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Establishing Trust and a better bond with your horse

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  • Hempfling positive reinforcement training

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    06-27-2013, 10:28 AM
  #31
Trained
Here is my problem:

Someone who is very experienced with horses and their body language may get good results from trying this. However, when it is presented as something anyone might want to try, I object. For beginners - which includes a lot of folks with years of time around horses - it can be dangerous and it can ruin a horse.

Have you ever seen a Youtube video of someone trying to be like Hempfling or Caroline Resnick? All the ones I've seen are scary. The poor fool is running around with a pissed off horse with nothing but the good nature of most horses preventing her (usually a her) from getting a hoof in the face. It is like watching a beginner trying to ride like a top dressage rider, only without the years of preparation and training first.

It can be bad enough watching a beginner trying to round pen a horse. But round penning is simpler and less likely to result in a dangerous horse than:

"Once you get to the hind end you would run up making any noise and startle the horse (obviously keeping a safe distance). She also uses a grass reed instead of any whips as an extension of your hand (they are very flimsy). As you come up from behind wiggle the stick a little and tap a little in between the legs if needed. You try not to touch the horse though. Most horses will move out of the way."

I'm opposed to most beginners (including myself after 5 1/2 years) trying to train a horse from scratch, unless under careful supervision. I'm very opposed to encouraging people to try a training method that sounds very "Black Stallion / Gandalphy" unless they first have a ton of experience reading horses.

I also object to promoting this as a way "You can transfer immediately to bareback and bridle-less". There is a reason most people who ride bridle-less start with many, many hours of riding WITH a bridle. You lose nothing by starting with a bridle. The OP mentioned Stacy Westfall, but my understanding is that she starts a horse conventionally and works her training up to bridleless.

Conventional training does not result in a robot horse. My 3 horses are all conventionally trained, but none is a robot. The article I read on this particular trainer (and linked to on the woman's website) pushed the idea that bits are cruel and make a horse submit in fear. Her method, she said, made the horse a willing partner. Well, I'm no expert, but I promise you - Mia is a willing partner, or maybe a somewhat reluctant partner for brief moments, but long term, we do not do anything she isn't willing to do. Her 900 lbs trumps my 175. If she decides to shove it in reverse, nothing I do will make her go forward. Mia is not afraid of me. When someone pushes the idea that bits are mean to the horsie and rob the horsie of their spirit, I wave the BS flag!

BTW - one of Hempfling's videos is titled "Keep Your Horse`s Soul". I have a low opinion of anyone who suggests conventional training robs a horse of its soul.
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    06-27-2013, 10:43 AM
  #32
Trained
Here is another example. Mia was a very spooky mare. We had a lot of bad times before a trainer taught her conventionally. Even after that, I've put 1.5 years into riding her into more challenging situations, trying to turn her into a good trail horse. Right now, she is still just an OK trail horse...but two days ago, my youngest finally rode her:



I believe all that conventional training and riding has GIVEN Mia her true soul. She is a sweet and willing mare, but has long been dominated by her inner fears. Conventional training didn't take away her soul and spirit, but freed it from her inner demons. At 12 years old, she is finally feeling free to relax and be the horse she was born to be.

BTW - she was also ridden by our French exchange student. He bounces more than he posts - it had been 3 years since he last rode - but Mia behaved. She wasn't totally thrilled, but her underlying niceness came out and she obeyed him. Because she was willing...
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    06-27-2013, 11:02 AM
  #33
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyseternalangel    
Tell me how pushing a horse off of its meal is positive reinforcement? To me that is negative reinforcement. You add pressure, they move off and pressure is released.
^^^^

Any positive reinforcement implies negative reinforcement. It is also negative reinforcement to withhold an expected treat (the positive reinforcement). Ask any child.
     
    06-27-2013, 11:18 AM
  #34
Showing
I have used a method similar to Cinthia's and it works very well for horses that have issues whereby other methods fail. The reason a horse is moved off his food is to get him to keep an eye on the handler. Horses in a herd situation are often moved by the more dominant animal. As long as the horse watches the handler it is allowed to eat. The asserts the handler's dominance over the horse. Spooky horses can be compliant but not trusting which means the spookiness doesn't go away. CR.s methods help these horses build the trust these horses need to develop.
     
