Thehorse.com - Full Article
By Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA
Sep 21, 2017
When your horse responds to your cues, is it because he knows a reward is coming afterward (like a treat or a release of pressure)? Or is it because he recognizes the cue and knows that when he gets that cue, he’s just supposed to respond with a certain action?
This might sound like cognition nit-picking, but it’s actually a very important question when it comes to the way your horse learns. The first case is what scientists call “goal-directed” learning—it means horses will adjust their actions according to whether that reward keeps coming regularly. The second case is called “habit-directed” learning. Horses that tend toward habit-directed learning are more likely to just keep doing what they’ve been taught to do, regardless of whether that reward keeps coming...
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