Equine Instinctive Learning Nature by Association

(The instinctive nature of life - Part III-B)

If you have not read the Part 1, Part 2, Part 3-A, do not bother to read this.

I am sure that you have heard of the concept that horses (animals) learn by the so-called "association". In most cases these publications are presented by people that have very little experience in working with animals. Most of the time it is presented by folks that already have some kind of theoretical education through which they look at the animals and the natural world. Therefore their so-called "scientific research" is founded not on reality but on their understanding of the theories that they've previously studied. In any case, I will present a few simple examples so folks could not only understand it but mainly become aware of it when with horses.

Image 1.
The animal's self-awareness created by its senses and the environment.
The senses deliver the environmental self-awareness to us and the animals alike.
The five senses are the five fingers that form the animal psyche on the inborn instincts platform via the new gained instincts from the environment. And so we can train them.

Image 2.

Image 3.
Self-awareness and Existential awareness.
Now you may understand why we see things backwards and upside down.
Your reflection in a mirror, goes up and down with you, it goes back and forth with you, but to the sides it goes into the opposing direction.
(That is 6+1 dimensional awareness and not 3)
You'll need a higher awareness to grasp that.

Image 4.
All new - gained instincts are permanently linked one way or the other to the inborn instincts via the association with the senses and the things and life in the environment.
The five senses are the five fingers that form the animal psyche on the inborn instincts platform via the new gained instincts from the environment. And so we can train them.

  As mentioned in the previous segments, horses, like us, have the five sensory perceptions of the physical environment, or as we often call it, the "five senses". As often in a genuine science, it is best to present these facts in some kind of artistic visual presentation, hence I often say that truth has to be seen. It would be best to imagine the "instinctive tree" in some kind of a dome, where the dome is these five senses, the five types of awareness.

   Through these senses the horse becomes aware of the environmental realities which the animal then can feel. These senses thus become part of the associative instinctive learning process. In short, the horse not only becomes aware of the realities through these senses, but also associates the reality with these senses. This is what I would call the association A, and then there is the so-called B association.

   The A associations are often overlapping, and so do the B associations, meaning that the horses associate a certain reality not only with one sense like the smell, but often and in most cases with smell, sound, sight and so forth and such. The B association is also often overlapped, which I will explain as I go. It is best to imagine these sequences, or combinations, of associations as some kind of a chain, each association being one link in this chain that is then connected by another chain link to the instinctive tree at the particular "place/branch" according to its significance in relevance to the self-preservation instinct (fear/pain), or the proliferation or the need to eat/consume instincts.

   The very important part in understanding the associative learning process is to be aware that horses lack the "existential awareness", hence they have no clue of their state of existence, or better said they have no clue that they are. Because of this lack of awareness they simply have no clue that their body is them. In short the animal simply has no clue that it is looking at itself when looking into the mirror. On the same note the horse has no clue that its body is its body. However, from the time it is born its body delivers feeling to the animal (awareness of pain) and the horse responds. In reality the animal associates its body with pain/feeling rather than with it self, which is what the mirror proves, besides other factors.

   This lack of "existential awareness" can be seen just about in all the responses of the horse to the environment. For example, as many of you have experienced, horses often hit their bodies, mainly hips, when entering the stall. If someone was fortunate to see this in more horses and fairy often, he realizes that individual horses respond differently to almost identical situation.
    Once when the horse feels the pain in the body, it will enter the stall the next time around in different way than previously. Some horses will run through the door, some slow down. Some slow down and try to avoid both sides, and some actually lean to the side that they got hurt, and then end up often hitting the side even harder.
    In the latter case, the horse has associated the pain with the particular side of the door, as with some living creature, and expects to get "hit" when going in, so it leans in the anticipation of the "door attack" and tries to instinctively limit the distance of the impact (some do the opposite and hit the other side in the process), while at the same time trying to get by as fast as possible, since the pain and the "attack of the door" ends once when inside.
    This type of association (as in with the door and not the body) can be seen clearly in that fact that the same horse will lean to the same side of the door (his opposite side) when exiting. In short when hitting the right side of the door when going in, it will lean to the right, and when exiting it will lean to the left and get hit on the left side of its body, the opposite side when going in. Hence this horse did not associate the pain with the side of his body, but rather with the side of the door. In simple words, horses have no clue that they caused that pain themselves.

   "Give me forty acres and I will turn this rig around" - "Give me forty acres with only one tree in the middle of it and I'll show you a horse that will run into it (get hurt from it)".

