Adding a reward for a correct response. Something the horse desires. A treat, pat or voice command, for instance. Treats are a highly motivating and are used a lot in the training of marine mammals and dogs, but not as much in horses. Something to consider: Can feeding treats to horses open up a can of worms – a whole new set of problems? Or is it the timing of the treat delivery? Do horses consider patting really rewarding? What about a vocal reward? I’ve got some thoughts on these things that I’ll cover in future discussions.
Next week – negative reinforcement – it’s not what you might think. Until then, let’s be thinking riders!
I find that the horse has to learn that petting or vocal praise is a reward.
I don't feed treats, I don't like getting "mugged" by a horse, they are too big.
I'm curious to hear what others say about horses considering a pat as a reward. Seems like if they enjoy it at all they'd like a nice soft pat or a rub better then the wham wham wham that some riders give as rewards. I've seen some flinch but I have to say I've seen some that really seemed to know that their rider hitting them on the neck was a good thing and looked proud for receiving it.
I've been rewarding my horse with treats for 7 years now and he is still very mannerly about receiving them. They seem to learn that the treat is a reward and they better be nice about it. It's just never been a problem with us. He likes his food rewards and performs a little better for me when he knows I have treats for him but he usually performs with or without treats cause I often forget to grab a handful before going to the arena. Cash does do his job with an extra enthusiasm when there are treats involved and I like giving him that joy when he gives me so much. I don't have to give him a treat everytime he does something good...that could get annoying and eventually dangerous..