Forum Posts

rickweinberg
Nov 04, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
DO LESS: This is what we’re hoping people will do a lot more of. When people get onto this good feel of a horse, why then the horse understands it and is making use of it in the work they have for him. These people would be the best ones to show someone else about not doing so much. The horse is capable of doing a lot more than a person sometimes can see that he’s able to do for them, and with a good feel in there, why, it doesn’t take much. It’s amazing what a horse will do for you, if he only understands what you want. And it’s also quite amazing what he’ll do to you if he doesn’t.
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rickweinberg
Nov 03, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
DISCIPLINE: We’re trying to help the horse find a better way on his own, not to force anything on him or punish him for being the way he is. Some people think a horse needs discipline. Well, if that means whipping him, then they don’t understand that he’s just confused about what’s expected of him. That whip has no place in horsemanship, not the way the horse needs you to understand it anyway. A horse will start to catch on to what’s expected of him when feel is presented to him in a way that has meaning for him, and that’s up to the person. If a person really wants to know about working with a horse in a way that teaches the horse to understand what’s expected of him, discipline wouldn’t be fitting. Most people want to start way up the line, but without the foundation of feel built in there for him, the horse doesn’t have any idea what he’s supposed to do. The best thing to do is take enough time on the basics so there wouldn’t be a place to use this word “discipline,” or a whip.
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rickweinberg
Oct 29, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
DIRECT & SUPPORT: These two things go together. If you’re using these words, you’d be talking about either your arms, and the meaning you are building into your horse’s understanding about those reins, or your legs, and your horse’s understanding of their feel on his body. You’d get your whole body involved in feeling of the horse, because when he gets to feeling of you, it’s your whole body he needs to rely on so he understands what you need him to do. The actual meanings of these words are what the horse needs you to understand to maneuver him through feel, which you will learn about through some experimenting. You’d want to be consistent in the way you present yourself to him, and you’ll put plenty of variation in there to stay away from patterns. And your lessons, they don’t need to be too long. The horse in this picture is feeling of the person because there is enough direction (from the right arm) and support (from the left arm) for him to understand what’s expected. When the horse changes direction, the fella’d switch the rope in his hands and then the function of those arms would be the reverse of what they had been. The arm that was doing the directing would then be supporting the horse, and the arm that was in the supporting position will take over the job of directing the horse back to the left. It’s the same idea when you’re riding and need to change directions, only then you are holding onto the reins. If you are riding along with two hands on the reins and then make a turn to the right, your right arm would be directing your horse to turn in that direction. The motions of your left arm and leg are there to support the action of the right arm, as it directs the horse on a new line of travel. Depending on what sort of turn to the right you were making, your right leg would be positioned to invite the shoulders or the whole body to move towards the right. It can also be used to help the hindquarters move to the left, if the situation calls for that. It’s really no different when you’re working on the ground. Your intent determines the function each arm will have at any given moment. If they are in good positions and your timing is clear, then the horse will understand what you want and he will do it.
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rickweinberg
Oct 28, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
DIAGONALS: This word refers to two of the horse’s legs — one front leg and one hind leg — that are on opposite sides. A left diagonal refers to the left front and right hind leg. A right diagonal means the right front and left hind leg. This is a naturally occurring motion that helps the horse keep better balance in the trot and the back-up. The horse also relies on his diagonals for balance at the walk and the lope, but this isn’t so obvious.
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rickweinberg
Oct 27, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CRITICISM: There’s two kinds of criticism. One is constructive and I’d say that means helping. Then there’s that other kind and it’s destructive and we don’t want any part of that. It’s not fitting. When criticism is offered in a helpful way it’s all right, and when it’s used otherwise, it isn’t all right. That’s why I don’t use criticism that way.
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rickweinberg
Oct 26, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CRANKINESS: A horse like this is just confused about what he’s expected to do. If there’s an excess of pressure applied to a horse that is confused, resentment can set in there and when it does, he lets you know about it. If you don’t miss some of the important things down the line, crankiness isn’t apt to show up.
