Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Advice on the Particulars of Pressure

"Hey, I’m new to all this parelli stuff. So far its been great. Have a few question though, and wondering if anyone out there can help me out.

When I try the "Can you?" part of the program I can do it all except the part where Pat taps the lead rope with the carrot stick and his horse backs up. When I try, my horse walks forward. I didnt persist with it coz it still doesn’t make much sense in my head. We train them to walk forward when they feel pressure on their halter, so when you tap the lead rope, they feel a jerking pressure on their halter, so of course they’ll move forward….. confused, can anyone explain this?"

I liked this question because it made me think and I like my response:

Hi, [new Parelli student], and welcome to the journey. You are correct that you would just need to persist to clarify it with your horse. As soon as [your mare] stops walking forward, stop tapping. Eventually, she will understand to not walk forward when you tap the rope. Once that’s clear, you can stop tapping as she tries to do what you want, which is back up (first her mind, then her body position, then her weight, and finally the feet). Just remember to keep rewarding that slightest try.

The point of the tapping is a rhythmic pressure. If you think about it, wiggling the rope during the yo-yo game also produces a pressure on the halter. In either case, the horse has to read cues as a collective, not as independent. What I mean is that sometimes, pressure on the halter should draw the horse to you, but the feel should also be "drawing" as well as your body language. It’s how you are teaching your horse to not make assumptions—your horse has to read all of the signals coming from you, just as you have to read all of the signals coming from her. Don’t worry, though—horses pick up on it much faster than we do.

This is why it’s not a trick. It’s body language and communication. Those are principles #3Communication is mutual and #6Body language is universal and #2Don’t make or teach assumptions! :D

I hope that helps. What a good question—very thoughtful.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving