Thursday, October 13, 2011

European Method of Liberty Horse Training Compared to The American Method

A few weeks ago, on the below post I asked John Milton Herriott why many Europeans tended to waltz their horse's on the reverse or right side. He must not have seen the post, and I suggested it was because it was easier, and the horse's had a tendency to "want" to reverse to get back in the counter clock wise direction, or the left.

The Circus "NO SPIN ZONE": Unknown Liberty Act

On May 17, 2011 HORSES FOR LIFE BLOG printed an interesting article titled "The Curious Imbalance of a Horses Mind," link to the blog: The Circus "NO SPIN ZONE": New Horses For Life Blog

When a horse refuses to lunge, it’s usually the case that it won’t lunge to the right. When it spooks, it’s more likely to jump to the right and we all know about that scary plastic bag that is completely harmless when you ride past it in one direction, but it turns into a lion when you’re going the other way. Now researchers are starting to get to the bottom of the horse’s lop-sided view of the world.

We go to great lengths to achieve bodily balance and straightness in our horses, but most handling practices are decidedly one sided. We usually lead from the left, tack up from the left, and mount and dismount on the left, and rarely stop to consider why we do this, whether it’s a good idea, or, indeed, whose idea it was in the first place.

Recent research has shown that horses are actually hard wired to prefer having people on the left. The study, a combined project by the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, The University of Regensburg in Germany and the Harmony Centre in Austria, compared conventionally trained horses (handled mainly from the left) with horses deliberately trained and handled on both sides. The researchers found that the horses of both groups preferred to put a human in their left eye.

Excerpt from the article “The Curious Imbalance of the Horse’s Mind”
More on this study at • VOLUME 49 • © HORSES For LIFE™ Magazine

Anyone who has spent any amount of time schooling a green horse will attest to the fact that you can ride past an object that is on the left side of the horse, with no reaction, then turn the horse and ride past the same object on the right side of the horse, and he will very likely jump out of his skin. There are exceptions, but for the most part they will react differently whether the object is on the left or right.

For years I have suggested to some of the best liberty trainers in America, that European circus horsemen discovered this "quirk" centuries ago, and have used it to their advantage. My "suggestion" has always been met with scoffing and claim's that "you are nut's." Many of them will even watch a European liberty act, and not realize the waltz has been done on the reverse. I don't think I am so "nut's" anymore.

1 comment:

tanglefoot.. said...

Yes we do find that a number of our over seas counterparts do train the waltz from the clickwise rotation and I believe that you are correct in suggesting that the turn back [waltz] would be easy to train in comparison.

Now explained to me many moons ago regarding the left nor right side by my friend and mentor, jorgen cristiansen, was that all horses and people are born right or left handed, meaning that one of the sides is stronger and more adaptable than the other and he attributes that to how the soon to be little one lays in the womb during gestation. Meaning that one side lays dormant while the other already has movement, muscle development, etc. Makes sense to me. So the righty would lean to the left. be more comfortable pushing with right leg. would write[humans] and in other words that would be the case for moving in a right side. Unless we find a lefthanded horse [or human]. I know its hard for me to teach a lefthanded person to work animals I have trained. Gaylord was a lefty aS IS Stevie. We find that England and Japan raCE AND DRIVE ON THE "WRONG SIDE" Horses in hitches and liberty, etc. are used to be4 breferred to asw the "weak side" or " "strong side" right side] or inside [left] or off side[right] . So for sure we find immediately the horses preference in the initial lunging, grooming and handling in general. We are probably a right handed society. I am always amazed at base ball olayers that can hit from either side. South paws are lefties. So thats my take on the subject. But make no mistake that all animals will keep an eye on that stick, hook or whip and know quite well when it is the hand that means biz. rather than in the scaboard. Tanglefoot. P.S. the lippizan mare liberty that Mary Ruth worked on the GSOE waltzed going clockwise and was uncomfortable for her in the first practices'