   The association with the sides of the body can be seen clearly in the following example. The yearlings in the Tb industry are often first time mounted in the stalls. The youngster is first accustomed to the saddle and a bridle, and then in the stall the rider usually first "bellies" the horse, which is almost always done from the left side, and best done while the horse is moving in a tight circle in that stall.
    Once the horse accepts this as harmless, the rider often easily slides his leg over the top of the horse and the smart one will slowly raise himself into a sitting position. Once the horse accepts this as harmless, the rider begins to "ride" the youngster in a tight circle, while urging the animal to move forward, usually by tapping with a riding crop that the horse accepted previously, and learned to respond to, while teaching him to accept the basic riding aids.
    Now, as most of those that have done this know, once the animal is turned around to go into the opposite direction, in this case to the right on this tight circle, many horses (not all) tend to freak out or at least get frightened. This is because they associated via their sight the rider with their left side only, and once when turned into the opposite direction, where they have no previous association with the rider available, they respond with fear, obviously.

    In short, how and with what horses associate the new things and activities in the environment decides how they will respond to given situations.

  The combination of the A and B associations can be clearly demonstrated in the following example. I was shoeing a mare for few years, and she was fairly good and behaved fairly well during the process. She was not exactly a brave horse, though she acted often tough.
    One day I am cutting off the bent nails on the hind legs after I've nailed the shoe on to clinch them. My nail cutter had a wide "throat" and often the clipped off part of the nail flew off (I don't use them anymore ). The clipped off parts of the nail are very small and hardly can cause pain when hitting the horse, but horses will tend to respond to them sometimes as to a fly.
    Nevertheless the clipped off part hit the horse under the belly and the mare totally freaked out and from that point on never was the same for years when I was shoeing her. (Most horses just flinched a little under same circumstances). This also demonstrates the fact that all new information gained by a horse is permanently attached to the "instinctive tree", or one could say to the instinctive memory, and not put into some conscious memory as it is in humans, because the latter horses simply do not have.

  Now this horse associated this experience through and with the sound, and with the part of the body, the belly and the hind leg, and of course with the shoeing process. Since the animal associated this only with the belly and the hind leg, it had no problem with me when I was cutting the nails by the front legs, only with the hind legs. Since the animal did not associate the incident with the side, it was equally apprehensive when working on the opposite hind leg as well.

   The mare associated this incident through and with the sound, hence the next time I came to shoe the mare, her senses were heightened (since she also associated the incident with shoeing) when cutting the nails in the front legs, but that was all. Since nothing happened by shoeing the front legs she accepted that as harmless in just few shoeing, though always displaying a little uneasiness.
   Of course I had to figure out how to deal with this, as reprimanding the mare for such behavior would be not only senseless, but would only make things worse. And so, I have adjusted my work, knowing that the mare associated the incident with the sound, to make sure that when I clipped the nail off, it made no sound. And so, instead of clipping the nails off, I've simply twisted them off, while making sure there is no related sound.
   However, despite that no related incidents happen for the next three years, the mare remained very nervous, and if any similar or unfamiliar sound or any unexpected sound presented itself, the mare simply jumped off my leg forward and very frightened, since her hearing sensory perception was obviously heightened due to her previously gained instinct (past experience) and just about any sound triggered some kind of apprehensive response.

    The mare more likely also associated the incident with me, and so the next farrier might not have experienced the same problem, or at least not at the level. (Horses often associate experiences with the human gender, age, the clothing, smell and such and so forth). And so, how and with what a horse associates the newly acquired instincts will determine the animal's responses in similar situations.
   The "how and with what" associative learning process has simply infinite possibilities and variables, hence no horse is the same. Now when all combined, the individual nature, temperament and "character" (predisposition), the individual self-awareness level and threshold of "pain" (sensitivity), as well as the individual "learning" capability (intelligence) of the horse, we end up with infinite varieties of individualities in horses.
   Henceforth, for this reason alone, anyone that presents some kind of "way", or a method, of training a horse (like often the "natural horsemanship" fools do) is for most part either idiot or person exploiting fools, while presenting a genuine bullshit. People commonly get sucked in by these folks that usually use words like "gentle", "kind", "savvy" or "natural" horsemanship", or "think like a horse" and such and so forth, hardly ever used by horsemen but very appealing to the female public.
    Therefore it is women that are the first in line to get sucked in by these deceivers and manipulators, who often present some bagful of tricks to impress these silly women, and that not without expected effects. (For the same reasons men do not send women to buy a car.)

Totally Clueless - Totally "Blond".
Click here for Wiki's nonsense.
Who cares, as long as it sells.

The "Blond" moment.
No clue what is in front of her, no clue what is happening. People like this are not only danger to them selves and to horses, but mostly to others. The most common excuse by these clueless folks when someone gets hurt is:
"You must have done something wrong, it was not the horse's fault". Yep, that will help a lot.
What genius minds?

Please don't do anything like this even with well trained and behaved horses!
There is a huge difference between being brave or being just plain stupid.

