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Monday, 8 December 2008

Consistent, fair, reasonable boundaries

Ok, maybe slightly off topic, but the planets have all aligned again.... it's just that there have been several programmes on the TV lately about child rearing and dog training that seem to have a passing resemblance to horse management too.

We had the farrier today - the old one that we like so much. He trimmed all three of the posse. George, being George gave him a bit of a hard time. George has a tendancy to do this, its almost a reflex reaction he has in any situation he is not certain of.

The farrier was excellent, he gave George the chance to sort himself out and get comfy. When he continued to act up, the farrier firmly, but kindly set the boundaries. It didn't take long before George got the message. No shouting, no rough handling, no hysterics, but no namby pamby fluffliness either.

Now I know the drill, train your horse before the farrier visits. Well that's the thing. I/we do, but horses, same as kids and dogs react to the person and situation too. George will happily stand quietly while I fuss over his feet for an age, including when I dig into his painful frogs. But he knows me, he knows the set up and he feels safe. Other people fussing with his feet are something else entirely.

But back to the kids and dogs. Having cleaned and disinfected three sets of feet, and packed two sets of front frogs, my back needs a bit of a rest. So I have lunch on the sofa, warm up a bit and watch 'Supernanny'. Many of the principles are the same as for good horsemanship. Ok I'd never recommend a 'naughty corner' for a horse. But the principles of rewarding good behaviour, putting the horse/child in a position to do the correct thing and not escalating inappropriate behaviour are the same. These principles are also echoed in 'Dog Borstal', which happens to be our dog Sophie's favourite programme.

I'll post pictures of the trimmed feet in my next update.

1 comment:

dp said...

I am always telling people that training dogs is (or should be, at least) similar to rearing reasonable children. And yes, there is a lot of similarities with horse training too. I think of myself as having a bag of tools to which I am always adding, and from which I can draw at any time. The most important thing to remember is that no tool is a blunt instrument -- it must be correctly shaped and applied for the dog/child/horse at hand because they are all so different.

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