Recently I have started working with the newest packmember to The Pawsitive Packleader Family. His name is Herbie and he’s a 1,200lb Belgian Warmblood–that means horse. Don’t be fooled however, this horse isn’t just a horse of course, in fact he reminds me of my dog Wotan so much it’s almost too much to handle at times. We had our first session recently and he is a true pro already.
We started with “touch”. It was awesome, in no time at all he was nose poking my palm wherever I placed it. From there we learned “say hi”, and in true Herbie fasion, it was no time at all until he was walking over to a new person and bumping their hand for more carrots. I told my friend Mackenzie who owns Herbie that Wotan will work for carrots as well so one of them is either part horse or part dog (or both).
After a bag of baby carrots devoured, we went back to the stable to grab another bag for one last training round. I decided it was time to shape the bucket. I grabbed a bucket and headed down, Herbie could hear the clicker jingling and he was already sighing and neighing at the sound (which I can only assume is a good thing since my knowlege of horse behavior is not very high).
Once back I held the bucket for him to bump with his nose, and sure enough he was ready to figure out how he was earning carrots. Within maybe 10 carrots he was whacking the bucket resting on the ground in front of me. I should mention that Herbie is a big horse, I mean horses are big, and there are certainly bigger horses out there, but at 16.1 hands in height and plenty pushy about his carrots, there were some moments where I held my breath a little. During his first extinguish burst during the bucket shaping he decided to suck on my arm and try to eat my clothes. I’ll tell ya, when you have a 1,200 lb horse grabbing you by the arm or clothes… it’s wise to lower your criteria a bit.
So I nudged the bucket closer for Herbie and he got right back into the swing of it. Within another ten minutes, Herbie was walking over to the bucket, knocking it over, and walking back for a carrot. It was so much fun, I can’t wait to head back down soon for more training. Herbie is a champion show jumper but not being ridden at the moment for some rest and relaxation, so while he doesn’t need any formal training, I am having a blast seeing what I can teach Herbie.
Check out my facebook page to see his photo!
The Pawsitive Packleader