Horse Training Tip From The Ranch

This is an amazing August, usually it is hot. Fall is in the air and the weather is beautiful. I do not have much to share today so I just wanted to update you on everyone here and tell you about a small tip you might find useful. Cat is doing really well and appears to be very happy, as is Stoli. Morning Star (Lucero) is also very happy with his life and is like a little puppy dog now. When he came here about 10 weeks ago, he had a very surly attitude but has responded wonderfully well to the Waterhole Rituals™ and is as friendly as you could wish now. This kind of grounding well set him up very well for whatever training he does later in his life.

Greg Bruce, our equine dentist, came the other day. He fixes all my horses teeth and it was amazing to watch him. He spent at least 30 minutes with Julia telling her all about how a horse uses his teeth and things to look for that can cause a horse problems. I came in the middle of it and got a lot out of his talk. Greg teaches horse dentistry and does clinics with Leslie Desmond. He also has his own dental practice called “Just Right” Horse Dentistry. What I like about Greg is that he does not use drugs on the horses. His approach is wonderful and I like the fact that he works without using drugs on the horses. There is no fight because he has such a fantastic connection with horses and he takes his time. My horses seemed to enjoy this time with him because he knows how to create a lot of relaxation in a horse.

Greg took a clinic in my Method a few years ago. This time he told me I had showed him something in the clinic that has helped him with his dentistry and that he uses all the time with great success. I was happy to hear this because he always had a natural gift with horses and handled them well. What I had shown him was how I approached a horse when the horse wanted to resist lowering his head and relax. He told me how grateful he was that I had taught him this exercise. There have been times when I have worked with very resistant dressage horses that become so locked that it would appear nothing would cause them to want to unlock their necks. They simply wouldn’t listen to softening and lower their heads if you asked them to.

This is what I do when I come across a horse that is resistant to any form of a request to lower their head and hold still. Firstly, I pull down gently on the halter rope about two inches below the snap until I feel the resistance that horse offers, then I pull hard enough (strong and firm, not a jerk) so that the horse responds to my request with even more resistance. I hold this, with the same pressure, for a count of eight seconds and then I slowly release and ask the horse to walk forward about 10 feet. Then I ask for a halt. When the horse stops and stands still on a dropped line, repeat the exercise. What happens is the horse thinks that HE is the one releasing and in no time at all the horse lowers his head when I ask with a soft willing attitude and enjoys holding its head lower. You might like to try it on your own horses that are resistant to lowering their heads and relaxing. It is fun and simple to do. It will also teach you something about feel. Let me know how it turns out.

As usual, I would love to hear from you too. What books you are enjoying reading at the moment? What stories did you enjoy most from my book Naked Liberty?

Talking of books, you may be interested to hear that I will shortly be releasing all the stories, Q&A, tips and advice from the first year of my blog in a handy, easy-to-read, spiral bound book. It will be called the Carolyn Resnick Blog Collection - Volume One and will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Enjoy your week!