Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Williams, Arizona
• Horses: 0
We are appearing to disagree but I'm betting in the long run we don't.
Allow me to explain a little more. When we talk of positive and negative reinforcement and positive and negative punishment, we are talking about operant conditioning, or at least I am. To my understanding, (it's been a while), the stimuli can appear either before or after the resultant behavior, depending on which of the four modes are used, but in all cases the time between stimuli and resultant behavior is small. Real small. 3 seconds. Less if possible. The quicker the stronger the association.
If operant conditioning were to be used in this case, I think something would need to be done the instant the horse wanted to speed up to get back to the barn.
And certainly something needs to be done there, otherwise there could be a dangerous high speed return to the barn.
But for long term remission of this barn sour tendency, I was not thinking of beating the horse up in the round pen and let it become famished with thirst and hunger while thinking, there that serves you right. No!
I was simply thinking of something that would extend the ride after returning to the barn.
Rather than denying the horse food and water and working in the round pen, perhaps I should have suggested to just extend the ride either in a field if available or even in the round pen itself. If there is a horse trough, let it drink as it would from a stream out on the ride.
What I was trying to suggest, and apparently failed miserably, was to
remove at least some of the reward associated with returning to the barn and make returning to the barn in the horses mind not that much different than staying on the trail.
And I didn't think to mention it in the other post but doing things that make it at least a little fun on the trail might help also. I try to do that with Hondo. If we've been out a while and I see a particularly nice patch of grass, I'll ride over, dismount, and let him eat. I'll loosen his cinch and sometimes pull his saddle.
We all have dichotomies of various sorts within us, or at least I do, and since I believe horses are a lot like people in some ways, I suspect they do to.
Trail-Work-Do Stuff I Hafta/Barn-Free-Do what I Wanna.
That's all I meant to suggest. Nothing in the way of either positive or negative punishment at all.
I'm working on Hondo with a long term goal of him bonding to the degree that he is as content here in his pen as he is out with the herd. Ya, I know, lotsa luck!
I'll give it a year. There has actually been some progress.
CDC Advisor: " Wearing a mask is a lot easier than wearing a ventilator"