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Approach and Retreat

Kate Fenner - Monday, October 28, 2013

Click on the photo above to watch the video for today's training session.

TJ had a wonderful day today. I had my first touch this afternoon, sadly after my video camera died at lunch time but I am getting another one on Wednesday!

The above video shows the approach and retreat method I used to get to touch him. I did not begin trying to feed him with hay or grass because his fear levels were simply too high. In reality if you think that standing in a position and staying still will kill you then even the most delicious thing in the world is unlikely to change your mind. I find with horses with this level of fear I must first introduce them to the idea of positive reinforcement with my voice (which also begins as a form of pressure) and I use that together with the negative reinforcement of taking the pressure off, i.e.. moving further away again.

By tying the grass to the piaffe whip I could maintain the pattern of movement I will need to pat him eventually but do it from a distance.

In the afternoon he took several handfuls of grass from my hand but none was accomplished without a substantial amount of snorting! Not there yet but wonderful progress for the day.

I think the best thing is seeing him slowly settle into his new environment. He no longer runs to the opposite end of the pen when I drive down and tonight he even stayed a few metres away when I put his hay in.

I thought little Dunkan-Doo was gorgeous today supporting his big friend. At one stage he walked four or five steps towards me, looked back at TJ and thought better of it! Sweet boy!

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