Round pens in a square world -2

……Although knowing that we generally use aversives to stimulate responses in horses, this does not necessarily have to be negative, or a harmful experience. However, it may be beneficial to bear in mind the added effect which our agonistic intention may have in the learning/relational process.

We may consider other interesting ways in which horses resolve their encounters. Borrowing from the inference of individual recognition, there are also affiliative behaviors’ to consider in social relationships, be it interspecific or intraspecific.  Text books or published studies have focused mainly on agonistic encounters, and how social species organize themselves through dominance hierarchies.  Few texts actually mention affiliative behaviours’ such as those creating bonds and ties between individuals. Many social species live in breeding units, or families, and have more behaviours’ that strengthen bonds than those that weaken them, but little attention has been given to this category of behaviour.

Familiarity, friendship, trust or confidence are words currently in use in the horse world, albeit more so in the natural horsemanship world. The same people that use obedience and respect freely are terrified to use the word friendship or confidence, silly isn`t it?

The barrage of critique received by round penning methods may be useful in underlying some of the limitations imposed by different ways of thinking and relating to horses. Heavy critique has also fallen on Equine Sports in general, mainly by Natural horsemanship movements, so I can only hope this is not just some infantile retaliation.

The round pen is a very useful space, as is any other space. 

ROUND PENS IN A SQUARE WORLD – 1

Steve Harris, un gentlemen de la Doma Natural -Biel Pons

Artículo escrito por Biel Pons, Delegado de la AEETW por Menorca.
Articulo Original en la web de la AEETW

La delegación de la AEETW en Menorca, en combinación con Natural Hipic y Equilibre ha organizado una demostración y dos cursos de tres días cada uno de ellos de Doma Natural, según el programa TOUCH OF LOVE que está desarrollando Steve Harris, prestigioso conductista, natural de Arizona, Estados Unidos de Norte América.

DATOS BIOGRAFICOS Steve Harris nació en Arizona, Estados Unidos en el año 1940, ya de muy joven empezó a trabajar de cowboy, durante 25 años trabajo en distintos ranchos de diferentes Estados Arizona, Montana, Wyoming y Washington.

A los 35 años su vida dio un cambio de 360º el cuenta que empezó a pensar que su trabajo con los caballos tenía una transcendencia que antes no había percibido, que el trabajar con los caballos le acercaba más a las personas, por lo tanto que debería de modificar su forma de tratar, relacionarse con los caballos para poder ser mejor persona.

SUS PRIMEROS MAESTROS
En 1985, cuando tenía 45 años, se encuentra con el maestro del conductismo equino Ray Hunt con quien vio por primera vez trabajar los caballos en libertad en el corral redondo. Otro maestro del conductismo del que Steve aprendió muchísimo fue Buck Brannaman, posteriormente estuvo trabajando con Pat Parelli 1987 – 1988, por esa época ya con una técnica ya depurada empezó a trabajar en el programa de adopciones de los mustangs (caballo salvaje Americano) y realizando demostraciones e impartir clinics – cursos.
En 1990 estuvo trabajando con Monty Roberts, viviendo en su rancho y viajando con el de exhibición en exhibición.

THE TOUCH OF LOVE
Programa educacional para caballos y jinetes
Programa de trabajo basado en la comunicación tanto mental como física y desarrolla la unión entre el caballo y el humano. Todo caballo indistintamente de su nivel de entrenamiento, edad o experiencia pasada aprovechara la experiencia de este programa. Todo amante del caballo desde principiante hasta entrenador profesional desarrollara una mejor relación con sus caballos si TOUCH OF LOVE se aplica correctamente.

DEMOSTRACIÓN
La demostración se realizó en las instalaciones del Grup Cavallers de Mao, donde se montó el corral redondo especialmente diseñado para éste efento,el sábado día 3 de Mayo, empezó a las 19 horas y termino a las 20:30 horas, habiéndose desbravado dos caballos una yegua Trotona y un semental de raza Menorquín, la demostración se inicio sin proponerse unos objetivos finales sino que el tempo del trabajo lo llevaría el caballo, fue realmente emocionante el presenciar el trabajo de Steve, en todo momento fiel a sus principios y a su programa TOUCH OF LOVE los dos caballos se montaron y se dejaron guiar de las riendas perfectamente relajados, realizando giros a derecha e izquierda, al paso y al trote.

“TOUCH OF LOVE”
Programa educacional para caballos y jinetes!
“Touch of Love” está basado en la comunicación, tanto mental como física y desarrolla la unión entre el caballo y el humano. Todo caballo, indistintamente de su nivel de entrenamiento, edad o experiencia pasada, aprovecharan la experiencia de “Touch of Love”. Todo amante de caballos, desde principiante hasta entrenador profesional desarrollara una mejor relación con sus caballos, si “Touch of Love” se aplica correctamente.

