Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Behavioral experiment

Here is what I am thinking...
I have my horsie side, where I share many experiences with most of you in that I have taken lessons, worked at a stable, trained with many trainers, competed in several disciplines and owned a few horses of my own. I have grown up with "traditional" horsemanship only to question it and try on many other points of view from Parelli to Lyons, to Goodnight, and Hunt. I have had triumphs and failures breakthroughs and break ups- all these things have shaped my journey becoming a horseman.
The other side of me is not as familiar to most of you. I have a bachelors degree from the University of Florida in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, I have traveled to Central America where I have studied singing mice in cloud forests, I have worked in two animal behavior labs both in the field and lab, and I currently work in a Natural history museum. I love ecology and behavior. It is not only my chosen professional goal but my hobby as well. I am very interested in learning theory and behavioral shaping. I am also very interested in the evolutionary role of behavior and that is my plan for study in graduate school in 9 months.
I am constantly contemplating how these worlds relate, and last night it occurred to me that maybe I should write about my "take" on behavior and horses. I am not claiming to be an expert but I feel like I have a perspective that may be new. So instead of just writing about Bodhi and his progress I think I may try and tackle some broader topics relating to behavior. I am not an excellent writer nor am I an expert behaviorist but I would like to give it a shot.

Bodhi News
No news is good news I guess. We still can not get that left lead. Not in the lunge ring nor under saddle. My new plan of attack is to ride almost exclusively going to the left to try and strengthen that side. I think it is my fault that I do not normally pay attention to which side I am working on, so it may not have been a balanced work out until now. I know I do not like the left track nor Bodhi so we have probably been shirking our lefty responsibilities. We have also been working on ground driving (wow it takes a lot of coordination!) and trailing. Add a few jumps and poles in the mix and Bodhi has a varied work schedule which seems to be suiting him well. He has been more forward, eager, and soft lately so I must be doing something right!


  1. I for one would love to hear more of your behavioral thoughts.

    You might want to explore whether Bodhi has a physical limitation that makes it difficult for him to move to the left - every horse has some asymmetries, but his might be muscular/chiropractic, or even dental, and it might be worth having a good chiropractor look at him.

  2. I second Kate's vote! I would be great to hear your perspective.

    Quite awhile ago, when I first found your blog and couldn't comment, I was trying to reply to your "Bodhi goes bitless" post. Don't know if you read Horse of Course's blog but she tried out a bitless back in June. I thought the posts might interest you and perhaps you guys could compare experiences. The bitless posts are here:
    Bitless 1
    and here
    Bitless 2

    the rest of her blog is a good read too!

  3. make that "It would be great..."

  4. Argh. This link should work for part 2:

    Bitless 2

  5. Thanks Ruckus I look forward to reading it!