Saturday, February 20, 2010


I've posted previously about helping Kisia become more comfortable being handled & touched. Riding seems to come natural to her. She left her trainer having ridden seemlessly through training level test 4 after just under 6 weeks of training! She did seem to develop a few undesirable behaviours, primarily in the area of tacking up & being touched in certain areas. She became quite cinchy, tossing her head, reaching around as if to bite & backing up when cinched. She also tossed her head, clinched her jaw & evaded to avoid bridling. Rude behaviours on a good day. Dangerous on a bad. So over the last 3 months we've used the 1st of the 7 games, friendly game, to help her relax & become more accepting of being handled & tacked up. I used approach & retreat as well as well-timed rewards (rest or treat) to improve her tolerance of being touched on her head, face, sides & girth. She followed the same pattern she did as a foal with her feet & legs being touched. Turtle slow to no progress to the point that I'm thinking "She's never gonna get this". Then out of the blue, perfection! She's got it. She's actually now offering a "friendly" petting session. I normally let her out of her stall to roam while Foxy finishes eating. Rather than her normal explorations (going in every empty stall & knocking over anything I've not put up) she began to plant herself in front of where I sat, nearly putting her head in my lap & staring intently at me as if to say..."Pet me, I'm ready! & don't forget the treat!" She will now quietly ground tie for saddling & bridling. I should get this on video as bridling goes something like this; ask her to lower her head..reins over head..hold up the bridle & watch your fingers because....Chomp! she takes the bit totally of her own volition...slip the headstall over her ears...buckle up & Voila! she practically bridles her self now! It's really a shame some performer or trick trainer didn't get this mare. When she decides something is worth doing, she does it with such gusto! *pic is of our barn-cat Salsa*

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