Why So Many Different Methods?
Many different methods are out there. How do I know what one to use?
Some people have expressed confusion at the sheer number of different approaches to training a horse. I want to share with you what I shared with them. Use the one that feels good in your heart.
I hope this will help you understand. Here are three scenarios:
1. Some horses will spin faster when they are aggrassively spurred on the shoulder. They will tolerate this pain, and react by doing whatever makes the pain stop. Some horses will cow kick and lash out, even throw themselves down onto the ground when a rider's spur touches their sides.
2. Some horses will endure a lifetime of having their mouth ripped apart when the judge isn't looking. Does that horse know the judge isn't looking? NO, it merely endures a painful, confusing, and abusive tactic that takes the joy out of it's life, and the speed out of it's gait. Some horse's won't tolerate this, they will jig and lunge forward and bolt when this is done to them.
3. Some horses will endure an unbalanced rider pounding on it's back at the trot, for years. Some horses will buck when a rider accidentally pounds on their back.
4. Some horses will manage to somehow climb a steep hill with the tremendous burden of a lazy rider sitting on his pockets, with his weight buried into the cantle. Some horses will flip over backward when this happens.
The difference in these horses is a difference in how they feel/interpret pain.
When my foundation Quarter Horse gets a vaccination, he blinks. It doesn't appear to hurt him. A friend of mine had a Quarter Horse mare. When this mare got her vaccination, she violently lurched off the ground.
These two horses indicate a difference in sensitivity, or a difference in how they interpret stimuli.
Now, in the above mentioned four descriptions, I have purposefully typed out examples of blatant bad riding.
These are the horses who pave the path for lazy, abusive, uneducated people to be around a horse. These are the horses who quietly endure, and then become an exhibition horse for some barbaric new trainer to tout his or her method. The trait of tolerance and submissiveness has been bred into many horse breeds. It is a shame that we have changed our horses to suit laziness and lack of education, and have not maintained kindness as a vital tactic of a rider.
Many public clinicians are teaching their systems on horses bred to be gentle and tolerant. Ever tried to tie a Thoroughbred's head to his saddle? He won't stand for it, he has too much heart to tolerate that abuse! But the very gentle nature of the horses exploits them. Their vary amicable nature can create a fallacy for those owners of different breeds. The overlooked raised head of a Quarter Horse who is learning to move from pressure, could easily be a Thoroughbred who raises his head faster than one can see it, and then flips over backwards out of terror because he didn't understand the pressure and why it didn't go away. This would not be a crazy horse. It would just be a horse with a different level of sensitivity, and a different way of processing stimuli.
Many of us have these "hotter" type of horses; horses bred for tremendous spirit and heart, like the Thoroughbred and Arabian. Some have a gaited horse, or Quarter Horse that exhibits the traits of it's hotter ancestors (meaning hot-blooded ancestry). And when people use a system they see working on a horse, they may think that system should work on their horse. Often, it takes a certain TYPE of horse, to be successful with a certain method.
Spirited horses need more than the removal of pressure as incentive to work. They need to not have painful stimuli, or pressure as their learning medium; they are too sensitive. They can't handle it. They become frightened, confused, potentially rebellious and dangerous.
Because my history is with high-strung, performance bred animals (racehorses and troubled horses) my methods have nothing to do with pain or force. I saw those tactics consistently fail miserably. Instead, I give the horse a reward far greater than the removal of pressure, far greater than a treat.
Come learn how you too, can give your horse a reward far greater then removing the pressure of the cue, or the pressure of the bit, or the pressure of a chain. Come learn how to give your horse a reason to do as you ask, and an easily understood way of asking!