I tried a little range into Ryan Gingerich’s discussion forum called the Connection Club. You get a 30 day membership when you order one of his DVDs. Well, I was about the only one posting anything. I wasn’t connected to anyone anywhere, so I decided to just put them over here where they belong.
Greetings from New Mexico at the Mustang Facitlity
I work as a horse trainer at the USFS mustang facility in Farmington NM. We do pre-adoption gentling to help get our horses adopted and get the horses started on successful paths into domestication. I am always looking for new techniques to facilitate this transformation. I have been a big fan of Andrew McLean for years and so was really excited to find out about Ryan. We need some science in the crazy world of horsetraining!!!!
There are two other trainers at the mustang facility and we do not all share the same training philosophy. I have to constantly defend my position on not chasing or adrenalizing these animals, so it was really helpful for me to go watch Ryan at the Horse Expo in Ignacio, CO a few weeks ago. It reminded me why I have to stand my ground on these issues. One would think that the results would speak for themselves, but the fact that my animals can be managed on a lead rope rather than herded is dismissed by them saying categorically that I “spoil” the horses.
The areas that I feel like I need improvement are helping the animal stay calm under duress and more yielding to pressure cues (since I use positive reinforcement so much, response to pressure cues are something they don’t automatically understand). In watching the Behaviorist TV segments, the go forward cue is probably where I need to focus. Of course this has to be done in a manner that will not send the mustang into flight. To this date, I usually start them turning in response to lead rope pressure and hope that it will generalize to go forward. Hmmm… seems obvious… something to work on!
There are recently made videos on our pre-adoption gentling program: