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Why force??

This is a discussion on Why force?? within the Natural Horsemanship forums, part of the Training Horses category

     
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        07-06-2009, 04:48 PM
      #11
    Started
    NH has lost it's true meaning. I see "NH" trainers smacking horses, pushing them, etc. and it's horrible. NH is about working with the horse's nature and not blaming him EVER for acting like a prey animal or giving us feedback. Sure there are times you need to defend your space, but the way I used to handle horses (smacking them when they tried to bite, etc) and the way I handle horses now, even if the horse is trying to bite, is completely different and I actually have success with the way I handle horses now. IMO smacking has no place in handling horses, but that's just me.
         
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        07-06-2009, 05:04 PM
      #12
    Started
    I have no qualms about giving Scout a smack if he needs it. He has basically good ground manners, and excellent stall manners (he'll leave his feed bin during a meal to let me pass to refill his water bucket), but he's relatively green and can get pushy sometimes. I never just out and whack him, he's always given ample warning (a stern look in the eye, "Scout, move," etc). If he chooses to ignore me, then he gets a smack. Not hard, just enough to get his attention on what I'm telling him to do. As has already been said, "As gentle as possible, but as firm as is neccesary." I'm 5 ft 2 in, and 115 lbs. Scout's 14 hands and pushing 800 lbs, by my estimate. I WILL NOT be run over by a horse, and if a smack is what it takes, that's what it takes. My hand is absolutely not going to make an impression, compared to the bite or kick he would have gotten if he had similarly ignored another horse higher on the pecking order.

    I have heard people actually brag that they just walk down their barn aisle smacking their horses over the head with a wooden board shock:. That is positively uncalled for, and is not horse training, by any definition. That is simple domination. The difference between me and these nuts is the difference between a boss mare maintaining her position in the pecking order and the "bully" horse in the herd who won't let the other horses rest.
         
        07-07-2009, 07:41 PM
      #13
    Banned
    I won't hesitate to smack a horse. If I am grooming and he snakes his head around to bite me I will hit him anywhere I can with the brush. If I am grooming and he cow kicks at me I will knee him in the ribs. I will tie him to a hitching rail so if he tried to break free he can not. That is force. I will hobble him front, back or both. If he starts chewing on the hitching rail while grooming I will smack him on the body with the brush.
    It is all about knowing when to discipline and how. I don't believe in twirling the lead rope or any of that other natural stuff and I make good horses.
    I usually start and train mean tempered stallions of age 3 or 4 with little to no handling and in a month of so you wouldn't recognize them.
         
        07-07-2009, 08:40 PM
      #14
    Foal
    Thankyou!! Spirithorse gets what I mean!! People say its okay to hit a horse because other horses do that in the paddock. But horses don't see us as horses. To them we are predators, and they have a reason to fear us. We teach them slowly that we are okay, but every time we hit them, we give them a reason to not want to be with us.

    The horse that was ruined...every time he bucked, I was told to hit him with a crop. Then he bucked harder, I had to hit him harder, etc. Turns out the horse had chiropractic problems. Funny how the horse was in pain and we automatically saw it as being nasty. Now I work him WITHOUT force and now he behaves a lot better.

    As for all those who made comments questioning my ability...I am quite capable of training my horses, now that I have learnt that hitting the horse doesn't get you anywhere in the long run.

    None of my horses "walk all over me" and I have never needed to hit them. They respect me. Isabelle follows me around the paddock, even when it's not feeding time.
    ________________
    Consistent, Confident, Kind Leadership = Trust, Obedience and Respect.
         
        07-07-2009, 08:49 PM
      #15
    Foal
    Just hitting a horse because you are irritated can very easly ruin them. To use natural horsemanship you have to communicate to the horse like another horse would. Horses will kick or bite if another comes to close, or something. Clinton anderson (not my favorite but I know his style) uses a lot hard tapping with his stick to teach a horse to yeild. I think that sometimes it is nessesary, to stand there and let a horse do something potentialy harmful to you will ruin the horse and possible hurt you, and no matter how well bred a horse you have you are more important that the horse. So if you have to, do it, but do it in the right way.
         
        07-07-2009, 09:16 PM
      #16
    Started
    Well said, Brumby!
         
        07-07-2009, 10:08 PM
      #17
    Foal
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by darkwillow    
    Thankyou!! Spirithorse gets what I mean!! People say its okay to hit a horse because other horses do that in the paddock. But horses don't see us as horses. To them we are predators, and they have a reason to fear us. We teach them slowly that we are okay, but every time we hit them, we give them a reason to not want to be with us.

    This is why it's important to read the horse you are working with. If the horse is scared of you, probably hitting isn't the best idea. However, if the horse is obviously disrespecting you, fear isn't the current issue. Many horses grow up around people. We are not scary to them. A good hard whack isn't going to traumatize them.

    Additionally, isn't NH all about working a horse according to a horse's understanding? All the NH people I talk to, and the classical trainers I follow, base their training programs on being seen as the herd leader. Being seen as the herd leader means acting like the herd leader. It's a pretty accepted concept of horse psychology and training.

    Unfortunately, this just isn't making sense to me. Horse sees us as predators, yet they let us put stuff on their back, ride them, work with them etc... They trust us enough for all this, and yet a small smack will send them into a nervous breakdown.

