What is Progress?

Exercise: Asking Rodney to trot in hand.

Result: Hopping, fussing, and bouncing sideways at the strike-off. Noticeable but less than previously [Weekend]. Afterwards, we were able to keep going and develop a decent jog for a respectable distance.

Theory A: This is progress. While not calm, he is definitely calmER. The performance was better. By definition, a better performance is progress.

Theory B: This is not progress. We are no closer to understanding why he objects so strongly to such a simple question. If we are not addressing the central issue, we are simply arranging deckchairs on the Titanic.

Our house is divided. How do you vote?
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I have written a new Off Topic post, Why I Drove a Beat-up Jeep to My Senior Prom, over here. Telling tales on my father. This is where I get it from.

Categories: Groundwork, Horse Behavior, Horses, Off Topic

5 replies »

  1. I think progress!
    Trotting in hand can be really difficult for some horses. Mine always did it very easily as he is really eager to follow me around. Maybe some treats will help..??

  2. My sensible head says A, progress. But on the other hand I love the phrase about the deckchairs so much that my silly head wants to vote for it even though (perhaps because) I’d never have thought that way on my own.

  3. It’s progress. There are many times in the behavior of animals that we only *think* that we understand and regardless how much we study them, in the end, that’s really the best that we can do. And with training and behavior modification often it doesn’t matter really about the underlying issue which sometimes we can’t wouldn’t necessarily be able to change anyway simply by understanding it but what does matter is if we can change the actual behavior. And if you can change the behavior, then it correlates that sometimes the emotional response changes too so that ultimately you can effect the underlying issue simply by changing the behavior.

  4. I’m leaning towards Not Progress. I suspect that he’s still just as likely to freak out when asked to trot in hand, for no discernible reason whatsoever.
    Time will tell.

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