Heildorf has been terrified of people up high anywhere near him since he got here. Usually I start all the horses by teaching them to step over to the fence in a mounting position so they can get used to someone over their heads.
That was not happening with him.
Because he was so scared and because he came already ‘broke’ we skipped that part. Not the wisest thing I know.
In an effort to work through his nerves about riding which are growing consistently worse I hauled him down to Andrea for a lesson in the tapping she’s been having such success with. In ten minutes she had him yawning and stretching and showing all kinds of releases.
Back home my daughter claimed him as her horse to tap. They have been having great success.
Today was a big one though. So of course I didn’t have anything filming.
Both kids were bouncing around in the back of the pickup making all sorts of noise. Heildorf was horrified. I handed the lead to my daughter and told her to tap!
He stood with his nose only as close to the pickup as the lead forced him to. The lead held by a small child, he wasn’t exactly tied hard and fast. She reached as far as her little arms could reach and tapped him lightly on the side of the neck. After only a few short minutes he was licking and yawning and his head dropped down. His entire body relaxed there with the other child still raising a ruckus while the one worked with him. Then she switched sides.
So far this is working wonders for him. We haven’t pushed him much, we’re trying to take it slow and easy. Trying to let him change his mind about all the things that terrify him. Hopefully this helps.
Using positive reinforcement to counter condition his feeling towards all these things was having no effect except to make him hate me and counter conditioning my attempts at positive reinforcement to positive punishment.
- Lessons With +R