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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    Depends on the horse. My current pony is so food aggressive and obsessed that it doesn't work. She becomes crazed. I tried to use a treat once mounting and she was so food obscessed the second time I could not get on her and she nearly fell down before I even put my foot in the stirrup. It's like she looses her mind. She definitely is one of the odd ones that seems to do best being told what not to do, rather than responding to reward.

    I have used treats in the past, so it was a hard habit to break.
    My gelding is the same way.
    I gave him a piece of carrot the other day before bridling and he was obnoxious after that. He likes to stand in the middle on a loose rein as a reward.

    Actually, my boxer puppy is like this too. Loves to work obedience and play with baby agility stuff for verbal rewards and pats, but get out the treats and he seems to forget what the commands mean.



  2. #22
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    Mar. 9, 2006
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    So for you all who will not give treats on any occasion, what did you do to successfully teach a world class piaffe, passage, and 1's?

    I am fortunate to work with a coach who is willing to try a variety of rewards to accomplish a goal. In our case, a sugar here and there worked where other methods did not.

    Apparently the Spanish Riding schools uses such methods as well.


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  3. #23
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    My horse runs on treats


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  4. #24
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    I don't have a world beater but we've developed a respectable piaffe and passage between clinics with Alfredo Hernandez and regular work with my trainer. Both started out working from the ground while I am mounted and we progressed from there to working both movements independently. Both movements are part of the progression of training and don't require treats to be taught. Alfredo is well known for putting an excellent piaffe and passage on some of the top horses for international caliber riders and he does not allow treats when he is working with the horse. It obviously works just fine for him.

    As for tempis - we don't have ones at this point but we're solid at the threes and starting to work twos. Tempis are part of the progression of training, building upon what came before it just like everything else. No treats necessary. Frankly the only problems my horse and I have had were a result of my timing issues, certainly nothing treats would have helped.

    If treats work for you and your horse that's great. I have no judgement on something like that and frankly could care less what others do. If the work is correct, it's correct. I've always ridden with trainers for whom treats during work are a no-no and I agree so I choose not to use them with mine.


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  5. #25
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    Yes. But only in the context of clicker training. I never treat without a click. I never give him just random treats.


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  6. #26
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    fwiw, giving treats is not "bribing for work" it is a reward. it works for some horses - and not for others.

    for myself i dont give treats after any special movement or exercise. i give them right after i get on, after i get off, when i change the line during lunging, etc. these are specific times and for specific reasons.

    this associates certain actions with good things.... i also want my horses to assocaite a pat or a soft word as praise.

    what i dont do is stuff treats willy nilly.


    you can of course train a horse without them.

    basically i see treats as a reward - nothing more - nothing less. works for some horses and not others. it is not a "bribe" (/)


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  7. #27
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    Mar. 3, 2010
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    A bribe is given B E F O R E the correct response. Given after it is not a bribe. I have seen a judge who used to actually bribe her horses. It was chaos!
    “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
    ― Albert Einstein


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  8. #28
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    Nov. 5, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    fwiw, giving treats is not "bribing for work" it is a reward. it works for some horses - and not for others.

    for myself i dont give treats after any special movement or exercise. i give them right after i get on, after i get off, when i change the line during lunging, etc. these are specific times and for specific reasons.

    this associates certain actions with good things.... i also want my horses to assocaite a pat or a soft word as praise.

    what i dont do is stuff treats willy nilly.


    you can of course train a horse without them.

    basically i see treats as a reward - nothing more - nothing less. works for some horses and not others. it is not a "bribe" (/)
    I don't understand why you feel your horse needs a reward for when you get on. It's that special of an occasion? Just in case someday he may not let you get on, unless you keep rewarding him for it? Good boy, you didn't kill me or run off?
    I am trying to follow this reasoning. You don't give treats for any special exercise, but you do give them treats for getting on and off? Why?
    I am not trying to pick a fight, but empirical knowledge tells me it is totally unnecessary, so it puzzles me that someone believes that it is.



