October 31, 2015

Quit Babying that Horse!

The other day I was approached by a fellow horse person.

"Hannah, do you know what's funny?"

As I'm sure you all know, that is a very dangerous question to be asked.  It either means a disappointing observation has been made or you are about to get roasted. Luckily, in this case it was not the latter.

They continued, "You use positive reinforcement.  Haven't you ever noticed that when your horse acts up, 20 people attack you because you are supposedly 'babying' her which supposedly makes her take advantage of you?  I mean, when your Fjord rubbed her head against you people said it was all because of her being fed treats, clearly neglecting that nice ride you had just finished.  But when ______'s horse always behaves poorly by bucking and rearing and she spurs and hits him hard constantly, people either ignore it or say, 'Good for her, showing him who's boss.'"

As they continued on, I sat there speechless.  After thinking about it, I realized that the scenario happens to me and another local clicker trainer wherever we go.  Ypke could be 100% willing and quiet during a ride, but the second she misbehaves - no matter how minor - I am instantly scolded and told that she is only behaving in that manner because I "baby" her with treats.


Not wanting to call anyone out specifically, so...
I find it rather amusing that many around here who rough their horses up have very ill-behaved animals as a result.  If their horse rears and flips other people will laugh and write it off as a fresh horse  [yup, your horse that seems to rear 50 times during a ride is DEFINITELY just fresh, totally not a training issue].  I know for a fact that if Ypke were to offer even a tiny little crowhop it would instantly be clicker training's fault.  Obviously you may have to smack a horse for your safety because they are huge animals, but I do find it rather amusing that those who are constantly getting after their horses over nothing have terribly ill-behaved horses as a result.

But that's none of my business...