Making new friends
A few weeks ago I contacted the Victorian Brumby association for some advice about Cooper.
He has been such a wonderful addition to our stable easy to have around gets along with all of our team perfectly. However all of our team are very experienced and read horse behaviour very well.
The issue I was concerned about was that Cooper had on occasion shown dominant behaviours when introduced to young children. Ears back, wrinkled nose, very stallion like. It was almost as though he was frightened of them… “Don't you dare touch me with those sticky little fingers! Little person”. I needed some help, I was concerned that I may not ever be able to trust Cooper around young riders.
I had experienced some of these aggressive tendencies directed toward me early on in the challenge when feed was around. I got through this by ensuring Cooper was always on a lead when I was around him and hard feed. Every time he showed me aggressive body language I would calmly pick up the lead rope and move Coopers feet, re-establishing my role as the leader.
The Team at V.B.A were very helpful. They mentioned that Cooper had a lot of trust and respect for me and the team because he understood his role in our herd. He wasn't aggressive toward us because he trusted us as the leader.
The best thing we could do would be to introduce Cooper to some horse competent young riders who understand the system and cues that we have been been using with Cooper. The idea would be to establish their role as Coopers leader using what Cooper had already learnt.
To be honest I was a little nervous, I thought Cooper might regress in his training. But I felt it was very important that Cooper builds confidence with as many people as possible if he is going to find an incredible forever home after EQUITANA.
This week I am pleased to say that it worked. The V.B.A know their stuff.
School holidays has meant Cooper has spent a few days with some young teen riders and Ben in particular was patient and consistent as he used pressure and release to move Coopers feet over and around obstacles.
At the end of the day Coopers ears were forward as Ben backed him away from his feed bin, asked him to wait, before feeding him a massive scoop of Cooper's favorite LOW GI cubes.