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Re: [RC] Reason to round pen - April Johnson

Well, in my case, I round pen Tanna to get his attention focused on me and
not on everything else in the world.

He already knew how to round pen when I got him. I didn't. So it was a
matter of me learning the body language and fine-tuning our communication.
Back in our intense training (not conditioning) and bonding period for the
first 8 months of our togetherness, I put him in the round pen quite often.
Probably 3-5 times a week for several weeks and then maybe 1 time a week.
After our communication skills were better, I didn't need to round pen him
so much. So I'd just throw him in there for 5 or 10 minutes whenever he
started getting an "attitude."

It's the coolest thing for him to start lowering his head, licking his lips,
and pricking his ear to me. Then when I kiss to him (my cue of choice),
he'll turn and come to me, alert, happy, and free. I stand and rub on him
for a bit, then proceed with my preperations to ride or go feed him or turn
him back into the field.

So basically, for me and Tanna, round penning is a way to reconnect. To
re-establish lines of communication. To refocus his attention on me instead
of his herdmate or the wind.

Just recently, I was able to buy enough corral panels to make a small, crude
round pen. Tanna had not been round penned in over a year. And he was
impossible to catch. I had to enlist my husband to help, had to catch Serts
and remove him to another pasture, and STILL chase Tanna for 30 minutes
before I could even start preperations to ride. (Anybody read the EN article
about that? I saw myself very well in that article. Too bad Tanna's never
heard of the Supremes!) Anyway, so I put Tanna in the round pen as soon as I
got it arranged. And I retaught him the kiss cue. Now I can go get him and
he'll stand still, even when he's back in the back pasture with Serts (I've
also since separated them during the night, so that helps). He'll let me
come right to him. And if he starts to turn to leave, I'll kiss and he'll
turn back to me, ears pricked, looking all cute. And if he's in the front
pasture alone, he'll come right to me as soon as he realized I want him. And
then he'll follow me all over the front pasture until I release him.

Oh, and by the way, I don't use a whip. Freaks Tanna out and destroys the
communication I'm trying to re-establish. A hand pointing in the direction I
want him to go and stepping towards his hindquarters with purpose does the
job very nicely. If I ever feel I need more, I pick up the lead rope and
toss the end half-heartedly at his butt. Any more and he starts into his
flight response. Not what I'm looking for. I'm looking for trust, not fear.

For Serts, my very well trained (not by me) free lease Arab, round penning
is stupid. He already listens and already is well-trained. When I first got
him, I thought he had to be round penned, so tried to teach him. He thought
I was an idiot. After 3 or 4 sessions I thought, what the blast am I doing?
What am I trying to accomplish? When I thought, communication is what I
want, I realized he and I already had that because of his previous training.
So Serts hasn't been in the round pen since.

I think it's a good thing to analyze my training and tailor it to the horse
I'm working with (not that I'm any great trainer or done that many horses).
Not to just blindly follow something just because. I think people should be
able to explain what they're doing and the goal they're trying to
accomplish, at least to themselves. :-)

Nashville, TN

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephanie E Caldwell" <sec@xxxxxxxx>

trainers, but my question is to those of y'all who believe in NH, what do
horses gain out of RPing? I know people who RP every time they ride, for
about 20 minutes before hand, why? I've never had one who could tell me why
they were in teh RP chasing their horse around with a whip...

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