The Power of The Pause As A Training Aid

May 28, 2023

Training horses at liberty is all about building trust and clear communication between the horse and the trainer. It requires patience, understanding  and respect for their natural instincts. One of the most powerful training aids that can be used in this process is the PAUSE. The pause is a moment of stillness in which the trainer stops all movement and communication with the horse, allowing the horse to process and respond to what has been asked of him/her. In this blog post, we will explore why the pause is such an effective tool and how it can be used in training horses at liberty.

The pause is effective in training horses at liberty for several reasons. First of all, it gives the horse time to process and respond to the trainer's request. Horses are intelligent animals, but they need time to think and understand what is being asked of them. By pausing and giving the horse this time, the trainer is showing respect for the horse's intelligence and learning style.

Secondly, the pause creates a sense of anticipation and expectation in the horse. When the trainer pauses, the horse often knows that something is about to happen and can become more focused and attentive. This anticipation can be used to create a positive association with the training process, making the horse more willing and enthusiastic about participating in the training.

Thirdly, the pause can be used to reinforce desired behaviors. For example, if the horse has just performed a requested behavior correctly, the trainer can pause, or simply end the session, which gives the horse time to think and process this information. This pause reinforces the behavior and increases the likelihood that the horse will repeat it in the future.

Fourthly, the pause can be used to redirect unwanted behaviors. For example, if the horse is becoming anxious or distracted, the trainer should pause and wait for the horse to calm down and refocus. By using the pause in this way, the trainer is teaching the horse self-control and helping it to learn how to regulate its own behavior. This also demonstrates to the horse that you will never force him against his will.

Finally, the pause can be used to establish boundaries and reinforce the trainer's leadership. When the trainer pauses, the horse is expected to pause as well and wait for further instructions.  This reinforces the idea that the trainer is in a leadership position and sets clear boundaries for the horse's behavior. Over time, the horse learns to respect these boundaries and to trust and follow the trainer's lead.

In conclusion, the pause is a powerful training aid in working with horses at liberty. It helps to build trust, communication, and respect between the horse and the trainer, while also creating a positive association with the training process. By using the pause in a strategic way, trainers can reinforce desired behaviors, redirect unwanted behaviors, and establish clear boundaries and leadership. Ultimately, the pause is a tool that can help trainers to create a strong and successful partnership with their horses, based on mutual respect and understanding.

I hope you enjoyed this blog!

Nancy Zintsmaster

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