Horse with a rigid neck…creating softness

November 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Ask Shawna, On Target Training, Under Saddle

Stephanie asks a question about stiffness in her horse’s neck. As always you want to rule out any physical causes by having your vet give your horse a good once over.   Also, it is prudent to re-check the fit of your saddle.  Okay once we have that sorted out it is time to see what we can do to encourage our horses to bend.  Relaxation is the key.  From what I hear, Stephanie’s horse seems to be beyond the usual rigidness. In any case  I share my initial thoughts on the video. Remember to never use force or coercion to create softness.  Using positive reinforcement we can teach our horse to bring it from the inside out.  Stephanie, please keep me posted. Let me know how these suggestions work out. If you have questions or want to try something different I have more ideas up my sleeve.

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Horse is aggressive about…everything! (Food too)

Question sent in by Theresa:
Do you have any material on horses that are aggressive?  Bite and or kick when asked to do something as simple as move over.  We have a rescue exhibiting this.  Haltering also an issue…
Response from Shawna:
I haven’t made a DVD on this topic yet.  This behavior is challenging because the aggressive ones are all over the map…both mentally as well as physically!  However, I have dealt with this sort of thing occasionally  and have found the best success with starting as if the horse were green and didn’t know anything.  In a way they are indeed  green, because they haven’t learned how to have healthy, balanced interactions with people.   Though we can address each issue individually,  when everything seems to be an issue, it seems like it is all a symptom of a bigger, underlying problem. That fundamental problem being the horse’s perception of people.   I like to start from the basics using only positive reinforcement.  This way we are able to build a new, better reinforcement history with everything.  Once the new history is established the horse will approach training with a new and improved, more cooperative attitude.
When horses have this aggressive attitude toward training (or doing anything that humans ask of them!), it is usually rooted in fear.  At some point they were left with no other option, other then to protect themselves.  Once they learn how well being aggressive works for them, the behavior tends to  escalate.  Once the’ve reached this point they offer resistance without even thinking.  As far as they are  concerned there is nothing in it for them except the possibility of fear and worry.  By putting something in it that he values, he will become invested in the training equation and will even look forward to his time with people.  I highly recommend dropping all of the old stuff and start over again, this time with pressure not being part of the equation.  I think this is important since it sounds like even minor pressure triggers his aggressive attitude.  I suggest using only positive reinforcement training.  Also, teaching him to be very strong with his targeting skills will be a huge benefit.  The target can serve as the new halter and lead rope, allowing you to get him to move and adjust without the need to use pressure.  I know it sounds like a lot of work, however you will find that some parts will go quite quickly and some will jut take a little longer. The places where it tends to takes longer is because these places have more baggage attached.  By allowing him to make choices (and not coercing him  to do things) he will gain a whole slew of trust, minimizing his need to resort to aggressive behavior.  Please keep me posted.  I would love to see you help him get past this destructive habit.  It will help him to be happier and more well adjusted with all parts of his life.  The training also has a lot of unanticipated benefits, you will see parts of his personality blossom as the trust builds.
Theresa:
Thank you so much.  I am a believer in positive reinforcement big time and have worked with a lot of abused horses but this guy is the most aggressive with small things.  I wondered about fear being the root do will pursue based on that.  I’m still waiting for my order to arrive.. I have the basic info and clicker but not the target.  
 
Would associating food with the clicker make him worse?  If he gets a treat now for just standing politely it seems to trigger pinning and teeth to get another treat which he does not get.  I am expecting very little right now… Just to walk without nipping.  Standing head forward and waiting to the count of 5 then getting petted.  If his head is turned at all toward you while leading he takes opportunity to nip.  I just move his head over with the back of my hand and continue.
 
You are SO right about being all over the map!!!!!  Describing tiny behavior exhibited is difficult but I am very in tune with that.  This one is very challenging for me and he does scare me which is NOT helping!!!!  This is the first horse in my life that actually made full contact and bit me on the leg!
 
