09-13-2013, 09:43 AM
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OP- it sounds to me like you don't have a full understanding of horse training as a whole. It does sound like your horse knows that he can get away with anything if he just pins his ears.
When you use pressure and release, like parrelli or any traditional or natural horse trainer, you need to apply escalating pressure until the horse responds. You using negative reinforcement and positive punishment, when you ask for something you need to ask more and more extremely until the horse responds. If the horse is pushy or rude you use positive punishment by either scaring or hurting them or making them work.
Your other option is to use clicker training, with positive reinforcement and negative punishment. You can piggy back positive reinforcement on to negative reinforcement but you shouldnt mix it with positive punishment. I've used CT alone with very pushy horses and including a belgian just the other day. I just stayed at his shoulder until he stopped circling me and faced forward. In about 10 minutes (2 sessions at 5 minutes) he no longer came into my space at all. I could walk a full circle around him without him moving, if I went up to his neck and walked off he stayed with me at the proper distance. He no longer looks to me for food, he looks to himself, what does he need to do to get the reward. You can piggyback CT onto negative reinforcement, like the parrelli games or something else, by clicking when he responds correctly. The nice thing about positive reinforcement is that you don't need to escalate the pressure, the horse will escalate the skill you teach him himself. Personally to teach my horses to back up I stand in front and wave my hands in theur direction and take a step toward them saying "back up" - my horse know the CT thing so theyre looking for what they need to do to get the reward, most try backing up quickly, but if he doesnt catch on you can use the target to teach them to back up. This is why my order of training goes - stand respectfully, touch target, lead with target at fast walk, slow walk and stopping square, then back up, then lead with target at fast trot, slow trot and trot-walk and trot-halt transitions. Then I go on to teach them to lunge off voice cues, then give to a bridle of their preference, then line-driving. From there I usually work on despooking with the horse, if the horse hasnt needed it already - I despook to everything I can think of and more teaching them how to react when they're concerned. Then I move on to mounted work, CT all the way.