Horsey Therapist

Friday, April 21, 2006

The platform

RNB kindly built a platform for me this past winter. About 16" high, about 2.5' x 4'. Wood with pieces of stall matt screwed onto the top for traction.

I got the idea from Harry Whitney. The picture above shows Rusty on a pedastal/platform at a Harry Whitney clinic in Tennessee in June 2005. It's a training tool. Helping a horse understand what to do with his mind and body with a specific end result in mind (front feet on the pedastal) can be a fun way to spend time with your horse and assess your communication skills. (Truthfully? It can bring out some frustrated feelings, too.)

Yesterday was FUN!

Rusty had learned quite quickly to stand up on the platform RNB built, here at home. (Picture to come, I promise!) Yesterday, after my lovely, musical ride on Rusty, I asked him to step up on the platform. When he did, I joined him there and gave him some of the best scritchin' I could manage. Scritchin' is most welcome these days around his ears and under his mane. It's shedding time.

After the scritchin' session, I asked him to step down and removed the halter. Kacee was nearby so, with permission granted by Her Royal Highness, I haltered her up and asked her to approach the platform. Wasn't I surprised when she walked up to it and with only a moment's hesitation, stepped on up like she'd been doing this daily for the past two weeks!

So Kacee got her scritchin' time on the platform. If a horse could groan out loud in pleasure, the neighbors would have heard her. (Her current special place is under her chin. Don't tell her I shared her secret.)

Next in proximity was Soli, RNB's chunky-monkey Haflinger pony. Same thing -- approach and step up like he'd been doing this forever. At this point I'm starting to believe my own prior conscious intentions that the other horses learn to step up on the platform by observing Rusty doing it...

Last horse on the property is Prince, RNB's riding horse. Big, high strung, but attentive and curious. Haltered him and brought him over to the platform. Not a one-shot direct hit like the others, but with two minor re-arrangements choreographed by me, he was lined up and ready to step up. Which he did.

WOW! I don't know who was happier about all this appreciative scritchin' I did yesterday, but I'm betting it was me.


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