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Dear Mr. Walker,
Thank you for your tip on neck problems and a chiropractor for my spooky Icelandic horse. The horse did indeed have one or two problem areas, particularly near his poll. The odd thing was that we looked at his face before she started working on him and she commented that one eye was not only higher, but almost sliding around the side of his face so that you could not see both eyes clearly at once. We were totally amazed that when she finished working the eyes had levelled up and you could see both eyes clearly. It is not perfect but very much improved. She wished she had taken a photo. There must have been some massive muscle tension there. He is still very spooky, but he needs time to readjust, and he may be like that naturally.
He may need another session or two if he's that far out of whack. And
usually when something like this is addressed all the supporting structures
have nothing to pull against and they "fall on their face" and they may need
attention to show them there is no more need to pull like you did before.
In cases like this I always recommend a couple of chiro visits then a couple
of CESMT (Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist) visits. The chiro
deals with skeletal issues, the CESMT deals with muscular issues. What you
report is a severe case and almost certainly would require both to have the
best results. I've seen some pretty severe cases have marvelous results.
I attempted your bonder (prior to hopefully using your De-spook video, which I am studying, with him) but got a very odd result (I had already been doing a certain amount of desensitising over the months with him and he was used to me using a Parelli stick and string). He went around, rather too quickly at a trot, but I turned him a few times, thought I could see some mouth movement and gave him the opportunity to come to me if he chose, but he did not, and again after a few more slightly slower rounds - nothing. I was not being overly assertive with him - I find assertiveness difficult at the best of times. All of a sudden he closed down, put his head down, arched his back with his quarters and tail clamped under him and shook, and I could not move him, although I did not push this as he was obviously distressed. So I changed tack and did a couple of other minor exercises with him to reassure him and let him go. This is a low ranking, timid little horse, although he was not gelded until he was nearly 4 and sired 2 daughters. Oddly, although he is the boss with my 21 year old Icelandic, he is in no way opinionated like the old boy who is a bit of an oddball at times. Iceys tend to be rather strong willed, but not this one.
I'm not real sure I have the timeline of these events figured out but I would
not work too much on the behavioral issues until I was reasonably sure the
physical issues had made marked improvement.
In all the horses I have worked with I only encountered one who displayed
the actions you describe. And he was owned by a lady who "found assertiveness
difficult at the best of times." Horses mirror us. Sometimes our feelings go
right into the horse. What I teach people is to mirror the horse. I teach them
to act like a horse to get the horse result they desire. With some, leaving their
human makeup behind is difficult.
And then there is the fact that this horse has had some severe physical issues
that can still be affecting his physical responses.
The "bonder" is using herd dynamics in a quiet way. The horse is well versed in
the actions because it uses them and has had them used on it by other herd
members. It is not the actions that caused the problem, it is something else. A
carrot stick and string is just a stick and a string no matter what powers Pat
assigns to them. I can't tell you how many times owners have said, "He goes crazy
when he sees a whip!!" I often say, "Oh, really?? In that case let me go in first."
I go in and the horse pays no attention to the longe whip to the surprise of the
owner. Why? Because I don't view the long whip as a whip or offensive weapon.
I view it as an extension of my being, period. Now if the horse comes aggressively
at me, THEN my extension becomes my teeth and hooves until they are no longer
I tried looking through my records to see what products you ordered. You must
have used some other ID, anyway, it runs in my mind you also ordered my eBook
"How To Get Into The Head Of Any Horse." Read it over and over until it is
second nature and when the horse exhibits marked physical improvement redo
the bonder more as an after thought than anything. Don't make a big deal out
of it, just do it as though you washing out a horse trough and it occurs to you,
"Oh, I forgot what I'm supposed to be doing here, go that way." Do it as low
keyed as you possibly can. "I'm not being assertive here, I'm just showing you
I have leader abilities." Leaders only use the minimal energy to accomplish what
I know where he has been for his 14 years, some of it as a very popular trekking horse in Scotland, and it is highly unlikely that he has had any sort of mistreatment. Do you have any ideas on what I should do next? I should be grateful for your comments. I have seen this sort of bonding process done many times, but have never seen a horse react in this way before.
Before I became enlightened I often mistreated horses in the guise of showing
them who's boss. I once treated a perfectly good horse in a despicable manner
because I ***thought*** he was refusing to load in a trailer. I have worked
with horses that I know have suffered at the hands at others. To a one, they
have not held it against me. Abuse is nothing more than training a horse how
you will treat it in various situations. Whatever you can train to do or act, I
can train it out of that.
There are individuals who exhibit abnormal actions to something but they are
very rare. A horse will act like a horse unless there is a physical reason.
Give the horse and yourself some time.
Keep me informed.
Marv "There are no bats in my belfrey. They are all out flapping around the
yard. They couldn't stand the ringing in my head." Walker
- View SourceThanks Marv. Will do the bonder with Rhee tonight. Will let everyone know how it goes.
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 10:19:41 -0500
Subject: Re: [MarvWalkerHorses] Bonder