It struck me yesterday that an otter has two main hobbies in his life: sex and fish. Mainly fish. This has a relevance when working with horses with food.
Today we worked again with Ollie, the Welsh Cob cross New Forest pony that hasn't been too keen on going out on her own. Her owner has been out a couple of times with another horse and rider since we last saw her but sensibly steered away from going out alone in order that we could consolidate last week's training. We were able to start off at exactly the point that we ended last week with Ollie going in between me and Tracey along the lane - towards and away from home - in exchange for a click and a treat. She was quite enthusiastic about this and it even kept her interest when I had gone round the bend (so to speak!).
Once we were sure that everything was in place, we changed the rules a little so that her owner was offering her the click and treat from the saddle - every 25 paces to begin with and then every 40. In time she will be able to vary the intervals for the treats and begin to go for longer intervals however, there was no doubt that once she found that she had her 'fish' on board she was a very happy pony. In her case her reluctance to go out alone really does seem to be based on instinct alone since she is brilliant in traffic and completely unfazed by pigs, geese, bin bags and other paraphernalia in the verge. I'd be very pleased to have a horse like that!
"Everyone is just amazed at how much progress we have made in such a short time." EH