This just in

In a freakishly well-timed and serendipitous follow up to yesterday’s post about horse-training styles, this just in from research at ISU regarding parents’ influence on children.  Dr. Laczniak has done some great work.  Because I am always thinking horses, it occurred to me that if you substitute “riders” for parents, “horses” for children, and “horses acting like monkeys” for “children playing violent video games”, all of the same conclusions could apply. An excerpt from the original article:

Three dimensions of parental styles – warm, restrictive, and anxious-emotional – were examined for the study. In the paper, researchers explained that warm parents tend to refrain from physical discipline and show approval through affection. Restrictive parents set and enforce firm rules for the household. Anxious-emotional parents are often overprotective and show elevated emotions when interacting with their children.

(Dr. Russell) Laczniak says the research team expected children with warm or restrictive parents would spend less time playing violent video games. However, they were surprised to see the impact of anxious-emotional parents. He and his colleagues included this dimension based on past studies, which found that children of anxious-emotional parents tend to have more problems. The biggest takeaway for parents is to set limits and be more calmly detached in the relations with their children.

“If parents want to reduce the amount of violent video games that their kids play, be warm when dealing with them, but somewhat restrictive at the same time, and set rules and those rules will work,” Laczniak said. “For parents, who are more anxious, the rules become less effective and those kids are going to play more.”

– See more at: http://www.news.iastate.edu/news/2015/10/07/parentsvideogames#sthash.X1xJwu8C.dpuf

So it turns out that a game of hot and cold, with an emphasis on the warm is the best way to influence those in our care, whether they be horses or people.

Here is that article with my ridiculously non-academic, horse-related substitutions:

Three dimensions of riding styles – 1) warm, 2) restrictive, and 3) anxious-emotional – were noted by Stockhausen in a very anecdotal manner during her riding and teaching. She noted that warm riders tend to refrain from physical discipline and show approval through affection. Restrictive riders set and enforce firm rules for the ride. Anxious-emotional riders are often overprotective and show elevated emotions when interacting with their horses and sometimes refer to their horses as “fur-children,” to the quiet horror of those passers-by unfortunate enough to overhear that which can not be unheard.

Stockhausen thinks that the completely undisciplined, random observations she has made over time suggest that horses with warm or restrictive riders spend less time acting like monkeys. And she was not surprised to see the impact of anxious-emotional riders. She includes this dimension based on past experience, which noted that horses of anxious-emotional riders tend to have more problems fitting in to polite horse society. The biggest takeaway for riders is to set limits and be more calmly detached in the relations with their horses.

“If riders want to reduce the amount of monkey-like horse behavior, they should be warm when dealing with them, but somewhat restrictive at the same time, and set rules, and those rules will work,” Laczniak originally said about people and Stockhausen completely agrees when applied to horses. “For riders who are more anxious, the rules become less effective and those horses are going to act like monkeys.”


My grateful apologies to Dr. Laczniak for allowing me to ride the coat tails of his excellent work to help me express what I have noticed in my mere anecdotal equestrian observations.  If I have some thing to add to the Universe it is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants.

Thank you Dr. Laczniak.

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