Fear VS Respect - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 08:11 AM
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The truth is Traditional and Natural horse training are both "pressure and release" training. It doesn't matter whether the horse respects or fears you. The horse does the behavior asked of them because if they don't something they don't want will happen.
You are SO, SO wrong. This statement tells me that you know absolutely nothing about 'real training'. A horse doing what a handler / rider wants out of fear is entirely different from a 'trained' horse that is doing what it is supposed to because it respects the handler and has been trained and 'conditioned' to do what the trainer wants it to do. Good training and teaching has absolutely nothing to do with fear. Retraining spoiled horses? Maybe a little fear in the beginning, but not for very long.

I would doubt that you have ever been around a 'good trainer' and I doubt that you have ever ridden or handled a really 'well-trained' horse. As long as you are asking nothing more out of a horse than one would ask out of any companion animal, one is not teaching much.

Horses doing anything out of fear is so completely different than one responding because it has been 'conditioned' and 'taught' to respond are as different as night and day. They are in no way even similar.

I would say horses are working out of fear if I had to pick one - not panic, but they are working under the constant threat that if they don't respond correctly they will be progressively be made less comfortable, have to work harder or be in pain.
This is simply NOT how horses think and respond. Horses live 'in the moment'. Just like they do not stand around and worry about dying from some obscure cause. They do not think, "Gee, if I do not do this, Bozo here is going to hit me or make me miserable".

Good training by good trainers is no different than your 'clicker training' in that it 'teaches a 'conditioned response'. When the conditioned response wanted is something very simple or a 'trick', I can see where a clicker can produce the wanted conditioned response.

When a trainer is training a horse to do complicated things under saddle, I cannot see how the desired conditioned response can be attained by establishing a target or using treats. In 55 years, I have never seen it done with horses.

Other animal species have a lot more reasoning intelligence than horses do. Even donkeys do much more reasoning. Dogs and pigs do much more reasoning. The more reasoning intelligence an animal has, the more they can plan and project future consequences. Horse are in the here and now. Horses are 'creature of habit' much more than creatures of 'great intellect and reasoning'.

Can they be fearful or afraid of someone? Absolutely. When they are fearful, they are stiff, brace against the pressure they are anticipating and are anything but relaxed and happy. Their whole demeanor exudes fear.

While you think horses are conditioned to do something because they fear consequences down the road, I understand that they are conditioned responses that they have been skillfully taught to do. This is completely different than the fear response.

The more skill a trainer has, the less force or hard pressure is needed to teach the correct response. Once it has been taught, it only takes occasional small reminders when the horse starts responding at a lower level of compliance than it is capable of doing. Some horses require little or no reminders. Some horse have less natural 'push back' or 'resistance' than others. This is determined by background and breeding. We have specifically bred for 'good minded' horses that have 'trainable' attitudes along with specific athletic attributes and abilities.

I like to refer to good training as just 'opening the right door and LETTING the horse go through it'. The good trainer just closes all other doors and lets the horse do the thing that they have made easy (or possible). This is world away from beating or knocking a horse through the right door. If you can't understand that difference, you are never going to get a horse trained to do anything but be a companion animal. Until a person fully understands this difference, their horses are not going to do anything useful, much less competitive.

When I look at the avatar photo of Allison riding the big gray horse over a 5 foot jump, I do not see a fearful horse that thinks it is going to be beaten if it does not jump the jump. I see a horse that has been taught to perform a difficult athletic endeavor.

I am waiting for someone to explain to me how this could get done with a clicker or a treat? Anyone? I think it is the result of just plain good training techniques.

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post #12 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 08:49 AM
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What is respect?

I greatly respected my parents, I never went out and robbed a bank or mugged anyone because I was taught better and, the fear of letting my parents down was greater than my need to do wrong!

It is the same with training any animal, firm, fair and fun. Tight boundaries to start and then as the training and respect is cemented those boundaries can widen.

I do not mind a trained horse being cheeky and having a personality, but ill manners, never. They rarely ever need anything more than a verbal or finger poke correction.
The spoiled horse will need more in that boundaries are tight but with the three 'Fs' they soon learn.

A horse that is being difficult over say being clipped, I will get very cross with them, make them go backwards around the stable until they are showing signs of submission, then I will stop and continue to clip them. Their 'fear' of my getting cross, although in will not have beaten them up. Is greater than the clippers so they settle and recognise that I am going to do what I wanted regardless.

