Getting his attention part 2

“So, here you see our Mr.Colt galloping around the pen.”

“Yeah, you wanna git’im good an’ tired!”

“Well, that’s where a lot of folks go wrong. They misunderstand. We don’t want to get him tired, but we do want to get his attention. And since he is basically lazy, and work averse, he won’t want to run very long before he wants to stop and take a breather.” As he said this, the colt stopped, head high, nostrils flared, whites of eyes showing, both eyes and both ears tensely aimed at the horse tamer.

“ Now, see, I’ve got his attention. I want to reward that. The release of pressure is the reward, so I’ll turn and walk away.”

“Well, then how do you catch him to put the saddle on him?”

“I don’t, I’ll let him catch me.”

“How’s that work?”

“I’ll keep going toward him and walking away, advancing toward him,and retreating when he stays put, until I can touch him and walk away.”

“Why don’t ya just rope’im?”

“We want to build his confidence, and trust, in us. Roping him right now wouldn’t help that.”

“So you can sneak up and slip a halter on him , now, right?”

“Like GOTCHA?”


“No.” And the tamer started slowly softly caressing the colt’s withers. “I’ll rub him here a little , then walk away, once again releasing the pressure of me being too close, before he leaves me. One of my mentors said the if he will stay put for four seconds, I need to leave in three.”

“Why’s that? Why don’t you just catch him so’s you can saddle him?”

“You have seen two horses in a pasture facing in opposite directions, rubbing each other’s withers haven’t you?”

“ Yep.”

“They are being buddies, bonding.” The man continued rubbing and caressing,but never patting, as that might scare the colt. He gradually rubbed more areas making sure not to startle the colt. “I’m trying to become his pard.” The man stepped away from the colt a little and the colt turned and took a step toward him. If he gets to rest when he’s with me, and has to work by running around the pen when he leaves me, he will eventually choose to stay with me. It’s called making the right decision easy, and the wrong thing difficult.”

“ I’ve heard people say that before, but I guess I never understood what they meant.”

“Okay, good, you’re starting to see how horses think. Now look, I can walk up to him, rub him and walk away, and he follows me.”

“ Like there’s magic in your hands!”

“ Well, he’s starting to trust me, like he would trust another horse because he sees that I’m not here to hurt him.”

“So now you put the rope on him.”

“ Pretty soon, but I’m going to rub all over a little bit more to make sure he will stay with me.”

After a few more minutes of rubbing and stroking the colt all over, he lowered his head, let out a deep breath and started licking, chewing and swallowing.”

“Now we can put the halter on him and take him back to his stall to eat. That’s going to be a big reward, and big release of pressure.We’ll probably saddle him tomorrow”


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