Thursday, June 14, 2018

Do we laugh or cry?

Over all the years I have been with horses, I have to say that while the animals themselves do things that amaze me, it's the people around them that don't often thrill me. Some of them scare me, some puzzle me, I find myself shocked, amazed, appalled, disappointed, disgusted and sometimes I just shake my head because there are no words.

The other night I was on CL and found an ad for horse training. The photos showed a horse in work and all looked well enough that I clicked on it. What I found in the ad, well I'm not even sure what the hell it means.

The person claims to train "using mainly negative reinforcement." Then goes on to say they also use positive reinforcement, but also positive punishment and negative punishment.

Is that confusing enough? What the merry fluck? I can't imagine how the horses learn anything. Positive punishment? Is that when the horse is positively going to be punished?

Most people use positive reinforcement or rewarding good behaviour. When the horse does what we wanted them to- we praise them, pat them, tell them how good they are and let them know that This is what we wanted. This is how they learn what to do to please us.

Trying to figure out what the ad poster meant by negative reinforcement and negative punishement, I can only imagine the ways they make the horses life unpleasant for the moment. In doing this, do they feel proud of themselves? 


  1. Many times, fewer words say more.

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  3. I don't allow spam comments, so there are a few that have been deleted.

  4. Those are commonly used terms in both psychiatry and training.

    Positive and negative punishment examples:

    Article about both punishment and reinforcement.