Australian Brumby Challenge ©
It’s been a process of adaptation for both of us.
Living here at VBA in Victoria is a new experience for me, living in a colder environment away from friends and family. So has Aussie. Aussie has had to adapt to his smaller enclosure away from his herd and everything that is familiar to him. This is a scary new experience for the both of us, so taking that into consideration I have realised that applying the training techniques I used in (week 1) was not doing us any favours, instead it’s been a process of building a friendship with no expectations using my favourite training technique ‘clicker training’.
Once again, I have found myself spending numerous hours sitting in the little blue feed bin in the corner of Aussies yard, feeding him his hay morning and night out of my hand. Slowly introducing clicker training. Teaching Aussie that once he allows me to touch his face, he is rewarded with a treat. That treat being either his usual grass hay or lucerne. Aussie very quickly learnt what the clicker meant and enjoys eating the food out of my hand, way more than eating it off the ground or the feed bin. Which was interesting. I discovered that Aussie can be a picky eater. For example, I picked a first lot of fresh grass and gave it to him and he loved it, pick a second lot of grass from the same spot and he wouldn’t touch it! He acted like I was trying to poison him with the second lol…haha. What a difference this technique/process made to our relationship. Just after 2 days of returning back to VBA from spending a week in Sydney he was let me touch his entire face in a relaxed calm manor. It was the most amazing feeling!
I slowly applying this same process standing up. Within a day he was allowing me to touch his entire face including around his ears and over his eyes. Once playing around I noticed that he was more favourable towards his ‘right’ side, taking a little bit longer to relax on his ‘left’ side of his face. Often, I would laugh during training session as Aussie would go to scratch an itch and be surprised with my presence as he returned his head to its original position.
I have only now started to introduce the head stall and lead rope. Rubbing it on his face and rewarding each time. I feel as if I’m very close to putting it on him, but I want to make sure his 100% comfortable first. I’m more happy building Aussie’s trust, than I am rushing into teaching him any fancy tricks. It’s just going to take him. Aussie time J
Till next time,