I had a friend with whom I discussed the best way to work with a horse until I realised that we didn't wanted the same. That is one important reason, I suppose, for not wanting to solve problems with positive reinforcement. They don't seem to want to consider the horses opinion all the time. Instead there are situations in which this is wanted and situations in which the horse easily has to do what the human says but these situations are separated from each other clearly.
Another reason could be that they don't love the details of the results of working with the horses initiative and considering the horses opinion as much as I (and I think others here too) do. I use positive reinforcement, the initiative and the opinion of the horse especially because it has the effect that the horse uses its own initiative and therefore it becomes a real dialogue in which both participants can say what they want and don't have to behave accordingly to (m)any rules. There are many other reasons why I do it this way but I can not notice them often when I read from other horse people. And if someone does not know these reasons or does not consider them to be important for himself, then there is not be such a big advantage for him.
When I imagine these reasons not to be so important for me, I think that I would not use positive reinforcement this much. For example, if riding was my main goal than I would just want to find a way to make it work. And also if a second goal was to be friendly to my horse, then this would not exclude all the demands. Instead, demanding from the horse to carry me around is okay because I care for it, that there is enough food and a secure place to be and sell a lot of money for it (something I was told in another forum once
I think that the focus of many people is on the what?
rather than on the how?
and the why?
. They want to do xyz with the horse and the most important thing is that this is no problem. Demanding is the way problems are usually solved and that is why it seems to be an easy solution. Because we are taught in riding schools to demand, within time this comes naturally from us. We don't have to put a lot of effort into it. I suppose, easy solutions and little effort is what many people like especially in their free time when they try to get rid of the stress from work.
Another reason could be that you could differ between the problems. Some problems could be seen as a result of disrespect and not as an exercise you teach to the horse. If it is a problem with respect than you may be more likely to show the horse that it has to be respectful. And you can't support this massage with carrots
. You can only do that when the horse already respects you.
I think this is most often the case with behaviour that is seen as „normal“ because horses show it in the herd (e.g. moving away when the „alpha“ comes near) or because it is so easy to do with most horses (e.g. leading them with a halter, brushing them). So if the horse refuses to do so, it cannot mean that it isn't able to behave in this way but instead it tries to dominate the human and therefore needs to learn that it has to respect the human
For me the capacity limitations are a big topic because I have so little possibilities to improve them with horses.There still are situations in which it is very hard for me to solve problems the way I want. But I know about the advantages and the possible results and I love them. That's why I keep on learning and optimizing my behaviour. It really needs a lot of effort but luckily I enjoy the difficulties as well because I like to learn more about how I can solve problems and it gets easier as more as I choose the prosocial way. It is very interesting to see how my preference of how I want and like to behave changes with my abilities, in the moment as well as in the long run.
Nevertheless, I think I can understand why others do it differently. The situations in which I don't solve problems (only) with positive reinforcement occur when I am tired, exhausted or not in a good mood but still have to do something with the horse. But in this situations I still prefer to use positive reinforcement and all the positivity I can collect instead of demands and pressure. And even in situation in which I'm a bit overwhelmed I add as much positive reinforcement, gratitude and blithesomeness as I can. For me this is a big step further because some time I was not able to do it this way. When I was overwhelmed I could not think positive anymore and could not see all the wonderful things the horse does anymore.