Positive Reinforcement – The Solution! (I hope)

We are into our fourth session.  The first one was WAAAY TOOO LOOONG.  I learned from that and now do much shorter sessions.  I knew the first session was too long because after I got through the third leg, Sterling was not interested anymore.  Today’s session was very clear to him, when his foot was softly in the air, he got paid, if he was pawing or throwing it out in front, No Pay. Being positive is FUN! Image

I first played around with having Valentine put her nose on an old feed bag that we use for a prop at work. It took 8 minutes – tops. So I had high expectations!   The coolest part of Valentine’s single session was that she is always rooting around looking for something in my pocket, she learned in that one short session rooting equals nothing.  Looking for the answer is the answer!  She was funny, when I was done, I left her in the arena and the bag was in there, I went to the viewing room, she first followed me, then she went to put her nose on the bag.  just waiting!  Continue reading

@ 2.5 years old, he reminds me of my human sons!

Most days I bring him out of his field, have a bit of time with him, maybe walk or eat hay or maybe some grain, perhaps I’ll groom him, but I always tie him to the hitching rail for 1/2 hour or so.  All this goes well, but having him stand with his front feet on the hoof jack for trimming is always an adventure.



When I lift up his front foot to put it on the hoof jack out in front of him, he has quite a bit of trouble just keeping his foot there without lifting it high up in the air to do something sassy with it.   I’ve changed the height of the hoof jack to make it taller/more comfortable and still He can’t seem to keep his foot calmly there or his other past time is putting his mouth with the potential of teeth on my head/neck/shoulders because I’m out there in front of him bent over looking at his foot.  So, what I do is employ all of my techniques and ideas until I eventually get mad and yell at him.  Then, he stands quietly,  and softly lays his nose on the side of my head, not biting or messing with my hair, for as long as I want.  And here is my question about it all. Why can’t he just stand there and wait BEFORE I get mad?  My sons grew out of testing behaviors, I trust Sterling will too!

Another Sterling Moment!

BluebirdI was helping Sterling and his gelding friend go over the creek bridge to get to the hay. He’s big now at 2.5 years old and with the recent cold snap, he is full of himself! So I was walking through his field and was talking with him about being careful of me and my space when all of the sudden I saw blue birds! I live in NJ and have never seen blue birds here! I have blue jays but they are different than blue birds.
So while my attention is turned to the birds as they were flitting about, I was telling Sterling to look and wait. I feel him close behind me then his head over my shoulder and his nose on my cheek, looking with me at the Bluebirds.
Ahhh…. Horses…..