Fridur (aka Fafnir) is a 9 year old red dun Icelandic gelding who's been around.
He had lived in British Columbia, Illinois and Colorado with 5 separate
owners before I got him. He'd been used as a stud, raced against
Arabians, asked to perform dressage, and who knows what else, and
nobody seemed to want to keep him for very long. He is very fearful
of people, especially men, and has a lot of "issues". When he's frightened,
he bolts first and asks questions later. The last owner gave him to me
to work with, and if I like him I can keep him. Needless to say, he's
turned into quite a project. I've had him 6 months now, and he starting
to decide he might be able to trust me (a little).
Fafnir returning for his treat after touching the ball.
Clicker training has been a big help. It has turned a horse who really
didn't want to have anything to do with me into one who has decided
that I might actually not be so bad after all. Clicker training has created
an environment where Fafnir feels comfortable being with me, and even
enjoys it. Our first step was to teach him that the clicking sound meant
he'd just done something good. He caught on in less than 20 minutes!
Fafnir ready to walk the star as part of the obstacle course.
I sat in the barn doorway holding a basketball-sized horsie ball. At first
he ignored me but curiosity got the better of him, and he came over and
sniffed it. Click! And a Treat! Wow - yummie, where can I get more?
He started nosing me, but that effort produced nothing. Accidentally, he
bumped the ball with his nose again and produced that strange clicking
sound and, better yet, Food! In an amazingly short period of time he
was practically mauling the ball. The day before this he didn't want me
to be anywhere near him and now he was following me & the ball all
over a small corral.
We've since expanded this game into a 1 acre pasture with TTEAM
obstacles. He follows me all over the pasture, sometimes at a trot,
through obstacles, backing up, changing direcions, etc. Fridur absolutely
loves this game and bobs his head in anticipation. Sometimes I'll move myself
and leave the ball in one place. He'll go to the ball, get clicked and come to
me for his treat. Then I'll move further away. Repeat. It's a pleasure to see
him enjoying our time together and not be afraid! We're still a long way
away from going out on a safe trail ride together but we're taking the
time it takes! And of course I never get impatient. :-}