Can't help but join in on this one, even though this sort of subject gets 'done' reasonably regularly! OP you must be new to forums if you didn't expect your post to get.... heated replies!
I agree thoroughly with your basic sentiments OP, but not so much with the way you put it, or perhaps the strength of your opinions, as I understood them. It sounds like you have recently been learning about behavioural theory? I absolutely believe it's a very valuable thing for people to study & understand, and do also believe including positive reinforcement in our training is a good practice. But to me, training is not so black and white as the Skinner...ian(?) model and not so... fanatical(wrong word, right feel...) as the 'purist' clicker trainer model. JMO.
negative reinforcement is not "something that the horse moves away from" and positive reinforcement is not "something the horse moves toward".
I think it depends on how you understand that & whether it's taken literally or metaphorically, to a large degree. As seems clear here, *behavioural terms* & principles such as these are commonly misunderstood. Applying an undesirable stimulus does cause the horse to 'move away' from it, be that physically or mentally, and if that stimulus is removed *at the time of*(not after as some stated) the 'yielding' behaviour, it is by definition, negative reinforcement. If 'moving toward' is taken to mean attracting, then it seems to me that's an appropriate metaphor too IMO.
Someone gave the eg. Of undesirable stimuli(bit, spur, etc) as an eg of negative punishment. That would actually be an eg of positive
punishment. Or negative reinforcement
if we're talking about the instant that stimulus is removed
. As someone's already said, negative punishment is something like withholding or removing a treat, not applying a Bad Thing.
And so many people don't seem to understand the difference between reward/+R & -R. (BTW, I think of 'reward' in behavioural terms, interchangeable with +R) For eg. Someone gave the eg of turning their back on a horse or allowing rest, to 'reward' them. These are often effective negative
reinforcements, but a positive
reinforcement is when something desirable
, such as a treat, good scratch, whatever. It's also vital to consider *what that particular horse desires at that particular time* if you're intending it to be positive reinforcement. Eg. So many people think of patting as a 'reward' when it's usually IME just tolerated & in many instances may actually be punishment - something the horse dis
likes. And of course everyone knows
food is a +R, but it's not always desirable, appropriate, practical.
Anyway (using the behavioural definitions), I agree thoroughly with what I understand is the basic gist of your post OP, that too many people use solely/too much +P & -R, and that the addition of +R is valuable & under used. IME -R is invaluable in horse training, and assuming it's used correctly of course, I don't think it's in the least 'unfair' or cruel, but focussing on reinforcing 'right' behaviour & creating 'Good' associations with rewards is also invaluable too.
I don't believe avoiding techniques just because they're not 'natural horse behaviour' is at all valid - after all, if you want to use that argument, you shouldn't be riding, using ropes or bridles, etc, etc. Most +P should be 'banned' for those believers too.
Oh & endiku, while your horse's stereotypic behaviour may now be permanent, I'd be looking at digestive problems and chronic stress. Addition of Mg to the diet may be the answer to otherwise unexplained stress.