Resigned to Fate

My long-term strategy for turning Eli into a well-mannered horse has been cuddling him into submission coupled with a few well-aimed smacks for truly egregious behavior. You pin your ears without cause? I hug you. You act like you might like to kick me? I keep currying. You try to nip at me? Here, have an apple, that’ll keep your teeth busy. You try to nip at me again? I pinch your chin (and your offended act doesn’t matter to me). You actually kick me? I actually smack you. Twice.

My persistence has been rewarded.

Eli now lets me clean his sheath.


This leaves only two mountains left to climb: actually spraying stuff directly on to Eli, and clipping his ears.

I think he has finally connected that everything I do, I am going to do regardless of his behavior toward me and that acquiescing quietly often benefits him in enjoyable ways, such as cookies. And none of it hurts.

Eli had a little bit of a tune-up from the vet on Thursday, so he will get a short break from work until Monday. I guess he wanted in on the long weekend game? I’ll be spending Saturday grazing him, as long as I remember a wide-brimmed hat.

12 thoughts on “Resigned to Fate

  1. Mort and I are still working hard on that ear clipping issue (and wearing pretty ear bonnets until we’ve really accomplished it).
    I think with a lot of TBs almost ignoring the mediocre behavior and only getting after them when they’re really bad helps them learn to relax and then a lot of the bad behavior goes away on its own over time. I’m sure Mort’s ground manners and angry tail swishing would drive some people crazy but he’s not dangerous and he stands still so it’s a win in my book.

    I think our two boys have a lot in common with their sensitivities. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is exactly the tack I take with behavior on the ground, and I’ve found a lot of success with it! Any biting/kicking/outright aggression gets them hit and thinking they are gonna die for five seconds, but anything else that’s just mildly annoying I ignore. Completely. And just keep doing whatever I was doing. The horses learn pretty quickly to get over themselves, and that dancing around being a noodle isn’t going to ‘save’ them from things like baths or clipping or fly spray. I’m gonna do it anyway. And they aren’t going to die.

    Liked by 1 person

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