Reinforcing Fear

Calm and Confidence

This doesn’t look like a very calm ad confident sort of video does it šŸ¤£

Heildorf has been terrified of the chickens lately. They jump out of the chicken coup we’re working by and he can’t handle it.

Instead of fighting him and making him stay or holding on tighter, I let him go.

Not that I could hold him since we never have a halter on anyway.

I love the way he goes a little ways. Stops and thinks about things, then comes back.

I know everyone can’t let their horses have that sort of freedom. In a crowded barn a loose horse running until he was able to think again would cause all sorts of trouble. What about a long lead though? We can let them go as far as we are able.

We can take them away far enough away that they are able to think and check things out.Ā  We can work just on the edge of our horses comfort zones. That point where they are startingĀ  to notice the scary thing but are not yet pushed above threshold. Recognizing that point is the trick for us.

By doing fun things, like tricks! in close proximity to something that worries our horse we can help them to associate the scary thing with things they enjoy and make the scary thing a sign of good things to come instead.

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