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So I thought these noise makers would motivate my horse to move. After all, they are loud and obnoxious when they clank together and make noise.
So I tacked up horse, grabbed my noise maker, and tried again.
As I was fumbling with lines and noise maker trying to get situated, I nearly dropped noise maker and it made a pretty good racket. Almost second it rattled, horse moved away from it.
Immediately I had a glimmer of hope that this was my answer.
So I tried it all again. I gave a slight pull on left line, I then said "get up", and then I rattled bowls.
Nothing except horse raising his head and looking behind him a little. But I knew that meant I was getting his attention.
So I tried it again.
This time, he took about 3 steps forward and stopped. I was thrilled. I walked up to him and rewarded him with a caress.
Then I stepped back and did it again.
It wasn't long before I didn't have to use my noise maker anymore. All I had to do was say "get up" and he'd move. Not only did he move, he moved with energy.
Although this horse was very frustrating I must admit I am grateful to him. Why? Because he taught me valuable lessons.
The first lesson I relearned was patience.
The second lesson was that not everything will work on same way on every horse. This was a lesson I already knew but it was reinforced.
The third lesson learned was to reexamine what I knew about horses and use that knowledge to get him doing what I needed him to do. That's why I tried noise maker.
I knew certain noises frighten horses so I decided to manipulate his fear with noise maker. I also knew to be careful not to terrorize him. After all, you want to use as little of that kind of motivation as possible. Only use what is just enough.
Fourth, he taught me to keep looking for an answer because one exists even though I didn't know it at time.
Fifth, if I ever run across another horse that's hard to motivate to move, then I will pull out my noise makers because it worked before.
As I patted myself on back for coming up with noise maker idea I was actually feeling grateful for having such a difficult horse. I realized having a difficult horse was a great teacher to me - and I have absolutely loved having difficult horses since.
Andy Curry is a nationally known horse trainer and author of several best selling horse training and horse care books. For information visit his website at www.horsetrainingandtips.com. He is also the leading expert on Jesse Beery's horse training methods which can be seen at www.horsetrainingandtips.com/Jesse_Beerya.htm