All horses deserve, at least once in their life, to be loved by a little girl”
One lovely sunny January afternoon, we had the privilege of hosting a friend of the family and her daughters to trial our family programming. I had been working on some ideas, and wanted to see how they would be experienced by a family with two children, who just wanted to have a fun experience (not coaching) for an afternoon.
We began the afternoon by meeting doing a simple yet fun grounding exercise I like to use with children, to prepare us for meeting the herd. The, we prepared an art activity, which involved a mini canvas, and treats 🙂
We set that aside for later, and went out to meet the herd, and collect Teddy for grooming.
Next the girls took turns practicing some “clicker” training (Positive Reinforcement/R+) with a home made target, some poles, and a handy treat pouch. They enjoyed taking turns leading and treating, and Teddy followed along as they worked together.
Finally, as a special treat for a job well done, the girls gave Teddy his “jackpot” dishes, where he helped them create mini paintings to take home as he ate his treats!
Overall, the session went well, the girls left feeling connected to one another, and the horses, and couldn’t wait to return for another session! At the start of the session, there was some squabbles and “my turn” “you always get to go first” in the usual sibling fashion, so to see them taking turns, and then working together with the R+ training exercise, was beautiful.
My friend shared that the experience was well organized and fun, and that my calm and welcoming approach made our time at the farm a relaxing and educational experience. The best part was that they were able to enjoy the horses and be present in the moment.
Being present with the horses, and each other, is the true essence of the experience.
Do you want to learn more about clicker training/R+? I am working with Equine Behaviour Consultant Brie Simpson of Path Equestrian for guidance and to develop my skills, and she is an excellent resource for evidence based, LIMA (Least Intrusive, Minimally Aversive) and ethical horse education.