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post #11 of 17 Old 11-10-2014, 07:05 PM
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Another thought......

If the horse does get a certain amount of food upon returning to the barn, a gallon of pellets for instance, it might be helpful to take that gallon on the trail along with a nose bag and dish it out along the way.

On longer rides I do carry 2-3 cups of oats and a nosebag for a long stop midway or a ways past. And the ONLY time Hondo EVER gets oats is out on the trail.

And I enjoy him enjoying his treat as much, at least almost, as he does. And I prefer to believe that he can tell I'm happy about him being happy about his oats.

Little things but over time I believe they can add up.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-11-2014, 08:10 AM
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Also in addition to a long term strategy, I'm wondering if she will respond to a request to come to a full stop after speeding up on her own. If so, one strategy might be to simply pull her up to a stop each time with abundant praise/reward for the response.

If she will at least stop, that should help for safetys sake, but I think she still needs something to cause her to view trail rides as more enjoyable and returning to the barn not bad or anything at all like that but then not something to get in a big hurry for either.
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-11-2014, 08:05 PM
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One more idea and I'll leave it at that. Maybe take a short ride, 1/3 to 1/2 normal, ride to the barn, then go out again. Might take a while but she might finally get the idea that just because we're heading to the barn it doesn't mean we're gonna stay this time.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-12-2014, 05:22 AM
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So... firstly, having studied behavioural psych(also a long time ago), yes, we have the same general definitions of punishment/reinforcement Just that what you're seeing as 'extending the ride' is for the purpose of attempting to change earlier behaviour, so it is, essentially, meant as punishment to my mind, albeit you obviously understand that timing is way off.

I strongly agree with you on the 'make the rides fun & rewarding' & the rest of what you've said. I focus firstly on being a 'worthy' leader, so my horse feels SAFE to go out with me. Then I make a point of rewarding the horse for going out & making it fun - treats, grazing, riding to meet other horses, etc. Then I try to ensure 'bad' behaviour *never* works, or if taking on a 'problem child', that I consistently prevent it working for the horse in the future. I would personally either stop & back up the horse whenever they sped up & I didn't ask, or turn around & head in the opposite direction again. May mean the first few rides could take... quite a while to get home, because if you persist at this & then give in, gather I'm preaching to the choir in saying you've then only further strengthened that 'bad' behaviour.

It's not just the timing, or that being home is likely rewarding regardless of other Bad Stuff happening(because safety & security is more important than comfort), but I also disagree with 'working' a horse for punishment, because I personally want my horses to think of that as Good Stuff... Fun Games With Humans. I don't want 'work' to be thought of as 'work'.
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-12-2014, 10:21 AM
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See there??!! I told you so!

And I agree about not making work punishment. I'm sorry and regret I even suggested using the round pen for extending the ride.

This may cause some disagreements from other quarters but the round pen type training almost ended my stay early on at the ranch. There were certain things I was being shown and asked to do that I felt were in direct opposition to how I wanted to bond with a horse. In frustration I finally stopped and said flatly, "I can't do this", pulled the halter off and turned the horse loose. I felt my tenure was likely threatened but the next day I was approached and told that they understood, appreciated, and respected my desire to find a kinder easier way. There has never been a mention of the round pen again.

I have read that backing a horse has successfully been used forever to correct various things like walking off when mounting and correction for not slowing down. Stopping, backing, then proceeding at a walk again. I too have had developmental and behavioral psychology training at the college level and in splitting hairs with you, that is "IMO" technically positive punishment also. Never-the-less, I have tried that on Hondo for walking off nonchalantly after mounting. But Hondo has bunches of personality and is very smart. He knows I am "trying" to punish him and he get really irritated towards me about it. And it's not just the backing, he does that fine if there is a reason like opening a gate or something.

He knows I want him to go through yonder gate and seems to get miffed about what he seems to view as my silly attempted control thing. I discovered accidentally that he does not walk off until my right foot is in the stirrup though. I argue with the ranch people that Hondo reads my mind and through mental telepathy I have told him to go. JK

You said something else that I have come to understand and believe. Barn or herd as a safe place with safety over ruling food or anything else really.

Hondo is not buddies really with any of the herd but they are his unpaid sentinels. And if they are alerted or spooked, so is he. Even if I am riding and at a great distance. And he is a little nervous still when leaving the herd until he gets a mile or so from them. For the rest of the day he couldn't care less. Then when we're about a mile from returning to the herd, he will again develop some anxiety. Where's the herd? I wonder if they are still there? I wonder if everything is still ok? Oh gee, oh gee.....

I always hunt down the herd and after detacking I always personally return Hondo to the herd rather than let him frantically start racing off whinnying hey guys where are you I'm all alone with no protection and I'm really scared. After hauling me around all day I just cannot stand there while that happens. He has developed some trust in me and at least he has me until he has the herd.

So yeah, safety could be an issue with the OP's problem. When heading back, the horse's mind may turn to the herd/barn and the fact that there will be more safety again. If that was really in fact the problem, then I would oppose the stop/back for certain I think unless needed for safety.

Taking some days to just ride out of sight of the barn, ride back, and then ride out of sight again over and over might be something to think about. Horses I'm learning are so different and what works with one doesn't necessarily work with another. So it could take some trial and error and a lot of effort in trying to understand what the horse is trying to say.

I'm hoping that with the chatter we've been batting back and forth that the Original Poster will be helped in some way with her horse.
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-12-2014, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I felt my tenure was likely threatened but the next day I was approached and told that they understood, appreciated, and respected my desire to find a kinder easier way. There has never been a mention of the round pen again.
Wow! Sounds like you're in a really good place!

Quote:
I have read that backing a horse has successfully been used forever to correct various things like walking off when mounting and correction for not slowing down. Stopping, backing, then proceeding at a walk again. I too have had developmental and behavioral psychology training at the college level and in splitting hairs with you, that is "IMO" technically positive punishment also. Never-the-less, I have tried that on Hondo for walking off nonchalantly after mounting. But Hondo has bunches of personality and is very smart. He knows I am "trying" to punish him and he get really irritated towards me about it.
Yes, backing up in this situation is definitely technically +P. And technically, we can say virtually any 'normal' training we do, based on -R(negative reinforcement, removal of 'pressure'), also necessarily includes +P - because you have to apply an undesirable stimulus to have something to 'remove' as reinforcement. ...Getting carried away & off topic here...

Re Hondo's apparent resentment of the punishment in this situation(aside from the 'resentment' of just not getting his own way) I think the *intent* and attitude behind what you do also has a huge bearing to a horse. It also has a bearing on the subtle way we do stuff, so I don't know that the horse is at all 'psychic' in that way, just 'listening' to what we don't know we're saying... What's that saying... your thought become your attitude & your attitude becomes your actions...

So anyway, I think mindset is as important as WHAT you do, be that punishment or otherwise & keeping it simple, an animal will do what works & quit doing what doesn't work, so the horse wants to move off, go a certain direction, my attitude about backing is not that I'm punishing the horse for Bad Behaviour, but that I'm preventing the Bad Behaviour from working - the horse gets what he wants - to move off towards home, or whatever - when he does it in a way I like, but it doesn't work for him to lug, prance... whatever.

And all I've got to say to the rest of your post, sounds like Hondo is an extremely lucky horse to have you!
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-13-2014, 08:15 PM
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Thanks for the very kind words. I shall attempt to live up to them!

<just 'listening' to what we don't know we're saying... >

And that says so much. I don't really believe horses are psychic but sometimes ya wonder.

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