Here is step 1 in your free mini course Grass Training. If you want to join our in depth 2-week online course, then click here. If you’re more of a DIY person and want the self paced course, click here.
Biggest pitfalls in Grass Training
Do you know the biggest pitfall most horse lovers fall into, when they want to teach their horse manners on grass? They use negative reinforcement or punishment to train it .
They don’t do this on purpose. And hey, to be honest: I’ve fallen into this pitfall myself!
This is what happened:
- I held the lead rope extra short so my horse couldn’t reach the grass, if he pulled he’d feel pressure. Especially with a rope halter. Yes, it can hurt when they dive strong and quick into the grass and yet … he would dive into the grass the next opportunity he got!
So no real training (behaviour modification) there. Only prevention. And only as long as I kept the lead rope tight!
What else did I try?
- Yes, I wiggled the lead rope when my horse took a bite until he’d lift his head. In training terms this is P+ (positive punishment: adding an aversive in order to decrease a behaviour (the grazing)). This tactic hasn’t given me long lasting results…. You? (In the course I explain why this won’t work)
- I mixed these together with a click and treat for good behaviour.
It still didn’t work. With these techniques I never gotten long lasting results. Only very short -in the moment- results and my horse seemed to forget the whole spiel already after our ride. So frustrating!
Therefor I didn’t had the confidence to trust the process of pure R+ (positive reinforcement) until…
I started to be really precise and take a good look what was I doing that was R-, R+, P- and P+ in my training? Then I let go of everything NOT R+ and …. What happened? I got really, really good results!
This was a difficult process, but since I’ve been through this myself and helped hundreds of people do it, I can do this very efficiently now.
So don’t fall into the pitfall of using R- or P+ in Grass Training. Not even a little bit!
Step 1: Start using only Positive reinforcement and TRUST the process!
- Click and treat for desired behaviour
- Use high (enough) value appetitive to reinforcer the wanted behaviour
- Start small: make a shaping plan to help you start small
In the course I will explain in more detail how you can shift to 100% R+ and why you will get long lasting results.
I also share 6 other reasons people are not successful in teaching a solid Stop Grazing-cue and what you can do to change them.
What do you think is your pitfall in Grass Training? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Go here for the next step, step 2 in Grass Training.
Happy Horse training!
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
Helping horse people to bond with their horse and get the results they want.
Click HERE to get the one and only HippoLogic Grass Training course