Principles of Learning Theory in Equitation
When training your own horse, you can use any method you like, any style that suits you.
The only guide that you really must follow is the following 10 principles. Successful trainers are already doing it, perhaps without realising it. The only guide that you really must follow is the following 10 principles. Successful trainers are already doing it, perhaps without realising it.
1) Safety First: Understand the horse’s strength, speed and power.
2) About Horses: Know horses need their
3 F’s (Forage, Friends, Freedom). Understand the flight response and what it looks like (and what to do about it)
3) Moods and States: They think differently to us and we shouldn’t under or overestimate their abilities
4) Emotion: Keep their arousal levels low, be consistent and avoid anything that causes pain or fear
5) Desensitisation: habituate the horse to things gradually
6) Operant conditioning: use negative and positive reinforcement correctly. No punishment!
7) Classical conditioning: use alongside operant conditioning, but know its limitations
8) Shaping: train behaviours gradually, step-by-step.
9) Signals: One signal must be given at one time. Each signal should be something different to another
10) Self-carriage: ensure the horse can maintain behaviour without being held or nagged