Every rider IS a trainer -- every time you interact with a horse - Page 14 - The Horse Forum
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #131 of 140 Old 08-30-2019, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: southern Arizona
Posts: 12,469
• Horses: 4
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.

Quiet Persistence

“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.

Originally Posted by Jolien View Post
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.

PS: @Avna , I wish they had a love button to click...

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
bsms is offline  
post #132 of 140 Old 08-30-2019, 07:48 PM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,670
• Horses: 0
@bsms , totally agree with everything you just posted!

There's one trainer I listen to sometimes, on her podcast, who refers to "influencing" the horse, always. Not "making" the the horse do this or that. Because ultimately a) that's all we can actually really DO, and b) it's a much more generous, and less micromanage-y way of approaching interactions.

While behaviours that are a real problem do need to be addressed, there's nothing wrong with letting a horse express themselves or offer an opinion, so long as they're not doing something that's detrimental or likely to escalate.

What exactly is the "problem" with a horse head tossing during groundwork? That horse is giving valuable information! He may be saying "This is hard!" or "I'd rather be over there!" or any number of things. Which is great! Much better to work with a horse that communicates. Ultimately the best way to change a behaviour is to change the mindset that leads to the behaviour. If the horse is head tossing because he's away from his buddies, then you know you have separation anxiety. If the horse is head tossing because the work is hard, then you know you're challenging him (or maybe overdoing it). If the horse is head tossing because of pain, then you need a vet out to look at the teeth. And so on.

If the horse just stops head tossing... he can never tell you any of these things. And you have a much harder time addressing the actual problem.
bsms, phantomhorse13, Avna and 1 others like this.
SteadyOn is offline  
post #133 of 140 Old 08-30-2019, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Middle Tennessee
Posts: 9,420
• Horses: 0

"[I]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...

i was about 17 the last time I tried that trick of forcing a horse.

I was riding along the local lake, enjoying the Fall leaves, when the horse suddenly stopped and refused to go forward across a dark spot of mud.

The horse went forward at my insistence ---- she sunk in the quagmire up to her stomach. No cell phones when I was 17, I was on my own -----

I got the horse out by some miracle and she didn't suffer any injuries.

That was the absolute last time I did not listen to my horse.

Saving each other's bacon is a two-way street that has nothing to do with a horse being disrespectful and everything to do with mutual trust --- even if the horse isn't familiar to you.
bsms, phantomhorse13, Avna and 1 others like this.

A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
walkinthewalk is offline  
post #134 of 140 Old 08-30-2019, 10:24 PM
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,670
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
I was riding along the local lake, enjoying the Fall leaves, when the horse suddenly stopped and refused to go forward across a dark spot of mud.

The horse went forward at my insistence ---- she sunk in the quagmire up to her stomach. No cell phones when I was 17, I was on my own -----
Uh oh...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg artax-2.jpg (66.1 KB, 1 views)
walkinthewalk likes this.
SteadyOn is offline  
post #135 of 140 Old 08-31-2019, 05:48 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 792
• Horses: 0
Originally Posted by Avna View Post
The trouble with your questions is that the answer to all of them is "it depends."

I have one horse who, if she does anything "wrong" it is always because of worry or fear. This is a horse you can never correct, only soothe.

I have another horse that if I didn't pee on her cheerios every time she gave me a side eye would be biting me soon. But sometimes she is also 'misbehaving' because she is plain scared or agitated, and then, any correction will just make her more scared, more agitated.

Do not get hung up on the whole respect thing, when you can't read a horse's emotions yet. Best advice is to take a chair and go watch horses interact in a herd. They are using language with each other -- horse language. Their relationships are not simply hierarchical, like chickens. They are complex, and yours need to be as well. You need to be able to speak horse to communicate with one. It's a big subject and there are no instruction manuals.

ok! I get this. :) One horse I rode once did it, but I suspected because he was highly annoyed by flies (a lot of them) and maybe a strap that was wrong on his belly. So I always ask a trainer: why is he doing it? What should I do. :)
boots likes this.
Jolien is offline  
post #136 of 140 Old 08-31-2019, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 792
• Horses: 0
Thank you everyone for your very valuable feedback! As a new rider it is so difficult to know what to do since everyone had their own opinion about horses and their own training methods... I had a horse that was head tossing once and I did not punish or correct is because I didn't understand why it did this since the horse always does what I ask for (within reason because he is older and suffered some injuries, we won't do stuff that might overstress the muscles.) and I see him really really try to read my cues (beginning rider so I bet I am not clear enough often...) I think it's a really sweet natured horse, he deserves to be understood and met in his concerns (just like every animal.)...

To be honest I sometimes disagree with my trainer... :s I asked her if the horse was worried/afraid once and she said 'no', but I felt his muscles tense, his head went up, ears forward. He seemed really worried to me? I have always loved animals and I want to understand them. For this I mostly try to use my gut instincts and I ask advice, read a lot about behaviours I observe. Sadly my gut instinct goes against training rules like: 'horse should always do what you ask for', this makes me feel like a weak handler/trainer... because I like to give the benefit of the doubt sometimes... I kinda feel insecure sometimes about myself, but when I am with the horse I am always calm and I'd rather react too slow then react quickly and do something innapropriate.
Jolien is offline  
post #137 of 140 Old 08-31-2019, 06:16 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 792
• Horses: 0
I also would like to add that I know that you can't force respect from any animals. I don't want animals 'obeying' me because they are afraid. That would be soooo ashaming for me... (I would only want to avoid mistraining or creating dangerous situations, hence my questions.) I want them to feel safe so they can learn. I am not afraid of horses because I know that if they would want to run over me they could. If they would want to kill me they easily could. If they want to throw me out of the saddle, they can. Just like a dog could jump at your throat and kill you, but no animal (!) is gonna do this if you communicate and build trust/try to understand eachother. Because I am human I accept that the horse is bigger, faster and stronger. I also accept that it is my responsibility to try to communicate by reading them and learning.