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rickweinberg
Oct 25, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CORNERING: That word takes in so much. A lot of people use this to mean different things. What I mean is just bringing that nose around a little, because that’s the start of cornering. Of course, whether you can do that and leave the feet still, just depends on the horse and the ability of the person handling the horse. But you’d like to be able to do that with your horse on the ground and from his back, because when this is in place, he’s learned to feel of you. It’s important to get that preparation built in there so when you bring that nose around a little, that horse knows whether or not you want him to move those feet. If you want those feet to stay put, or you don’t, he’s been prepared through feel to understand the difference. So many maneuvers you might need your horse to be able to do further up the line depend on this part being real clear to the horse. Of course, the person needs to know about this first, and whatever that person needed the horse to do (with his feet) while they were cornering that horse, that’s the feel they would present. It’s real important for the horse to understand your intent and the way you present your feel to him is how he finds out what your intent is. And if you were sitting on him of course you’d be using both reins to get that message across to him. And you’d ease off, of course, when he did anything close to the area of what you wanted him to do, and you’d build on that from there. There’s always so many things taking place at one time that a person needs to be aware of them — because one thing’s for sure, that horse is thinking. If you can get that horse to pick up your cornering feel real good, while getting him to travel straight, then he’s learned to feel of you. But, of course, that’s only one way to corner a horse. There’s other things you’d do that figure in there for doubling, and for other jobs that aren’t emergencies. You’d want that horse’s hindquarters to be real adjustable, because it’s so important to the horse to have it that way. And because it is, it should be real important for the rider, too, I’ll put it that way. No, when you have that cornering built in there, why there isn’t any question that your horse has learned to feel of you, and there’s a world of difference in that.
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rickweinberg
Oct 22, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CONFUSION: Anytime a horse stops feeling of you, he’s getting confused and he may appear cranky. So long as he’s feeling of you, he’s not going to be confused and a lot of undesirable things won’t even develop. In this picture, the horses are confused about what’s expected of them. These people are doing their best, and in most cases a person will try to do that. But these people are confused about what’s taking place and they aren’t sure what to do either.
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rickweinberg
Oct 21, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
COLTS: Some people say that about older horses (refer to them as colts), when they’re maybe four or five or seven and haven’t been handled much, but in this book we’re talking about the younger horses that haven’t been handled much. And that’d include geldings and fillies. COLT STARTING: It’s the “starting” that really deserves our attention. And where that horse is (in his development) determines the way you’d go about starting him. But one thing’s for sure, you’ll be using feel when you start a colt, or any horse. Colts that are worked horseback in a group, like those shown in the next picture, can learn a lot about feel from someone who’s experienced at applying it. As they move around like this, they are getting used to the saddles and are beginning to understand what it feels like to travel in the different gaits. They are responding to the feel of the fella who’s driving them around the pasture. They can get an understanding of how to hook on this way, and how to separate between the feel to go left and right, to speed up and slow down and to stop.
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rickweinberg
Oct 20, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
COLLECTION: This is important to know about and to practice. The feel you build in from the ground is what gives your horse the foundation for true collection. So many people use this word, but the way they go about collecting a horse seems to take away the interest a horse would have in being collected. When you’re speaking about collection or lead changes, it’s real important to go real slow at those places further back down the line. You’d spend a lot of time on the things that come before collection and that’s where a good foundation is built. You need it in there to work from. Once you have prepared him to be real mellow and flexible at the poll in response to your feel, then you need to have that horse understand your whole body feel that causes him to want to liven up his whole body. You’d start this at the walk. If a horse doesn’t collect at the walk, it’s because he’s not been prepared further down to understand how to collect, and you’ll need to spend more time there until he can understand what he’s supposed to do. You want that horse to respond to the feel of your body when it livens up. He needs to feel of you through those reins, and soften for you as he moves into the walk. He’d tuck his chin down and in, just a little, in response to your feel. When he does he would be liable to leave real smooth from a standstill and never push against that bit. This will take some time to perfect at the walk. Once this is pretty good, he’d be ready to progress to the trot. Once the trot is real smooth, you’d move to the lope. You’d do this on either lead, too. You’d just present him with the feel for either one and have him pick up either lead. These maneuvers come in way before you’d have any thought of collecting your horse at the gallop and a person will take some time practicing this. A horse that collects up at the gallop is very attractive, even if that horse isn’t much for looks.
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rickweinberg
Oct 18, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
COLD-BACKED HORSE: This is just something people say about a horse that has tightness in his back. After they learn how to teach a horse to feel of them, they aren’t apt to have a cold-backed horse. It’s best not to cinch a horse up tight without moving him around the corral a little bit. Get him to move around the corral (at the walk, trot, and lope and up to the gallop, if there’s a lot of room in there), and if he has some tightness in his body, that should loosen him up. If you knew he had some tightness in his back, you’d check him out on this before working him on the ground or getting on him.
