Horse Training Game

When you are training your horse, you shouldn’t be too interested in his performance. Instead of developing the bond to be able to train your horse, you should use the training to deepen the bond you have with him. The horse will direct your leadership and you should offer the program. This kind of leadership is comforting and nurturing to a horse. When a horse does not live in a harmonious herd environment, he needs us to provide socialization and leadership for his emotional well-being.

In developing a method for horses, we need to allow the horse the ability to figure out how to fit in and work within our system without him feeling pressured. Not approaching him and waiting for him to come to us will develop his desire to learn how to fit in with us. Allowing a horse to become interested builds his self esteem and increases his ability to partner up with us from a willing heart. Here’s the game I came up with, hope you like it. Start your horse out at liberty in an arena or large round pen. This exercise takes two or three people and in fact it works with as many as you like. Sit in chairs about 20 feet apart and have some carrots with you under your chair. When your horse goes up to a person, they give him one carrot and no more. If the horse becomes a nuisance, begging for another carrot, shoo him away like a kindly mare would shoo a foal way when she does not want him to nurse. The horse will eventually leave and go to someone else and when he does, this person gives him one carrot and no more. Keep repeating one carrot per visit, per person. Do not try to guide him to go see someone else, just shoo him away. He can go where he likes. All we want to do is to challenge him to figure out how to work the system. If three people are playing this game and the horse just goes between two people that is alright because we are just teaching him that one carrot is all that he gets per visit and he learns that being driven away is a prelude to another carrot. He learns that to be driven away has a great reward and meaning. You want him to figure this out on his own. Your role is to say no more carrots and leave me alone with any miming gestures, voice and body language that work. After he learns this, you will increase the difficulty for him by choosing the person that will offer him the next carrot. If he is begging from a person that is not chosen, that person will point to the person that is chosen and say to the horse go to and say the person’s name. This way the horse will learn names. The person that the horse is being sent to will call the horse as well. Both people encourage the horse to go to the person of choice. Continue this exercise. Once the horse has this down-pat, place your chairs far apart and encourage the horse to trot and walk to the person who has the carrot, then eventually ask the horse to canter from person to person as directed. You can make your own variation as you wish to advance the horse’s schooling. The horse will show great enthusiasm for the freedom he experiences and the direction he receives and being the center of attention like a child. Imagine what it might feel like if the roles were reversed. We are minding our own business when we come across a horse. We walk up to get a closer look and in our closeness, we receive from the horse a thousand dollar bill. We find that every horse we encounter will give up money and as the relationship grows, they direct us to were the next honey (or should that be money) pot is. Good luck and remember if you have problems doing this lesson, stop the exercise. I do not want horses and humans frustrated. I am sure I will have other exercises later on that may work better for you and your horse. Mr Post and the Little Foal
I like to tie my horses to a post because I think it is a fabulous way to develop a more dependable horse. Before I tie a horse, I teach the horse to stand still at liberty on command using the Waterhole Rituals™. If it is a foal, I make certain that foal would be happy being separated from its mother and vice versa. From being tied, a horse learns that when I leave him he is responsible for standing still and not fussing. At the beginning of the training, I tie him with a knot that I can pull loose immediately should he suggest he would pull back. The theory is that in early training if a horse never experiences pulling back, he will not choose it as an option later on when he is fully trained. So, let’s say I have a baby foal that has a foundation with the Waterhole Rituals™ and this baby foal watches his mother regularly being tied to a post and he sees how much she enjoys it and how happy she is. He thinks to himself, “Gee, I never get tied to that post”. So, one day, you bring that little foal and you say “Today’s the day! Today we’re going to tie you to Mr. Post.” And the foal says, “Boy, you been bringing everyone else and tying them to the post and I’ve never been to the post before. I’m sure glad I get to investigate Mr. Post today”. You say “Yes” and you tie him up, “Now, there you are with Mr. Post”. And he says “Mmm, very interesting post”. “And I’m just going to sit right here in this chair and keep you company. Oh, and by the way, here’s a carrot. Well, isn’t this fun here with Mr. Post? Well, I’m just going to read my book here for a while. OK, we’ve been here three minutes, that’s enough, let’s untie you.” And the foal says “Boy, I can’t wait to go to Mr. Post again, that was so much fun”. So the next day you bring that little foal up again and tie him to Mr. Post and he says “Oh here I am with Mr. Post again!” Now, it’s not a post, it’s a tree, a beautiful tree and the foal says “Oh I just love being here under this post with all its leaves and shade”. “Yes” I say, “You don’t have to worry about a thing, I’m right here. Oh and by the way, here’s your carrot.” So, as the days go by, you only have to hand him a carrot once in a while and the time between carrots gets longer and longer. So pretty soon, I can say “Oh Honey, guess what? I’ve run out of carrot. You stay right here and I’ll be right back” and I go and he’s left there all by himself. And he’s saying, “I wonder where she went?” {sidebar id=8} I’m gone a little while and then I come back, “Well here I am! I went to get some carrots for you. Good boy, here’s your carrot”. And the foal says “Well, thank goodness, you went to get those carrots!” Next time I go away a little longer and he says to himself, “I know where she’s going! She’s going to get those carrots”. So I go about my business, do the things I have to do and the next thing you know, 30 minutes have gone by. Now that foal has a system of understanding that that’s what we do. He says “I can stand here like my mother, you just watch me. I can stand here right by this post because I love standing here! See everybody, I’m standing by the post and you don’t get to stand by the post. But I do and carrots are going to come”. The next thing you know, an hour has gone by and I come back and I say “You’re right, Honey, here are those carrots, you’re so lucky.” So one day somebody brings in a horse trailer. Now the little foal has never been in a trailer before but he’s had lots of experience with Mr. Post and also, he’s seen everybody else get in the horse trailer and eat. And that foal says “When’s it going to be my time to get in the trailer?” So I say “Today is your turn to get in the trailer”. You know what that foal does? He says “Get out of my way, I want to get in that trailer!” and in he goes. He stands there and says “This is much better than being with Mr. Post, you know. Look at all the treats in this trailer”. And I let that baby eat those treats and just before he finishes them, I bring him out of the trailer and he says, “Wait a minute, I haven’t finished those treats!” “Oh, that’s OK, Honey, we’ll get them next time” I say. And he’s feeling really sad, he says “Gee, she took me out of that trailer and I didn’t get to finish those treats”. So by the next time that trailer comes round, he just can’t wait to get into it. So there you have it, pretty simple, huh? Well, yes and no. I surely haven’t given you all the answers on how to accomplish the task of teaching a horse to be tied and after all, horses are individuals so some will be easy and others will require a bit more work. The rule of thumb, though, is that if there is any objection or concern, I do not tie. Maybe we just eat the carrot at the post and then return home. If a foal becomes upset at any point on his trip to the post, stop and give him time to get comfortable. When he is, give him carrots and take him home. The main point is to let the foal’s attitude and how he is feeling about what is going on guide your decisions. The purpose of this tale is to empower you to find your own way to train a horse to be tied up by showing you the method I use and how careful I am to keep a horse interested and enthusiastic about learning new behaviors. So I hope you find that useful. To learn more about Carolyn, her lifelong relationship with the horses and her quest to find the ideal communication method between man and horse, visit Carolyn Resnick's site and read her book Naked Liberty published in English and German (Tochter Der Mustangs – Daughter of the Mustangs). View more Path Of The Horse articles. Follow us on Facebook.