This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 2: Learning Theory - Habituation / Conditioning



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As the horse is a flight animal, he must first become accustomed to many external stimuli, in order to be able to develop into a relaxed partner under saddle. The riding aids are the key to communication between horse and rider and therefore, need to be correctly taught to the horse before trying to advance our training . Britta Schöffmann explains the different techniques of getting a horse accustomed to certain stimuli and shows us an example of this with a young mare, who is worried about the wehorse camera.


In addition, the instructor also explains why this goal of habituation, where we ask our horse to 'no longer react', cannot mean that our horse reacts less sensitively to our aids. Supported by the dressage-Tinker, Trusty Harry, the terms of positive and negative reinforcement are explained, and their effects are shown by 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 encourages and challenges them, but without demands that would overface them. The correct use of riding aids is not everything when it comes to training a horse, you need to consider his personality as well as his natural ability and school him accordingly.

Further videos in this series:

This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 1: Theoretical Introduction and Ethology
This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 3: Learning Theory – Rein & Leg Aids
This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 4: The Correct Seat
This is How Horses Learn Riding Aids - Part 5: Putting Theory Into Practise

You will learn in this video:

  • Different habituation techniques and conditioning explained
  • Why the correct use of riding aids isn't the only thing to consider when 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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