This is how horses learn riding aids - Part 2: Learning theory - habituation / conditioning 2017-07-08T00:00:00+02:00

The flight animal horse must first be accustomed to many external stimuli, in order to be able to ripen to a relaxed partner under the saddle. The riding aids are the key to communication between horse and rider and therefore, need to be correctly taught to the horse before further training. Britta Schöffmann explains the different techniques of getting used to it and shows some of them in the practical application using the example of a young mare, who at first is scared about the wehorse camera.

In addition, the instructor makes clear why the goal of habituation, just the 'no longer reacting', cannot also be the goal of equestrian assistance. Supported by the dressage-Tinker Trusty Harry, the terms of positive and negative reinforcement are classified, and their effects are explained in practice using a few exercises.

The question of individual learning ability and its limiting factors is also taken up. "You have to accept the natural limits of a horse," says Britta Schöffmann, who supports their claims and encouragement, but strictly rejects excessive demands. The correct use of riding aids is not everything when it comes to training a horse, you need to consider his personalities as well as his abilities and school him accordingly.

Further videos in this series:


You will learn in this video:

  • Different habituation techniques and the meaning of conditioning
  • Why the correct use of riding aids isn't the only thing to consider while riding
  • Everything about positive and negative reinforcement

Dr. Britta Schöffmann

The journalist and former Grand Prix rider turned her hobby into “the most multi-faceted job in the world”: she rides, teaches, and writes. Her books on dressage are read worldwide.

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