Willing Compliance or Aversive Reflex - Page 6 - The Horse Forum
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post #51 of 765 Old 10-03-2016, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Like I said, Hondo is arguing with people who don't have an argument with him, because of his word definitions. To him apparently 'demand' means something other than what it means to the other posters. Ditto with 'consequences'.

Horses don't care what you call it, as long as you are clear, calm, and fair. They also don't care what you call it if you aren't.
Agree
When a hole in training is created, man made or not, just going back tot he beginning is often not enough, as methods then have to be used, to first make that bad habit unsuccessful,before any real re training can begin, plus that horse will never have that clean slate of mind, as a horse that never learned that vise in the first place
For instance, using a simple example, the horse that has learned to call the human's bluff, that a simple halter and lead shank control him.
Through correct training, that horse is conditioned from the time he is halter broke, to accept that simple restraint. Once a horse does learn he can pull away, you then have to make sure he is not successful, thus use whatever it takes, to prevent him from doing so, until he no longer attempts to do so, then go back to that simple halter and lead shank
Performance horses are also expected to respond to light cues, and that only happens if , once the horse understands a cue, you use the' ask, ask louder, then demand'You always start again with just the light ask, and the horse soon learns to respond to it alone, with the rider never needing to go to that 'demand'
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post #52 of 765 Old 10-04-2016, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
Like I said, Hondo is arguing with people who don't have an argument with him, because of his word definitions. To him apparently 'demand' means something other than what it means to the other posters. Ditto with 'consequences'.
I personally don't believe that you are all saying the same as Hondo but using different words. Not at all. I think the difference between what Hondo is saying and what everyone else things he is saying is so huge that everyone fails to grasp it.

If you think about it, the whole system of horse training is built around developing aversive reflexes.
Moving away from pressure is the basis of much training and it is an aversive reflex. Neck reining is based on an aversive reflex. Moving off the leg is an aversive reflex. In fact, aversive methods are so intertwined into horse training that it's almost impossible to consider training without using them.

And please don't anyone start telling me how much their horse loves them as if I were attacking anyone personally or accusing them if abusing their horses. Aversive training isn't the same as abusive - but it's not the same as willing compliance either.

There are people who try to train their horses EXCLUSIVELY using R+ training methods. Quite challenging I think as R- methods are so prevalent and hard to avoid. A horse who is trained using R+ shows willing compliance, in my opinion. He moves towards things because he wants to, in search of his reward.

Release of pressure ISN'T A REWARD. It's an improvement in his circumstances for the horse, but not a reward, just as if I pinch you and then stop pinching, you're not going to be pleased with me for stopping. You're just going to be really annoyed that I pinched you in the first place. Horses can't afford to be really annoyed about pressure because then the pressure inflicted increases exponentially, so they have to learn to accept it and feel pleased about its absence. But that doesn't make it a reward.

I think Hondo is talking about a very profound difference in ideology here, not just splitting hairs over terminology.
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post #53 of 765 Old 10-04-2016, 07:00 PM
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The problem, as I see it, is we have very few huge and immediate rewards we can give a horse. How do you get a horse to want to do something, versus wanting to avoid a less pleasant thing - particularly when it lacks the imagination that there is a positive good to work toward?

If you want to learn to play a flute, the end result - playing a flute well - might be a huge positive. But to reach that end, you first have to learn where to put your mouth, how to hold the flute, how to finger the different notes, how to make a good sound come out instead of a poor sound - or maybe even ANY sound...there is a lot of hard work to do before the fun begins.

Same with learning karate. Lots of folks will drop out when they realize how much time is involved in stretching, strengthening, learning simple moves...lots of work before any reward.

But a horse lacks the imagination and even the desire. I enjoy a trail ride. My horse does, somewhat - but not as much as I do.

Since it is NOT abusive to use some measure of 'do this or else', why not? I couldn't raise my kids to be productive members of society without using that at times, so why would I expect to 'raise a horse' and train him to be productive? I pay $15 for a 100 lb bale of hay. I'm not willing to shell that out for horses who just stand and eat all day - but my HORSES would be pretty content to stand and eat all day!

