Most of the time, pets are procured in the interests of friendship. Some pets might be expected to perform certain obligations, like guard dogs are. Typically, though, pets are brought in as playmates for youngsters. The conscientious dog owner may take his pet to obedience coaching schools, so it can learn good habits like going outside on calls of nature and eating only when ordered to do it.
Some pets enjoy being near their human owners at most times, like the dog. This proximity makes it easier to teach them once you’ve gone through some classes telling you what to coach your pets in and how to do it. The consensus among animal owners looks to be that it can take one class a week over 6 or 8 weeks for coaching to show effect, whether in the pet owners or the pets. It also takes at least two training courses to get the pets to respond constantly to commands and maybe 4 training courses to establish fairly complete command over them. It would be rather nieve to take your new pet to an obedience coach and expect to get back an absolutely unquestioning instantly obeying animal in 6 weeks or so.
Yet, horses appear to be the exception. People expect miracles of their pony and the horses’ trainers. I have seen a large amount of inexperienced pony owners with little knowledge of riding and even less knowledge of coaching taking on the task of coaching their horses themselves. Not surprisingly, all of these folks without exception run into issues. Instead of getting tamed, their pony seem to become uncontrollable and pick up all sorts of unwanted behaviour patterns. When these horse owners ultimately give up and follow the guidance of their friends to send the animals to a professional coach, they anticipate the coach to reverse all of the coaching gone wrong and get the horses to become models of perfect behaviour. A good trainer can work a good deal of wizardry with the animals, but is it actually only the animals that need the coaching?
Pony owners expect trainers to complete the training of their horses within so many days or weeks. In all of their anxiety, they ignore one major component of successful animal training: the training of the animal owners themselves. Good trainers can get a horse to do practically everything reasonable the owners expect, but it will all come to nothing if the owners are also not trained on what’s expected from them and the way to re-enforce the training.
A bad owner can undo a month of good professional coaching in a week.
Think of this: It takes something like 2000 repetitions of a command and its enforcement to remove a set habit and another 2000 repetitions to implant a new habit. It can take almost 10,000 repetitions to make unconscious acts of habits. After you know this, you would be awfully dumb indeed not to realize and accept the owner needs coaching in keeping the pony trained equally as much as the horse needs coaching in the first place. You must also appreciate that it can take a lot of time and effort to coordinate your responses to that of your pony.
Dog owners typically appear to have no problem in committing 20 minutes or so a day to helping their dogs absorb their coaching better. Sadly, it would seem to be very tricky to get pony owners to make the same kind of commitment. One comprehensible reason is perhaps the dog can be kept indoors for the period of time necessary, but the owner has to go outside to the pony. Further, a lot of horse owners are bored by ‘basic’ training routines, which can be more complicated than getting a dog to sit or come to heel or beg.
Unless they’re well experienced, pony owners generally do not grasp just how much success they’d achieve with the right disposition and the right focus. They should learn how to take it a lesson at a time, without undue expectations of miracles. They must start with the basics, like following without pulling away while on the lead. It is difficult to train the horse to sit, but without too much effort, it can be made to do things like stop and stand in the right position, release to pressure, stand when tied and lead the right way. These lessons will create the type of bond between owner and pony that will later enable glorious connection while riding or doing any other tasks together. Persistence will soon create a time when the owner simply does not want to stay inside, but would rather be out there doing something or the other with his horse.