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Learned Helplessness

This is a discussion on Learned Helplessness within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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        06-21-2014, 06:22 AM
      #11
    Weanling
    It can also be done by a spouse in a controlling/abusive relationship.
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        06-21-2014, 06:23 AM
      #12
    Super Moderator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanielDauphin    
    Go to any kid's soccer or baseball game and you can witness this training in action...
    Not when my nephew was playing Rugby! My sister and I were renowned for screaming encouragement without being abusive to the officials even if they were wrong!
         
        06-21-2014, 09:09 AM
      #13
    Foal
    I guess this is one of those 'when will I ever use this in real life' moments. My honors English class last year was lucky enough to be chosen by the state to re-analyze and rewrite our essays. The essays were part of a plan that we do, where you write one your 7th, 9th, and 11th grade years on whatever topic they choose and get graded on it to assess the English skills throughout the state. (the grades might be wrong but you get the point. I just woke up, bear with me) basically what that means for us is really pointless boring essays that most kids just skip the day they give it and not take it.

    What's my point? Last year, our topic was learned helplessness. We had to read 2 studies by whatever random psychologists they chose, and compare/contrast them in an at least 2 page essay and it was timed. Then, since our class was so lucky, we had to bring that essay back a few weeks later, break it down, analyze it, do projects on it, and in the end we rewrote our entire 2 page timed essay about 4 times. The first time was typed so it wasn't bad, but the others were hand written. I wanted to beat my head on the desk repeatedly.

    It was only studies about kids, and I don't remember much because I got pretty snarky about it and really didn't want to do it. It was basically saying that if your kid does great in school in lower grades, and you nonstop praise them on how smart they are, they won't try when the hit higher grades and their report cards will be worse. However, if you praise them on how much effort they're putting forth, they'll keep trying through high school and college. And the learned helplessness comes into play when the kids get presented with something they don't know/struggle with; the kids that get told how smart they are, etc. will give up when they can't do it and won't try it again whereas the kids that were told how much progress they were making, etc. kept trying until they figured it out.

    I couldn't find the essays, they must have been burned already. (End of the year bonfire's what's up) And thanks to Tennessee's own statute of limitations type thing they have instilled on this crap, you won't be able to find it online or anything for a few years. Because it's classified. I'll still try and pull some strings to dig it up and give you more insight, but yeah. There ya go.
         
        06-21-2014, 11:59 AM
      #14
    Green Broke
    Interesting theory. I think there is a fine line between a horse that has no try/being a jerk and one that has simply given up.

    I've dealt with many who are just plain out nasty because they don't want to do it.

    I have also rode and worked with an failed-out ex reining horse. He was a grumpy old man who I was told "didn't have the drive" to be a reining horse. But looking at his confirmation, there is no way he could execute advanced maneuvers that are required in reining. Not to mention the horse is a walking medical nightmare. Our university vet said "He has an unsoundness in every leg" .

    Anyways, I firmly believe he is an example of a horse getting pushed and pushed but not physically able to perform what he was asked. So eventually he stuck his middle finger up to the world and turned into a lazy jerk. He was under the training of a well known reining trainer when he was much younger. I have no doubt this trainer pushed him till he said "eff you, I'm done"
         
        06-21-2014, 12:33 PM
      #15
    Super Moderator
    I had two horses to ride. They were out of full sisters by the same stallion but very different characters. One was frit of his own shadow and the other bold and brash.

    I got them to a certain level dressage and started taking lessons from a top UK trainer (at that time) He was very demanding and oddly it was the nervy horse that improved in leaps and bounds whilst the other shut right down.

    Every lesson was nothing but hard work, no relaxation or fun at all.
         
        06-21-2014, 12:45 PM
      #16
    Weanling
    I am not thinking that Learned Helplessness and shutting down are synonymous, are they?
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        06-21-2014, 12:57 PM
      #17
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anndankev    
    I am not thinking that Learned Helplessness and shutting down are synonymous, are they?
    Not quite.
    Learned helplessness is a repetitiously trained frame of mind. Causing one to shut down daily for a period of time would result in learned helplessness, where they would not even begin to try.
    Remember the fish in that tank. He hit the glass so many times that he eventually starved with ample food simply because he quit trying.
         
        06-21-2014, 12:59 PM
      #18
    Weanling
    I could not edit due to timing out. So my thoughts are that one suffering from:

    * Learned Helplessness would continue to do as they are told.

    * shutting down would cease to do anything.


    P.S. I see your response, thank you. So repeatedly being forced into a situation where one shuts down can lead to Learned Helplessness?
         
        06-21-2014, 01:40 PM
      #19
    Foal
    No, learned helplessness is permanent shutting down. A horse operating at 15% of what it can do.

    Yes, repeatedly driving anyone or animal to the point where they give up , or shut down, leads to LH.
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        06-21-2014, 01:57 PM
      #20
    Trained
    This is why people should ALWAYS look for experts with a proven track record, take lessons before they buy a horse to see how a well trained horse behaves and continue to study horsemanship. I learn new things all of the time, even though I can look back with great pride on the horses I trained for lessons and CW Reenacting.
    The troll who had those comments understood a fraction of the truth. Once you train a horse to not fear traffic or cars, anybody could take the horse, ride in traffic and get the horse (and themselves) hit by a car and killed. It DOES make your horse more vulnerable to not fear what his instincts TELL him to fear. However, we, as caretakers, normally take care of our horse's needs and that includes safety. We HAVE to think for our well trained, well behaved horses so that their training does not lead them to danger. We pull them in a box behind a truck and are obligated to drive the truck and trailer through traffic safely, not nod off on any long hauls, and accelerate and slow down gradually.
    HOWEVER, we horse owners and trainers are the only ones who have the right to this observation. We are the ones who understand that the horse in the 21st century could not survive turned out, like the rotten people who turn out unwanted dogs on an Interstate road. =/
    We do NOT agree with the bleeding heart "animal rights" people, full of opinions and nothing to lose or gain by expressing their opinions.
    I'll have to check out the video. Thanks! =D
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