Here were the quarters today in the pasture, don't they look snazzy in their flymasks?
As usual, the flymask was a complete non-issue for Coriander and a life-ending matter for Miss Gwenevere. She was pretty sure that flymask was going to kill her. I had two options for getting it on her: I could have put her halter on and wrestled that mask onto her face, hoping that she'd figure out it wouldn't hurt her; or I could use clicker training.
I knew that if I wrestled her for it she'd probably fear the flymask forever and I'd always have issues getting it on her head. Since this was not a viable option in my mind, I chose the clicker training route. It took three days of playing "can I touch you with this" before she'd let me put the mask on her and velcro it shut, but it was completely worth it. Now I can just walk in her stall and put the flymask on, lickety-split. Flymasks will (hopefully) never worry her again.
As I was working with Gwen on this, Grey Horse Matters put up a post called "Dusty Rides Again." She wrote about how she avoids fighting with her mare over fear issues because respect and trust are never earned through bullying and force. That post felt particularly timely for me, since I was using clicker training to gently work my girl through a fear issue. Head on over to her blog and check it out, it's worth the read.