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Why do they do it... ?

Why do they do it... ?

Postby fabikat » Sun May 10, 2015 9:07 pm

Something that is probably covered by many other topics that we have discussed but I have been pondering it this weekend..
Why do horses do for us the things they do?

Having started on my new journey with Kaiser and now beginning to notice small changes and improvements with him I ask myself what is it really that produces this from him? I am well aware that under no circumstances could I force him to oblige and learn if he was of a mind not to so what is it that really holds the key?
katy x
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby littlewhitehorse » Sun May 10, 2015 11:10 pm

Too tired to think tonight but this should make for some good discussion :thumbup:
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby Chevalblanc » Tue May 12, 2015 6:11 am

I think it comes from the horse's need to please, which is what keeps them in the herd and therefore less vulnerable to attack. It's a survival trait I suppose. The horses who cooperate together live longer......if they didn't have this compliant aspect to their nature, we wouldn't have been able to exploit them so successfully for all these centuries.

This quote from the article below is very true:

“It’s an uncomfortable truth that horses are extremely flexible in their behavior,” says McGreevy. “They are in a sense their own worst enemy. Just because a horse appears to tolerate something does not mean all is well.”


http://www.thehorse.com/articles/35750/ ... -husbandry
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby Trudi » Tue May 12, 2015 8:15 am

Just because a horse appears to tolerate something does not mean all is well
in fact I'd say tolerance is sometimes a bad thing, I like there to be a two sided relationship which I think is what you're aiming for Kathy and why Kaiser is coming on so well in his partnership with you. I have to dash off but this is quite a deep and involved subject that I'd like to return to.
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby spottygiraffe » Tue May 12, 2015 1:06 pm

Good question, Katy, and good quote Helen.

I would say that things that motivate them are fear, herd mentality/hard-wiring and reward. I think that if we genuinely have a good relationship with them then the reward can be just knowing that they got 'it' and that that makes us happy, but If I think about say a riding school pony then I suppose they just get on with their job because that's what they've been trained to do, they know the routine and they can mostly just follow the horse in front. I think more horses are probably motivated by fear than we'd like to think, whether it be fear of the bit or of being separated from the herd or from training that they don't understand. They are just so innately stoic that we can often push them too far without realising. It's also why an Isba type is easier to work with because she shows her emotions clearly, whereas Squaw internalises everything.
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby Tess and Organza » Wed May 13, 2015 6:23 pm

:thread: Following with interest!! Its got me pondering again :wink: when I have formulated a comprehensible opinion I will contribute :lol:
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby fabikat » Wed May 13, 2015 9:15 pm

Yes, big topic and thought provoking

I am still getting to know all the little ins and outs of Kaiser really but in the nearly 6 months he has been here he has shown how is willing and able to adapt to the way ' I would like things done'.
On a basic level I see it as a partnership of respect and trust initially and the horse 'obeying' for those reasons.
Then horse starts participating more because he enjoys what he is doing or because he wishes to receive whatever reward he perceives coming or because he has been programmed to do so....or any other number of reasons.
Very hard to put to paper my thoughts and ideas because atm i have so many bobbing around :roll:
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby littlewhitehorse » Wed May 13, 2015 10:43 pm

I go with the idea that what motivates a horse to react or respond can generally be attributed to safety, comfort, food/reward or play; and in training it is helpful if you can figure which of these is the motivator and develop it to your advantage. The more you can do to get a horse in a place where he is thinking and responding rather than reacting or shutting down (depending on whether by nature or nurture he is more inclined to fight or flight or freeze), the more you can develop willingness and partnership. I am a big believer in the importance of the horse perceiving me as leader but that is because it works for my mares and is important to them, particularly Lucie. Some mAres are particularly questioning; because they have been programmed by nature to be so.

fabikat wrote:On a basic level I see it as a partnership of respect and trust initially and the horse 'obeying' for those reasons.


I think that if you have created or nurtured respect, you will have trust, and willingness to cooperate (rather thann obey). Respect is something to be won and kept, and is never achieved by force which only gets submission.
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby Tess and Organza » Thu May 14, 2015 9:11 am

:thumbup: Sheila. I agree, and the language is so finely tuned, real timing is very difficult to achieve, and people often mistake submission as something to be proud of. How many times have I seen horses bashed into submission and bystanders showering the rider or handler with praise, coming out with things like 'She knows how to put him in his place' . Its a funny thing but although I have no technique ability at all I have always shut down as an observer when a handler or rider starts to apply dominant techniques. I dont necessarily believe I know whats right and wrong but gut instinct is often my marker. Im a bit off subject here but the only interaction between Ganz and me that calls for me to throw a repelling action ( as in step brusquely towards her, growl !!) is the occasional moment when she does the same to me, ears flat and horrid face, because shes jealous about one of the others getting a carrot. Once she is out of my space and looking at me with ears forward and an open eye I will shower her with strokes and cuddles. Its very rare now that she bullies me, niceness towards me gets her desired result. But I would never use this in training, too emotional, used for safety reasons only, as don't enjoy being bullied by a 500kg temporary thug.
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Re: Why do they do it... ?

Postby Chevalblanc » Thu May 14, 2015 2:42 pm

Tess and Organza wrote: used for safety reasons only, as don't enjoy being bullied by a 500kg temporary thug.


This is one of the things that is so important with horses, to have a chance of a nice home and nice life they generally need to be "safe" round people. If no one ever teaches them that, they are a lot more likely to end up labelled "dangerous", passed from home to home and neglected or PTS. And so often the people who try to be "dominant" and force the horse to do things are just basically scared of what they might do.
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