Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Fix Common Behaviour Problems Once and For All

A mini foal named Anna.
I wasn't sure how to title this article. On which perspective to address common behaviour problems in horses. We all have them and each of us deals with them differently. And it's certainly not a new topic in horse magazines and self-help books.

The first article of this series talked about human personalities and the 2nd article talked about horse personalities. I did this because I believe they are a huge influence on problems we have with our horses. I wanted to add some insight into those persistent horse behaviour problems that give you a pain in your riding pants.

I still see horse handlers putting up with what I consider to be bad behaviour on the part of their horses. But are they? So lets touch on quickly with what is human behaviour.
Briefly, according to Wikipedia:
  •        "Human behaviour refers to range of behaviours which are influenced by culture, attitudes, emotions, values, ethics, authority, rapport, hypnosis, persuasion, coercion and/or genetics." 
I believe our relationship with our horse is a product of this.

Wikipedia states horse behaviour:
  • " is best understood from the view that horses are prey animals with a well developed fight-or-flight instinct." Ok. I'd like something more.
Dr. Robert Miller, in his book Understanding Horse Behaviour says:
  •  "Perhaps our desire to understand the horse is nothing more than a desire to understand ourselves and the people around us." Oooh that's deep! Oprah would say: "it's a tweeter!"
Dr. Miller goes on to explain that each horse is born with 10 traits (including Miss Anna in the photo above).
  •  "These ten, inherited traits influence how the horse perceives the world around it and how it reacts to its environment. These traits include anatomical, physiological and behavioral characteristics that are intimately linked. The ten traits determine how the horse responds to training and  interacts with its handlers and other horses. These ten traits are embedded deep within its DNA and are shared, without exception, by every horse that was ever born."  Here is a link to the 1st chapter of the book.
Now, doesn't that sound similar to the definition of human behaviour? Hum. I think so. I believe that getting to know ourselves better will help us to understand how our horses behave in terms of how their environment (and all the other influences) affect behaviour. We are their biggest influence in the domesticated horse. Undomesticated too, for that matter.

Look inside yourself to find your inner horse.

How To Fix A Behaviour Problem Once and For All

I quote Pat and Linda Parelli from the Horsenality Report (that I've obtained from our model horse and handler I use in this series): "Certain environments can make horses behave differently and the key will be to flex your strategies according to these changes rather than treat your horse the same as you always do."

"If you always do what you've always done,
 then you will always get what you've always gotten."

Change it up, baby!

Putting my spin on your inner horse!
@KISS reiners

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