What Does A Horse Learn From Watching?

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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One for the weekend.

How much do you think a horse learns from watching as oppose to experiencing?

Today my cob watched a rider fall off, bring the horse out of the school, then after about twenty minutes, remount and hack out. This to my knowledge is the first time she has seen that happen.

Did she file under, oh that happens, or will it not mean anything until she actually experiences it?
 
Last edited:

Wally

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We make all ours watch and observe and soak up the vibes from the other horses. WE never let them watch and observe youngsters, only the old guard who have been there and done it and will ooze with the right atmosphere.

It's more the atmosphere the other horses give that the horse watching learns from. Especially with driving horses. If they can watch a carriage horse going round with an almost "asleep" aire about him they learn that nothing scary is going on and it's fine for them to join in.
 

newforest

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She was possibly interested initially because he was new to the yard and a gelding.
The saddle slipped round and off the rider came. The horse did appear a calm about that happening.
 

Jane&Ziggy

Jane&Sid these days!
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An article in last week's Horse and Hound cited research demonstrating that horses did not learn to perform a task any quicker by watching horses who already knew how to perform it.

Go figure.
 

KarinUS

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An article in last week's Horse and Hound cited research demonstrating that horses did not learn to perform a task any quicker by watching horses who already knew how to perform it.

Go figure.
I read that before. It still makes me smile a little bit when Minnie watches me work with one of the other horses. :)
She stands still the whole time and watches like she can't believe what's going on. Okay the first thing she's surprised about is actually if I halter anybody else but her. lol
But then she watches the whole session until I bring the other horse back.
Since I read those studies before I don't have hopes of her learning neckreining by watching Bixby but I do hope that there is something similar going on to what Wally described: That she gets the feeling that riding is no big deal, that if there are disagreements even the big dogs like Bixby and DJ are expected to do what Karin says. And that it's overall a calm and positive affair.
 

newforest

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Ah but that's fiction because the Zebra is independent and isn't that great at looking after the herd. After watching a documentary on them the group simply made the same mistakes trying to cross a river, if they learnt anything it was to be thick! They certainly didn't show any common sense to stick together.
 

Lot1983

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I bloody hope they do as pone has spent her last two schooling sessions with a horse that is currently at the elementary BRC dressage to music championships!
 

Wally

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An article in last week's Horse and Hound cited research demonstrating that horses did not learn to perform a task any quicker by watching horses who already knew how to perform it.

Go figure.

We are not expecting them to learn to perform any task any quicker, what we are doing is immersing them in the working atmposphere, getting them to see the other horses in the same situation with no fear, in a chilled, relaxed environment.
 
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