How to: Train a horse to "put on" it's halter.
Did this with V today and realized its a pretty nifty thing, and that others could benefit from knowing HOW I'm training some of these things.
First, I realized V's ultimate reward. For him, it's a head scratch. He looks for a head scratch when he thinks he has done right. Then, I paired that head-scratch with a "good boy." Shortly after he understood the correlation between the word "good boy" and a head scratch, I began to say "good boy" as soon as he did the right thing. Your horses ultimate reward could be a scratch, to be left alone, food, rest, play... Anything, but you need to find what that is.
This is a rather "new" method for me as I've always done more conventional cowboy type training but I wanted to try clicker training - the treat baggy and clicker I would have to keep up with and carry turned me away, so instead, my "good boy" is my click and my head scratch is my treat. It's working out great!
Anyway, I began by putting the noseband on his nose and saying GB + S. After a few tries, I moved the noseband about an inch away. He wasn't sure what I wanted and searched for the answer for a bit but eventually he reached out and tapped the noseband. Good-boy, scratch. I would progressively move it away further and making him put his nose in farther during each session.
(I also am a big believer in taking long breaks in the round pen. My groundwork sessions can be an hour long, but only 30 of that is spent working because the rest I am letting the horse have a break to mull things over. )
After about 20 minutes he was putting his nose in his halter whenever I said "Halter," even if I was holding it an arms length away or walked away from him.
After a long break, I went back and repeated the process quickly and then brought the halter back to the ground, telling him to halter and rewarding him. I had to get a stiffer halter for this phase since it would need to stand upright for him to put his Nose in.
After the first day, I could throw the halter across the roundpen, tell V to halter and he would walk over and put his nose into it (if he could.)
Of course I have to walk up and tie it, but I assumed y'all would be sharp enough to know that!
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