Double E

Double E used to be the toughest course of study at Texas A&M in the engineering school. When you met an Aggie that was an EE major, you automatically knew he was brilliant and tough. That was electrical engineering. I have, however, come to use the term in a different way; extinction, and enhancement. Extinction of behaviors that are instinctive, but not helpful in training a young (or old) horse, and enhancement of behaviors that we wish to see more of in our equine student.A “for instance” might be, in the round pen, when I “encourage” our pupil to gallop around the outer wall of the pen, frequently turning him back the reverse direction until he gives up his fear, and faces us, licking and chewing, in his submission. We are working to extinguish the instinctive “fear and avoidance” response by using flight inhibition – the round pen.

Enhancement is accomplished when I ask for forward movement with a cluck of my tongue as I am walking beside him, doing “in hand” work, and associate the clucking sound with a tap of the stick as a reinforcer. Then, I quit tapping the instant he moves. After multiple repetitions he moves forward after hearing the clucking of the tongue, without the reinforcement of the stick. We are enhancing a nice soft “go button” which is certainly a desirable behavior.

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