Something I'm going to quote - and it's a long quote, related to this and other training issues, because I couldn't say it better myself. It's from a basic manual on training young horses, but is pertinent to this and similar situations as well.
“That will profit you” - “That will profit you not”
“End-of-Lesson”, what it means
“Old Hat” Use of voice in training
Few people who set out to train and educate a young horse give any thought to the great difficulties that face the horse.
How many of us setting out to teach him have given serious thought or study of HOW to teach him: how to establish a system of signals or aids that most riders grow up with and accept as being natural, but of which the horse has no knowledge whatsoever?
I am going to ask you a question, and before you read on I would like you to answer it clearly – to yourself. Question
: “Why does a horse stop or go slower if you pull on the reins?” If you answer, “Because it hurts the mouth,” I am sorry to have to break the news to you – you have failed.
But no, I'll give you another chance: “Why do you jump up instantly if you sit on an upturned tack or drawing pin?”
If you answer again: “Because it hurts” - you really do need to read every word in this book! The horse stops – and you jump up – not just because it hurts, but to stop it hurting. By no means the same thing.
And there isn't any doubt: if jumping up didn't stop the pain, you
would try doing something else. So, too, eventually, does the horse. These are not trick questions.
If you really believe in and act on the answer you gave to the first, then you think that all you have to do is to hurt your horse's mouth and he will stop.
On the contrary, the important thing is to let him know – to teach him – how, by doing what you want of him, he can avoid
any pain, irritation, inconvenience and discomfort the bit (or whip or spur) might otherwise cause. Good trainers do everything they possibly can to avoid hurting the horse or even letting him hurt himself. Our real goal should be never to have to hurt our horse. Reward and punishment
is often cited as the secret of successful horse training and undoubtedly both rewards and punishments have their place. But – we should seldom, if ever, resort to punishment when teaching our horse anything new. Punishment, when we use it, should be reserved for exceptional occasions. Don't think “Reward and Punishment.” Encourage and discourage
is a better guide, as it drops the term “punishment.” When riding a young horse we alternate from encourage to discourage very frequently and quite often change from discourage to encourage several times in a matter of seconds.
But the term “discourage” still has the drawback that it can
include punishment; and we should discard any term that could include punishment as a normal training procedure. Punishment and teaching are “divorced.”
It is to avoid using any expression that could possibly include punishment as a normal teaching procedure that I suggest you think in the terms:
“That will profit you – that will profit you not.”
These terms mean exactly – exactly
– what they say.
is to benefit or gain: to be better off. The profit to the horse can be any reward or encouragement the trainer may think his pupil should receive – and it must, of course, be available to give.
“To Profit Not”
means that the horse will gain or benefit not at all. Just that. It certainly does not mean that he will suffer a loss or be worse off – as he would be if he were punished.
This is what is so important about these expressions – and why I use them. By no stretch of the imagination can “Profit you not” be construed as punishment. It consists of withholding any gain, reward, encouragement and profit. That, and only that. Quiet Persistence
“It will profit you not” means that the horse will not be encouraged to follow a line of conduct other than what we have in mind for him. We withhold any gain – which means we quietly continue with our demands, whatever they may be. We persist. We quietly persist with our demands.
This gentle discouragement of “quiet persistence” is something that horse seem to find irresistible. Whenever you are in doubt as to what course to follow, mounted or dismounted, revert to “Quiet Persistence.” Your quiet persistence is the real “That will profit you not.” It discourages the horse without punishing him
Punishment does have its place in the training scheme, with some horses more clearly than with others – but even then it should be used only occasionally. Do not revert to punishment when you are trying to teach the horse something new. It upsets the horse and destroys the calmness so essential to his taking-in a new lesson. So punishments are “out” when teaching any new lesson. End of Lesson End of Lesson is the best, most effective and most convenient of all rewards and encouragements.
What End of Lesson means:
When teaching a horse almost anything at all – no matter what it is, “End of Lesson” means a pause, a break, a rest for a while – or even, on some occasions, completely finishing the work for the day at the moment
the horse has made or is making progress in a lesson. At the very instant
of the action that constitutes progress, the teacher ends the lesson – for a while, at least.
Ending a lesson constitutes a reward, an encouragement, an incentive to the horse to try to follow and understand what is being taught to him. The End-of-Lesson procedure is probably the most important procedure in the scheme of horse training.