And there, I believe, is the crux. And it is no secret. The principles have been taught publicly at least since Skinner came along in... was it around 1930's?? I sus eons longer in some circles though - and yet still so many people don't get that it's even conceivable with a horse.
**I am not at all berating a relationship that is 'good' according to Smilie's or Bsms's experiences. I do not at all think that is something to belittle at all. But as good as it gets? No, I expect, and get more than that, and for me personally(again, not judging those who don't want it...) would be looking at what I was doing wrong and work to change that, if my horses didn't want to be with me...
- underlining mine for emphasis
Originally Posted by Reiningcatsanddogs View Post
...It could also be that when people have done things for one way for so long that they are frightened of trying anything new in the event that it is discovered that there is something more that they were missing all this time.....resistance to change is natural; that too is reality.
Having only ridden for 8 years, and having spent most of that time searching for ways to work WITH a horse, I doubt I'm stuck in the mud or resistant to change.
And while I will out & out PUNISH my dogs at times, it doesn't change the fact that my Border Collie was nicknamed "Jack the Slipper" because of his tendency to sleep with his head on my feet. They sleep around our bed, and I haven't punished any of them in a year or more.
Dogs just respond differently than any horse I've met. And my dogs are around me most of the day, unlike my horses. My horses live in my back yard, about 60 feet from my back door, but they are not next to me most of the day. Nor will they ever live in the house with me.
While the principles "have been taught publicly at least since Skinner came along in... was it around 1930's??
", I haven't noticed anyone on this thread discussing HOW
to train beyond willing compliance - and willing compliance is
what both Smilie & I are talking about. Willing compliance, not enthusiastic compliance. I see a lot of "willing compliance" from my horses. When I say it is time to leave the grass in our arena - and horses who live on a dry lot ADORE having grass available - they don't buck, rear, spin, pin their ears, etc. I don't beat them, spur them, kick them. I do
sometimes need to use the reins to say we are not going to turn around and go back to grazing, but only with Bandit - and Bandit is more independent in his thinking than Trooper & Cowboy combined - 10 fold. That is who he is. It is his nature. But I'm not jerking on his face, and 10 feet down the road he accepts it and willingly
moves forward. Not enthusiastically. He prefers grazing to trail riding, and I don't blame him.
and I have often disagreed, sometimes very strenuously, but I don't think she packs into the mountains and crosses rivers on reluctant, resistant horses. Nor do I believe her horses have their personality dominated out of them - although I have met a number of horses who did!
Nor do I hitch my leg up on top of the saddle so Bandit & I can squeeze between cactus on a reluctant, resistant horse - a horse I don't trust to keep US safe and to behave responsibly even if he encounters some cactus. When I see a bunch of needles sliding inches from Bandit's thighs, and I have one leg on top of his back...I'm trusting him in a way I never trusted Mia.
When I come to a tougher spot - and none of my riding is really challenging, but some of it is tougher for Bandit than others - I like to let him take a look. If he accepts responsibility for OUR moving on, I'll feel it in his back and we go. If he tells me he can't make it, I don't push him because I don't want him trying to quit halfway through! Willing
compliance is one thing. The single-minded devotion of a dog is quite another. "Jack the Slipper" is rather timid, but that is deceptive. When he was 6 months old, my youngest was in the corral when Jack decided the 3 horses were threatening her. They were not, of course, but the 6 month old puppy THOUGHT they were - so he raced into the corral, put himself between her and the horses, and made it clear to over 2500 lbs of horses that if they wanted to harm my daughter, they'd have to deal with HIM first!
I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for a horse to take on opponents 50-100 times his size to protect me or mine! That is not their nature.
I've taken to telling folks that it is important to 'ride the horse's mind
' - that if you ride the mind, then staying on the body is easy. My way of going past scary stuff involves slack in the reins and giving the horse choices - because I've learned on Mia and on Bandit that a horse with choices isn't inclined to explode. A key to how I want to ride is wrapped up in the phrase "mutually acceptable compromise
" - where maybe I don't get everything I want, and the horse doesn't get everything he wants, but together
we come up with options acceptable
to us both - and then perform them together
. I just feel safer, MUCH safer, when my horse and I are working as a team. But a mutually acceptable compromise implies NEITHER side is getting 100% of what it wants...
And I'm not going to pretend. If Bandit was loose and eating grass in our little arena right now, and I took a walk, he would stay in the arena and eat. He wouldn't follow me out onto the trails or go jogging with me for the sheer pleasure of my company. He would on a lead line, but he will not leave green grass and follow me for the joy of my company - nor would I expect him to! He's a horse. I accept him for who and what he is, not for what he never will be.
If looking for mutually acceptable compromises and being happy with "willing compliance" versus the enthusiasm of my dogs makes me a substandard rider, then I'd LOVE to hear specific
suggestions or specific
training principles on how to turn Bandit into a gelded version of The Black Stallion - how to generate enthusiastic devotion in our horses!