Any ideas are greatly appreciated … This horse was taken back to the rescue place 5 times in 2 1/2 months likely from his behavior…  So I bet he was hit a lot…
 
I’ll continue to work on the trust which I know is THE most important issue with horses.
 
Thanks again!
Shawna:
First of all, I LOVE your dedication to helping this horse.  Too many horses get discarded for “bad” behavior and the sad fact is that nearly all of the problems were unintentionally taught by humans in the first place.  Kudos to you and thank you for being there for him…even if he doesn’t appreciate it yet!
Okay, the first thing to do will be to establish a proper attitude about food and feeding.  Often times this sour attitude is also displayed at feeding time.  I recommend that you keep an eye on that behavior as well.  If he is surly, just wait him out (while outside his stall or paddock).  As soon as he softens his demeanor, deliver the food promptly.
Relaxation is the key, it will help him to settle.  We need to teach him that relaxation is part of the equation with food.  He values food, but we need to establish appropriate behavior around food.  You can do this from outside of his stall or paddock.  Simply stand nearby, at first he may be a little worked up, since he knows you have food.  Look for turning his head away and/or softening.  We will want to shape this toward more relaxation but at first we need to communicate to keep your head away from the food source.  In the case I suggest doing this outside of his enclosure so that you can let him process all of his bullish behavior while still being in a safe place.
The initial goal is for him to stop focusing on getting the food, when he softens, relaxes, or gives up and becomes less interested, even just a little, that is when you should click and feed.  Remember it is an approximation toward our goal.  As soon as you click, feed promptly and feed a big handful.  Meager amounts often times seem to exacerbate tension and the feeling of wanting more.  We want him to get a good dose of reinforcement at the moment he softens.  Also, I have found that while they are still chewing that huge handful of feed, they are content (relaxed) because they are not actively seeking more food yet.  Even though they are still chewing, this is a great opportunity to click and feed again, as long as they are offering the soft demeanor.   After 3 or 4 good handfuls for exhibiting softness, give him a moment to process again.  He may stay a little relaxed for a short time, so if this is the case, even for even a moment, click and reinforce again promptly.
What we are looking for is the smallest increments of improvement.  We are shaping the new, correct behavior so we shouldn’t be too strict with our criteria at first.  If he gets wound up pretty quickly, just step back out of his reach and repeat the process and  wait  for the softer, more relaxed  attitude.  Eventually, we will fade away from this incessant feeding but for now we need to help build a solid reinforcement history with the correct behavior.  Right now he has a strong relationship with being pushy and aggressive to get what he wants.  We are looking to rebalance the scales.  It will take some repetition at first.  I would suggest continuing with this exercise.  Start with very short and highly reinforcing sessions.  End the session with a jackpot or magnitude feed.   Often I will pour the rest of the food from the bucket into his feeder or on the ground.   He wants the food, we just need to help him learn what will work…and that the old stuff won’t work.  Because his old habits have worked for so long, he will resort to them rather quickly for a while until he figures out that it works no longer.  The more repetitions we can do to reinforce the attitude we are looking for  the quicker we can get him turned around.   I have found it is better to do short sessions more often, rather than doing longer sessions.
Another good thing to keep in mind…if any behavior increases(or maintains) in frequency, then something in the environment is reinforcing that behavior.  That is the bottom line.  It is up to us to figure out how to change things around.   It may be a bit different for every horse but there is a way to come to a better place.  One caveat: safety is first, always!!  So do what you can to keep you and others safe.  If you need to employ further professional help, please don’t hesitate.  When we can get him taking food nicely I suggest we move onto target training, but for now you have your work cut out for you. 🙂  Again,  we will want to associate targeting with relaxation.  You will find that relaxation will be an ongoing theme!   In my opinion, relaxation is paramount in all that we do with our horses, even for the biggest, boldest, most energetic behaviors.  Well, all right then, that is all for now.
Theresa:
Oh thanks again!  You hit the nail on the head!  He is food aggressive and I tried the wait but did not give a big treat and yes, you are right about that making him worse.  Fortunately I stopped immediately when I realized it didn’t work so that only happened once.  
 
