Horses, no matter what age, are constantly learning from their
interactions with humans. Whether or not you consider your interaction with
your horse a "formal training session" or not, your horse is learning.
This is true whether you are longeing, riding, feeding, bathing, or just walking
through your horse's stall or pasture. Whenever the two of you are in the
same space together, you horse is learning what he should and should not do and,
in some cases, what he can or cannot get away with. Your goal is to learn
about horse behavior and plan your interactions carefully so you help your horse develop
good habits. It is the joy of owning horses to say "Good
Boy!" or "Good Girl" and give your horse a pat when he or she does
something well. And it is your responsibility to learn how to say "No!"
effectively to your horse when he does something unwanted or dangerous.
Bad habits usually result from a lack of the Basics. When a horse
doesn't learn his ABC's, he must go back to the Basics and have
a thorough and consistent review. Your job is to tell your horse "No!"
and help him find a different way to behave so he is safer and more
pleasant to handle.