Last post Di asked how to train the spanish walk so here goes!
I'm not a great trick fan and I know that lots of folks think of jambette and spanish walk as tricks but for me they are an extension of movements that horses can be seen to perform naturally. Chapiro most definitely raises a fore leg and quivers it at Manolo, his neighbour, if he dares to get too close to the fence. I think it also helps create more lift in the foreleg in preparation for passage (which we are some way off, lol) certainly in Chapiro's case I'm hoping it will help make him more mobile in his shoulders.
This is a brief resumé of how the jambette can be started ;
*cue a leg raise in-hand
this will be different for each horse, a sensitive horse like Chapiro just needs a hint of a touch on any part of his leg to get a response, less sensitive horses may need some help with a hand to lift the leg at the same time as giving the touch or verbal (or both) cue. Begin by rewarding the tiniest try, even a shift of weight and gradually encourage the full lift by both physical and verbal cues. Remember that at some point you may want to transfer this to ridden work and so it's vital that you have a cue that is able to be given from the saddle. In theory though you could use a touch of any part of the leg/shoulder in the early stages but for me the most obvious spot is the upper front of the foreleg.
You can also use mimicry as I did on day one with Chapiro. When he watched Moo getting clicks and treats just for raising his leg he thought he'd have some of that! Some folks (and I have tried this but my right hip argues too much, ouch) do the leg raise themselves to encourage the mimicry.
If you already have target touching in your trick bag then you can easily use the touch cue to get the leg to the target. I am using this as an improvement tool and so far it's working well.
*improve quality and duration
Once you have the leg lift on cue then it's down to refinement, this can (certainly did in Moo's case) take a long time and I would reckon it's well worth taking time on this and doing short sessions to keep the work really sweet. To improve the placing of the leg then the target is perfect, think of getting the upper forearm to touch the target, then progress to the knee and finally the fetlock or hoof. The same with duration, just keep the touch for a split second longer each time before rewarding and end on a good note, always without pushing it too fast.
*extinguish unwanted tries
This work can become so exciting to a horse that he will offer it at every opportunity and often when unasked, this is quite dangerous and so it's important to work on calmy ignoring these offered tries and unsurprisingly I use clicker for this too, a few minutes at the end of the early sessions may well be all it takes for some but as always all horses will be different.
*progression to spanish walk
I'll cover this as Chapiro works towards it but for now it's just important that he is able to raise a leg and then walk on so that we will be well prepared for spanish walk proper.
Hope this helps Di, any questions and input from others always welcome.
Here's our video's of the early work with Chapsi and some basic leg raising with Moo to illustrate my points.
We are currently continuing our 'homework' from the body worker with Chapiro so it's shoulder circles and jambette.