Understanding the Treat Philosophy and How to Keep the Connection Alive and Feed Treats at the Same Time
Welcome To My Blog -To Get You Started!The purpose of my blog is to make a connection with you. I can connect with people all over the world, thanks to the computer, and we can explore and correspond with one another on the experiences we’re having with our horses in our life! I also use the blog as a way, to educate, to raise consciousness, and to use philosophical viewpoints that will lead to a better relationship with horses; for training, partnering, and performance. The blog is also here to help support interested people and my students who are learning my method through the educational material I offer and direct coaching. Feel free to ask questions on horse behavior, pecking order, leadership, self-realization, meditation, and the training and performance of horses. I may answer your question, or I may choose it for a blog topic for a later date. Of course, I can’t answer everyone’s questions, but I will read all your comments and I will respond to several questions on each blog. I look forward to dialoging on the subject of what creates a better connection with a horse. Enjoy!
Treating in the Moment of Connection:
When I first worked with the Waterhole Rituals as a child and then into my adulthood, I did not use treats. The reason is that I wanted to be sure the horse responded to me because he truly liked me, and would respond to me like he would with a lead horse that he or she was fond of and drawn to. I was looking for the ultimate - the cross species bond that we read about in books and see on videos.
Polite Horses: I noticed when I began using treats, the horse was less interested in me because I had shifted the horse’s focus on to the treats. The bond dropped dramatically too. So, I trained horses for years with out them. I used “good boy” when I liked something and I trained in very short windows of time with lots of hanging out between asking for a behavior. It was then more natural and it was more like what took place in the movie of the Black Stallion.
As time went on, I found that to help others to learn my method, the treats helped them with the horse’s performance so much that it did not make sense not to use them. However, I had to figure out how to keep the quality of connection alive as well, if we were all going to stay on a spiritual journey. Since I had such a love of horses, I found that I liked feeding horses while training them. Because the horses liked to receive the treats, the performance and enthusiasm was upped with treats. So, I had to figure out how to keep the quality of the bond I shared with the horses and add treats to my program.
I knew I had to be careful when going to use treats not to lose the natural connection of my method. Because of a horse’s perception of pecking order, there was a problem introducing treats at liberty. The problem is that horses in nature do not feed other horses, but they do take food from other horses when the other horse does not want them to. When they do, they are aggressive and the result is that the horse has less respect for the horse that he took the treat from.
So, I looked back on my first study of horse behavior in the wild as a child. Then I was a better observer. I was fresh and new with no judgment. I had noticed that horses would allow another horse of a lower rank to eat with them if the other horse was respectful and was ready to leave his territory at any given time when asked to leave. I could see the horse that was allowed to eat with a higer ranking horse knew that this was a privilege and a gift that the higer ranking horse was offering to him and that he needed to show great attention and respect to stay eating with him.
This brought my attention to the fact that horses did and did not share food as a way to create order, harmony, respect, leadership, and deeper friendships. It also brought my attention that taking food from another horse puts that horse in a lower rank and sharing food was a sign of benevolence of a higher ranking horse. So a horse could see that by giving him food, you could be a higher ranking horse offering it, or the opposite - that he was putting you in a lowing ranking position by taking it.
This gave me all the information I needed to know on how to introduce food to the training process of horses. To be continued…
Hope you have a wonderful weekend! May the horse be with you, and keep an eye out for new horse and human sightings! Carolyn