I set up the plywood scale board in his back-holding yard and encouraged Luke to investigate it by placing some of his favorite food items on it. He would lean over, as hooves as far back as possible, trying to get the food without touching the board. Once he got more comfortable with this, he took his first step onto the board, and quickly stepped off. The sound, and the feeling of his hooves on the board was scary! Since I was standing right there with him, being calm, and not freaked out, he settled down quickly, and within a few weeks, he was walking onto the scale board like a champ.
The next step was elevating the scale board up a few inches to mimic the height the board would be at when I brought the actual scale out. This was also scary for him, but since I built up that trust with him, he quickly conquered his fears! My heart was pounding as I set everything up on the day that I needed to bring the actual scale out. In the picture of Luke on the scale you can see that there is a big yellow box, which is where the weight is displayed, and thick blue cords. I hoped he wouldn’t freak out when saw them. Animals can pick up when you are nervous, and it puts them on edge, especially if they are snack-size like Luke. Fortunately, I had nothing to worry about. I had established with him that good things happen on that wooden board and that nothing scary happens when he stepped up. So, he calmly walked on, and I got his weight voluntarily for the first time. The prognosis? He was a bit chubby. That first step onto the scale was about two years ago, and nearly every month since, I have been able to repeat my initial success. Honestly, the hardest part about it now is getting him off the scale!