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Re: Circling

Hi Dawna,

You sound like you are doing the right things, and you sound very close
to getting this to work with Jay, but that "whoosh" part indicates that
he's still hurried, still rushing. Your comments indicate that you feel
he's doing the exercise, but not getting the point.

Some horses are tough. Kadance was tough! Once he really understood he
was okay, but I have to be very perceptive and not let him cheat at all.
And guess what? I did let him cheat two rides in a row, and he now needs
reschooling!! I appreciate what you're going through.

It doesn't always work but it usually can. Much depends on being able to
figure out what part isn't working. Because I've used it and have
watched a friend train many horses like this, I can usually figure it
out. For someone trying to figure it out over email - it's tough!!
Professional trainers have trouble with some horses - so when someone
can read about it and manage to make it work, they have my sincere
respect. Sometimes it isn't worth pursuing, but if you feel close with
it? Maybe a few more tips will help.

Like someone else mentioned, I've had horses like this respond when I
make the circle large - maybe 8 feet in diameter - and keep them
circling until they gave me a sigh of resignation - **really** yielding
to the exercise. Accepting the circle, not just getting through it to
get down the road! Kadance initially gave me this "Okay! Okay! I did the
damned circle, now lets go!" or "Walk! Walk! Walk! Okay, THAT was a
walk, lets GO!", and I just kept all of the pressure off of him to do
anything but relax and circle. The second he really gave in, I rewarded
him with an "Okay, now we can go". It's frustrating because we want to
go as badly as they do, and they know this.

They get the point better when *I* focus on the circle too! I focus on
thinking and saying "relax, easy, good boy, relax" watch how they yield
and relax in the poll area, note if they're balanced right, is the
circle a good circle... I force myself to temporarily forget everything
but that circle. Even if I'm not sure if it's right, I allow myself to
become absorbed in what they are doing and how they're doing it. I guess
I submit to that damned circle too!!

The Zen of Endurance Circles, eh??? <heh!heh!heh!> Yep. Sounds stupid
but it works. "Be the Circle, Live the Circle"... 

And as soon as you get that good sigh of resignation, drop the reins and
praise him! It's hard to react too fast to either compliance or
violation of the rules!

The faster you can react to both the right and wrong things, the sharper
and more respectful your horse will be. Very little is as rewarding to
me as getting that "Damn, you're good!!" reaction from a horse. Ear
flickers, changes in muscle tension, all of these are ways your horse
subtly communicates compliance and resistance to you.

Horses are so perceptive of changes to their environment (you!) that if
your mind is hurrying because you don't want to slow down your friends,
or if you are concerned about this working, your horse may be reading
it. What we *think* causes subtle changes to what we do and how we do
it. Think "smooth and quiet" and "circle"... it may help. 

Even super hot horses should deflate with acceptance at the circling
cue... but there are no absolutes, right? If you try it, let me know how
it goes!

 Linda Cowles - Gilroy Ca.

Dawna Bynum-Boyd wrote:
> This weekend I decided to try the circling technique discuss recently.  I'm
> thinking this is great, how hard can it be?  So a few hours into the ride, I
> ask my horse Jay to stop and wait for a minute, the other horses go trotting
> ahead down the rode and out of sight.  Jay become anxious, moving around,
> fidgeting etc.  Gently I ask him to move forward, our desired speed...walk.
> Of course there is no way he's going to walk with horses ahead to catch.  So
> out comes the circle.  I ask him to circle, he obliges, clearly interested
> in moving ahead but circling on request.  I slowly straighten him out to
> move forward down the trail and he speeds up, I circle again, clearly
> frustrated and wondering what is wrong with me he stops and waits for me.  I
> move him forward again, he accelerates, we circle.   Then he anticipates the
> circling, and half way around as we are beginning to turn toward the road he
> picks up speed.  So it's half circle, whoosh, half circle, whoosh, he's
> determined to go faster even if it is in half circle increments.  Silly guy.
> Guess this is going to take longer that I thought, guess time will tell
> who's more determined!
> Dawna

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