Horses

Horses"Don't give treats to a horse, or it will smash you," experienced horse persons often say. That is certainly true, at least to the same degree like "don't go along a street, or you will be run over by a car!" But, similarly to moving to the sidewalk to be safe, there are some basic safety measures for horses and treats too - you must have the horse weighing several hundreds of kilos learn the basic position, so called "zero variant".  That is the position the animal will take if it "does not know what to do". Not to know what to do next may be quite stressing in positive training. The sportsman from our likening will also be very nervous if the trainer says several days before an important competition: "Hey, today I will give you no advice, do what you want, and it will turn out somehow." The animal needs certainty, something that will surely lead to the result, something it can do even if it has no cue (that, as we know, constitutes the chance).

So, before starting positive training with rewards with such a big animal like a horse, teach it, as one of the first exercises: "if you don't know what to do, stand in some distance from me and wait for further signals. That's for what you are rewarded, not for stealing treats from my pocket." That is the basic condition of safety, similarly to a sidewalk along a busy street.

Horse training with clickers and treats can be more interesting that it seems at first sight. The horse is really very intelligent animal, and it is able to be very creative, if it has a chance. In practical trainings (mainly in the Barochov stable), we have done not only practical things like boarding the transport container, going through a water pool or simple following of a target, but even seemingly dog exercises like bringing a bucket or going to a defined place on command. It is quite a fascinating experience to see a horse "fishing for its chances" without clue and playing something like "getting warmer, getting warmer, fire!" But it has its principles, and those who "jump from the sidewalk to the road" will be unhappy very quickly.


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