Photo above. Boots in a moment of worry when her hind end touched the pipe. We were practicing backing into a dead-end space.
Most horse-human dysfunction is due to lack of clarity from the human side of the relationship due to one or more of the following reasons.
- Our behavior around the horse is inconsistent.
- We are not able to read the horse’s body language well enough to understand what he is communicating to us about his physical, emotional and mental state.
- We have not set up the environment to make it easy for the horse to understand what we want him to do.
- Our signals to ask the horse to do something are inconsistent, poorly thought out or poorly taught.
- The task is not thin-sliced enough.
- Prerequisites are missing.
- We expect too much too soon.
- Human emotions get in the way.
Most horses are happy to comply with our requests if:
- We teach what we want thoughtfully and carefully in a way that the horse can understand.
- We ensure our signals are clear and consistent.
- We have well-timed release of signal pressure/click followed by the treat.
- We teach at a pace that the horse can absorb; not too fast.
- We teach at a pace that maintains the horse’s interest; not too slowly.
As the handler gets better and better at thin-slicing* a large task into its smallest teachable parts, it becomes easier and easier for the horse to learn by being continually successful. It’s this aspect of learning that makes a horse look forward to his sessions.