If you pet, praise or 'treat' a horse after he has backed up, you are doing so after he has stopped and therefore you have just rewarded stopping backing up.
Yes! This is SO important & same for punishment or whatever feedback. Horses(all animals without a language to understand abstract concepts??) learn by instant association & don't 'get' consequences that aren't timely - at *worst*, within 1-2 seconds of the behaviour according to behavioural studies. I think it's a huge problem that people don't get this & therefore inadvertently reinforce/punish the 'wrong' behaviours.
We are not talking about teaching new things here. We are talking about responding when asked to do something that the horse knows how to do. When the response is sluggish or sloppy, the trainer should make the horse wish he had done it right the first time.
Another very important point IME. I think in a lot of instances, it is the case that the horse doesn't really 'know' what a handler assumes it 'should' & it was just never trained well in the first place. In that case, I think a slower, more patient approach is best, but recognising when a horse is not understanding vs when they're just 'trying you out' is a big thing.
IF you have to get after a horse more than 2 or 3 times, you are not doing it hard enough to be effective. You are only 'desensitizing' it to your commands and teaching it to ignore you.
Yes, maybe hard enough, or clear enough, or there is a bigger competing motivation... Whatever the reason, I agree that if it doesn't work, it's most likely the handler not being effective enough. While I do agree with the principle 'as little as necessary' in training generally, when talking about punishment, I agree that it's a lot fairer as well as effective, that 'necessary' is enough to give the horse a serious 'wake up call'. I will still usually(unless safety's an issue) give the horse a 'chance' or 2, or 'warning' before 'coming down on them'.
Many books and 'teachers' teach that you only put the smallest amount of pressure on a horse that it take to get the correct response. I think that is altogether wrong for all but the 'lightest' most willing 'feely' horses. I think you should ask a horse very lightly. If he can feel (and be irritated by a fly landing on him)
This bit I disagree with & I would use your example of a fly irritating a horse to show that you don't(generally) need anything like brute force to affect a horse's behaviour. I don't think I've been lucky to have only had & trained 'most willing feely' horses in the 15 or so years I've been training, but IME, they generally become soft & willing without heavy handling. But again, as I hope I explained, I do think it depends whether we're talking about teaching or punishing too.
he can feel you 'ask'. If he does not respond correctly (and he is green) ask a little more firmly. If he still does not respond correctly, make him wish he had responded the first time you asked him.
This seems to be about teaching(green horse) rather than punishing one who is knowingly & willfully challenging you & in this case, in which case I wouldn't personally be so quick to punish the horse, but would also be looking at why
he didn't respond - maybe the way I asked wasn't clear to him or some such.
If you keep upping the pressure and gradually ask with more and more force until the horse finally responds, then you are teaching him to require that much pressure and you will never teach him to be 'light'.
Hmmm, yes & no, but more no IMO. But I think it does depends how it's done, how gradual the pressure is increased & such. As much to the point, when that pressure is released. I do find a lot of people with the gradual increase idea seem to get a bit stuck & come across to the horse a bit like "If you don't do this, I'll.... I'll... I'LL.... I'LL... oh, see, he just won't do it!"
When I quit jerking, spanking and scolding him, he got the only reward he really understands.
Couldn't disagree with that one more & I personally wouldn't enjoy being with & training horses if it was all about force & coersion
. I just don't understand where you get the idea that negative reinforcement & punishment is all they understand. If that were true, they'd also be the only animal under the sun to respond to only half the 'spectrum'.
So... I think so much of people's problems are about misunderstanding & perception, which is why I think(hope) conversations like this can be helpful. I hope to have given further understanding of the concepts(which I mostly agree) to OP & others, by shedding a different light. Hope I succeed in that & don't just make everyone more confused!