PRIMER CURSO Los días 2, 3 y 4 de Mayo se realizo en la finca SAN ANGEL del término municipal de CIUTADELLA el primer curso de TOUCH OF LOVE este curso de tres días se pudo llevar a cabo gracias al director de SON ANGEL Sr. Toni Bosch finca ubicada en el paraje natural de Algallarens uno de los parajes naturales más impresionantes de Menorca.

En este curso asistieron 12 alumnos, se trabajaron los caballos en el corral redondo donde Steve mostro su técnica y los alumnos pudieron practicar los diferentes pasos del TOUCH OF LOVE, los resultados fueron satisfactorios en algunos casos sobrepasaron lo esperado, a reseñar que el trabajo en libertad que se realizo con sementales Menorquines, en la mayoría, no en todos fue un trabajo difícil debido a las condiciones de vida que estos llevan, la mayoría de estos sementales llevan viviendo aislados desde los tres o seis meses de vida, por lo tanto desconocen la comunicación natural de entre caballos.

SEGUNDO CURSO Tras los sorprendentes resultados del primer curso, a petición de seis alumnos se realizo este segundo curso los días 13, 14 y 15 de Mayo, en este segundo curso se hizo un repaso general del programa TOUCH OF LOVE trabajo en libertad y se abordo sin ningún tapujo el trabajo desde la montura, se consiguieron todos los objetivos previstos y variopintos.

Se trabajaron Trotones realizando su primer enganche, Trabajo de potros con riendas largas, Primeras montas, Monta Natural aplicando diversas técnicas de relajación, Monta Natural aplicando Técnicas del TOUCH OF LOVE para guiar al caballo con la mente y el cuerpo, Conducción de ganado con caballos noveles en perfecta relajación y concentración.

Steve Harris, un gentlemen de la Doma Natural

La Delegación de la AEETW quiere agradecer a Natural Hipic “Juan Araquistaín”. Equilibre “Víctor Ros”. Finca Son Ángel “Toni Bosch” y en especial a Steve Harris todo el interés demostrado para que esta Demostración y estos Cursos se hayan podido desarrollar en esta hermosa Isla de Menorca.

Reflexiones sobre la pista redonda – Victor Ros

La Pista Redonda – una reflexión

Introducción

La pista redonda una herramienta de tortura o un espacio de comunicación y dialogo entre equino y humano. Depende de nosotros!

Gracias al avance de formas de trabajar con caballos y de movimientos paralelos como las del “Natural Horsemanship” y “Domas naturales”, se esta extendiendo el uso de la pista redonda por todo el mundo ecuestre.

Naturalmente como todo en esta vida, se puede usar positivamente, neutralmente o negativamente. No pretendo con estas reflexiones fijar una metodología o una forma inflexible de utilizar la pista redonda, si no sugerir unos cuantos conceptos que puedan servir a la hora de utilizarlos.

Breve historia

La Pista Redonda o “Roundpen” re-apareció como herramienta útil en el trabajo con caballos de la mano de los hermanos Tom y Bill Dorrance de Montana, que cansados de trabajar caballos “Mustangs y Broncos” salvajes, y resabiados, recuperaron y desarrollaron una forma de trabajar mucho mas suave, y enfocado hacia conseguir la calma y comunicación con los caballos. Aunque Tom y Bill consiguieron desarrollar unas formas de trabajar mucho mas saludables, fue Ray Hunt, amigo y aprendiz de los hermanos, el que realmente comenzó a extender su uso por todo el mundo durante sus cursos y clinics de “Natural Horsemanship“.

Otra persona que influyo mucho en la reutilización de los picaderos redondos fue Monty Roberts quien ha aprendido y desarrollado sus propias técnicas, difundiéndolos mundialmente. Gente como Pat Parelli, Buck Brannaman, Steve Harris, John Lyons y tantos otros ayudaron en promoverlo por todo el mundo. Todos ellos “Horsemen” buenísimos de una forma o otra y mas o menos naturales.

El picadero redondo en España comenzó una nueva etapa con Lucy Rees allá por 1998 en el SICAB de Sevilla, ahora ya somos muchos los que lo utilizamos como una herramienta mas de la equitación.

¿Porque Redondo?

Al utilizar una pista redonda ofreces a los caballos dos posibilidades fundamentales de su naturaleza, huir ante cualquier peligro y buscar compañía. La opción de huida es fundamental para los caballos, es el “Psyche” que gobierna a todos los demás, es su voluntad evolutiva ante cualquier peligro o presión no deseado.