I will try this new technique with larger amounts for sure.  I know there is a good horse in there somewhere… I haven’t to date given up on a horse but do need help as each one of us has a little different skill set!
 
I live to learn and am open to trying as it seems the more I learn the more there is to learn!!
Shawna:
You have a great attitude.  I too, never want to stop learning!  🙂
I have gotten rid of mouthiness, biting and aggression using positive reinforcement/hand feeding.  As you know, it is not the food that is the problem, it is the people who have unintentionally reinforced the wrong attitude.  The good news is we have sorted it out, rebuilding trust and manners using positive reinforcement/clicker training.  Hang in there…and keep me posted on your progress!

The one topic horse people don’t talk about…sheath cleaning!

People just don’t seem to talk about that awkward subject of sheath cleaning! I have learned that most people don’t know how to do this or how often it should be done. Well, I think that should change so I have made a DVD on the subject. It is like sheath cleaning 101.

You will learn not only the anatomical side of sheath cleaning but the behavioral side as well. I have found that most people haven’t learned how to do this basic husbandry task because they don’t know how to get their horse to stand quietly for the procedure. All of that is about to change.

Your horse will learn to stand quiet and relaxed while you get to the business of sheath cleaning. In the process you will develop a great rapport with your horse and you will find that the training principles will reach beyond just sheath cleaning.

I have had a great amount of interest in this DVD…matter of fact it kind of surpassed me. I am happy to finally have it available. If you would like to learn more visit the link below:

http://www.on-target-training.com/sheath-cleaning-video.php” title=”Positively Simple Sheath Cleaning”

 

Stormy won’t jump Liverpools…oh, wait…he does now!!

I just wanted to share this sequence of pictures.  Too often there isn’t anyone taking pictures of the amazing things that happen with the positive reinforcement training. Bernard of Deamphoto.biz happened to be at this clinic/demo.  He did a great job getting some fun pictures so I wanted to share them.  He is a great photographer as well as a great guy!  Also, he invented some clever things, like the salad spinner for one!  I hope that you enjoy the pictures.
As many of you know jumping issues are one of my favorite things to address with horses. Given my history and where I got started with horses, that probably isn’t too surprising. As for Stormy…I start this process going from point A to point B (person to person), at liberty. As they get the A to Bs worked out from a good distance, I introduce jump standards with a pole on the ground. I begin to turn it into a jump. The criteria slowly increases. The positive reinforcement keeps them engaged and enjoying the process even though it becomes more difficult. They become invested in the training process so they will make choices to face their fears (for Stormy it was the liverpool). He had a free choice the entire time…no whips, chutes, body positioning, no coercing at all. This makes the behavior solid since it is truly a choice…not the lesser of two evils, so to speak. When they go through this process, the change in confidence is amazing and it carries over to more than the jumping issue. If you have any questions about the free jumping and overcoming any jumping issues please  don’t hestitiate to ask or comment.

Heroes and Gurus: How The Guru Syndrome© Stops you Getting True Confidence by Effective Horsemanship

November 18, 2012 by  
Filed under On Target Training

I think this is a great post from Confidence Blog by Effective Horsemanship (see link below).  It is full of food for thought.  My goal has always been to help people learn the principles of behavior so that they may continue on their own with confidence.  At Sea World I felt like I had done my job when I could sit back and watch  a sea lion that I trained, successfully do a show (over 100 trained behaviors) with another trainer.  Then I knew I had succeeded.  The goal is to fade myself out of the equation.  The same is true for people.  I feel like I have made good progress when people truly understand the principles and can think through them on their own.  I want them to take the concepts and run with them.  Applying positive reinforcement to the training equation takes a shift in thinking since it is very different then traditional horse protocols.  So there is a learning curve.  However, I didn’t create positive reinforcement training.   It is based in solid science and research done over decades.  I am just helping to facilitate the understanding of how our horses learn and how to apply it to everyday situations.  I continue to learn with every horse and every person.  Anyway, I wanted to share it with you.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Enjoy…

