Many of you have been asking how I am building relationship with Ginger Coops this time around.
Something I do with all horses is work around consent, and take the time to learn how they are feeling about something.
The more space and opportunity I can give them to ‘speak’ the more they feel heard, and then the more relaxed and willing they became.
I mentioned in a previous post that on day one Ginger Coops didn’t want to be brushed. I allowed him to tell me that without judgement, and without me needing to ‘fix’ him or ‘make him’
What I wanted to do was help him.
So that’s what I did. For the brushing, picking our feet, saddle pad, saddle, snaffle, mounting block and me -- it all gets done at liberty so he has choice.
And don’t get me wrong, there are many other elements here that helped him build confidence around these things, it wasn’t just a matter of turning him loose and hoping.
At the start he walked away from brushing, refused and snatched his feet back, bit and chewed the saddle pad and saddle. Now he walks in and stands to have all the gear fitted, but he always has the option of leaving. If he does, I do not punish him for it.
I haven’t done it with pressure, punishment, or treats.
I have done it with listening, asking, and acknowledging.
First photo is me asking with my hand hovering over where I want him to put the saddle.
Second is me waiting for him to walk forward
Third is me waiting for him to relax at the idea of me getting on.