La falta de esquinas permite una huida continua y fluida del caballo sin la posibilidad de esconderse en rincones.. Los rincones son básicamente interrupciones para la comunicación fluida un escondite donde meter sus cabezas y darnos sus grupas. Intentar sacar el caballo de una esquina casi siempre entabla subir el tono de nuestra presión dando lugar a subidas innecesarias de tensión tanto para el caballo como para el entrenador.

Muchos defienden la importancia que tiene, en dejar el caballo huir la totalidad de su “distancia de huida” que suele ser entre 200-300 metros (aprox.12-17 vueltas en un picadero de 17m). Personalmente creo que cada caballo nos dice cuanto necesita huir, y deberíamos estar atentos y saber interpretar sus señales para no mantenerlo en huida sin necesidad.

En este tipo de trabajo habría que poner énfasis no solo en la comunicación, sino establecer un dialogo corporal con los caballos, ya que la comunicación puede ser uni-direccional mientras que el dialogo corporal será siempre bi-direccional (intercambio).

Una vez que el caballo haya probada la posibilidad de huir sin que esto le haya resuelto sus problemas, intentara su segunda opción que es la de buscar compañía quizás un líder si reunimos las condiciones básicas, desde su punto de vista, claro esta.

Es importante destacar la importancia de nuestra atención en el dialogo con el caballo y responder a sus intentos de comunicación con los nuestros. Hay posturas y posiciones corporales muy inteligibles para los caballos y detectan mínimos cambios de nuestro comportamiento corporal, que quizás nosotros no detectamos aunque lo tengamos mentalmente presente. Impulsos que mandamos desde nuestro cerebro al cuerpo y que ellos recogen en nano-segundos..

La pista redonda fomenta un dialogo corporal continuo con el caballo, la falta de esquinas no le deja perderte de vista y con el uso de nuestro cuerpo le enseñaremos que no solo somos compañía sino que somos ese líder que tanto buscan los caballos en su estado natural. Alguien con quien se pueden relajar y confiar.

Pero ser líder y inspirar confianza comporta responsabilidad en ver y entender las reacciones del caballo y facilitarle el camino hacia esta situación.

Deberíamos ser conscientes de lo que estamos diciendo al caballo con nuestro cuerpo en todo momento. La claridad de nuestras señales elimina confusión y esto a la vez reduce la tensión.

Muchos de los grandes “Horsemen” de nuestros tiempos han desarrollado formas y lenguajes muy inteligibles para los caballos, entre ellos Monty Roberts quien ha puesto sobre papel sus interpretaciones y experiencias con el dialogo corporal, llamando este lenguaje “Equus”.

Es la confianza en tu compañía lo que le salva del miedo de huir, parte de esta confianza esta en nuestra actitud mental y la otra en nuestra actitud corporal. Podemos pensar en calma pero estar tensos y esto no nos ayudara en un dialogo fluido.

Es importante vigilar la atención del caballo y su tensión corporal. Un caballo que quiere confiar y buscar nuestro liderazgo reducirá su tensión corporal, y para facilitarle nuestro liderazgo tendremos que bajar nuestra tensión y intensidad.

No queremos un caballo tenso, ni el caballo nos vera como líder si lo estamos nosotros.

Hay muchas formas, métodos y pasos de como liderar una relación con un caballo, de convertirnos en su líder, y cada día vemos que aparecen mas. No hay duda que estableciendo confianza en nuestro liderazgo es el estado optimo para guiarle en su adiestramiento de manejo y de monta, en definitiva en su vida domestica.

Este punto es básico para su doma o mejor dicho su domesticación, sea la que sea nuestra afición o profesión, ocio, alta escuela, clasica, western, vaquera, raid, rutas, etc…

Todos entendemos bien lo que quiere decir liderazgo, algunos lo interpretan de una forma o otra, otros lo definen, incluso redefinen y describen lo que significa.

A los caballos todo esto no les importa mucho, les importa como lo entienden ellos, o eres depredador o compañía. Si causamos problemas (tensión) o dolor nos verán de una forma y si se lo quitamos nos verán de otra, no hay duda!

Personalmente, yo prefiero mucho mas ser el “quitador” de problemas y dolor, que el que los cause, aunque también es verdad que muchos problemas se crean sin querer, o siguiendo la teoría de “siempre se ha hecho así”.

Copyright 2008 Equilibre

Steve Harris presents Touch of Love in Spain

 STEVE HARRIS presented his “TOUCH OF LOVE” clinics through EQUILIBRE for the first time in Spain, in November 2007.