  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsefaerie View Post
    A bribe is given B E F O R E the correct response. Given after it is not a bribe. I have seen a judge who used to actually bribe her horses. It was chaos!
    IMO that's just semantics. The definition of a bribe is "The offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of something of value for the purpose of influencing the action." Whether "payment" is given before or after the action it's still a bribe based on the definition. But horses don't know what a bribe is, nor a reward so semantics really doesn't make a difference in this conversation. If treats work for you and your horse that's awesome, treat away! I dislike the reaction treats create so I choose not to use them. Simple as that. OP asked for opinions, that is mine. If you disagree that's totally fine, there are many ways to get to Rome and you are free to travel the path that works best for you. You'll get no judgement from me on this subject.



  10. #30
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    Feb. 25, 1999
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    At one time in my life I was adamant about no treats, but as various horses came to me, I became a sucker and ya know, it IS an ok thing to do so long as the timing is correct. I use them to this day for certain horses. I am a big fan of clicker training as well....for those who're skeptical, there comes a time you have to go outside your tool box and figure out another way to Rome. If it's good enough for Beezie Madden and Judgement, then it's good enough for me. There's alot of controversy surrounding clicker training and horses. We're a product of our experiences and every new experience adds to our education. Every horse is different, every owner and rider is different. Gotta go with what is as opposed to what you want. ;-)



  11. #31
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    Feb. 25, 1999
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    Try working with mules...you will find you have to go outside the box ALL the time! They are food whores like most horses, but ya gotta outsmart them! The food is the payoff and timing, as I mentioned, is critical. That 3 second window is real short. ;-)



  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsehand View Post
    I don't understand why you feel your horse needs a reward for when you get on. It's that special of an occasion? Just in case someday he may not let you get on, unless you keep rewarding him for it? Good boy, you didn't kill me or run off?
    I am trying to follow this reasoning. You don't give treats for any special exercise, but you do give them treats for getting on and off? Why?
    I am not trying to pick a fight, but empirical knowledge tells me it is totally unnecessary, so it puzzles me that someone believes that it is.


    there is a reason... and that is so they associate standing at the mounting block (or fence or whatever) with a nice thing..... same as for when we switch the lunge line, take the bridle off before slipping the halter on, etc.

    it's an easy, fool proof way of instilling rock solid associations.....

    i am probably not explaining it well - they are an easy way to instill good habits.

    i was thinking about this and i think every trainer i know - whether low level or FEI - uses food rewards as in everything - it is the timing that matters.

    eta: i am very careful when i use food... and i only do it when i want certain behaviors... i don't usually stop working just to give a food reward. (i cant think of any time i have actually done that).....

    but i do use them for certain things.... and no, as i said you dont need them - it just is one way of doing things....



  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pocket Pony View Post
    goodpony had mentioned in the French School thread (I think) about treats - and Mr. PoPo and I had just been talking about that yesterday!

    Do you train with treats while riding? For example, do you stop and give your horse a treat and a break after a particularly good effort? Or, if you are focusing on a very specific movement - let's say TOF for a green horse - would you / have you treated when the horse got it really right?

    I think I remember reading in Equus magazine about a study that was done (can't remember where or by whom!) with giving a horse a treat vs. just praise (a pat or scritch, for example) for learning a new task. The study showed that the treat was more effective for more quickly learning a new task than praise alone.

    During times when I've wanted to teach my mustang something, a treat has gone a longer way than praise or the removal of negative reinforcement (learning to accept fly spray, for example).

    Thoughts?
    I'm a big believer in treats after working my horses. Seems they try harder, IMO. Praise and pats coupled with treats work wonders. I breed, raise, and show Arabians and Half Arabians, albeit on a very small scale. That being said, treats and praise make a huge impact on training. They work harder and enjoy the treats in return.
    "How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?" Julian Lennon



  14. #34
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    I've developed sign language in the giving of treats to my pony, Maxwell. Hands flat open and waving arms indicates that I do NOT have any treats, and that he shouldn't expect a reward for the crash-landing that will occur should he continue to gallop toward the barn because he sees me.


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  15. #35
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    Oh, Maxwell went directly into, "Pony Treats Anonymous", after he arrived at my barn .



  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsehand View Post
    I don't understand why you feel your horse needs a reward for when you get on. It's that special of an occasion? Just in case someday he may not let you get on, unless you keep rewarding him for it? Good boy, you didn't kill me or run off?
    I am trying to follow this reasoning. You don't give treats for any special exercise, but you do give them treats for getting on and off? Why?
    I am not trying to pick a fight, but empirical knowledge tells me it is totally unnecessary, so it puzzles me that someone believes that it is.
    There are a lot of things that aren't necessary that make life a whole lot easier.

