English Style Horse Training - How does the horse learn?
 
 

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English Style Horse Training - How does the horse learn?

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  • Pressue release english training

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    01-15-2014, 03:41 PM
  #1
Started
English Style Horse Training - How does the horse learn?

I have so many questions about how you teach a horse to associate cue #1 with desired outcome # A

For example, cuing a canter depart. Outside leg goes behind the girth and you push forward with the inside hip. How in the world do you teach a horse to associate these cues? Do you lunge them, teach them words, then ride them, perform the associated cue while reinforcing with the words and eventually take the words away?

Are there any good books on this subject?
     
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    01-15-2014, 04:33 PM
  #2
Weanling
What sort of riding do you do?

The concept is the same for every riding discipline- just the desired behavior is slightly different. The pressure-release system has been, in my experience, the best way to train horses. There are many different ways, however, and you just need to decide what sort of training tactic you will use.

With any system, though, you start simple and expand from a solid base. So in your example, the cue to go in lunging would be pointing or pushing at the girth line, which would translate to squeezing with your legs at the girth line while riding to cue 'go'.
     
    01-15-2014, 05:02 PM
  #3
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by disastercupcake    
What sort of riding do you do?

The concept is the same for every riding discipline- just the desired behavior is slightly different. The pressure-release system has been, in my experience, the best way to train horses. There are many different ways, however, and you just need to decide what sort of training tactic you will use.

With any system, though, you start simple and expand from a solid base. So in your example, the cue to go in lunging would be pointing or pushing at the girth line, which would translate to squeezing with your legs at the girth line while riding to cue 'go'.
English/Dressage. I just always wondered how the horse associates leg pressue with "go"...I was just wondering if there are any good books on basic English style training/breaking a horse to ride.
     
    01-15-2014, 05:19 PM
  #4
Super Moderator
I still train my horses in the same way my Grandfathers cousin who I spent a lot of time with from an early age - he would be about 130 now!!
The ponies/horses were all taught to understand verbal cues from the ground using hand pressure to reinforce the word when needed - such as move over or over, stand, back, walk on, trot on,whoa etc. Quite often getting the horse to move forwards involves having a helper give some gentle encouragement with a lunge whip from behind but everything has to be done calmly and non-aggressively and in an area where the horse has no chance of using its strength to get away. By the time they were put on the lunge they already knew how to respond to those cues so canter was the only new one - taught by using the whip to encourage an increase in pace (not hitting them with it) and saying 'canter'
Long reining (I think whats called drive lining here) was used to teach them how to understand directions given by the reins.
From the saddle the verbal cues were accompanied with standard leg ones - so for example a gentle nudge with the heel and the words 'walk on' and a gentle touch of the reins and the word 'whoa'
I've found doing this removes the need for any kicking and pulling and you have a horse with really light responses
The refinements used for lateral work and collection come from building on the basic cues once the horse understands them
     
    01-15-2014, 05:53 PM
  #5
Started
Interesting. So they learn by association much like dogs do.
     
    01-15-2014, 06:00 PM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by frlsgirl    
English/Dressage. I just always wondered how the horse associates leg pressue with "go"...I was just wondering if there are any good books on basic English style training/breaking a horse to ride.
The horse understands to go because of pressure and release. From the halt you give a squeeze, the horse walks, pressure is released.

In groundwork, you approach the horse's rump, he disengages his hindquarters and shifts away from you (well, he should anyway. It's only polite.). Your presence is the pressure near his butt which he releases by moving. It's also about moving specific body parts with pressure.

It's not about "English style" training. It's just pressure and release of pressure. It's in all disciplines. You're using a concept to teach and releasing the pressure when you get the response you want.
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    01-15-2014, 08:07 PM
  #7
Started
When I first start, things are simple. Squeeze, cluck, use crop, whatever, until the horse goes into canter. Release "pressure", and let horse canter a ways. This is the release. When this reaction begins to happen regularly, I add the "cue", then the pressure, if needed. The cue is designed to make cantering on the correct lead easier for most horses, it is not an arbitrary thing someone made up. I use the same, English or Western.

Nancy
     
    01-15-2014, 08:51 PM
  #8
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by frlsgirl    
English/Dressage. I just always wondered how the horse associates leg pressue with "go"...I was just wondering if there are any good books on basic English style training/breaking a horse to ride.
It's not something only used by English riders. It's a universal training concept- everyone from hunters to ropers use it to train.

Training is a process of steadily teaching the horse more and more intricate cues. The first ones are very simple and rudimentary- 'go', and 'stop', or 'turn'. The starting point may be no more than turning your body to a certain position relative to the horse, or creating 'pressure' that the horse reacts to and therefore the pressure is 'released'. Do this many times and the skill is learned.

The level of consistency of the trainer will dictate how fast and how well the horse learns.
     
    01-15-2014, 09:28 PM
  #9
Super Moderator
The horse will do things the first time almost by chance or accident. He gets rewarded for that , the next time he is 'cued' to canter depart, he may try all kinds of things, such as speed up, back up, throw his head, whatnot, but the rider continues to cue until, almost by accident, the horse canters, "cue " ceases. It doesn't take long for a hrose to associate his correct action with the release of the cue. The cue, in and of itself, is relatively meaningless, initially. However, the body position of the rider, in cueing for a right lead, or a left lead canter, supports and mirrors the position the horse will take as he strikes off. If the rider advances the inside hip, this will mirror the way the horse will advance his own inside hip. The rider's shoulders should mirror the horse's desired postion of HIS shoulders, which will be a bit different than the hips.

It's amazing how accurately the hrose will pick up on and follow our body position.
     
    01-15-2014, 09:43 PM
  #10
Trained
The cue for the canter is just engaging hind outside leg, freeing up inside front leg and encouraging the horse to drive from behind. It's all about the rider using the pressure, release and weight in the right places at the right time. Once a horse knows the cues through repetition, he might be more forgiving if you don't cue just right, sometimes, lol.
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