The Doghill youngsters are always looking to be involved with anything we are doing.
We had a professional photographer on the farm a few days ago and of course, the “babies” wanted to be involved. As usual, Elsa was the most cheeky and caused more than a few laughs with her clowning about. We try really hard (within reason) to let our babies be as curious as they like. We find that letting them explore something for themselves helps “bomb-proof” them for later life.
By nurturing and directing the youngsters’ curiosity, we can use it to our advantage.
The natural chain of reaction of a horse is like this; He gets spooked by something, then turns around to have a look and he will get curious about it. He will go and investigate and eventually become confident because he realises that the object wasn’t dangerous after all.
The beauty of it: we don’t have to do anything to help the process, except to provide the stimulus/object. Allowing a youngster to explore something for themselves, helps them learn in a very natural and easy way.
Initially, we had lots of snorting and spooking at the photographer’s light reflector from the horses. I told Clare, the photographer, all about how baby horses learn and was feeling rather smug that the babies were using their natural curiosity to become more confident in approaching a novel object.
They say “pride comes before a fall”…
Elsa (and Elvis) discovered that the light reflector was portable and they could pick it up.
I then instantly regretted letting them play with it, as they refused to let go and had tremendous fun galloping up and down (a very large field) while we huffed and puffed in hot pursuit trying to get the light reflector back!
Fair to say, I owe Clare a new one! Kids!