THIS FIRST SESSION IS PRIMARILY TO ESTABLISH COMMUNICATION, START THE RELATIONSHIP AND MAKES THOSE FIRST ALL IMPORTANT STEPS TO BONDING AND CREATING TRUST WITH ANY HORSE BUT ESPECIALLY A RESCUE HORSE WHO TENDS TO BE LESS TRUSTING . . . IT ALSO ESTABLISHES CLEARLY WHO IS ALPHA.
Well I had our first session with Boy today , our new rescue warmblood, after spending a lot of undemanding time with him over the last few days while nursing him through his staggers.
We didn't do much as he's in recovery at the moment so I just went through a few basic ground games with him . . . which were fun for us both but there are many underlying meaning to these games which include:
1-To establish the start of a language between human and horse
2-Show the horse that I am the friendly but non intimidating alpha of the herd
3-Make a good first impression and be someone the horse wants to spend time with
4-Start the bond and earn his trust and start to trust him too
And it all went really well :)
Although Boy was initially sceptical about everything at first , including me-lol , , he quickly established that my intentions were good after I presented him the carrot stick in a way that was not intimidating so he quickly worked out that the carrot stick was NOT A WEAPON , as by the way he stiffened every time my carrot stick approached for a friendly rub, I'd say he's a had a few beatings with a whip in the past . . .thankfully he soon realised that it was a friendly tool and seemed to like being massaged with it aswell as my hands and he also seemed to really appreciate me flicking the flies off him with it too as we have those little black flies everywhere today-most irritating little things aye?
It took some energy to persuade him to go backwards from driving from the front by wiggling the rope (parelli call this the yo yo game) but he got there in the end and then softened more at every try after that and approached me very positively with the bring back :) He was also very resistant to physical pressure also to start with for the pressure and release games, which I always play as my 3rd game as with 99% of rescue horses, I need to establish my friendly intentions aswell as my ability to move their feet and get them out of my space for my personal safety before I trust them enough to be at such close proximity to press their skin which is far safer in my opinion-sorry Parelli- but that's my experience with it. . . . but again Boy quickly digested that and I was moving him around at a light phase 2 after only a few repetitions. Smart horse hey :)
We then moved onto the send and he approached the tarp very nervously and after one sniff it was time for the release AND GAME OVER! So we then walked away and I spent a good 10 mins just rubbing him and stroking him with heaps more friendly time.
My conclusions was that although a alpha type personality, BOY loved the lack of responsibility which my leadership offered and he was genuinely happy to follow my lead after that. He absolutely loved the release of eyeballs, energy and pressure as his reward for his efforts and started to really try hard for me towards the end of the session . . .I look forward to our next installment :)
Natural Horse is constantly updating our website with free lessons for people interested in Natural Horsemanship and Equine Psychology-please see our other pages for more info on this :) Tracy