Welcome to the "new" me. Remember my last post was about me not being assertive enough with Juliano and overprotective. Well, I'm trying to change that and I can see the first results. The first big change is our catching game.
Juliano is very creative when it comes to playing games with humans. He took catching game into the next level for me. We both know well the "standard" scenario of the catching game so for some time now Juliano was telling me this is not enough for him. He has reversed my reversed psychology. I don't know if he is keeping the score but I think lately it was something close to 10:0 for him. Juliano knows what I want, I want him to come to me, and this is what he does, he walks to me. But at that point the game is not over yet. A horse can either come to you and stay or come to you and do something you don't want or you didn't plan. So how can a horse win the catching game with a human that knows the ground rules of the game? It's quite simple really. This is Juliano's formula of winning the catching game (at this point I'm glad Juliano doesn't have a blog and he won't share this with your horses):
1. Pretend you are doing what your human wants, walk towards.
2. Your human will turn around and wait for you.
3. Walk as silently as you can and when you reach your human's shoulder, run!
4. Run as fast as you can and than turn and face.
You can clearly see it on this short clip (0:30sec):
The first time Juliano did this I was surprised, the second time I started laughing but the third time got me thinking. Is this disrespect or maybe he knows I want to ride and he is trying to avoid that. I was on the verge of fixating about this, but that I remembered that I shouldn't worry because it's just a game. Next time I went to the paddock with a more playful attitude. I suggested to Juliano that I would like him to come to me. I got his attention and waited. I listened for his hoof steps. When he was close enough and I knew one more step and he will be gone I decided to do the opposite of what I would usually do. I didn't face him, I run! I run just as Juliano would and it blew his mind. He started running behind me and wouldn't leave my side. It must have looked insane to other people. I was running and J was chasing me.
I think we humans tend to think "one game at a time", we focus on a certain game when we play with our horses and we expect a certain outcome. Our horses, on the other hand, play multiple games with us. Whats more they can also play with other horses at the same time. With a horse like Juliano you have to think "game" all the time. I won the catching game this time because I "flirted" with Juliano a bit. It's a bit like being in high school again, games that boys play with girls and vice versa. I want your attention when you ignore me, when I have your attention I ignore you.