My wife and I went for a ride today, with Bandit and Cowboy. At the end, I borrowed a line from @phantomhorse13 and told my wife, "We spent half an hour 'out looking for Bandit's brain', but once we found it, the next hour was a lot of fun!" And, in a sense, I think Bandit enjoyed the last hour too...but I doubt he thought the first 30 minutes were "fun". The grass in our little arena is starting to dry up, but he would have been happy to spend the entire 90 minutes grazing there instead. A habit of obedience - training - meant he went out with me anyways, and eventually found his brain and then was pretty content. But I don't know how one can create a habit of obedience in a horse without sometimes being pretty insistent about that obedience!
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Last edited by bsms; 10-04-2016 at 07:06 PM.
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post #54 of 765 Old 10-04-2016, 09:10 PM
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Agree with BSMS.
I realize release of pressure, is negative re -enforcement, but to me, it is a proven method of horse training, and has nothing to do with abuse.
This subject has gone round and round on this subject again and again. Yes, one can also use positive re enforcement, as in clicker training, using food treats, but while there are times for such application, as in winning trust of an abused horse, I still find it a method more useful for liberty training, where only a food reward is possible, and it derived from such a use, as in performing Dolphins.
Sure, most of use use other positive rewards, such as a simple scratch on the withers, or a\good boy, or good girl, But basic horse training revolves around a horse being taught to move away from pressure, be it learning to lead, tie, or various riding cues. So, I really don't sit and agonize as to what scientific label is applied
I want my horse to lead into a trailer, go down a trail , perform for me, while still enjoying my company, and being a 'happy horse.
If a horse refuses to leave home, something not likely to happen, if that horse has agood foundation, I am not about to discuss with the horse, that he would rather stay in that pasture with his buddies, nor am I going to ride along, clicking and treating.
I am going to use that ask, ask louder, then demand. I really don't care what label you wish to apply, nor am I placing my horse on an analytical couch
I take very good care of my horses, whether feed of health wise. None are abused, nor avoid my company, and in fact, come up to me to be haltered and truly seem to enjoy trail rides as much as I do.
In return, I expect that horse to work for me, not forever question me as to where he will either lead or ride
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post #55 of 765 Old 10-04-2016, 09:22 PM
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A horse develops willing compliance, because non compliance is made the wrong and difficult thing
The very herd nature of a horse, is not going to have him grant willing compliance to anyone he does not respect
So, going back tot hat neck rein example, where the horse learns to move away from that rein against his neck, seeking that 'neutral position, when that rein is off him, thus the release- how do you purpose to teach that, just using positive re-enforcement? Hang a carrot out to one side?
As stated by Palomine, horse training is becoming over thought, trying to attach some physiology teaching course, versus just using plain good horse sense, that creates a willing partner, but not an equal partner.
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post #56 of 765 Old 10-04-2016, 11:39 PM
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Only read 1st few posts so far... I personally think its very important to understand behavioural psychology. Enabling us to really understand these terms/concepts/principles is what enables us to use them most effectively **& fairly**.

What hondo has described, and the way most horses are taught most things, is absolutely via aversive, compulsive methods. Eg. Ropes, fences etc are used to prevent the horse just escaping, then aversives ('pressure') are applied, until the desired response happens, at which instant(if trainer is any good) it is ceased - negative reinforcement. Horse then learns to respond to the 'cues' that aversives are going to happen, in order to avoid the actual unpleasantness/pain.

**I dont think there is anything wrong with using this method to teach. As with most things, i believe it is the way in which it is used, combined with whether a horse is trained exclusively through aversive methods, or whether/how much positive reinforcement is also used, as to whether a horse may be a truly willing partner or just a compelled beast
Quote:
horse shouldn't listen because it fears physical consequences, it should move because it respects the handler's direction, and then is aware that things can become unpleasant for them if they fail to comply with the command
I feel that the above is nothing but splitting hairs - its all the same to the horse, who doesnt care whether terms like fear or respect or aware are used.
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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 #57 of 765 Old 10-05-2016, 01:05 AM
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If it is just splitting hairs....

Bandit's previous owner is a big guy who could successfully 'push him past' things that scared him. We didn't discuss it at length, but I gather Bandit would be difficult to control at those times, but the previous owner could do so. As he pointed out, since he raced Bandit, you can't have a horse in a race deciding he isn't ready to cross a stream - and he was correct, given his goals.

I'm pretty sure in those circumstances, many horses would eventually decide the rider was correct about it being safe and thus stop worrying. But Bandit did not, and would go in a few seconds from walking or trotting calmly (as best I could tell) to spinning or trying to race off sideways or bucking. So I decided I would try to teach him my judgment was worth listening to.

I won't pretend the results have been 100%. The good news is that he lets me know when he is worried, and often will go on by after a brief look or with a light squeeze of the legs. The bucking, spinning and trying to run sideways has disappeared, but perhaps because he can simply let me know he is genuinely scared. But the big explosions have gone away, and we often go on by with slack in the reins.

I submit it DOES make a difference, at least to some horses. I don't see any way to totally remove aversive training, nor a need to do so. In many cases, particularly early on, aversive training seems more practical and even better for the horse. After all, part of my re-training of Bandit included being as harsh as needed to make clear that we would not run away, and that spinning would "not profit him" any, and neither would bucking.

