Discipline vs. Punishment - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-12-2019, 07:15 PM
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Punishment is something done to the horse to cause him to avoid doing the thing that punishment followed. The punishment can be backing up 3 feet or 3 miles, or a sharp yell, or whacking the ground with a rope, or whacking the horse.


I would like to hear an example of correction that is not in fact a punishment.


As far as a horse disobeying, IMO the notion of a horse disobeying does not come under my notion of horsemanship. People may disobey, but not horses. One who commands horses has taken a wrong turn in search of horsemanship.


Neurologically, a release in never experienced as a reward by the horse. More like a relief. Exaggerated
example to demonstrate. Say someone is sitting on your chest beating you in the face demanding you say UNCLE. When you say uncle and they stop, that is a relief but not a reward.



Any pressure put on the horse, ANY pressure, is experienced by the same part of the brain as fear and fight/flight.


A reward is experienced in the part of the brain that lights up during what is referred to as the "seeking emotion".


I think of it more as exploring. But whatever, it is voluntary. The reward is experienced as a result of voluntary action.


We like to think of ourselves as rewarding our horses when we release but that is just to please our own minds. Better training might occur if it was called what it is, relief.


Same for correction. It is called that to make us feel good because we don't like to admit to punishing. But if we do anything, ANYTHING, after a horse's behavior in hopes to reduce the chance of the behavior reoccurring, we are punishing, plain and simple.


I'm not saying to not use punishment, necessarily, just saying call it what it is. And call pressure and relief what it actually is also.
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I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-12-2019, 07:48 PM
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Yes yes yes!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I would like to hear an example of correction that is not in fact a punishment. ...

We like to think of ourselves as rewarding our horses when we release but that is just to please our own minds. Better training might occur if it was called what it is, relief. ...

I'm not saying to not use punishment, necessarily, just saying call it what it is. And call pressure and relief what it actually is also.
Just repeating these bits, to emphasise.

I've never been known for my tact - tend to have 'foot in mouth disease' when stating things as I see them, and I don't like 'beating around bushes'. Not that it applies just to Australians, but I loved a comment one of our (ahem...) esteemed pollies said years ago, something like... 'Australians are not afraid to call a spade a spade. And if necessary, pick it up & hit someone over the head with it!'
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-12-2019, 09:09 PM
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When I pull a stone out of my shoe, I release the pressure. The sensation is momentarily pleasurable, but I wouldn't call it a reward. It means I will stop to remove the next stone that wanders in, but it may also motivate me to want a change of shoes. How many horses would like to change their rider if 'release of pressure' is as good as it gets for them?

On the flip side:

A few days ago, on another thread, I mentioned how well behaved my horses are at feeding time. Naturally, the following day, I entered the corral with food and Bandit decided to show Cowboy who the boss horse was. WHILE I WAS IN THE CORRAL.

The food was set aside and I chased Bandit around. I punished him. He knows the rules! I was upset with him. He knew it. The other horses knew it. I don't have a lot of rules, but Bandit disobeyed one of them. And was punished.

Then I fed them. Once all three had their food, I walked over to Bandit and scratched his withers. Then rubbed his face. Then he sighed and went back to his food. I don't feel guilty. A couple of weeks ago, I watched a guy older than me try to dodge hooves while feeding his three - and thought he was lucky to stay alive. I'd rather punish a horse than be kicked into the next county! But I also believe in calling it what it is. Punishment to achieve discipline.

PS: I need to type up a story Count Toptani tells of a horse learning jumping. He rewarded the horse with a handful of sugar every time the horse even tried a jump. He said the horse was soon looking for excuses to jump things! Rewards can achieve discipline, too. When possible, I prefer that approach.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-12-2019, 09:44 PM
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I want to mention here another experiment I made with a young horse, first handled and ridden by me and trained by me. I wanted to prove that jumping is an unnatural movement to the horse, but that any horse could become a good jumper if it was trained in such a manner that it did not realize it was doing anything unnatural. I trained it in the manner explained in the chapter on training the young horse, but every time it jumped I rewarded it generously with a good double handful of sugar, whether it did well or not. I never once used a whip in the training, maintaining that the moment the horse was punished it would associate jumping with pain.

