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Clicker Training: Challenge Accepted

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        03-24-2013, 10:38 PM
      #101
    Yearling
    I just got back from a little arena work and a short trail ride. My mare was so soft and willing! She saddled up perfectly (used to be soo cinchy). She walks at liberty to the arena, targeting my hand, then walks over to the mounting block and poses there waiting. She W/T/C on cue in 1 stride, neck reins well( except when she tries to anticipate once or twice) and stretches out for warm up. She yields full circle right and left, front and hind. And collects up. I can't believe how far she has come! CT has improved her attitude toward work immensely. I want to work on spins and rollbacks now, getting some speed in her responsiveness. I also want to move up to a curb bit so I can make my cues smaller.
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        03-26-2013, 10:35 AM
      #102
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tiffanyodonnell    
    I just got back from a little arena work and a short trail ride. My mare was so soft and willing! She saddled up perfectly (used to be soo cinchy). She walks at liberty to the arena, targeting my hand, then walks over to the mounting block and poses there waiting. She W/T/C on cue in 1 stride, neck reins well( except when she tries to anticipate once or twice) and stretches out for warm up. She yields full circle right and left, front and hind. And collects up. I can't believe how far she has come! CT has improved her attitude toward work immensely. I want to work on spins and rollbacks now, getting some speed in her responsiveness. I also want to move up to a curb bit so I can make my cues smaller.
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    Sound like things are going great!!

    How do you get them to target hands without becoming mouthy? I've always avoided that outside of one mini I work with who was terrified of hands I had her target it so it was her choice to come to the hand - she never became mouthy. But what do you do to prevent it in typically mouthy horses?
    Sounds like your circles and all are coming along great! Do you teach your skills on the ground first then bring them into saddle?
         
        03-26-2013, 10:37 AM
      #103
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rookie    
    well, once the blasted snow goes bye bye and I get some (and by some I mean any) free time I am planning to clicker my boy and my mare to stand while I use road flares. They are a safe enough, and visible emergency signal that does nothing for me if the instant I set one off the horse hauls butt back home.

    Other than that, I was impressed when after a few months off. I went out to vaccinate my clicker trained boy. He was mid nap, so once I put the lead on him I had to convince him that he really did need to stand up. Then he got his vaccines and did not move a muscle. He then marched over the fence when I walked past after all was said and done, just to say hi. Its just nice to know that this horse associates me with pleasant things. My mare, his half sister, was a living nightmare, bucking and cow kicking. So, back to the drawing board for her.
    Tell me about it - I'm SO sick of snow! Glad to hear some of the CT work is sticking :P
         
        03-26-2013, 10:54 AM
      #104
    Super Moderator
    Subbing because I've used a sort of clicker training forever and can see how it could have all sorts of potential
    Very interesting so far
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        03-26-2013, 10:57 AM
      #105
    Started
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jaydee    
    Subbing because I've used a sort of clicker training forever and can see how it could have all sorts of potential
    Very interesting so far
    What sort have you done? How do you do it differently?
         
        03-27-2013, 01:51 PM
      #106
    Yearling
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PunksTank    
    Sound like things are going great!!

    How do you get them to target hands without becoming mouthy? I've always avoided that outside of one mini I work with who was terrified of hands I had her target it so it was her choice to come to the hand - she never became mouthy. But what do you do to prevent it in typically mouthy horses?
    Sounds like your circles and all are coming along great! Do you teach your skills on the ground first then bring them into saddle?
    For hand targeting, I use a fist and never hold the reward in that hand. I walk with them following and click & stop randomly. Then I reach in and treat with the other hand. I am a stickler about manners. If they lip or mouth my hand, or inhale my fingers, my hand flips over to a fist.

    And yes, I taught all the yielding on the ground before we tried it in saddle. I just wish I could get more speed in her response. How do you go from a slow spin to a fast one? It's one move that I can't preteach on the ground. I think I just need to jackpot her when she does it quickly. That's how I got her backup to be speedier. I just need her to be a little speedier once or twice and shape that.

