Check out my very cheesy video of Toby laughing at some jokes!
Of course, this isn’t high on the list of behaviours most people want to teach their horse but it’svery important to find behaviours that your horse likes doing. Teaching something that’s a bit daft and very different to the work you normally do with your horse means that your sessions will be more enjoyable and you can use it to help reinforce other behaviours.
For example, laughing ios one of Tobgy’s favourite behaviours, he loves doing it. If i’m working on lungeing and he gives me a really lovely extended trot, he can stop and laugh a few times. He enjoys this and it means that he’ll be more likely to give me a great extended trot next time I ask for it.
It’s kind of the equivalent to the child who has to do some maths before being allowed on the trampoline. If, after they’ve done a few sums all they get is more sums, maths very quickly becomes avery big drag. If maths is the key to being allowed on thetrampoline or out with their friends, it’s worth doing. It’s thesame thing with your horse.
It’s all too easy to very intense and serious with our horses, making sessions with them tougher on both of you. Lessening that intensity by teaching something fun goes a long way to yourhorse being more eager to work with you. Sessions becomeplay rather than work. And once they become play, everything is easier!
Finding fun behaviours also means that you have to listen to your horse. What does your horse like to do? What is his favourite behaviour? It could be playing fetch, coming to call, rolling along a ball or barrel or standing on a mat.
So, teaching fun things to your horse makes him more willing and eager to work with you. It improves your relationship with your horse and your dressage scores. There’s really no reason not to…
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