Humans are fixers. We look for where the problem is, and find solutions.
Traditional horsemanship is like this. We wait for the horse to make a “mistake” and then fix it. We call it correction, but really, it’s punishment.
We punish the things we don’t want to see, and don’t punish the things we do want to see, which means our horses are behaving in the way we want simply to avoid the consequences of not doing so.
It also keeps us hyperfocused on the bad, the misbehavior, the things we don’t want.
For me, that’s been the biggest benefit of switching my training to an emphasis on positive reinforcement: now I look for the good.
From a practical standpoint, my horses learn more quickly and are much more motivated to learn and perform because they clearly understand the communication and know when they’ve gotten the right answer.
But training this way has also trained me to look for the good, instead of focusing on the bad, and that’s made time spent with my horses more fun for ME too!
It’s exhausting and frustrating to focus on the challenges all the time. Shifting my outlook to find the good, the small efforts, and steps in the right direction has been a gamechanger in so many ways.
If you’d like to learn more about how using positive reinforcement and understanding learning theory can improve your communication with your Miniature Horse, register below to buy the Understanding Your Miniature Horse eBook!