If she was loose heading up the barn aisle you didn't stand in her way waving your arms and yelling, "Whoa! Whoa!" She was dangerous.
Within minutes after my new found assurance I was heading her toward the round pen unwilling to tolerate her antics anymore and to at least put little better leading manners on her.
Five minutes (certainly not much longer than that) after we went into that pen I had a TOTALLY different horse. Her demeanor, her behavior was flawless. I then went and got my tack and tacked her up as she stood obediently. I then got on her and she was as compliant as one could possibly expect.
In the years since then, she has not required **one** correction for anything or given me the first bit of trouble. She is a flawless trail horse who allows me to sleep undisturbed as we tool on down the trail. I have put never been on a horse before children on her and she has carried them with obvious care.
The bonder changes the attitude. How long the change lasts is an individual thing but it always renewable. The extent of the attitude change ranges across the board. It is the attitude change that affects the problem.
People often say to me, "She won't let me pick her feet up, can you teach her to let me do that?" I always answer, "Don't need to." My most stellar moment was a mare at one of my clinics who had to be tranqued, scotch hobbled AND twitched to be shod. I asked for a hammer and the owner produced a farrier's hammer (go figure, why would someone whose horse required tranqing, hobbling and twitching be carrying a farrier's hammer?). Making no effort to take it easy, I bent down lifted the mare's front foot and began "farriering" for all I was worth as she stood at liberty.
The owner eyes bulged and then she said, "She's worse with her back feet." I shrugged and went clear around the horse. I handed her the hammer and the horse and told her, "Tell the farrier, no drugs, ropes or other restraints. If he insists, get another farrier."
I can't tell you how many times I heard hammering on horse shoes coming from that stall those two clinic days.
There was one horse I worked under less than idea conditions - irregular shaped pen with a mud hole, a stall opening (not really sure now) and it also runs in my mind there was a tree involved - where *I* thought the horse showed a high degree of compliance but the owner felt it was not in her or the horse's best interests to continue. I have been able to develop a demonstrative connection with all of the others.
You ask "how" I train a horse. I change the attitude by establishing an intense mental connection (bonder), open a line of communication with the horse and then clearly explain to the horse what I want and it delivers.
Unblocking communication is the one problem the bonder cures.
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