Sunday, January 24, 2016


So yesterday I wrote about things I'd already written about, and forgot to write about something important. Sometimes I think my brain is old before its time.

On Wednesday Duncan and I had a frustrating session working on picking up hind feet. We both were tired and desperate by the end. He would kind of pick up a foot then step down on it, or sometimes he wouldn't even try, and he'd move away. I'd yield his hindquarters around and around, then try again. A few times toward the end I trotted him off in a small circle instead of yielding hindquarters.

He really is such a sweet boy. Through all of this, he never once thought about kicking me. He just doesn't want me to have his leg, so he stands on it, moves it away, puts it down. He is apprehensive and off-balance. He isn't mean spirited, he just never learned that this is okay.

Finally, as it was getting too dark to see, he let me set his pastern on my knee. I kept it for a split second, then gently set it down. Praise and pets! Step back and let him soak that in. Licking and chewing. Two more times we did it, the last time I was able to leave his hoof on my knee and rub his leg all over. Super proud, pleased praise.

I left him after that, his reward my absence.  I didn't even go to the other hind leg at all.

We didn't work on it again until yesterday, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Either we had a breakthrough or we didn't.

My first ask made him move away just slightly and weight that leg. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and asked again without "punishing" him for moving off. He did it! I went to the other side and he did it there too! I didn't ask for anything more than a brief hold. Short and sweet. We'll build on that.


Linda said...

Big improvement. You're doing it right. Small steps, big gains.

T.L. Merrybard said...

Clever boy Duncan!!!!

Linda said...

Thanks for stopping in and commenting. An old trainer friend of mine use to tell me that horses don't forget much...right or wrong...sounds like you did it right.