Saturday, December 3, 2011

More Video: Getting Ahead of the Thought - What Do You See?

A lot of the time, what we do in our riding and in our work with horses is to react to something the horse does, after the horse is already doing it.  For the horse to do something, the horse must have a thought and then act on it.  One of the most important things I learned from Mark Rashid is that, if you pay attention, you can feel/see the thought forming so that you get ahead of it and provide the horse with direction before the thought turns into action.  Since I had the video of the work Drifter and I did yesterday (see yesterday's post), I went over it in slow motion to see how many cases I could find where he was starting to think about reversing direction, what the signs were and how many times I caught the thought before it fully turned into action and how many times I was late.  All of this is to improve my timing - it's something I'm working on in all of my work with horses and it's always a work in process.

The clips are very short and are in slow motion - see if you can spot where he starts to think about turning in - it's usually a number of strides before he actually does it.  Then, see if you can spot the signs that the thought is forming - what's he doing, precisely?  (And, as a bonus feature, at the end there's a clip of the work we've been doing for him to back out of my space simply as a result of my moving into his space - he gets a nice face rub for doing so well.)  I'd recommend double-clicking on the video so you can view it in full screen - even in slow motion the details pass by pretty quickly.

And in the couple of cases where I get ahead of the action and interrupt the thought, I was interested to see that it took very little in terms of action on my part - whereas once the action started, I had to get much bigger.  Hmm . . . .  This also makes the point that if we can "lead" our horses with our thoughts by giving them active direction - which doesn't have to be big - they're less likely to form thoughts that are out of sync with what we want them to do but are more likely to have shared thoughts with us as we do the work together.  Whereas if we leave gaps in our direction, they're going to be forming their own thoughts . . .

I'll be interested in what you see.

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