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Ben Hart's blog

The American Dream - Part 1

When I started out learning about equine behaviour 15 years ago, I got the chance to spend a year studying, working and eventually teaching in California. That time, working with the world’s best teachers in equine behaviour, the horses themselves, changed my life and my perceptions of equine training methods forever. Those experiences with Mustangs, Arabs, Thoroughbreds, Quarter horses, mares, foals and colts changed me and ultimately set me on a path that led to working with horses, donkeys and mules all over the world.

Donkey Welfare Symposium

Stretching Dante's comfort zones

It is a constant dilemma in my mind helping Dante as much as possible but without over reaching him, stretching his comfort zones as much as possible so that tomorrow I can start to train the team to work with him. So we try another session in the afternoon. He seems a little more unsettled again perhaps because the afternoon routine is beginning after the day’s human training course. Again I work with tiny steps to allow him to tell me if he feels it is OK to proceed and I can stop at any point he feels to uncomfortable.

Project Dante... and tiny steps

So having woken up at 5am to think about what to do today to help Dante as you do, I got to El Refugio del Burrito early to see Dante’s behaviour before the morning routine began. Seeing him at different times of the day and in different situations means I have a better picture of his behaviour so I can be more certain about possible causes. After all, today I am planning to go in a paddock with an animal that could seriously injure me, so I really need to be able to read his body language really well and be able to feel his moods so I can predict when or if he is likely to attack.

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