I have been so excited to work with a stallion from the 2021 muster because I have wanted to showcase a very new way of training for me that integrates a much different approach to working with horses. This approach focuses primarily on reading the horse’s body language and understanding an animal’s fear responses to gauge when a horse is in its thinking brain and able to learn and retain information, or if it is in its survival brain.
Just five weeks into taming Porthos, a gorgeous 14.2hh 6-year-old stallion from the Upper 14 region, I am so rapt with how he is progressing with this new style of training. I have made it my goal to do the majority of his taming at liberty, with most of his work being done in a large yard or paddock. For the most part I have taught him body control so he can quietly turn in and face me and also a safety stop, which is where I use his body language to let me know if he is slipping into a fight, flight or freeze response.
This has allowed me to work with him at his own pace and to help foster confidence to move to the next step of training. In the beginning Porthos had a strong freeze response and in some cases would flee if he got a fright, but now he is so confident with me standing right beside him and remains alert and in his thinking brain for the most part which is really exciting as I really want to foster a really happy, confident horse who is able to communicate how he feels.
Porthos is enjoying living with two other wild stallions in a big paddock. Because I have been very busy he has just been worked five times a week, sometimes two times a day but never for more than thirty minutes. Most of his training involves me standing stock still until he switches into his thinking brain so for the most part he is having plenty of time to transition to domestication without any pressure or time constraints.