Hey AA, not sure if I'm correct, but I think this could be the first time we've had a difference of opinion that I recall! :wow:
But calling tying up a horse with a different type of lead a "punishment" may lead her to not try something that might help her.
Yeah, I think it is much a case of terminology, calling it 'punishment' but I do think that understanding the behavioural concept behind stuff is helpful myself. To understand how 'a different type of lead' can help or not. And to understand 'punishment' in a behavioural sense is that it is any undesirable
stimuli applied to a behaviour to make it less likely to happen in future.
So yeah, strictly, that does include any
pressure is punishment. And so, it's a matter only of degree - as I agree, that's something that IMO comes into just about everything dealing with horses, unless perhaps you're a 'purist' clicker trainer or such.
Why can I agree with you that a bungee can be a good, effective tool, but also believe it's too 'punishing' for some? A horse that's a bit nervous but not reactive, or a horse that is not nervous - he's just learned to break loose calmly for eg, could be just put in that situation, with a bungee or such and it's great, because it's not too much for them.
But I just strongly feel, if it IS more than they can cope with
, that they panic & react, I want to do all that I can to avoid putting them in that situation,
until they're up to it - which depending on prior experiences, may be... slow. And for horses who are already 'hair trigger', also the lack of immediate release when they do quit pulling can also cause further confusion/panic.
I just really feel minimising punishment is important, as especially with a horse who is already ready to panic - or doing so - that only adds one more 'bad' association to the situation. So, degrees... they need to learn to come off pressure of course, but while one horse may be fine with a bungee(which yes, IMO too, may be better than a hard tie & is less... confronting 'pressure'). But to another that may be far too much pressure, they're still too 'trapped'. So you might start with the long rope thru a ring, whatever 'degree' they can
cope with, while avoiding causing any real fear/reactivity.
I think horses remember stuff on a far more... primal level. Emotions are strongly attached. So when a horse has terrifying experiences, that's what 'hits' them when confronted with the same experience. The more they get to 'practice' this association, the stronger it becomes. Whereas keeping things low stress, progressing only as the horse is ready for, they're 'practicing' being calm & not afraid & confirming that everything is actually alright. And the more practice of that, will overtake the previous fear experiences. Eventually... depending how well ingrained they are.
IMO "tying" the horse to one of those rings that allow the rope to just slip though is just teaching the horse how to break free. Not something I want to teach my horse!
If you were just to put the rope through the tie ring(or round a rail, tree branch, abseilers figure 8, whatever) and leave them to their own devices, yes, that is likely to be what they will learn. But if it is used correctly as a *training tool*, the horse learns nothing of the sort, because they do not break free. You remain on the end of the rope, to reel them back in. As they're able to move their feet *as much as they see fit, without too much(whatever that is, for that horse at that stage) pressure/punishment*, they learn it's all OK & there's no reason to panic, but they also cannot just escape - that doesn't work.