After he finished catching up with the prerequisites, Bravo was ready to officially start the saddle training program. The task numbers for the program run from 30 to 56 and it is only coincidental that there are 26 tasks in both the basic and saddle training programs. The complete list of the 26 saddle training steps can be found on the Saddle Training Page, where there is even a printable PDF.
Task 30 involves targeting random objects with the horse’s nose. They are required to reach out and touch the object. It might have seemed very odd to the animal at first, but almost all horses trained to do this become fans of the activity and spontaneously start touching things.
This sets up some very good patterns of behavior. The horse learns to take pointing cues from the human and learns to interact with objects at the suggestion that it might pay to do so. Mustang Camp horses are no strangers to touching offered objects, ropes, halters, frisbees, brushes, whatever! Offering touching things as a choice is usually a faster way to desensitize and always more fun, though, sadly, some of our research suggests it is not really more effective.
A few things to note:
- Notice how he touches the ball? Why so different?
- What is happening with the other horses?
- There is only one target he is reluctant to touch, how does he express his reluctance, and what happens with it?
- What’s up with Boomer, the spotted dog?
I hope you will tell me what you think about this video in the comments. I would love to discuss it.