Originally Posted on September 28, 2019 at https://mertensdvm.wordpress.com/blog/
Using complete freedom, a few well-timed treats, and within the space of 4 weeks, we showed that horse there was nothing to be scared of.–KATH MERTENS, DVM
Red has his farrier appointment yesterday–his first one since beginning clicker training 4 weeks ago. I’ve worked with him and his owner, Olivia, one day a week for about 30 min total each time. Maybe 10 of those minutes are dedicated me-with-horse time. The other 20-odd minutes are demonstrating, teaching, and having Olivia give it a try.
Red was fabulous! So was Olivia, for that matter! She stood with Red for the farrier appointment (all-around trim, and re-set of shoes on the front feet), rewarding him for the behaviors she wanted to see (standing calmly for the farrier) and one would never have known this could be the same horse which was so terrified one month before. I wish I had video of his previous behavior; but what I do have, on video, is the farrier’s description of that behavior. [link under construction].
Also watching the appointment was barn owner Lynn, who stated several times how tremendous a change she was witnessing after just one month. You can see a very calm horse in the photos (head lowered to withers height), a horse yielding front and back feet with ease.
I think it’s worth emphasizing that ALL of Red’s training was done at complete liberty. I’m not talking without pressure on the lead rope; I’m talking no leadrope, period. No halter. This is a horse who was terrified of the farrier. Using complete freedom, a few well-timed treats, and within the space of 4 weeks, we showed that horse there was nothing to be scared of.
Happy horse, happy owner, and you can bet a very happy farrier.
~Thinking horses? Think Positive.