ISES torsdag 6 augusti
Andrew McLean – Training principles, a work in progress – plenary
1. Train according to the horse's ethology and cognition - Ethology; how they originate, not only the horse, also the interaction with the human. More and more blurry words come into action, we need to know what we mean; no evidence there is a hierarchy between horses, but certainly dominance, attachment as in the importance not only for the human and the dog but also the other way around, separation anxiety not only when the horse leaves other horses but also when leaves a human.
Cognition - prefrontal cortex, little evidence that animals have it as developed as humans, we need to know more about what goes on. Need to be aware of what we teach the horse, as we might think they learn one thing when they've really learned somethibg else.
Over- or underestimating horses' intelligence has negative welfare implications. Isolation, restricted locomotion and restricted foraging have welfare implications.
2. Use learning theory appropriately - Habituation/horses become accustoned to things, including desensitisation - what is the level? Operant conditioning/positive, negative reinforcement and positive, negative punishment, not as in values but positive as in adding and negative as in taking away, ex taking away something attractive for negative punishment. Classical conditioning/predictable hints and signals, the horse feels in control, safe.
The optimal use of the most appropriate learning process in training not only enhances efficiency, but also reduces the problem behaviours related to confusion or inability to respond.
3. Easy-to-discriminate signals - ensure operantly conditioned responses to establish gaits, faster or slower, longer or shorter, turning of forlegs/hindlegs and head/neck flexions/head carriage. Blurred and ambivalent signals can lead to confusion, distress and responses that compromise performance and rider safety.
4. Shape responses and movements - the horse has no idea about what our aim of the training is, so we gradually move into the next level. The order of shaping is stimulus control, speed control, directional control, the refinements of the head and neck position and the reliability in different environments.
5. Elicit responses one-at-a-time - ensure individual cues so signals are separated in time from each other. Applied in limb swing phases, as that's when it's physically most possible.
When contradictory cues are applied simultaneously, such as those for acceleration and deceleration, the desensitation effects are magnified and confusion and stress are likely to set in.
6. Train only one response per signal - making it easy to discriminate, having just one operant response associated with them, ex bending the neck with one rein, as it would be confused with turning and might lead to confusion and learned helplessness.
7. Form consistent habits - the training set-up having the same contexts, the same signals, the same part of the horse's body or in the same location relative to the horse's body. After consolidation, locations can be gradually altered. Ensure transitions are of the same structure and duration each time until consolidation. Ex in dressage you go on three beats, one foreleg, the next foreleg and completion, all the top dressage riders do it, even though they may not be aware of it.
8. Train persistence of responses (self carriage) - train the horse to keep going, in rythm, straightness and outline, to avoid any need for constant signalling and the risk of the horse habituating to signals.
9. Avoid and dissociate flight responses - they resist extinction and trigger fear. manifest as acute or chronic stress.
10. Demonstrate minimum levels of arousal sufficient for training, to ensure absence of conflict - training should be able to show that the horse is at optimal relaxation levels for the task. Certain levels of arousal are wanted, as we don't want dullness without muscle tone, but we need to be careful, as learning and welfare may suffer when the levels are exceeded.
Paul McGreevy et al - Hyperflexing horses' necks, a meta-analysis
The history of hyperflexion - old masters never recommend it (Cavendish 1667, Baucher 1838, Fillis 1890) even though horses are pictured hyperflexed in pictures, may be just a taste in art.
Lashley et al (2014) have documented higher scores in elite dressage in horses being behind the vertical.
Literature search shows 55 articles on head-neck positions. Brachiocephalicus is more active, trapezius, splenius, rectus are less active, strengthening the lower outline more than the upper, which is less desirable. However, there are desired gymnastical effects, but are they learned or a result of physical outcome?
We know of airway obstruction, and 67 percent of the papers report a negative outcome for horse welfare. Other reasons for compromised welfare being pathologic changes in the structure of the neck, impaired forward vision, stress and pain eue to these factors.
