One interesting part of Carolyn Resnicks’ canon that has been very interesting to me, and I have tried to do as much as possible that works within that frame – is not working the horse unless it wants too. Of course there are times when work must simply be done whether the horse wants it or not.
Today, it was clear that Big Guy wanted to stay with his other girlfriend over the fence (she had been gone over the holiday). I Said Hello, gave him a couple of carrots and let him be.
Pandora wanted to do something and came when called. I took her over to the dirt arena and we went through her little tricks – leg lifts, stretches, bends side to side, and started on a new one.
Since there was new sand she wanted to roll. As soon as she went down I clicked and she was HUH???
I ended up getting five drop to the sand, one right after the other, wait for click and let me scratch her, before she tired of that game. This is the first time she has allowed me to approach her while she stayed down on the ground! Wow!
She definitely started to play me by walking along nose to the ground as if she was going to roll and then looking at me EXPECTANTLY…!
We did a little of Leave Me – Come Back (similar to Carolyn Resnicks’ Waterhole Ritual Go-Trot). She is good at it but really stays way too close to me during the Leave part of it. She velcros on tight and getting her to leave is like dislodging a sticker!
I brought Little Girl over thinking I would lunge her but instead we did Leave Me/Come Back with BOTH OF THEM and it was so much fun! What was really surprising to me was how goodnatured LG was with Pandora (no charging, biting or kicking) even though a food reward was being used.
Because Pandora knew the recall quite well, she was able to show LG by her own actions what to do! I was able to send them both away – LG going further away and when I called “Come Back!”, Pandora would trot and LG would even canter back to me – stopping and approaching with EARS FORWARD and a very PLEASANT ATTITUDE!!
Unless you have worked with this horse like I have you wouldn’t know what a BIG improvement this is over her charging, bully behavior.
I did get some fly-bys of LG where she blew past at a gallop, kicking and bucking sideways before she turned and came back – but the approach to me was always one of honest interest instead of dominance.