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tempest 02-22-2009 02:51 PM

Discipline or Abuse?
 
Some people have difficulty distinguishing between discipline and abuse. My question is what is your definition of discipline and of abuse? Is hitting your horse abuse? Some people believe it is. So I want to know what you think about it.

county 02-22-2009 03:09 PM

Depends, if you hit it over and over for a length of time its abuse. If you hit it within 3 seconds of an infraction its discipline. Alot depends on what you hit it with also, some think you should never hit with anything because its abuse. But I promise your never going to hit a horse with your hand and inflict as much hurt as another horse will by kicking it to teach discipline. A mare will discipline a foal with much more force then anyone can by hand.

Cat 02-22-2009 03:25 PM

It depends on the situation and how the punishment is carried out. Punishment should happen immediately after the offending action, be quick and only last a few seconds if that, and fitting of the crime.

If a horse does something dangerous - like try to bite or kick - he is going to get a quick and immediate punishment that may include me whacking the offending part. Quick and immediate being key. Something that is a clear punishment immediately after would be considered abuse and just confusing to the horse even 30 seconds later because they can not connect the two if its not immediately after the offending action.

It also has to be quick. Anything beyond a few seconds is punishment stemming from anger in my opinion and that is going into abuse.

And the punishment should be fitting of the crime. Dangerous actions that are done on purpose to hurt - like biting or kicking, may result in an actual whack, while lesser crimes would result with just a verbal reprimand.

Whipple 02-22-2009 03:38 PM

This is a good question. I am still not familiar with horses enough to really know the difference. At first I had a problem using the crop at all. But I realized some horses need to know it's there to behave.
That being said, one horse, Issac, is a brat. He likes to bite. And not nip or play, bite! I refuse to lead him. Anyhow, he went after a leader once in class (before a rider was on his back, thank God!) and she wacked him a few times hard on the nose. I think he got the point, and it was definately close enough to the actual biting act that he connected it. But some of the students thought that the leader was hurting him. I didn't know what to think at the time. I guess I still don't. But I figure it probably depends mostly on the horse and situation. As long as it's appropriate and whatnot, then it's not abuse.

tempest 02-22-2009 03:38 PM

What about when you're holding the horse and it refuses to stand still so you jerk on the reins?

smrobs 02-22-2009 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tempest (Post 256698)
What about when you're holding the horse and it refuses to stand still so you jerk on the reins?

That, I think, really depends on the horse and the particular incident. Is it a horse that is young or afraid? Is he a well trained horse that could be in pain? Is he just being a turd and trying to get next to his friend? Those are all questions to consider in a situation like that. If the horse is young, he may not know that he is supposed to stand still. If he is afraid, his flight instinct may be causing his movement. If he is in pain, movement may help make him more comfortable. If it is any of those, then jerking on the reins will not help and may only make it worse. However; if he is just being a turd and knows what is expected of him, jerking lightly on the reins just enough to get his attention can correct the problem.

I may be a little more harsh with my horses than some people and I am sure that there are lots of people that would say that I abuse my horses because I do give them a pop or a yank every now and then when they need it. A little snippet of advise that my Dad gave me that he learned from decades of working with horses many of which were considered "problem" horses.

"If the horse is afraid, then work with him and show him that he has nothing to fear from you and he can depend on you for support. Never punish a horse for spooking or being scared because it will only make the problem worse. If the horse is aggressive or spoiled, often there will come a point when the only choice is you or him. Many times, that means hurting him before he hurts you. Although, once he stops the undesirable action, then you must stop the reprimand."

Sometimes, you do have to show a horse that you are still the boss and he is a subordinate. I use the same principle with my horses that I do with inmates. "I will give you orders and if you refuse to follow those orders, I will use the minimum amount of force necessary to regain your compliance." Of course, that only works if the horse knows what you are asking and is just ignoring you or trying to dominate you.

wild_spot 02-22-2009 06:53 PM

Quote:

"If the horse is afraid, then work with him and show him that he has nothing to fear from you and he can depend on you for support. Never punish a horse for spooking or being scared because it will only make the problem worse. If the horse is aggressive or spoiled, often there will come a point when the only choice is you or him. Many times, that means hurting him before he hurts you. Although, once he stops the undesirable action, then you must stop the reprimand."
This is amazing advice. This is pretty spot on with how I discipline my horses.

Kudos :]

LadyDreamer 02-23-2009 11:45 AM

"Never punish more than the mistake."

iridehorses 02-23-2009 12:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LadyDreamer (Post 257346)
"Never punish more than the mistake."

That would make a great "signature"

smrobs, very good post and excellent advise.

tempest 02-23-2009 06:53 PM

Thanks. i just wanted to know what everybody thought. I do exactly what smrobs does. I always seem to get stuck with the "problem horses" and I've managed to retrain three of the four. One had a habit of rearing during line-up, the other had major trust and anxiety issues, my current one had trust issues. The one I failed at was the one who taught me how to stay on and ride it out. He was just hopeless in the show ring.


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