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JR Session 3; Wizard Session 48- I’m Your Boogie Man

February 11, 2009

J.R. at Night

Wednesday 2/11/09

Ahhhh, a warm, quiet evening! I arrived at the barn, knocked the dirt off of Wizard, and brought him outside to do some clicker training. There were some new jumps in the outdoor arena, including one fence with a white, flappy sign in front of it. Wizard arched his neck forward but approached the fence boldly and tapped it with his muzzle. Click, treat, good boy! We did a little more targeting and stretching, about 10 minutes of ground work altogether. My farrier confirmed that he can put shoes on Wizard on Feb 21 so we’ll do groundwork until then.

When I turned Wizard loose in the arena, I noticed something interesting: Wizard gravitated toward the flappy jump. Perhaps it was because it was his first targeted item of the night? I’ll experiment next time and see if Wizard gravitates to a different jump or traffic cone if I target it first.

I think the light work, coupled with the Dengie, is improving Wizard’s appearance. He looks rounder now than he did a few months back and his belly is tucked up a bit. When we were done, I fed Wizard his Dengie and put venice turpentine on his feet.


I tacked up JR and attempted my behavior experiment with him. We first targeted the flappy jump. He was more spooky about it but was nosing it boldly after just a few seconds.

Then, we worked on longeing. JR was really good. New arena, far end of the ring, night time, and he remembered our previous lessons in walking and trotting on the longe line. We did have one explosion when JR saw some sort of boogey man in the woods and did a complete 180 degree turn, followed by a little scamper in the opposite direction. I calmly changed his direction back and he trotted nicely the second time. I have had the best luck working through spooking issues this way: keep working calmly and don’t let the horse look at whatever is spooking him for a long time of he’ll just get spookier (usually). Under saddle, I’ll actually as for a shoulder-in away from the spooky object and it has worked pretty well with most horses.

We longed for about 10 minutes. JR did not break a sweat. I wanted to keep the session really calm and deliberate and we succeeded. I then turned him loose to stretch his legs, and guess what? He ran over to the flappy jump! I might be on to something here.

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