After a couple of exciting events I decided to first see how relaxed (or not) Hippach would be today. I have this beautiful new cavesson which will help give instructions during the Straightness Training groundwork excercises. Well, as you can see he was very relaxed today, at least during the grooming session. Obviously Mr. Hippach loves to see me work haha!
Since he was very relaxed and cuddly I decided to try out the new cavesson, with the tiny baby-steps in the back of my mind (see last post). Every new thing is very exciting for Hippach so before fastening the cavesson we walked a few rounds (Right Brain Extroverts need to walk when they find something exciting). It helped and I fastened the new scary thing 😉
Before doing groundwork we walked a few more rounds with the halter still on. He needed to get used to the feel of the cavesson. There were also a couple of trucks loading sand in the adjacent field which was extra scary. Now I am not the type of person to wait until the scary trucks leave. I just take the time with my horse to make him feel relaxed around new things. I notice that he follows me and that if I feel secure around new things he doesn’t have to be scared either. Plus I always use positive reinforcement. Each time he stays calm and lowers his head I use my clicker and he gets a piece of carrot. It makes him relaxed because I ‘confirm’ that everything is okay and he is doing super.
Walking relaxed, side by side. In this picture you can see he is a right-bended horse which I will write about later and which I want to solve with Straightness Training.
Hippach is responding quite well to the new cavesson. He does find it very strange to have a reign on top of his nose all of a sudden. It is a new thing for him and it works/feels differently.
Here you can see the cavesson with the reign on the top of Hippach’s nose. We took tiny baby-steps with lots of positive reinforcement so as you can see the Hippie Boy (for insiders haha) lowers his head and is quite relaxed.
We finished the session, so I have put the halter and leadrope back on. It was a short training (maybe only 10 minutes). This time the focus was on getting adjusted to the cavesson and not to do the groundwork excercises perfectly. I am sure he loves it that I have a smile on my face when working with him ❤ Smiling probably is a good indicator for the right mindset and energy around horses.