Recently one of my students handed me an article written by McLean & McGreevy on Training Horses I found it to be of great interest. This article covered some problems with contemporary training, conflict behaviors-the manifestation of problems and some solutions.
As a horse trainer I have the gratifiying opportunity of working with horses and their owners to improve the communication between the two to help form appropriate relationships .
I agree that "problems arise when equestrian methodologies focus on classical conditioning before or instead of the more deeply ingrained pressure-release responses through trial and error learning." Thus setting up the horse to react in a resistant manner. "Training the horse by simple cue associations neither ensures controllability in all environmental contexts,nor provides the range of responses that is required for ultimate control in the Olympic equestrian disiplines of show jumping
,horse trials or dressage
." Or in everyday pleasure riding for that matter. Developing overall Handler/Rider Awareness (next Blog) is paramount to a collected, willing partnership between horse and handler/rider . "Furthermore the randomness in behavioral respones that horses are able to exhibit when not under complete handler/rider control results in inconsistent stimulus-response relationships which frequently cause stress."
Some of the horses that come to our facility have been previously exposed to various froms of inconsistent or inappropriate training that have for one reason or another produced unwanted habitual behaviors such as: kicking,biting,pulling,pushing, shying,bucking,rearing,striking and a host of other undesirable behaviors. Unfortunatly there is a great number of horses written off as "dangerous" by some trainers/owners and are adding to the "wastage" numbers daily.
All horses have a predisposed disposition that is produced by nature. Proper training experience can modify all equine behavior creating a willing, content equine partner in a disipline that is suited to it's conformation and intelligence level.
All the best,