Monday, September 20, 2010

Going to WEG? Don't miss this:

Check out:

This is a separate event and only cost $5 for entry! It goes from 1-9 pm each day, with shopping, entertainment, seminars and clinicians. It's downtown--with air conditioning! Rides on a segway or a horse simulator are available. Julie Goodnight, Monty Roberts, Rex Peterson and JP Giacomini (and his stallion Istoso) will be there.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Join us WEG!

Dear all,

I hope some of you will make it to WEG and we will get a chance to meet YOU at our booth (26/27, Equine Village).

On the Friday Oct 1st, I will be on at 5:00 in the "clinician arena" which is the square ring where they usually show the breed parade, if you know the Horse Park.

We will have several of our Lusitanos there. Orion is 5 yrs. old. We will also show his 1/2 brother Zafer (3) who will demonstrate the results of endotapping in hand and another 3 year old, Zidane who will be ridden by my assitant Cedar. He is a very nice young horse with about 120 rides. We will have a Quarter Horse stud with his cowboy rider and later in the Games, a GP jumper that has been transformed by the technique from a talented rebel into a very classy horse who goes like a decent dressage horse (though his true job is to jump the really big stuff). We had a GP dressage horse scheduled, but he got a bug and can't come.  We'll also have another very talented huge Hanoverian which I have been working with between Nov and April, but he hurt himself in a paddock, so our Iberian horses it will be for the most part for me to ride an show.

See you there, please stop and say hello.

JP Giacomini
Baroque Farms USA

Join our yahoo group 1ArtofTraining to stay in touch.

In answer to a question about self-carriage, I wrote the post below to a list (bragging as the proud breeders of the horses we are taking).

Preparation Notes:
The last few days, I have been doing work all over the farm rather than in the arena to get my young stallion Orion used to work in strange places in preparation for WEG. It will be the first time that he will go anywhere other than the farm he has grown on since he was 2.

I wanted to test his willingness to go everywhere as well as his balance and I worked him on a hill that is probably 20% slope in most places. We did all his work up and down and obliquely to the slope, including tempi on a circle, canter half-passes and pirouettes, figure 8 in rein back and passage circles. He can do all the canter work in balance without changing his very light contact or his speed (particularly the tempi). That is the beginning of decent self carriage. Today, he still sped up a little in the trot downhill but that maybe because he just got trimmed and his balance has changed.

Needless to say, we are hugely proud of him :). Shelley and I bred him, his mother and his grandmother and I trained his father and his grandfather which I imported one from France and one from Portugal.

Come and see him and his brothers at WEG in the Equine Village (or visit us at booth 26/27 right between the Visitors Center and the Museum, next to Pat Parelli - can't miss his huge booth :).

I will be there giving clinics everyday for the duration. The times are different everyday and are in the program. I am probably the only dressage clinician there from what I gathered (except maybe for Eitan Beth Halchmy who does "Cowboy Dressage").

I will also do 4 presentations of high school in-hand in Lexington at the IEF (Rupp Arena) after 8:00 PM with Istoso.

I promise to tell you what I get to see in the warm up arena, which is right by our arena, if I get allowed to escape my job at the booth... Will report when it is all over.

Take care, JP

Photo courtesy of Shelley Giacomini

Body Language--What's my horse reading: my thoughts or my body?

Julie asked if I would post this here. I re-wrote and added to it to
eliminate the comments I was replying to, so hopefully it makes sense
on it own.

In the course of a discussion on another list, someone commented that
they didn't agree with the concept of horses reading our "intent"
because in their opinion, it sounded as if it meant that horses were
reading our minds. Additionally, the argument was raised that one
could (purposely) fool a horse by thinking one thing, but displaying a
"cue" that a horse is already familiar with. I'm assuming that this
comment was to bolster the argument that horses don't read minds.

Well, maybe they are (reading minds), maybe they aren't, I don't know.
What I do know is, that if I form an intent, the thought itself
results in a change in my physical self. My horse reads this. It's not's just an ability to observe, interpret, and respond to
minute changes in the demeanor of another being.

I like the word intent, because it indicates a conscious awareness of
the connection between a thought and the physiological manifestation
of that thought. I don't think that horses read minds....I think
rather that they are amazingly gifted observers and interpreters of
body language. The very best trainers know exactly how the horse is
interpreting their body language. They know that the formation of a
intention forms a physical reaction that a horse can read. By being
aware of the connection between intent and the physiological response
that results from it, one can choose to control the physical (outward)
response as subtly or overtly as the situation calls for. They have
mastered the display of their physiological responses. They know how/
when/where to direct energy, they know how much energy is needed or
exactly when to turn it all off. They are also incredibly consistent
in their actions so a horse learns to trust what a trainer is telling
them through the body language.

I've spent a lot of time paying close attention to what body language
I display, and trying to fine tune it. Tamarack is a great sounding
board for all of this. Especially at liberty, something as small as
adjusting the pitch of my shoulders in relation to him by an inch can
block or allow his movement as well as affect the quality of that
movement. What part of his body I look at matters (and he knows where
I'm looking), an arm slightly raised, a shoulder tipped lower than the
other, tensing the muscles in the back of my neck or across my
shoulders...hundreds of combinations, all form virtual sentences that
Tam can read and respond
to. And they are, for the most part, natural reactions that he
displayed, that I took note of and capitalized on. It all means as
much on the ground as it does in the saddle. It begins to LOOK like
the horse is reading your mind if you are very consistent in your
delivery. Your horse begins to respond almost before you ask. They see
or feel everything. By being very conscious of my own body language,
being as consistent as I can in thought and action, then I can observe
consistent responses in my horse and mentally catalogue it. I then
know if I do a certain thing, that Tam responds a particular way.

I never attempt to disguise intent, because that would create a muddy
picture or "muffled words" or otherwise cause a confusion in my horse.
Clarity is key. If I cannot remain focused and clear and in the moment
with my horse, then I do nothing instead. It's like trying to have a
discussion with someone who always's frustrating and
eventually you just give up listening because you can't really
understand them.

Since horses can read the smallest body language signals in us, I feel
it's important that we are aware of it ourselves. I think I've only
scratched the surface with what my horse is capable of understanding.
Discovering the potential in the subtlety of it all is fascinating.


Photos courtesy of colt starting clinic.