Before anyone decries this I use to be the only person clipping (hunter clips on all) a yard of jump racehorses, over 90 horses, they were fit and ready to go. Of all those horses there was only one that I had to twitch to do his ears. The rest were fine even for their last clips when they were really fit and ticklish. Before I was doing them there were at least six that had to be doped. One had put three lads in hospital yet I would do him totally loose (which was the way to do him, if he was tied or held he would fight) all some needed was making them think I was the devil himself, a couple just needed assuring. It was a matter of knowing the difference between "I won't'. And 'I'm not sure'.
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Last edited by Foxhunter; 01-11-2014 at 08:59 AM.
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 09:41 AM
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I do not think fear and respect are the same thing. Respect comes with trust and that can't exist unless fear is overcome.
I think that there is a certain amount of fear in the beginning when you are working on earning a horse's respect. However that is only a small element of respect.
Through conditioning, and consistency you create a environment with boundaries that a horse adapts to and trusts which builds respect. That is the bond all the touchy feelies talk about.
If a person is only using fear as training tool then they are going to reach a point where they can't move forward with that technique because the horse is either going to shut down or blow up.

So in lies the madness, the pursuit of the impossible in the face of the complete assurance that you will fail, and yet still you chase.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
When I look at the avatar photo of Allison riding the big gray horse over a 5 foot jump, I do not see a fearful horse that thinks it is going to be beaten if it does not jump the jump. I see a horse that has been taught to perform a difficult athletic endeavor.

I am waiting for someone to explain to me how this could get done with a clicker or a treat? Anyone? I think it is the result of just plain good training techniques.
I've already mentioned I'm not going to talk more about my opinions on the OP, I think I've said enough and don't want to keep hammering a point.

That being said, you asked a great questions, can Clicker Training teach advanced things like advanced show jumping (like Allison's amazing photo) or advanced manuevers, maybe in Dressage or working cows? Of course is can and does work in those environments.

Many a show horse has either been clicker trained from the beginning or has had clicker training added to their training to overcome issues that couldn't be overcome with traditional training.

I'd like to share Shawna Karrasch's story of Judgement, a professional jumping horse with a fear of water jumps. This is a quote from one of Shawna's blogs:
"Beezie Madden, who is a two time olympic gold medalist, is who worked with when I started applying clicker training to horses back in 1994. She and her husband had a famous jumper named Judgement. He had a huge water jumping issue and clicker/target training helped him to overcome his fear. So it really works for every level." Teaching a Horse to Jump : On Target Training with Shawna Karrasch

I can't think of any more advanced bahaviors than a seeing-eye horse, who has to stop at cross walks, assess safety situations, get into cars, and guide and protect the life of their person. Here is Panda a purely Clicker Trained mini https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLdO2cBAusw

This is Georgia Bruce who does both english and western events with her purely clicker trained horses https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tBrOwuhFvo

Here's Hannah Dawson's amazing Clicker Trained horse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjyIXQljqc0
Here's another great Hannah Dawson one that shows some flat work skills and some jumping

This is one of the winners of the World Clicker Equine Games:
Another amazing one from the World Clicker Equine Games:

With Clicker training you can shape any skill you want. If you want them to ride more collected clicking and marking the times the horse holds himself more correctly will teach them how to hold themselves, if you want them to jump higher or cleaner you click click and shape the behavior into exactly as you want. You can literally teach a horse anything they're physically capable of doing by using a bridge signal.

Oh and I forgot this amazing story :) http://www.wect.com/story/24417490/h...used-with-dogs

Last edited by PunksTank; 01-11-2014 at 11:38 AM.
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 01:22 PM
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One of my horses might seemingly show respect but I knew he was scared half to death. His first reaction was to get rigid throughout his entire body as he prepared for flight. Then his head would go up and then he'd show the white of his eyes. A mere snap of a finger could easily have triggered him to take off. In spite of his fear he never displayed anger. Some fearful horses will suddenly fight back as they are now in life or death mode.
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 01:32 PM
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I think horses respect us because they have a "healthy fear" of the consequences. The TWH I work with comes when called because she knows she'll be running if she does. My mare moves her butt over when I say "move over" because she doesn't want a poke from the thumb. They also know the consequence to biting is a hard smack in mouth.

