Update part 2: Farley
|March 20, 2015
|Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized
In case you have forgotten what Farley even looks like in the flurry of ML updates, here’s a recent picture.
A rare picture that she is not ruining by turning her big fat head into the camera view and casting a shadow over her shoulder and making her look like the world’s fugliest 100 mile horse.
I won’t bore you with the number of out-takes to get this one picture….because I’m going to bore you with a video(s). :).
Farley got put in the roundpen because she was put in a smaller pen during my absence and was very “up”. They were playing polo in the arena and the limited time I had between chukkers to let her run around was obviously insufficient, as demonstrated by a rather small and dark horse doing very respectful piaffes beside me on the way out.
(FYI – at the time that I hit publish on this post, the editing for length on all the videos in this post was still being “processed” by Youtube. For those of you reading this post early before the edits show up…sorry. After processing the videos should be about 30 seconds or so long…not whole minutes of me and my clumsy camera).
Update: All the videos but the first have been clipped successfully! Just watch the first 40 second or so of the first one, and the other ones should be fine now!
I initially took the video because I wanted a nice little video to share with you of Farley, since I talk about ML so often. I also don’t think I’ve posted any videos of Farley moving and I wanted to see if I could capture the difference in Farley versus ML’s movement.
View the first 8 seconds of the video below to see what ML looks like:
However (like usual) I learned a little something about my horse and me while watching the play back.
What’s all the chatter?
After watching the video besides the obvious I don’t talk to my horses unless I’m asking them to do something. You can see in the video while I’m chatting to *you*, Farley is trying her best to figure out whether she is suppose to do something *different* because beyond the occasional “good girl”, words coming out of my mouth mean “listen up because you are going to do something”.
Initially the video was much longer (I clipped it. You are welcome) – but it was same pattern. I chattered away and Farley went from just looking at me to actively trying to turn towards me, change direction or something.
I think the habit comes from driving. When you drive you have 2 things. Your voice and the lines. Of the 2, the voice is the most nuanced and has gotten me out of more shit. Just like I wouldn’t ride a horse with my heels constantly dug into its sides, I don’t talk to my horses when I don’t have something to say.
Is she spoiled? (or am I just lazy?)
You may notice that she unwaveringly travels with her head straight up, nose parallel to the ground, and her lips pressed together. She’s willing to do an inside turn at any point or halt, or respond to whatever my body language is telling her to do. But she does not do the classic “soft relaxed horse”. Once she halts she will immediately start chewing and will look at me with both eyes – even if I’m not paying attention to her, until I tell her to do something different.
Although her behavior at a halt is near what I consider ideal….her behavior while moving around the roundpen is what I was taught as “incorrect”.
Is it because she’s spoiled and I’ve let her “get away” with it? Is it a sign of a giant hole in our relationship? Or have I been too lazy to fix it?
“To me, spoiling a horse means that you allow him to consistently behave without respect for people — and that you do this out of a sense of misplaced kindness to your horse…When a horse is spoiled, the owner has rewarded the horse for evading, resisting, or refusing to perform the basic functions that are required to be a safe, reliable riding horse. Instead of giving the horse leadership and clarity in boundaries, the owner will default to what they believe to be more gentle and humane treatment. Thus they avoid any interaction in which the horse is corrected and redirected into more appropriate activity. Instead, imaginary emotions are attributed to the horse — and the owner responds to these pretend equine feelings (which prevents the misbehavior from even being perceived, let alone corrected).”
Technically such a stiff posture, with a high head, compressed lips is something I consider disrespectful. But evaluated in the “whole animal” picture in this case, those behaviors don’t support the picture of a disrespectful horse. In Farley this behavior is not part of a pattern that points towards a larger problem.
Is it attractive? No.
Do I wish that she travelled around the roundpen the picture of softness and suppleness? Yes.
Am I going to devote a lot of time and energy towards that? Probably not, until there is a good reason to do so. I have noticed that while she does not travel under saddle like this, she does have a tendency to do so in harness. Which means as I transition her to my harness horse, I may attempt to “fix” this issue.
So, it really does boil down to my laziness and priorities.
A new tool?
I admit that I went back out today, 2 days after the original video and filmed her again. The lighting was better, and based on my reflections here I thought I could get a better video of her working and not quite as confused by my atypical body language and chatter. I was right!
Here’s her at her very slow trot and her more typical “working” trot.
Here’s her canter. It’s atrocious. It’s much MUCH prettier under saddle – balanced with rhythm and very correct. Now you can see why it took so much work and time! (and why we didn’t canter for a long time).
In addition to moving a little better today, she was also showing me a little softer side. Lowering her head. More chewing at a halt.
The interesting thing is….I didn’t realize that until I reviewed the videos from Wednesday and today, side by side. Makes me think I should get in the habit of videoing my horses more often!
Next up….Mel updates!