Food/Treat Aggression/Pushiness - Page 7 - The Horse Forum
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post #61 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bsms View Post
For positive reinforcement, this passage from 1868 continues to challenge me:



Positive reinforcement isn't confined to food or treats. A horse who feels like a valued part of the team, who is allowed to use some degree of initiative in achieving a goal, finds a satisfaction that goes much deeper than a nibble of food. I won't pretend it is easy, and I certainly won't pretend I succeed much of the time, but "a little reflection will generally suffice to point out the means of remedying something that...if attacked with the energy of folly and violence, would suddenly culminate in the grand catastrophe of restiveness..."

A horse who sees value in being ridden will not be hard to mount. You won't have to punish him for moving at the mounting block. We teach new riders that total submission is the sign of a good rider on a good horse, then wonder why horses don't want us to get on them...or find "reward" when we get off!

"...the grand catastrophe of restiveness..." Would that all riders felt the same way!
This, this, this!

I think there are "shut down" and "blown out" horses in every discipline, but in my experience, REAL ranch horses in the American West, are some of the happiest horses in the world. They are valued for their brains. They see themselves as a partner, and are happy to do a variety of things.

I attended a "Horseman's Challenge" yesterday and will be going several times more over the course of the weekend. Five skilled natural horsemanship trainers picked 2 year old untouched BLM mustangs to start and train over multiple two hour sessions. The things I noticed, as I watched the initial hour last night was there wasn't a treat bag in sight.

I was astounded at the individual horses' desire to understand the strange creatures with them in the round pens, and their ready acceptance of the possibility of cross-species social relationships. The method that the most successful (so far) trainers used was "mirroring."

If you're running, I'll run with you, if you're resting, I'll rest with you. One trainer essentially had his colt moving at liberty with him in 15 minutes -- forward, back, walk, trot, turn.

Think about it, horses don't give each other treats. They share food, may assist with locating food, but they aren't offering each other apples and peppermints. They share presence. They share purpose. They share fun. They share fear. They investigate new, novel things. They provide a sense of security and safety for each other.

I have found with my horses that the most meaningful bonding occurs after a morning ride, when they return to their stalls and buddies and stand quietly together, breathing deeply, relaxed heads hanging, eyes gently closing. They will stand near me, breathing softly, allowing me to rest my hand on their heads or drape my arm over their necks, just being part of the herd.

My horses will calmly stand tied, leg cocked, relaxed, almost napping, but they will always have an ear or eye on me -- not in fear or frustration, but in curiosity. They load easily because they like going places and doing things. They come off a trailer in a new place with excitement and interest. They are always up for everything, barrels, cows, desert or mountain trails, tooling around a busy arena, or just fooling around at home.

We are a herd, and while shared food is a part of the social bond, it's not the biggest part. I'm not anti-treat, but also don't find them necessary at all on a regular basis.
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post #62 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 11:15 AM
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I wish I had a real job for my horses to do. I think horses understand work, at least in the sense of being partners to achieve a common goal. I'm convinced horses love to be part of "The Great We". Part of a team. A valued part of the team! My horse acts proud of himself after doing something tough. I try to encourage that.

I believe horses learn to trust us by our being trustWORTHY. I believe the real reward for a horse comes when they feel like partners. Baucher said 'Let him think that he is our master, then he is our slave.' I doubt he meant it the way I do, but when we give up some control, and allow our horses to participate, the horse gains an interest. HOW to do that, at least without a ranch, is much tougher than "Apply this rein to control his shoulder..."
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #63 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedar & Salty View Post
I attended a "Horseman's Challenge" yesterday and will be going several times more over the course of the weekend. Five skilled natural horsemanship trainers picked 2 year old untouched BLM mustangs to start and train over multiple two hour sessions. The things I noticed, as I watched the initial hour last night was there wasn't a treat bag in sight.
No offence, but I don't really call this "astounding."

While treats can help the horse learn a good association with you, that's not really something to start off with - especially with a completely untouched, "wild" mustang. Respect (and an absence of fear) comes before "bond", as said in another topic.

A lot of horses don't eat when they are scared (domestic or wild), which I'll bet a pretty penny those BLM weren't relaxed. Although food does help calm them (horses), it dampens their hearing (due to the chewing), and they are more focused on survival (can't eat if you're dead). You can see it for yourself. A scared, blind bolting horse isn't going to randomly drop their head and start munching. That's also why when people try to get their horse into the trailer soley with food, it doesn't work.

Besides, a completely wild, untouched horse probably isn't going to take unfamiliar food (they don't have grain or peppermints in the wild), especially from an unfamiliar human.
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post #64 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
No offence, but I don't really call this "astounding."

While treats can help the horse learn a good association with you, that's not really something to start off with - especially with a completely untouched, "wild" mustang. Respect (and an absence of fear) comes before "bond", as said in another topic.

A lot of horses don't eat when they are scared (domestic or wild), which I'll bet a pretty penny those BLM weren't relaxed. Although food does help calm them (horses), it dampens their hearing (due to the chewing), and they are more focused on survival (can't eat if you're dead). You can see it for yourself. A scared, blind bolting horse isn't going to randomly drop their head and start munching. That's also why when people try to get their horse into the trailer soley with food, it doesn't work.