Here is a link:  http://www.effectivehorsemanship.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/hereos-and-gurus-how-the-guru-syndrome-stops-you-getting-true-confidence/

Equestrian Clinic Pricing…

I have given this a lot of thought and I have decided to list my clinic prices on my website. I know this is not the usual practice for clinicians but I have found that many people have been surprised that I don’t charge more for clinics. Some of these people almost didn’t even bother to call figuring it would be out of their price range, only to be surprised how reasonable the clinics are priced. While other clinicians often charge twice as much, I have tried to keep the cost as low as I can while still being able to ensure that I can reach as many people as possible (without going belly up!) My plan is to keep these prices through the next year.

Some of the horses I work with are in the six figure range (and above) and then some are horses who have been rescued. To me, they are all priceless, so I want to be sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn about the amazing benefits of positive reinforcement training. While awareness is growing, I feel that there are still too few good resources out there. My ultimate goal is to help broaden awareness of learning theory and how it applies to real horses in real life situations. I am happy to work with people to make this happen. For non-profits organizations and those that are scheduling more than one clinic we can work together to make it more affordable.I hope this helps to clarify things, so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get ahold of me.
http://www.on-target-training.com/services.php

Solving Horse Behaviour Problems and Me by Jenni Nellist

November 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Clicker and Target Issues

Here is another blog post that I think you would enjoy.  This one is by Jenni Nellist and her blog is always a good read.  Here is a link:  

