EquiDrive is about the ways to motivate and stimulate your horse for communication with you and doing something for you.
Motivation is a complex thing. A horse’s mind and body can be occupied with only one thing at a time. And if he decides to graze, socialize with other horses, run, sleep and so on, he will not be able to concentrate on training. He will constantly loose attention and be distracted.
The horse always thinks first about the most important things for him. Only when the basic needs of a horse are satisfied he can concentrate on learning. So to a large extent motivation is a question of a good stable management. We will find out what your horse requires in order to feel relaxed, motivated and focused on you during the training process.
But even if your horse lives in the perfect environment he may not be automatically interested in communicating with you. In this case, we can use an appropriate stimulation. It implies correct work with both pressure and positive stimuli: food, grooming and play.
Pressure is a universal motivator, but along with a desirable action it provokes negative emotions in a horse and thus can lower his general motivation for communication with people. To avoid this problem it is necessary to learn applying pressure in a correct way and never use it continuously.
Work with positive stimuli can also present some difficulties and should be then performed correctly. There are strict rules that we should keep up in order to avoid such troubles as begging for treats, being pushy, nibbling, biting etc.
Teaching your horse to perform tricks is an excellent way to improve his motivation to work with people. But this is only if teaching tricks does not involve hard pressure and violence. We don’t accept fixation with ropes, hard pulling and hitting a horse when teaching tricks. We can use only light pressure (like tapping gently with a whip or pushing softly with a hand) and, of course, plenty of positive stimuli.
Definitely, working with low pressure slows down the process of learning tricks, but as a result the horse simply loves this part of work and later you even can use his favorite tricks as new positive stimuli.