 The success of his presentation was incredible, emotionally lifting and unforgetable.

EQUILIBRE has gained a good friend and a Master in dealing with horses and people! Steve`s work was personanlly recomended by Lucy Rees, and boy was she right!

Seeing Steve and Lucy together was a great experience for all those present, and it may just be the starting point for more dialogue and understanding between professionals of the horse world!

Who is Steve Harris?

Steve was born on a dairy farm in Arizona in the 1940. In his youth, horses were his toys and friends, he then worked for 25 years on animal ranches and horses became his tools, now they are his inspiration and teachers.

Steve has been with horses all his life, in 1986 he saw Ray Hunt, ray changed his life and ways with horses. Steve immediately built a round pen in his ranch at Arizona and commnced practicing what he had learnt through Ray. He has also learnt a lot from amongst others, Buck Brannaman.

Since 1988 he has worked with over 1500 green or badly broken horses, creating his own particular way of working and relating with Horses. He now offers us his “TOUCH OF LOVE” clinic with the goal of bettering the relationship between horses and people.

He has worked with many professionals from the “Natural Horsemanship” world, such as Monty Roberts, Dennis Reis and Pat Parelli. Lucy rees saw him work one day in Arizona and decided to include him in her book “La Mente del caballo” (Spanish version of “The horse`s mind”, with slight variations from the original publication.

“TOUCH OF LOVE”
Educational program for horse and rider!

“Touch of Love” is based on communication, both mental and physical, that develops a partnership between the horse and human.

Every horse, no matter what his training level, breed, age or past experience, will benefit from a “Touch of Love” experience.

Every horse lover, from a beginner to a professional trainer will develop a better relationship with their horse if the “Touch of Love” techniques are properly applied.

Some comments on the “TOUCH OF LOVE” Clinics celebrated at EQUILIBRE.

A written reflexion….better still, a smile!
It is difficult to put in words all that was lived and the sensations of these days together.

The peace and knowledge of Steve, combined with the easy goingness and affection of Helka, Victor and Victor Leo…all in a magical and embracing place: Equilibregaia.

Maybe we should have asked Califa and Ariel to write a few lines…surely they understand much better what has happened during these days, in which they have felt more listened too and respected.

Thank you from teh bottom of my heart for this clinic were several different aspects have joined together: Cultural, Emotional, Personal, all focused towards horses and under the attentive look and kind and clever words of Steve.

All of us have attended the course with our own personal histories, the same as our horses take along their own experiences…..It is in the interaction generated between each horse & rider that we can grow and enrich our lives. the key: positive communication as the common denominator at all times. Thank you for showing us the way to listen with our hearts and communicate with gestures. The effort of entering the mind of the horse and empathise with them helps us rid ourselves of all that which is false and apparent, to look deeper and understand. This effort is double, because at the same time we listen to horses, we learn how to be more conscious of ourselves and our emotions.

I thank the horses as well for being mirrors of our souls, presenting us kindly with goals, for helping us achieve, and forgiving, brininging out the best in us and helping us overcome personal difficulties.

During the clinic I have though a lot about different situations in my life, and I could not avoid – nor did I want to – thinking about my other girl Pyrenne who died with her head in my arms about five months ago. I am still not prepared to see her images, but if I close my eyes, I remeber all the sensations which she gave me. I would have also wanted to offer her this course…Thanks to Steve and to you I now understand her better, and I miss her even more, these words are for her and all the horses that give us their company.

Belén

Two weekends like these I dont recall. This is due to several reasons. the first being the possibility of getting to know people, who like us, enjoy spending their spare time with horses. Also being able to spend this time with my partner is very enriching and something I will not easily forget. lastly but not less important, I have found a way of uderstanding horses like I could have never imagined. For all this, and many more things that I will leave unsaid. I only have words of gratitude for Victor & Helka and of course Steve Harris, who has shown us much more than just reading the messages that the horses send us.

Lluis

“For me it has been more than just a course. In this meeting, Steve has filled everthing with infinite peace…. A person ready to share his life`s knowledge and learn from others, in the most humble and loving way.”

This is for you: I appreciate how well you have attended me. I was incredibly happy to have been there those days, and when I had left I had truly miised you for a while. All this would not have been possible without you. A big hug,

Raquel

Doma Natural – Notes (English)

Notes on and about “Doma or Adiestramiento Natural”

This way of understanding horses was introduced in Spain by the internationally recognized Zoologist and Equine Ethologist Lucy Rees, during the SICAB fair of Sevilla, in 1998. For us, Doma Natural is synonimous with the life of effort, the studies and recompilations of Lucy Rees, as a starting point for an open movement towards gaining the will of the horse through its physical and mental welfare throughout the stages of its relationship with humans (maintenance, training, handling and riding).

