Thursday, January 15, 2015
Ride 98 - My horse is a genius and I have a GoPro!!!!
I got a late Christmas present. A GoPro!! Yay! So of course I had to go home and test it out... sadly I got out of work late and it was getting dark and I forgot to set it to low light mode so the pictures are blurry. I can't wait to try it out during the day. :D
It actually got over thirty degrees today so I was planning to ride anyway. Chrome was great (which is awesome considering he and Zep were being nutso right before I went out to get him)! I saddled up and just walked around for almost fifteen minutes and then I decided to work on having him yield his haunches to my leg in the other direction from last time.
I tried not to tilt his head too far to the left (about the 10 o'clock position) while asking him with my leg. I tried just pressing with my leg behind the girth and when that didn't get much of a response (it worked once then he ignored it) I started bumping my leg. He kept trying to walk forward or backward and was generally just confused. He was moving his haunches right, but he was also moving his shoulders left... so spinning kind of.
Finally he stepped his haunches over without moving his front legs so I told hubby to give him a piece of sugar (hubby was standing in front of us to block Chrome from going forward and he had snitched some of my sugar cubes....). Hubby gave him sugar while I praised him. Then I asked again............ Chrome stepped his haunches over immediately with a light leg cue!!!!!!!! Just to make sure it wasn't a fluke I asked two more times and he did it perfectly! You can so tell this horse was clicker trained. When he doesn't understand something we both end up frustrated. When he knows exactly what he did right he does it perfectly and catches on so quickly. I have to start using the clicker again (so he doesn't start mugging and because it works). I was amazed at how he immediately understood what he was supposed to be doing.
Before I asked hubby to give him the sugar I was releasing the reins for correct guesses, but I don't think I was consistent. Sometimes I wouldn't release quick enough and sometimes I would release the cues accidentally for a wrong response, so it's really understandable that he was confused. When he did it correctly and got a clear reward he finally understood what it was that I wanted. So it's not like he was holding out for treats (he didn't even know hubby had them) or anything like that. If I'd given a clear release and reward without treats I probably would have gotten the same response. Let's face it though, he's very food motivated so I definitely get faster results using clicker training. So yeah this totally has me convinced to start using the clicker again. It's something he understands and something we both enjoy. :D
I also forgot to mention that the sugar cubes are helping with bitting. I've posted a video before of how amazing he used to be to bridle, but after he banged his teeth a few times by accident he got very resistant to taking the bit. He was throwing his head in the air and backing away from me (there is nothing wrong with his teeth, but it hurts when you accidentally bang metal against your teeth). Now he's slowly getting back to how he was before with the help of sugar cubes. I'm giving him one cube before the bit, putting the bridle on and then giving him another one. Since he's being cooperative he's not banging his teeth anymore so hopefully with that and the positive association of sugar cubes we can get back to our awesome bridling that we used to do. :)
The ride was only fifteen minutes and .25 miles. I used Endomondo and although I looked at it when I dismounted I forgot to hit pause so I didn't bother taking a screenshot. I'm glad I at least looked at it hehe.