I’m going to leave the Ducati training story for a while and tell you about Magnum’s training.
I didn’t plan on giving him regular training sessions – but he insisted. His leg was starting to give him trouble – but he wanted to continue on. He wasn’t going to have nicely trimmed hooves and then do nothing!!
So my training sessions were mainly with Ducati and Magnum. Saadi and Danny weren’t too worried – as long as they got some attention. But Magnum would not leave the area until he had his turn. And after his turn I struggled to get him out. He never tired – but I did! And I didn’t want him to use his leg too much.
Here is a video of me trying to coax him out of the arena after a training session!
We worked on his walking. I tried to help him with balance so he could manage his arthritic leg better. We worked with and without the rope, with targets, mats and cones. We spent time on the mat standing square – microshaping small muscle movements. He loved every minute of it. He would have walked around and around the cone circle. I stopped him because I was concerned about his leg.
There is something about that cone circle that is hypnotic and relaxing!! I could swear he had a smile on his face!
It was just so heartwarming to see that he could finally focus on the learning without being afraid. He truly trusted me after our hoof trimming adventure. If you haven’t read about it here is a link – this is the start and continues for a few posts Part 118 – Project Magnum!!!
Magnum really enjoyed the rope handling. It seemed like he found reassurance in that lead going from the halter to my hand. Maybe he felt closer. He was so responsive. Here is a video in slow motion of him responding to the rope cue. Blink and you will miss it! At around 0.13 I touch the rope.
Just recently, I’ve had the honour of having an article about Magnum published in the IAABC Journal . Here is a link to it
I’m thrilled that Magnum’s story may help another horse – I hope it helps many horses. It’s worth putting in the time – it’s worth pondering over problems. Getting that bond and trust is unbelievably rewarding. Underneath that terrified horse is a horse who loves solving a puzzle!
Had he had a different start, he would have been a superb riding horse. He is a superb horse no matter what. But because of cruel hands – his mind and body were traumatised. Let’s hope we can educate others that there are much better ways to treat horses.
As of now – 2019 – Magnum no longer does arena work. We mainly do things like targeting and some body microshaping – plus I tend to him, trim his hooves – use the grinder on the leg he can’t lift.
My vet has just let me increase his pain medication for his bad leg. It’s getting harder for him – but he is still enthusiastic each day for interaction and some clicker games. I watch out for him each day. He can no longer lead the little herd around to the feed area. He brings up the rear.
I will add these two videos again – the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of Magnum. He is a true ambassador for positive reinforcement training!
COMING UP – ARE WE BOTH READY TO RIDE?
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