I’ve been working hard on finishing Aesop’s basic handling so he can be cared for without any stress and enjoy a relaxing winter. We’ve been working in the barn, where we’ll have to work when there’s snow. Although I have him in the cross-tie area, I don’t have him tied yet. I want to make sure he feels free to move if something overfaces him, rather than have him feel trapped which could really escalate any anxiety over handling that may come up. He is generally really relaxed about new things which could make it easy to push him too far. I’ve taught him to ground-tie so when his lead-rope is on the ground he understands he will get reinforced for standing still.
The video below shows body brushing on both sides. I click him for him standing still and a slight bend toward me. When I feed, you see me hold the food up a bit and wait for him to bring his head up to retrieve it. I like that he is relaxed enough to have a low head but I don’t want him practicing being so out of balance for long periods of time.