Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Alberta, Canada
Ah, yes. The "Fear is negitive" approach. I disagree. Is constant fear for your life bad? Of course. Worred about being beaten, or abuse? No doubt. But some kinds of fear are the basis of possitve behavior. For example: Fear to displease.
The leader of my horses herd is an OTTB mare. She is a firm, but fair leader. No one encroaches on her space, steals her food, or misbehaves around her. They are not afraid she will randomly attack or kill them, in fact, the herd is a happy place. What they are afraid of is breaking the rules and upsetting her. They know their will be disapline involved, and they naturally want to maintain peace in a herd. An ideal horse-human relationship is similar. Happy to be around you, work with you and follow your direction, but have a healthy fear of displeasing you. In fact a dictionary definition of fear is "reverential awe".
Aditionally, some situations warrant fear(terror, anxiety, etc). For example, as mentioned by an above poster, emergency or life threatening situations. If a mares foal is in danger, she will do her darndest to make the offending creature fear for its life, and never forget it. Similarly, if a horse threatens my safety, I will take whatever actions nessesary to make that animal understand that the dangerous action is NEVER to be repeated.
I'm all for fair, patient, understanding training, but in the horse world, fear can occasionally be nessesary.