Cribbing, stall kicking, weaving, and any number of other self-destructive or barn-destructive behaviours have historically been categorized as ‘vices’. They were held to be transmissible from one affected horse to another by observation, and they made it more difficult to sell a horse. Some vices were connected with physical ailments, and for all these reasons they were often physically prevented. What is the modern take on ‘vices’, and how do we deal with them?
Progress is made, but progress is also lost. It can be hard to remain committed to the training job and push through without getting discouraged. Here is what you need to know about training through relapse so that both you and your horse come out the other side encouraged and with the trained response you were trying to achieve.
Where did our word ‘aid’ come from, in reference to the cues we apply to our horses to provoke a response? Its history is pretty interesting, as well as the effect the literal translation can have on our actions. Do our aids today do what they were invented thousands of years ago to do? Continue reading
I am not going to discuss exertional rhabdomyolysis (a painful muscle condition from too much exercise). That is the bad kind of tying up. This is the good kind — where we can tie a horse up to a solid thing and walk away, and the horse is fine. That’s harder than you may think. There are lots of horses out there that can’t tie. Continue reading
You’ve got your stop response in place from last week’s instructions. Now your horse stops quietly, quickly, and willingly, and all your friends are impressed. Of course you told them all about this web site…. Well, the next step, which is even more impressive once it is taught, is to teach him to stand still on command. Continue reading
Did you wish your horse would slam on the brakes right when you ask? Do you make it halfway around the arena before he finally halts? Or worse, do you reach the barbed wire fence a little too soon? Retraining the stop response is fairly easy — here’s how. Continue reading
Rearing is a hyperreactive or agonistic behaviour in horses, characterized by stimulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (McLean and McGreevy, 2005). Behaviours controlled by this axis are fast, dangerous, and difficult to extinguish after only one display (McGreevy and McLean, 2010; McLean and McGreevy, 2005; McGreevy, 2002). Continue reading