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