Originally Posted by ValerieRussell
Anyway, how do you correct a horse's behavior and what sort of behaviors should I look out for?
Aside from agreeing with other posts, thought I'd answer your question directly - how do I correct a horse's behaviour? Depends on the situation and the horse, but they learn from instant consequences(& reward/reinforcement) so whatever you do, it has to be done *at the time of, or at worst, within a couple of seconds. Consistency is also vital. If punishment is necessary, I think it's also imperative to consider the cause of the behaviour & address that, as well as teaching alternate behaviour.
If you're 'correcting' incorrect or mistaken behaviours in riding for eg, I just increase the pressure a bit(say from my leg) and persist with it until I get the correct response. But I will also try to ensure my request is easy for the horse to understand, with use of other aids & prior training. I ensure the horse understands things like yielding to pressure before I even get on & if I think there are 'holes' in their training I will go back to those basics before moving on. I use a lot of positive reinforcement when teaching new behaviours.
What sorts of behaviour should you look out for? To a degree that's up to you. Some don't mind horses rubbing on them for eg. I personally like 'good manners', for safety among other reasons. This to me includes a horse keeping out of my 'personal bubble' unless expressly invited, no pushiness, dirty looks, keeping their nose to themselves, etc. Remember that many horse-play behaviours & bodylanguage can also be potentially dangerous to us, so it's not about whether they're 'being naughty' or deserving of punishment, but it is about consistently teaching them that it doesn't work to do that & alternative behaviours do work for them.