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You've found the Mary-Dixon page about horsemanship.  Horses are my passion and my obsession.  They have helped me become a kinder, more confident, more patient person.  What they have taught me about them and taught me about myself is immeasureable.  I now try to teach folks about the nature of horses and how to understand each other which leads to a more confident human and a more confident little darling.
Adventure Horse Riding in NYS

10/2/11

#39 Sixty is the Magic Number !

#39  Sixty is the Magic Number !

For your darling to learn something new or different, it takes about 60 repetitions before he really gets it into his noggin and he knows the lesson inside and out.

So, that means if you are with your horse once a week, and teach him just once a week the lesson you want him to learn, it will take over a year.

Often, though, you will see your horse more than once a week or teach him the lesson more than only once a session.

What you do not want to do, is drill it into him - he will become resentful, spiteful, bored stupid and you'll have lost him.

Reward the slightest  try, then you can ask for more - don't expect perfection at the get-go, whatever you do - and don't make him keep doing it over and over again.

If you want him to move backward, reward him if he simply BEGINS to lift his foot as if to go backwards.  

The reward is when you stop what you are doing - also, referred to as the release.  It's not what you are doing that teaches him, it is when you quit doing it that he learns.

When he lifts that foot 3 times in a row - go on to something else.

Then, a bit later, you can ask for more than just the lifting of his foot.  Reward one stop,  When he does it 3 times, stop and do something else - maybe something fun.

Give him time to think about what he is learning and trying to do - and you keep quiet - don't keep talking to him - he needs the quiet to think and process.

It will take the time it takes - some learn more quickly than others, but figure, on average, the lesson needs to be repeated 60 times.  That is a good guideline.

And remember, horses are supposed to be fun - so don't go getting yourself all stressed out and impatient - if you are getting that way - you go and do something else.


Mary Dixon   Adventure Horse Riding in NYS        RideNYS.com

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