Candy or not?
I often get the question: are you against giving the horse a tread?
My clear answer is:
When I have done something good and think I have earned something, I often go out and eat with my husband. When we have worked well, we have a glass of wine or a cream bun. Why should the horse not be allowed to enjoy something good too?
We have humanised the horse in many ways, so sometimes the horse does not know what is right or wrong. You have to be consistent so that the horse understands what we mean and what we demand of it, but why not reinforce what we mean, by giving the horse a treat. I have always done that. When I was younger, I always had sugar in my pocket. It was easy and did not fill much, but today I have switched to carrot pieces, as I do not use sugar in the coffee myself, so I do not buy sugar pieces, so it is not so available to me. It’s not because I think about the horse’s health. I do not think it dies from getting a piece of sugar every now and then, there is much else in the feed today that is more dangerous than that. Yes, but the teeth then, there are those who say. Yes, the horse’s teeth grow and I believe it cleans them when it eats hay, it’s actually just a small piece of sugar.
Today it is called reward-based training. Yes, what should I say? I call it giving the horse a treat when it deserves it.
I know some people do not want to give sweets and I respect their opinion, but when they say that they do not get it in nature, then I think: It’s true, but then they do not have to obey a human if they are wild horses.
Then maybe you think, but does not the horse get naughty from it? That is where it comes to setting boundaries, just as you should with everything else. If it’s got the treat, it’s over. Some horses are naughty by nature, but there you also get to talk about what you tolerate and not. They are all different individuals and you have to try to turn it into something positive and make it a fun game to nibble or not.
My horses get goodies and they know when the goodies is finished, so I will continue to do so.
Candy or not?