Posted: Thu May 19, 2005 2:56 pm Post subject: Standing: was working quite well, now having some problems.
I came across your website a while ago and when I read your article about teaching a horse to stand I started it with my horse that very afternoon. He is a very smart and very food oriented, 9 year old 17.2 hand grey thoroughbred type gelding. I have had horses previous to him but he has proven to be the most difficult. I purchased him 4 years ago as he had minimal handling (basic vet/feet trimming and he would allow himself to be caught and led). His previous owners had inherited him from a relative and had kept him with one other horse in a field in California, when the other horse passed on they put his guy up for sale. I spent two years with his ground training etc. then we started his under saddle training a little under two years ago.
He has been mostly wonderful, but his standing skills have always been a little lacking. As I mentioned before he is very smart, he gets bored very easily and needs lost of variety or he will switch off.
We were doing great with the standing training, he was responding well to verbal praise, after about a week I think he started to get bored so I switched the praise to stroking him. This worked well until he got bored again I tried the verbal praise but he wouldn't buy it. I tried everything else I could think of, now three weeks later I am out of ideas. I am very reluctant to introduce food as a reward. I fear that he will realize that the possibility of getting food is there and then will refuse to work for anything but food (it has happened before I went away for a week and a fried took care of him, he started to catch him with carrots, it took me months for me to convince him that I didn't need carrots to catch him).
It sounds like he's getting bored while standing. Can't really blame him...horses don't usually stand in one place, and that's one of the main issues in teaching them to stand. They're not innately, emotionally suited to it.
Rather than focusing on standing, once a horse has gotten the idea, move on to something else. For example, have him stand, then pick his feet. Have him stand, then brush his mane. Make the standing part of something else. The more you can do, the more he will get accustomed to standing. But don't make it simply standing...make it standing AND something else.
Good luck with your guy. He sounds interesting, and like an intriguing challenge.