This video was taken the second morning. I have already spent about 30 minutes earlier this morning going over what I did yesterday afternoon. I was able to get closer to him in a shorter time but he still hasn’t initiated the touch. In this session I start to desensitise him to my stick and string. I explain that I start by desensitising him to movement first, then the sound and finally the sensation when I can touch him.
I explain that I want to do things that bring him up a little in his energy and alertness (anything that involves pressure) and then I do things that allow him to let down and relax. I work between both to progress his training but it is so important I don’t ever take him over the edge when we are doing things that involve pressure. ‘The Window of Tolerance’ is term used to describe “the zone of arousal in which a person is able to function most effectively. When people are within this zone, they are typically able to readily receive, process, and integrate information and otherwise respond to the demands of everyday life without much difficulty”. This is an excellent model that I use when I do any type of training with horses. At the moment Major Bob has a tiny Window of Tolerance with everything I do with him but over the coming days and weeks I will slowly be expanding it.
I want to keep playing on the edge of his window but never take him over it where he goes into flight mode or has to shut down and go into freeze mode. This is where learning to read your horse’s thresholds and feedback is so important. When stressed, confused or over stimulated some horses are more inclined to go into flight mode and some horses have more natural inclination to go into freeze mode. Towards the end of the session I step out past his drive line and put some energy at his hind end and then keep slowly stepping on an arc and draw his front feet towards me.