What is the best Retreat and Reward for a horse?
Taking the pressure off from them in any kind and way. (my view).
When I want to work with a colt I would divide my work to three parts, in the end of each part I would unfasten the girth, Take the saddle and the saddle pad off, put a rug (depending on the weather) on the horse take him/her for a walk , when the breathing becomes normal and still the body is warm I put the saddle back on and fasten the girth and do my 2nd part of my session and I will do the same for the last part of my session also, Some times I don't do the other parts of my session if I see something is going wrong and I would stop right there and END it for the day.
The steps we divide for one session of learning (incremental learning) and it's time has not to be done to the end this is in the hands of the Trainer , Trainer decides when is the right time to work , work on what and when is the right time to end the session and this is important.
I would break a session in different parts and make my steps smaller , sometimes I should finish much sooner than I thought it would take for a session and I should of end it much sooner than what I thought.
I would show them what ever I see in my environment , what ever there is even a magazine well the sound of paper is so important for the horse or sound of plastic and the air coming out of a big ball, The crush sound of a dry bush. Learning the Rope and its shape and feel it with their body from the very first days of life, To introduce each of these I break it to different slices in each one for example if I want to introduce the sound and shape of a plastic pag I would do it in different slices and I might not go to the end in one session (horses are different in learning and have different characters just like human beings).
This is one of the subjects that could help many riders, if we know what to do and when to do it this is the greatest tool (well this tool is a little different with other tools because it is not just a tool it is lots of things combined when we want to Reward a horse by taking pressure off) for teaching and introducing something new to your horse specially the young horses , from the colt going to a well trained horse.
This is the most effective non violent tool for working with a horse at any age , also is a reward for the horse and the greatest of rewards which horse loves and understands in its nature because there is no Advance to be Retreated and Rewarded as we believe horses are flight animal and the most free wild creatures which they are living on lands which has no end in the wild as herds living by voices they only could hear and body language they could tell and survived for around 45 million years , we in prison them by domesticating them.
Work much better than food as treads.
Wish you the best,