Young Horse Education - Tara is Learning to Leave the Herd [Slideshow]
Every time I take her, I keep the same routine - I give her consistency which makes her feel safe. I really don’t do much with her. It’s all about allowing her to make her experiences and see different things. Each time just takes us maybe 20 minutes. She is such a sweet and willing girl by nature, I don’t try to teach her anything - she is learning by experience all by herself.
I would like to encourage Tara`s curiosity and let her explore things. Whatever she would like to look at, she can. I will keep her safe and out of trouble - she can’t know yet what surface is slippery or that she can get stuck with her halter somewhere.
On our little journey we will also meet other horses she doesn’t know. I would like that she learns to say hello to others politely and without fear. When I go and visit the arena, I don’t ask anything of her. I let her explore and follow her like a shadow.
My main goal is that she has a nice and interesting time. I love it when a horse is looking forward to our time together and meets me at the gate. It is about creating a positive pattern.
Click through the pictures to see how Tara gains confidence in leaving the herd
We are going away from her family. She is super connected - I don’t take it for granted, this looked a lot more dramatic when Mayana was little!
On the way to the stables, I let her look at everything she wants. I want to encourage her curiosity, because it comes before they get confident.
If she needs to stop and look around, I let her. This doesn’t take minutes, it just asks me for 5 seconds of patience and she continues walking on her own.
Oh look, what are these funny things? I carefully watch that she doesn’t get stuck with her halter or rope anywhere and maybe get the shock of her life!
Look, that horse is really tiny! I want her to be social and not afraid of other horses in the future. So I let her say hello in a controlled way to every horse we meet. Mazirah was very nasty with every horse she didn’t know, also when riding - so I am taking more care for that now.
Tara is learning to patiently stand still without being tied for grooming. She is already doing a very good job - it helps that she absolutely loves being brushed.
Then we quickly check out the shower. Just in, sniff the hose and the basket and out again. I don’t want to wait for the day she is hurt and she really needs a wash to discover that she is really afraid of it. Again, it’s mainly her natural curiosity that drives her, not me insisting about it.
I go with her to have a look around the arena. I don’t tell her where to go, I let her decide most of the time what she wants to look at. I just keep her out of trouble and refocus her when she gets a bit scared
What about walking over a cavaletti?
What is this? Why are you standing on it? Does it bite off feet? Walking on the bridge is a great preparation for trailer loading - which we will do very soon!
Soon Tara decided to do the same as me: Young horses learn a lot of things by imitation of older horses or even humans they trust.
Oh look, a big green monster!
And we are already done. Just 10 minutes of seeing things and making experiences is really enough. She wasn’t 100% relaxed about it all, but that doesn’t matter for now. And what do we expect - she is just a kid. With each repetition she will be more relaxed all by herself - without that I have to do anything special.
When I bring her back, I make sure I bring her to the other horses. Otherwise she might get very excited, impatient for taking the halter off and finally galopp to her friends.
Read more about Young Horse Education