Thursday, July 14, 2016

14th July, 2016 Thorny Issues

A few weeks ago I taught Thorn, a Dartmoor Hill Pony to long rein. Although she did really well and seemed to like it, she had been anxious about it to begin with - worrying about the sensation of two reins and someone passing through her blind spot behind. No such problems today, and she long reined like an old hand, finishing on trotting circles and a figure of eight. Just to be on the safe side we had gone through the preparation exercises before we began and set her off with a dual control.

She has an interesting default position when she sees the vet. She stands on her hind legs. We used classical conditioning to create an association between being touched by a mock syringe (actually a white toothbrush today) and a clickered reward. The three click system makes it more likely that she will stand still patiently. She looks far more relaxed after just a short while.

Owners Wendy and David turned up this afternoon to join in with Zoe and Zelda's training. David drove the Tramper even though his preferred form of transport is a Harley Davidson!