Boomer is one of the few horses left at the rescue who isn’t halter trained. I started working with him yesterday and he’s doing great so far!
Boomer was pretty hesitant and skeptical about people, so I started with him using the CAT procedure. Prior to yesterday he would sometimes let us touch him on his hindquarters while he was eating, but it was usually a brief touch as he started to walk away. If he was grazing he would not let you get close enough to touch him. (I promise I’ll write about CAT in detail in a future post. Basically, if the animal is afraid and wants you to go away, you can use removing yourself to reinforce calm or friendly behavior.) We did CAT for about half an hour until he was letting me scratch him on his shoulders, barrel and hindquarters.
Later on in the day, once he was more comfortable with me standing near him, we started working on haltering. First, I practiced putting my hand over his neck and having him turn his head towards me. Later on, we also worked on him letting me rub his neck with the halter. The first time I put the halter on he was more surprised than anything else, but after a few repetitions he decided the halter wasn’t anything bad. So, we made a lot of progress for our first day of training!
I took just a bit of video, which you can see below. The video’s about a minute long and in it I put the halter on and off several times. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good, considering the video was taken after he had about 5 minutes working with haltering.