    On a fun note, I've taught April to snort and nod her head! I was just playing around with it while I brush her and now she does it. I need to put a cue to it. Then I can ask her a question and get a YES answer!

    What are you working on Punks? How is your mare coming along?
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        03-27-2013, 02:02 PM
      #107
    Yearling
    Oh, there's one more cool thing I want to add. Monday I fed everyone and went into the tack room to get my saddle out for repairs. They were loose in the alley of the barn and their field while I did this. My girls saw the saddle come out and got interested. They nickered and followed me as I carried it to the ATV, then followed me down the road to the house about 30 yards. Usually, they stay with their hay. It seemed like they wanted to work, and even left their feed for the possibility of work. I could be wrong. But these are the same two who were work/buddy/barn sour when I started CT, were hard to catch, bridle saddle and even groom.
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        03-27-2013, 02:25 PM
      #108
    Started
    That is awesome Tiffany!!
    As for speed, I've never taught a spin so I don't know - but when I wanted to teach my mare to trot beside me I used the target and upped my energy. I got super energetic and jogged next to her holding her target out ahead. It wasn't hard to get her to pick up the speed (even my fat lazy lady!). I jackpotted when she trotted well, and just regular treat if she lazy jogged. So maybe just increasing your own personal energy - like "Yes! We got this - lets go!!" sort of feeling

    I love that feeling, when they come right up excited to work! My mare comes running when I grab her bridle I love that!! Even at liberty she lets me put on her surcingle and everything before the bridle - I love that.


    I'm working on a little on a lot! :P
    My mare is learning to walk calmly down the aisle of my barn, wait before the door for me to go through first and calmly exit. She's also learning about my 'scary' tack room and walking by it calmly. We're just using her target. She's also working on targetting what I point at so I don't need to rely on her target.
    My pony and Belgian I haven't done much with at all - just no time.

    At the rescue I just yesterday started CT work with our colt, he was just weaned 2 days ago and just got a halter put on for the first time (we just got him and his very sick mom a few weeks ago). He's picking up CT fast! He's touching my target very well :) Once I get a halter that's a little stronger (he's in my mini's halter) we're going to practice putting it on and off and learn to give to pressure on the halter :)

    My mini I finally found a treat that works for her! It hurts her mouth very much to eat (her teeth are too big for her face) the vet is working on removing a few at a time but she'll never be able to eat solid food. She also has Cushing's so molasses and all isn't an option >.< So I'm using sugar-free apple sauce! She loves it! It doesn't hurt her to eat it and she's very motivated. She is now touching and following her target all over.

    The flighty Arabian I'm working with at the rescue is learning to target what I point at too and learning to target things that are scary too.


    Does anyone have good suggestions on things to work on with horses who are exceptionally flighty? Stuff to help horses cope when they spook easily?
         
        03-27-2013, 09:21 PM
      #109
    Started
    So I'm feeling revitalized with CT again and eager to do more! I keep thinking of things to teach my horses, but when I have the pocket full of treats I can never decide which to teach now. So I've made myself a game plan with my mare.

    I want to try working with a neck strap - eventually to ride with only that. I've just recently backed my mare, she's been nothing but wonderful, she walks and turns and stops and backs up, sometimes if my energy is up I can get some trots out of her too :P but we're really just working on fine tuning things before moving on to that.
    So I figure now's as good a time as any to teach her about neck straps xD As it's dark out and she was in her stall I just tied a set of rope reins around her neck (pretty loose) and tried neck reining her left (me on the ground). With CT in about 5 minutes she was giving me a consistent left head turn, in 3 more she was stepping over with her front end. I'm very proud of her!
    Tomorrow we're going to work on turning right, and maybe stopping/backing up with it. Then I'll try hopping on once those are solid :)
    I feel very safe riding her like that - she just stops when she doesn't know what to do - so I have no concern about any of that.

    So I'll keep everyone posted!!
         
