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Training with treats - do you?

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  • #81
    I enjoy reward based training and use it a lot in my program. I was able to train my young stallion to my rein aids, turning left and right and gently yielding with contact while on the ground. Because I had already done a lot of reward training with him, he picked it up very quickly. When I got on for the first time, he understood exactly what was asking him..it was a lot of fun for both of us. He did not get any rewards until I got off, but there was no problems with steering.

    I think the biggest benefit from the reward training is that I had taught him to stop and come in to me on a hand signal and voice for a reward. In a freak accident, I had an equipment failure while free lunging him and a strap broke free and slapped him hard in the belly. He was terrified to say the least and was in a panic as every stride he took made the strap hit him. I finally remembered my training and gave him my hand and voice signal to stop and come in...which he did and we both lived happily ever after. Sure glad I taught him to do that!


    • #82
      My horse will run to the gate to be let in when he hears me call. I can give him his weekly injection without a halter on. I cured him of spooking in one corner of the ring. These are the three things that I can think of right now that I've taught him by using treats. Before I got this horse (and started reading some of the recent research on training with food rewards) I was from the old school that felt that horses could not be trained with food. I am a convert - there are many practical things that can be taught on the ground with treats. I am going to explore more of them this winter during our off season, low stress relaxation period. On the advice of my dressage coach, I do not feed treats from the saddle, but I have upped my positive talk while I am riding. That seems to help as well.

      I think horses are much smarter than they previously have been given credit for.


      • #83
        It depends on the pony. My POA works well for treats. I no longer view treats as a bribe. I pay with treats for a job well done both on the ground and under saddle.
        Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
        Takaupas Top Gold
        Gifts Black Gold Knight


        • #84
          I bought a pretty close to feral four year old. After 4 months, still could not pick up his hind feet. If I tried to force it, he would exit the area (ie, break the crossties and boogie down the barn aisle). If someone else tried, he would kick. I finally started giving him a treat after every foot he allowed me to pick. Intially he started letting me pick up the left hind-then finally the right. I then weaned him back from the treats by just giving one per side, and now he gets a bite of apple after I pick all four. He still is suspicious of anyone else picking up his hind feet, though usually will do it.
          I also have taught to ground tie with treats.


          • #85
            Now I have a question. Why DON'T you work with treats? Too expensive? Too messy? Cumbersome?
            I give up. I have all ready explained what I think is important. It seems to be over everyone's head. Your hung up on whether to treat or not. You are focusing on the treat. There is also the emotional intoxication of using the words and phrases like, reward based training. I say you are asking the wrong questions. Just ride your horse with quality.


            • #86
              So you can't tell me why you are against them, you just persist with being rude and suggesting you know anything about ME for one and others who have posted on this thread.

              I don't have any hang ups.

              You have no idea what my focus is at all.

              I didn't ask you your opinion of my questions.

              I don't do intoxication of any kind.

              Lovely phrase "Ride your horse with quality". Doesn't mean anything.

              Are you a politician, here on COTH incognito?
              “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
              ? Albert Einstein


              • #87
                Where I went to vote today there were lots of volunteers handing out flyers. Except for one, who was handing out PEPPERMINT CANDIES (in wrappers).

                Boy was my pony happy that I went to vote today.


                • #88
                  Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                  Now I have a question. Why DON'T you work with treats? Too expensive? Too messy? Cumbersome?
                  I have already answered this question. My current mare goes absolutely insane with them so she doesn't learn anything at all except how to be pushy and rude. She literally looses her mind. She is very alpha and aggressive around food. With her it just causes an argument about her rude behavior. She is much better behaved being told what to do firmly without treats, it's simply her personality.

                  Treats work with some, not with others.
                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                  • #89
                    And some horses are on restricted diets and cannot have anything with sugar in them. There are many tools in everyone's toolbox...every rider/trainer/coach is merely a product of their own equine experiences. I still tell myself, if I do not know about the disease, my horse will never get it...kinda like the dust on the top of the fridge, if I cannot see it, it's not there! ;-) It is up to the human to decide whether or not the treat thing is a viable option for their horse. No one has to justify why they do or do not use treats as a reward or for whatever reason. Does your horse seem happy? Is he healthy? Are you happy with him? If you answer yes to all three questions, then truly just enjoy him!!! Treats or no treats! ;-)
                    Bethe Mounce
                    Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                    Brentwood CA


                    • #90
                      Unnecessary for riding behaviors. For unridden ones, great.
                      I.D.E.A. yoda


                      • #91
                        I give treats as a "hello" and during general standing about. My first long-term trainer was very big on treats throughout the ride. My food-focused mare was delighted. She moved to a new barn (across the country) and new trainer gives treats on the ground. She gave my mare mints as a reward for bridling (which was HUGENORMOUSHORRIBLE issue when she arrived).

