Monday, March 7, 2011

Clicker & Trailer Work

1st Session: I haltered Chrome and tied him out in front of the house. First I worked on rubbing his face. He totally has that down now that he knows what I want. You can see him freeze (even forgets to chew) and wait for me to click hehe. I did both sides of his face, only avoiding the muzzle, ears and poll. Good boy. :) At one point he offered his leg, but was pawing and I jumped out of the way because I was in front of him. Me jumping away caused my finger to slip and click on the clicker just as he pulled back on the rope . . . oops. I asked him to step forward, clicked again and gave him a treat. I know that isn't really following the rules . . . but oh well.

Then I worked on his legs. He did fantastic on his right front, but on his left front he didn't want to pick it up. I finally realized it was because he was tied up, so I untied him and tried again. After backing up a few times he finally got it right. I worked on holding each leg a few times, then I moved on to lateral flexion.

I had him flex on his left, then flex left with me on his right and then had him flex from just the rope cue. He did great so I worked on his other side. His right side is his stiff side. I did a couple of flexes standing on his right side, then walked to his left. It took him a while to figure that out. I kept having to wave my hand to get his attention and then tickle (the cue). I think he was distracted because he could hear my husband in the feed shed. Once he flexed right with me on his left a couple of times I left it at that. I didn't want to add the rope cue until he seemed to understand what I was asking.

Lastly I worked on his back lifts and he actually did it for just my fingers! I didn't have to use anything. He was arching his back straight too, unlike yesterday when he was crooked. I had been having my husband click for me, but this time I did it by myself. I was a little uncoordinated, but that's okay. I also like that when I clicked he just stood still and looked back at me. He wasn't trying to face me or walk to me or anything. That's fantastic for when we start ground driving. :D

Then I worked with Zeppelin. I pet him on the face a little, but I didn't want to keep clicking him for something he already knows. I did my tiny steps until I was around by his side, pet his back, shoulder, ribs, withers, etc. He did so well! I'm glad he did just as well in the daylight. The poor dude has an injury by his eye though, like maybe from sticker bushes or something. It doesn't look too bad though his eye is tearing. :( I'll keep an eye on it and see if it looks okay tonight or if we need to try to do something to it. I'll keep everyone updated.

Evening Session: After work I decided to do some trailer work with Chrome. It took all of two minutes for him to walk all the way on. He stood in the trailer with all four feet all the way in for as long as I would shovel out the treats so I finally went out the front door and around the back. He backed out to me.

I had him go on again and back off. The third time he turned around in the trailer and flew out of it . . . oops. So the fourth and last time I stayed in the trailer with him and asked him to back out of it. That worked much better. :) I guess now I just have to work on duration.

With Zeppelin I pet him all over his left side and on his chest. For right now I'm leaving his legs, belly and haunches alone. He even lets me lean over his back to rub the other side and seems totally fine with it. Then I decided to try to go to his right side, but no matter what I did (slowly walking around, backing around, holding his head still so I could go around) nothing worked. I finally gave up because he was getting nervous. I think next time I'll have to switch the clicker and treats to the other hand and just work inch by inch to get around to the other side. To end the session on a good note I went back to his left side and was petting his other side. Then I waved my hand around on his right side to help him get used to the movement. He was fine. I'm so baffled by donkey logic. I'm proud of his progress so far though because he even leaned his body against me today. :D Good Zeppelin!


  1. That is the best shot of a horse's mouth without the help of a metal pry bar I've ever seen. I shivered inside my house all day and was too cold to even muck stalls.

  2. Wow--one is loading and the other is letting you pet him. I can't believe how fast the training is going for both of them. Working twice a day probably helps a lot. You sure are motivated!


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