Your timing is critical in every aspect of horse training.
If you’re even a few seconds early or late with your timing, your horse won’t understand what you want and he won’t respond as you think he should.
Horses learn only from the immediate result they get.
You must correct your horse by making things slightly unpleasant for him at the exact time that he uses unwanted behaviour.
It’s too late to correct your horse even a few seconds after the event, because he won’t relate the unpleasantness with the unwanted behaviour.
Equally, you must make things easy and pleasant for your horse immediately he does as you ask.
If you don’t reward your horse immediately, he won’t relate the pleasantness with the desired behaviour.
Some trainers say that tying a horse up for a few hours will make him ‘quiet’ and ‘patient’ and will ‘teach him a lesson’ if he’s been ‘playing up’.
This shows a complete misunderstanding of how horses think and learn.
Horses don’t understand the concept of punishment.
They can’t reason that what’s happening in the present has anything to do with how they behaved even a few seconds ago, let alone minutes or hours ago.
And they certainly can’t reason that being tied up for a prolonged period has anything to do with how they behaved last time they were ridden or handled.
Tying your horse up for hours on end won’t ‘teach him a lesson’.
In fact, it won’t teach him anything at all. It certainly won’t make him confident or relaxed or ‘quiet or ‘patient’.
Imagine if you sent your child to school and the teacher tied him or her to a tree for a few hours to ‘teach them a lesson’.
As a parent you’d be horrified and your child would learn nothing, except to resent the teacher and to hate school.
Horses don’t reason like humans and they are very forgiving.
They won’t resent you for tying them up for hours, but they won’t learn from it either.
There are no shortcuts or secrets in horse training.
Every horse must be taught everything one step at a time.
This includes being tied up and being confident and relaxed around people.
Always remember, there’s no substitute for going to your horse and teaching him one step at a time, every step of the way.