First Lesson Outside the Waterhole Rituals - Fly Spray!
Welcome To My Blog -To Get You Started!The purpose of my blog is to make a connection with you. I can connect with people all over the world, thanks to the computer, and we can explore and correspond with one another on the experiences we’re having with our horses in our life!
I also use the blog as a way, to educate, to raise consciousness, and to use philosophical viewpoints that will lead to a better relationship with your horse; for training, partnering, and performance.
The blog is also here to help support interested people and my students who are learning my method through the educational material I offer and direct coaching. Feel free to ask questions on horse behavior, pecking order, leadership, self-realization, meditation, and the training and performance of horses. I may answer your question, or I may choose it for a blog topic for a later date. Of course, I can’t answer everyone’s questions, but I will read all your comments and I will respond to several questions on each blog.
I look forward to dialoging on the subject of what creates a better connection with a horse. Enjoy!
We all would like to avoid asking a horse to do something that he clearly does not want to do, especially when starting out a new relationship with a horse, but it had to be done. Fly Spray! I have discovered Maestro did not like fly spray. Dreaded Rats!!! What am I going to do now? I have to stay on the right side of my horse and how am I going to do that? I know! Maybe I can approach my problem in a way that would be beneficial. Maybe I can use the unwanted experience as an opportunity so we could get to know each other and trust each other.
From this perspective, I started by trying to relieve Maestro’s attitude towards fly spray.
First Attempt, Second Attempt...
First, I tried putting fly spray on him while holding him in a halter on a loose line and letting him eat out of a bucket with Equine Senior in it. When he was relaxed and had forgotten about the fly spray, I sprayed only once when I thought he was good and relaxed. It caused him to dance in place like a child being whipped to death long after I had sprayed one front leg. That was clearly the wrong approach. He was so frightened; he stopped eating and danced around for some time. When he settled down, I tried two more attempts. Each of my attempts was creating more fear. Well this was not a good approach. My idea was to distract him by giving him Equine Senior and then when he had forgotten about the fly spray and had become relaxed again, he would see that it did not hurt. It did not work! I could have fought him through it and gotten him to be fine with the fly spray, but I wanted to stay away from force or persistence. When he backed off, I did not spray him again. When he was relaxed, I only tried to spray him once and that was too much for him.
So, I had to try another approach. My second approach worked! If I had forced him with the first approach, I would not have learned how to work with him and his type of personality. I tried the opposite approach the second time. I would not let him have anything to eat until he let me spray once while he was relaxed and standing still, not on him but away from him - bending down and looking at the area of his body that I was going to spray. This way when I approached him again, he would be more relaxed. I had to wait for some time for him to relax because he was full of jitters. When I could spray away from him and he stayed relaxed, I would let him eat for a while. Then I took the food bucket away from him and tried to spray him once and he was better, not great, but really better.
What trial and error is, is trying one thing and then another to see what the results are and going with the results that are headed in a good direction. A lot of you may feel that this is an obvious way to approach the task or that you have a better way. If you do, please share it with us!
I am sharing this story of my approach to help people become inventive and see that force is not needed to break the ice with a horse or to find the cooperation you want to receive from your horse. How to work with trial and error is to start with your horse as if your horse will do what you are asking of him. Then from his response, or lack of response, you have a better idea of what your next approach needs to be that will help you to get closer to your goal.
The trick is to not think in terms of reaching your goal, but rather only what will get you closer to your goal. I also found that if I could spray without making any noise, this would help him stay relaxed. This caused me to remember that a pump spray has little noise to it and I went to Home Depot that day and bought one for $6.50. The next day he was much happier with my pump spray. If you do not have a Home Depot store you can purchase a pump spray at Amazon.com right now.
Another way to introduce fly repellent is to put it on a rag! For a beginner that is what I would recommend. I might have had to move to this approach, but I did not need to with Maestro. Another way to getting your horse to except being sprayed is to introduce fly repellent for a week or so at feeding time. Spray once around your horse not on him and then feed. This way he develops a good feeling towards the sound. He associates the sound as being pleasant because food always follows. This will desensitize your horse enough so he’s not pessimistic about what the spray could mean to him. Another way is to spray around your horse and then feed him a carrot.
The Thought Behind My Approach:
The reason I approached Maestro the way I did is that I thought it would be a good interaction for us to get to know each other. From the way I chose to interact with him, he learned that I wasn’t going to force him, which is very valuable because he’ll get the idea that this is my style. He also learned that the spray got him into the feed bucket! After about 20 minuets, and most of that time was spent in relaxation, he stood still and let me spray him! The next day he might be back to being resistant, and if so, I will start at the beginning with him. Who knows, he might be fine with it! I will let you know how it’s going.
My approach was a good one because it turned out well and took little time and little effort to accomplish. When working with trial and error you want to always stop the approach you are using when you see you are not getting anywhere. This way the horse sees that you are not forcing the issue. This will cause a horse to relax and be more receptive. It is now days latter and he is fine with fly spray.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend! May the horse be with you, and keep an eye out for new horse and human sightings!