Rewarding Horses

Horses do not "comprehend" rewards.

The predator associates the food primarily with life, unlike horse that associates food with place only.

The predator sometime associates the kill with the place where it either buried the food, which horses also don't do, or where the leftovers are until eaten.

The predators like wolfs often feed their young. This is why a dog is aware that you have brought the food, unlike the horse that is not, since horses do not bring the food to one another.

The foal associates the food with the place and so it stays near the mare. Once the nursing stops they start to wander further and further away in search of food. The grass eating animals of the plains (steppes) associate the food with place, whether domesticated or not, hence in the wild they migrate, and the predators follow.  In the domesticated life they work to get to the food which is available after the work at the stable or the field they are kept in.

The person's hand becomes just another place to find food just like some feed tub. Do not be surprised if they will treat you as such. If and when horses perceive a human as a place of food, it is not always safe for the human, especially with more aggressive horse and a clueless greenhorn, and if nothing else it will surely degrades the horse's respect for such human.

     I hate to use the word comprehend in relevance to animals, but I do so for better understanding, because I am sure that if I would use the more suitable terminology referring to their instinctive learning nature most folks would simply not understand due to their lack of knowledge and over supply of misinformation. In short, there is no such thing as rewards in nature, because in nature animals do not employ each other nor they send others to do some task and then rewarding them for it (only in some cartoons and movies).
   Further more in the animal world there is no sense of right and wrong, or better said, no judgment of good and evil, therefore, there exist no concept of punishment or rewards.
   It is just plain ignorance and absurdity every time people speak of rewarding animals for something. People that believe in rewarding animals are simpletons humanizing animals and confusing rewards and punishment with approval/acceptance and disapproval/rejection. (I should not be saying these things openly, because I am obstructing the profits of the companies that make all these cookies and treats for the silly folks to feed the animals they so love. I am being just so politically incorrect and a bad person.)

     There are several reasons why this delusion of rewarding animals for their work is so popular and accepted. In the past the public seen the so-called trained animals only in the traveling circus, or some other forms of demonstration. Since most of the trained animals preformed their work well, the public wanted to see them being rewarded, and it became customary, primarily for the sake of appearance, to reward the animals to satisfy the clueless public, and the rewarding of animals was born in many clueless minds.
    The horse does something, the guy pets the horse and gives the animal a treat, and the public applauds, while totally clueless about what they are looking at. Knowledge is not something you want to give to the suckers born every minute, obviously, because one could not exploit them.

     Another common reason for "rewarding" animals for work done, or better said giving treats to animals, has its origin in a little child's fears of monsters, and so those that fear animals will have the tendency to appease them with some food, obviously.
    Another also fairly common reason to reward animals or giving them treats has to do more with self-gratification rather than with the animals, since folks like this give treats to animals so they feel good about it and about themselves. They are being generous and caring in their own eyes, which is mere weakness/selfishness and nothing else.

     Another common reason, more of the feminine nature, is the concept that the horse will love them, or at least like them, if they give the animal food. Suffice is to say that horses, unlike dogs, do not perceive you that you have brought the food, but more or less see you as the place of food, like the feed tub is.
   Therefore do not be surprise if they treat you like one, like when nudging (nudging = push into action by pestering or annoying gently - the word gently in relevance to horses equals horseplay, get it?) the feed tub they will nudge you, though the silly minds see this behavior as some form of affection or the desire of the horse to get attention (hence feminine concept as women attribute their own reasons for their behavior to the horse "wanting some attention", while it is women that want attention, obviously).
   In reality it is nothing more but an attempt of the horse to shake some food out of the human feed tub that often contains the food.

     In this "modern age", besides the above reasons, which are still popular, this reward delusion is often practiced by the silly females that for some odd reason may feel guilty for using the animal for their purpose, being it some work or entertainment, and by using the word "reward" they relieve themselves from this kind of guilt they may feel on account of that.
    This is just another silly humanization of animals by silly people that have no clue and understanding of the natural life, which unfortunately now also infiltrated our educational system and we are making kids dumber and dumber decade by decade.

