Thursday, 17 August 2017

Tack Traditions


Jim Wofford wrote an insightful piece a while ago in Practical Horseman on the “mindless application of equipment, regardless of whether it is suitable for this horse at this stage of training.” 

What do you think?

He said, “Nosebands are one of my many irritants when coaching.  Almost every horse I see [dressage, eventing] is wearing a flash noseband.  And they are inherently ill-fitting.  These nosebands can interfere with the horse’s normal swallowing mechanism, producing the very resistance they are intended to cure.  Yet when I ask riders whether they have tried other nosebands or even no noseband, they look at me as if I had just stepped down off the ramp of the mother ship.”

I agree with Jim, and routinely ask the riders I teach why they’ve chosen certain tack or training aids.  Often there’s a well-reasoned response.  Other times a shrug -everyone tacks up their horse this way so it must be correct … sigh.

(Jim Woffard is a 3 time U.S. Olympian and World Champion eventer.)

Friday, 11 August 2017

Whales, horses, clicker training



On a Nova Scotia horse judging trip, how cool to detour for some whale watching with my son and his friend!

As horse gals we pondered what it would be like to ride 'em!

We could almost touch them-hmmm...could they have been trained to come so close??

Clicker training has long been used for marine mammals and other animals trained at a distance. And more recently, with horses, especially in liberty work,like Cavalia.

The clicker (marine trainers use a whistle) is a "conditioned reinforcer" (the horse has to be taught to understand it) and used to precisely mark the desired behaviour. Whereas treat delivery can be a little slow to link " that's it!" to a horse's s response, clickers are quicker! And in my opinion, feeding treats to horses opens up a can of worms.

Which, come to think of it would been a tasty treat for the whale :)