I am gonna remain true to myself and still keep on reading and asking for advice/listening. You guys really helped me and it comforted me knowing that it's a complex thing. I will not correct the horse if I see him doing it again, instead I am gonna really observe it and pay close attention. He likes being brushed, gives me his hooves willingly, stands still, lays his head in my hands gently, etc... these are all signs that he is okay (? I guess?) so it makes no sense that he would all of a sudden behave weird while riding. Probably I am the reason, I will also take a good look at my riding and what I do, maybe I am giving unclear cues or maybe he is bored of the exercise or maybe flies.... :)
boots likes this.
Jolien is offline  
post #138 of 140 Old 08-31-2019, 08:33 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 11,004
• Horses: 12
If you ask Cherie, Avna, Steady On, bsms and the whole host of others that give valuable advice how long they have had horses in their life the answer will be years. When you ask how much time they spent actually interacting with the horse(s) again the answer will be years. Time is the limiting factor for those just getting into horses. There is no crash course. There are no short cuts. A good relationship takes time. It also takes work.

ETA to add Side Note about time spent with horses. Time can mean anything from spending time observing to caring for and to riding, driving, working, training. It does not include reading, watching videos or gaining knowledge through a second hand source without the horse physically present. That is like going to college to teach and expecting to enter a classroom armed only with book knowledge and expecting to succeed. Not going to happen. You need that time in a class observing, You need that time in a class under a mentor. You need that TIME to gain experience to set you up for success and even then you will have days that you feel you failed. So when I say years of having horses in their lives followed by years of having interactions with the horse it means that they spend time with their horses that amounts to hours over the course of any given day, week, month or year that builds and builds. If you spend an hour a week in lessons you gain 52 hours a year in experience. There are 8,760 hours in a year. That 52 is a tiny fraction. Commit to more than that by coming early, adding more lessons, spending time observing and caring for and you build time that adds up to years much more rapidly. Still doesn't happen overnight and quality counts.

I find some of us mean the same or similar but use different words or different ways to express that. bsms with "to profit", "to profit not" and "quiet persistence" actually comes closest to the rock bottom basics with that description.

He uses "our terms" and I use "my terms" . We see something similar but experience has given us a different understanding for our choice of words. We've each though had the time to experience and settle into our relationship with horses.

If I walk into a classroom and say, "This is my classroom. Participation, success and failure are all determined on MY TERMS", then to put it mildly MY success will be undermined as it IS about participation and not control. If I walk into the same classroom and say ,"This is our classroom. Participation, success and failure are all determined on OUR TERMS" then again my success is undermined. Again it is about participation but I am no longer in control. And this is why. I have opened the door for a run to see who will ultimately be the leader and in control. It won't be me. I just gave my power and authority away to the horde. If I subtly alter that to, "This is our classroom. Participation, success and failure are determined on my terms but you will be invited and encouraged to participate and your success and failure will be determined by your actions." My terms are the rules by which the classroom runs. There are some rules that are flexible and some rules that are not. There are also rules that fall in the middle. The rules that are not flexible are not rigid. They just are not up for discussion at this point because you, the student, do not have the experience to form an opinion on the matter.

Over time you gain experience and hopefully wisdom and there is an adjustment on both of our parts. Who though is the leader? It is still the adult in the classroom. Recognizing and acknowledging that one of your students is capable and has better instincts with something and allowing that child to spread their wings builds trust but for that to work there has to be a basic respect. It goes both ways. Allowing that child to spread his wings still does not mean he is in control or that it is not on my terms.

Besides time, you also need to develop an instinct for reading your students. You only do that in the classroom OVER TIME. While there are some phenomenally gifted individuals where it seems to be a second nature most of us need TIME. Some more than others but we all need time. And maturity.

Last edited by QtrBel; 08-31-2019 at 08:45 AM.
QtrBel is offline  
post #139 of 140 Old 08-31-2019, 08:50 AM
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 792
• Horses: 0
@QtrBel I assume you are talking about horses as students? :) This is funny because I am a teacher (with kids) and I love my job. ;) I think I am better attuned at reading body language of animals then other people because it used to be a hobby of mine (yes I was this weird kid...). I used to sit quitly on a chair for hours... Observing pets interact. Also liked to watch wild animals and documentaries about them... But I still have much to learn about horses. (Did not grow up with them like I did with other animals) They emit an energy... I feel this energy is much stronger than with animals that are carnivores (like cats and dogs)... I also like reading people's body language. It says so much more then words do...
phantomhorse13 and boots like this.
Jolien is offline  
post #140 of 140 Old 08-31-2019, 09:07 AM
Super Moderator
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 11,004
• Horses: 12
I teach kids too. And that is why the analogy but yes, you can replace kids with horses. It seems fate for me dictates I learn through the school of hard knocks. I never had formal instruction on either before being thrown into the deep end of the pool.
QtrBel is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Experienced rider, but new to dressage, how do I find a trainer? Starlite Dressage 14 01-31-2011 04:56 PM
Adult first-time rider from North Carolina MsKibibi Welcome! Introduce yourself here! 6 10-06-2010 02:26 AM
Older Rider Learning to Ride Astride First Time WriterChick18 English Riding 17 08-05-2010 11:07 PM
1st time trainer Vidaloco Horse Training 9 05-18-2009 01:17 PM
Bad rider, bad trainer, or slipping judging standards? luvsmygirls Dressage 11 05-03-2009 09:47 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome