Donald, you have asked such brilliant questions.
i want to add to this. i have had to use negative reinforcement on a very regular basis. pressure and release is a great tool that i have used in many situations that required it. i also am very very good at it. i think that it would be wonderful to always use positive only, but in some situations there is no time to build relationships.
many of you know that i have done rescue horses all my life. we have had many many situations that call for haste to remove a horse from its current situation. i have had to use a range of tecniques to accomplish this. here is an example of one situation.
(i am thinking about starting a rescue thread, because on NHE i had one and i thoroughly enjoyed talking for my horses and telling their story.)
one of these is Gemma. when i went to see her, she had been starved s severly that she could barely raise a walk, most of her coat had fallen out, she was suffering sever dehydration, severe parasite (worm and tick) infestation. ( i have never seen a dock so covered with paralisis ticks, that she staggered, and her tail was limp and floppy) she had trieds to eat the barbed wire fence, and had severed her toung half way across, which the owner only discovered when it made a clinking sound from the bit!!!
she was on her final legs. she was breathless, heartrate was terrible, and chronicly exhausted.
we had a small window, where the owners had agreed for us to take the horse away. life experience is that people often change their mind quuickly after rethinking the risks of this, so we had to act fast.
this horse had NO trust of humans!!! she had not long ago had a severe floating accident where she fell and became cast with her old owners.
(probably fell from exhaustion) so she was terrified of floats. she had lost appitite from being so starving, and sick, and so we were not able to coak her up.
i used negative reinforvement after exhausting all other options.
i know there was no other way
. i had no time to build trust, and time was running out
. i have had so many horses that suffered abuse that most do not know possible, and to get them away from the owners, i do use these variouse methods, and i sometimes feel deep regret for it
, but i do what i feel i have to, and all my horses forgive me, after a while at my home, and i am sure that they understand
i am happy to say that her story did end well. she made it, i dont know how. but it took great diligents and many many sleepless nights doing the night shift with her. i had to give many needles and paste her and wash her, and i had to do so many terrible things that she did not appreciate, but she did recover and built a relationship with one of my students that permanently leases her from me. this ensures that she will never be sold, but she has a home for life.
i have rescued horses that have dents in their faces from crowbars, that have been beaten, starved, injured and neglected. i have stood in front of a man with a gun who wanted to shoot his horse for the show of it, and i have had to take horses that have learned to fight back, because their owners threw things at them, and were so abusive because they thought that they were "bombproofing" them!!!
i am not telling you this to make you think good of me, i know that everyone on this form does, and would do the same if faced with this situation, but i am trying to ask the same question as donald.
in some cases where the horse has become so used to abuse, and responds to nothing less than agression, in order to remove them from the current situation, how far would you go to save its liffe???
donald is asking is there a comprimise sometimes, and has given some examples, and i am putting the same question from a different angle to you.
i think that the best way is the kindest, AND promotes, (i think), the best way, but are there situations where this is not possible?
has anyone else had this happen where they are faced with a moment to make a huge decision? i am going to post a pic of Gemma now, with her young friend. Gemma chose her, and they are paired, hopefully for life.
also, this is sam. he is the one that was going to be shott for a show for a group of people that had gathered to watch the horse shooting
(there is no angry enough face to show this feeling!!!) this is sam!! this is my favorite photo of him, because this is where he loves to be most.