Does it seem impossible to teach your horse to relax?
You can’t just take a break during working him without that he starts nagging you?
You wish you could just push a button so he finally relaxes when you are asking him to relax?
Well, bad news is- that there’s no such thing as ‘installing an anti-stress’ button in your horse.
However – good news is- that you can teach your horse to call down and relax when you need him to be relaxed.
Through reinforcing calm behavior.
You can teach your horse to relax on cue. Positive reinforcement (R+)/ Clicker Training (CT) – gives you the huge benefit of being able to address and pinpoint smallest sequences of a behavior.
Signs of tension in training
-can’t relax and stand quietly
-gets easily anxious or frustrated
-zones out and disconnects
-rushing and blocking you
The Patience Exercise
This exercise supports relaxation in your horse through teaching patience.
It is very helpful for horses that turn into ‘attention thirsty’ monsters as soon as you are asking for a small break or when you are talking to someone/ when you are answering a call etc.
Your horse is already conditioning to the clicker /bridge signal and fully understands feeding manners.
Clicker (or tongue ‘clock’) + food rewards
If you train at liberty you don’t need anything else
If you train in an open/big area you need a halter and a lead rope
Of your horse is extremely pushy or even tends to get a little aggressive – I recommend to work in protected contact.
Your horse stands quietly, calm and relaxed next to you – without any intentions of nibbling and nagging nor moving around.
Click + Treat for every accomplished behavior of this list:
Your horse stands next to you shoulder to shoulder – your feet are at on line with your horses front hooves. You want to stand like an arm length away from your horse (equal respect of personal space!)
Your horses neck is straight forward
Your horses head is in a comfortable height (not too high not too low)
Allover your horse has a relaxed energy and a relaxed expression
Your horses ears are forward
Built Duration: You horse can maintain the ‘patience position’ for 2 seconds, 5 seconds, 8 seconds,…and so on.
A very ‘busy minded’ and tense horse will most likely need smaller steps in between each of the listed steps. Break the single steps further down until you are sure that your horse can perform the asked and desired behavior.
Happy clicking !