Approach and Retreat

Freydis is visiting me whilst her owner is on holiday – so we have been continuing with her ST education.  Her owner mentioned that she was worried about a particular raincoat – so she left the coat with me so that we could help Freydis with her worries.

At first Freydis was pretty concerned about the coat – she went into ‘flight’ mode.  So I spent about 30 minutes helping her to get used to the coat using Approach and Retreat strategies.  Capturing a try – building up her confidence in this seemingly scary thing!  Starting small and building up big as her confidence grew.  Building her confidence into curiosity and curiosity into confidence.  Letting her follow behind as I walked away from her with this flapping coat.  Feeling for when she was more confident and retreating with the coat whenever she made an effort to step towards it.
Rolling the coat into a smaller bundle and touching her all over with it.  Building it up to make more noise and become bigger.  Then getting used to the same with me standing on a mounting block – so that myself and the coat were above her.  Really pleased of her try and how she worked out that this was actually OK.

For the past two days we have played with this – the video is on Day 1.  Tomorrow will be Day 3 so then we should have a pattern of acceptance.

If you would like to see how she is with the coat after the first 30 mins please click on this link;

2 thoughts on “Approach and Retreat”

  1. Hi Elaine. Lucky Freydis. Are you at the mounting block because it is a sweet spot/safe place or just because it is the logical place to be with a flapping coat? I only ask as I have to start getting Paddy to accept the clippers and it seemed a good place to not be kicked! but I do not want to ruin the relationship we have with the mountain block. Obviously we will build up to this point and only approach it when I feel we are ready, just don’t want to blow it. Xx Cheryl

    1. Great question Cheryl. Once she was happy with me with the coat away from the mounting block the reason I went to the mounting block was to start to simulate the coat being put on and off with a rider above her – so that was the reason I took it to the block, so that I had more height!

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