Wow, Jennifer, I agree with your post so much!! I, too, want to do things Ellen's way, but I just don't know what I'm doing, and there is no support out here, for someone to help me. Being torn in two (or more!) directions lately has really stressed me out.
My horse appears to trust me to a certain point, but that trust doesn't go all the way, and I'm pretty sure that some people would say that she doesn't respect me.
Well I will support you if I can, though I think my ideas are maybe disputed here..... Oliver actually called me to come out and play yesterday so I think that is a sign.... I left him out in the arena alone and came inside for a bit and he kept whinnying and whinnying.... then we played a game that was very effective and he really loosened up and got into it..... it's called don't cross the line..... I divided my arena into two halves.... I requested that he walk back and forth and then trot back and forth against the rail and then turn.... and go the other way..... the reason why he loved the game was because I couldn't cross the line either...... he got comfortable in the fact that I had a boundary too.... my teacher says we take the horses space for granted when they deserve a safe spot too a place where they can go and get a release... the more I made sure that I was not invading his space the more freer and looser he got in his movements...... I am using my new handy stick and pushing him from behind instead of having him follow me and he is understanding my boundaries more... :) I've also been playing the eye game which I am not very good at... to keep his eyes on me at all times if I can keep him so engaged and when he looks away, to just push with my energy or my stick on the body part that he is pushing me with.... look how subtly your horse actually pushes on you and ask them nicely not to and you will se how easy it is to ask them to not crouch you..... :) this is what I am doing, like I said, I get blasted here alot, but my horse is shaking his head, lowering his head, breathing out more, dropping, rolling his eyes and yawning, now whinninying and calling to me and all since I started really asking him to watch his crowding.... ")
I wanted to comment that the video that Ellen put up on problem horses is so great how she explains release....
my success in the boundary game is that he doesn't have to deal with my energy close either.... we can have confidence in not being right on top of one another... so when he pushes on me say with his shoulder and I ask him right away not to and get him to bend inward insteadof outward then he softens... and I must release..... right then and walk away so he doesn't go back to guarding himself..... maybe even wait for the lick and chew. I was screwing that part up totally.....
I get blasted because I open myself up and because I make mistakes.... Ellen has criticized and Steve has criticized..... but if my mistakes help someone else then that is why I put them up here so we can all learn..... the end result is what I am looking for at the moment.. I want him to lower and drop the chip on his shoulder and be more adjusted and happy. I had to stop caressing him and rubbing him and getting so close..... he wasn't able to handle it so much maybe with his wild side...... so both of us are away more from each other, moving around but not so near and giving him lots of release and he is freer and looser... it's pretty cool... watch Ellens video though it is so so great.... what a great explanation of release. she caught the horse by not trying to catch him at all.... I can't wait till I see her someday work with a problem horse like mine...
Thanks, Jennifer :o)
Some of the best times at the barn are when Fanny and I are just relaxed and playing in the field. She will trot after me and will toss her head, but she is always mindful of my space and I never feel that she is going to hurt me. Playing with her in this way is the only way I see her moving in this manner. Usually she is pretty docile and not one who likes to move at all. I'm hoping that the play we do is helping her feel more confident and proud.
I, too, would like to see Ellen in person, to see what she does with a horse "from start to finish" in a clinic.