Sunday, June 26, 2016

26th June, 2016 Sunday Trading

It's a fortunate cow that gets a lie in on a Sunday. Eager to keep up with Honey and Iona's training, Sandra and I agreed to work with them today. Nothing extraordinarily new but some nice forward progress literally and metaphorically. Both horses have some clicker training running alongside the gentlest of negative reinforcement - the squeeze of the leg, a light pressure on a lead rein and so on.

Although I don't believe that horses generally understand voice commands, those trained with clicker tend to become very attuned to the voice and so the rider and handler have to be fairly strict and clear about which word cues they are going to use for what - all too easy to train a horse to come to a grinding halt with the words "Good Girl" so whilst "Walk on" would seem to be common sense, "stand" can be too easily associated with any other word ending in "and" and mean that you could come to a violent halt when riding with a companion and talking about the brand new band you saw on the stand and the sand on the land at the strand. Intonation helps!

Having watched the earlier session very carefully, it was Honey's turn next. She is a few stages behind Iona having waited for a suitable saddle, and continues to make progress too. She's a different character and is sometimes ambivalent about accepting direction from the handler.

Although seemingly submissive, a word I struggle with anyway, the pinned ears suggest to me that she is in two minds about whether she should be accepting direction.