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How many

This is a discussion on How many within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        01-27-2010, 12:06 PM
    To be fair to Parilli, he is trying to teach through the media of books and DVDs, largely inexperienced owner/riders how to school their horses. He explains to them that all horses have a personality and that one standardised training system, stuck to rigidly by the trainer, won't necessarily work on all horses. Previously in the UK the British Horse Society had produced several manuals on how to train a horse but they were very basic in content and did not take into account the differences in the type of horse - or just as importantly, the personality of the human trainer.

    Michael Peace in his book 'The 100% Horse' divides horses up into 11 types
    From "Anxious" thru to "The Trader" MP suggests that before the owner makes any attempt to train he should first ascertain what type of personality the horse has. He doesn't go so far as to say which side of the horse's brain is switched on but nevertheless he is in principle following Parilli's concepts
    If it is generally accepted that horses vary in personality, as indeed they do, and that people differ in personality, as they do, then quickly it becomes obvious that some horses will never suit their owners because the differences in their personalities will clash. Brash won't ever mix with timid.

    In the olden days, the professional horseman would use a standardised method of training, one designed to enable the horse to be used in a short space of time. The professional's ability to sit even a difficult horse meant that he could always get out of a horse most of what he wanted. Nowadays the amateur owner/rider seeks more - he/she seeks an harmonius relationship - which the professional never sought although no doubt he would have valued such a bond as and when it was acheived thru time.

    Before WW1, the gentleman was presented with a well schooled horse to ride, fit for purpose, which had been brought on by the Head Groom of the estate.
    The rider was not concerned with schooling (or mucking out).

    So when we buy a horse, we should perhaps try to better assess the horse's temperament and personality and we must ask ourselves whether the horse is fit for our purpose. The cost of the horse is irrelevant in the selection process but of course it does figure in the decision to buy.

    It occurs to me, that immediately we start to assign emotions to horses, the horsey life gets complicated - which no doubt was the reason why in the olden days one did not seriously attempt to see horses as anything more than a beast of burden.

    B G
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        01-27-2010, 10:26 PM
    The "olden days" being what? Nineteenth century? Eighteenth? "Early Modern" period, as historians like to call anything between the late 18th Century and the Renaissance? Middle Ages? Cavemen?

    Then there are cultural differences. A whole 'nother can of worms! Bedouin Tribes, for example, evidently used to bring their horses into their tents with them. Even closer to our own culture (or mine anyway), the American west during the 19th century, horses often got better treatment and were regarded as less disposable than women.

    I think you can find pretty good evidence that assigning emotions to horses isn't a recent phenomenon. Ever read the book "Black Beauty?" It was published in 1877. Anna Sewell didn't write that out of the blue. Rather it was part of a discourse of animal welfare that she was engaging in.

    Some old horsemanship manuals, including the one written by Xenophon in 350 BC, offer guidance which sounds an awful like what natural horsemanship trainers tell you today.

    People have been riding horses for centuries. I truly doubt anyone has discovered anything about horse training that someone, somewhere in the world, hadn't already figured out at some point. Sure, rediscovered, maybe and repackaged, definitely.
        01-27-2010, 10:54 PM
    I should have added, to bring my post around to the previous discussion, that whilst training horses through non-coercive methods and being cognizant that people can have a special bond with them have a very long history, the construction of complicated nosologies, I.e. Horsenalities or the DSM-IV, for the purpose of describing behaviour is very much a modern development.

    This way of thinking as become so pervasive, so common, that it's not a stretch for someone to essentially say, "Look, we already think about human behaviour in terms of classifications. So now lets think about horses using similar paradigms."

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