Originally Posted by Ian McDonald
They can learn to differentiate whether to move and yield away from the flag or ignore it depending upon whether the presentation of your intent and body language is asking them to move or to stay. The lesson they learn is to listen to what you're saying rather than "what the flag is saying", if that makes sense. From where you're at now I would also want to teach her to yield to it without sacrificing her curious nature, which is what you need intact to teach a horse anything in a positive frame of mind. To teach the horse to move away from the flag I'd go back to the ground first and get her to move by tapping her with it on the shoulder, rump, pretty much anywhere on the body and not the face. Make sure to rub her with it as much as you use it to move her so her responses stay balanced, or pretty soon you'll have the situation where she'll move away from it but will no longer let you touch her. Then just keep going with it until you feel that she's listening to you and that the flag has become just an extension of you rather than something separate.
Thanks for that reply ianmcdonald. I understand what you are saying. In thinking about this....I am actually going to question it with my percheron though. I can put pretty much anything on her and she will stand there with her full attention to me...like a statue. Maybe she was trained in the past to be like this due to her being a carriage horse? However, whenever I have tried to used an aid besides my hands (which is all it takes really), she just stands completely still. I would hate to add pressure and start smacking her with the flag or whatever. I guess it definitely should be done at the shoulder if I had to.
As for the horse I originally posted about....even when I am walking her into the arena with the object....she will try to get closer to the item to mouth it and play with it. She is another one that will read my body language and just move off of me pushing the air with my hands or simply mirroring my body movements. I understand what you are saying though as far as them both reading me to move from the object itself.