Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chrome Learns Manners

I remembered watching a video somewhere on YouTube about Carolyn Resnick working with a stallion on respect and manners around food. I've always admired Carolyn Resnick's ways, but I've never used her methods before because I can't afford to pay for her books/DVDs. I finally found her blog here ( that has a lot of really good information on it.

So anyway, I don't remember where the video is, but if you search YouTube you can probably find it. On Monday I decided to try it with Chrome since he can be a bit of a brat about food. I've also been making him back up before he can eat his breakfast and dinner. Once I have the barn fixed and a stall I'm going to teach him to put his ears forward before he can eat. It's just hard to do it right now because the other two interfere.

First we played Chase the Tiger because it had been a while and I figured we've been working on hard stuff (backing with head down; will get video later) and he deserved some play time.

Then I locked the other two out of the round pen, sat a bucket of feed down and got to work. I popped him a little hard the first time with the whip by accident, but I'm telling you he has no fear or respect for whips lol. I'll work with him on that (using another Resnick method and yes I'll get video) so I don't have to hit him next time.

I was proud of him! He still sometimes tried to go for it, but a vocal "eh eh" was enough to keep him from eating the feed. With a little more practice I doubt he'll even look at it. :D There are a couple more things regarding feed that I'm going to try because I've finally learned that what we're lacking in our relationship is respect (I know duh right). He knows I can't move him if he doesn't want to (hence having to smack him so hard) and he thinks that he can have whatever he wants, so he's about to learn that I own his resources and I give them to him because I'm a kind leader. Someday we can go back to being best friends, but right now he has to learn that I'm the one in control and he can't keep trying to boss me around. So things are about to start getting interesting around here so keep coming back. :D I know I sound disorganized right now, but I promise I have a whole training plan figured out. Things are going to be a million times better before May using these methods. And don't worry, not a single one of them ever involves even touching him. I'm not going to beat him into submission because I just don't believe in that and it's not the way I train. Trust me I'll be explaining things better soon.

P.S. After going back over this I realized I'm making Chrome sound like a bully, but he totally isn't!! The things he does are very mild and subtle. Things like pinned ears (keep in mind he does pin them during play and that's not being aggressive or anything, just playing) or not moving very fast when I ask him to or stepping into my path. He's not ugly, but the subtle signs he shows are that he thinks he controls the show. So we're going to work on that.


  1. Good for you. Our ferrier and I were discussing this topic today. I will blog about it tomorrow

  2. I guess the other great conversation I had yesterday was blogged about today, but I will share the viewpoint of my farrier soon.

  3. You do such a beautiful job with Chrome and share wonderful training tips. And your photos are great. Please accept a Liebster Blog award at

  4. I am not so sure how I feel about all the food rewards you give him. Clicker means food? Does clicker training always involve so much food?

    This method I don't know much about, but why not work him and say good boy, rub his face, pet his neck, or scratch his ears? It just appears to me he is focused more on being good to get the food than you. Is that the right motivation? I don't say this in any criticizing way, truly a wondering and curious one. My trainer uses a few "treats" for Sebastian, but not many. I only give Oberon one treat at the end of the day or at the very beginning, IF that. I do try and find a little patch of grass for him if I didn't bring anything...

    Is there a good website on clicker training that you like, or a book? I'm curious about it.

  5. I've been wanting to get Carolyn Resnick's DVD for a while now--in fact, it was on my Christmas wish list but nobody bought it for me! :-(

    I do some liberty work with Salem, although lately I'm always at the barn in the dark so we haven't been doing much. I do, however, make him stand and wait while I put his food down. If he even takes one little step forward, I give him the "back up" cue and then make him stand until I give him his "release" signal. That's the only daily liberty work we do, but I do think it's important for him to know that he can't be a big old moose during feed time! :-)

  6. Frizzle, I've been doing the same thing with Chrome's feed. I used to do it all the time and then got lazy, so I'm trying to remember to do it again because it does help to teach them to be more respectful. I hope you're able to get the DVD (and review it on your blog lol) or someone gets it for you!

    Margaret, clicker training has rules. Rules that I sometimes don't follow, which is why I sometimes have problems. If I followed the rules with 100% consistency he wouldn't act the way he does. So please don't fault clicker training, because it's a really fantastic training tool. You can go to Karen Pryor's website or Alexandra Kurland's website to learn more about clicker training. I've been using it with my dogs for years, but Chrome is my first horse to clicker train so sometimes I make mistakes. We're working through it and like I said he's not disrespectful in a dangerous way. I just have to be more consistent about not give "freebie" treats. I work with him all the time without clicker training, I just usually don't videotape those sessions, but I can if you would like. :)


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