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rickweinberg
Oct 15, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CHANGING EYES: A horse’s eyes don’t change. It’s a horse’s body that does the changing. The horse turns his head and shapes up his body so he can see whatever he needs to see. You’d work both sides of your horse so both eyes get used to seeing you, and this way the horse wouldn’t think that you belong just on one side. He would get so he could see you anywhere and it wouldn’t bother him. So long as the horse is feeling of you, then there isn’t a reason for him to be one-sided.
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rickweinberg
Oct 14, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CHANGE: Where horses and that word “change” are concerned, not everything will feel comfortable on the start, because that word “everything” takes in quite a lot. When there’s a need for you to make a change, you may try several things, hoping that one will be understandable to the horse. You might be doing quite a little guesswork, but as time goes on you’d probably get it figured out. After some testing and speculating, there may be one thing you happen to try that fits that horse just right. You’d be sure to change the feel you presented to him as close to when he made that change as you could, and you’d do this by easing off. This way that horse can understand what it is he is supposed to do. When the change in the horse you’re looking for shows up, that good feel that comes to him when you ease off is what matters so much to him. That’s because if you eased off right when that change started to show up, he would remember what you presented before you eased off. And he’d remember the easing off part, too. This is how you teach things to a horse using feel that is properly applied. Your better timing matching up with your better feel, and the way that you got it applied, is what makes this work. There are changes that can affect a person, all right, and this will affect a horse because they’re real sensitive. It’s not always possible to know what causes change in a person’s life, even when it’s the person’s own life. Since the horse can’t talk, it’s even more difficult to figure out what’s bothering him. It takes real careful observation. The changes you observe in the horse are his responses to other things that change, and this process is always taking place — any time you’re speaking about horses anyway. We’re working towards a spot where change, generally speaking, will not be so bothersome to the horse. When things are understandable to the horse, change won’t trouble him
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rickweinberg
Oct 13, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
CADENCE: (Cadence refers to the timing and placement of the horse’s feet in any gait or, put another way, it’s the pattern and rhythm of the hoofbeats. This is not a word that Bill uses, but because the word is sometimes misunderstood, we thought these pictures would be helpful. In a single stride of the lope, or canter, the horse’s feet land in a different pattern than they do at the trot. As he moves up from the trot to this faster gait, nature has fixed it so he loses one diagonal in exchange for the extra speed and greater reach of the lope stride. He departs in each stride with a hind foot, uses one supporting diagonal for balance in the second beat of the lope, and then lands on a single front foot. There’s more written about this in Chapter 5.)
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rickweinberg
Oct 12, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
BUCK: Any horse can buck, but we’d prefer that they didn’t if someone was sitting up there. They’re lost and mixed up when they get to doing that. No, if a horse gets to bucking with a person, it’s only due to self-preservation and maybe something that’s been left out of his education up to that point. It’s confusion that causes a horse to buck, because his mental system doesn’t understand what he’s supposed to do. When this happens, his physical system responds the way he thinks he should, and where bucking is concerned, he’s liable to continue this way until his mental system gets switched around and he can realize he’s not going to get hurt. Generally speaking, when there’s a different feel presented to the horse in his foundation, he’d get onto that and then the bucking and some other unwanted motions wouldn’t show up. When I really needed this (approach through feel) was in my teens, because those horses sure bucked. In those days, it was really just a question of how you stayed on because there wasn’t anybody who said what you did so that they wouldn’t buck. It would have been real helpful to hear that. When feel is presented in a way that a horse can understand it on the start, most horses aren’t liable to buck when they’re saddled for the first time — or they won’t buck too much, I’ll say that. But there’s always going to be some exceptions to this. The horses in these pictures got to bucking because those saddles don’t feel right and they thought it would help to get rid of them. But a horse can get real comfortable with all that gear on him. This takes more time than a lot of people realize. Some horses really get so they enjoy that part of having people around and the place you’re liable to see a lot of these horses is at the rodeo, because bucking is their job. But if you’re working a horse with feel, why then he wouldn’t ever be thinking about bucking. Of course, something could always happen to upset him, but generally speaking, he would look to the person for support if he’d been handled with feel on the start.