    Furthermore, the concept of 'leadership' involves the horse seeing us as a leader. The only form of 'leadership' a horse understands is in terms of herd dynamics. They have no other frame of reference. So in order for a horse to see us as leaders, they have to see us as a member of the herd. Yet, if we apply herd psychology to THEM, we're suddenly predators.

    The horse that was ruined...every time he bucked, I was told to hit him with a crop. Then he bucked harder, I had to hit him harder, etc. Turns out the horse had chiropractic problems. Funny how the horse was in pain and we automatically saw it as being nasty. Now I work him WITHOUT force and now he behaves a lot better.

    It's fairly common sense to check for pain when a horse starts misbehaving. It's not some magical 'force free training' concept. Criticize 'mainstream' trainers all you want, but I'd say a good %90 of them know that when a horse suddenly starts bucking, CHECK FOR PAIN. I feel sorry for the horse, but you can't blame mainstream training for that lack of insight. Most mainstream people would have caught that one.

    It wasn't force that 'ruined' that horse (I still don't understand how the horse was ruined. Horse was in pain, you caught it eventually, possible to retrain and reestablish a happy relationship). It was simple poor horsemanship.

    As for all those who made comments questioning my ability...I am quite capable of training my horses, now that I have learnt that hitting the horse doesn't get you anywhere in the long run.

    I make no intention to question your ability, and I'm glad that your methods work for you. I think the point that most of us were trying to make is that hitting a horse isn't evil, isn't going to scar them for life, and isn't going to harm training. In fact, it can actually make training go a lot smoother because the horse knows 'the line'.

    Frequently, hitting is simple an increase in pressure. You ask the horse to move forward with your leg, horse ignores you. You ask harder, horse still doesn't respond. You can keep nudging with your leg, further deadening your horse's sides', or you can give a small swat with a stick. The trick is to give the horse an option (moving forward) in order to release pressure (the leg).

    Even Walter Zettl, who advocates strongly for training with compassion and kindness to the horse is okay with using a dressage whip when riding. It's simply an extension of the leg, designed to give stronger cues when needed.

    None of my horses "walk all over me" and I have never needed to hit them. They respect me. Isabelle follows me around the paddock, even when it's not feeding time.

    I am glad that you have such a good bond with your horse. However, I can say the same thing of many horses I have worked with most of them experiencing a quite stern 'come to jesus meeting' or two in the past.
    ________________
    Consistent, Confident, Kind Leadership = Trust, Obedience and Respect.

    I agree. However, I would add 'fair' in there. Training and discipline needs to be applied judiciously. When a horse needs positive reinforcement, it gets it. When a horse needs a correction, it gets it.
    Am I making sense?
         
        07-07-2009, 10:48 PM
      #18
    Started
    Acting like a horse does not come naturally to humans. It's actually the exact opposite of how humans act. That's why people have problems with horses. And since it's not natural for the human, we have to learn to think like a horse does and see things from his perspective, not what we think his perspective should be. We don't think a plastic bag or a mail box is scary, but to the horse it's serious danger. So in working with him, we have to put ourselves in his position, knowing that survival is #1 priority. And if we truly understand that, we would not push the horse to sniff it or go past it or to keep going. We would be sensitive to his fears because we could relate to him. However, if we don't put ourselves in his place and understand his feelings toward what is happening, we will never achieve the thing we want to achieve with the quality that we want or what is possible. I see A LOT of people getting mediocre results and they are happy with that. They might be able to make their horse jump 5 feet, yet the horse won't come to them from the pasture when called.....and they see nothing wrong with this. Or the horse bites when saddled or acts irritated, yet they can do a perfect flying lead change.....and they see nothing wrong with this. Every single thing a horse does, be it positive or negative, is feedback about what we are doing, and if we don't listen to it then we proved to them, right then and there, that we don't understand him and in some cases we just don't care. How can the relationship ever be what it could when that happens? It can't.
         
        07-07-2009, 11:30 PM
      #19
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tennessee    
    I treat my horses like children, they act up in a manner that is bad, they might get a light "spanking". I agree, there are better ways to discipline than hitting a horse. BUT, if one of my horses tries to take a piece of skin out of my shoulder by biting me, or kicks out at me, I will give them a little smack.
    Horses are not humans. They are not our children. They don't "speak" English. They "speak" horse. When we got our dogs the trainer said something that's stuck with me. She said that horses need to have a pack leader. If there's no clear leader they don't do well. It's stressful and they feel the need to try to be pack leader.

    Horses speak by kicking, biting, and general bullying. Take our Joshua, for example. When he joined the herd he was bottom of the barrel. He didn't like that. He wasn't allowed to eat with the others. Well, in the last year, the herd has gained another member. She's a lovely Clyde. Well, Joshua has become her mortal enemy. She does not like him. That's because Mr. Paint Tough Guy is mean. He pushes her around. Horses do that. They respect that.

    If we want horses to understand us we have to speak their language. They are not people. They are horses.
         
        07-08-2009, 03:55 AM
      #20
    Trained
    I agree absolutely 100% with Misfit on this.

    Spirit, I really don't understand what your saying here. Basically you've said that the horse never reacts to anything but us when we are around them.They never give feedback on their environment, on anything but us.

    Once again... I agree with everything misfit said. Kudos!
         

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