Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Making the RIGHT Thing Easy and the WRONG Thing Difficult

Larry Trocha just sent an interesting article on motivating horses. It's a variation to the saying: "Make the RIGHT Thing Easy And the WRONG Thing Difficult" as Clinton Anderson would say. Ray Hunt has a very similar expression as well. All the great horsemanship trainers do.... (I imagine :)
Here's part of the article:
"During this conversation, Mr. X jokingly said, "Do you know how to absolutely get ANY horse to load in a trailer so fast he'll run over the top of you to get in?
Just so I could hear what he had to say, I replied, "No... how"?
Here was Mr. X's answer:
"Put the horse in a small corral with tall fences so he can't jump out. Back the trailer up to the corral gate and open the door. Then, drop a MOUNTAIN LION into the corral".
Now, in reality, Mr. X wasn't simply joking. He was making a point.
He was trying to illustrate that if a horse had to make the choice between facing something really unpleasant (the mountain lion) or jumping into a horse trailer, the horse would choose the trailer every single time. It's the same with crossing water.
No matter how much a horse hates water, he'd jump right in if he thought it'd save him from a mountain lion.
What I'm talking about here is... INCENTIVE and MOTIVATION.
If the motivation is great enough, horses (as well as people) will do just about anything. Lucky for us, it doesn't take much motivation to get a horse to do what we want.
All we really have to do is make the WRONG thing UNCOMFORTABLE for the horse.
PLUS, make the RIGHT thing, comfortable.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Good horse training boils down to PRESSURE and the RELEASE of pressure.
Of course, the trick is knowing what kind of pressure to apply and how to apply it.
Even more important is... timing the RELEASE.

You have to release the pressure the INSTANT the horse even THINKS about doing the right thing.
If you don't, the horse won't understand what you want. Unfortunately, most riders don't.
They miss the timing and then wonder why the horse isn't responding correctly.
I should also add... the "release" will be even more effective if REINFORCED with a soothing word or reassuring touch from the rider."
This is definitely a philosophy and training method that I use constantly. Once you get into this habit and act this way by habit, it makes horse training and riding SO much easier!
Something to think about..... humm...
Questions and comments are always welcome.
©Copyright KISS Reiners

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