Solving Horse Behavior Problems and Me

Being someone who helped others solve equine behavioural problems was an attractive career prospect for me. I already had an enduring fascination with the equine mind and the rise and rise of ‘natural horsemanship’. Reaching the equine mind was a dream that was becoming more and more of a reality for me. I discovered that this was a dream best realised through dedication to educating myself and translating that acquired knowledge to experience andvice versa. This process was my way of experiencing and understanding the whole purpose of ‘evidence based horsemanship’.
I very quickly found out that the role of equine behaviourist carried with it a great responsibility; to the animal in question and the people associated with it. The old saying, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ particularly stuck out in my mind. I didn’t want to be the individual who had little knowledge and no realisation that this was the case! I became almost hyper aware of what I didn’t know just by questioning my own knowledge and practise. This didn’t put me off from trying, I just made sure that I plugged gaps in my knowledge and understanding with further learning whenever I found them. And I still do, the whole point of CPD!.
I found that a lot of knowledge derived from academia was essential, but absolutely useless when isolated from experience. I also found that while experience was also essential, it was also absolutely useless when isolated from knowledge and understanding gained from academic application. I discovered as much in the classroom as I did in the field… and still do! I’d now ask anyone who questions my ‘paper’ qualifications, “is it not best to be fully cognizant of what one is actually witnessing and practising, rather than to take a more blinkered approach and thinking one is fully knowledgeable of what one doing based on personal experience alone?”
I would like to think that an accomplished horse behaviour consultant is not only an experienced and effective horseperson, but is also knowledgeable of ethology, psychology, neuropsychology, physiology and animal welfare science. And is able to apply the fruits of scientific endeavour to the practise of resolving horse behaviour issues through effective, safe and humane teaching methods. And continue to question current practise so that knowledge and practise can be improved for the future of all horses and their people. What I did yesterday might not be the same as I do today since new findings may have come to my attention that can improve my application!
It was during my studies under Dr Anne McBride and her team at the University of Southampton that I learned that the art and science of resolving horse behaviour problems relied on the correct diagnosis of the causes of behavioural issues. And that appropriate tailoring of behaviour modification relied on that differential diagnosis. This skilled undertaking relies on knowledge and understanding of both horse and human behaviour. This almost harks back to Barbara Woodhouse claiming that there were no such thing as bad dogs, only bad owners. I wouldn’t go so far as to label the owners of ‘misbehaving’ horses as ‘bad’, horse behaviour can appear to ‘go wrong’ for many reasons, but one thing is certain: The horse’s behaviour is unlikely to change unless its human changes their behaviour first. The owner leads the way in behaviour modification since they are the one who calls me in to facilitate the process. If I fail to undertake full assessment before starting retraining, the less efficient, ‘therapeutic’ approach, ‘sucking it and see’, is the (usually) less satisfactory or humane result.
Another thing I learned pretty early on is that behaviour always happens for a reason, even if the humans around can’t identify one. Horses act to gain things they need or to avoid things they don’t. These reasons are purely equine and reside in the horse’s mind; my job is to translate ‘horse’ into ‘human’. Horses are only capable of equine behaviour, thoughts and emotions, and all too often humans give human reasons for horse behaviour. The concept of horses being ‘bad actors’ and performing bad behaviour on purpose just to get the better of people is probably as old as equine domestication itself. But I ask, “is that fair?” All horses want is to stay alive, eat and procreate. They don’t lose sleep over lost ribbons or the next show. Most problem behaviour comes from a conflict of interest between what horses were born to do, and human ambition. Compromises can be made, and there are good examples of them everywhere, its just that there are bad compromises too. Just as a plumber sees more faulty toilets than the average human population, so I see more horses where it’s all gone horribly wrong.
Good equine reasons for unwanted behaviour are fear of pain, loss of life and the unknown, frustration and confusion regarding trained behaviour, bad handling and social mismatching. Every behaviour has an emotional and cognitive reason behind it, I like to understand how the horse feels and thinks as well as what it does.
In my opinion good training is an art where the end goal is presented in successive, achievable chunks. Some horses require smaller chunks than others, especially where emotional problems such as intense fear or anxiety are a primary concern. I’ve learned that proper diagnosis enables finer tailoring of any training plan before it’s begun.
Any behavioural problem, be it excessive aggression towards other horses, refusing to load into the box, or napping on rides out, will have the following elements in its past and present. There will be an emotional reason for the behaviour – the psychological state that motivates its performance. I have found that I can ascertain such a reason from the triggers for the behaviour and from its consequences. There will be elements in the horse’s temperament, breeding and past experiences that predispose it to the particular behaviour. There will be a learning experience that started the problem in the first place. And there will be factors and circumstances in the horse’s day to day life causing the behavioural problem to continue.
When these things are known it is possible to do that fine tailoring, creating the individual rehabilitation programme. And this is where I’m able to use my creative streak alongside good instructional and coaching skills. In my experience rehabilitation usually requires husbandry and handling changes as well as specific retraining. I’m glad that these days I have a large tool box to facilitate this. I’ve found this toolbox necessary to maximise the potential for change without harm to the safety and welfare of both horses and people.

Pressure – Positive or Negative? by Equi-libre Horses

November 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Clicker and Target Issues

I wanted to share this blog post by Jo Hughes.  I really enjoyed it and I think you will too.  There are a number of great posts on her blog…Equi-libre Horses.

Pressure – Positive or Negative?

November 15, 2012 by Equi-libre Horses

There has been much talk on the internet recently about the use of pressure in training and whether it is viewed by the horse as pleasant and helpful guidance or instead something that the animal is in fact working to avoid or get rid of – thereby an unpleasant aversive; its termination acting as a negative reinforcer.

It is well known that an important type of learning that ALL species experience is about concequences. Everything we do has concequences! And changing our behaviour changes those concequences!

Whether a behaviour has increased due to a positive reinforcer or a negative reinforcer can be difficult to determine in some situations – especially if a click (followed by food) has marked the response for the horse at the same time as pressure being released.

Is the horse offering the response because it finds the guidance reassuring, pleasant and helpful as well as seeking the click and the food (positive reinforcement)? Or is it instead responding to the pressure which it knows will go away when it offers the correct response (negative reinforcement); the click and treat being overpowered by the horse’s motivation to avoid the aversive?

