Savvy Tip Sept 2016

Are we rewarding the wrong thing?nike-sara-back-shot

We have learned by now that we give a request through feel or suggestion to ask our horse to try and work out what it is we are asking him to do.  When he has learned through repetition and reward what is required of him, then we can ask for more effort on his part.  This might be at higher speeds or with the lightest of aids or to maintain the request for longer periods of time.  But, what is the precise timing of our release and hence, reward for the horse?  To give an example, if I am asking my horse to back up by applying a light touch to his chest, in order for him to get more responsive and put more effort in future, my release should be when he is THINKING about backing, versus when his foot has hit the ground and is stopped (albeit for a second).  The time to best affect the foot, is when it is in the air and the horses mind is mid back up.  If we can release when the front foot, for example, is travelling back, then the horse will get rewarded for travelling and thinking back and not a split second later.  This can be applied to any request we give our horse.  Give it a go!