This session, we continued with the carrot stick. At first, Timber didn’t want to stand still so I let him do some circles. While we were at it I worked on getting him to change directions by turning into me instead of turning to the outside. After a bit of this he was ready to stand still and let me resume touching him with the carrot stick.
As I was “massaging” him on the neck with the stick, I started to approach his muzzle with my free hand. Some trainers refer to this as “distraction” training. You do one thing and then, while continuing the first thing, you add a second thing. This causes the horse to have to think about two things at a time. Depending on the situation and how you apply this the horse can either get overloaded and bolt off, or he will allow the distraction to reduce the concern over the second thing you’re doing. In this case, it worked for me. I was eventually able to briefly touch his muzzle.
That was a HUGE milestone!