What's the difference between a horse trainer, a riding instructor, and a horse behavior consultant? While it sounds like the start of a really bad joke, it’s a great question to ask! Let’s look at what each profession does. Horse trainers teach horses new and wanted behaviors. Using a range of different training methods, horse trainers teach horses to consistently respond to set cues by performing desired behaviors. These behaviors can range from the simple to the complex –
Aggression in horses is a common reason for owners to seek help from equine behaviourists. Why do horses behave aggressively, and what can be done to change aggressive behaviour? Aggression While aggression is a normal part of horse behaviour, by nature, horses are not an overly aggressive species. In their natural state, they spend much more time engaging in affiliative behaviours than they do in agonistic behaviours. Affiliative behaviours are ones that promote harmony bet
One Myth, Three Facts, & A Confession About Fixing Behavior Problems in Horses Myth: If you don't allow the horse to make the mistake he won't learn from it. It's a popular myth in the horse training world that you need to allow the horse to make a mistake so that they can learn from it. This usually involves allowing the horse to do exactly what it is you don't want them to do - essentially setting things up so that the unwanted behavior is triggered - and then correcting th
It's frequently said that horses fake lameness to get out of work. Or that they spook to annoy their riders. But horses simply do not have the cognitive capacity to plot and scheme in this manner. They are no more able to mentally plot and scheme than we are able to flap our arms and fly. They lack the cognitive ability as much as we lack the physical ability.
Plotting, scheming and devising are all easily accomplished by human brains. The cognitive qualities that allow us
Do you have an anxious horse?
While fear occurs in the presence of a real or perceived threat, anxiety is an apprehensive state of anticipation about future threats.
Horses can become anxious about any number of things, for example: loading in the trailer, seeing the vet, being bathed, ridden work, having a companion removed etc. Anxiety can develop after a horse has an unpleasant or scary experience; they may start to anticipate the experience happening as the owner pr
If you haven't read Part One of Expanding Your Horse's Comfort Zone, it's here. Welcome to part two, where we talk about: ‘Just right’ discomfort: What is 'discomfort'? And how to choose an appropriate level when stretching comfort zones Too much discomfort: What happens to your horse in Manure Hits the Fan Zone, and why it should be avoided during horse training Discomfort and uncomfortable, for the purposes of this post, don't have to be dirty words. They both just essentia
One small shift in how you think about horse training can change the way you train horses, forever. And you'll have a dead horse to thank for it. Horse training or behavior modification is all about affecting behavior. Behavior is anything the horse does that we can observe. Cocking a leg at rest. Performing a flying lead change. Stepping into a trailer, or pulling back when approaching a trailer. Lowering the head for bridling, or raising the head when a bridle approaches.