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Leslie Desmond Demonstration Aug. 2003

CHANGING EXPECTATIONS  

Leslie then started to walk around with the clippers and gently rubbed it over his body. At first he would jump away from the clippers at the mere thought of them coming too close to his body. But by rubbing his body with her fingers and then slowly replacing her fingers with the clippers he learned that they could have a good purpose too! Especially after she had found his favourite spots to rub!

Now, as far as the gelding was concerned, this rubbing with the clipper felt damn good! Which totally changed his idea of the clippers. “It’s all about changing his expectations”, as Leslie would explain. If you’ve had a bad experience with something, you wouldn’t be too keen on trying it again either! As you’d have a bad idea about that certain thing – a bad expectation. Now if someone would show you a different side to that certain thing, it would change your expectations of that thing and you might give it a thought to try it again.. 

But if Leslie actually SWITCHED ON the clippers, the geldings' old fears and expectations would return again and there was NO WAY Leslie was going to get those evil running clippers close to him now! He obviously had some real bad experiences with clippers, as he was ready to attack them. But instead of going into a fight with this gelding, Leslie taught him how HE could control the clippers. Every time Leslie would switch on the clippers the gelding would start backing. Leslie would follow his tracks taking the slack out of the rope but following his movements as not to PULL on the lead. She followed him around consistently until the gelding would remember about the slack in the rope, waiting for him to make that one movement/thought or try forward towards her (to take out the slack) and she would instantly kill the sound of the clippers. This way it slowly dawned on the gelding, that if he stepped TOWARDS Leslie, instead of away, she would actually switch off the clippers, leaving HIM in control of the clippers being on or off..

Once the gelding was back in control of himself, his fears for the clippers and thereby in control of the clippers themselves it had been a long session and the time had come to make an end  to the demo. At this point the gelding was ready to be worked on with in the future, to overcome his fears of the clippers. The basics had profoundly been laid, and Leslie had given us and the horses a lot to think about. 

"You'll probably have a couple of sleepless nights to take all this in," she said. And too right, this stuff has left me with sleepless nights! And it all looks so easy, but trying it out on Dreams, my own mare, sure taught me that it takes a lot of practise! But it has definitely given me something to continue my horsemanship with and I'm really looking forward to seeing her again in the future!

"Why are all your horses so damn tall over here!!" ;-)

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