As I wrote about last week, Apollo is doing a great job learning to pick up his feet. This can be a challenging skill for some horses to learn–clicker training really helps!
In just a handful of sessions, Apollo has gotten very comfortable about me handling his feet. I started by just running my hand down his legs and clicking for any weight shifts or movement in the leg. After awhile I could help him pick the foot up, but not hold it for any length of time. Then I started holding the foot for half a second, then a second, and so on, gradually increasing my duration.
I didn’t ever fight him. This is one part where clicker training really differs from traditional horse training. In traditional training, if the horse struggles to put the foot down, most people keep holding it and try to wait out the horse. Instead, I would just hold the foot. If he was calm and let me hold it, he got a click and a treat. If he pulled away, I let him put the foot down. Of course, we built up the amount of time really gradually. But, Apollo learned pretty quickly that if he relaxed and let me hold the foot, he would get a treat!
Check out the short video clip below. I think you’ll agree that Apollo is doing great! (By the way, Apollo is currently available for adoption in north Texas.)