Attentive and thoughtful behavior is taught and expected in this herd!

Besides Sterling, my Andalusian stallion who is now 4 years old, I have a 19 year old thoroughbred gelding who is his pasture mate. The boys live inside of the track system that the girls live on and they can travel the property together separated by the fence. You can see the dirt track behind Sterling in the photo below. Sterling If I have a complaint about Sterling it’s that his right front foot is so difficult to trim because he cannot, or  I believe will not just stand there and hold it up for me to trim it. He pulls it forward and paws. This is not something he does when he stands tied, waiting, only when I want to trim it.  If you have followed my blog, you’ll know I have spoke of this before. Currently I am steeped in Linda Kohanov’s book “The Power of the Herd.” I likely have been reading it’s parts for a year now because I believe its information is applicable every day in every situation. In fact In the Company of Horses has a workshop based in these understandings. Yesterday when I went to get Sterling to trim , Harley came right along with us.  I tied Sterling to the hitching rail, gathered my stuff and began trimming.  If he was attentive and thoughtful with his feet and my trimming, every few minutes he would get praise and a cookie, if he was not, a no and no cookie.  Well, Harley caught on to this pretty quick and came over to get a cookie, but the price was to get a foot trimmed first.  Now Harley has no problems getting his feet trimmed but Sterling watched as I talked and worked with Harley at liberty to get his feet trimmed, just one at a time and I made a big fuss telling him he was a good boy, lots of rubs and a cookie.  Then I would go to one of Sterling’s easier feet and do the same.  If he pulled any of them away at any time, I just let it go, said no and went back to Harley to trim another foot, lavish him with praise and cookies and then back to Sterling again. Sterling and Harley Running Happily Harley has 4 feet to trim because it took that much back and forth for Sterling to catch on and stand, holding his foot up and waiting with attention and thoughtful behavior, being careful of me, while getting his feet trimmed, getting tons of  “good boys” and of course cookies! Wearing shorts and sneakers is another good incentive for a girl to not fight with a big horse to get his feet trimmed!

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