Summer is in full swing around here and that means lot’s more ‘horsing around’!
In case you missed the videos https://youtu.be/-Sw3kDsh-A8, we have been working on a 30 Day Hoof Lift Challenge with all the animals in our care. We are working on retraining them to pick up their feet with just a hand single (palm up near the fetlock) and the word ‘lift’. Some days are better than others, and some animals are better than others on different days. Sometimes the first ask is effortless on all 4 legs, and other days the ask turns into a threatening kick depending on the animal and its level of rehabilitation. The worst by far is our oldest resident, the beautiful Quarter Horse Palomino mare Sugar. This is a result of years of rough handling coupled with arthritic joints which make standing on 3 legs difficult for her. Calling it a 30 Day Hoof Lift Challenge is more for fun, as getting her fully rehabilitated may not happen in 30 days, or ever. Just remember, no matter how long it takes, as long as you don’t lose your temper (and make the mistake of aggressing on the animal even when you are safe), or frighten/stress the animal so that it feels the need to flee from you, trust in the process and that you ARE making progress. That’s the positive reinforcement (R+) way and what I teach in my Horse Training Masterclass the Safest, Fastest, Easiest animal training method known to science.
For example, at the last session with Sugar where that hoof lift did turn into a half hearted kick out at me, I responded by sternly telling her ‘NO!”, and promptly left. I followed this up by doing extra training with other horses right in front of her, but giving her no opportunity to participate or engage, and basically treated her as if she didn’t exist, even when she came to the fence and put her head through and begged for attention with her little lip game she plays to try to get our attention. Nope I am not falling for it. There was no reason for her to even pretend to kick at me when asking for her to pick up her feet. I have done nothing to her ever that she would need to protect herself from me (the only justification for a kick). She will have a ‘time out’ now for a couple of days until she rethinks her opinion of me and why she would want to threaten me when all I do is bring her ample opportunity to earn treats and massages. It gives me a chance to cool out too, towards her, to make sure the next time we try it I don’t carry with me fear (or anger) that she might try to kick me again. And more importantly, it gives me time to rethink the whole situation to ensure I am not missing something that I could be doing better for her. Additionally, it gives me the chance to spend time visualizing the process going more smoothly the next time. I will continue to watch her closely from afar, and as long as she continues to show interest in me and wanting/hoping to get another chance, I will give it to her, when I feel safe and ready, too.
Please leave your comments, thoughts, suggestions, like and subscribe to us on social media, and if you find value in what we do please become a monthly donor to the ResqRanch, even $1.00 will go a long way to help the horses. We currently know of three older horses right now that we cannot afford or have room to take on who need forever homes with specialized care, call us for more information 303-838-3771 if you or someone you know is interested. Your donations also help us offer more educational classes, volunteer opportunities, and help us give our animals what they deserve, an ideal horse properity of their own to call home. Do YOU have an unused ideal horse property in the Evergreen area? We want to make a deal with you! Until next time, thank you and God Bless!
Sugar enjoying some free time running in the field with her pal Donkey, not looking like she has too much trouble picking up her feet now