        04-17-2013, 11:48 PM
      #110
    Yearling
    Update

    Hey all! I've been MIA for a while (sorry!) but for a good reason! I was offered a position for my dream job and have been diligently working to sell my home, get moved, and get ready for this fall when My position starts.

    In all this, I sold my endurance horse and have been focusing on my baby that I've been doing clicker training with. First, we did quite a bit of desensitization and ground work just to get him confident and consistent working with me. I really want to train him for reining, and he showed some potential last fall for moving off of leg/rein pressure the last few times I rode him, but I never truly worked on it with him. Since we've been working together and I trust him more, I decided to give it a shot starting straight from working with a cordeo (neck rope).

    I've kept Punks Tank's advice in mind and kept our working periods short. One good way I've found to limit myself is only to carry just enough treats in my bag - it reminds me to quit while I'm ahead since I only have so many treats to work with! Of course, I don't carry so few that I run out before I get him to a successful stopping point. However, this has kept our sessions under 5 minutes. In addition, I've been working with him in his own pen (about 1/4-1/2 acre), where I've found he's much more relaxed and focused, especially at liberty. He's the only one in there, and when I give him a break, it's truly a break. I don't think he got the same sort of mental release when I gave him a break but left him in the arena/round pen.

    We worked a lot on "woah" from the ground, first with lead rope, and then working at liberty. We did this with both leading from the front, then walking in a circle around me, but I found that driving him from behind and then stopping when I said "woah" communicated what I wanted best and allowed him to make the connection between the word and stopping. Once I felt like he would stop if I needed to, I got on. I want to be very precise and clear about my leg/seat cues, so for that and a few other reasons we worked bareback. For the next few days, we worked in a halter. Since he's respectful on the ground with a halter, it translated straight to riding in a halter and getting control if I needed it. More importantly, though, it allowed me to give him a "hint" for what I wanted him to do, which is good since he's young and sometimes gets a little over-zealous when he can't figure out what he's supposed to do, usually ending up in some frustrated 3-year-old hops (NOT good when riding bareback on a ROUND horse!). I continued what we'd been working on before, pairing my seat cue (squeezing with my thighs and sitting deeper) with "woah". If he didn't stop immediately, then I lifted up on my "reins" (aka my lead rope tied onto his halter), and that got him to stop. Within no time, he was stopping with the "woah" and began to connect the seat cue with "woah" and stopping without any help from the reins.

    So next was turns. He'd had some practice moving off my leg last fall, but wasn't consistent in turning the right direction or at all without help from the reins. Now, however, after pairing my leg cue with a rein cue (always neck reining before giving a direct rein) a few times in the halter and clicking and treating, he was responding correctly a little more than half the time. I experimented with having a second lead rope around his neck and using that to cue first, and found he'd made such a good connection after being rewarded for correct responses that I wasn't even touching the reins attached to his halter.

    So, this was all last week. Sunday, I made myself a cordeo (neck rope), and it's all I've ridden in. I've been out there almost nightly, riding for just 5-10 minutes until he shows some consistently correct responses to walking off, turning both directions, and stopping with a squeeze and soft "woah", and then giving him his "jackpot". In addition, I feed for my boarder in the evenings, so when he's done, he knows he's done well because I go and get dinner for him :) Each night, he's done even better than before. I've been clicking and treating after he does something particularly well, or if he seems a little uncertain but figures out the correct response. Today, I was able to do 2-3 things (like a turn, walking straight for a while, and stopping) before clicking and treating. I'm going to keep extending that time now so that I can build up to riding for a while before clicking and treating. He generally knows the correct things to do now, but he's still building confidence that he's responding correctly. I'm so proud of him! He's turning off of only leg/neck rope pressure and stopping without any pressure at all - just a seat cue and soft "woah". Sometimes, he stops with just the seat cue! I'll have to get my hubby out to videotape it one of these times. :) SO EXCITED to be riding and training my horse with just a neck rope and my clicker!
    Skyseternalangel likes this.
         

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