Gymnastical effect has been reported; desired effects in 26 percent and undesired in 23 percent of the papers. Desired effects included higher dressage scores, a larger range of motion in the back or legs or an increased overall workload. Undesired effects were lower dressage scores, increased activation of lower neck muscles and reduced oxygen supply. Gymnasic benefits were more likely to be found on higher level dressage horses and horses used to the posture than non-dressage and horses not used to the method.
88 percent of the studies indicated that a hyperflexed position is undesired, as it negatively impacts welfare.
Paul McGreevy et al - Difference between amateurs and professionals in round pen training technique
NH training styles are heterogenous. Attachment, arousal and aversive.
Round pen training sessions are in two phases, on/flight and off/no flight.
Adding flight to a problem may not have a good outcome.
Online videos and their attached texts were studied, 24 of amateur and 21 of professional trainers were used. More chasing was observed by amateurs than by professionals.
Professionals spent more time looking at the horse than waving their arms, and the opposite was recorded for the amateurs. Horses handled by professionals showed fewer conflict behaviours. However, they also showed less so-called submissive behaviours (head lowering, licking, chewing) than the amateur handled horses. This indicates that conflict behaviour is more likely in horses showing so-called submission. That may be because horses with conflict behaviour were chased unnecessarily, with pressure applied persistently. Mirroring ridden exercises, it highlights the importance of timing.
Following the trainer is often regarded as desired in round pen training, but horses were not more prone to follow after being chased, regardless of trainer category.
Excellent timing is mandatory when using negative reinforcement. Chasing must be minimized and triggered with only subtle cues.
Gemma Pearson et al - More than just horse play
Veterinarian profession is more injury-bound than any other profession.
How often do you come across horses that you percieve as being difficult? The study showed 63 percent weekly, 95 percent each month. Bargy/pushy was the most common problem - 95 percent recorded it monthly, after that other problems such as won't stand still 92 percent, needle-shy 91 percent. Plus head shy, clipper shy, kick out with hind foot, pull away, will not load, strike with a front foot, rear, in falling order, plus lesser frequent behaviours, deliberately standing on your foot being the least.
81 percent of the vets sustained at least one injury in the past five years.
The vets had a potentially dangerous situation at least every day.
Methods of control - 99 percent said sedation is very useful. Second most popular was the nose twist.
Knowledge about behaviour terminology: Positive reinforcement 20 percent. Negative reinforcement 7 percent. Further questions showed they did not know clearly about negative reinforcement. Overshadowing 8 percent (67 percent said they had no idea).
Veterinarians have a poor understanding of equine learning theory. Biggest feedback is that the terminology is confusing. Use removal reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement?
If you don't understand the terminology, you don't understand the methodology.
Ahmed Ali, not present, presented by Camie Heleski, (et al) - Nose twitching, do you feel comfortable using a twist?
Aggressive behaviour in working horses, donkeys and mules, highest in mules. Study mainly done in Egypt.
Twitching resembles acupuncture more than diverted pain, according to one of the very few studies found.
In short range sessions can a twitch be useful, as horses may suffer more when not treated, especially when working equids may not be so easy to handle.
Dominic Lombardo, Equla data technology
Demographics and technology, cambrion explosion of equine technology.
Inexpensive for everyday rider.
Hoof shoe sensor modelled on snow pad recording relative motion like in oil drills; ground reaction, force, location.
Measures real time soundness, as in leaning more on one front foot, early warning prevention.
Apps, the cloud, database, statistics as in how much impact can a racehorse take over a specific time before it gets injured.
Purchase analytics, how to quantify behaviour when buying a horse for a child.
Hilary Clayton - Biomechanics for equitation scientists
What is biomechanics? The definition being studying the structure and function of biological systems using the methods of mechanics. Gait analysis is one branch of it. Biomechanics can be used to evaluate performance and assess training techniques. Kinetics is the study of movements.
Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria for the international standard on veterinary anatomic terminology, in Latin and English, on internet.
Terminology Anatomica, on humans, only printed.
Body movement - Translational motion; involves a change in position without a change in orientation. Rotational motion; involves a change in orientation (angle). Most of the movements of horse and rider involve a combination.
Translations along the three body axes, rotational around the three body axes.
Translations along three ortogonal body axes, longitudinal, vertical, transverse. Specify the positive direction, positive forward, upward.
