Positive Reinforcement

Many people use positive reinforcement with horses, instead of or as well as other forms of training (negative reinforcement, habituation, desensitisation, shaping, classical conditioning). As with all horse training it helps to understand the theory behind the method. Research indicates that positive reinforcement may be more effective than negative reinforcement, and holds many benefits for equine well-being. Horses learn quicker, retain the learned tasks longer, experience less stress, react to humans more positively, and are able to generalize this training across trainers, novel tasks, and over long periods of time (Sankey, 2010). The benefits of positive reinforcement training can be

The Art of Lunging

When a young horse misbehaves, the lead mare may send them out of the herd, running them in circles until they give signals saying they accept the rules of the herd structure. Running a horse around you simulates this situation and creates a response similar to the above. It’s used to engender connection and develop a healthy relationship between human and horse, to burn off excess energy and to condition horses. It can be done using a lunge rope, a 12” training rope or no rope at all if you have a round-yard. Lunging requires immaculate timing, an ability to stay focused and in the moment, control of your body movements and an understanding of the horse. It also develops voice commands in t

Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism is defined as the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-humans and is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology. It’s possible that it leads people to like animals more when they have apparent human qualities. It may also create a greater willingness to help them in situations of distress, result in less willingness to eat them and an increase in the moral concern of them. We have all been trained in childhood by films full of anthropomorphic characters, e.g. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny etc. We grow up projecting human traits onto animals and it becomes our world view. While seeing animals as having human traits may result in u

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