The result was amazing. After some months of this training the horse would think of only one thing: to get as fast as possible into the jumping paddock and look around for a jump to leap over! Jumping became its obsession. When I took that horse out into the open it would still be looking for something to jump over, and when it encountered a hunt jump, wall or garden fence it would make off at a gallop and jump happily over it, then stop, look back and ask me for sugar! I could go with that horse into a huge open field with one solitary jump erected in the centre and it would immediately make a bee-line for the obstacle and jump it.

But the same horse which passed its time looking for obstacles to jump never once jumped over the low, 3-foot rails of the grazing paddock simply because I never once made it jump without a rider on its back. This is the reason why I strongly advocate NOT making horses jump without a rider; it teaches them bad habits and serves no real purpose at all. - Modern Show Jumping, Count Ilias Topiani, 1954
Not sure I want a horse who jumps, and certainly not one who looks for excuses to jump and then stops and asks for sugar...but it speaks to how some sort of reward and a refusal to punish can motivate a horse!
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-13-2019, 03:24 AM
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Hmm, number of bits to 'pick at' with what you quoted there, making me think your Count didn't understand horse psychology or training quite as well as he thought he did...

Quote:
I wanted to prove that jumping is an unnatural movement to the horse, but that any horse could become a good jumper if it was trained in such a manner that it did not realize it was doing anything unnatural. ... maintaining that the moment the horse was punished it would associate jumping with pain.
I don't believe my brumby was ever told it was unnatural for a horse to jump - he loved jumping stuff from day 1, despite never being taught - he wasn't trained for anything but being led when I got him. He did train himself(thank goodness without injury) not to jump fences when he went over one and got his hind feet caught, went crashing down. And thank goodness he was going fast enough to clear a CATTLE GRID recently when he got away in a strange place & tore up the track to go after his mates!!

As to 'if it did not realise it was unnatural' - we know that that is a rational kind of thinking that just doesn't apply to horses. And as we also know that horses learn from *instant* association, whipping a horse AS they're jumping would put it off jumping, but whipping it because it WON'T jump is a different matter.

Quote:
The result was amazing. After some months ... jump happily over it, then stop, look back and ask me for sugar!
I was not amazed that after only literally MINUTES, that same brumby learned to jump very keenly under a rider, but I was surprised how apparently 'solidly' he learned virtually everything he was taught, after very few repetitions. Which did create a few... idiosyncrasies that had to be 'untrained'...

The very first lesson of jumping under saddle(well, bareback but anyway) I did with him on a lunge, as my eldest also wanted to learn to jump & had never done it, and I felt I was a bit big for him for jumping. So... he went over the jump, I said 'Good!', he landed, stopped, my daughter nearly came off(or a couple of times did), Jake looked at me & nickered, knowing a treat was coming(Good! is the bridging signal)... Only the very first lesson we did this, and my kid & pony got rapidly good at jumping. He found it easy to teach him not to stop straight after the jump.

BUT a month or so later when my son wanted to try cantering bareback for the first time, I again said 'lets start on lead'. First time I'd lunged this character since the jumping lesson, and when I asked him to speed up, he JUMPED thin air! Thankfully son didn't come off, and we gigglingly punished him for the Wrong Answer a couple of times & he realised that wasn't what he was supposed to do. But still, years later, something we giggle about & didn't ever teach him better for, is that when anyone leans forward to dismount, or falls off, he slams on the brakes(if he's not stopped already), nickers & turns to the rider for a treat! I figure it's a good 'safety chain' that the horse won't run off & leave the rider if they fall off on the trail!

Quote:
never once jumped over the low, 3-foot rails of the grazing paddock simply because I never once made it jump without a rider
I've taught quite a few other horses to jump(logs on the track, low fences etc, never been into big jumps), but I'm far & away from expert at jumping or training for it. I have always taught a horse to jump without a rider first. Even my brum who came to me happy to jump fences, without being taught has never, since the first try was a fail, tried to jump any fence, and I don't recall one single other horse ever doing so either.
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post #16 of 19 Old 04-13-2019, 07:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
From the US Cavalry manual:



"Discipline: The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience." - https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/discipline

They are not "vs". You can use one (punishment) to create the other (discipline). Of course, you can often use rewards instead, and I'd rather reward a horse than punish. If possible. But punishment can be a good thing and we should not hesitate to use it when needed.
I don’t believe my horses ever “disobey”. I don’t think they have that cognizance.
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-13-2019, 08:26 AM
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With all due respect, removing a stone from one's shoe has absolutely nothing at all to do with pressure/release training of horses.


