From a friend who is also challenging herself to teach her horses letters of the alphabet:
She’s working on her pony, Timbit, picking out the letters to spell the word ‘cat’.
“I stuck Tim’s three letters in the bucket of sand. He didn’t select them in the order I anticipated – front, left and back – but rather he selected front, back and left every time. That means all I have to do is change the order I planned with the letters to get him to spell CAT for the kids and the seniors.
I wasn’t out there very long, but I did notice once again that the minute you send off any negative vibrations you can shut down behaviour completely in a sensitive animal. I had to really jolly Tim along for a minute after I accidentally indicated a letter was ‘wrong.’”
My outing with the six horses:
I brought out the three boxes (red, blue and green) with only the green one labeled ‘A’. I held them side by side outside each stall and every horse instantly went to the green box or, if I choose to be extremely optimistic I can dream that each one went to the box with the letter ‘A’.
I keep thinking “The Butterfly Project”: keep it simple and keep it positive.
I do notice that the minute I pick up the green box and joyfully approach the nearest horse saying, “Here’s ‘A’” every head turns towards the barn aisle and eagerly waits for ‘A’ and treats!