    Groundwork, for example, isn't NECESSARY and you can train a horse from first backing through GP without ever doing any groundwork. I can get on 99% of the horses I meet and sucessfully ride with no groundwork. But it is a whole lot faster and easier to do groundwork with a lot of them.

    Similarly the treats for mounting. I trained a horse who TOOK OFF from the mounting block. The first time I put a foot in the stirrup I landed face down in the dirt and had to catch the horse on the other side of the farm. Could I have fixed this without treats? Sure, but probably not in ten minutes. As it was, I caught the horse, and ten minjyes later mounted quietly, unassisted. Somehow I fixed in ten minutes, alone, what all who came before had not. If you want to stand on the mounting block and wait like Job that's fine but I can get the whole problem fixed, the horse schooled, untacked, hoshed off and on to the next in the meantime.

    Are they necessary? No, but there are times when effectively deployed they make life a whole lot easier and get the job done a whole lot faster. No reason to refuse to use a helpful tool jist because there is a harder, slower way that works too.


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  17. #37
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    It depends on what I am doing with my horse. This past week for example, I used treats to help encourage my horse to be calm about having her winter blanket put on and taken off. Turnout this week has been limited due to the storm and its aftermath. Many of the horses are a bit restless. Mine hasn't been particularly pleased about having the blanket put on, even when I attempt to go slowly. So what I do is show her a treat then give her a pat. If she's calm while I gently put the folded blanket on her back, she gets the treat. If she swishes her tail and acts annoyed she doesn't get the treat and we start over. We repeat until she stands quietly through the whole thing.

    She learned very quickly that if she wants a treat, she has to behave.



  18. #38
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    May. 25, 2006
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    I am using treats to teach my pony the spanish walk---treats have worked wonderfully to positively reinforce the behavior. Its been less that 10 days and he is just starting to 'stretch the leg" under saddle and taking several coordinated steps in hand at a time--each time with improvement. The lessons are very short just a few minutes a day. I agree with Beth there is a timing to the reward that is critical. He responds to my requests he gets a treat. IF he offers a leg in exuberance (begging) his head is repositioned to change his balance and make it more difficult for him to offer the leg unrequested. There are no treats for misbehavior only treats for the correct response to my aide/request. Under saddle if he responds to my request to lift the leg I immediately dismount and praise/treat. Again the lessons are so short.



  19. #39
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    Nov. 5, 2012
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    "Similarly the treats for mounting. I trained a horse who TOOK OFF from the mounting block. The first time I put a foot in the stirrup I landed face down in the dirt and had to catch the horse on the other side of the farm. Could I have fixed this without treats? Sure, but probably not in ten minutes. As it was, I caught the horse, and ten minjyes later mounted quietly, unassisted. Somehow I fixed in ten minutes, alone, what all who came before had not. If you want to stand on the mounting block and wait like Job that's fine but I can get the whole problem fixed, the horse schooled, untacked, hoshed off and on to the next in the meantime.'

    Are they necessary? No, but there are times when effectively deployed they make life a whole lot easier and get the job done a whole lot faster. No reason to refuse to use a helpful tool jist because there is a harder, slower way that works too."

    So what you are telling me is that training with treats is faster and easier. Without it, your wasting your time. And training horses is all about easier and faster?



  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by horsehand View Post
    "Similarly the treats for mounting. I trained a horse who TOOK OFF from the mounting block. The first time I put a foot in the stirrup I landed face down in the dirt and had to catch the horse on the other side of the farm. Could I have fixed this without treats? Sure, but probably not in ten minutes. As it was, I caught the horse, and ten minjyes later mounted quietly, unassisted. Somehow I fixed in ten minutes, alone, what all who came before had not. If you want to stand on the mounting block and wait like Job that's fine but I can get the whole problem fixed, the horse schooled, untacked, hoshed off and on to the next in the meantime.'

    Are they necessary? No, but there are times when effectively deployed they make life a whole lot easier and get the job done a whole lot faster. No reason to refuse to use a helpful tool jist because there is a harder, slower way that works too."

    So what you are telling me is that training with treats is faster and easier. Without it, your wasting your time. And training horses is all about easier and faster?
    *ahem* Quote: "There are times when", not an unequivocal "it is". No need to be so offended!



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