Freddie Vasquez Jr. is an equestrian horse trainer at a premier concierge barn in Illinois. In the following article, Freddie Vasquez Jr. discusses a few of the popular training techniques utilized in horse training for various purposes.
There’s something awe-inspiring about the connection between humans and horses.
The same qualities that fuel connections with other people, guides connections to horses. Like humans, horses convey and feel empathy. Like humans, they show stress and need healthy social relationships.
A remarkable trust develops between man and animal, but it’s a trust that doesn’t develop overnight. Freddie Vasquez Jr. discusses below some of the most popular equestrian training techniques used when working with the estimated 7.25 million horses in the U.S.
What to Consider When Training a Horse
Freddie Vasquez Jr. says that equestrian training tends to be a challenging process. It takes time to uncover the very best training path for each horse. But horses are usually eager to learn because they’re eager to please humans most of the time.
First and foremost, any technique requires patience and flexibility on the part of the trainer. In the beginning, Freddie Vasquez Jr. explains that much of horse training is trial and error. Training should generally begin with easy lessons and then progress naturally to more difficult exercises if a horse is successful with a previous training focus.
Flexibility also comes into play as a horse ages. What may have worked in the past, may not be the best training for a horse as they mature. In addition, a horse’s function may change over time and certain training techniques of the past may be obsolete.
Common Horse Training Techniques
Among the most common equestrian training approaches are Reiki, Tellington Ttouch, Parelli natural horsemanship, and clicker training.
Freddie Vasquez Jr. explains that Reiki is best known as a traditional Japanese therapy technique used by humans as alternative medicine. Generally, reiki relies on so-called energy healing to help people physically and mentally.
Within horse training, Reiki is designed to help calm a horse that is perhaps resistant to trauma or coping with past trauma. At its best Reiki both relaxes a horse and makes it less resistant to direct training.
• Tellington Ttouch
Freddie Vasquez Jr. says that as a trademarked form of horse training, Tellington Ttouch relies greatly on developing trust between a horse and a human and then deepening that trust.
The method purports to address behavioral and physical issues, instill kindness and safety, and improve horse performance.
Tellington Ttouch training is achieved through four phases. The first is bodywork that aims to ease tension, discomfort, and fear that may make a horse resistant to training or more trusting of humans in general.
Further phases include physical exercises to help a horse learn without force and riding exercises to boost horse confidence reports Freddie Vasquez Jr. The technique was developed by equine expert Linda Tellington-Jones
• Parelli Natural Horsemanship
Created in 1981 by Pat Parelli, Parelli national horsemanship is designed as basic training for not just horses but for the people who interact with them and ride them. It considers the different personalities of horses to guide training.
Freddie Vasquez Jr. explains that the approach uses four savvy’s or learning areas. Online savvy includes groundwork with rope and halter, while liberty continues groundwork without rope and halter.
The freestyle step features riding either with or without reigns, while the last step, finesse, introduces riding with refined skills and contact.
• Clicker Training
The “click” in clicker training technically refers to making a click sound to teach proper behavior.
Clicker training is one of the newer training approaches reports Freddie Vasquez Jr. It focuses heavily on traditional animal positive reinforcement, where food and a timed “click” sound, typically produced through a tiny device that produces a sharp click noise, is used to reward correct behavior or attitudes.
The training process includes first using the clicker in connection with the food to help horses realize the value of the click sound. Next, the food and clicker are used to reinforce a horse’s understanding of the desired behavior.
Freddie Vasquez Jr. says that these exercises can be tailored to the function of the horse. If a trainer wants a horse to touch something, they’d pair the food and clicker when the horse successfully masters the task.
In clicker training, the overarching goal is to change a horse’s behavior standards through rewards. At first, tiny improvements may lead to a bit of food and a click until the full movement is achieved.
Guiding a horse to the desired position is referred to as “luring” within clicker training. Once behaviors are learned, the training gradually builds on the process and is reinforced the whole time by treats and clicks.