Focus

In this intensive, we focus on all the necessary skills to train a self-farriering horse.

Wait. Self…what??

I know, right? “Self-farriering” isn’t really a thing. BUT, our little 7 year-old-student River really thought that it was! She had been observing Sombra’s liberty and permission training for a while (see video below). One day, finally, we scheduled Sombra’s first farrier appointment after the training…and River, VERY excited, advertised to everyone at the ranch that Sombra was going to be “self-farriering” that afternoon! So it stuck 😛

Anyway, a self-farriering horse is just that: a horse who self-positions for the farrier at liberty and who cues the farrier “start” and “stop” with any given tool and trimming position.

In practice…

In this dynamite program, you will learn the steps that have lead the previously wild mustang Sombra and her human Giorgia (Hatha Equus R+ Instructor) to “conquer the internet” last fall:

Why should my horse learn this?

Upsides for your horse

We can place most horses on a scale from “uncomfortable” to “deathly afraid” of being trimmed. It makes sense! Horses are flight animals, and being trimmed means that not only one leg is MIA at any given time, but it also being “messed with”! So in their minds, if danger comes out of a bush (say for instance, a terrifying mouse or a killer plastic bag!!!), they cannot save themselves.  

Counter-conditioning this fear-inducing activity can really mean a lot in terms of our horse’s peace of mind!

Upsides for you

You’ve tried them all. Shaking the rope any time your horse moved their feet as a sort of “punishment”; keep pretend-trimming until they stop moving and then releasing the pressure to reward them; feeding them lots of treats, having their buddies keep them company…and nothing has worked. You are now out of ideas and still very frustrated at the extra charge from the farrier each time. Not to mention the fear that these constant attempts to run the farrier over will at some point…hit the mark?!? 

So here’s what we’re thinking…how about some peace of mind for you, too?

Upsides for the farrier

Farriers are in such physical stress all the time, from the pure job of trimming! They really do not need “the extra challenge” of being stepped on, struck, kicked or pinned to a wall!
Also, since we love our farriers so much, we want to contribute not only to their health, but also to their success. A self-farriering horse is one who will take make the session short…leaving the farrier more time, therefore more work!

The Program

Self-farriering has lots of moving parts. It requires not only for both human and horse to have solid foundations of Positive Reinfocement, but also for the horse to have developed a certain degree of resiliency, and familiarity with the permission protocols. All of this surely doesn’t happen overnight! The Self-Farriering Intensive only includes 5 group sessions (over 2.5 weeks of time) and a private lesson with Giorgia, YET the prerequisite to attending this Intensive is that you take Intro to R+ and Permission and Resiliency with R+.
Since we only hold one of each a month, we are sure that we are leaving plenty of time to horse and owner to practice the tools, at any given stage!

This is how we have structured the curriculum:

 

1.  Introduction to Positive Reinforcement (first month)

This module will walk you and your horse through the mindset, principles and foundation behaviors of Positive Reinforcement. It includes five bi-weekly sessions and a private lesson, with plenty of supporting video-materials.

2.  Permission and Resiliency (second month) 

In this module we start introducing — or more likely, reintroducing — a few fear-inducing activities to our horses, though in a new light. By teaching them body-targeting, and by giving them the tools to safely cue us to start or stop any given behavior, we will be able to support them in making a 180° shift in their thoughts and emotions with respect to it.

It also includes five bi-weekly sessions and a private lesson.

3.  Self-Farriering (third month) 

Finally, now having all the necessary tools, you will be able to get specific! You will learn body targets and permission protocols that are specific to self-farriering!

This module also includes five bi-weekly sessions and a private lesson.

Common questions/concerns about self-farriering

What if my horse doesn’t learn in the program’s timeframe?

It’s quite impossible to forecast how long our horses will take to change their feelings about a previously fear-inducing activity. We have had experience with overnight changes as well as much longer ones — even months. What we want to highlight here, though, is that in this intensive we won’t pressure our horses to change their minds/feelings about fly spray or the saddle. We will instead focus on giving you and allowing you to practice as many tools as we can, so that you can feel resourceful your permission and resiliency after the program!

My horse is REALLY sensitive about their feet. I doubt he’ll actually learn

I know the feeling. You’ve seen it over and over again and you are really skeptical that anything will change their behavior. They are just too sensitive. But worry not. Truly! We absolutely trust this approach, and we have had incredible successes with it. So far, we have failed no horse — no matter if previously wild or wild at heart — who has gone through the program.

Enrolment

Prerequisites for Humans

Human students in this course should already have been introduced to Positive Reinforcement, through our Intro to Positive Reinforcement Intensive, AND to Permission and Resiliency tools with Positive Reinforcement — again, ideally through our Permission And Resiliency Intensive.

Have you had your FREE Consultation Call yet?

If you are a new student to Hatha Equus, please make sure you schedule a FREE Consultation Call with us before you enrol! We want to answer any question you might have, and we want to make sure that this program is the right fit for you. 

Prerequisites for horses

Participating horses should master the following behaviors at liberty with R+:

R+ Foundation Behaviors

1. Calm Default Stationing (at least 6 sec)
2. Head Down (at least 6 sec)
3. Stay
4. Target handheld target from a stand-still at different angles
5. Walk and backup in-hand
6. Hind-quarter yield
7. Target a cone (or stationary target)

Permission and Resiliency Behaviors

1. Start signal
2. Stop signal
3. Anchor behavior

Logistics

Price

The price of the whole three month package is currently $900. This is a pilot program, so $900 is discounted by 15% over the total price…in exchange for honest feedback!

This fee includes horse-fees (if you are partnering up with a Hatha Equus horse) and haul-in fees (if you are hauling your horses in).

You can also choose to take each sub-program in 3 non-consecutive months, of course. In this case, you will have to enroll in each program individually, at the respective full prices (total: $1050).

Frequency

Each month: twice/week for 2.5 weeks, plus one private lesson (to be scheduled at your convenience).

Equipment

You are going to need:
– a BIG treat pouch: example 1, example 2
– a buoy target: example

We are going to provide tires, practice stands, practice rasps and trimming tools. If you have (or would like to make) your own props, feel free to bring them!

Treats

We mostly use timothy hay pellets or cubes in this class. You are welcome to bring your own, though they are usually only available in 50lb bags. You can also draw from the Hatha Equus common bin — just make sure, in this case, that you drop 15$ in our cash box!

You might also need a few higher value treats.

Discounts

If you are boarding (or leasing!) your horse at Wildsong Ranch, you will be awarded a $150 discount!

Groups

Groups max out at 5 human and 5 equine participants.

Location

Wildsong Ranch 

10069 N65th St
Longmont, CO 80503

Horses

You can haul your horse in, or partner up with a Hatha Equus horse. 

By the way…did you have your FREE Consultation Call with us, yet? Hold your horses on booking until then!