Thoughts on CA's patience pole? - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 44 Old 09-21-2011, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Cherie View Post
If you have a safe place to tie one up (our pipe arena is very safe), I cannot imagine what problem it would cause. It cures a bunch of them and I have never seen it cause a single one.

I certainly never said a horse had time to think about previous training. I only want then to NOT WANT to hurry off to the barn or pasture after being ridden. This does that quite well.

Tying a horse up DOES NOT increase the possibility of injury. Of course, horses should be walked out and cooled down before they are stopped and unsaddled. NOBODY said a puffing hot horse should be tied up and left for hours!

I agree --- and one of those 'wrong things' is riding a horse out of the arena and going straight to the barn with him right after a show class or training session.

In all my years of doing this, I have never seen it change a horse's pasture or barn personality other than to quiet one and help one settle down and make one less fussy and anxious.

I am afraid that my observations do not match yours. I do not look at it like 'drilling a horse into submission'. I tend to see it as teaching horse that being quiet and agreeable makes for a happier horse and a more pleasant relationship. The happiest horses I see are the horses that decided that their human leader is worthy and they have nothing to worry about. The spoiled ones remind me of the spoiled children you see throwing tantrums in a store. Have you ever seen a 'happy' spoiled child? I haven't. They are all like spoiled horses -- completely miserable. The well-mannered, relaxed and non-anxious horse is certainly a happier horse.

As far as CA is concerned, I have been around Clinton Anderson many times. His horses are happy, healthy, well turned out and being obedient has not hurt them one tiny bit.

Oooh this is getting good and I am thoroughly enjoying myself as I am an avid CA follower.
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post #32 of 44 Old 10-22-2011, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bubba13 View Post
Horsepeople always say that the short-term memory (or attention span, whatever you want to call it) is in the ballpark of three seconds, probably less. That's why corrections and rewards must be given instantaneously for the horse to make the connection between cause and effect. We laugh at and then scold the person who gets bucked off, chases her horse around for 10 minutes, then gives him a whoopin' to teach him not to buck again.

Yet now, if we tie horses up for a couple hours after riding, they'll mull the training session over in their heads, reflect on what went right and what went wrong, and plan on how to do better next time?

Dead right. There is absolutely no training value whatsoever in tying up a horse for 20 minutes or 2 hours after a training session. It might teach the horse to just stand there, but its not going to help the horse understand any better what its supposed to do next time its been ridden.

Horses do not have a frontal cortex, the part of the brain required for insight, reasoning and complex thought- as a grass eater they don't need to strategise to catch their food. Training methods which assume that horses can plot, design, reason and plan into the future, or recall and re-examine past events demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding about the limits of equine cognition.

Horses are extremely adept at making associations between cues or signals and outcomes they either value or wish to avoid and thus may keep on shying at the same spot in the arena months after getting a fright there, but they don't have insight into their behaviour and when tied to that pole, they aren't running through the training session they just had and working out how to do better next time. Horses have no insight into the things we get them to do when we ride them, they aren't seeing circles or patterns or good scores or the winning post, they are seeing/feeling pressures that come on and off when they move their bodies certain ways and in certain directions. And most certainly they are not thinking about how to annoy or please the person riding or handling them, though they may be trying to get the person and their annoying pressures out of their immediate space by bucking, rearing, shying, pulling back, not getting caught etc.

All tying a horse to a pole for hours on end will achieve is teach it to be tied up for hours on end. If that's the training aim you are seeking to achieve well and good but its not going to help them do a more rounder circle or jump higher the next time.

And the danger of tying horses up for hours is that they could develop what is called learned helplessness, where they learn that they can't do anything to relieve themselves of an unpleasant experience, like being hungry, itchy, thirsty, so eventually they stop trying. In experienments in dogs and rats, subjects who couldn't escape electric shocks eventually stopped trying to and when tested on new learning tasks afterwards most wouldn't even try to solve them, even when food was the reward. Tying a horse to a pole is not in the league of these experiements, but maybe that "humble" horse is simply dejected and miserable because he can't do anything to improve his situation. As a horse trainer its never a place I want any of my horses to be.
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post #33 of 44 Old 10-23-2011, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by corymbia View Post
And the danger of tying horses up for hours is that they could develop what is called learned helplessness, where they learn that they can't do anything to relieve themselves of an unpleasant experience, like being hungry, itchy, thirsty, so eventually they stop trying. In experienments in dogs and rats, subjects who couldn't escape electric shocks eventually stopped trying to and when tested on new learning tasks afterwards most wouldn't even try to solve them, even when food was the reward. Tying a horse to a pole is not in the league of these experiements, but maybe that "humble" horse is simply dejected and miserable because he can't do anything to improve his situation. As a horse trainer its never a place I want any of my horses to be.
if you've ever put a saddle on a horse and and expected it not to take off bucking you're just as if not more guilty of creating "learned helplessness" than someone who ties their horse up all day.

with the animals that couldnt escape the electric shocks, i would bet, that when it was determined they had "stopped trying" the electricity was switched off. so what taught them to act helpless was the fact the reward (ceasation of electricity) happened when they were deemed helpless. so when tested on new learning tasks, appearing helpless or "not trying" to solve the problem was the animals attempt to solve the problem.

proven by the fact that you could tie a horse up for hours with a bit of twine and if it had been well tied before it would act helpless and submissive, but something spooks it and it breaks the twine. repeat that a few times and the horse no longer acts helpless, and pulls back all the time just like a horse that has never been tied before.

so what you suggested doesn't prove the animals mental processes (therefore ability to learn) are any different, it just proves that appearing to "not try" (by humans standards anyway) is just as much of a "try" on the animals part as anything else.
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post #34 of 44 Old 10-26-2011, 05:34 PM
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Interesting discussion. I don't tie my horse up after a ride BUT I know **** well that I could if I wanted to! Occasionally I go and do stock work, mustering in the morning, drafting, tagging, docking etc in the afternoon. On those days my horse is tied up sometimes for several hours and I expect her to handle it because that is what I require of her. Also If I stop for lunch I will tie up Phoenix for an hour or so then carry on riding. I think it is vital that a horse learns to tie for as long as is required, sometimes it is just one of its jobs.

