Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Horsenalities and Confidence

Had a very interesting session tonight with one of my students. She just got her first horse, a rescued 2 year old Paint stallion.

Monday night, she had some drama with him, he's a LB dominant type of stud colt, and I *think* (I wasn't there, so don't know for sure) he reared up out of playful dominance, and he knocked her to the ground where she somehow dislocated her shoulder. Anyway, being a first time horse owner, that's kind of a nasty blow to experience a month into owning, so she called me,asking what she should do.

So I got up there tonight, and walked into his stall, and fascinatingly enough, he decided to play the "you can't catch me game" (his stall is attached to a small 20x30 corral.) So I snatched the opportunity to talk a little bit about a horse's confidence vs. unconfidence as well, and how to read if he's confident and snotty vs. scared and unconfident. He came to me pretty quickly (It was LB snotty-haha), and then I led him to the round corral.

I then started to teach my student the concept of Move Closer, Stay Longer, an idea and formula developed by Dr. Stephanie Burns. I asked her to come into the pen and come as close as possible to her horse without feeling like she HAD to run, and to just hang out there for 10 seconds, then back off. Then walk a step closer, do the same, rinse and repeat. It wasn't more than 5 minutes and she was back to feeling comfortable petting him all over, being friendly, etc.

Next, my student asked me if I would work with her horse so she could watch. I was, of course, happy to. This caused the conversation and education to turn to Horsenalities. I explained that I thought her colt was a LBI with some extroverted tendencies, and I explained how LB horses were motivated, and what strategies can be used to motivate LB horse, but also how to gain respect and rapport. All in all it was interesting.

After that, we drove out to the barn, and we played with Princess and Crest, and I showed her a little bit about how a refined and finished horse should feel and act, as well as a difference in horsenalities and how they respond, and I gave a mini demo with Prin and Crest. It was all in all a very fun evening, and I think we learned a lot, I learned how to present my information better, and she learned it. I'm happy with the turn out. Updates will keep coming as we move on!

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