It also included options for him. Horses, like kids, resist when backed into a corner. But if 2 options out of 6 were unacceptable to me, and 2 out of 6 were unacceptable to Bandit, then we still had 2 options where we could agree to work together and both finish content. And we both trained each other using aversive training: If he picked the 2 options I could not accept, it became unpleasant for him. If I tried to push the 2 options he could not accept, he made things unpleasant for me. But as long as we could find a mutually acceptable compromise, we BOTH got what we wanted - which involves willing compliance from us both. Two willing partners is a team, and it seems horses enjoy being part of a team as much as I do.

Someone wrote of Ray Hunt, "His horses are never defeated." Where I think Hondo and I may part company in terms of training is that I'm willing to be more forceful - adversarial, even - in rejecting options unacceptable to me than Hondo is. And others on this thread may be willing to be more adversarial than I am. But I'm pretty sure EVERYONE on this thread tries to set their horse up for success, so that their horse is never defeated.
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post #58 of 765 Old 10-05-2016, 01:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I think you mean because they have been taught they can refuse.......

Are they to be punished for doing what they were taught?

See above hole in training...........

The horse needs to be taken back to basics and retrained. That does not mean just upping the ante in a coercive demand.

Since you agree that horses are very giving, you should see there is another avenue other than demanding.

I've read and heard many times that horses are creatures of habit. As I look around at my human companions, and myself, I question whether they are more so than us.
I agree with the ideal of always being 'nice' but, when you get a horse that has learned it can be mean and nasty and attack humans, refuse to go where asked but rearing, bucking and reversing then being 'nice' is not in the picture in my book.

You can go back to the basics, start afresh but the learned behaviour of not complying is still there and will not go away until the horse learns that the human is a) not frightened of it and b) can give as good as it gets - as would happen in a herd situation. Non compliance it's the herd leader would result in pain as the matter was sorted out. Either the horse would take a kicking from the leader or it would become boss horse.

I took in a mare in an emergency. Only when she was delivered was an warned that she had a reputation for being really mean and nasty. I turned her out with two brood mares. She was only a turn out livery. When I went to feed them that night my mares came to the gate as I drove up on the ATV with that the new mare charged the gate, ears flat back, mouth open and meaning to get me in no uncertain terms. Had she made contact I would have had a severe injury.
I drove back to the barn, picked up my rarely used twitch which was about half the handle of a pitchfork. I went back to the field and when the mare charged I hit her as hard as I could straight down the front of her face. My reaction being that if she wanted to hurt me I would reciprocate in no uncertain way.

She shot off to stand under some trees, I drove in, put the feeds and hay out. She stood well back and when I walked towards her she moved away. Fine by me.

Next day I couldn't catch her, I wanted to bring her in to handle her to see where the problems were. She followed the other two into the barns and I herded her into a stable. Then I could catch her. She was very wary of me but again I wanted that rather then attack mode.

This was a horse that had learned she could really frighten people and when she met a person who refused to back away, she was puzzled.

Her feet were a mess and she hadn't seen a farrier in months. I did a couple of adjustments to her neck and pelvis and turned he back out, leading her with the other two mares to the field. No problems. Next day I could catch her.
I asked her owner's husband if I could rode her and he agreed but refused to take responsibility for her - nearly two years since she had last been ridden.

She didn't want to go into the field with me on her back and reared. Not baby rears but vertical, I just sat on her and let her do it, she was tiring herself out I wasn't exerting any energy. She then realised that I wasn't going to get off her so decided to go. I didn't let her, made her stand there and wait for my commands.

Oh boy, was that mare trained. She was a dressage horse and I was getting movements that I wasn't asking for just because I had got sloppy with my riding.

I decided to just rode her around the block to cool her off and once on the road she was spookier than any of my youngsters - the slow sign written on th road was going to eat her and drains were terrifying but not as much as the sheep in a field.

I found out that the mare had been trained as a dressage horse. In several years she had never been ridden out of the arena. She was stir crazy,

I asked my farrier to trim her feet, which he did. After he had finished he was laughing and told me he had refused to show her because of her being downright dangerous. She did try it on with one hind leg but a quick "Eh!" from me and she corrected herself.

That mare stayed with me for several months. I rode her out on a daily basis, took her out with hounds and can honestly say that children could lead her around.

If I had not taken drastic action and let her know that a human could and would hurt her if she was in an attack mode, she would have ended up as dog food.
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post #59 of 765 Old 10-05-2016, 02:25 AM
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I agree with this:
Loosie: **I dont think there is anything wrong with using this method to teach. As with most things, i believe it is the way in which it is used, combined with whether a horse is trained exclusively through aversive methods, or whether/how much positive reinforcement is also used, as to whether a horse may be a truly willing partner or just a compelled beast

And this:
bsms: I don't see any way to totally remove aversive training, nor a need to do so..... And we both trained each other using aversive training..... But as long as we could find a mutually acceptable compromise, we BOTH got what we wanted - which involves willing compliance from us both. Two willing partners is a team, and it seems horses enjoy being part of a team as much as I do.

