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A Natural Kind of Training

By Max Easey

© Can Stock Photo/edu1971

When we use pressure or discomfort to get what we want, then what’s in it for the horse to do things with us? Isn’t she just “behaving” because it is unpleasant for her if she does not? Isn’t it that she acts to avoid things becoming more unpleasant for her if she doesn’t do what we want? The reality is that when someone is only doing something to escape or avoid something unpleasant, they are not likely to be doing it for fun or enjoyment. And that does not feel good. By contrast, with positive reinforcement, the horse is behaving out of choice, to obtain something she likes. If she doesn’t do it, nothing bad happens. We just work out why she refused or declined and make it easier or more reinforcing the next time. Read article

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