Exposure is great but for everything else there is The Equine System
This week has been all about exposing Super Dooper Cooper to new things. Speaking of which, I am fully intending to make T-shirts that say I heart Super Dooper Cooper, and want to re-register him as VBA-Super Dooper Cooper. At some point before EQUITANA we will eat Super Dooper icy poles and have a Super Dooper water fight.
Back to exposure - Exposure is a term we use when we expose a horse to an object or situation without actively training the horse to the object or situation. This week Cooper spent a morning with Wrangler hanging out in their yard, while I left the tractor and quad bike running next to the fence. The horses initial reaction was to take flight around the yard, I did not interfere. Within a short time the horses had become accustomed to the noise of the tractor and bike and were happily eating their lucerne in the yard.
The next step would be Amber’s Duck suit!
We can not expose Cooper to everything that he may ever encounter in his career. What we can do is teach Cooper how to respond to my cues and test them in a variety of situations.
No matter what we came across on our first SOLO outing this week, Cooper was confident to follow my lead.
We passed kangaroos on one side with the silage bales on the other. I felt Cooper tense beneath me. Not at the kangaroos but at the vicious, horse eating, bales to my left.
I allowed Cooper to make the mistake of stopping and looking before I did the opposite to stop and look and I asked him to follow my seat forward again. Check out Coopers first solo ride at Equine System channel on YouTube.
This was a great experience for Cooper because, he was exposed to scary bales and Roos without me making an issue of the bales and roos. It will be great practice for EQUITANA not because Cooper is trained to hay bales but because Cooper followed my lead and listened to my seat in a high energy situation.