Originally Posted by bsms...I used to disagree with a lot of what Cherie said. Then I gained some experience...
6-8 year old thread. I've gone back to disagreeing with Cherie. Or not. Because a lot of it depends on the horse & situation.
"Every single thing a horse does that is not exactly what the rider wants or has asked for, should be immediately countered by some action on the rider's part that interrupts or corrects the behavior...The rider should not accept less than full and reasonable compliance from the horse. In other words, do not ask a horse to do something that you have not prepared him for and have the time, ability and the full intention of getting done. To fail, tells the horse that it does not have a strong leader that it can trust and that obedience is optional...
...Obviously 'forcing' them is not a option. Hitting, jerking, using a chain, and any other direct force only backfires. That does not mean you cannot teach them to think and to do the right thing. The key is to use a method that elicits the correct response, does NOT let them determine what they are going to do in a stressful situation and 'lets' them figure out the safe and correct response. It is simply a matter of 'opening the right door and closing the wrong ones'!
" - Cherie
There is a lot of room for interpretation there.
I am not interested in a horse who obeys me without question. When I discussed some of this in PMs with Cherie years ago, she agreed. A thinking horse is a wonderful thing. Getting a thinking horse requires letting the horse think. And sometimes get things wrong, just as we sometimes do.
If the horse is smart, he'll figure out he can smell and hear things you cannot. He would be STUPID to blindly trust the rider, who is himself handicapped. I have long since concluded you often have to give up some control in order to gain better control by teaching the horse to control himself.
That said, if you buy a "trained" horse, you are probably buying a certain amount of bad training - training that is not helpful to you. The horse will never forget that training (example: If I buck, my rider will FINALLY pay attention to my concerns
). He won't forget, but you can teach him a better way of expressing his frustation or concern. To do that, you will first need to 'close the wrong door' by making it ineffective. Keep closing it until the horse looks for an answer that works for both of you.
Closing the wrong door may look and feel harsh. Going toe to hoof with a horse isn't always pretty. But if you do not close the wrong door, then a horse who has been taught to use it WILL use it. So close the wrong door and let the horse find an open door you BOTH like.
I call it "mutually acceptable compromise". Tom Roberts called it - and this is a wonderful training rule - "This will profit you. This will profit you not."
These terms mean exactly – exactly – what they say.
“To Profit” is to benefit or gain: to be better off. The profit to the horse can be any reward or encouragement the trainer may think his pupil should receive – and it must, of course, be available to give.
“To Profit Not” means that the horse will gain or benefit not at all. Just that. It certainly does not mean that he will suffer a loss or be worse off – as he would be if he were punished.
This is what is so important about these expressions – and why I use them. By no stretch of the imagination can “Profit you not” be construed as punishment.
It consists of withholding any gain, reward, encouragement and profit. That, and only that.
“It will profit you not” means that the horse will not be encouraged to follow a line of conduct other than what we have in mind for him. We withhold any gain – which means we quietly continue with our demands, whatever they may be.
We persist. We quietly persist with our demands.
This gentle discouragement of “quiet persistence” is something that horses seem to find irresistible. Whenever you are in doubt as to what course to follow, mounted or dismounted, revert to “Quiet Persistence.” Your quiet persistence is the real “That will profit you not.” It discourages the horse without punishing him.
I have no interest in dominating a horse. Ruling the horse absolutely. I also do not want the horse ruling me! So there is a give and take. If he has a habit I dislike - not a bad habit because someone may have TAUGHT him to behave that way - then I need to make the habit I dislike unhelpful to the horse, while allowing the horse to figure out a HELPFUL way of dealing with the situation.
Notice I'm not using terms like "respect". I find that word puts me in the wrong frame of mind. Horses have taught me THAT will "profit me not". And when I ride, the horse is not on "my time". WE are on OUR time.
There is a give and take involved that I think Cherie agreed with, but that is hard to put into words. So much...depends.
I was reading this topic to learn some more. (novice rider here
), I understood that when a horse tosses his head and you are on the ground you pull on the leadrope? Give some jerks back?)