At the end of the day I feel it is important that I be able to tie my horse at any stage whether it be before the ride, during the ride or after the ride, for as long as may be needed. It is another string on the bow of a well schooled horse.

That actually brings to mind a day I went on a horse trek, there were about 70 other riders. We stopped for lunch and inevitably there were the handful of riders who had horses that "couldn't be tied". I remember watching these people trying to eat their lunches while being dragged around by their grazing horses, and thinking how frikken ridiculous they looked!

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post #35 of 44 Old 10-26-2011, 05:54 PM
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Nick: Hey Chip, whatcha doing over there?

Chip: Standing at the “Patience Pole” after my workout.

Nick: What’s a Patience Pole.

Chip: Darned if I know! Just this post here that she ties me to.

Nick: Ohhh wait, I think I heard about those! You’re supposed to mull over your training session or some such thing.

Chip: My what?

Nick: Your training session. You know, that work you just did with her.

Chip: pffffft, I just like standing here because I’m cooling off and don’t have to work. I’m not thinking about anything.

Nick: Do you remember your training session at all? The stuff you learned?

Chip: My what?

Nick: Yanno, you have the memory of a goldfish; about 3 seconds *horse laugh*

Chip: A goldfish eh?

Nick: Yup, a goldfish.

Chip: *cocks an ear* What about a goldfish?

Nick: *bigger horse laugh*
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post #36 of 44 Old 10-30-2011, 06:48 PM
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I can see where not turning a horse loose right after a workout is good, and I think being able to tie for any length of time is good too. To those that think a horse doesn't take a lesson with them and "think" about it, why do we always want to end a session on a good note? I don't think the idea of letting a horse "soak on something" is only CA's, I believe Ray Hunt and the Dorrance bros. subscribed to it too. I think the three second rule of thumb is only your window for correction, there is no window for positive reinforcement. If horses are as dumb as some of you suggest how the heck do we teach them anything?!?
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Last edited by Mike Zimmerman; 10-30-2011 at 06:56 PM.
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post #37 of 44 Old 10-31-2011, 09:51 AM
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I'm not really familiar with CA's training methods, or the reasons he gives for doing all of the things that he does, but I don't see anything necessarily bad about tying a horse after he's been worked. And it's not like he invented the concept of tying a horse when you're done riding him for a while.

People have been doing that for years.

Everyone seems to have their own opinions on what must go through the horse's mind while he's tied. Maybe, as some said, he stands there and reflects on the day's lesson. Or maybe he just stands there, happy that the "lesson" part is over. Or maybe he stands there and looks forward to going back to his stall or turnout afterward.

In any case, I think it's a useful thing to teach a horse to stand tied for a little while after any kind of a workout. I see it as kind of a decompression time, between the workout and stall/turnout.

I don't care what he thinks about, just as long as he doesn't think that being back at the barn after a trail ride means he gets to go straight to his stall and eat.

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post #38 of 44 Old 11-01-2011, 09:21 AM
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Returning a horse to his stall or pasture right after riding him is no different than taking a horse to his stall after getting out of a show class.

The horse just gets more and more anxious to head to the gate and get the ride over with because His some, herd, feed and comfort wait for him.

I always tie a horse up for a while when we are done riding. Sometimes I even loosen the girth and leave the saddle on. If a horse is the least bit anxious to get back to the trailer or the barn, I ride past 'home', loosen the girth and tie him well away from the barn. At home, I may tie one along the highway that goes past our house. I won't put them up until they are standing quietly with a hind leg cocked. Then, I go out, bring them in, unsaddle them and put them away.

Are they contemplating on the day's lesson. Of course not. They are hopefully bored and just go to sleep waiting to be put up.

Many times, I have been ready to unsaddle a horse and put it up and the horse was all antsy and anxious, so the plan changed and they got tied up away from the barn till the hind leg rested.

The payoff -- I don't have herd bound, barn sour, arena or gate sour horses. I don't have horses that go faster toward the barn or the gate than they go away from it. It really does work.

Last edited by Cherie; 11-01-2011 at 09:24 AM.
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post #39 of 44 Old 11-01-2011, 09:31 AM
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This is a kind of awful example, but my horse was fidgety in the cross ties and never really liked to sit back and relax. Well, I accidently forgot to put her away one time (we have four isles and it's easy to not run into a horse if they're in the fourth isle like she is).. Keep in mind I have a memory problem anyway ^^' lol but anyways, she was in the cross ties for about... 4 hours maybe? haha.. yea, I'm not too proud of it. But long story short, she now doesn't mind standing to be groomed/tacked up anymore!

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post #40 of 44 Old 11-01-2011, 10:43 AM
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The lesson sticks. It is a positive learning experience for EVERY horse to learn to stand quietly while tied. I am glad your outcome was positive. It could have been tragic, but you were lucky. Horses left unattended in cross ties, even really well-trained ones, can try to turn around in them and end up dead. Cross ties on concrete or asphalt are responsible many deadly injuries from horses the 'do the splits' with their back feet with the result of cracking their pelvis'. Seen it -- been there at a big H/J barn when it happened. Horse ended up being put down after months of treatment and re-hab. I have heard of many others. But, congratulations on getting your to become 'settled' and happy while tied.
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