Sunday, November 13, 2011

bitless flexions

I've been teaching Chapiro the rein actions for some time now and almost gave up when I went to Di's and felt Rem's mouth in a bit! I want the same feel bitless of the neck yielding and the mouth being mobile but Chapsi is a stresshead and keeping it all mobile has proved diffeicult. The last couple of days we've had a bit of a breakthrough and the boy has been chewing and swallowing during the flexion work. Next will be to try and transfer it to ridden. It's still not the finished product but here's the video from yesterday.

Monday, November 7, 2011

redeemed myself

Only in the tech sense! I somehow saved my video of Saturday with Chapiro, not sure how but I'm glad I have a comparison because today he was definitely a step on. I've edited the two vids together and it's pretty self explanatory, nothing smart or clever just reinforcing for him staying at my side, not rushing ahead and stopping when I stop. Very pleased with him today and so tomorrow I think we'll swap from a shaping session to a free shaping session where he can decide what we do...not exactly that he can put me where he wants but more that I'll listen to what game he prefers to play; usually he loves free shaping so we'll see how it goes.
I still have them living out without rugs, they are coming in for a few hours to munch hay and work. They don't appear to be starving when they come in and in fact today the pone didn't really want to come in. I took the other two and then went back for him and rode him up the hill to save my legs...perhaps next time he'll think more carefully about being caught! They all look pretty good so far and we have rug options lined up should they be necessary.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A tale of two horses

November has traditionally been my least favourite month. Grey skies, wind blowing rain horizontally and the diminishing daylight hours are hardly conducive to horse training happiness. Last year the boys were turned away until christmas but this year during the same period I'm going to concentrate on the basic groundwork and really cement the liberty work. I will still ride when the weather suits but it will ease the pressure if I already have my head lined up for groundwork.

With this in mind, yesterday I had a session with each at liberty to re-draw the line and see exactly where we are. Now I was hoping to have video to back up the words but I only have  Moralejo's work on video, owing entirely to my ineptitude with movie maker and having somewhow wiped the footage of Chapiro!

During last week a FB friend kindly sent me a profile chart and I filled it in for both the boys,
unsurprisingly both came out as full on extroverts (bags of energy and forward types) but one being dominant and the other being submissive makes them rather different beasts. I'm going to be very mindful of this as we progress and IF I had both vids you would see instantly what I mean about different. Chapiro won't wait, doesn't want to stay at my side because usually it's HIM who decides where the boys in the field go, HE who stops where and when he wants. My way round this is, as usual, with the clicker. To begin with I'm just reinforcing his being at my side but not in my space, if we manage two strides of walk like this I click, if he romps off at his own pace without me then I turn and take a step away and wait for him to come back to 'position' and then click before walking on again. Yesterday two strides was a big ask but today he was already sussing the game and we managed the occasional ten strides before losing it. I will video asap so that I have a record.

Moo is of course stuck to me like glue! He NEEDS me because he is used to being TOLD where to go and can't really make decisions on his own. Again we used the clicker to focus on keeping him out of my space (ideally he would actually like to be touching me throughout) and slightly more ahead than he wants to be. We played again today and he had definitely got the idea (he is certainly one that does well when he's slept on it).

My thoughts from both sessions are...keep it short, keep the building blocks tiny at this stage and play around with variable reinforcers (ie not necessarily rewarding every try, that's not to say clicking without treating but not clicking each try) I know that this really focusses Moo's attention to detail but I'm not sure yet with Chapiro.