Besides, a completely wild, untouched horse probably isn't going to take unfamiliar food (they don't have grain or peppermints in the wild), especially from an unfamiliar human.
Wow. Bless your heart.
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post #65 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cedar & Salty View Post
Wow. Bless your heart.
LOL. Thanks. I'm from the South; I know what that means.
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post #66 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 11:54 AM
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LOL. Thanks. I'm from the South; I know what that means.
No, offense!
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post #67 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 12:03 PM
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When you keep the date you’re dating waiting hours
If you have to miss your sister’s high school play
When you prune away your neighbor’s favorite flowers
They will all forgive you if you smile and say

Bless your pea pickin’ heart
Bless your pea pickin’ heart
Tell your waiting date and sister
Tell your neighbor listen mister
Bless your pea pickin’ heart

Now when junior paints his room in purple splendor
When your party line ties up your line all day
When your wife comes home with someone ELSE SUSPENDERS
Then you’d better count to ten and softly say

Bless your pea pickin’ heart...
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Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"

Last edited by bsms; 04-20-2019 at 12:10 PM.
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post #68 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by bsms View Post
I don't think submission means a horse enjoys it or sees value in it. But a horse who sees value will cooperate because he wants to. The never-ending challenge is in trying to convince the horse we humans add value.

My point was that a horse who needs to be punished to stand next to a mounting block is a horse who isn't very interested in you getting on his back! And there is no one way to approach that sort of training. "Do no harm" is a good start. If it hurts the horse when you climb aboard - which is how a lot of videos of mounting look to me - then of course the horse won't be too happy. But if the horse sees you as an enabler, then you won't have a problem with mouthing. Horses aren't that stupid. If they want you on their back, they will make it easy to get there.
Indeed. When I walk next to Sunsmart on the ground between a series of gates on the way to the forest trails to the west of our farm, he wants to interact, by pulling my sleeve or playing "The Stick Game" - where I find and offer him a stick, and he carries it with a satisfied expression like a dog carries its toy. After a while, he'll look at me sideways - my cue to start a tug-of-war with him. Sometimes I even make "rrrrrr-rrrrrr-rrrrrr" sounds like I do when playing this game with my dog (who is with us on trails and seems to see nothing unusual in our behaviour). Then he'll let me carry it for a while, before wanting to pick it up again. We have all sorts of fun. But when we get past the final gate, he stops and gives me a pointed look, and there's no mistaking his opinion that I should get back in the saddle now because we've done enough walking, and we're never going to move at a decent speed unless he's carrying me. Clearly I'm a special-needs monkey with a speed disability, and he's sort of my wheelchair.... This will come in ever handier the older I get...

The French Trotter mare I rode as a child - his great-grandmother - actually started lowering her neck and looking at me suggestively when little me tried to get on bareback - she was over 16hh. I remember this instance - I was trying to walk her over to something I could mount off, like an arena edge or fence. And she stopped, gave me a significant look, and dropped her neck. I slid over it until I was centred on it, and then she slowly lifted her neck, elevating me and allowing me to slide on her back. I weighed around 40kg then, so this was easy for her... I didn't realise this was unusual until I grew up. To get this sort of two-way street, you have to listen to your horse's suggestions...

I'm nostalgic this morning, so here's a photo of her and me at around this time:



Great Moyra Williams quote - I'm benefiting from your extensive reading!

Now here's a quote that is relevant to the discussion in this thread on setting people / horses up for failure, etc. In Anne Brontë's The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall, the protagonist Helen has had to flee from her alcoholic, abusive husband with her very young son, whom he was trying to get drunk, amongst other things. Because of the father's encouragement of alcohol consumption and disrespectful and bullying behaviour to other people in his son, Helen has had to counter-educate him, and because of his habit of asking for alcohol, has put a substance in offered wine that makes her son nauseated after drinking it, so after a while he stops requesting alcoholic drinks. For this she was criticised by others:

"If you would have your son to walk honourably through the world, you must not attempt to clear the stones from his path, but teach him to walk firmly over them – not insist upon leading him by the hand, but let him learn to go alone."

To which she replies, "I will lead him by the hand till he has strength to go it alone; and I will clear as many stones from his path as I can, and teach him to avoid the rest - or to walk firmly over them, as you say - for when I have done my utmost, in the way of clearance, there will still be plenty left to exercise all his agility. steadiness and circumspection he will ever have."

Just an excerpt from a long philosophical discussion. And @loosie , @Cedar & Salty - I'm sort of in the middle here, between your respective points of view. I'd have a lot of biscuits out that weren't always for the eating - but would make them a bit less conspicuous when serving up broccoli!
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post #69 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
; it likes variety of scene and amusement;
Hehe! All my horses seem to honestly enjoy getting out & about. If riding from home, they're generally 'keener' going out than returning. But what you quoted above bsms reminded me of one in particular. I like 'variety of scene' too & we very often trailer the horses to different places. While the others are comfortable & compliant with going in the float, they'd prefer not to. Where as this little brumby(who I was told by the previous owner hated & was frightened to go in the float) sees me hooking up & looks excited. He is KEEN to get himself into the trailer & go out to different places to ride. If however, we arrive at a place he's been to a fair few times before, he looks a bit disappointed.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #70 of 85 Old 04-20-2019, 07:12 PM
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...& the comment about broccoli & bikkies in front of kids... being Easter, I just saw the perfect picture on FB to illustrate - but it's of someone else's kid so won't share... It was a picture of a scowling kid at a table with a bucket of easter eggs in front of her - Dad had told her she had to have a healthy brekky before she was allowed to start on the 296(!!) easter eggs!

...Won't tell him that in our household on easter sunday we ALL start the day with chocolate!
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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