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Opinions on the idea of "learned helplessness"

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  • #21
    Oh no, I have failed to choose the lesser of two weevils.


    • #22
      Originally posted by slc2 View Post
      Oh no, I have failed to choose the lesser of two weevils.

      So true.

      There is also "learned helplessness" when you come on forums to actually learn something and find so much drivel being "core dumped" into various posting that you learn to be helpless in it ever changing so you don't even want to post real pertinent information.


      • #23
        Originally posted by freestyle2music View Post
        The words "learned helplessness" came out of the mouth of the attackers of the RK/Hyperflexion trainingsystem. When scientific studies, which where done some years ago, about this RK/Hyperflexion trainingsystem proved that horses didn't developed any stress-hormoon under these conditions, these people came with these words.
        I think one has to realize that the Global Dressage Forum did not present clinical studies. So I do not think you can be drawing the conclusion that anything was "Proven".

        Different training techniques were discussed and different opinions voiced in a forum setting.

        Re: "learned helplessness" in relation to rollkur comment. This term came up last year at the GDF in Andrew McClean's presentation. His point was that more research would be needed to draw any conclusion.

        "Dr. Andrew McLean introduced a new term, “learned helplessness” He described it as learned pain tolerance. A horse whose nose has been forced onto its chest cannot escape that position and may learn to accept the pain involved with it.
        Dr. McClean wants additional research to know how much contact is neutral, how to measure pain in the contact, and how learned helplessness manifests itself in a horse."

        Point eight(2006 FEI Summary of the GDF Hyperflexion Workshop)
        “The Veterinary Committee should now identify what research is required to confirm unequivocally whether or not there is a welfare issue involved in training techniques using Hyperflexion.”

        The FEI never required further clinical research into the subject...

        However, they did find:
        Point three (2006 FEI Summary of the GDF Hyperflexion Workshop)

        “Hyperflexion of the neck is a technique of working/training to provide a degree of longitudinal flexion of the mid-region of the neck that cannot be self-maintained by the horse for a prolonged time without welfare implications. There must be an understanding that Hyperflexion as a training aid must be used correctly, as the technique can be an abuse when attempted by an inexperienced/unskilled rider/trainer.”

        So, No PROOF. Just alot of qualified statements.

        Unless, someone could supply the specific references to the clinical study cited ???


        • #24
          However, Andrew MacLean did say I think both at the 2006 and 2007 GDFs (2006 anyway) that he had watched Anky's horses go (there was a rollkur demonstration by AVG at 2006 gdf) and in his opinion this was not 'learned helplessness". Funny how people like to leave that part out after quoting AM on the concept of LH.

          This was all quoted and dragged up every other time this topic has been revived. I am not sure how to find these quotes now(and don't have the energy).

          Andrew Maclean is a very credible and well regarded animal /equine behaviorist from Australia. His interesting articles can be found on the Horsemagazine site. He's a gem.


          • #25
            Here is the FEI Report on the GDF 2006. For an objective perspective on the presentations by Andrew Maclean and Professor van Brenda's study.

            Andrew Maclean:
            "Learned Helplessness is a state of learned pain tolerance when, for instance, a horses head is held to his chest with no way of relieving the pain."

            "Andrew Maclean concluded by calling for additional research into how LH manifests itself in horses. He asked if there could be a self carriage test to distinguish between "Good RK and Bad RK"

            Professor van Brenda:
            "Studied "overbending" elite horses and recreational horses, and noted that the health and well-being of the elite horses could be maintained despite non-natural positioining."

            "He thought that overbending did not induce stress or pose a serious threat in skilled hands.
            But the Professor called for more research with a wider variety of horses."

            Basically, both called for additional research before any conclusions could be made. All made the qualification that RK/HF be used by Skilled Hands Only!


            • #26
              Dr. McClean wants additional research to know how much contact is neutral, how to measure pain in the contact, and how learned helplessness manifests itself in a horse."
              Clearly a genius.


              • #27
                From report by eurobreederstour who attended the 2006 GDF

                At this point with all of the extensive research that has been done, the promises of more studies to be done, and a brave attempt by Anky and Sjef to put themselves and their methods out there once again for review and debate one would think we had reached a respectful level of critical thought and discussion. But think again. The microphone was then handed to Brigit Popp who noted that Sjef had said earlier in his lecture that the hyperflexion of the neck was not his system, but rather a tool within his system that he uses progressively. She then asked him "do you also consider learned helplessness to be one of your tools?".

