Donald, In response to your comment we are teaching them good manners first and foremost. It is a combination of natural horsemanship and clicker/treat training. They have been taught many tricks for entertainment purposes and can stand on a pedestal, do an obstacle course, etc.

They have been taken inside the house many times so they had to learn navigating steps.
At the nursing homes they go inside to the activity center and meet with the residents. I also have a request for them to go the the childrens home.

The rewards they give us and the people they see are unmeasurable. Very rewarding and a therapy for us as well.

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Comment by pony gal on May 6, 2010 at 9:38pm
Yes Donald, they really are a therapy for us as well. Just to see the look on the small children and elderly as they touch them. I believe it's because they are so small and at their eye level which is appealing.
One of the miniature horses (Manny) is cart trained and major will be learning that as well. Did you know that there is a proto type cart made for a wheel chair so they could drive unassisted or with a trainer behind? Cool concept I think. :)
Comment by Donald Redux on May 6, 2010 at 8:08am
What a telling comment, "and a therapy for us as well."

The very idea of a "therapy," horse is remarkable to me because when I was a young boy, in my teens, I saw again and again the effect horses and ponies had on people that changed the person's attitude.

My boss, the head trainer, seemed always to have a boy or two, children of his friends, doctors kids, lawyers, kids, anybody's kids, handing about working with the horses. These boys were often no more than 11 or 12, and came to the barn at first with an "attitude." A thoroughbred or two tends to take that attitude right of of people kind of easy: especially up close.

I suspect it might have considerable impact on me as well, just a teen at the time. Sure didn't have time for an attitude around the horses. And the boys all seemed to get the message - "the horse has no time for your attitude, or interest in it, and will go right on stepping on your boot, leaning into you against the stall wall, jerking your arm out of your shoulder, unless you lose the 'tude and start paying attention more close to others around you."

But more; the horse will be very kind to you when you attend him well.

The training you are doing seems to fit into that category and releases the wonderful -- what -- "something?" that horses and ponies have that is so very special. Somehow they fill some need in us, well, me.

Must just be those big eyes, right?

Donald
Comment by Becky (ridendurance) on April 25, 2010 at 8:43pm
I take Manny and Major where ever I think they can have a new experience and learn to be more calm and more tolerant of new things. The training in natural horsemanship has helped me a great deal in learning the approach and retreat method of investigating frightening objects. The boys teach me something new everyday.

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