Little Known Ways To Reward Your Horse


Many times I hear rid­ers say­ing “I reward my horse all the time”.  How­ev­er, when I see them train, I real­ize they aren’t reward­ing effec­tive­ly.  Their meth­ods aren’t clear to the horse, so he’s con­fused and doesn’t under­stand.  At the very least, reward­ing incor­rect­ly is futile but more often than not the wrong behav­ior is reward­ed and the horse is actu­al­ly learn­ing to do some­thing you don’t want. To learn reward based train­ing, it comes down to some very basic but impor­tant attrib­ut­es.  Tim­ing and Tech­nique.  Often times, this is why you aren’t hav­ing suc­cess and why you throw in the tow­el before you see the amaz­ing results.  So let’s talk about these attrib­ut­es.


The best way to reward your horse is IMMEDIATELY fol­low­ing the behav­ior you wish to see more of.  Not a 1/2 sec­ond lat­er, nor a sec­ond lat­er and def­i­nite­ly not a stride lat­er.  If you expect the horse to clear­ly under­stand what you are reward­ing, it’s got to be exact.  This is why we use a mark­er.


First, the reward you offer must be inher­ent­ly reward­ing to the horse.  Many times, rid­ers reward with a pat on the neck and this is a learned reward, it is NOT inher­ent­ly reward­ing.  At best, it’s a break or a less­en­ing of pres­sure.  If you want to be real­ly effec­tive, you need to use a pri­ma­ry reward.  Sec­ond­ly, you need to use a reward that is strong!  Mean­ing the horse loves this reward.  The rea­son is, if your horse is real­ly work­ing hard in his train­ing, the reward has to be worth it!  Third, the reward has to be easy to admin­is­ter in a quick and time­ly fash­ion.


Ok, so you have a pri­ma­ry reward that your horse loves.  You have a mark­er and you real­ize that you have to be pre­cise in your use of it.  Now, you have to prac­tice, just like you prac­tice your posi­tion and the cor­rect deliv­ery of your aids.  Prac­tice using the mark­er, prac­tice notic­ing the behav­ior exact­ly, prac­tice shap­ing a behav­ior and prac­tice deliv­er­ing the reward.  When you get pro­fi­cient at reward­ing, you will bet­ter under­stand any “clues” that some­thing in the process is not work­ing.

Sounds like a lot.  It is but it’s not.  Let me explain.  To get start­ed in this work it takes just a lit­tle time and prac­tice and you can begin using reward based train­ing in your dai­ly rid­ing ses­sions.  Then just like all rid­ing, you will spend months and years per­fect­ing your tech­nique to be super pro­fi­cient.


By now, I may have raised more ques­tions than answers.  The good news, I am giv­ing a FREE WEBINAR on TUESDAY DEC 2 at 7PM to fur­ther explain pri­ma­ry rewards, tim­ing and tech­niques.  In addi­tion, I will show you where to learn more.