Horses learn by repetition. They need the same thing done over and over before they understand your expectations. They also have an amazing ability to see things in great detail, hence their great ability as wild horses to see the slightest movement or change in the landscape to detect danger, as part of their self-preservation. Where we humans mess up, we don’t see things in great detail and we focus too much, missing the details. So when we think we are training our horse and think we are training an aspect over and over, because of our lack of attention to detail, we actually are not doing the same motions in repetition. We are actually sending all kinds of mixed messages. For example, the other day I was giving a riding lesson and told the rider to pick up their inside rein and “feel” it. When the horse gave their nose, I told the rider to let go, teaching their horse to give to the rein pressure. Then I told the rider to do that exact same thing another 10,000 times (to teach their horse to give). What do you think the chances are that the rider will pick up the inside rein in exactly the same way and release the pressure at exactly the point that the horse give to the pressure? Repetition and attention to detail are the keys to training your horse.
How Horses Learn
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