Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Carrots, Not Sticks

Today I was playing with Storm, offline.  But I had a 4' dressage whip that I was using to give her cues.  Well, Jewel was being a butthead that day and she almost ran Storm right over the top of me (she is one up on the herd ladder and likes to push Storm around, and she is often shoving her way into my personal space because that's the kind of horse she is).

Well, I yelled at Jewel and brandished the whip at her a few times, making whippy noises to drive her off.  She ran off.

So did Abbey, who DOES NOT like whips that make whippy noises or are waved at her higher than eye level.  Both of them ran off to the big field.  Abbey stopped at the edge of the field and gave me reproving looks.

I figured it was time to re-de-sensitize with the whip, so I approached Ab with it in a friendly manner, talking soothingly. She dodged me, and retreated to the field.

So I went to the field and I sat down on the ground with the whip beside me and waited for her to come over.  She made me wait.  Finally she came over, but not to see what I was up to or kiss and make up... nope.  She picked up that dressage whip, carried it off about 10 feet, dropped it, and wandered off, still not talking to me.

If that's not a clear message I don't know what is.