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The main cornerstone of behavioural training is ‘learning theory’; the premise that everything we do is shaped by consequences. We take a look in our latest blog...

 

 

 

Natural horsemanship advocates use positive reinforcement (e.g. pleasant consequences rewarding good behaviour) where possible, to teach desired equine behaviours.

 

The ‘consequences’ concept can be applied to most areas of horse ownership, whether positive or negative – e.g. an imbalanced rider mounting from the ground may lead to back discomfort for the horse, which may turn into anticipatory behaviours such as shying away from mounting blocks.

 

When riding, it is easy to influence certain equine behaviours – if we tense up and hold our breath past a ‘scary’ farm entrance, the horse learns that the rider becomes apprehensive and short tempered at this point, which may lead the horse to jog or become more spooky.

It can be hard to prevent such anticipatory behaviours, but one thing we can do as part of our own behavioural training is to develop REAL rider confidence. (This is not the same as just ‘visualising a good outcome’). The horse knows the difference between a calm, authoritative leader on its back, as opposed to a nervous rider ‘faking’ positivity.

 

Real rider confidence can be achieved by using a riding safety aid that genuinely helps prevent a fall, and also helps the rider and horse develop mutual trust. A rider using such an aid transfers confidence in their ability to stay seated to the horse. The animal therefore realises the rider is not such an easy target, and is less likely to use undesirable behaviour.

 

The RS-tor Riding Safety Aid attaches to the saddle and features a strap that is comfortably held like a riding crop; those riders that already use a neck strap for security will find the RS-tor an ideal alternative, as the rider’s hands do not become ‘fixed’. Sizes Childs, S, and M/L.