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May 24, 2022 7 Comments
What do vets hate most about working with client horses? And how about farriers? You guessed it, horses that don't stand still.
It's a sliding scale too. A horse that wiggles around a bit is tolerable. A horse that moves abruptly and dramatically is dangerous. And vets and farriers don't like working with these animals. It's also why they revert to drugs so quickly to make the animal docile. They don't have time to risk their lives doing the hard work, so they shoot up the tranquilizers and go about their normal duties. Or if it's a farrier, they might just cancel their service with you. But what if it could be different?
What would it take to really make sure your vet and farriers have a good time with your horse and as a result, treat you like a queen or king rather than a dirty sock?
Short answer. Get your horse good at standing still.
Long answer. Practice the box game. What's the box game? It goes like this...
On the ground, set up a standing spot indicated by lines, cones, markers of any kind. That box is roughly the size of your horse and clearly marked so when your horse leaves the spot, you know it's time for a correction.
In my book Leadership and Horses I talk a great deal about the 6 different types of desensitization strategies. The last one, repositioning, is one of the greatest tools you'll ever encounter with horses.
Imagine a horse isn't good with his feet being held. What does he do? He might kick, but usually it's always some sort of drifting out of the box that gets people in trouble. The trainer often makes the mistake of trying to hold the foot while the horse is out of bounds, making it about the foot rather than about the box. This then translates to new things, the horse won't stand still, so the owners or trainers chase him around, trying to hold it all together until the horse gives up. It's not necessary to work that way. Watch this box training video with the mustang Freedom and learn what I'm talking about.
Here is another great video with Justice the Mustang, stand still for picking up your feet.
If you practice box training you will get great results, and... your vet and farrier will love you because your horse stands still for everything.
Thank you for ready, as always I love your comments.
Have a great day, Don
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