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Group Description

Communication, Connection, Softness, an awakening of the spirit and light in the eye unsurpassed.

We focus on the holistic approach to training horses using using Acoustical Marker Positive Reinforcement - Clicker Training

Constructional Approach Training for Horses - CAT - H

In the CAT procedure we use the reinforcer the horse is already working for. We are listening him by observing the outcome he gets from his behavior. It is usually distance from aversive stimuli. In our treatment we provide the outcome he wants only when he behaves in safe, friendly or calm ways. This means his needs are still being met, but they aren't putting the lives of others or his own life at risk any more.

But a funny thing happens in the treatment. He learns to like being calm.

The experimental question asked whether aggression could be reduced by the contingent withdrawal of an aversive stimulus, introduced at low intensities. We found out more than our questions asked... that we not only ended up with horses that tolerated the strangers they were once aggressive toward, but we ended up with the horse being friendly toward the strangers and calm where they used to be scared.

The way we determine how the horse views the procedure is that at the end of the procedure the horse is soliciting interaction from the formerly aversive stimulus whereas previously he was attacking it or running from it. He is not just ignoring the stimulus or turning to his owner in its presence, either, he's just not worried about it any more. Horses often just start hanging out with the thing that was previously an aversive without attacking or withdrawing or running away... they just start treating it in a way that is accepting and calm

By training aggressive horses to be "not aggressive", "not fearful", "not overly excited" by giving them food or other positive reinforcers, we introduce an arbitrary reinforcer that doesn't help them deal with the actual problem.

Group Information

  • 143
  • Equestrian
  • Dec 13, 2005
  • English

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