Training methods

Joined
26 April 2018
Messages
13
Just wondered what people's views are on the training methods by Clinton Anderson/Warwick Schiller etc. Meaning you ask your horse to respond on a light pressure and when they don't you come down on them hard. I know that they get tremendous results but I feel a bit bad by their tough methods. Maybe I'm just a softie. I have a young cob which needs some training so just wondering what everyone else does. TIA
 

Theocat

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 November 2010
Messages
2,710
Certainly if a horse doesn't respond you need to repeat more clearly or firmly - but that doesn't mean leaping straight (or ever) to coming down hard.

Horses who aren't responding are either lacking the education or physical ability to understand or respond, or the rider isn't giving a clear instruction, or the rider hasn't prepared the horse properly. Very occasionally they might be being "lazy", but that's generally a result of imprecise riding as well.

The "jumps" in the level of pressure applied will depend on the horse and rider, and what they're trying to achieve. You hear "squeeze nudge tap" as a standard escalation. In certain circumstances, I might occasionally jump from squeeze to a firm tap, but under no circumstances would I escalate from squeeze to wallopwallop.

The rider also needs to know when it's not appropriate to escalate, but to ask in a different way, or ask something different altogether. All the escalation in the world won't teach a horse something it doesn't know, or force it to perform something it isn't capable of.
 
Joined
26 April 2018
Messages
13
I think I prefer a more nurturing softer method than these Natural Horsemanship methods. So will carry on as we are but more consistent.
 

JFTD-WS

Wears headscarf humorously...
Joined
4 November 2010
Messages
18,428
Depends on the horse, the circumstances, the rider... A very experienced cow working horse trainer will have higher expectations of a working horse, and will demand an instant response. A good trainer will only ask what the horse is capable of, and will be able to make that clear (softly) - the instant "solid" reinforcement should be well timed and appropriate, but sufficient to train the horse to react first time, thus the reinforcement is not required in future. That's probably appropriate for a working horse, for a pro, who knows what they're doing. I don't have an issue with that - I think there's a lot to be said for clarity, and I think that low level, softly softly, mixed messages from low level amateurs are probably worse psychologically for the horse than any physical issue from the pro training.

However, I adopt a via media with my horses because I don't have the timing or skill of a pro, nor do I need (or want) a horse "that" switched on. I escalate, but within a smaller spectrum. I wouldn't encourage an amateur to follow their lead to extremes either, for the same reason - and less so the less skilled the rider. I do think that horses need clarity, and some horses do need a bit of re-enforcement of the aids if they've not had the best training to date. Some horses, however, don't need that sort of riding, and it would be of detriment to them. If the horse doesn't understand the first cue, has underlying physical issues, or the rider is unclear in their aids, of course it's not appropriate. You need a certain level of skill to know when it's appropriate to apply those sorts of techniques, and I think if you're in doubt, you should err of the side of caution. It's easier to sharpen a dull horse up than deal with one which has had its trust in the rider seriously damaged.
 

fburton

Well-Known Member
Joined
5 March 2010
Messages
10,132
Location
Glasgow
Really good trainers are able to get good results with very little force and only rarely have to escalate it. Sometimes what they do looks effortless. This includes some Natural Horsemanship trainers such as Leslie Desmond (at least the little I have seen of her working with horses) - but regrettably only a few, in my experience. The majority of 'big name' NH trainers I have spent any time watching are all too willing to 'go up the phases' to the extent this is the rule rather than the exception. Some give the impression of relentless pushing, even bullying. I'm afraid I would include Clinton Anderson in this extreme category, along with Pat Parelli. (I don't know about Warwick Schiller as I haven't seen him working.)
 

Shay

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 August 2008
Messages
6,293
This type of escalation requires a very long experience and split second reactions (and even then they miss a lot). It is not ever suitable to a novice horse owner. And most experienced owners know better than to try it. If you absolutely hit that millisecond sweet spot every single time and you have horse without any previous issues from every being handled by anyone else - may be. But otherwise you'll confuse and shut down your horse. If not in fact escalate behavior to dangerous.

There are NH practitioners who take this at an appropriate pace. But I do get that if someone is paying you £200+ per hour there is pressure on to sport this quickly or be accused of milking the client's money.

OP don't try stuff like this alone and don't ever be bilked into paying money for "levels", "grades" or whatever other money making scheme there is out there.
 
Joined
27 February 2008
Messages
471
I was once sleeping in my Lorry on a yard that was also hosting a Warwick Schiller clinic. That evening I sat in my Lorry watching one of the participants spend over an hour trying to catch their horse in the field. Pretty much says it all really !
 

Landcruiser

Well-Known Member
Joined
13 May 2011
Messages
1,182
Location
Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire
I find Clinton Anderson unsympathetic and too harsh. Yes, he can train a horse, but not by a method I would like used on a horse of mine. Mark Rashid is worth looking at (and reading his books - there is a lot of proper wisdom in there). Also Buck Brannaman, who is a proper horseman IMO.
 
Top