                        Horse made vastly far more progress in 4 months (ground AND under saddle) with no treats than in 4 years with treats. So, for this horse, I don't think treats helped a bit. Not sure they hindered anything either. But for sure I didn't get cookie-slime all over me.

                        I'm in the "no" camp on this.


                        • #92
                          Originally posted by mjhco View Post

                          I am fortunate to work with a coach who is willing to try a variety of rewards to accomplish a goal. In our case, a sugar here and there worked where other methods did not.

                          Apparently the Spanish Riding schools uses such methods as well.
                          It is true that the uniforms in the SRS have a special pocket for sugar, and they do use treats on some ground work, but I don't think they train with treats in the way most of these posters are doing.


                          • #93
                            Originally posted by Ticker View Post
                            I think the biggest benefit from the reward training is that I had taught him to stop and come in to me on a hand signal and voice for a reward. In a freak accident, I had an equipment failure while free lunging him and a strap broke free and slapped him hard in the belly. He was terrified to say the least and was in a panic as every stride he took made the strap hit him. I finally remembered my training and gave him my hand and voice signal to stop and come in...which he did and we both lived happily ever after. Sure glad I taught him to do that!
                            You were lucky, but you can do the same thing without treats. A friend of mine (endurance rider) started her top endurance horse with LOTS of ground work. One of the things she worked on was "matching steps" where the horse "heeled" (sort of like a dog) and if she slowed down, so would he. When she started to jog, he would as well. Then she said "WHOA!" and he would stop.

                            Well, fast forward afew years and she & this horse are doing a ride, cantering at a good clip. The bridle breaks and FALLS OFF! My friend looks around, realizes she does NOT want to bail on this rough footing. Horse is going even faster, because there are other horses ahead.

                            So she just lowers her seat and says' WHOA'. Horse screeches to a stop, looks around and says, "Yes, boss...what's up?"

                            Personally I would have dumped a boatload of treats on that horse at that point! But my point was you can teach this (and standing at a mounting block) with just plain repetition.

                            I remember one of the bridle-less riders (Stacy Westfall?) said she figures it takes AT LEAST 1000 reps for a horse to get solid on the "come" command...with or without treats.

                            I know just about all circus trainers use treats, but again, it's all about timing & technique.


                            • #94
                              Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post

                              Lovely phrase "Ride your horse with quality". Doesn't mean anything.
                              I'm so glad somebody else can't make heads or tails of that one.

                              I did a horsemanship clinic with a clinician who KEPT SAYING THIS and no matter how often she repeated it it never clarified what she wanted us, step-by-step, to DO.

                              **Everything** was deemed subpar, from how the horses led to how light they were or weren't on the rope to how they collected and the solution was always, "Do X with quality." Well, I would like to do piaffe with quality too but just repeating the phrase is not going to make bells magically go off for me or my horse. I restrained myself from saying maybe you should try teaching "with quality" because I can GUESS AROUND how to try to make quality happen on my own time for free, thanks.

                              The only thing that was clear was that she thought hunter/dressage people were all idiots with no horsemanship skills. They should really do everything "with quality" instead.
                              Last edited by meupatdoes; Nov. 7, 2012, 10:17 AM.
                              The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                              Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                              The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                              • #95
                                Posted by Kyzteke:

                                I remember one of the bridle-less riders (Stacy Westfall?) said she figures it takes AT LEAST 1000 reps for a horse to get solid on the "come" command...with or without treats.
                                It is obvious from this statement that Stacy Westfall has never trained a Pony.


                                • #96
                                  In hand, easy. In the saddle, awkward.

                                  However, I use the same words when doling out the treat in hand every time. I then use those same words in the saddle, without the treat.
                                  Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                  Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                  • #97
                                    I originally grew up in a basic BHS system, which never gave treats except to a stalled horse as a "treat".

                                    I was taught never carry sugar cubes in my pockets because it would encourage some horses to hunt and nibble and nip for the stuff.

                                    Basically the rule of thumb was to never let the horses know that you carried treats on your body.

                                    There were a lot of safety reasons for this 'rule'. There were a lot of young riders around and there were sixty head of horses being handled.


                                    • #98
                                      Now, the SRS uses treats within a very regimented program.

                                      In the states at clinics being taught by SRS Bereiters I have only seen them give treats to horses while standing around, before a riding (or longing or in-hand) session, during a break in the riding session or after the entire riding session was over or in the barn.

                                      My dog could always be found sitting next to the SRS Bereiter because he fed her treats (sugar cubes), too.


                                      • #99
                                        this thread perplexes me. how can something as simple as a food reward end up being argued like religion?

                                        if it works for you - great - if not - great.



                                        • Originally posted by horsefaerie View Post
                                          Lovely phrase "Ride your horse with quality". Doesn't mean anything.
                                          But it IS a lovely phrase - not sure why it seems to be triggering negativity - it's a phrase/concept I've found to be fairly common among trainers/clinicians ...

                                          I thought rather similar phrasing was used by GM during the George Morris Horsemastership Training Sessions.