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Rusty--Partner of Melanie

Rusty making a "raspberry".

Rusty is a 17 year old Tennesse Walker. When I got him I could see he was a prettty smart horse, but had little respect for me. He was extremely barn sour and would balk if he didn't want to leave the stable. The first time I put him in a round pen and asked him to go to the rail, he charged at me while baring teeth and striking. He had been owned by kids that probably let him have his way. At 14 hands...he was one of those "independent ponies."

Backing up.

With clicker training I opened up a dialogue with him. It took me about 10 minutes to target train him. We do all our initial training in the round pen now. I work him at liberty (no halter, bridle, longe line). He gets c/t for going to the rail, he gets c/t for reversing directions. He also whoas and comes in when called. He backs 15 feet with a verbal command For fun I taught him to shake hands...this took 1 session! I've just begun riding him bareback with no bridle or halter in the pen, and so far he is doing great! He yields to all leg and seat pressure. This is only the beginning though...I have many plans! I'm sure Rusty does too...he looks forward to training! My ultimate goal is to train to sustain his smooth Running Walk so I can register him with the Flat Shod TWH Association.

Lifting foot.

Clicker training has truely allowed me to discover my horse, what motivates him, how he thinks, and what frustrates him. I can't think of a better way of talking to him :)

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