Both of these concequences reinforce the behavioural response we are looking for meaning it will INCREASE and happen MORE frequently. So some of you may be wondering what is the point in these online debates are anyway, since the outcome in both cases gets us what we want – an increase in the desired behavioural response! And after all, if we feel that the level of pressure we are using to achieve that isn’t aversive or unpleasant…then it must be ok – right?

Hmm – sadly not. I believe this is the crux of the matter actually. Humans tend to get very focussed on what WE want when training our horses, how WE feel about the tools we are using such as body language pressure and physical pressure. If it feels like soft, light, guidance to us we assume that we can safely say the same for the horse.

Ironically, this is exactly my point. Training isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) about how we feel about it.

Conversely, training is actually about the HORSE learning through changingITS behaviours as a result of ITS experience.

“Learning is an adaptive process in which the tendency to perform a particular behaviour is changed by experience.” – Carlson, Buskist and Martin (2004) 

Almost more important is to realise that the experiences that drive changes in behaviour of the horse are defined according to how the HORSE feels about them, not US.

It isn’t about what WE believe, think or feel about what we are doing, using or even intending to use.

As humans we have a fabulous ability to justify our own behaviours in an anthropomorphistic manner; superimposing our own feelings and experiences onto our animals as a means of justifying our actions. In some cases, we even go as far as to reinscribe technology as a way of re-wording something to make us feel better about it as in this case – ‘pressure and release’, as Jenni Nellist so brilliantly explained in her recent blog post.

But how can we tell how the horse feels in order to work out whether pressure is viewed by them as a positive stimulus acting as a positive conditioned reinforcer or an unpleasant aversive acting as a negative conditioned reinforcer? Their subtle body language signals give us a window into their souls and can enlighten us pretty clearly when we know what to look for – low level anxiety body language signals stand out pretty radically when compared to horses happily responding to light pressure as a positive discriminative stimulus (cue).

It is indeed possible to train a horse to view extremely light pressure as pleasant stimulus that has positive associations attached.

The key is in understanding how the HORSE really feels about that pressure…and US leaving how we feel out of the equation!

Update on rescue horse migration and last chance reminder!

I want to formally say a big thank to everyone for your support regarding our westward migration.  It was touching to read all of the well wishing thoughts and comments.

I am happy to report that we have reached their home, here in the hills of Northern California.  It was a special moment to see these brave travelers investigating their new digs.  It is incredible to remember all that they have been through.

The past several years these rescues had settled into the comfort of their safe haven in Colorado.  Change didn’t seem to be something they were embracing when the trailer training began.
However, all of the care and planning made the journey (and training) a positive experience.  I can even say it was a whopping success.  These horses actually seemed to find all of the stimulus intriguing instead of worrisome and it was obvious that they found the trailer to be a safe place.
It is amazing how positive reinforcement training can really change things for the horses.  They have come so far, both physically and emotionally.  Kudos to all involved in this monumental undertaking.  Well done!!

Okay, next order of business, today is the LAST day the On Target Trailer Loading DVD will be available at this special price.
If you are interested in getting your horse to be a confident loader (who can ship half way across the country!), I suggest you take advantage of this opportunity to get the  DVD set at this low price while you can.  It will be good until tonight, midnight PST.
Also keep in mind, I am always available to offer support to help as you progress with your horse’s training.  This is a commitment I make to you and your horse…to see you succeed.
The positive reinforcement training is so effective but too few people really understand it yet.  My goal is for you to learn how to apply it in all sorts of situations, not just trailer loading.
Alrighty, that about wraps it up for now.
Warm wishes and enjoy getting your horse On Target!
Shawna

Another Update: Westward Migration

Update on our migration: We headed out for the final stretch and then we got a flat tire (and one compromised tire) on one of the trailers. We found a spot along the road to wait for some new tires. It was several hours before they got there. The temperature was nice and cool as we waited. The horses were calm and restful.

Then here comes the tire guys! All of a sudden it was loud and hectic. They had hydraulic wrenches, air hoses, sledge hammers(to get the tires off of the rims), there are lights and trucks running and if that wasn’t enough a tanker truck pulled up along side the trailer with the young ones. Since they are in a slant load it ended up being right behind them. The truck blew it’s brakes. It seemed like real mayhem yet the horses were phenomenal!

