In the video "Linda Parelli shows how to effectivly hit with the snap" I commented on the horses use of what I call "calming signals". Since there were some interesst in what I wrote I thougth we could talk about it in this forum thread.

I wrote (so I don't have to repeat myself):

Cartoonracher wrote: "When the young woman is trying to back her horse away (under the big tree), he's obviously confused and "over" the whole lesson. He's tuning her out because nothing he's done has been rewarded. It's nothing but non-stop horse-irritating."

I reacted especially to that scene, too. At first the girl is trying to back the horse when he is in front of the tree. Horses don't have good depth perception, especially backwards, so it seems he is asked to back into the tree, something he feels he can't.

After this the horse is seemingly tuning her out, something Linda claims is disrespectful. The sad thing about it is that the horse is NOT tuning her out, the horse is communicating with horse body language that he is not wanting any conflict. I talk about this in my body language clinics a lot, because not many people seems to be aware of the horses
"calming signals".

Horses use these signals when they feel pressured and wants to let the person understand that they perceive them as agitated/aggressive, but that the person can calm down, because they do not pose any threat to them.

Some of the comments here has been about the horse arching away and trying to turn away from the people. What the horse is trying to do is to signal that he's NOT a threat, and by that it's trying to get the person to not be so aggressive. This is the very opposite of disrespect!

The worst thing about the horses calming signals is that it provokes people. People feel ignored and that is for a human a big provocation. Especially when they have been taught that this is a disrespectful sign from the horse! It's a bit off topic here, but I mention it because it's part of the problem with the clip; not only is she using a horrible technique, she is also gravely misreading the horse!

Even a mild correction would have been wrong when the horse is signaling "lets just have peace - I don't wish to fight with you"… if a horse gives you that message and you correct it you are basically telling it "I don't want peace - and I do want to have a fight".

Like I said, it's off topic, but if someone wants me to explain more about these signals I can, we could always make a separate discussion about it.

The horses calming signals is something I haven't written about before although I talk about this in my clinics. There are a couple of reasons for that: one, I don't know how to begin writing about it - in a clinic it comes naturally when a horse displays the signals - and also because I don't know how much people knows about this already. In Scandinavia, where I live and teach, I know that my students says that this is news to them, but for all I know this is common knowledge in Canada :)

Another big reason is that what I am talking about goes against what most trainers believe in, and rocks the foundation of what many people consider natural horsemanship. I think...
Last, but not least; it is a big topic... so to write about it is a big task, but I will do so if I see that people truly are interessted in what I am talking about :)

That is why I want this to be in a discussion form, to get a grasp of what you know about this already, and also to be able to show some video clips to show you what I am talking about.

To not make this text too long I think it's a good idea if I write seperate posts about the different signals. That way I can add on information as I see what people have questions about :)

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I've never read any of Ponyboy's books, but maybe I will now. I have found the more time I spend with Rip, the better. And I agree whole heartedly with your Foster Child theory. I've been in a lot of boarding facilities, blessed to own horse property now, and I've seen so many horses come and go, some REALLY good horses, very seldom finding anyone willing to put in the time and effort to help them. Like you said, they just give up on them way too soon...they want instant relationship.
Man, that gave me the chills reading it.. And it's funny--I LOVE that movie "Spirit" and was thinking about it the other day, how that was how I wanted to form my relationship with my girls! Just spend time with them, let them teach me how to understand.. It was the strangest thing, because I had a fear around them both before, but when I went in with them Saturday with the new attitude of this being something I wanted THEM to teach ME, and it was just like Kai (the non-afraid one) and I just clicked! She followed me around like a puppy, she looks like a close friend who's so happy to see me whenever I come now, she'll just stand there for long amounts of time so I can just hug her, scratch her, love on her.. She seems SO much happier, and seems like she feels at home (which is part of why what you said gave me the chills!), and my afraid girl even seems to be warming up to me leaps and bounds more than she did before! She's still afraid.. But every time she lets me touch her, she looks less and less afraid. I'm not going for speed here--I'm going for quality of relationship (which is why I've loved talking with you--seems like you're the same way). It's just so funny though.. With Kai, it went from a "I'll scratch you from a distance" to feeling like she wants me to hop on her back and go for a nice walk.. With Donoma, it's almost like we're courting each other in a way.. Isn't it incredible though?? Your trainer is so right.. They KNOW when we don't trust them, and by golly do they make sure we do trust them before we move on! I love it though.. They are so incredible.. I wish you could come meet my girls:)
Thank you so much for your replies.. I am really enjoying what you have to say.. I"m sure my girls are enjoying the fruits of our conversations and Ellen's theories/suggestions, too!!
Meghan,this is response to september 20 because I missed this..... until just now... woohoo girl!! You are getting their attention which is the first step... we have to be interesting to do the wonderful things that Ellen does... I am so happy for you that the three of your girls are figuring each other out.. how long have you been together?????
I've only got my two girls--their other herdmate went to another home (regrettably--it is the home of the guy that seems to have made Donoma fear us).. It's been 1 month and 1 or 2 weeks, I think? Not long at all! (explains my zillions of questions, eh?:) )
Kai is coming out of her shell a lot, but Donoma is still extremely reluctant.. I got a video to show how she acts when I stand by her at feed time in hopes of understanding her behavior more.. I hope to post that soon.. She did let me give her scratches a few times (with much fear in her face, so I kept it very short and sweet) but.. Baby steps.. Baby steps.. OHHH how I wish I could just invite you to Virginia!!!
Dear Ellen:
I have just started following this excellent discussion group today. I am very interested in your insights!!! It speaks right to the very heart of my herd relationship with my herd of 4. I am looking forward to learning all I can from everyone's points of view.
To everyone following this discussion, we were required to remove the Linda Parelli video.
I , and I think other members, would be interested in your being more specific as to why you were required and by whom. If you are not permitted to be more specific that would be interesting to know as well. I have to say probably no one is surprised.Thanks to the web, nothing is gone forever, people will have to stand by what they have put out there.
So has the discussion of the video also been removed? I mean can we even mention the P word?
Do we have to write in code if we want to discuss a certain training method which shall remain nameless?
That doesn't surprise me. I'm guessing it might have something to do with copyrights.
Copyright is certainly the reason they will probably give. But the point of copyright is to prevent someone else from benefitting from the use of the video or to prevent misrepresentation. To use it to prevent open discussion or cover up the nature of what is being taught just makes it look like they are not being forthright about their activities.
If the discussion was only singing the praises of the P method, and not critiquing it, do you think they would want that removed, or just consider it free advertising?
"To use it to prevent open discussion or cover up the nature of what is being taught just makes it look like they are not being forthright about their activities."

Good point! It appears that we are "benefitting" from in what not to do with our horses.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.
Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)

I think a Certain Marketiing Machine who shall remain nameless is in damage control and thinks future loyal followers will continue to be sucked into the vortex as long as It can ride out this contraversy.


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