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Calming signals

Calming signals

Postby Chevalblanc » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:13 pm

Just watched a really interesting video round at a friend's, it's the latest from Warwick Schiller, but what I like about it is that he's only just come across this idea and is starting to explore it and is very ready to admit he's missed these signals from a lot of horses and so got things wrong in the past....anyway I can't post the vid because it's a subscription only thing, but here is another one exploring the same idea:

In the other vid, WS was saying that a lot of anxious horses are sending us calming signals that we completely miss because they are so subtle. So things like turning their head slightly away as we approach meaning "I'm not comfortable with this", or turning the head to try to block us from going along their side. Most people just go ahead and do what they were going to do with the horse anyway but if instead you stop and take a step back and take the pressure off and just wait (sometimes from a long time) these anxious horses start releasing because you've given them the space they've asked for. In his vid, WS quotes this article from Anna Blake, that I've shared before: https://annablakeblog.com/2014/04/18/ca ... listening/ He also shared some extraordinary footage from a recent clinic where he tried this approach with a very tense mustang (captured by the BLM at 3 years old, now eight), and after about 20 minutes the horse actually laid down and went to sleep - maybe the first time it had relaxed in its domesticated life?

In the WS group on FB, he explained exactly what happened and how it was like an Epiphany for him. He has a couple of tense horses at home and had never been able to get them calm. He posted a video of one of them doing some transitions and getting more and more wound up and in the end he just stopped and waited. Then someone got in touch online and said "you didn't wait long enough"...so he's been waiting longer with horses like that mustang which isn't interesting if you're making a clinic video or whatever but he's been so surprised by the results that e's doing more and more of it.

Anyway, something to explore with Sky. She certainly does better with the archery training when given a few minutes to reflect and release after a tense episode......
Helen

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Re: Calming signals

Postby Trudi » Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:15 am

Ah this is what you were telling me about Helen- will come back and watch as I must get on with some work.
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Re: Calming signals

Postby Chevalblanc » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:59 pm

Been reading more on this.This blog post explains more and has some great links to other websites: http://click-treat.livejournal.com/975.html In particular, Andy Beck's website (mentioned in the post) has a load of interesting articles......
Helen

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Re: Calming signals

Postby Trudi » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:54 pm

Thanks Helen I read that some time back when the old herd/dominance theory was becoming openly discredited. In behaviour terms the calming signals are termed 'fiddle about' so they might freeze, flee, fight or fiddle about. Those little things that tell you something's up (displacement and appeasement) can be ultra subtle or they can be moving about when tied up and if missed might end up as flight/fight/freeze and I reckon when they freeze you have the biggest problem. I saw lots of it in Chapiro (didn't know what it was at first) and the mare on Sunday was similar. Clicker work helped Chapiro and I but each has their own route but good on WS for seeing this and taking time to investigate. Mark Rashid never accepted the herd hierarchy theory and we need more NH men to pick up on it.
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Re: Calming signals

Postby Chevalblanc » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:44 pm

This from The Happy Horse page today:

Since I’ve been discovering about calming signals and learning to read the ones my little bay mare is sending out, I have a new horse on my hands. She is comical and playful, as if she’s always ready for a little game. She follows me about the field with a gentle, questing look in her eye. Sometimes, after I’d let her out to graze in the set-aside and I went to pick her up, she would shake her head and trot off, as if to say: no, thank you, I’m not ready to come in yet. Now she stands and gives me her head for the halter without hesitation. A couple of days ago I merely opened the gate and gestured with my hand and she trotted brightly in of her own accord. Her answer to every question is a contented yes.
What I’ve learnt is a subtlety, a refinement. It’s new knowledge, but it is building on a principle that was already there. I knew that I needed to be sensitive to her and responsive to her and to try to understand her. I did not know these particular signals and now I do. So I think: it should not really be such a vast change, but it turns out that it is. It’s as if she was carrying a little burden and now someone has taken it off her back. She can let her curiosity and sense of fun come out and dance. It’s one of the loveliest things I’ve ever experienced with horses and I still can’t quite believe it.
Helen

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Re: Calming signals

Postby Tess and Organza » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:13 pm

I had a good look at this last week, makes perfect sense, have been making sure that I fine tune my conversations, quite amazing really...things are happening!
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