Thoughts on Punishment…..

wow came back here after a hectic year and find this sitting in the drafts box.. finished it off for the moment but am open to questions and discussion on it as I know no matter how I put it, it wont seem complete. Will do a life update in the next post.

I recently had a conversation on a forum, that at the start was very interesting, but ended in the usual ridicule and demoralization of ones thoughts and experiences because people just don’t understand or don’t want to. So instead I got, fluffy bunny, among other things.

The post was about punishment, there are many varieties of punishment and I think when we mention punishment, we should define it to, where, how and the level the animal is punished to make our conversations as thorough as possible.

Before I get any further into this blog post, please understand that, if its your choice to hit your horse in any manner that is your choice, I am not judging anyone for this choice, I am merely trying to get anyone who chooses too, to think further and deeper on the subject.

Management! There are ways of management, that allow you to in 99% of situations never have to get to the point where you hit the horse. A way where you can never get to that point and by never getting to that point the horse never learns to behave in that way. It will also reduce many many accidents and issues that people have in daily handling. For example, 1. you shift your horse to a new home, have food and water at the ready, have the horse fed but not a full meal, walk all fences to the left, pinging the fence and getting the horse to look at and see the fence. When you have done a full circuit of the fence you show the horse the water and then stand with the horse at its meal, you don’t let it go until the horse is relaxed and focused on eating!.. this will eliminate any possibility of them not knowing where the fence is and going through it. 2. Floating/Trailering, always always take your horse for a few small trips up the road and back home!! They need to know the first few times that home is at the other end of a trip in the float/trailer, not one horse that I have had to retrain at a show has had this done, they arrive at a show see 200+ horses and go “OMG, and you want me to get back on that contraption to go where and see what! pft, not going back on it cos I don’t know where I am going to end up next.” This is simple horse management and forethought that will save not only the horse but you much heartache and stress! Think it through!

Before you tackle any situation or behavior with a horse, think it out, play out in your mind how you would like it to go. BUT…in life threatening situations, I approve of any measure… but life threatening to me is not them, striking out at you, kicking, biting, pushing…..only full on attack.

Keep in mind!! Any horse behaving in these ways is trying to tell you something, either about pain, its life, or your life….there is always a connection, it is a rare 5% that are actually mentally ill enough in the mind not to be retrieved.

All of the rest can be eliminated by being alert, teaching respect right from the start.. the biggest part of it is, DEFINE YOUR SPACE..

You have a personal bubble, use it! The horse is not allowed into this space no matter what, unless you have asked it in.

Permission, permission, permission, the horse is not allowed to move without permission, this includes even leaning towards you. If the horse leans or shuffles a foot in, you send him back and and reposition him and make him wait.
Send the horse back on the lead, make it stand and stand still! You don’t have to stand their watching it directly, keep the horse in your peripheral vision and if it shuffles, leans, reaches or steps forward, send it back again and reset the stand. Don’t leave it too long for reward or you set the horse up for failure!! Reward is you moving to the horse not the horse moving to you, rub the horse between the forehead, then walk off with the horse quietly trailing on the lead behind you.
In time as this training solidify’s, you can then start to give them some latitude and ask them in for cuddles and smooches and so on. But affection can me as simple as you stepping into their space and rubbing the forehead, scratching the wither, rubbing them all over.

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