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.