Sunday, September 1, 2013

1st September, 2013 Old and New

Since making a definite decision to add more clicker into Theoden's life there has been a definite shift in his attitude and willingness to do things - particularly in the school and solo. I have mainly been concentrating on rewarding those things he already knew how to do such as accepting the bit but noting the difference it makes. Now he opens his mouth to take the bit into his mouth rather than me having to gently push a finger into the side of his mouth to ask him to open it. Here's a list of the things that he is getting clicked and treated for and a brief note of the difference.

Coming up to be caught - much more interested
Standing by the barn to be tacked up - stands loose eating his hay rather than having to be tied up
Stands still at the barn of his own volition even when Petra is in another field - doesn't feel anxious any more
Open his mouth to take the bit - instead of being slightly resistant
Comes up to and manoeuvres himself into place by the mounting block without any pressure on the reins
Stands still at the mounting block and after being mounted - he has done this for a while but then I started clickering him for this specifically about a year ago
Halts softly to the word 'and' and the right seat/ mental cues - improvement on what was pretty good before
Backs up softly and willingly - did this before but now even better
Turns on the forehand - much more willing and engaged in trying to work out what is wanted.
Lateral move of the shoulder - hadn't done this before
Side passing along a pole - beginnings of well established - hadn't done this before without getting into a pickle
Riding into the pen (as if to leave the fields and go solo) - willing to engage and try even though this is an area he has always worried about before because it is dark and leaves scrape on the roof of the barn
Opening the gate and really thinking about the positions needed - could do this before but now really working on the best angle to be at and also working well away from Petra

Would I rely on clicker training solely?- I have to say not and in the eyes of some clicker training purists this means that I am not a clicker trainer. I am using clicker with the lightest of aids that I can but I am working with a horse with boundaries already installed and, for example, if he pulled through the bit or made to leave, I would put the amount of pressure on the bit that was required to stop him.