Friday, February 4, 2011

Bratty Colt, but Great Review Session!

I did a quick session this morning because it was actually thirty degrees outside. There are some snow flurries coming down but it isn't too bad yet. I just reviewed what we already know. I practiced head lowering first, but made sure to feed his treat at chest height to help "reset" him for the next head lower (thanks Mary!). I was a little uncoordinated with it, but I think we were getting the hang of it. I also was practicing on his right side which isn't his favorite.

After about the third or fourth time of him taking the treat politely he took a treat and then immediately snaked his head at me, threatening to nip. Without thinking I smacked his mouth, blocking the nip (although I don't think he really had intentions of making contact). I felt bad for smacking him, but he did not try to nip even once during the rest of the session. Was that totally wrong of me to do? I didn't hurt him. I'm sure it surprised him. He didn't try to bite again and was taking the treats very nicely after . . .

Anyway after that he came right back to me and wasn't head shy or anything. I started working on backing, again on his right side since he needs more practice. At first he was just lowering his head, then he suddenly seemed to realize I had my hand touching his chest and he was perfect after that. I had to position him with his butt downhill because he was not liking backing up a frozen hill haha.

I also worked on pointing to back with me in front of him. He did okay on that, but wasn't backing straight. I'm not sure what to do to keep him straight unless I put him next to a fence and stand to one side. I'll see about that later.

Next I worked on hindquarter yields on both sides. He has zero hesitation and did them perfectly. When I first switched sides he was walking forward to yield, but I just asked his head to come around and he went back to yielding well without moving forward. He can actually do it with his head straight sometimes too. I was proud of him.

After the yields I called it quits and fed him breakfast. I was still upset about him threatening and me smacking him. Anyway the weather is about to get bad again so I wanted to at least do a review today. :)


  1. Sounds like a good little workout!

    As far as Annie and shedding- yes she has always shed out in the middle of winter (coldest days) and she's the only one. I figure maybe she's losing the hair so she can grow in a better one?

  2. Don't get upset about the whole incident. These things happen with young horses, and the mere fact that he didn't do it again or get sullen and crabby is proof that it worked.

    You just treated him like another horse would have, and put him back into his place. Your timing was good, so he understood what was d what he did wrong.

    What would be the option? Let him bully and threaten you? What good would that have done in the long run?

    He sure is doing well with his training. I can't believe how quickly he is learning everything.

  3. I don't want to tell you that you should ever hit your horse.... I will say I've popped a horse a time or two when the teeth were coming my way. Sometimes this is management, not training, to keep myself safe.

    Surprise is good. And perfect timing is needed. If I realize it's happened more than a few times, though, that's not good and the punishment isn't doing any good. I need re-evalute what's going on and find another approach where the horse can be successful. (For me, in the past, with nippy yearlings, this has been putting them on the other side of a stall or fence during training until they learned to control their teeth. This way I can give them a brief "time out" from training for nipping.)

    I think Steve White has a really good set of 8 rules for when and how we should use punishment.

    Sounds like the hindquarter yields are going really nicely. That's awesome. :) They looked really good in the video the other day.



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