Drill is a bad word, or is it?

Drill is a bad word, or is it?

October 13, 2020 6 Comments

Drill isn't such a bad concept but it gets a bad rap in the natural horse training industry. "Don't drill you horse!" Have you ever heard that?

But you shouldn't be afraid of this word when it's defined properly. Horses need consistency to learn concepts. Do something once, and they won't remember it. Do something 100 times, and they will be sure to remember it. Do it with finesse, rewards, kindness, firmness, and patience, and you will see how he doesn't just remember it, he enjoys it.

Horses don't like too much variety when it comes to learning. They might enjoy variety when it comes to casual riding or play, but not complex riding. For that, they need consistency. Try teaching a horse to not be afraid of dragging a tarp... Sure you can get results in one day, but how well do those results stick? What happens when you're out riding one day and your horse encounters a plastic bag blowing across the field? Will your horse, who's only experienced with one day of tarp training be able to handle it? Not likely. But the horse that has ten days, or thirty days of training will not blink at it. How do you get to that kind of confidence and understanding except by drilling it?

Sure, some people think drilling is bad, but only because they define drilling as negative, slave driven work. It's not. You didn't learn your ABC's by slave labor. You learned them with songs and play, through fun drills. Your horse can have the same fun learning experience. You just have to learn to value drills and repetitive exercises. When you do start valuing those drill type exercises you will become more masterful with horses.

Don Jessop



6 Responses

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moXidASN

October 19, 2020

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October 19, 2020

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Beverly
Beverly

October 15, 2020

I consider drilling in one session repeating and repeating over and over. I believe if the horse does not give you what you are seeking then maybe one needs to rethink the expectation. Or possibly the horse did respond to the question in the right direction with the correct response but the handler, rider trainer is not experienced enough or is not aware that a response was given in the right direction and should have been rewarded. So we keep asking without acknowledgement. This is drilling in my dictionary.

Don Jessop
Don Jessop

October 15, 2020

Horses need leadership, repetition, confident guidance and massive rewards. If you’re already good at massive rewards you’ll have to build up your leadership and confident guidance next. Get my book on leadership and learn to set boundaries. https://masteryhorsemanship.com/products/leadership-and-horses

Cynthia
Cynthia

October 14, 2020

I always love reading your theories. And I swear that I try with my horse. Some say I should send him to school, some say he doesn’t respect me, others say say sell him. I bought him because I knew he’d be a challenge for me. To tell you the truth this horse would just rather play. I’ve created games for him to play with me in his pasture, and the day ends with a kiss good nite. When I want to lunge him, I feel like he’d run over me. When I back him, he will but then when I go to reward him I get pinned ears. At the end of those days, we look at each other saying tomorrow will be better right? I tell him I love him, I know he feels my thoughts. You seem to understand, and tell me, what could he want.

Cindy
Cindy

October 14, 2020

Love this! Especially the thought of it can be rewarding and even relaxing to do repetitive exercises. Thank you for sharing. 😁

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