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Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training/Training vs Abuse - Rick Gore Horsemanship


I am going to be writing a paper about the difference between training and corrective punishment versus an act of abuse. I am looking for where the line is drawn between an act of training and an act of abuse. I have worked at a training barn for 10 years and I can say with confidence that I have seen where the line is drawn. I know that rider aids are sometimes necessary, but where do you draw the line between an aid and a tool for abuse? I would love your opinion on this topic and hope to use whatever information you can give me. Thank you so much for your time!

Well it depends on many factors. Horses don't work for punishment. Punishing a horse is abuse since anything after the first few seconds, the correction and the behavior is not connected. So when a horse does wrong, the correction has to within a couple of seconds so the horse can connect the behavior with the correction (negative reinforcement).  If you watch horses correct each other it is swift and very fast and close to behavior, it is not long, excessive or on going, it is not personal, it can be hard, aggressive and violent, but it done and over, not continued harassment or punishment.

What you call aids become crutches for people that do not use them as aide but as cheats to make it easy on them. An aid should be temporary not forever.  Pain, like bits, spurs, tiedowns or metal shoes nailed on a hoof are all negative and do not assist in training or learning, it makes a horse comply via pain compliance, not from trust and understanding.

Horses talk, learn and communicate using pressure and release and herd language - most people train a horse with aggression, love, treats or fear and pain - what works on horses is what horses use and that is head behavior, herd dynamics, herd leadership, and herd hierarchy.

Horses - Behavior Issues, Breaking and Training

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Rick Gore Horsemanship


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--Rick is a student of the horse. I have over 450 free videos on Youtube about horses. I believe in and practice "Natural Horsemanship". I ride mainly western and don't use or promote spurs, bits, or whips. Reins are only one cue for the horse. Using the entire body helps the horse understand. I define riding as a human and horse working together for the enjoyment of both. Pain and fear should not be part of the equation. If you expect feel good advice, you will be disappointed. 95% of all my answers will include the problem is you and not your horse. About 90% of most answers that I give out are on my web site, so if you read it you will probably answer your own question and may learn a few other things. If you ask me a question that I answer on my site or video I will send your question to the question pool.


Rick is an experienced horseman with over 35 years of riding and handling horses. Rick grew up in Texas around horses and horse people. He has started colts, ridden many horses with behavior issues and worked with problem horses. (He believes that most horse problems are really people problems) He believes in and practices natural horsemanship and continues to read and study books by great horsemen. He routinely attends clinics, talks with and discuss horse issues with other clinicians and trainers. He has never met a horse that could not be fixed. Rick believes it is never the horse's fault and with proper handling, all problems can be worked out.

I have life long experience in being around and working with horses. Over the years I have watched good horsemen do the right thing and seen the wrong things done with bad results. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Education.

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