Tricking A Horse Into Calmness, Academy

I don’t know if you can tell in the video just how windy it was while we were trying to work. The gate in the background is banging and clanging. Heildorf is still very worried about this riding stuff. It was a recipe for disaster.

So how do we work through days like this?

By doing tricks!

Heildorf started out worried about everything. I went to touch his saddle and he jumped away. I let him go and took a step back. Forcing the contact wont offer him any comfort at all. I asked if I could touch him, letting him step away when he needed until he was comfortable with it. Once he allowed me to readjust it on his back I rewarded him by letting him do the trick he had been asking about all day.

Because tricks are fun the horses can concentrate on them instead of worrying about the wind and all the things going on around them. Because the horse wants to concentrate on the fun tricks he is happy to ignore the wind and things that would be scary. By the time we are well into the tricks the banging and flapping has become background noise we are both accustomed to. I can stop worrying that he will be scared by the wind. He is focused and unconcerned.

Because I am on the ground instead of on his back I am far less likely to get hurt if he did spook.

Tricks can make for a great warm up. Whether for a green horse or an older horse on spooky days. It’s amazing what can be accomplished just by having fun.

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