As someone from a scientific background (BSc(Hons)) I have always questioned why I do anything. Horse training is no different, I delved into learning theory and the science (if there was any) behind what we do with horses. We must never do things to a horse but rather with him, he is our partner and needs to be treated with respect.
Pressure release ( negative re-inforcement – as in taking the pressure away once the horse complies with our request) is a traditional method of horse training. This sometimes leads to excessive amounts of pressure which I find unacceptable, so I began to search for a way to use positive re-inforcement (adding a reward for the behaviour offered by the horse). The problem I found with this is that you have to wait for the horse to offer the behaviour in the first place.
So a mixture of the 2 might be the way forward. Some light pressure with immediate release and a reward for the desired response. No punish for not complying with a request unless there is a danger to horse or handler.
Methods of a more positive way include clicker training. This mixed with Parelli Natural Horsemanship is what I am exploring. There are some wonderful instructors who are helping me on this new journey with Benny. I have learned that PNH can be sensitive and incorporate a bridge (a clicker or verbal cue when a horse does something correctly), so often what is seen in the media is taken out of context and misinterpreted. That does not mean all people who profess to be PNH followers actual know what they are doing – some cannot read horses and do not know why they are doing what they are doing.
Thank you to the late James Roberts for being my inspiration.
In this blog I will chart my journey as Benny and I learn to accept and trust one another.
On the resources page I will add links to websites I think are useful, if you have any to add please contact me.