Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finally! We did some clicker training.

Sorry for two posts in one day, but I had to tell you all that I finally had a clicker session with Chrome. After looking in his training journal I keep I realized it's been two months since I got the clicker out with him!!! Sheesh.

I brushed him, then put on his surcingle and cavesson. I attached a pair of bright blue braided barrel reins to his cavesson that a friend gave me. They were a bit too short and aren't adjustable like English reins (no buckle). It worked okay though once I got coordinated. First I worked on lateral flexion with just the rein aids. I think this is the first time I've done it in the cavesson. Previously I've only done it in the rope halter. This was also the first time with reins. It took a minute of circling before he got it, but once he did he was going crazy with it. When he started anticipating me I started alternating both directions. I can't wait to work on this from his back. He's tall enough that it's very difficult from the ground lol.

Next I decided to work on shoulder yielding again. He remembered the right side that we've worked on before so I switched to the left side. This was our first time on that side. I was out in the open and at first he was either offering yielding toward me (the direction he knows) or walking off, so I moved him to the gate so he was blocked from forward motion. Again he offered yielding toward me, but I just kept my feet away from his hooves and kept the pressure consistent. He finally stepped to the right. He was crossing behind at first, but he did finally start crossing to the front. For right now I'm using the pressure where my knee will be eventually and also on his neck, just like I trained the other side. Eventually I'll drop the neck pressure. :)

My plan is to eventually have him moving his shoulders from pressure where my knee will be and move his hindquarters from pressure where my heel will be. Then it should transfer easily to the saddle. And I can do both to get a sidepass.

After that I took him to the road to work on rein cues to hopefully get him back to ground driving. When we last worked on ground driving he was bracing and wouldn't follow the rein so that's what we worked on, zigzagging across the road. It's very difficult to coordinate the aids from the ground, but he did eventually get it. I also had him turning a small circle to go the other direction without swinging his hindquarters into or away from me. He's so smart! It definitely needs some finesse work, but he's slowly getting it. After he gets the hang of that I'll put the driving reins through the surcingle and do it that way while walking next to him, then I'll drop back behind him. I'm optimistic that it will go better after this work.

Well, I have to go, just wanted to share what we're working on.

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