    Why did the horsemen often feed horses after work?

    The feeding after work was commonly practiced for ages, which has nothing to do with any rewards, as the clueless public would perceive, but it was simply tied to the natural inborn instinct of animals to move to get food. And so, for example, the farmer's horse is content to work the whole morning, because the animal is aware that at the end of that "trip" it will arrive to the food source.
    It does not differ much from animals migrating or moving from one area to another for food. In short, in nature the horse has to move to get food, and in the domesticated life this instinct to move to get food is simply altered to "move to work to get to the food".
    They have no concept that you are the provider, all they are aware of is that at the destination point (or time) there is food, that is all there is to it. (As I have said in previous publications, horses do not associate food with life (other animals) but with a place, as opposed to the predator that associates food with life (other animals). And so, the herbivorous animals tend to migrate from place to place and the carnivorous animals tend follow them, and we omnivorous humans do both.

    In my younger days when working in the circus we have also used similar methods to prevent horses from getting what we called "arena sour", since those horses spent their entire lives working and moving predominantly in the circus manège and hardly ever in the outside environment, except when moving from the circus to the train and vice versa.
   What we commonly used to do with most horses was that we fed them in the manège after the work, and I am not talking about couple of treats, but literally gave each horse several pounds of carrots, which often took as long as 15 minutes to eat.
   We did not do this all the time, only infrequently (though frequently, but not always, giving some small "treats"), because if horses do not find the food at the end of destination, like after work, they simply repeat the process the next day because the food is there at least sometimes, or better said most of the time.
   In the wild, animals do not have some breakfast or lunch, or regular food supply, they have to move and get it, and sometime they get it and sometimes not.

    One uses and exploits the animal's instincts to get the animal to do what one wants, there is no science to it, and one of the most exploited inborn instincts in training animals is the need to eat/food. And so we do not reward horses, or any pets, but rather exploit their natural instincts. Next time you "reward" your horse "know thy self".

    If you believe in the Darwin's Theory of Origins of Specie and thus believe that you are a mere animal with the ability to think (thinking monkey), you will inevitably not only humanize animals, but you will also inevitably behave like one for obvious reasons (animals - reproduction + food = violence, human-animals - sex + greed = violence.)
    In such case of course if I call someone an animal I am merely stating a natural fact and so one should not see it as an insult, and so if I say that women are animals, women that believe in this Darwin's crap should not feel offended, or better said have no right to be offended. I wonder how many I would find, but on the other hand most men do not feel offended by it, and there is a very clear explanation for this that can be actually seen, but I leave it at that, as it would hardly enlightened anything to the dying minds of the world.

   I do not know of any species that reversed its evolution or degenerated, only that it evolved or went extinct, except human beings who are obviously degenerating and not evolving. Can this alone not testify to the fact that humanity is not all natural? Because if it would be all natural it would follow the natural patterns as all earthly species do, but we don't which is obvious.
   If our ability to think evolved from the nature in order to survive, why is it that it is our thinking that is destroying us and the nature itself? Or is it that the more knowledge we get the dumber we get? Why is it that the more "intellectually advanced" we become the more self-destructive we become? Doesn't all this contradict all the so-called natural laws?

    When people get religious it is mostly fear, when people believe in the Darwin's crap it is genuine stupidity driven by egos, however just like most preachers do not believe in God, most of those that teach the Darwin's theory do not believe that crap either, hence one should wonder why one or the other is taught, and why are you such a sucker.

    The best reward you can give to your horse after some hard work (any work for that matter), when the horse is cooled out if hot or sweated, is to feed the animal some decent an healthy food, give it clean and fresh water, and then leave the animal alone to eat and then rest in peace and quiet. The most ignorant behavior of humans, when with horses, that I have observed was doing something with the animal while it was eating, which is downright crude. Using the food to keep a horse calm, like when shoeing and such, is of course another matter, obviously, in which case the horse should be eating from a bucket and such and not from the handler's hand for obvious and above mentioned reasons.

Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek 2010