So last Saturday as events would have it, we found ourselves at the barn on a rainy day with a few hours free…. What do you do at the barn on a rainy Saturday afternoon with free time??? Well, if You are me, you teach your horse to stand on the mounting block. Yes ON the mounting block.
Like a few of my parents, you may find yourself asking the common question of “why, Allison, why would you teach your horse that?” And that is a very good question, the answer to which is very simple.
I could say all of the logical reasons like…. If I can get her to step up on something like a mounting block then a trailer would also be easier. Or, I could get her to hold a leg somewhere for the vet or the farrier and be trusting and patient. Truth be told, I did it simply to see if I could.
Isis, my horse, is very smart but not overly trusting of people. When I train her I make it a game or a problem that she has to solve. There is no punishment for getting wrong but also no reward or payout. She wants that reward very much so you can see her think though the training and the tricks. It focuses her and builds a trust between us both that is hard to build any other way.
The fun thing about tricks is you are only limited by your imagination and communication skills. Remember to start small like teaching them to lift a foot for you to pick out without touching them or to “sneak” ( walk really really slowly) teach “back up” from any vantage point…. Can you sit on a chair and get your horse to back up? How about if you are behind them?
Just remember to have fun!!