Firstly I will say I agree with getting as firm *as necessary* to be effective. I also thoroughly agree with rewarding him, as well as just negatively reinforcing(removing pressure) for 'right' things and ensuring that his 'smallest tries' work for him.
Originally Posted by kolorisingstudio View Post
When a horse refuses to move away from pressure, it is a respect issue.
Very ambiguous & much overused lable I reckon. Without knowing the horse I don't believe you can know this as a fact in the least - altho of course it depends on your meaning of the ambiguous term. Eg. I've come across horses who didn't respond to pressure because they didn't understand it, had been inadvertently taught(by beginners) to ignore 'cues' and would lean into it or resist it. I've also known horses who were 'over Parellied'(for want of a better term
) by people who didn't know what they were doing, who ultimately 'desensitised' the horse to all sorts of pressure - that is, also taught it to (respectfully)ignore everything. I've even come across the odd horse who was so 'shut down' & fearful that he wouldn't respond to anything.... until 'suddenly, out of the blue, for no apparent reason' something small would set him off & he'd get very reactive.
It is very hard to physically injure a horse just hitting them with a whip/crop, it may smart them a bit, but it won't be permanent.
Sorry to pick, but this attitude gets to me too. It seems like justifying bashing a horse because you can never be as rough as 2 fighting stallions may be with eachother. Yes, you can indeed hurt a horse with a whip. But more to the point, you can hurt them mentally very much, and the attitudes & fears you 'teach' will be more permanent. It is estimated that mental abuse is far more damaging & long term than physical abuse in people. I personally want to make friends with the horses I train, be trusted. That's not to say I always or only use a 'softly softly' approach & I am big on 'manners'(what I think people generally seem to mean by 'respect') but there are other ways besides using force to get your message across.
As I said first, I agree with being as 'firm as necessary'. I do see punishment as a valid tool at times. But it is one that comes with many 'side effects'. So I believe it's important to understand fully the psychology of what you're doing when using punishment, to use it only when *necessary* ie not as a matter of course in training(because there are other better, more effective methods generally) and use it in conjunction with other methods, such as positive reinforcement, so it is better understood and there is less chance of permanent 'side effects' such as fear of the handler, the tool, whatever.