One of the most important things we can do with our horses during training is absolutely nothing.
Training is fun and can be exciting. Our horses want to be doing things all the time. When they do things they get rewards! Horses like rewards, otherwise it wouldn’t be a ‘reward’ would it. When we go out to work with them they start offering all the things they think might earn them a reward. We want one thing but they are offering kisses, pawing, picking up anything within reach.
It can get frustrating!
In order to avoid this we need to remember that we get more of behaviors that we reward.
When we want our horses to stand quietly and wait for us, we need to reward standing quietly and waiting! This can be hard to remember. We are wired to to look for something that we are doing. How can we reward being still when it isn’t doing something!
Just like treat manners standing quietly manners need to be taught and revisited regularly.
The next time you play with your horse pay attention to what is going on between tricks and be sure to take the time to wait patiently, stand quietly, and reward enthusiastically for doing absolutely nothing.
Here Rusty knows what is coming. He wants to get to it and get the job done. Instead we work on doing nothing, standing quietly without offering any behaviors. Just being still. It’s harder than one would think.
- Fixin’ Fence