Picasso’s story

Date of birth June 2005

Picasso is our beautiful chestnut gelding, born at the farm in 2005.  He is the son of Leo and Capri and shares a bit of both of their natures, which makes him a calm, easy, loveable horse. He is lean, like his Mum and Dad , and just the right height  to be a useful size for clients.

When he was a small foal he was very frightened of head collars, and would get so scared if you tried to put one on him that he would rear up and once even fell over backwards. I did not want to force him to accept one when he was clearly so distressed so I looked for an alternative method of getting him to accept it and came across clicker training.  I had never tried it before, but from what I read it seemed like a possible solution, so armed with a new book and clicker I set to work. I was totally amazed with the result – I started by getting him to touch a plastic bottle and clicking and rewarding every time he got it right, then within 10 minutes I had him willingly touching a head collar scrunched up in my hand. From there it was easy, painless steps to clicking while holding against his face, and then, within 20 minutes at the most he was allowing me to put the head collar on – totally stress free, it felt like a miracle cure! From that day he was never frightened of the head collar again and needless to say I have put the clicker to good use for numerous other small problems that any of the horses have had.

Picasso kept the long legged coltish look until he was about 6, in fact he can still look quite gangly and coltish now.  We felt that he needed a bit longer to mature physically than our filly foals, Twiggy and Fern, and we did not introduce him to a saddle and rider until the summer he turned 6.   He accepted a rider with no problem at all, but as we were in no rush we left him until the following summer to start riding him properly and he took to it as if he had been born to be ridden, happily taking the lead on hacks and just stopping and sniffing at anything that worried him.