And on this theme: Where I think Hondo and I may part company in terms of training is that I'm willing to be more forceful - adversarial, even - in rejecting options unacceptable to me than Hondo is. And others on this thread may be willing to be more adversarial than I am. But I'm pretty sure EVERYONE on this thread tries to set their horse up for success, so that their horse is never defeated. I find myself more or less in line with bsms. Sometimes I feel the need to get strict with my horse, but I find the spinoff of being strict at the right time and in the right way is that those moments are becoming less and less frequent. We are advancing beyond being adversarial and we are becoming a team.

However, I use mostly R- or aversive methods because that's all I was aware existed until recently. That's how I learnt to ride. Now I am discovering that a growing body of people exists who advocate use of R+ to achieve results far beyond merely teaching tricks or doing a little bit of groundwork. They aren't on this forum (not many of them) but they're out there experimenting with new, non-aversive ways of training. It's not for everyone but I think it's recommendable that we forget received wisdom at times and take a look outside the box. I personally am fascinated by the subject since I have experienced the potential of using R+ methods with my horse when aversive methods had failed. R+ is a whole other world waiting to be explored, but it's a profoundly different mindset, not just splitting hairs over words.
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post #60 of 765 Old 10-05-2016, 08:11 AM
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However, I use mostly R- or aversive methods because that's all I was aware existed until recently. That's how I learnt to ride. Now I am discovering that a growing body of people exists who advocate use of R+ to achieve results far beyond merely teaching tricks ... I have experienced the potential of using R+ methods with my horse when aversive methods had failed. R+ is a whole other world waiting to be explored, but it's a profoundly different mindset, not just splitting hairs over words.
I'm not sure - having still not got around to reading the rest of the thread - whether yours & bsms's refs to 'splitting hairs' is about my earlier comment or not, but if they are, I don't think you understood what I was trying to get at. I was simply saying that differentitating between a horse 'fearing consequences' and 'being aware of' unpleasant ones didn't mean the latter wasn't aversive... or whatever. Or for that matter, that that was necessarily a Bad Thing to teach.

Interesting isn't it, that while people & dog training, has changed for the most part, with the understanding that came with 'behavioural science' and from marine mammal trainers(who don't really have the option to use aversive/-R), it's taken far longer to 'seep in' to the world of horses??

20 years ago, after I studied behavioural psych, trained some cats & chickens - for the fun of it & learning exercise(hard pressed to get away with aversive methods on them!) - & then got my own dogs for the first time, I found that it was a relatively uncommon, new idea to train dogs predominantly with +R & with little/no aversives. I remember having a very hard time finding training establishments that used 'non coercive methods'. I joined an obedience & agility club over an hour away from home, because it was the closest I could find that did so. These days however, I've found that more often than not, dog trainers use +R & avoid use of choke chains & the likes.

20+ years ago, I thought I was a relatively accomplished horse trainer. I used to 'retrain' & ride other's horses, was good at getting horses to 'bend to my wishes'. I'd been taught to use, and every experienced horseperson I knew only used aversive training though. I was stuck on the idea that 'rewards don't work for horses', that negative reinforcement was the best deal for them. 'Natural Horsemanship' was touted as 'the new deal', when really, it was just more of the same(not IMO unsound, mind) principles, packaged in a fluffier way.

It took my experience training other species, before I decided to experiment with 'clicker training' with my horses. And suddenly I saw a whole new side of horses! I saw curious, playful, keen to learn, keen to join in animals, who were clever! But aside from a few books, websites, etc(& talking here), I've always been mostly on my own on that note. While the dog world has mostly caught up, I'm still 'the weirdo' around here for using +R with my horses. I think that's a general belief too, from what I've seen, not just local one. For a while there, I didn't admit to using rewards with the horses I trained, because of people's attitude about it.

And you know what's funniest about that attitude? I use the 'normal' methods of training too - as mentioned, I don't have a problem at all with well applied -R, even occasional outright punishment. I don't use +R on it's own much, but just to compliment the rest. I did have a play with using solely +R to train horses, but whether it was lack of skill, lack of patience... or the fact that I've never had a problem with using 'pressure/release' either... I decided that was in the 'too hard' basket, and it was much easier, more straight forward & reliable to use a combo approach.

It's only very recently that I've seen a few others using food & other rewards to train their horses, not just as a means of spoiling them or bribing them. Of course you CAN train a horse well, using solely +R, I have no doubt. I admire those I know of who have, although I know not one person, personally who does. I just don't see a point to that, or reason not to use what is technically termed 'aversives'. Like I said, it's in the way that you use what you use, I reckon.

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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