Thursday, October 13, 2011

13th October, 2011 Taking the P

A non-horse day today as I am working hard on the Intelligent Horsemanship Magazine. Year ago I lost out on a very nice boyfriend because he said, "you think too much!". Ah well, now I am free to think as much as I like! Some thoughts then on 3 P's

Postponing behaviour - some horses will put off being caught, being touched, being bridled or mounted even though it is inevitable that it will happen in the end and even though when it is done, it is done kindly. It's easy to live in hope that one day they will give up their behaviour because they will see that it always happens in the end. However, working on the theory that behaviour starts for a reason and then perpetuates because it works, I think that horses will continue to postpone things even though the release it gives them is temporary. To them, if it postpones things even for a second, then it has worked and it is worth it. Once again, this doesn't make them naughty, they are just being a horse. The best postponing behaviour I ever saw was a horse that had learned to lick his owner copiously to delay her going along with his body with a big spiky dandy brush. In the end this behaviour becomes a pattern and it is only if you can come up with a alternative but kind strategy which means that the behaviour no longer works that the behaviour will go away.

Practice - advertising my book recently on a New Forest pony website I was told that there was no value in books, all it took to train a foal was practice. I beg to differ - it takes good practice, best practice and it is ulitmately the ponies that pay when we choose to practice bad practice - for example, grabbing a foal to force its headcollar on or tying him up to something solid to teach him to 'respect' the halter, chasing a horse to catch it or beating him to get him on to a horsebox. There are so many wrecks on the market all at risk of going in the wrong direction. We owe it to them to learn good practice. I wonder if the ponies ever get together and say, "When will they ever learn?".

Produced for selling - beware the pony that has been produced for sale. The foundations of its education may be very shallow.