Articles

The Principles of Training

One of the outcomes of Andrew McLean's PhD thesis was the proposition of eight training principles. These were presented for the first time at the satellite meeting of the 2003 congress of the International Society of Applied Ethology held in Abano-terme, Italy.

  1. The Pressure Principle:  The removal of physical pressure or discomfort reinforces (rewards) whatever behaviour precedes the moment of removal (i.e. leg(s) rein(s), spurs, whip-tap, headcollar).
  2. Pavlov's Principle:  Relaxation and attentiveness can only occur if the horse responds to predictable signals that do not invade the pain threshold. Thus, training the horse to respond unconditionally to light aids in hand and under saddle is essential.
  3. The Exclusivity Principle:  Each response should be trained and elicited separately (do not pull on the reins (stop) and kick with the legs (go) at the same time).
  4. The Shaping Principle:  Responses should be progressively improved, step-by-step, learned response by learned response, toward the final outcome.
  5. The Proportional Principle:  Increasing pressures of aids should correspond with increasing levels of response i.e. a small leg aid should result in a smaller go reaction, while a bigger aid should produce a stronger go response.
  6. The Self Carriage Principle:  The horse must travel in-hand and under saddle free of any constant rein or leg pressure, otherwise he will switch off to them
  7. The Fear Principle:  Fear is quickly learned, not easily forgotten and is strongly associated with the movement of the horse's legs. It is important to learn to identify the range of fear responses in horses and to diminish them to avoid the horse experiencing them.  
  8. The Mentality Principle:  Appreciating the similarities and differences in mental ability between horses and humans is crucial to effective and humane training.

Horses & People:Boost Your Dressage Scores

Manuela McLean

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Andy the Standardbred

Read the articles by Alistair McLean about "Andy". Andy is a 5yo raced standardbred, who has been send to the AEBC to be transformed from "Track to Hack". The articles are from the magazine "Horses and People".

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ISES Article - Training ‘Worldwide PB’ to become a successful para-equestrian mount

by Manuela McLean

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The Plight of the Working Elephant

Follow Andrews work in Nepal with the elephants

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Habituation - Andrew McLean

Habituation - 6 methods to harness this natural learning process

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Teaching Children and Ponies - Manuela McLean

A 2 part article devoted to teaching children and ponies

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Setting Good Ground Rules

A 6 part article on ground work

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The Whips Debate

The use of the whip in racing

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Elephants

The plight of the working elephant.

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Pressure Principle

The removal of physical pressure or discomfort reinforces (rewards) whatever behaviour precedes the moment of removal (i.e. leg(s) rein(s), spurs, whip-tap, headcollar).

Read more »

Pavlov's Principle

Relaxation and attentiveness can only occur if the horse responds to predictable signals that do not invade the pain threshold. Thus, training the horse to respond unconditionally to light aids in hand and under saddle is essential.

Read more »

Exclusivity Principle

Each response should be trained and elicited separately (don't pull on the reins (stop) and kick with the legs (go) at the same time).

Read more »

Shaping Principle

Responses should be progressively improved, step-by-step, learned response by learned response, toward the final outcome.

Read more »

Proportional Principle

Increasing pressures of aids should correspond with increasing levels of response i.e. a small leg aid should result in a smaller go reaction, while a bigger aid should produce a stronger go response.

Read more »

Self Carriage Principle

The horse must travel in-hand and under saddle free of any constant rein or leg pressure, otherwise he will switch off to them

Read more »

Fear Principle

Fear is quickly learned, not easily forgotten and is strongly associated with the movement of the horse’s legs. It is important to learn to identify the range of fear responses in horses and to diminish them to avoid the horse experiencing them.

Read more »

Mentality Principle

Appreciating the similarities and differences in mental ability between horses and humans is crucial to effective and humane training.

Read more »