Rusty finally did it! And with all the new people here I think we should talk about it. Air our dirty laundry if you will, or airing something for sure
Some geldings will never drop when we are working with them while others like to have it hanging out at all times.
There are quite a few reasons as to why geldings to drop while working with us. One is that they are stressed, overly excited about the food they are expecting to receive, not sure about what they should be doing to get it. In this case it’s a sign that we need to slow down and take a big step back.
To help them to calm down we need to find a lower value feed, ramp up our rate of reward, the speed at which we are clicking and treating, and break our training down into smaller slices so they can understand what we are asking better.
The second reason is a lot like the first but a step down from there. My horse, Rusty, usually drops while training because I have pushed him a little out of his comfort zone. He isn’t anywhere near the extremely stressed state of our first reason. He’s still calm and mannerly, no other signs of stress showing. It happens when I ask for something new. When he isn’t completely sure what I am asking and it happens whether we are training with treats or not.
This still calls for some of the same fixes. I need to make sure I am breaking my training down far enough. We need to go slow and be patient, help him to become comfortable with the new questions I’m asking. Soon he settles down and gets comfortable and things go back where they belong.
So many of the horses in this group seem to drop because they are relaxed and happy. Some people don’t believe that a horse can or should be relaxed enough during training to be “that” relaxed but it sure looks like a common occurrence.
Ineke‘s horse, JB, is always letting it hang out. He knows what is going on, there’s nothing new or stressful, he’s calm, relaxed, and happy.
Now Rusty has dropped out of shear relaxation. I was giving him a good scratch the other day before making him go back out to pasture with his herd. He loves to have his belly scratched. I was working my way around when I bumped into something and there it was. Not a drop of stress involved.
Knowing our horses well, knowing their habits, likes, and dislikes is key to training. If your horse never drops and has all of a sudden it’s important to look for causes. It might be a sign that you need to look closely at your training. If it’s his normal way of working and everything is good, then there’s nothing to worry about.
Unless you want to take pictures. Then you might have a bit of a problem
Yes, I know he’s not very dropped here. Later he was at the wrong angle for the camera to get that part.
- Head Down
- Not The Typical Reinforcement