The Art of Natural Dressage

Working with the Horse's Initiative
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:31 pm 
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Volker, thank you for the wonderful explanations, I have edited a link to this thread into the Spanish Walk sticky. :smile:

Zuzana wrote:
I think that R- at it's finest is pretty much the same as R+ , as far as the cues are concerned. In fact you could say that when you claim to be using R+ and you apply a cue (even something like lifting your own leg for mimicry cue) and you hold it until the horse responds, then you "release the cue", it is actually R- :funny:


Just a short off-topic reply: R+ and R- are not so much a matter of the physical cues but defined in terms of the aversiveness of the stimulus (actual or anticipated). If a behaviour is increased because this results in the removal of something aversive, it's R-. Thus, it does not matter that much what the actual cues are, and indeed many R- trainers develop almost invisible cues over time. This is easily possible because when the horse knows the usual progression of the situation, the mere anticipation of the to-become-more-aversive cue (i.e. increase of pressure) will be enough to make him show a behaviour in order to avoid that. But still this does not make it less R- or even R+, because the underlying motivation remains to be about avoidance. In the same way, R+ does not become R- just because the cue is removed, if that cue was not aversive in the first place. :smile:


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:39 pm 
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EDIT: Romy beat me to the reinforcement details ;)

Zuzana wrote:
I think that R- at it's finest is pretty much the same as R+ , as far as the cues are concerned. In fact you could say that when you claim to be using R+ and you apply a cue (even something like lifting your own leg for mimicry cue) and you hold it until the horse responds, then you "release the cue", it is actually R-
I agree with you, that as far as cues are concerned, R+ and R- can look pretty much the same. Only for me the difference is not about cues, it's about the motivation to change a behaviour (to learn).
If the motivation to change my behaviour is the release of a cue (or other stimulus), than it's R-. No matter what the cue was. If I change my behaviour, because something nice is happening as a result of that behaviour, than it is R+. No matter what the cue was ;).
The first sets you in a re-active mode, the latter in a pro-active mode. For me, this makes quite a difference :f:.

Zuzana wrote:
For this, it very much matters which leg we are lifting, otherwise we are out of sync. And I like having the horse following my feel under saddle (you probably have this in your ground work as well, I don't very often...) I initiate, then harmonize.
For me, that's the same on the ground. I need a solid cue for Mucki to understand that it's about the SW, than I just go with the flow and encourage him to go on. I don't control though, which leg should be lifted when, because he knows that better than me ;).
Like you said - initiate, then harmonise. I "just" need to be in control of my own movements to sync them to the horse. The rest is the horses business. I'm convinced that Mucki knows how the SW goes and he tries very hard to achieve that. After all it's not an exercise that I invented - it's in every horses' ethogram...
If it's still hard for Mucki to lift both legs in cadence and to a certain height, that's mainly because he's not yet bodily able to do it.

Zuzana wrote:
So do you think I should be trying to train one leg only? or allow the multiple steps? And should I try this in movement already? ... so many questions
One step at a time probably :D. After all, the pool noodle is right now just a cue for targeting it with a certain position of his leg. That's the task at hand, isn't it?
If that cue works reliably, in all wanted circumstances (at halt, walk, trot, ...), then you can use it whatever way you want. For SW, Spanish Trot, passage, ... You name it 8)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:07 am 

Joined: Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:46 pm
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Location: Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada
Thanks Romy and Volker,
you are absolutely right about the R+/- ! Of course! :smile: Thank you for making it yet clearer in my mind!

Volker wrote:
One step at a time probably :D. After all, the pool noodle is right now just a cue for targeting it with a certain position of his leg. That's the task at hand, isn't it?
If that cue works reliably, in all wanted circumstances (at halt, walk, trot, ...), then you can use it whatever way you want. For SW, Spanish Trot, passage, ... You name it 8)


thank you, I need to be told to "keep it simple"! many, many times... :yes:


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