   (Many women that embrace this "natural horsemanship" often say that it worked for them, and that before they took the lessons or learned that way, they could not get done anything with horses, but now the horses are listening to them and they get more done. Of course they have no clue what it is to be able to relate to a horse (since that is all they know), because of if they would, they would have no need for the so-called "cues". People like this are like kids that entered a first grade and never graduate, but say they know more than before they entered the first grade. There is simply no talking to such folks, as their comprehension of themselves, as well as any reality, is almost non-existent. There is simply no way to educate a fool or idiot that thinks he knows when he or she does not.)

    And so, for the above given reasons you may now understand that no one can teach you how to ride a horse, no one can teach you how to handle, train or deal with a horse or horses. In short, no one but the horse can teach you horsemanship, because it is the horse that not only teaches you how to deal with "him", but it also provides you with all the answers to your questions in relevance to the same. And so it is the horse that makes the horseman since the man adjusts his ways to the horse in order to have the horse provide some particular service, or behave in a certain way.
     Needless to say that all this is limited, not only by the reality of the individual horse but also by the horseman, hence all reasonable horsemen know their own limitations, as well as the limitations of the horse, and adjust their handling and responses accordingly, as well as the work requested from the animal.
     Now you may also understand why the books make you so stupid, because instead of getting the information from the horse in "how to", most of the readers try to implement that, which they have read, into the situation. This of course, and needless to say, will result in totally unsuitable responding to the animal by such absolutely clueless person, and people like this are the most responsible for the miserable lives of thousands and thousands of horses that they have messed up, and these unfortunate animals have to live till they die. And so again, and again, "Know thy self!"

    The biggest contributor to animal abuse, especially in horses, is the human ignorance, pride and stupidity, and the worst of all people are those folks that think they know what they are doing. People often ask me, "Do you know what you are doing?" In all cases my response is simple, "NO!" It suffices to say that this worries a lot of people, but not those that know me, and know enough about horses to understand my reply.

    In the past I have often helped some folks in training and riding horses. Often before getting on the horse, after observing the person riding it and having some issues with the animal, the person asked, "What are you going to do"? My response was simple, "I do not know", and then I go, get on the horse and it simply comes to me from the horse what to do.
    Since horses literally imprint all the new gained instincts (all that they lived and experienced) into the instinctive tree, they are sort of like some record of their lives, or like some mirrors of the environments they lived in.
    On the other hand, you may have heard people saying things like, "you have to know how to read the horse", and without getting into it, one is well advised to stay from these fools as well. And then there are those that use terms like, "desensitizing the horse" in relevance to something, which needless to point out comes from genuinely disoriented and confused folks that have no clue what is going on, who they are, let alone what they are doing.

   Once I've said to a woman, "You are the mirror of your horse's life", and she almost went to tears, not having even the slightest clue about what I've meant. I have also said to a woman, "Your horse is the mirror of you", which also went by not understood, but it brought no tears.

     One of the greatest impediments in the learning process in humans in the "modern times" is the so-called "intellectual inferiority complex" (the foundation stone of the "politically correct" concept), which is of the feminine origin and infects kids already in very young age in the shit-places we call "schools".
     We got so infected by this mental ailment that we can't even call anyone stupid when he or she does something stupid. How does one become not stupid if he does not become first aware of his stupidity? How can one stop doing stupid things if they are not pointed out to him for being stupid?
     When I was a young horseman working among the older horsemen I thought that the word stupid was part of my name. Every time someone in the stable said, "Hey stupid", I turned around responding with, "What?" In short, stupid is as stupid does, and the older horsemen perceived it as their duty to point out to the young horseman his stupidity, while also presenting a better way of doing things.
    Today all this speech censorship is brought forth by using the female sensitivity and silliness to simply curb the freedom of speech primarily in men, and not only that, but also the freedom of men. And so, since we can no longer address the stupid student with the word "stupid", we have stupid people with diplomas, which is more than obvious to any human of "average" intelligence and perceptiveness.

      Today, most so-called modern women are openly more profane and shameless then men ever been in the history of human kind. We can tolerate someone calling another person a "motherfucker", but we cannot call anyone stupid. Most women today have no problems with being called "bitch", but most tend to lose their faculties over being called stupid. This is the result of a reason being subjected to emotions/feelings, hence we live in feminine society with men being totally pussy-whipped, or more politely said, totally effeminized, because they subjects themselves to such nonsense as that. There is no time in history that shows men being this insipid, effeminized and weak, as in this time and age. Give a grown man job/money, food, beer, TV and pussy and he is set for life, until boredom and misery sets in, hence one needs not wonder why he needs the beer.

     In conclusion the ability to feel pain is what makes one feel life. The pain itself is the core energy of life, but if improperly managed, whether through too much pleasure or suffering, it will deflate the will to live in all existentially aware life. This is also why animals endure more pain and suffering, because they live, or better said, are driven to live purely from the instinct of self-preservation and have no clue that they could opt to die, hence people commit suicide and animals don't.


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