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Re: [CA_Aside] Napping problems and horse psychology

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  • sidesaddle5@yahoo.com
    OK, now that I ve had time to find this original post on Zack... What I said about the rather gentle but inexorable use of crop tapping on tailhead still
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 1, 2010
      OK, now that I've had time to find this original post on Zack... What I said about the rather gentle but inexorable use of crop tapping on tailhead still applies.  Sounds like Zack has discovered that he only has to take his time and insist, and the human involved will (usually) give in.  And, the interesting psychological factor is that if he's given his way after a *long* wait/argument, then it more surely reinforces his behavior than if he were given his way right away. 
      The good point is, he seems to be basically a kind and sweet-tempered horse who doesn't fight, just gets stubborn... Just spoiled.
      So, solving the problem.  TIME.  Don't take him to one of the problem places unless you have HOURS to spend there.  Bring a book, or something to listen to.  Have a helper who can bring YOU food, water, coffee, or whatever else you need (bathroom breaks may be a problem to solve, but maybe the friend can hold him, or get on in your place, if such becomes necessary!)  Start in the early morning, and if necessary, stay on into dark, if it's safe!  And be aware that once almost certainly won't be enough--in fact the next time, or maybe the third, it may take even longer (classic training situation where the undesirable behavior re-appears, sometimes more strongly, after it has appeared to get better). 
      I haven't tried this part myself, but I've read of those who wait until the horse is finally ready to move, and then the *rider* insists on standing there another hour or two... I'm not sure I would have wanted to wait that long, but it does make sense--like the horse who goes into reverse, so you just keep him backing and backing and backing long after he's ready to quit--or the one who wants to run, so you "set him up" to do so where you can keep him running longer than he wants (I've done so in deep snow with a couple--never really needed a second treatment!)
      So--You *could* simply stand there and wait, asking him every so often to move forward, and just outwait him until he's bored.  Or, you could make the refusal a little uncomfortable.   Now of course you don't want to provoke a big boy like him into outright battle, so the cattle prod (tempting though it may be) is out.  The tailhead-tap is not going to hurt him, but it WILL annoy him, and let him understand the meaning of INEXORABLE.  It busies his mind so he can't just stand there half-asleep, resting and enjoying himself, and it keeps him aware that you have an agenda.  Yes, he may eventually do the kicks like I described young Cricket doing, and he may (again like Cricket) finally respond with a huge forward leap when finally giving in, but you're not hurting him.  Eventually he'll realize you are more stubborn than he is, that standing still is no longer fun or restful, that going where he's told is really better than balking, and the problem will dissipate.
      Keep us posted!!
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