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Train Your Own Horse with Stacy Westfall

May 22, 2019

How horses learn and why it matters is an interesting topic that we will be talking about today. Horses are really interesting, because they are excellent at detecting patterns. They look for patterns when they are speaking and communicating with other horses, and if you observe horses in the field, you will see a lot of questions being asked and answered.

When horses learn to communicate with humans, you will see a lot of the same patterns. There will be a lot of questions, answers, and repetition. Once we understand the patterns that our horses our recognizing, we can use these to teach our horses to learn faster.


Show Notes

[02:57] Horses can learn how to learn. When a horse moves up to college level, and this means that they are really good at some advanced stuff.

[05:31] Presto is a great example of a horse that did not learn how to learn early.

[06:17] Justice had more language skills with other horses than Presto.

[07:24] Presto was lacking in natural reactions, but he still picks up on patterns.

[08:00] His interaction with Popcorn really helped him a lot.

[08:43] Now I've noticed that Presto is actually looking for patterns. He starts to ask questions earlier, because he is seeing the patterns.

[09:33] You may see a horse teach a human how to do something.

[10:57] Not all college-level horses have been trained through the method of learning how to learn. Some have been trained to be reactive. These horses don't necessarily enjoy the learning process and will be more reactive or have negative anticipation.

[11:26] Avoidance anticipation is the opposite of learning how to learn.

[11:57] You want your horse to enjoy the learning process not be trained in a way that he wants to avoid learning.

[12:40] There's a disconnect for horses to learn a lot of things in a short amount of time when they are worried about avoiding discomfort.

[13:35] I'm very intentional with paying attention to the patterns that I use when I work with my horses. I'm consciously making decisions to recognize and know what patterns are happening and what the side effects of these patterns are.

[14:01] Pay attention to any patterns you have with your horse. A simple one to pay attention to is feeding time.


Links and Resources:

Introducing Orphan Foals to New Horses

Orphan Foal: Pasture Turn Out With Adult Horses

Episode 25: Is Your Horse Anticipating?