Problem Horses - Aslan's Story 3 - Change of Environment [Slideshow]
Horses are very susceptible to changes, especially environment. Until now, I worked with Aslan in his field. He has gained enough confidence in me and my tools that I took him into our outdoor arena. I wanted to see if he was only afraid of people and training in general or if he also had environmental fears.
Aslan has gained a lot of trust in me and what I do with him, so I thought it was time to bring him to our big outdoor arena – which he didn’t know yet.
I also wanted to check if he was environmentally spooky or not and how he reacts to the different environment. For some horses, this can be a big deal.
Aslan showed me that he was not afraid of his environment – meaning he is not the type of horse who will spook of big rocks, trunks, bushes or different animals. He was really brave on the way.
Enjoy the slideshow with pictures and explainations
After having him shown the whole arena and he had a good look at everything, I presented the big green ball to him. His owners had told me that he acted really afraid the day they brought a ball like this into their field for their foal to play. He even tried to herd the foal away from the ball. You can see he is sceptical, not wanting to touch
You can see him thinking: oh no, what strange idea does she have today? Watch the braced front leg and neck and the tight mouth
After lots of bouncing, approach and retreat, he allows me to touch him with the ball at his shoulder – but watch his sceptical face, especially the ears
He is tolerating but not accepting on the right side, can you see that he is leaning away from me and that his right hind leg is cocked? All signs of his tension
He even tolerated the ball in his most sensitive zone the right hind leg. I keep contact with one hand on his body, which helps with most horses to keep them more relaxed. You can really see how frozen he is and that he is very close to going into flight mode
I repeated the sequences several times and then he could do a big lick and chew!
Do you see the complete change of expression in his face? The pictures are in the same order as they came out of the camera – it is also to me amazing to see how his expression changed so much after the lick and chew
Also on this picture he looks way more calm, one ear pointing forward and the tail chasing flies – tensed horses don’t chase flies!
Well, the right side is still a bit hard, but you can see that both his hind legs are loaded and 1 ear is pointing forward.
Then I wanted to check what his opinion about the saddle is – he approached with curiosity
...and allowed me to place the saddle without fear. Now I know that this point does not need to be worked at
I ended the session with checking where he was about with the flag. He was really good right away – here accepting it at the walk, you can clearly see his relaxed attitude
And to the right as well. A soft neck, relaxed tail, soft face and loose rope
Even at the trot and on his right side with the flag on a very sensitive spot, he relaxed really well. Aslan starts to trust me and what I present to him. I would like to reach a point where he decides whatever strange thing I present to him, it is fine if I say it is. This is real trust – lets see when we get there.
Read more about Aslan