?Presto is finally home from his ‘world tour’. ?
I’m calling it his world tour because even though we really traveled the east coast…Presto is absolutely sure we have been all over the world!
I’ll let him think that a bit longer before I show him more of the country on another trip!?
There were many good things that happened on the trip to help Presto mature and one of them was interacting with other people.
I’m fairly protective (ok…slightly obsessive:) about the way my young horses are handled to help prevent problems.
?Presto was especially tricky. All young horses explore with their mouths but most also get to nurse and learn from the horses around them.
Presto’s early life involved more people than horses. Presto was still a normal growing foal who had ‘lots of questions.’
Many of these questions would normally be answered by the foals mother or other pasture mates. When humans interact with foals, the foals will naturally ask these same questions.
❓“Can I explore your body?”
❓“What is that?”
❓“Can I pull on this?”
❓“If I nip…what will you do?”
❓“Can I move you?”
These questions are often asked by behavior we label nipping, biting or invading our space.
If you have the chance to watch young horses interact with each other you will see that they ask these questions all the time. “Can I explore your body? If I nip…what will you do?”
If you put a halter on one foal…the others will try to take it off. “What is that?, Can I pull on this?”
If you walk in with a foal they may ask the same thing about your shirt…or your fingers, “What is that?, Can I pull on this?”
?I don’t believe that all young foal nipping, biting or invading space is aggressive behavior. I think it is largely exploratory.
The danger is that although it begins as exploratory, it can become something different ranging from an annoying habit to becoming dangerous.
I keep clear boundaries with Presto and I made sure that people who interacted with him when he was young also kept those boundaries. This was great preventive training.
Eventually though, I want to know, has Presto absorbed this training completely?
If he has then he will be respectful of human boundaries without constant ’reminders’. The easiest way for me to test this was to let Presto interact with more people.
?So at times on this trip, I simply stepped back and watched.?
We all have slightly different habits. The way we approach a horse, halter a horse or lead a horse will vary sightly from human to human. I knew Presto would be eager to interact with people…my questions were more about him remaining respectful.
Even when Presto meets other horses he quickly moves to asking the question “If I nip…what will you do?”. I think it is his quick way of deciding where the other horse stands but it also points to a possible way of thinking that would not be beneficial around people.
??In episode 84 of my podcast, I talk about teaching Presto to be respectful when accepting hand fed treats. Strangely, I think this helped to reduce Presto’s questions around exploring people. I think it helped him understand the proper way to get a treat…but in a strange way I think it also helped him understand yet another level of how horses and people are different.
That might sound strange but Presto really did treat horses and humans as nearly identical in a way that was different than the other foals I have raised.
The good news is that Presto passed these tests with flying colors. On the trip I was able to watch him interact with people at barns, over pasture fences and during photos. He was inquisitive and friendly without becoming pushy. He is becoming a well behaved young gelding!
?I loved having the opportunity to do an updated photo of Clara and Presto. There are a few photos that I keep on my phone and the 2016 photo of these two is one of them. Clara was so smitten with baby Presto!?
Seeing the two of them together again really put into perspective how much has changed in the last four years!
I’ve owned Presto now for four years. He has grown so much and I’m finally ready to start sharing his adventures. You can find all of his posts on my website (stacywestfall_com_)
What questions do you have for me about Presto?
#PressonRegardless #Presto #Equithrive
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