And when working in a round pen you should increase pressure (make them run) every time they toss? toss = run. Toss again = run faster. By using the leadrope to touch the butt? Or do you give them a whip with a whip? How hard??
When the horse is loose, approaches you and then does this, what would you do to correct it??? (Until now I pushed them on the shoulder joint, step back!) When in the saddle I assume you also pull-pull-pull back?? Untill it lowers it's head?
Should you also use other gear/gestures besides pulling back?? Should you make them move harder?? faster? I want to learn, I think it is important to nip unrespectful behaviour in the butt. Because I see a lot of horses doing this. What do you do when they head toss while being ridden?? ...This means stopping the first signs of disrespectful behaviour?
I stopped using a round pen some years ago. Apart from initial training, for a few weeks, I see no value in it.
A horse tosses its head? Ummm...so what? Flies? Is it objecting to how much pressure you are using? Is it saying you are a jerk? Is it right? If I need a whip to teach a horse, either the horse has been very badly handled in the past, or I'm a failure. Let me share with you a wonderful piece by Denny Emerson, whose qualifications as a rider exceeds just about everyone on this forum and greatly exceeds anything I'll ever do:
Here's how the two words, "He ought" and the three words, "He knows better" run counter to Jack Le Goff's advice on how to train horses:
Le Goff said, "Boldness comes from confidence. Confidence comes from success. So it is the mission of the trainer to create lots of situations that as much as possible guarantee success."...
...someone takes a horse out trail riding alone. The horse would be calmer and steadier if he had company, especially quiet company, but the rider says, "He ought to be able to handle this on his own." Or the horse moves around at the mounting block, and the rider says as she yanks him around, "He knows better." Or loading into a trailer. Or being quiet for the farrier. Or accepting being clipped.
A horse does not "fake" being anxious in order to "get out of work" or because "he is being bad."...
...Jack Le Goff's advice is to start by creating little successes, rather than to get into battles to "make him settle down". The only way you can make a horse be calm is by drugging him. You can longe or gallop to exhaustion, and he will be quiet, perhaps, but underneath the tiredness will still be nervous.
So what is so wrong with trail riding with a buddy at first, or doing tons of quiet transitions with a mild bit rather than by cranking him into a harsh bit, if it makes him calmer?...
...But generally, "teaching him a lesson" should not be the normal "go-to" method if the goal is to build lasting confidence.
Or maybe Le Goff is the one who didn't "get" how to train horses? Maybe we are smarter horse people than Jack Le Goff? Sure. Dream on..."
What I failed to realize back then was that by ramping up the intensity of my leg pressure, for example, while I did get the result of him moving away from it, I had obtained the result I wanted with a substantially negative byproduct. Yes, he moved off my kicking leg, but the sharpness of my kicks had made him more nervous and anxious. Now I had to deal with a more reactive horse, which meant very often I would feel the need for stronger rein contact to control the nervousness that I had actually created. As I used stronger rein contact, the horse got even more nervous, and the downward training spiral had begun. What I was doing was forcing the move away response rather than teaching the move away response...
Denny Emerson, Know Better to Do Better, Mistakes I Made With Horses (So You Don't Have To)
Good book. Too often, horse trainers rapidly escalate the pressure, provoking resistance, and keep going until the horse gives in - breaking the horse. "Resistance is futile
A better approach is to use less pressure and more time, causing the horse to lower its resistance, until you slide right by without tension: "Resistance is silly because we are not fighting!
" When the horse realizes you make his life better, you BOTH win!
Some years after posting on this thread, and I think some years after misapplying it, Mia the Horse taught me - using "This will profit you. This will profit you not." + "Quiet Persistence" - that if she couldn't do it without me using a death grip on the reins and pushing her hard with my heels, then she probably just wasn't ready YET. Give her time. Give her tiny successes. And TEACH her it is OK.
Ride the mind, not the body. A soft horse is a horse who wants
to do what you want, not one who must
do what you want.
, I wish they had a love button to click...