Tuesday, August 31, 2010

31st August, 2010 Coalitions?

On the same sort of theme, horsemanship can be very similar to politics in having a far left and a far right and extremists at either end. My vague attempt at drawing such a scale is shown above with clicker training at one end and heavy handed and probably illogical horsemanship at the other. It's important to remember that it's not just the label that counts but the level of fear, discomfort or even pain that is used. Heavy negative reinforcement could in fact be more uncomfortable than fairly light and quick punishment depending on what it was. A badly fitting saddle may punish a movement even for a horse being rewarded with treats. It's a useful exercise to consider not only what you do but how you do it, the equipment you use and how you use it. If what matters is how the horse interprets it, then different horses will interpret different things differently depending on their temprement and previous experiences. For a wild Exmoor pony, the mere presence of a human being will amount to pressure. Pressure must mean mental as well as physical and could affect any of the senses.

Of course, all of these terms are a human construct and could be dismissed as semantics, intellectualisation or anthropomorphism nevertheless they can be really useful in deciding what you are prepared to use, how it fits in with your belief system and how it might affect your horse. Over the weekend I was told that it was not what you do but your intent that counts - taken to its limits, this could include giving a horse a thorough beating as long as your intent was good - that can't be right.

Most, but not all, people cross the bands above whether they mean to or not.

Click on the diagram above to be able to use it.......