Birthday: July 5, 2011
Valiente was born in the Netherlands and is a pedigree Welsh Section A pony.
His early life is a mystery - at some point he was exported to Spain from the Netherlands – although his papers do not document this journey.
When he was rescued in October 2013 his feet were so overgrown (about 10cm) he couldn’t walk. He was a stallion and had been shut in a very small, dark stable and starved.
The A.R.C.H Rescue staff, volunteers and amazing team of vets and farriers set to work trimming his feet – it wasn’t clear at this point whether he would walk again and whether his life could be saved. Thanks to so many dedicated people Valiente survived and began to walk again. It was at this point that his fear-based aggression became apparent. We’ll never know the emotional, physical and mental traumas that Valiente has had to live through.However, as he began to feel better and express himself, he learnt very quickly that his aggression kept people away which was exactly what he wanted.
Daily handling and giving Valiente the ongoing treatment he needed became a running battle – he was a dangerous pony with the potential to do a lot of harm to people and himself.
In October 2015 Valiente arrived here to begin the next phase of his recovery – to heal from the emotional and mental scars which were preventing him being a happy pony who could be handled safely.
We are working on making the transition from working from behind a fence (protected contact) to being able to go in with him. He loves a good bum scratch and his favourite game is having his hooves trimmed.
He is also learning how to play fetch! Photos and videos of that to come soon............
Here we are working with Valiente in protective contact.
Rachel is helping by giving him the treats whilst I click for the right moment.
We were establishing the position for him to stand in so that I could get to trim his front feet with the nippers.
Here we are a couple of days later working on our own together.
Valiente is offering his foot in the correct position in a relaxed but engaged way.
I am rewarding him for the relaxation as well as for the behaviour.
It is so important that he stays calm and happy.
Valiente and I doing a demonstration on the Hoof Trimming for Horse Owners Course.
Amazing that this little guy is showing the world how Reward Based Training is helping him.
Time for the back feet!
Spending so much time on his front feet meant that transferring the behaviour to Valiente's hind feet wasn't a huge task.
In the beginning Rachel establishes his position at the cone as his stationary target to give him focus.
I placed the block in front of his hind feet and asked him to pick up a foot. We had already worked on just lifting back feet.
I then guided his foot to the block and once his hoof touched the block clicked and we rewarded a lot!
Hey presto! Working on our own again later on in the year.
It is now possible for me to trim all of Valiente's feet by myself.
This process has been so rewarding for me too. Being able to trim his feet safely and both of us are relaxed and happy is tremendous. In the past his fear based aggression would take over so he had become quite dangerous.
Valiente is such a thoughtful, considered little guy he is so great at problem solving.