Training your horse is an essential part of owning a horse and good training starts with an understanding of how animals learn. And our best source for information on how animals learn is behavior science.
Reputable zoos and aquariums all use behavior science to help them teach the animals in their care. It's not called 'dolphin training' or 'tiger training' but instead it is all simply 'animal training'. And horses are animals too! If other trainers can have phenomenal success training their animals using behavior science, so can we when training our horses!
“Animals deserve the best care we can possibly provide. Training should not be considered a luxury that is only provided if there is time; it is an essential part of good animal care.
Just as one would never consider developing an animal care program without a veterinary component, a nutritional component, a social component, and an environmental component; nobody should consider caring for an animal without a behavioral management component integrated into the program”   Ken Ramirez – From the introduction to “Animal Training: Successful Animal Management through Positive Reinforcement."
Attention to training, or behavior management, gives us our best chance for safely and humanely meeting the needs of our domesticated horses. Alongside basic handling like vet care, trailering, leading, and foot care, we can also develop an exercise program and create puzzles to satisfy our horses need for mental stimulation.
Taking horses out of their natural environment and placing them in captivity, robs them of the lifestyle and environment that is necessary for both their physical and mental well being. So if we are to domesticate our horses and keep them in captivity, we have a responsibility to create a shelter and pasture that can best mimic the lifestyle they would have in the wild.
And we also have a responsibility to develop a training program in order to teach them the behaviors they will need to live alongside us safely, and with minimum stress.
|"I don’t want my horses so programmed to a narrow set of responses that they lose all their individuality and seem more like machines than sentient beings. I want to see a horse’s expression change as he considers his options and makes a choice that will earn him praise and comfort. " Stacey Kollman Desert Horse Equestrian Services|