more sharing from the wonderful book, “Gallop to Freedom”…

fredericquote2Frederic talks about how you can use food to alter the focus of your horse and to teach tricks, but using food to help a horse feel safe does not work.

in Parelli they talk a lot about using food for a left brain introvert to help with motivation.  i do think that people will confuse using food for motivation with using food to help their horse become calm.  and a calm horse only comes when they feel safe.

using treats at the wrong time has actually added to billy’s anxiety.  awhile back, when he was about a year and a half, we were playing around with sideways over a barrel.  he would do it, then get a cookie.  then he would go sideways the other way and get a cookie.  then i was playing around with waiting for a lick and chew instead of treating after asking him for different things and surprisingly he COULDN’T lick and chew!  i waited and waited and waited and waited.  he just stood there frozen.  i finally gave him a cookie and of course then he licked and chewed.  i moved him away from the barrels and then when we re-approached, he wouldn’t go near them.  hmmmm. how interesting.  i broke that pattern down for him and chose this time to teach it without cookies and he caught right on to the pattern without worrying about the cookies.  now he will go sideways over anything, but it was clear that teaching the pattern with the cookies did not help him learn the pattern.  he was just doing it to get the cookies!

i have slowed every thing down for billy.  we are going all the way back to the beginning and i am focusing on getting his confidence back.  i would like to be his safe place.  the place he comes when ever he is feeling unconfident.  we used to have that connection, now it’s my job to get it back.


  1. Wonderful! I think everyone takes a few steps back before the go forward. I always think of it like a video game. The first time you’re on a new peel you fly threw it. Once you complete it, then you go back and collect all the coins, rather than blowing them by to get through the level. Maybe eventually I will learn to get all the coins the first go, but I think my LBE nature is just dying to get to the next step. It’s a journey, that’s for sure!

    1. it is a dance of two steps forward three steps back, that’s for sure! i guess that’s what makes it worthwhile. all that give and take, the ups and downs. they make me keep striving for more and better. looking at how to make my better, best!

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