As it is an open movement we are interested in a better understanding of horses, their natural behavior, domestication, and how to facilitate the equine-human relationship.

Doma natural is now used as a generic term parallel to that of Natural Horsemanship.

Unfortunately the word “natural” is now in fashion, and all want to wear this label, giving way to methods which have nothing to do with the essence of “Doma Natural”, and even less to do with the horse`s nature.

We live in a free world, and everyone can do what they want, unlike horses who are kept in stables, isolated from other horses, without an adequate diet, and to top it off, abuse so they learn who is boss.

It is not surprising that after more than 6000 years of domestication, the number of horses going to slaughter for reasons of “bad behaviour” keep increasing.

With the advances of scientific knowledge and man’s experience with horses (Domestication), we should ask ourselves, who is behaving badly, the horses or us?

Steve Harris Nov. 2007 – II

STEVE HARRIS

“TOUCH OF LOVE” Clinics

Equilibre – Santa Perpetua de Gaia – Tarragona -Nov.2007

 

Nena´s pregnancy

Nena, was adopted three years ago through a friend. She was enclosed in a 2x2m shed and up to her knees in manure. When I first saw her she was a complete mess. She had wounds and sores all over her body, heavy wheezing from respiratory problems and was absolutely terrified of humans (specially men!)

 We had no way of transporting her to our farm arranged and given we were only 6 kms. away, I decided to walk her home. She was extremely de-hydrated and had clearly not eaten for days. She got watered-up and we were on our way. She was exteremly well behaved on the halter and rope and gave no problems whatsoever during our little journey.

Once at our farm and her new home, we commenced to explore different ways of bringing her back to health, together with friends and vets. nena was in worst shape than i had observed at first glance and we noticed that she had severe allergies as well as a punctured retina. We started treating her for her different ailments, and after just a few days of good food, water, different treatments and good handling she was on her way to happiness.

As she got stonger she demonstrated or explained to us what she liked and disliked as well as her tendencies. She was a real horse houdini! She could just twist through the electrical fencing to freedom almost at will, causing a great deal of havoc at our farm as other horses weer keen to join her in her galavanting.

Furthermore she was almost impossible to catch, you could not get anywhere near her when she had decidedly escaped. It took all sorts of patience, some i didnt know existed, to convince her that once caught she would not be severly punished. She was very frightened of the halter and ropes. I deduced that this was due to very rough handling, and once caught and man-handled, I again deduce that she was punished.

As time passed and she settled in her place at the farm, the escaping became more scarce and she slowly started gaining trust with humans.

A couple of years have now passed and I must say that her recovery is almost complete. What a beautiful little mare she has turned out to be. She is a delight with kids and now lives with her gelding pony friend Flequi.

In April 2007 we decided to look for a stallion to mount her, and finally found what we were looking for through a friend. He had a stallion pony who was heavily stressed from the vigours of continous mating. The Stallion “Estradivarious” was brought to our farm as a vacation from his mating routines. We were informed by the owner that the stallion was very vicious with mares leaving them heavily scarred after mounting. As we wanted a natural mating, we introduced them to each other and nena immediately went in heat and we let both ponies loose in a 50 foot (17 meter) roundpen. Mounting took place in a span of 7 days, after which both stallion and mare lost interest and became as calm as lambs.

The pregnancy lasted just under 12 months, and we now have a new member in our community. Murphy was born on the 3rd April 2008, a black foal with irregulr stars.

 

Bonding and imprinting was succesfully done by the mother, and the foal found his mom immediately and started suckling. After less than an hour he expelled Miconium and started testing his balance. A new life at our farm, full of energy and ready to face the world.

On the second day of his birth, we must say that he is extremely energetic and in good health,and nena is a super mare with her foal, she does not let him out of her side, following him everywhere while he investigates, trotting, galloping, smelling and tasting.

Murphy, What a character. So young and full of life, he has an ncredible personality or as Pat Parelli says Horsenality.

The foal is giving his mom a handful, running around in the paddock, full blast! nena just slowly follows him at a distance wherever he goes. he is starting to stand against his mom as well as biting her tail once in a while.

The other day we went for a short walk with Nena whilst Murphy followed us around. He presented himself to the dogs, racing up and down from mommy to about 30 meters and back again. Showing off his lifted Trot and how much of a stallion he his going to be.

I think I am going to take them for another walk…..