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HBT “Herd Behaviorism Techniques” November 20, 2010

Posted by mikeschaffer in calmness, dressage, looseness, Natural Horsemanship, Riding, The Training Pyramid.
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When I start working with frightened or aggressive horses, I use HBT “Herd Behaviorism Techniques.” (like that name?)  It consists of three phases or messages:

1. He’s stuck with me because he’s either on the longe line  or in a round pen.

2. I’m  able to herd him – make him go, stop, and turn – so I’m  dominant.

3. I’m not going to eat him.

Once I’m at that point horses lose their aggression and fear as they calm down and relax.  It’s fun to watch as it happens.

I take any horse that’s trying to run from me and just start changing his direction. At first they tend to whip around and go running the other way. But then, slowly, it begins to dawn on them that they’re not getting away, so they start to slow down. The horse will go from whipping around and running the other way, to whipping around and cantering, to turning and trotting, to turning and walking. The slower they go, the more frequently I change their direction.

At some point no matter what they’ve just done, I ask them to go the other way. Then comes a moment when they just stop in mid turn, lick their lips, look at me as if to say, “Just what the Hell do you want from me Mister?”

Well, what I want is for him to be standing there asking me what I want.  When he does, he has just elected me leader of the herd of two. Now because I’m the leader I make the decisions including what/who is safe to be around. Now, training can begin.

Mike

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