Sunday, January 17, 2010

Blue Sunday

... because it's raining and I can't ride :(

I realized I haven't posted a photo of Gwen's leg in a while. Here's what it looked like yesterday. As you can see the skin has grown back over the wound and there's very minimal scabbing left. It looks like the hair might grow back over most of it and she'll only be left with a narrow scar. Time will tell. I've been leaving it unwrapped when she goes out, I don't want the pads to get sopping wet in the melting snow, but I still keep it wrapped if she's standing in the stall overnight or during bad weather. If she were any other horse I could leave it completely unwrapped at this point, but not Gwen.

Clicker training is progressing. We've moved onto the next phase of training: targeting. I went to the crafts store last night and picked up a dowel and a styrofoam ball and made a target. Today I taught her to touch it with her nose. Fortunately she's the curious sort so that wasn't hard. I'll keep on with the target for a couple days. I'll see if I can get her to move her feet to touch it, or raise and lower her head. Then I'll take Gwen and the target out for little walks. Hopefully if she gets comfortable touching the target it will help her stay focused when she's away from the other horses.

I've been using the clicker to get her started picking up that left hind foot. I'm trying to keep her relaxed and let her know what I want all at the same time. You'd think she would know that I want her to pick it up like all of her other feet, but obviously horses don't work that way. I've also been spending more time touching her ears and belly, getting her ready for the saddle and bridle that she will someday wear.


  1. You know, S., I think it is great what you are doing. I am not experienced yet with horses (as you know!), but what you are doing just makes sense to me. It's the same routine with dogs - repetition, reward, confidence building. She's young and curious and smart! Both you and Gwen can only benefit from this. Keep it up!

  2. I figure that I'll probably be kicking myself for not starting it sooner. Better late than never though.

    You know, I've had horses for over 20 years and I still have a ton to learn about them (obviously). That's the great thing about horses, they keep you on your toes.

  3. Just found your blog.

    My horses love targeting! It's a good skill to teach and can come in handy later on.

    Even when we move on to other stuff, targeting can be used here and there to build confidence or overcome problems. For instance, it's a great no pressure free way to work with horses who a bit skeptical about trailer loading.

    Also have one young gelding who I've been doing a bunch of groundwork with. He use to be a complete scaredy cat. Now, anything new he finds he wants to stick his nose on. (and for which I usually reward him). It's been a great exercise as a confidence builder.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog!