Reward Oriented Training is far superior to consequence oriented training!
Animal behavior scientists confirm that horses have the brain of a four-year-old human child. They can perform simple tasks and tests with the same cognitive skill and emotional resolve of the average preschooler. Therefore. Consequences for NOT doing the right thing, destroy the horses confidence to learn, the same way we see children tremble in fear with a strict, abusive, or high pressure teacher. If you take that same student and give her a reward oriented teacher you will see that student begin to shine and understand and "feel" confident again!
Don't get me wrong... I use consequences, but not for teaching skills, only for safety issues, where personal space boundaries have been crossed and critical systems for safety must be managed. Otherwise, I avoid consequence oriented training almost altogether. As I believe you should too.
Horses are sensitive. Just like you and me. They have all the same emotions as you and me. They have hopes, dreams, desires. Anyone who says they don't, and their just "animals" is mistaken or misinformed. Walk a mile in their shoes and you will know they are just like you and me only "younger" mentally.
Reward oriented training is not only nicer, it's more effective too. See how much more you get done when you give your horse a treat to each time he does that tricky little task you have for him (ie: canter, lay down, backup, circle, etc). Then check the next day to see if he's still interested in doing more. Guess what... he will be interested. He'll come looking for you to have a positive interaction. But if you fail to be reward oriented enough, you will notice he doesn't come looking for you, he may even avoid you. But what do you care... "He's just a dumb animal, right?" I know you're smarter that that, I know you have the heart to heal your horses human experiences. Otherwise you may have never looked at this blog in the first place.
Remember to be balanced. In my book "Leadership and Horses"
I talk about the perfect balance of Bonding (Rewards) and Training. If you want to learn more about it, I invite you to check out the book for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
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