Monday, July 19, 2010

More Musings

In cleaning off my dresser this morning (a highly infrequent event) I discovered some notes from months ago about this same topic (discussed in the previous two posts and comments - please read!). These ideas really have been rattling around in my head for awhile..

The big questions seem to be:
  • "What makes a good leader (from a horse's perspective) and why is it important to the horse?"
  • "What would good leadership from a human look like?" (My guess is Pat Parelli - not to suck up too much..)
  • "What constitutes respect?" (Both from and for the horse.)

Tenley currently has the Gallop to Freedom book in her possession and promises to research their take on the relationship of physical force to leadership. However, as she pointed out to me, they are creating art from the horse's performances and may not be set out to achieve a particular goal with their stallions. But then, doesn't that come back to the old debate about putting goals before principles/principles before goals? And whose goals are they anyway?

So here are my notes from before and I'll try to make heads or tails I've written:

Dominance = insistence on the outcome of another's decision
Human dominance without 2-way communication tends to trigger horses to go right-brain.
Dominance with 2-way communication = left-brain, decision making response ("do I comply or not?" "What's in it for me?")

2 way communication + motivation/incentive
From a horse's perspective, humans are either dominant or subordinant - as herd animals, they need to know where they stand. This prevents choas when the herd is confronted with a crises. *They work it out LB for use in RB situations.* This knowledge = Security in the herd hierarchy.

Security (from a horse's perspective) = 2-way communication + incentive + dominance + dependability. (Communication + dominance = its own incentive: Safety "relax, someone else is making the decisions")

Leadership = Energy (phases/follow-thru) + Intention (communication, focus) = trust/dependability. The more effective the leadership, the less testing of it.

Leader = communication + incentive (safety, rewards, etc.) + dominance + dependability (dominance + dependability = Phases)

Characteristics of a Leader: communicator (listening + conveying meaning), motivator, enforcer (firm but fair), emotionally fit (trustworthy/predictable/dependable/win-win), good judgment

What makes a horse want to follow human leadership?
  • good ideas with positive outcomes (from the horse's perspective)
  • getting through RB crises together (camaraderie, track record) - set it up for success!
  • relationship
Leadership is NOT "Do what I say or else I will attack you!"

Leadership IS "You do what I say and you will feel better" (no dissonance)

"You do" = dominance
"what I say" = communication
"and you will feel better" = incentive
successful outcomes yield trust/dependability

You must demonstrate to a LB horse that, above all, you always have his best interests at heart. Trust is easy to lose, but hard to gain!!

Responsibilities of a Leader (through a horse's eyes):
  • have a plan
  • act predictably and logically - no punishment or tantrums
  • mean what you say (suggest, ask, tell, promise)
  • keep my needs always in mind
  • answer my questions
  • show me how
So what then is Respect from a horse?
Premeditated compliance. This is based on the LB working out of Leadership through 2-way communication + incentives that the horse values + clear, progressive phases.

Oh. Hmm. Premeditated compliance.

Please comment!

Future questions:

Can one be both a "partner" and a "leader"? Can these roles be flexible? (Think marriage.) In reality, a horse is sometimes the leader in a relationship. This isn't always bad - consider the wise old school horse and the little child or the emotional lady and her stoic horse..

What do these terms mean to a horse? (Give detailed concrete examples.)

What is meant by "love" "language" and "leadership"?
Love - unconditional, positive regard ?, physical affection?
Language - a method of 2-way communication
Leadership - see above?!


Kerrin Koetsier said...

Hmmm, what a thought provoking post!

As Pat says, leadership is about doing things FOR the horse, and not TO the horse. To me, the essence of leadership is about putting the follower's best interest first, even if that means doing things the follower doesn't always appreciate (disciplining a young child comes to mind, or withholding from giving a child sweets.)

I was about to suggest, now that you've covered leadership, that you look at love and language too, but of course that's what you intend to do! I look forward to reading your future posts!

Kerrin Koetsier
Parelli Central

Naturally Gaited said...

Thanks, Kerrin! Perhaps you could give me insight (or point me to additional resources) for specifics on the hierarchy of needs: Safety, Comfort, Play, Food (and are play & food really in the right order - why?) I have difficulty (as do many others) envisioning what a horse perceives as say "comfort" vs what a human would describe as comfort.

I'm happy that you are following us bloggers!

PeterC said...

Excellent thoughts.

Part of my journey today is figuring out the "dominance" while still being a leader. When I get it right, things go very well.

Thanks for lots to think about!

Kerrin Koetsier said...

I know that the Liberty and Horse Behaviour pack covers the heirachy of needs (safety, comfort, play, food) in detail. With regard to play vs food, there is a fine line between those two, and it really depends on the horsenality... we all know that most LB Introverts would rather eat than play!

Hmm... your question on comfort got me thinking, licking and chewing-so to speak! What are your thoughts on comfort? What do you think horses perceive as comfort? Do you think comfort can be used as a form of motivation, say for a LB horse that's not yet interested in play or food?


Naturally Gaited said...

Hi Kerrin -

Ok, I've found some info on L&HB DVD 3, chap 2-4, and on DVD 4, chap 1-2. It will take me a little time to review it, but I'll be sure to get back with you. (This may be what Tenley had advised me to review.)

Is there any more recent material on the hierarchy of needs? This is very important to teach us humans so that we can figure out how to motivate our critters without relying on intimidation!

Thanks again. :-)

Kerrin Koetsier said...

I'm sure that there is some recent material on the hierachy of needs (the Parelli program is always changing, right?!) but I've also found that the L&HB pack explained things beautifully! I find myself regularly going back to that useful box of material, and my questions are just about always answered!

Saying that, I'll have a look around, and let you know whether I come across any new material. I'm sure that the Savvy Club vault will have something, too...