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APPEAL TO YOUR HORSE USING HIS/HER INNATE BEHAVIOUR

I use to be a Canine Behaviourist before I specialized in horses....and one of the first things I ever taught any dog was to watch me....I would hold my hand up to my face and ask the dog to "watch" and then the dog would be giving me attention when I asked them to carry out a request....and it always worked a treat :)

So it made perfect sense to me to try to replicate this with horses....but as they have a completely different mind set to a dog, what with being a prey animal instead of a predator, I had to adapt my training to appeal best to the horses innate nature....

And what I have come up with is "A SNIFF-TOUCH" request...as to get their attention-which again works a treat :)

As Horses use their muzzles like we use our hands...plus they investigate things with their whiskers, and olfactory system (smell) and prehensile top lip etc..., therefore it makes sense for them that they want to touch things to explore with this area.

So I incorporate that into all my training....and want to share that with you all now 

How you do this is to hold out your hand near your horses muzzle to ask your horse to sniff or touch your hand...and then when he approaches your hand with his muzzle you offer some form of reward as a incentive for him to do that again. Your horse will soon catch onto this. The reward should be suitable to your horses individual characteristics, and can include offering a scratch, or a rest, or a release, or a drop in your body,s energy, or a tidbit etc...

Now some horses don't do well with food motivations, so I'd advise against using that all the time, as it often turn into being mugged for food by this type of character of horse...so stick to scratches and release for those types...also I must mention that I am not advocating a food bribe either...my system is a reward to be given at the millisecond of the try to the horse... whereas bribes are given to lure horses into floats etc...and I personally don't think that's a good approach for a horses mindset. 

Once your horse can touch your hand...you can then use it for various tasks ... Like ask him to follow your hand to drop his head, or raise his head or to touch it from a step away, as to lead him with your hand, then from two steps away as to follow a suggestion of where you want him to go...and then when he can do that you can direct him with your hand.....say as to go into a float, or turn left or right....and where you go from there is up to you....













This is a remarkably good exercise that most horses pick up straight away if delivered correctly.....

Points of note...
1-The horse must get the reward every time...no excuses 
2-If using a word with this action it must be consistent..so the same tone, and word every time.
3-Reward for the individual preferences of each horse-so see which reward best suits your horse-Neems, (photo 1 )likes to be left alone for 30 seconds as his reward..Max likes scratches, Gandalf loved a rest so each horse is different so work with their characters to see what they like 
4-Timing is everything so reward the try rather than the finished action at the exact time of the try...and not too late or your horse will lose motivation...

I use this for all sorts of exercises with all horses to fabulous results...and even choreograph with it at Liberty as shown in the later photos....and I hope you will enjoy using it too 

Tracy from NATURAL HORSE NZ