Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pat pat pat

Horses don't like to be patted, but nearly everyone does it. I've had a couple overbearing male horse trainers insist to me that you should never, ever pat a horse. Sorry, but I disagree completely. They need to be familiar enough with a friendly pat that it doesn't cause them to react dangerously or even just be troubled in their own mind by it. It's not fair to them to not prepare them for what people ARE GOING to do.

Luc has been super offended by it, understandably, since I adopted him. I kept putting off dealing with it. Recently he's been handled more by people other than me and sure enough, every one of them patted him. Even when they were consciously trying not to. Even equine professionals do it. It's so hard not to do! If he had kicked them it would have been my fault for letting the situation come about in the first place. He isn't a kicker, thank goodness.

So today I patted him. A lot. I allowed him to graze in a lush spot and pat pat pat, rub rub rub. Gently and with rhythm, moving to different parts of his body, and gradually increasing the energy of the pats. Not slapping, though. We spent several minutes in the morning and another session in the evening, mixed in with some other exercises. I am so pleased with him! I should have done this a long time ago. It really wasn't a big ordeal at all. He still doesn't like it, but we'll eventually get to where it doesn't make him freeze up or move off in discomfort.


T.L. Merrybard said...

Good work! Associating it with yummy grazing will soon have him at least not minding it.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Thanks! I got some interesting comments on social media, about how people should never be allowed to touch a horse the wrong way. And one should never touch someone else's horse without permission. I guess that's one way to do it. Seems to me it would create a diva who couldn't be handled by most people. But I guess to each her own... I wouldn't be riding with someone like that, I don't think!