A big part of the process of getting and teaching my horses and those horses I work with, is to encourage them to offer behavior, which is the foundation of shaping. For training horses, shaping is a wonderfully creative, kind and generous way to teach behavior.
Our mission is grounded in building desired behaviors through positive reinforcement and teaching the horse to think on its own and solve puzzles presented in training. When the horse experiences this independence, she is much more engaged in the process. When he is more involved in the process, fully at liberty to choose to play "the game," his mind is challenged and his outlook on life improves.
Shaping a horse is more than just making them do a behavior, then giving them a carrot. Imagine a horse actively seeking a way to improve how he picks up a lead, or imagine a horse who is trynig very hard to stop more quickly when he is asked. How many people would love to see their horses "self-correct" some of the behaviors we're trying to teach. This is where shaping can be so helpful.
The Volunteering Horse
The Volunteering Horse is a very special animal. The Volunteering Horse offers behaviors and volunteers to participate in and even lead the training. We, as trainers of the Volunteering Horse, have learned to follow where the horse is able to progress. We allow the horse to have a voice and a choice. When we honor and listen to that voice, their lives are improved and enriched.
The Volunteering Horse becomes happier and more fun to be around. The Volunteering Horse takes a special owner - one who will allow the horse his full personality, listen to the choices she makes, and hears her voice. This is what builds a great, mutually understanding, trusting relationship