Treating a Wound With Reward Based Training

Dealing with wounds and aftercare from surgery and so on, is part of any horse-owners life. This video shows my rescued Arab, Khalil, with a wound on his face which needed cleaning and dressing. This could easily have turned into a battle since it was painful and potentially quite scary for Khal.

Luckily (and this was certainly one of those times I was incredibly grateful I have learned these tools), I use reward-based training. This meant I could explain to Khalil what I wanted him to do (mostly hold his head still) and reward him for co-operating in having his wound dressed and treated.

This meant it was fairly straightforward to get the job done and, because Khal had choice in the situation, meant that I kept his trust and strengthened our relationship. 

I’m glad to say he recovered quickly and fully from this injury, but watch the video to see how I approached treating his wound:

You can watch the whole video plus loads more of step-by-step video tutorials on everything from injections to hosing in our Healthcare Procedures Home Study Course:


If you enjoyed this blog, please share it with your friends using the buttons below.  Tell us your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section and/or sign up to our mailing list below. You will receive a FREE Video Seminar on The 4 Elements of Connection Training!

☟Scroll down the page to subscribe!☟

You might also like

6 thoughts on “Treating a Wound With Reward Based Training”

  1. Great video!!!!! I have a horse that cut open his knee and I need to rebanage every other day…. Rafiki is 18 h and very opinionated and I have been working Clicker Training with him on daily routines……this video was so helpful for me to present Clicker Training with changing his bandage.

    Thank You so much!

    Kathy & Rafiki

  2. SO interesting and useful! I don’t know of any other method that works so quickly and easily for stuff like this. Thank you!!!

    — Kay

  3. And it occurs to me that one of the best reasons for teaching our horses the basics of connection training is for just these kinds of events–you know that at some point the likelihood is that your horse is going to be injured and you’re going to have to bandage/medicate/whatever. If the horses already knows the basics, you’re prepared. Excellent!!!

    — Kay

  4. I cannot say enough about the effectiveness of this training approach. Predictably, it took an emergency to give me the final nudge into reward based training. My young, rambunctious baby tore open his knee and needed full bandaging on a daily basis for a month. It took all of 2 minutes to resolve the issue of standing still to present his leg. Even more remarkable, one day before the vet was due to remove the stitches, I decided to turn him out in an adjacent paddock near his buddies since the vibe was calm and very chilled out. Until it wasn’t and soon they were all galloping the fence line as I watched in horror the blood seeping through the bandage. I jumped the fence – no halter, no treats – and tried to stop my other horses, unsuccessfully. In desperation, I ‘clicked’ and my youngster recognized the sound, stopped away from the galloping horses and came to me in the middle of the field. Eyes wide and nostrils flaring, but he followed me back to the barn as the other horses continued to run the fence. Amazing – I felt like the “Horse Whisperer” on steroids!

  5. As usual, letting the horse decide when s/he’s ready to allow something and rewarding small steps toward doing what you want is THE best way to get things done. I can’t imagine what someone would have done to this horse to force him to hold still. Great job, Hannah.

  6. are you using a vocal click instead of an actual clicker… and how then , in training, can you differentiate a click for reward from a click for go forward or canter…. in our case a smooch and a double click vocally.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top