Magic Mustang Tamer

Task 10: Do easy during Count-Down Petting

This task extends the horse’s willingness to be touched by making it something the horse will actually work for. In addition, the horse learns to control its emotions about being touched.

Task 10 Subtask 1 Do “Easy”(10) with trainer touching body parts 2x *

Objective: The horse needs to be super comfortable about touch by the human. In this task the horse must offer the “easy” behavior in order to keep the trainer petting it.

The Set-Up: Limit distractions to keep the working environment pleasant.

Prerequisite Training: The horse should be accustomed to being touched all over (T9).The animal should be able to do “easy” on command (T2).

Protocol:  Review CDP(5) briefly and then ask the horse for “easy”. When the animal offers anything close to neck straight in front of the chest and crest level, begin CDPetting(5) a little bit fast. Stop if the horse puts its nose on you or toward you, but otherwise be a little lax about “easy” criteria for the first three successful trials. After the animal has the general idea, be strict about the animal staying in “easy”. As the animal gets more duration on the easy, slow down the count to normal. This task usually takes one session.

QC: Do “Easy”(10) with trainer touching body parts 2x *

What ifs:

  • What if the horse is nipping, mugging, or getting in my space? You are reinforcing bad behaviors either directly or through the Premack Principle by redirecting the animal while it is misbehaving. Return to Task 2, work through a fence, and clean up the Easy behavior. If you are reinforcing with a Premack behavior, you need to break your own habit. I realize it is hard, but until you stop redirecting at times of unwanted behavior, you are creating problems.