Online Training Lessons Page 3
Trust Me and My Tools
Lesson 3 -Introducing the equipment to your horse
Introduce your horsemanship stick and lead rope to your horse from both sides of the horse and practice using them with your horse until they don't feel threatened and are relaxed around your tools.
Some horses will allow you to rub them immediately with your stick or rope and other horses will see it and leave the planet so here are some strategies to use with your horse to desensitize him/her to your NH tools and encourage him/her to the fact that you're a harmless friend that is not going to eat him or behave like a predator.
Place the rope halter and 12/14ft line on your horse in the manner as described earlier in lessons 2A.
3A-Introduce the 12/14ft Line
Try to rub your horse on his back with the 12 or 14ft lead rope scrunched up in your hands-give him/her a massage with this if they let you and if not approach and retreat which means to remove the rope off their backs and re-approach and rub again and repeat and so on until they can tolerate it. Once you can do this move on to see if you can lightly toss the rope over your horses back in a light rhythmic way-retreat if you get a negative reaction and spend more time massaging them with the rope again and try again and repeat until they can handle the rope tossing over their backs and legs and head etc...This will not happen all at once but is a goal to work towards and after several sessions you should be able to have success with this. You should not move on until you can do this.
After each session score yourself out of 10-10 being they can take the pressure of the rope all over them and even like it and 1 being they can't stand it. Here's a good tip-don't tiptoe around a spooky horse or you'll make him more spooky as he looks to you for leadership-if you're calm about it he will be too. Just be a matter of fact about it and he'll get used to it. Don't ever assume once he is ok with it that he will be the same on the other side or remember the excercise tomorrow-keep praticing and approach and retreat is the key to success here.
3B-Introduce the Stick and String
You Horsemanship Stick should be shown to the horse and let him have a good sniff of it. Please let him chew the leather tip if he wants to and try to mimic brushing his teeth with it if he does this as he'll soon get bored with it and spit it out. However don't force your horse to be interested in it if they aren't into it-again be very calm in your behaviour and he will sense this and follow your lead.
The final goal here is to be able to rub your horse all over with your Stick as well as toss the string all over him as if it was the tail of another horse and you were shooing off flies-we also use this as a desensitisation game and our aim is for our horse to really like being rubbed with the stick or string so try to rub his itchy spots with it if possible. The success of this exercise will make your horse braver to all sorts of things but start off slowly or you will make him worried about the stick and string-try to remember APPROACH AND RETREAT
Some horses may take many sessions to be ok with the stick and some will pop it in their mouths and run off with it for playtime if you let them on the first session- each horse has a completely different personality and I have found them all to be very different-some braver than others about some things.
Another tip is if at anytime you get frustrated, upset or angry you must immediately leave the horse and head inside for a cuppa as there is no place for those feelings in horse training. In fact they have ruined many a good horse and human relationship and in our Natural Horsemanship training it's up to us to put our friendship and bond with the horse as our top priority-above all training techniques and lessons etc....
So come back when you are calm and collected and start a fresh. It will be much better in the long run with this approach and your horse will thank you for being this way and respect your emotional fitness too.
If the horse is scared of the Stick try giving them the whole length of the long leadline so they can drift and keep them at the end of it. Rub the actual 12/14ft rope with the Stick down towards your horse from your end of the rope with your Stick and then retreat back up to your end of the rope while still rubbing it but keep rubbing and stop and turn your body away for 30 seconds when he can either tolerate it for 15 seconds while keeping his feet still or when he shows relaxation by either blowing or licking and chewing or even when he lowers his head which are all signs of calmness and therefore acceptance.
Rub the rope again and retreat a step and so on until s/he can actually tolerate the stick being closer to him/her and eventually have it on his/her back, legs, head, neck etc..Please remember that any signs of discomfort or unease from your horse should send you retreating a step or 2 backwards with the Stick but not quitting as if you quit it will have taught him/her that they were right to be scared of it.
Try to keep your Stick held low and have the intention of it being a massager rather than a whip and your horse will read this from your body language.
Another exercise is to walk away from your horse and have them follow on the 12/14ft line while slapping the ground on each side of you with the string and Stick as you're walking again in a rhythmic fashion. I use 4 beats and then repeat and eventually your horse will realise it's not a whip and will even go calm when you rub or use your string on him which is exactly what we want :)
Natural Horse will not be liable for any injuries sustained by the incorrect use of these techniques as you are responsible for you and your equines safety.