Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Want To Make A Correction

You need to put your thinking cap on for this topic. It might take a bit of thinking to wrap your head around this one.
Got your cap on?.... let's go.

Let's imagine - if you will - a nice, warm, comfy viewing lounge where we can all sit and kibitz. Exchange ideas, have fun and learn something at the same time! Now that's the life! :)

2-Way CommunicationI don't like the old style of teaching (the way I was taught) - to shut up and just listen to the coach - and do as you are told! I was always the student that kept asking: why? why? (And I don't like being told what to do... :)

I wanted to know why I was being asked to cue a horse a certain way. 'I don't know why it works. Just do it!' doesn't work for me. Does it work for you?

So when it came time for me to teach students, I prefer to encourage a 2-way dialog. (Even with the horses! ....Of course...)

Consequently, I want my students to equally participate and 'own' their education. We are a team. It lets me know that the student and teacher are on the same page with their goals in mind.

So when a student, while we were talking about 'a fix' to a horse's incorrect response wanted to know more about 'a correction' - I thought it was a good topic for an article.

To-ma-to -vs- Toe-mat-toe

A Fix....
A Correction...
'Wait a minute.... Aren't they the same thing?', you might ask.

"Are you splitting hairs on this one?"


To Fix An Incorrect Response - A General Term
The horse is not responding well. You've asked the horse to do something and you get the wrong response.

As a rider - what do you do? - you fix it. I use the term fix as a general term to mean that the rider has to do things or try other cues in order to communicate to the horse what it is that we want from them. In other words.... the correct response.

The current cues are not working. Simply asking the horse again and again -getting the same wrong response again and again - ain't going to work. We can see that. I want my students to learn to fix incorrect responses. 'To think outside the box.'
Otherwise this develops bad habits for the rider and horse. They both will eventually need a tune up. See article series here.

Lastly, as a trainer, while I'm riding a horse, I will wait and sometimes bait a horse to respond incorrectly so that I have something to fix.

To Make A Correction - Specific Cues
So the rider knows the general idea to fix an incorrect response. How does that work? Exactly how does a rider do that?

The rider makes a correction. They correct the horse (or the response).

The rider doesn't punish the horse. The rider doesn't wallop the horse.
The rider doesn't reprimand the horse.

It's a correction.
I teach my students to 'match the correction to the wrong doing'.

If the horse didn't understand your cues then simply ask again.
If the horse is repeatedly not understanding the cues then change your cues.

If the horse shows resistance than apply different cues to correct the resistance.
If the horse gets pissy or really tests the rider just to see what they can get away with, then the rider has to correct the bad behaviour.

I don't like the words punishment or reprimand unless it's under the extreme case of the rider's safety being in jeopardy (and then I would try to never have a situation get that bad).
If the horse rears to get you off their back or comes at you with the intention to harm or worse! - then you do need to reprimand or punish them. And then I would tell the student to sell the horse to someone more advanced after we have corrected the problem.

That's effective horsemanship. The lead horse would NEVER take that kind of behaviour from another horse.

So there you have it! Something to think about....

Questions and comments are always welcome.
Putting my spin on training philosophy.

©Copyright KISS Reiners

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