To make the example fit, so to speak, somebody else would need to be pressing the stone into one's foot and only stop when the victim said UNCLE.


Then imagine this continuing for several episodes. The victim might well begin saying UNCLE anytime the perpetrator was seen approaching with a stone. Eventually even when it appeared the perpetrator was stopping to pick up a stone, or perhaps even looking at a stone. At that point, the victim would be said to have become very "light".


Again, I'm not for myself advocating necessarily against using pressure/release for a gentle form of communication, but I do believe it should never go beyond the concept of gentle communication.


I've only been around two newborn horses but I did hug/hold both on day one. And watching them on day one it was abundantly clear that jumping was a quite natural activity of horses.


The author should spend some time watching a spooked herd running through the forest with many downed logs. Horses that don't jump naturally die.


Agreed that obey/disobey is beyond the frontal lobes of horses. They will play and tease to get a response, yes, but they just don't understand the complexity of obey/disobey. Personally, I'm sort of fuzzy on it myself.
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I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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post #18 of 19 Old 04-13-2019, 10:27 AM
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Count Toptani wrote a number of things I disagree with. That is OK. He was also focused on show jumping and doing so in the 40s and 50s, when show jumping was different from jumping in an open field but didn't involve the difficulty of modern courses. What I took away from that section, perhaps because I already believed it, was that rewarding a horse can be a powerful motivator.

I would consider treats for teaching something, but for actually motivating a horse I focus elsewhere. I find horses very good at give & take. I'll ask Bandit to do something I want now, and then we'll do something he likes. Or do what he likes, then ask him to do something I want. I've been told horses can't think that way, that any reward needs to be instant, but horses will walk a mile to get water. In any case, my horses all seem to respond well to "Let's canter a little ways, then you can eat some grass!" Or, "If you're in the mood for a big trot, let's do that now!"

I also find them egotistical. Mine like showing off and being praised and told what wonderful horses they are. The words don't matter. Doesn't matter if I pet or rub. Just that they know I think they've done something wonderful.

Like most athletes, they seem to enjoy using their bodies with vigor but not to the point of pain. So if they are full of beans coming out of the corral, I figure my job is to hang on. After they have farted around a bit, they'll be more willing to do what I ask.

I find them social. Being part of a team is rewarding to them. Being bullied is not. I have a few rules I enforce strictly, mostly for my safety. Apart from those few rules, a lot is up for negotiation. There is nothing social about being constantly ordered around.

This approach seems to work well for things they understand. Trail riding provides them context. I have no idea if it works for training a sport or show horse. I've never tried that. And I don't always succeed. Not close! But my main problem with both "discipline and punishment" is that it is geared towards an approach the US and French cavalries taught but that doesn't interest me: Man is God to Horse. A French proverb taught at Saumur was that the horse should believe God was on his back and the Devil was at his stomach (spurs). No thanks! I'm more of a 'goof around with horses' kind of guy.

However...my horses certainly DO seem to understand obey and disobey. That is something horses do to each other all the time. I don't do a lot of punishing, but I find the cavalry was right about it: proportional punishment, done without rancor, for something the horse recognizes as willful disobedience is accepted without question or resentment. That is very different from how they respond if I explode or punish them for something they don't understand.
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post #19 of 19 Old 04-17-2019, 09:17 PM
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When I pull a stone out of my shoe, I release the pressure. The sensation is momentarily pleasurable, but I wouldn't call it a reward.

I feel compelled to come back to this as it is soooo wrong.


Actually, what you experienced was exactly what a real reward is, neurologically speaking.


You were in a happy place, or what is called the seeking emotion, voluntarily searching for a cause and resolution for discomfort you were experiencing. The cause was found, removed and it felt good of course. The feel good feeling took place in the part of the brain where reward is experienced, not in the fear flight/flight area.


And even more rewarding was the fact that the result was done on your on initiative without compulsion.


At first glance, the difference may seem trivial to some, but the difference is more than huge.


It is uplifting and expansive of the soul of both horse and human.

I think it important to always be mindful that the horse actually owes us nothing at all and it is we who owe the horse. "It's a goal"
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