DO YOU USE TREATS AS REWARDS WHEN TRAINING AND YOUR HORSE?
Note: The following excerpt is the transcript from a question I answered from my Facebook Live made in the Steady Horse Facebook Group on 7/24/19. Watch the video or read the text below to learn the answer to the question.
I would say 95, maybe 99% of the time. I do not use treats when training my horse. A lot of people do when it comes to treats. I recommend that you don’t overtreat. I see a lot of people overtreat their ponies. You should be able to draw your horse into you without you using a treat. Your horse should want to be by you without necessarily having to have a cookie.
What happens when you overtreat is your horse becomes entitled. Sometimes those horses begin to expect those treats and those ears pinned back and they’re searching and they’re nippy in their mouthy and all those kinds of things. So I recommend against over-treating, but there is a place for treating that needs to be done mindfully and correctly. Of course, the timing is important. You know, my horses don’t get treats just to get treats. Well, I lie.I have a business partner who loves to treat the horses.
So I don’t treat them just to give them treats. But when you do give a treat, I encourage to make that horse do something first and then give them the treat immediately upon doing that. It’s as simple as having that horse back up out of your space, asking them to back up a step wait for them to lower that head. If the timing isn’t done properly, you can develop some bad habits with that horse head is high or they’re pushing your space and you’re giving them treats, then you’re reinforcing bad behavior.
We want to make sure that we’re being clear to our horses, setting them up to be successful, and that we’re very clear about what our intentions and what our expectations are.