Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Giving Your Horse a Timeout gives parents some advice on how to give timeouts to children. Actual timeout guidelines.
It describes timeouts as: "Time-out is a way of disciplining your child for misbehavior without raising your hand or your voice. Time-out involves removing your child from the good stuff in life, for a small amount of time, immediately following misbehavior."

It actually goes on to talk about where the timeout should be, the length of time for the timeout and how to do it.

I can see where people who use or used this technique for their children might be tempted to use it on their horses or think to use it on their horses for disciplining misbehaviour.  I've heard of horse owners doing exactly that.

An article titled: 'How to Discipline a Horse Without Aggression' ( suggests giving your horse a time out as the 2nd step after calming down so as not to think about beating your horse due to anger. The step explains that 'shunning' or giving your horse a time out is used in the pasture by other horses.

Here is the step: “Give your horse a timeout. Take your attention away from the horse for a brief period while he is misbehaving. Shunning is normal horse herd behaviour when a member of the herd is not acting appropriately. Horses want to be a part of the group. After a period, give your attention back to the horse in a positive way. If he misbehaves again, shun him some more.”

Will It Work?

I believe someone would have to have their timing quite precise for this to be effective, if at all. I doubt that this would work.
I tried to find other articles about 'shunning' as a natural behaviour between horses but I haven't found any. It's quite new to me. I was surprised. It's been my observation that horses will ignore or tolerate minor bad behaviour but I've never seen shunning as a way to discipline a horse by another horse. I've seen shunning or avoidance for new or unfamiliar horses that haven't yet been accepted into the herd.
I don't believe that it will work for disciplining. It will actually do the opposite and reward a horse for misbehaving. Here's why....

Horses learn from the release of pressure. So when you teach a horse something, a good reward is to release the pressure - stop your requesting, or actually stopping and resting. That sounds similar to a timeout -resting. Shunning or stepping away would also reward a horse as a release of pressure.

So horses think of a timeout as a reward not a disciplinary action.

I was curious that people would think to use a timeout as a disciplinary action. I've never raised children so I've never used a timeout in this way. It was interesting when I heard that people would use this method on horses. Perhaps the time out is more for the person than the horse. So the handler doesn't do something they regret later.

Giving Your Horse a Timeout
 So I actually do encourage riders to give their horse a timeout for a job well done. A prolonged period of resting as a well deserved reward. "Lovin'" your horse is also good for a great job done.

It encourages the horse to want to try and please their rider.

It builds 'try' in the horse.

It builds confidence.

Putting my spin on a timeout for horse and handler.
@KISS reiners

No comments:

Post a Comment