                Of course Sjef and Anky refused to even respond to this ignorant and vindictive statement, but Richard handed the microphone to Dr. McLean who had used the term in his lectures and his response was that this in no way shape or form was "learned helplessness". The horse was clearly happy to do his work and showed no signs of negative stress, let alone having been beaten down into a state of total surrender.


                • #28

                  I was absolutely horrified and enraged to learn about these experiments when I studied animal psychology. I am one of those crazy folks that believe animals think, reason and remember. Not like humans, but within the scope of their individual nature. Generally not a politically correct opinion, but there it is.

                  It makes me so deeply sad to think of someone repeating these experiments on other creatures in the name of science. Sadists. We inflict enough of this on our beasts unwittingly.

                  Will shut up now...


                  • #29
                    Yeah, these long pointless rambling posts about the evil or indeed existence of rollkur are torturous.
                    Please for the love of god STOP!


                    • #30
                      Oh. You meant animal testing by misguided and deranged scientists.
                      Stop with them too.
                      And cancel Sunday.


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by fiona View Post
                        And cancel Sunday.
                        I do believe certain trolls come out on Sunday, am I correct?


                        • #32
                          Well, another subjective viewpoint on the exchange at GDF2006.


                          The Dutch duo was addressed by a panel that included Dr. Hillary Clayton, Kyra Kyrklund and St Georg journalist Kerstin Niemann. Kyrklund said that she doesn’t understand the benefit there is from keeping a horse so low and tight. “I don’t only evaluate the top horses trained on this system but also on normal horses.” The debate with the panel exploded when Niemann was asked to comment on the demonstration. She noted that there is much pulling involved riding the horses LDR. Anky refuted that immediately and said the horses felt light in the hand. This is probably true as Anky’s horses are conditioned to LDR.
                          Unfortunately, Niemann was unable to engage in a real discussion or represent her magazine’s viewpoint on the rollkur. Van Grunsven got quite aggressive in her refutations but remained clear headed and correct.

                          However, Janssen refused debate with German journalists Birgit Popp and Niemann. “I don’t talk to selective hearers,” Janssen said. Popp asked Janssen if he considered ‘learned helplessness as a tool too,’ which inflamed him and made the whole debate boil over with heated emotion.

                          Fortunately, Dr McLean cooled everyone down by saying that he didn’t see anything problematic but that it LDR can not be used as a smokescreen for other problems in the horse sport."


                          • #33
                            Andrew macLean had already spoken about learned helplessness and it was clear to everyone that 'learned helplessness' is not desireable. To ask someone if they use 'learned helplessness' as a tool in that context , was akin to asking if they 'abuse' their horses as a tool for training. I can certainly understand why someone might not dignify that question with an answer.

                            You have to understand the back story there and the adversarial relationship between that particular journalist and SJ. Whatever you think of rollkur (I'm not defending any training methods) , that particular question was intended as an insult, obviously, and was taken as such.


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by freestyle2music View Post
                              The study was done by Dr. Stoet and Professor van Breda and mentioned (á decharge) in the recent courtcase against Coby van Baalen in the Power and Paint case.
                              Late to the party but... Geek, I have the rollkur "study" and I communicated privately with Van Breda about it. Essentially, the study is extremely poorly controlled/designed, landing the paper in a lab animal tech-type journal rather than a good science journal. You can search Van Breda's stuff on PumMed and find the rollkur "study" (have a glass of wine while reading it). Even he admits it is not conclusive because the design is so poor. The study should never have been published...it is that bad.

                              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by J-Lu View Post
                                Late to the party but... Geek, I have the rollkur "study" and I communicated privately with Van Breda about it. Essentially, the study is extremely poorly controlled/designed, landing the paper in a lab animal tech-type journal rather than a good science journal. You can search Van Breda's stuff on PumMed and find the rollkur "study" (have a glass of wine while reading it). Even he admits it is not conclusive because the design is so poor. The study should never have been published...it is that bad.

                                *sigh* so much for peer review!
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