Body planes - Transverse, dorsal and median/sagittal plane.
Body directions - Dorsal or ventral, cranial or caudal, proximal or distal. Posterior or anterior/superior or inferior on humans.
Rotations - Positive rotation by thumb role/pointing directions with thumb, then positive is direction of fingers in closed hand.
Pitch positive is nose down, positive roll is left hip up.
Rider pelvic pitch rotation - Anterior rotation positive value/hollowing, posterior rotation negative value/rounding. need to do use both.
Rider pelvic roll rotation - Sitting more on one seatbone.
Nyquist theorem, a sampling frequency at least twice as high as the highest frequency. Ten times the frequency is a recommendation.
Corex equine, app that works on the sensor in the phone.
Kirstie Parker et al - Rein tension during therapeutic riding lessons
Use of horses in therapy, therapeutic riding, equine assisted therapy, hippotherapy.
Welfare of the equid used in therapeutic riding. Rein tension, reins may or may not be attached to the bit. Greater tensions were seen with reins attached to the bit than to the D-ring of the head collar worn underneath the bridle.
Vision the disability with highest rein tension, needs to be looked into further. Also influenced by rein type, the webbing being the most influential for rein tension.
Hayley Randle and Megab O'Neill - The effect of martingale attachments on rein tension in the ridden horse
The use of a martingale showed significantly lower rein tension than no martingale when ridden by novice riders.. No significant difference between Irish and running martingales. The result suggests that martingales may have a place in training the novice rider. Very important is that the martingale is correctly fitted. A follow-up study will look at other variables, like in which order the horses are ridden in the test.
Lindsay Nakonechny et al - Current usage and perceptions of artifical aids by horse enthusiasts in Canada
Whips and spurs are more often used for reinforcement than for correcting. Head devices the same. Beginner riders may resort to artificial aids for disciplinary purposes, but communication about artificial aids may prevent misuse and enhamce horse welfare.
Janne Winther Christensen et al - Subjective scoring of rideability by professional riders, is it linked to objective measures?
With sensors on the horses, ten professional riders rode a dressage program level M on the German scale, each horse was ridden by different riders.
The more conflict behaviours the horse showed, the less were the rideability scores, as conflict behaviour was percieved negatively by the rider or horses with conflict behaviour were difficult to ride.
Other factors were rein tension, heart rate and cortisol in the saliva.
Do professional riders agree? No.
Most of the riders tended to have a little more weight on the right side of the saddle and the opposite regarding rein tension. This was recorded by sensors to measure stability of the riders position and saddle pressure pads.
Can we detect rider differences? Yes.
As the higher the rein tension, the higher the horses' heart rate. The higher the rein tension, the more conflict behaviours were expressed. Riders were between them different regarding rein tension, and some applied significantly more rein tension throughout the ten horses than the other riders. The distribution of saddle pressure also varied, but those data remain to be analysed, together with salivary cortisol, heart rate and rider position.
Rideability scores depended on the level of conflict behaviour, and had considerable variation in subjective rideability scores. One of the horses had a score as varied as between points 1 to 8.
Paul McGreevy et al - Whip rule breaches in Australian horseracing using Steward's Reports
Any movement in the saddle is contradictory to central mass, so taking the hand off the rein does disturb the motion.
Backhand whipping lands with more force than forehand, surprisingly, as backhand is regarded as less severe.
Nearly twice as many breaches were reported at Metropolitan tracks than Provicial or Country tracks in the study over a 100-day period in Australia.
Kirrilly Thompson and Laura Haigh - Resisting transitions or being forced into a frame
Unhelpful frames of view: Equitation is an art that involves feel, involves complex relations.
Not all science is good science, it can be used disingenously, treating horses like machines.
Helpful frames: Improve riding, confirm your work, chances of success, reduce wastsge and distress, more efficient, humane and successful.
Positivistic views of science may be incapable of incorporating feel.
Equitation science interpretation and support varies, incorporating it can enhance uptake, those for and against have the same desires, what are you selling? Research, learning theory, knowledge, welfare, change the messageing according to people, scientists are not always the best communicators.
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