Thursday, March 10, 2011

More Equine Fun-ness

To clear up any confusion from the comments:

1) JIMMY WAS ROBBED!! I agree with Frizzle, Solo, and the rest of the smurfs.

2) It would be really funny to meet up with a blogger friend.
"Hi, I'm SprinklerBandit."
"I'm ManyMisadventures."
"Sup, yo."
I kid. I have met Denali's Mom (who is AWESOME) and that was a total blast. So, PNW peeps, you need to actually go to stuff. ;-)

3) Kennewick is not as dumpy as Pasco but it is more dumpy than Richland. None of the three are particularly desirable. That is the extent of my knowledge of the tri cities area.

On to the main topic for today. In my other life (the one where I actually am forced to talk about things not horse-related), I am a total book nerd. At a used book store, I ran across a copy of Solo Schooling by Wendy Jago. It ended up coming home with me, and I'll be honest: I'm intrigued by it. Ms. Jago is an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) practitioner who focuses on coaching.

What I really want to talk about is the section of the book on motivation--both human and equine. She lists a continuum for each trait and says that horses may fall anywhere on the continuum. Here are some examples:

Preferred Information Chunk Size
Small ______________________Large

Likely characteristics of a small chunk horse
May get anxious when a lot is going on -- can become overwhelmed. May seem more secure when he can grasp or do things step by step.

Likely characteristics of a large chunk horse
Gets the idea quickly. Anticipates routines from slight indicators (whether in the stable or the school). May over-anticipate and not 'listen'. May 'guess'.

Yeah, Izzy falls hard on the large chunk side of the equation.

Direction of Motivation
Towards_____________________Away From

Likely characteristics of a 'towards' horse
Will 'have a go'. Tends to be bold in approach, forward going, and enthusiastic. May be overbold or careless. May enjoy new experiences or situations and be curious about them rather than alarmed. Will like praise and may not respond well to being corrected.

Likely characteristics of an 'away from' horse
When in doubt, will flee. May be easily distracted or intimidated by new or unknown things and experiences. Becomes anxious when he 'gets things wrong'. Responds to disapproval and is fearful of punishment. May be easily cowed, by bossy humans or other horses. May need reassurance. Careful.

Ask yourself if your horse is drawn towards carrots or driven by sticks.

Izzy is well in the left-hand side of this column. She loves trying new stuff. She is intensely motivated by food and praise and isn't super worried about me being upset with her.

Method of Approach

Likely Characteristics of an Options Horse
Tolerates new experiences, new situations, new tasks well. Is curious about new things. Not bothered by changes of routine. May get bored easily and when bored, may get stroppy or switch off. May be rather 'gung ho'.

Likely characteristics of a Procedures Horse
Dislikes change in routines. Learns routines easily and repeats them, sometimes without being asked. Has a good memory for something once learned. May be anxious about change. Accurate and precise.

Options is definitely Izzy's style. It's not that she falls 'somewhere on the continuum'; that is her. All the way.

Source of Reference

Likely characteristics of an internally (self-) referenced horse
Can be bold, courageous, and fun. May not always listen to his rider. Not easily influenced by praise or correction. Can be willful or stubborn. Wants to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. May tend to argue with his rider. Can be cheeky or pushy. May be dominant in the field among herd of friends. Has clear likes and dislikes.<--This is my horse in a nutshell.

Likely characteristics of an externally (others-) referenced horse
Likes to please. Hates being told off. May be less dominant or even bullied in the herd and tends to regard his rider as though he or she were a superior horse. Can be passive and will switch off rather than rebelling. Needs a lead from his rider. Likes to know what's wanted so he can get things right.

Anyone else seeing Izzy as a firmly self-referenced creature? Haha, yeah, me too.

There is a ton more in this book and lots about interpreting the rider, but it's basically pointing out one main thing: Izzy and I are complete polar opposites on pretty much every element of the scale. It's incredibly useful for me to be able to read through this and see us so clearly. This week, I've been riding her with that in mind, and I think it's really helping. I knew she wasn't stuck on routines and got bored easily, but now I have a framework in which to put that information.

Instead of working on something over and over with her, which I tend to do, because I like small chunks of information and methodical progress, I'm switching things up. Walk. Halt. Turn on the forehand. Trot. Halt. Back. Trot. Shoulder-in. Circle. Halt. Haunch turn. She's so much more engaged and interested and it's good for me to stretch my comfort zones.

So, all in all, very useful book. Along with the character traits, it lists training recommendations, personal stories to illustrate information, and lots more I've just barely gotten into yet.


  1. Let's see... Tucker is: Large Chunk, Towards, Procedures, External. That was a fun post. Sounds like a great book!

  2. Well, my Tucker is large chunk and definitely a difficult train. S'OK, I'm a difficult train too. *G*

    Sounds like a goos analysis. I think I have that book around here somewhere....somewhere....*sigh*

  3. Ahhhh the tri-cities. Fortunately for me, they are smack dab in the middle of my sales territory. In fact I'm there this week to run around with my sales guy in that area.

    my main complaint is that I have run out of restaurants to try, and as I am highly motivated by food, this is a bad thing.


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