Natural horse management

This interesting study by Lea Brinkmann  found that domesticated ponies have retained the ability to adapt to harsh winter conditions like their wild ancestors, so “year-round outdoor housing can be an adequate housing system for robust ponies….however, despite the adaption ability, it is essential to provide adequate food and to carefully inspect body conditions when domestic ponies areContinue reading “Natural horse management”

Piaffe thoughts

I recently discussed piaffe  – I don’t believe this is always linked to fear/anxiety…. How about linked to arousal? Maybe. In behavioural terms, this means “ready to respond” (can be mild, can be explosive!) (foot poised on the clutch in first gear, perhaps). A point about piaffe is how horses do it in quite a controlled way in response toContinue reading “Piaffe thoughts”

The traditional and the clicker…….

Have been discussing “pairing positive (R+) (specifically clicker training) and negative reinforcement (R-)” in horse training – should you or shouldn’t you?  Well, as ever, “it depends”; it can be recipe for disaster or it can make training a pleasurable experience for the horse.  (For any interested none-horsey types, horses are traditionally trained using negative reinforcement methods:Continue reading “The traditional and the clicker…….”

What do we think of our horses?…..

I’m starting a literature review today for some research. It will be in the area of how horse owners perceive/experience their horses, or their relationships with their horses. Do you have any thoughts on this? Have you sometimes mulled over why one person on your yard constantly talks to their horse in “baby talk”, yet anotherContinue reading “What do we think of our horses?…..”

Worth the cost?….

Sadly today’s Grand National steeplechase resulted in the deaths of two poor thoroughbreds, one of them the high profile winner of last month’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, Synchronized.  People are speaking about a “strange atmosphere” at Aintree racecourse, because of what was seen as a very close and exciting finish set against the tragic deaths, which left TVContinue reading “Worth the cost?….”

Why do our horses get behaviour problems?

We place many demands on our horses that are at odds with how they have developed over millions of years of evolution: we expect them to stand for long hours in isolation in stables, when their natural need is to move around in groups in the open; we ask them to enter dark, enclosed horseboxesContinue reading “Why do our horses get behaviour problems?”