Friday, May 30, 2014

Train for Camping Calm - Full Article

By Heidi Melocco with Julie Goodnight

Teach your horse to accept unfamiliar horse-camping stimuli — and turn his fear into curiosity — with this easy technique from top trainer/clinician Julie Goodnight.

When you camp with your horse, he’ll be exposed to fabric tents that can blow, canvas chairs that become kites in the wind, fishing rods that look like long whips, coolers that shake and rattle, hikers with backpacks, and other horse-eating monsters.

While you can desensitize your horse to your basic camping gear at home, you can’t prepare him for everything.

But you can help your horse approach new scenes without constant tension by keeping him calm and focused in situations that would otherwise cause him to turn and run for the trailer.

Here, top clinician/trainer Julie Goodnight teaches you how to approach a scene that might first appear scary to your horse. You’ll do this by keeping him focused on the scary situation, then letting him rest, rather than constantly cueing him forward.

This moment of rest can calm your horse, as long as he keeps his focus. He’ll learn to become curious and less worried — and may even move forward with interest.

In this technique, Goodnight implements the horse’s instinctive curiosity to prompt him to want to move forward...

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