Hi Mel, It gave me a different mindset to Patterns,and how valuable they are . For me it really made sense on why we do what we do in all things QS,and why we do Patterns. I could never do it any other way. Why would you? It was a good reminder when we are out there doing our patterns, don't turn into a make monster,and to RFT.
I am also looking for ideas for May...Thought i' d share with you my notes.....I know it's a lot to read lol.
What to keep in mind when out practicing our Patterns- Why pattern's work in release focus training. research from pg 16-21 and 58- 59
The difference of using pressure, what happens. Once you start down this track of using pressure, you'll have to keep doing it forever ,because the horse is relying on you to tell him what to do instead of learning his own responsibilities .Instead of getting better, lighter and more responsive, he'll probably actually get worse-more heavy and more dull-because of opposition reflex. So when we are out there doing our PATTERNS really focus on release, and not turn into a make monster! They don't learn from application of pressure either from human or another horse. They learn from actively seeking release. It makes sense to them .And because they are matchers, they don't need to constantly be told what to do. PATTERN"S is a language horse's understand, and even how they communicate in a herd, with their everyday lives. Horse's only need to be shown that what there are doing is not desirable and they will stop doing it and try something else. This can be done by simply not offering release while the horse is doing the undesirable thing. For eg. if a horse pulls back while online, the tension is kept constant on the rope by the handler. As soon as the horse stops pulling back, the tension is immediately let go, thereby giving release.iF THIS PATTERN IS REPEATED CONSISTANTLY,PRETTY SOON THE HORSE LEARNS TO NOT PULL BACK. And when the horse does the desirable thing and is left alone, they'll just keep doing that.
PATTERNS...The difference between using pressure and repetition training tricks/ cues.....and FOCUS RELEASE TRAINING.
A horse whose owner or rider is fair in what they ask of the horse, is a horse who soon becomes relaxed, calm, and happy because the human is relating to him in a way he understands. The horse knows where he stands. This is a owner who recognises the smallest of tries the horse offer's who offer's clear direction rather than opting to go straight to pressure and whose timing of release is immediate and complete. On the other hand ,a horse whose owner is unfair, inconsistent, who relies solely on pressure and who never consciously offers direction or release, will be at best bored, dull desensitised and withdrawn and at worst will become fearful, distrustful and dangerous.
Why then, if horse so strongly and innately learn from comfort or release being offered and so very quickly pick up on a PATTERN, would we need to resort to using pressure or train them over and over with repetition to get them to do as we ask? REPITION TRAINING DEVELOPS THE PHYSICAL SIDE OF THE HORSE BUT NOT THE MENTAL OR EMOTIONAL SIDE. This mind set just show our human way of thinking and interpreting-incorrectly-the horse's behaviour and thought process. We are thinking like predators-humans-and not really understanding how a horse thinks. With a trick, a cue is provided, the horse does the turn and generally some kind of reward is given. One cue, one response. With communication however, the turn can be varied .HORSE'S ARE VERY,VERY TRAINABLE SO IT IS EASY TO CONFUSE TRICKS WITH COMMUNICATION. Tricks however, do not encourage forward thought or decision making, as they are right brain response taught through repetition. They don't build the horse's confidence or make him safer to be around. The horse isn't really thinking. We need to help our horse use and strengthen their left brain-the logic side of their brain isn't initially as developed as their right brain. The only way to do this is by giving them a chance to use it! By giving them tasks to do that cause them to think, just the same as us. Many people with performance horses confuse tricks with training patterns. The performance becomes a series of tricks that are asked for with cues ,that need to be practiced over and over in order for the horse to learn from them. But if the horse gets it wrong, or one is missed, he quickly loses confidence because his sequence is broken. FOR EXAMPLE,IT SHOULD BE POSSIBLE TO CHANGE A DRESSAGE OR REINING PATTERN,WITHOUT CONFUSING OR UNSETTLING THE HORSE OR WITHOUT MISSING A BEAT.IF THE PATTERN IS NOT VARIABLE,IT MOST LIKELY JUST A SERIES OF CUES AND TRICKS.
Practicing our Patterns in Float loading....pg 28,29
By first asking then rewarding the slightest try, very soon the horse sees a few things happening. He sees that when he tries, he finds release(comfort) which is what he seeks. He also sees that when he follows the direction of the human, he is okay. Nothing bad or threating is happening, there is no real danger and he is unharmed. HORSES ARE VERY INTELLIGENT CREATURES AND BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND PATTERNS AND THEY SEEK COMFORT,THEY SOON GET THE IDEA TO STEP FOWARD AND EVENTUALLY ON TO THE TRAILER. And not only do they go on, they do so happily and willingly because of the trust and confidence they have found in their human during the process. They actually relax and rapport between horse and human is increased many fold.