Jasper is a young gelding from the BLM, adopted in February 2002. He is kind and receptive to learning, but just a little nervous about being touched. He had not worn a halter since roundup, until the day before--and the owner was unsure about taking it off, not knowing if she'd be able to put one back on.
Our session lasted about an hour and we tried to take short breaks periodically, but Jasper was more than willing to keep on working (playing) and his focus was always within the pen.
We want to teach Jasper to LOVE his halter!
The halter is the target.
He touches it out of curiosity.
Click and Treat.
That's our deal with Jasper...
Every time he touches the halter...
He gets a click and a treat.
At one point, like most horses,
Jasper tries to take a direct route
to the treats, rather than touching the target first.
This is called "mugging". We re-direct his attention
to the halter/target, or take a time-out by leaving.
He quickly decides he doesn't want the game to end.
"Hey, don't go!"
To keep things interesting, we ask him
to target the piano.
At one point, he starts invading my space,
and he's asked to back up a little.
We add a little leading "at liberty".
And a little hindquarter disengagement, at liberty, for suppling.
Jasper has quite a few "you can't touch me there" spots.
See how he stiffens up and check out his ears.
Especially on the right side.
He's indicating that he's not comfortable
with someone over there.
Here, he's much softer, with ears up.
We did a little bit of asking him to lift his legs.
And then back to asking him to put his head in the halter.
We finally took off the rope halter
confidant that he would quietly accept it
being put back on.
He puts his head in, several times.
This time, my hand slides up towards his ear,
and he shows being bothered a little.
A little high-headed...
But he doesn't choose to leave.