Monday, 11 July 2011

Contiguous Reinforcement

Joining or touching. In horse training, when the outcome quickly follows the behaviour. It’s key that a horse associates “this” with “that”. So the speed and skill of the rider to identify the choice moment to reward a horse for his response is key. A horse learns to link a behaviour to an outcome. For instance, when asking for a rein back, he gets no relief from bit pressure by tossing his head up, but gets immediate release when he steps back. Hmmm…can work the other way, can’t it? What if a rider is unaware that she’s hanging on her horse’s mouth while standing at the centre of the arena. The horse roots his nose forward and finds quick and easy freedom by pulling on her arms. Habits are formed unintentionally when riders are oblivious to the signals they’re sending but intentionally by thinking riders!

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