Horse Behaviour & Psychology

Equine Behaviour & Learning Patterns

By Will Clinging - The behaviour and learning patterns of the horse play a major role in his training process. These patterns are established by instincts, genetic makeup, and environment. We are not in total control of these patterns but to some degree we can help or hinder the direction they go in.

Treats in Horse Training

By Lindsay Grice - Although food rewards can definitely reinforce a lesson, in my experience the drawbacks of using food rewards far exceed the benefits. While it is important to reward horses to affirm every correct response, I feel there are other more valuable ways of doing so.

Lindsay Grice, how horses learn, horse's brain, horses social animals, horses safe herd, horse survival, equine neocortex, understanding horses, how horses perceive world, fright-flight response, horse brain

Without a doubt, an awareness of the way horses learn has helped me to train more efficiently, effectively, and safely. Like a detective, I approach issues by asking the question, “Why might this be happening?” I look for clues and go through my mental Rolodex of equine behaviour facts to solve the puzzle.

By Lindsay Grice - If you allow your horse to rub or nibble on you, you become his equal rather than the herd leader. In the horse’s hierarchy system the leader doesn’t allow subordinates to play with her or invade her personal space. Recognize the warning signs in your horse before a bite ever happens.

Confusion is an emotion that we do not always allow our horses to feel. When you work with your horse, think about the horse as being always right. Most horses want to please us, so when they respond to a cue, they respond the way they think we want them to.

By Will Clinging - I recently taught a lesson for new clients who described their horse as being “evergreen,” a term that is fitting for many horses that don’t seem to progress. There are obviously many factors to consider when judging a horse’s progress, or lack thereof, including the amount of time spent working the horse, training methods employed, experience and expectations of the rider, confidence of the rider, and too many others to list.

By Will Clinging - The challenge for us is to correctly diagnose what is actually going on so we can truly help the horse overcome their seemingly problem expression. I believe that too many horses are unfairly labeled as problems when really they are just misunderstood and mishandled.

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