Keep in mind that these horse couldn’t even be safely handled a couple years ago and here they are dealing with things that even a seasoned traveler would find difficult. The were calm and sensible!! If they did get startled they settled right back down on their own volition.

They have developed such trust and seem to realize that all is not as fearful as it once seemed to them. I was SOOO proud watching those 6 little horses keeping them selves so composed.

We ended up turning back to the layover barn since it was late at this point. We are giving them a well deserved day to rest and will finish the journey tomorrow. I will keep you posted. Thank you all for your good wishes and warm words. I will pass them on to their humans who have done most of the work! :0)

BTW the picture above is the 3 younger horses. They just loaded and are watching a horse playing in the turn out. We are heading out for their new home…or so we thought!

 

Update: Rescue Horses Headed West!!

November 11, 2012 by  
Filed under On Target Training, Trailer Issues

I think it is funny that I am releasing my trailer loading DVD while in the middle of a HUGE trip for 6 rescue horses…well, it is a big trip for their humans too!

So much planning and care has gone into preparing these horses for this expedition. 1200 miles from Colorado to California…we are almost there!!

Just in case some of you don’t know, these horses have had been through some tough times. Most of them have had some sort of abuse or neglect. There is one horse who is an experienced trailer gal. But the others, have had very little experience trailering and the small amount they did have was not good. So, for months now their loving humans have devoted their time to help these horses get acclimated to trailering and all that goes with it.

Given their past, the project was a big one for everyone.  I have come in every now and then to help give guidance along the way but the credit goes to the humans that worked with them all. Well, that and the training!

Using positive reinforcement they were able to get the horses to open up, to trust people and to enjoy being in the trailer. However, 4 days on the road is another issue for any horse, let alone this posse of horses.

Well, today is the home stretch!! We broke the days down into small increments, averaging 300 miles a day. Did I mention one of these horses is 26 and another is 29!!! That meant we really wanted to give them short days with plenty of rest in between.

We weren’t sure how they would respond to all of the new sights and sounds or how they would do getting on and off at new places after their big ships. So much uncertainty! We did all we could to prepare them for these unforeseeable challenges.

I am so happy to report that they have been amazing!! I am so proud of all that are involved. These gals did a great job getting these horses with a great foundation. The horses have seen/heard, semi tractor trailers, air brakes, trains, freeways, tunnels, stop lights, traffic and skateboarders doing tricks right next to their trailer.

They are so solid and seem to be enjoying the whole process. I see this as such a big testament to the power of positive reinforcement training. As I always say, I didn’t create the training. It is applied learning theory, I just help to facilitate it, to put it to work in the real world with real horses in real situations.

Just a reminder, I am running a special on my new trailer loading DVD if you would like to learn more about the training. The special will be running through Wednesday and then it is going up in price. So, if are wanting to get your horse trailering like a pro, please visit the link below:
http://on-target-training.com/trailer-loading-video.php

Is your horse calm and happy when it comes to trailer loading? (New DVD)

Will your horse load in the trailer anytime, anywhere?

I recognize that this is a problem for a lot of horse owners. Well, guess what? I decided to make a DVD that will show you how to teach your horse to become the best loader in town!

You will learn how to use the proven behavior principles behind positive reinforcement training. It is simple and easy with no resistance, no balking and no long drawn out sessions. The best part is your horse will enjoy the whole training process…he will love being the trailer!

Plus, when all is said and done, you will realize that the training is great for so much more than just trailer loading. You will find about a million situations with your horse where the principles will come in handy.

I am really excited to finally be releasing this new DVD set that I decided to celebrate by offering you an amazing deal. But only for the next week, then the price will go up, so don’t dawdle!! Get more info and checking out the link below.

http://on-target-training.com/trailer-loading-video.php

On Target Training, Shawna Karrasch

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