Sedona Update 7 – Round Pen

Hey all!  Here is another Sedona update!

Have you ever had a session with your horse that didn’t go according to plan?

Here are some strategies you can employ when something unexpected or even dangerous happens with your horse:

  1. Take a breath and evaluate the situation.  Don’t just rush in without a plan!  In this situation I would have not made things better by running up to Sedona to try and untangle her from the fence.  I always wait to see if the horse can get themselves out of trouble before I enter the situation.
  2. Check the horse for injuries.  Before you continue the session do a quick check for injuries on your horse to make sure continuing the training session (the most ideal next move from a psychological prospective for the horse).
  3. Turn a negative into a positive.  Once I was sure Sedona was ok, I went right back to round penning with the focus of getting her “hooked on” to me.  That is to say focused on me before anything else.
  4. Lesson Learned.  Sometimes right after a big fit, especially if the horse is unsuccessful in achieving their desired outcome, (in this case Sedona wanting to escape the training session), can be the best opportunity to make an impression on your horse!  Sedona was much more receptive to my ideas after fully (and unsuccessfully) exploring hers.

Understand that training a horse from start to finish, or even teaching a horse something new, will not be without its pitfalls and low points.  Horses as a general rule tend to not try very hard when they are confused and it is our job as a trainer to teach them how to search for the right answer without feeling the need to escape the situation.  Unfortunately Sedona did feel the need to escape but this day, looking back, was a huge turning point in our relationship!