You Don't Have to get Your Horse Used to Anything

11/21/2013

Here’s a scenario to ponder: A person who’s never even been near a horse before, attends his first riding lesson. The teacher says, “Welcome. We’ll start by putting you on a horse that bucks. Don’t worry, just work your way through it. You’ll figure out what to do and tomorrow we can do it again. After a few lessons, you’ll see that bucking is harmless and nothing to worry about. Yes, you might fall off, but you’ll become desensitised and you’ll soon get used to it.”

Imagine the poor pupil if he did survive the first day and actually came back for more. Riding lessons would be something to dread - each day more frightening than the day before, more terrifying because he knows what to expect.

If the pupil eventually learns to ride the bucking horse, he’ll be even worse off. Though he graduates to easier lessons and trots comfortably around on a quiet horse, the pupil will immediately panic if the horse trips, jumps, shies or does anything out of the ordinary. He’ll be terrified and think, “Oh no. This is how the horse reacted in my first lesson. He’s going to buck. Here we go again. I know what’s coming next.”

“That’s stupid,” I hear you say. “No-one would teach riding like that.” No they wouldn’t, but horse trainers worldwide use this very approach. When a frightened young horse bucks with the saddle, trainers say, “It’s not a big deal. He’ll get used to it. Leave the saddle on him for a while and he’ll be desensitised.”

Wake up world: this makes no sense. It doesn’t work for humans and it doesn’t work for horses.

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Comments

Neil Davies
Thanks so much for bringing a much needed alternative to horse training.
There has been an alarming rise in brutality and fear being used in round pens in the name of horse training.
Buster Mclaury being at the top of the list; witness the October issue of Western Horseman where his brutality is chronicled. For people who love horses you are a gift from the Gods. Please keep fighting for the horse. Amazingly in this age of enlightenment the horse is under attack.
Colin dangaard
Malibu california

Colin dangaard November 25th, 2013

I couldn't agree more. It's quite alarming the type of "training" that is occurring as of late.

I heard someone ask how to get a horse to load into a trailer? Well, the overwhelming majority, I being the only hold out, said to loop a rope into the trailer with one end attached to the horse and one person or more pulling the horse in. While a third person whacks it on the rump, ever increasing in severity, until it moves in.

Horrified by this, I asked what about when the horse blows up with fright and hits its head or gets seriously hurt? The answer was it will learn and won't do it more than a couple times!

I then asked who taught them this? The answer was their trainer as you have to deal with difficult/ snotty horses with "pressure" like horses do to each other. You have to show the person is dominant.

What? How can herd dynamics and pressure techniques get so out of whack that cruelty is considered a technique? And who among trainers, in good conscious, could abide with and promote this type of training.

Well, the answer I'm afraid is that an overwhelming majority of people believe this to be true.

And what of the poor horse that only learnt that day that humans will beat them down and force them to do something? Did they learn respect or did they learn fear?

Fear. I'm so dismayed by the arrogance of people touting themselves as horse trainers, when in fact it is merely fear based submission.

Thank you Neil for putting these issues in the spotlight once again!

Pam

Pam Luwttich November 23rd, 2013

Thanks for your comment Pam. The issues you raise are what has motivated me to start this blog.

Neil Davies November 25th, 2013

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