Thursday, 13 June 2013

Juno what I mean?

I am absolutely thrilled to bits with the progress Juno has made. From being absolutely petrified of being touched at all, and convinced that the rope was about to eat her, I now feel she trusts me 100%. The way this little filly has responded in little over 12 training sessions is testament indeed to Intelligent Horsemanship training techniques.

Today, Juno had her feet trimmed for the first time. We took our time and made sure we worked at her pace, using familiar advance and retreat when introducing new people and equipment. Trust, confidence and leadership are so well established now, that we were able to work quietly and calmly without any drama.... just the way we like it!!!!

Barefoot trimmer, Warwick Jones, working with Juno

Happy to relax and let us get on with it

Praise Indeed.....

It is always so much easier to retain morale and willing when you are rewarded for your efforts. There is a simple little game you can try which highlights this. It's called the 'Yes/No' game. Grab yourself a partner and have a go....

Round One: Person A needs to mentally select an object near to wherever you are. Don't tell person B what you have chosen. Person B now has to walk around and try and guess what you have chosen. The only clue person A can give is to say 'No'. The use of body language or other verbal clues is not permitted. Note how you both feel during this round of the game, and how long it takes to identify the object.

Round Two: Choose another object and repeat the game. This time, the only clue that can be given is the word 'Yes'. Again, note how you feel during this round of the game and how long it takes to identify the object.

We have had surprisingly strong reactions in both partners when playing this game. Many people begin to feel annoyed, silly, put off or even angry after they have been told 'No', a few times. It is in many peoples nature to want to offer praise or reassurance when the correct thing is being done, and depending on your personality it can be very difficult to be the person to keep saying 'No'. Most people feel a lot more motivated, inspired and willing during the 'Yes' round of the game, and it often seems that the object is identified a lot quicker during this round.

When working with horses I always make it as easy as possible for them to respond with a 'Yes' to what I am asking. This way you can offer praise and build confidence. Asking for something beyond their ability, understanding or too far beyond their comfort zone can often result in an undesired response, which then has to be corrected, resulting in a 'No'. 

Praise does wonders for confidence and morale, and I am not ashamed to blow my own trumpet a little after receiving some lovely feedback myself.....

"Jenny was brilliant with both us and the horses from the start. She completed a very thorough assessment of our thoughts on the ...ponies and their different histories on her first visit and then asked to see what we did before offering her advice. This worked brilliantly as she saw where we all were before the training started. 

She explained to us exactly what she was going to do and why she was doing it with each pony and took what I believe to be a genuine interest in each of them. We then worked through a number of exercises specific to each that we could do to improve our communication. At the end of each session she sends us extensive notes which we find invaluable for referring back to – I was very impressed with the effort that it must have taken her to write them all up.

We have now had three sessions with Jenny, and both Simon and I feel that have made a real difference to us all. Simon and his cob (who we were at the point of selling) are not getting on amazingly well – we cannot believe the difference in such a short time! Jenny also made is possible for us to handle our new boy – a semi feral 3 year old colt in time to get him gelded this spring. As always it was us humans that needed the training, and this has resulted in us all understanding each other much better."