How to recognize and fix it.
The definition of “destination addiction” as it applies to human beings is: a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it will never be where you are.
Another name for this behavior issue might be the “if only” syndrome. If only this was different, if only that would happen, if only that other person would change.
While horses don’t have the intellect to embrace the “idea” of happiness, they know what feels comfortable to them and what doesn’t, and they experience equine destination addiction with commonly seen manifestations such as “gate addiction,” “buddy sour,” “barn sour,” etc. They can suffer from anxiety and they are thinking if only I could get to the gate, or if only I could get back to the barn, or if only I could go stand near that other horse, my anxiety would go away.
In other words, there is someplace else they would rather be than Here and Now, with us, their owners and riders.
The palomino horse doesn't want to be away from his buddy, the paint horse.
A Few Thoughts on Feel and Timing
We all remember that scene in An Officer and a Gentleman: Sargent Foley/Lou Gossett Jr. is screaming at Zack Mayo/Richard Gere, trying to get him to DOR (drop out) of Navy Flight School.
Foley: I want your DOR!
Mayo: I ain’t gonna quit!
Foley: You can forget it, you’re out!
Mayo: Don’t you do it – don’t! . . . . I got nowhere else to go!
So here’s the corollary to horse training: if we start out at the highest level of pressure, and the horse doesn’t respond the way we want him to . . .
. . . . we got nowhere else to go!
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