Let me just say first that I don’t know anything about horses or the riding of them. I may have spent most of my life in ranching country, but I have been on a horse a mere three times in my life. All three of those times were during expensive trail rides in which I didn’t actually do any work. I just kind of sat there while the horse below me plodded along.
Poor animals. They didn’t deserve my oafish ways.
But I digress. Yesterday, a friend of mine on Facebook – the brilliant trainer behind Poodles to Pit Bulls Clicker Training – posted a video of a horse performing at a Dressage event without a bridle. I had no idea there was a movement toward force-free training in the equestrian world. Admittedly, I’d never thought much about it. If asked, I probably would have said something dumb about it being impossible.
The video impressed me so much, I spent an hour yesterday looking up more on Youtube. The skills these trainers have are beyond impressive. I’ve always known how intelligent horses were, but I guess I just never questioned the traditional methods before. Shame on me. These videos prove coercion is completely unnecessary. Not just for dogs, but for all animals we work with and love. I hope with time, these more positive methods will become more popular in the sporting world.
You can find the video I that originally caught my eye on the Poodles to Pit Bulls Facebook page. I thought I would share one of the others I found last night. It’s definitely one of my favourites. The horse seems to respond to every subtle move the rider makes. It is simply beautiful to see.