Chrome is awesome! It was getting dark when I fed the horses, but I wanted to do a short session anyway. Thank you Julie (Grayson's Mom) for encouraging me to get back out there. You were right, it took one session to get me hooked again. I've missed training.
Since it was going to be a short session I decided to just work on shoulder yields. First I reviewed the side he already knows and I got full quarter turns on the haunches! It won't be long before he's doing full reining type spins lol. I did it again after the session just to make sure it wasn't a fluke and he did it perfectly. :)
So on the new side I'm still using the pressure behind his shoulder and on his neck because he needs the support. I was on a hill (because his pasture mates wouldn't leave us alone) and that was making things more difficult, but he was figuring it out. I started to get frustrated because he kept moving his rear legs too, but then I realized it was poor timing on my part with the clicker causing the problem. I just need to get back into practice.
I definitely enjoy working at liberty better than in a halter because it forces me to give up control and to allow him to figure it out on his own. If I push him around and physically maneuver him into doing what I want he won't learn it like he will if he does it himself. It also teaches him to use his body himself.
He kept wanting to walk off again, but I just reminded myself to ignore it and let him figure it out. He only walked three steps before he stopped and stepped over. He's so smart. I have a feeling we're going to get confused when we get to the sidepass lol. He does a beautiful sidepass already (offering it himself, it's not on cue), but I'm worried he'll confuse the cues when I start teaching it. A good example is that I use cues in the exact same spot when asking for the shoulder yield and the lateral flex, but the yield is solid pressure and the flex is more of a tickle. I'm also facing his shoulder on the yield and facing forward on the flex. It will be okay though because forgetting cues and having to backtrack is just part of filling in the gaps. Similar cues will force him (and me!) to pay more attention to the cue and my body language. I love clicker training!
P.S. I almost forgot to mention at one point I was trying to get him positioned better on the hill and I did his 'come here' hand signal and he stepped his shoulders toward me!! He's so awesome! I can already see him getting more supple and maneuverable. The mare I grew up with only knew how to back and yield her hindquarters. She couldn't yield her shoulder or sidepass. She also felt very stiff and difficult to maneuver in small areas. :)