Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reader Question on Trust

Received this comment on the post about the Buddy Sour Horse,….Anonymous said I don’t quite understand your point on "building trust". I know horses are not machines, but aren't we really training them to do what we want by conditioning them through repetition? Almost like a dog knowing when you tell him to sit, he will, then you pet him to let him know it's the right move.

I don’t know if you are serious or not with your question and comment. You can’t compare Horses to dogs, excepting they both like treats. Horses are prey animals. They tend to look at anything they don’t understand as a threat to their survival. I tend to believe Horses only think of one things,,.....where they are going to get it, and how not to become it.

Think of it this way,….Wouldn’t you want your relationship with your Horse to be one mutual trust and respect rather than fear based?

I have seen horses bolt and run off with their rider, partially because of a lack of training and also partially because there was no trust between that Horse and rider where the Horse would trust the rider in the situation that caused the Horse to bolt and run away.

A good case is where rider, and I am sure you have seen this, with tight reins trying to control this Horse,….in effect pulling the horse around by his mouth. The head will be throwing his head around or not being able to stand still. He doesn’t know what you want and is just trying to find a release. That Horse will get respect for you and learn to trust you when you give him a fair deal. You’ll start to earn his trust when he learns that release follows pressure when he does what you are asking. But if you don’t give him a release he’ll never learn to trust you. Trust translates to a horse that may spook suddenly on the trail but trust you enough to try and figure it out before he automatically turns and bolts.

I don't know, maybe I've got this back asswards, but for me I want my Horses to learn to expect a fair deal and not be inclined to think I'm gonna melt out punishment for my inability to communicate to him.

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