Is your grass diving horse the most annoying in Spring? When the grass is lush and green and enticing?
Is that when you think about putting Stop Grazing on cue?
Do you know why this is the most challenging time of year to start Grass Training? Right: when you need it the most!
It’s also when you need it, it’s hard(er) to take the time to train it and practise patience!
It’s also the hardest time of year for your horse: when the grass is like candy, sweet and juicy and their body’s want to store energy for court shipping, breeding and maybe even already for Winter. They just can’t help themselves and then they have to deal with being pulled on their lead ropes all the time. It’s just not fair….
If your living in the Southern hemisphere you might think this is not the time to start Grass Training. Winter is coming and you have other things on your mind…
I’ll let you in on a little secret: it would be the Best Time of the year! You can start with less enticing grass (or even hay) and make the Stop Grazing behaviour already a strong habit then when the grass starts to grow YOU are prepared and your horse won’t even try to dive into grass.
Step 2 is: Start before you need it! If you can… JUst like all other training, start before you need it.
The year after I perfectionate my 100% R+ approach to grass training Kyra got Equine Metabolic Syndrome. And laminitis. I had to exercise her AND put her on a restrictive diet.
She went from 12 hours of pasture with friends to 24 hours solitary confinement. During the day in a small paddock and at night in a stall just like the other horses.
I had to hand walk her over the road at the end of Summer when the grass was just about to do another grow spurt… See picture left: Kyra with her special boots, offering Key Lesson Patience so I can make a picture. She’s ignoring the grass!
I was so afraid that I would have to struggle with a grass diving, hungry horse. I worried that I had to battle a tug of war over grass and that I would loose. I was already in pain, seeing my horse suffering.
She was so good! It was truly amazing!
Honestly, I couldn’t believe that I still reaped the benefits of the grass training we did that year before! Kyra didn’t pull me towards the grass and in the moments it did happen (occasionally) I cued her to stop and she listened! Once you a behaviour becomes a habit, it will be very, very strong!
Start today, making heads up a habit on grass! You never know when this comes in handy!
Join me in Grass Training if you want to get rid of the grass diving. I show you how you can teach your horse to ignore grass, teach a Stop Grazing-cue and make this a great training for your horse and for you: both get what you want! How does that sound?
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Sandra Poppema, BSc
Go-to person for online equine clicker training
Teaching horse people to make training a win-win and bond with their horse so they can enjoy their time together.