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rickweinberg
Oct 11, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
BRINGING UP THE LIFE: This would mean a person was livening up the horse for a purpose they had in mind. For sure, you need to have a purpose for livening up that horse. The person needs to have a clear understanding of the way that horse’s energy is going to be put to work, because once that life comes up from inside that horse, it needs to be directed. Bringing up the life is a feel that comes from your body right on through to his body. This could be called one of the basics, because you need to have it built into your foundation real solid. That life in the horse that comes up, why it can occur anytime you are sitting on him or when you work with him on the ground. It can also occur when the horse thought you meant for him to bring up that energy by something you did. The person might not even realize they did anything to cause the horse to respond the way he did. It could be just some extra little unwanted motion they made, but the horse sure noticed it. So the next time you’d try to notice what you did to cause him to respond the way he did. Maybe you’d have to do something a little different the next time — or you wouldn’t, if what you’d done worked out for the best. No, if it was something that you did through feel that got that horse to operate that good way for you, why you’d try hard to remember what it was that you did right on the spur of the moment — so you’d be thinking about what to do when you needed that useful response from the horse sometime in the future. That’s where your timing and your experimenting would come in, because those two things fit right in with the plan that you’d need to have ready the next time you needed some extra life in the horse. We’ll assume you’d be successful in bringing up the life in the horse, and when it showed up, you’d be prepared for it, or you’d try to be anyway. The main part of this that people need to understand is that the horse already has life. It’s just a question of how a person goes about getting it to show up when there’s a need for it, and then getting it to work for them. It’s going to fit your horse a lot better if you have a job to do with him when that life becomes available, than if you don’t. We’ll say another word for that (life in the horse) could be his energy. This might show up all of a sudden and be surprising to a person who didn’t have much experience. And maybe they would wish to avoid this. But if they had feel built into their way of doing things on the start, that’d cut way down on some of the more surprising things that can happen.
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rickweinberg
Oct 08, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
BRACE / TIGHTNESS: This comes from confusion about the feel that’s presented to the horse, but he can sure learn to operate without being braced or tight. If he’s unsure about the meaning of what a person does, he might get ready to do what he thinks he ought to do instead. This is where his self-preservation comes in, and survival is one thing those horses are sure about. The best thing to do is not to allow a brace to get started in the horse in the first place. But if the horse isn’t prepared ahead of time for what you’re going to need him to understand in the future, it’s liable to show up, all right. Probably somebody got in a hurry on the start and missed a spot, and that is likely what gets those things to show up in the horse. Those spots that get missed, why they aren’t the best, I’ll say that. But, if one’s been in there a while, you’ll take your time with him so it doesn’t get confusing for him when you start to get his thinking changed around. We try not to get in a hurry because it’s going to be confusing to the horse when we do. If his confusion isn’t taken care of, other things can happen that you don’t expect.
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rickweinberg
Oct 07, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
BOSAL: Some people call a hackamore a bosal, but what we mean is that thinner rawhide noseband that goes underneath a bridle. A person can put it on there about three or four ways, but the most practical way to have it is with a light piece of leather that’s used as a head piece. Some people just use a little piece of leather string and tie it up to the forelock. The lead rope a fella’d use to go along with that is about 12 - 14 feet long, and usually about 1/4 or 3/8 inch thick. It’s made of nylon, horsehair, cotton or just about anything you want. You can braid them yourself or buy these lead ropes ready-made. Some fellas take one end of that rope and tie it right onto the heel knot of that little bosal. Then they coil it up and tie it onto their saddle with the front saddle strings. I tie my lead rope in a loop (with a bowline) around the lower part of the horse’s neck and then I bring up that loose end and coil it up rather small, so I can tie it onto my saddle. That way, if a fella needs to hand it to someone to lead their horse, why they just slip it up to his throat latch area and re-tie the loop so it’s smaller, and then they run the end down through the bosal. That makes a good way to lead a fella’s horse for him, or even your own.
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rickweinberg
Oct 06, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
BLIND SPOT: That would be only if he had one eye out, or a bad eye. Then it would be harder for him to see things on the side that didn’t have a good eye and — depending on where he is — his self-preservation would cause him to operate a little different to make up for that eye that has the problem. But if a horse has two good eyes, why, there isn’t any blind spot because he will move around so he can see something if he wants to. But people speak about it anyway
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rickweinberg
Oct 05, 2021
In Bill's Book Discussion
BLENDING IN WITH THE HORSE: This has to do with getting together with your horse. This is when you have picked up his feel, and he has picked up yours. When it gets to being this way between a person and a horse, he’s understanding what you expect him to do.
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rickweinberg
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