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Re: Step stools

>OK, totally dumb question.  How do you get your horse used
>to a step stool or mounting block.  Mine is so afraid of
>them it is scary to me.  There are times I could use
>one....he is 15'2" and I'm 5'4"  He seems afraid of anything
>that I step onto to get on to him...any and all advice
>Diane & Phoenix (what is that thing next to me??????)

Not a dumb question, Diane.  Getting him used to a step stool just takes
time...not very difficult...just be patient.  Practice at home a bit by
first  letting him walk around it and sniff it...and be sure to let both
eyes get a good look.  (Their brain halves are not connected so you have to
acclimate both sides separately.)  Then, with him watching you (have
someone else hold the horse) step up and down a lot...then turn it 180 and
do it again.  Gradually move the step closer to the horse so that,
eventually, you can step up and get on.  Still have another person helping
you at this point with holding the horse and also reassuring him.

Next time out, go thru the procedure again only getting to the mounting
part more quickly.  At this stage, have him stand quietly and you move the
step stool closer to him...don't expect to walk him up and have him stand
by it and stay there yet.  After a time or two or three of practice, you
should be able to walk him up to the step stool and have him stop and stand
quietly.  Continue to have someone help you until he has figured out his
role...and be sure to praise him when he makes progress.  Be firm with your
commands to stop and stand, and don't reward him for non-compliance...if he
steps off away from the step, use your buzzer noise to indicate that he did
not do as you wanted and then just walk him in a circle and try again.
Have someone help on the off side to make a slight chute when you have him
in position...reinforce your commands to "stand" and be sure to have
control of the head, but not activating the reins.  When he will stand
while you get up on the step stool, fiddle with the saddle and rub and pat
him all around...make your being up there something that he'll like.  No
food tho, just pats and verbal reassurances since you want him to stand
quietly...and this means not moving around looking for treats or diverting
his attention away from the task.  

If you use the step stool every time, he'll soon consider this type of
mounting as pretty normal fare.  From there you can progress to having walk
up to a lot of different things and he will soon understand that this is
just part of need to stand on something and *get very tall*
before you sit down. ;-)

Tyee Farm
Marysville, Wa.

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