Even though Rain Man was potentially one of the most dangerous horses we’d encountered, there was something about this comical kid that stole our hearts.
If you think your horse learns to trust you because you run him around in a restricted circle until he’s exhausted, think again. Some practitioners boast ‘licking and chewing’ as a sign of submission and associated respect (and this is something to be proud of?), but this can also signal stress.
Well, maybe horses are more forgiving than humans, but they remember. Plus, anyone who thinks they’re “teaching their horse respect” with what they do to the equine vs. how they relate to him is living in a dream world. Sure, you can gain his fear, her obedience, his compliance and her cooperation, but you’ll never win a horse’s trust with an end-game in mind that doesn’t include the equine in the conversation.
Even if you don’t think the horse should be part of the conversation, if you fail to incorporate his personality and issues into your training plans, you’re bound to get hurt.
There’s a whole lot of buzz – and controversy – going on right now about current popular horse training precepts. While much of the criticism is centered on one business entity . . . the hubbub isn’t the result of a single method (or individual). There has been a festering groundswell of distaste for messages that are being put out there that stop considering the horse (and the novices trying to establish an understanding and bond) and, instead, are designed to drive maximum traffic to products or services for sale.
Getting a horse to do what you want is usually a pretty easy task. Most horses succumb to treats, threats, routine or demands if they understand your message. Still, there’s a difference between compliance and engagement.
The popular buzzword from the horse training marketers and their disciples these days seems to be “desensitizing.” Now, there are certainly some benefits to helping your horse handle standard requests placidly and doing so through repetition, but when does this go too far? When the process turns your horse into a drooling, treat-happy canine that […]