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Herd Dynamics: Take Rights Or Honor Them

She writes:

Dear Marv.

Look I have never done this before. I might choose not an easy subject. Well the topic is giving. How to reduce aggression before it starts. I also could take the next topic. how best to pet your dog or cat? I try the horses first. I also would like to read that local article about your training methods.

I always wrote assignments, Reading articles, bla,bla. Now I have to do an experiment. And the following things we have to keep in mind is. The problem I want to investigate, the theory I want to test , and the subjects I have available. Here in (location removed) there are enough horses. It is always preferable when doing an experiment to test some theory. What is even better is if there are two theories which predict opposite or different things..

You say that your theory is that horses have rigid herd socialization actions that have genetically predisposed reactions. Can you explain this to me. anything articles related to this theory?. You also say that your work is not a theory, that you have a number of concepts that fly in the face of tradition. What do you mean by that..

I think to prove a theory 10 horses would be fine, but you do not have to take them all at the same time in the round pen. I think when you have horses who do not know each other, they would like to sort out who is the leader, so there might be some kicking and bucking going. According to another natural horse lady, this would not be good horsemanship. And how would we test this bonding. How would we measure this? What signs are we looking for and how do we now that that is the bonding sign. I always want to prove something to people who have no clue , ( me for example)

Another thing you said was. Fear removal or the changing of fear motivated action, aggressive or otherwise would seem to me to demonstrate the premise better. What do you mean by that?. How would you recognize this.

My reply...

As I explained to the Horses list, we (you and us Muricans) have a language problem in that the things we say may not always be clear to the other, so we'll just have to keep hammering away at until we come to a common understanding.

You have asked me a number of very time consuming questions in your last email alone and I'll be best able to answer them in a number of emails over time.

One of my interests is tracking. I was born and raised in a remote area where living off the land was an important part of dealing with a sub-standard family income. NOTHING moves on the face of the earth without leaving a mark on that earth. Those marks contain a VAST amount of information for those who study them.

For instance, if I come across your tracks in the woods and follow them for any length of time, I'll more than likely be able to tell your weight, your height, your hair color, your sex, your mood, your physical condition, how long ago you were there and enough other information to where if you are in a crowd of 100 people I could probably walk up to you and say, "You are the person who made those tracks."

And there is no great trick to that. It is but a matter of observation. When you become familiar with a mark, you know the who, what, when, where and why of the mark and NO MATTER WHERE you see that mark you know how it got there. The more marks you familiarize with, the more marks you can read.

The more observant you are, the more you learn.

Observation is basically how I learned horse herd dynamics. I figured horses seem to have everything figured out when left to their own devices in a herd. Every herd member seems to know and accept its place. Every herd member seemed to be secure. Every action of every herd member seemed to have a beginning, end and a purpose - every matter was always resolved to the acceptance of all involved. There appeared to me to be cohesiveness and harmony in the herd even though there were clearly was a constantly changing "pecking order" in the herd.

Put a human in the middle of all this and the next thing you know, you have chaos, and disharmony. The unity connection is lost and much time is spent striking a happy medium trying to get the horse to conform to human herd dynamics.

Now I have read many articles and theories about horse interactions. I'm sorry to say that I have not kept any because, just as you said when talking about your favorite method, there seemed to be something missing. Now, years later, that something missing appears to be many of the extremely important nuances were not fully observed by the advocates of the concept.

In observing horses free of human influence I have noticed that nature has set up a rule that says "You have the individual rights you are capable of taking and enforcing and you honor the rights of those who are more able to do that than you are." This rule is accepted by all horses. The horse who is the most able to take rights becomes the leader. Ranked behind that horse according to their ability to take rights are all the other herd members in what has come to be called the "pecking order"..

The factor that has the greatest amount of influence in this dynamic is the DETERMINATION of the horse taking the right. If one horse is eating and a higher ranked horse comes up and says, "I'm taking this," the lower horse has ONLY two choices - it either must honor the superior horse's right or it must challenge and take the right for itself.

Horses understand and accept and are 100% comfortable with that dynamic. They know exactly what is expected of them when presented with an action - honor it or challenge it. As I have said, the absence of fear is confidence. Confidence is the assurance you can handle what is expected of you. In a herd, you are expected to challenge or accept. That's it. ALL horses can do that.

The more determined a horse is to take rights, the more lesser determined horses honor those rights. This is evidenced by the fact that some horses expend very little energy to take rights, pinned ears are often enough effort.

Now then, in the next email I'll bring fear into this and how I found it can be quickly removed by mimicking this principle.

Marv "Observation and more observation." Walker

The Last Page Was Herd Dynamics: Introduction
This Page Is "#1 ~ Herd Dynamics: Take Rights Or Honor Them"
The Next Page Is # 2 ~ Herd Dynamics: The Effect On Fear

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