Just like a heard leader. When the leader says move, they move. Or they risk getting a nice chuck of hair taken off their back side.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 01:36 PM
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I realized I didn't put a link for Judgement's story (the clicker trained Show Jumper)
This is the video of Judgement's story and how Clicker Training brought him to the very top of his jumping career: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB8NFpAWm-s It's about 6 minutes in that they explain how Clicker Training helped him.
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-11-2014, 08:54 PM
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I think horses respect us because they have a "healthy fear" of the consequences. The TWH I work with comes when called because she knows she'll be running if she does. My mare moves her butt over when I say "move over" because she doesn't want a poke from the thumb. They also know the consequence to biting is a hard smack in mouth.
This may be why your horse does what you want, but it certainly is not how it works around here. Sometimes in the beginning when we retrain a spoiled horse, they do things because they have to. But our own horses that have never been spoiled go through training with a happy and relaxed demeanor. We teach them to do what we want and they chose to do what we ask. We strive to never have to bully them into doing anything. I can think of many horses that we raised and trained from start to finish and never had to 'get after' them in any way. They had never been hammered on or knocked around and so there was nothing what-so-ever they could fear as consequences.

Like I have said so many times, if you 'open' the right door and let the horse go through it, it is so different than beating them through a door.

One of the things that so many people do not understand is how we can ride and train a horse for 2 or 3 months and then turn them out for 5 years or longer and they come back in like we rode them last week. The reason that works is because we teach them instead of just pushing them around. We ride them and teach them to do things instead of making them do things. Teaching a horse to do something is totally different than just making them do it.

If one can go through horse after horse after horse, and never have to punish them or use any strong reinforcement or pain, then the horses are not doing the right thing because they are afraid to do the wrong thing.
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post #19 of 22 Old 01-12-2014, 03:55 AM
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By saying that respect has an element of fear to it, there is a difference between fear and terror.

I agree that horses live in the moment but they do also have a conscience and some have a sense of humour.

When I was running a busy riding school, the ponies would generally be very good. I could have them in the arena with a ride of novice riders, if one was thinking about taking advantage, all I had to do was to call out "Eh!" Or wave the lunge whip and they would instantly stop whilst non of the other animals would bat an eyelid.

Another time when I had eight young horses in a big loose barn and one of them turned their backside to me to kick at feed time. I instantly used the bucket with the feed (most was already in the long manger) to drive it away. I hollered and ran at the perpetrator who shot across tha barn. As did all the others. The innocent group stayed in one corner whilst I chased the kicker. They never bothered when I went past them nor would they let the naughty one into the group. They knew they were 'innocent' and the other had to take his punishment. ( which was just being chased and driven away)
As soon as I stopped they moved back to th feed and when I walked back into the barn a few minutes later, I could walk up to and scratch every one of them.
That youngster never booted out at anyone again.
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post #20 of 22 Old 01-12-2014, 05:57 AM
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I will put this in this manner. When I grew up I feared my father but I did not respect him. (He was an A hole to put it mildly). I was afraid of the abusive way he treated me but I did not look to him for guidance, understanding, companionship, as a leader, teacher, or confidant. I did not respect him in any manner. I avoided him, hid from him when I could, ignored his rantings (unles there was a flying hand coming my way) I didnt go out of my way to do things for him and etc. So I see fear and respect as two VERY different things. My horse should not want to run and hide when I approach him/ her with a whip, but if I use it as a tool (extension of my hand) and teach them to respect it as such then I have gained trust and respect not fear. If I beat him with it then he will fear it and me but I still havent gained any trust, confidance or loyalty. Putting pressure (in various forms though not harsh) untill he/she makes the right decision in what you are asking is the same as process of elminating other possibilities. Me putting mild pressure on the horse's poll to encourage a drop in the head and repeating the process with consistant release when the right decision of dropping the head is made is developing trust and respect. Beating his poll with a stick untill he drops his head from fear is NOT. Being inconsistant with your "pressures" (again not talking about harsh methods) also builds fear or distrust of the humans intentions. Just like in humans. We cant talk to the animal via human language so we have to use cues and developing cues ot communicate for such.. Using a harsh method to do so will not accomplish this (not in a good way anyways) the only thing you will get is a horse that is not relaxed, not happy and does not trust you and simply avoids you or is afraid of you.. I have seen ppl hit smack, beat the animal but yet the animal feared the person but had no respect for them what so ever. They usualy where looking off somewhere else and avoiding the person at all cost unless the person was about to do something like smack or hit the animal, that was the only time the animal actually paid attention to the human involved. No respect there just the flight or fight response.

I have a supervisor that I dont respect in any manner but I do Fear in losing my job so I avoid the butt as much as I can and do his bidding because I cant lose my job for it. Respect him.....nope not one bit. It is not a comfortable coexsistance with him..

So, Yes I beleive whole heartedly that there is a big difference between fear and respect.
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"The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?" Jeremy Bentham

Last edited by ZaneyZanne123; 01-12-2014 at 06:01 AM.
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fear , respect , trust

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