Thursday, August 19, 2010

clicker training mat work

I've been putting this off for a few days but I'm just going to have to get on and write it. It was not the time for the camcorder to die on me, so I can't even back up my words with video. It's quite likely that none of this will make any sense (probably not even to me) but I feel I need to record this progress as I'm quite excited about it.

A short while ago someone on the Enlightened Equitation forum was discussing mat work for expanding the clicker training work. Apparently it is something that Alexandra Kurland (one of the top CT trainers) has introduced to her British students and so I've been giving it a go with Chapiro this last week.
The work starts with getting your horse to approach a small mat (think car floor mat). The advice was to form a funnel of cones that arrive at the mat, this way your job is slightly easier (allegedly) in the beginning stages. Typically Chapiro thought the cones were target practice on the first run and took great pleasure in obliterating my funnel. It didn't take too long for him to work out mat = lots of treats and so he was pretty obliging.
OK I wrote that a couple of days ago, before I thought of doing a short video on my stills camera. So yesterday we worked in the yard (it was persisting down) and that in itself was a challenge, LOL, he doesn't usually get to snoop around the place at liberty so his attention wasn't great. Anyway, what follows is a short, goofy video but it gives an idea of where we are and how much we have to do (lots as always). More tomorrow on how this work will progress.


Di said...

Looks pretty focussed to me. Well done. Like the music too.

Mary H. said...

Very nice!

Looks like he is really starting to get the hang of it.

Just found your blog, I am also a clicker trainer. It looks like we have a lot of similar ideas.

I've not tried mat work with any of mine yet, but have been thinking about it.

From what I hear, it is more challenging for some horses than others.

My friend Jane had a pony last winter that she discovered was cueing off of her body position and totally ignoring the mat! (she wrote about it here, you might find it interesting:

Aren't horses smart, though?

Are you familiar with the 6 foundation lessons Alexandra Kurland teaches? (targeting, backing, mat work, ears forward, head down, grown-ups are talking / don't mug for treats).
She teaches each of the 6 lessons separately, then starts combining them in what she calls loopy training. Here's more about loopy training on my blog, if you're interested (it's pretty cool!)


Mary Hunter

trudi said...

Thanks Mary, your input is appreciated. I am familiar with AK's work but only through third parties who (like you) have generously allowed access to clinic notes. I have also read Alex's forum posts (the ones that go on forever, LOL) as she allows them to be posted on the EE forum. I use similar things that I first adapted from what I knew (very little) of dog training with clicker but I love all Alex's names for things :-)