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Training Horses with Positive Reinforcement: Taking Cues from the Dog World

© Can Stock Photo/ksuksa

…horses in the wild do not have a strict dominance hierarchy, and your horse is not trying to dominate you if he does something you don’t want him to. Horses do not like physical pain any more than we do. This is not a good way to teach and horses, like any animal, are less likely to do something again if the result is pain. Ask yourself why that is. Is it because they have learned a new behavior or is it simply because they are scared of being hurt? Read about what others have achieved using positive, force-free methods: How much their horses can do, how much they understand, and how safe and reliable they are. Look at the partnership and how they understand and are in tune with each other. How the use of aids is minimal or not used at all. There are more and more professional and amateur riders competing in head collars and bitless bridles. Control is an important word here…Those with the most “control” have it not because they are subduing their horse with aids, pain, and fear, but because they have taught him to manage himself in new situations and make good choices. He has emotional resilience, and that will give you more safety and reliability than all the aids in the world. Read article.

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