More from the "High Pressure," training methods of the Old Man. This is from the series on halter play...opps! TRAINING.
From time to time I've mentioned that Bonnie, a few days old, developed foal scours ... attributed by the vet to "Mare Heat," but since them I've uncovered evidence it came by way of the mother's milk contaminated with microfilaria of the Onchocerca parasite.
In any case, we had to clean Bonnie twice a day, and I would not put a rope or halter on a baby that small for fear of panic injury, so I held her in my arms. Later she was so happy to have the cleanup with nice warm water that even Kate could hold her easily, and in time, well, she became trained to present her butt to us for the job - all incidental, or coincidental as it turned out - no intent to train.
That has resulted, now with her a two year old next month still presenting her butt.
Only now it's sort of "well, what DO you want me to do with your silly jabbering and clicking and hand signals - I'll try this to see if it will shut you up."
Here at six months or so, during her trying to figure out what to do to get me to give her the Halter Halter, she tries her repertoire, leg lifts, ramener, turn on forehand, etc., and of course this:
The Old Man, of course has to quickly step out of the way, as she is no longer such a little baby. Imagine today, nearly as big as her mom, how that swinging butt approaches. LOL
This series on "Halter Halter," is quite long with many funny pics like this one above. The Old Man has to hustle to keep Bonnie engaged with all the "pressure," he can manage to bring to bear on her. Poor little girl. http://www.annaliesemoyer.com/horses/bonnie3/index_3.html
She was determined to get that halter away from me.
I confess that we actually did, much earlier, at about say 3 months old, try the gentle approach and retreat method popular with today's NH clinicians. What a joke. She would have NONE OF THAT nonsense.
But when I decided that play and tease, taking the halter away, was a more AND way of doing things, her attitude changed considerably, as Analiese Moyers' pictures show.
Yes, of course I know that this kind of "pressure," the kind that the horse responds to by wanting to play, and in fact insists on playing with his or her human companion, isn't the kind of pressure we worry about upsetting the relationship.
Thing is, and it's so in the nature of the horse, when they have a strong attachment of trust built they will put up with a lot of negative pressure.
This psychological characteristic of the horse, one we humans share, can and does sometimes sabotage the relationship though ... and we see our once happy playful companion become a drudge who passively but dully tolerates and obeys. It happens because we can, in pursuit of performance goals over relationship, push, put on pressure - the negative kind.
We have then betrayed a trust. Or so I personally believe.
Bonnie taught me that when I released her, right after an intense ground training session of yield and draw in, forehand and hind quarter turns etc., she took off and passing me she delivered a very painful kick to my thigh. I knew instantly that I was NOT, in her view, playing nice.
Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake