Temple Grandin’s Wisdom

Temple Grandin’s chapter on horses in her book Animals Make Us Human is filled with such valuable advice on working with horses that if I were training a horse I’d memorize what she says. Here are a couple of examples: “The real secret of horse whisperers and expert horsemen is that they understand the behaviors associated with different emotional states and they have also figured out that a reward or a cue has to be given within one second after a desired behavior occurs for the horse to make the association.” And “Behavioral trainers never talk about vices and depravity. Behaviorists are some of the most ‘optimistic’ . . . trainers there are, because if . . . an animal isn’t learning, a behaviorist is trained to examine what he is doing wrong, not what the . . . animal is doing wrong. This means that behavioral . . . trainers don’t blame the student.”

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