By Kathie Gregory
There is a general perception that using food in teaching will cause the horse to be rude, mug you, be “pushy,” or start nipping. People often dismiss the possibility of using food for these reasons, but the above situations can arise when working with any animal, it is not unique to horses. There are plenty of dogs who will behave in the same manner if they haven’t been trained otherwise…All of these words are labels from a human perspective. In fact, a horse does not know the concept of being rude, mugging, or pushy. From his perspective, he is simply trying to achieve a desirable outcome…When we use food as a means of motivation, reinforcement, and reward, we are activating the seeking system within the brain. This puts the mind in an appetitive state, and the horse is motivated to seek whatever has motivated him, in this case, food. This results in different emotions. Read more.