Happy New Year to all. Dr. Deb, while lurking some time back, I came across an entry wherein you had stated your horse has learned to accommodate stress or fear by moving his feet, but staying in place. I believe it was in reference to a tree branch falling through his stall roof. I cannot seem to find that again, even using the search function. I could use education on how to achieve that. Twice my horse has been startled by something while tied, and rather than move side to side, has pulled back in the halter, furthering his distress. In order to avoid a wreck in which he or me could get hurt, I have since only tied him with a loose friction tie and a longer lead, which allows him more room to move back without getting firmly "caught" and me time to react and have him move to the side before he pulls free. But what can I do to better train him to move without pulling as his first option?
Related skills that I have suggested to you repeatedly:
(a) Untracking is the basis for all safety, as well as all performance, with horses. The horse must be taught to yield the inside hind leg promptly whenever asked. One starts this off the tie, of course, in hand, on the ground, out in the middle of the arena.
(b) Rarey said, teach the horse to lead in a pen by sitting on the rail at one corner (in 1831 they used square pens). Then, just make sure your rope that you have attached to the halter is longer than the diagonal dimension of the pen.
(c) Learn to groom and tack up at liberty, and practice this instead of any other way of tacking up whenever it is safe to do so.
(d) Teach the horse to step back, one step at a time, so that you are teaching him to wait for the feel coming from you.
(e) Teach the horse to come forward promptly -- when you leave, he is to prepare to leave by raising the life in his body and getting "up" on his feet. Teach him that it is HIS job to keep pushing slack into the line. That is also your job too.
And no, it wasn't a tree falling onto Ollie's stall; Ollie doesn't live in a stall. But we do use the tie-rack in the barn sometimes, when it isn't possible to groom/tack up at liberty because the arena is already in use. No, what bugged him was Canada Geese landing on the roof; they sound like elephants, and of course he can't see where the strange noise is coming from. So he 'danced' pretty fast and he got pretty tall, but he never took the slack out of that line.
If you find after reading that, that you still need more help -- write back, or indeed, invite me over since we are neighbors.
Did you get my recent EMail about announcements to OPRC? Thanks -- Dr. Deb
Thank you. To that last part, yes, should be on the agenda Monday. I'll also send a group e-mail. Hoping the club wants a clinic; if not Fritizie and I will be glad to commission a lesson from you at our place.