turning bad habits into something good
I keep 3 or 4 horses at a time in my barn. Some of them show up with the habit of pawing or banging their door to get my attention. I hang a bell where they can reach it. The horse is behaving in this manner to get attention. They prefer positive attention but if they can't get that they will go try for negative attention. Banging and pawing bothers me and is a negative trait. Ringing the bell is a cool trick. I always praise the horse for ringing the bell. Anyone who comes to my barn is enchanted with the idea of a bell ringing horse and rushes over to praise and pet the horse. This makes more of my interaction with my horses positive. It puts things on the right foot for riding and training. I am not irritated and the horse got my attention like he or she wanted.I'm not sure it would work in a very large barn if all of the horses had them but maybe.
Just make sure the bell is securely fastened on a short piece of baling twine or other solid tie and pick a robust bell like a cow or goat bell. Some horses like it more than others. The more mishievious the horse the more likely they will take to the bell
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