    06-27-2013, 11:32 AM
  #35
Super Moderator
There is no rule that says you can't use conventional methods alongside these methods - its what most people do because they see it as another 'trick up their sleeve'
What you do is select parts that can work for you and for your expertise
These methods aren't really aimed at the nervous novice rider because they require the handler to be capable of showing passive dominance and you can't do that if you're afraid of the horse.
My current horses range in size from 15.1 to 16.2, they could all drag me round if they felt like it or refuse to move but they never do and never think of it because they recognize me as the 'one who must be obeyed'
On the other hand they don't do it because they fear me either as that sort of fear breeds resentment and if a horse resents you it can't be trusted any more than one that disrespects you.
A lot of people are actually using these techniques and don't even realize it
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    06-27-2013, 01:44 PM
  #36
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
Here is my problem:

Someone who is very experienced with horses and their body language may get good results from trying this. However, when it is presented as something anyone might want to try, I object. For beginners - which includes a lot of folks with years of time around horses - it can be dangerous and it can ruin a horse.

Have you ever seen a Youtube video of someone trying to be like Hempfling or Caroline Resnick? All the ones I've seen are scary. The poor fool is running around with a pissed off horse with nothing but the good nature of most horses preventing her (usually a her) from getting a hoof in the face. It is like watching a beginner trying to ride like a top dressage rider, only without the years of preparation and training first.

It can be bad enough watching a beginner trying to round pen a horse. But round penning is simpler and less likely to result in a dangerous horse than:

"Once you get to the hind end you would run up making any noise and startle the horse (obviously keeping a safe distance). She also uses a grass reed instead of any whips as an extension of your hand (they are very flimsy). As you come up from behind wiggle the stick a little and tap a little in between the legs if needed. You try not to touch the horse though. Most horses will move out of the way."

I'm opposed to most beginners (including myself after 5 1/2 years) trying to train a horse from scratch, unless under careful supervision. I'm very opposed to encouraging people to try a training method that sounds very "Black Stallion / Gandalphy" unless they first have a ton of experience reading horses.

I also object to promoting this as a way "You can transfer immediately to bareback and bridle-less". There is a reason most people who ride bridle-less start with many, many hours of riding WITH a bridle. You lose nothing by starting with a bridle. The OP mentioned Stacy Westfall, but my understanding is that she starts a horse conventionally and works her training up to bridleless.

Conventional training does not result in a robot horse. My 3 horses are all conventionally trained, but none is a robot. The article I read on this particular trainer (and linked to on the woman's website) pushed the idea that bits are cruel and make a horse submit in fear. Her method, she said, made the horse a willing partner. Well, I'm no expert, but I promise you - Mia is a willing partner, or maybe a somewhat reluctant partner for brief moments, but long term, we do not do anything she isn't willing to do. Her 900 lbs trumps my 175. If she decides to shove it in reverse, nothing I do will make her go forward. Mia is not afraid of me. When someone pushes the idea that bits are mean to the horsie and rob the horsie of their spirit, I wave the BS flag!

BTW - one of Hempfling's videos is titled "Keep Your Horse`s Soul". I have a low opinion of anyone who suggests conventional training robs a horse of its soul.
Well obviously it would be stupid for a beginner to try this. No beginner should try to train any horse using any methods unless they truly know what they are doing. Do you not understand! Stop being so negative. I said I have nothing against the way others choose to train their horses. Its perfectly fine if you are happy with the way things are going. My reference to Stacy Westfall was to show that there are many different ways to do it. I choose to follow Klaus Hempfling, Cynthia Royal, and Alexander Nevzorov because we share the same beliefs. Hempfling trains Baroque type horses, it is traditional to try to keep some of their spirit. He's not being literal in saying conventional training 'robs a horse of its soul'.
     
    06-27-2013, 02:52 PM
  #37
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by trackstar    
...I choose to follow Klaus Hempfling, Cynthia Royal, and Alexander Nevzorov because we share the same beliefs. Hempfling trains Baroque type horses, it is traditional to try to keep some of their spirit. He's not being literal in saying conventional training 'robs a horse of its soul'.
This explains a lot. Nevzorov is a nutjob. Last I heard, he was trying to speak to horses in Latin. He rejected the cruelty of riding horses in 2009. (The difference of Nevzorov Haute Ecole from other schools and ways of horsemanship)

And no, conventional training does not cause a horse to lose its spirit.
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    06-27-2013, 03:19 PM
  #38
Showing
Yeah, sorry track, but you lost all credibility with me when you mentioned Nevzorov. He may have had some decent ideas in the past, but now he's a total looney toons nutter.
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    06-27-2013, 03:22 PM
  #39
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms    
This explains a lot. Nevzorov is a nutjob. Last I heard, he was trying to speak to horses in Latin. He rejected the cruelty of riding horses in 2009. (The difference of Nevzorov Haute Ecole from other schools and ways of horsemanship)

And no, conventional training does not cause a horse to lose its spirit.
I had never heard of him until this thread....and the article you linked, wow. The column that said he thinks that "The horse is always right." and "Horses were not made for riding" made me .
jannette likes this.
     
    06-27-2013, 04:13 PM
  #40
Foal
^^^^^^ Yikes.
     

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