Originally Posted by Gidget
well the only trick I actually taught he was to stretch at different angles on command.This has taught her to become more supple and has helped greatly with her flexing while riding.
I will work on the pedestal trick first...fetch would be a cool trick but how do I go about that?
I have taught how to stay and come when I tell her to "stay" and to "come" with hand signals involved. I also tell her to whoa/ho when riding but if we are doing ground work and I want her to stay I tell her to stay while I go get something as long as she is in my eye sight that is.
Those are some great behaviors, but none of them sound like prop behaviors.
It sounds like Gidget is a really quick learner and enjoys learning new things!
I read about horses learning to fetch/retrieve while reading these books for a training project in college: "You Can Train Your Horse to Do Anything" by Shawna Karrasch Shawna Karrasch and On Target Training | Positive Reinforcement Clicker Training | Horse Training
and "Clicker Training for Your Horse" by Alexandra Kurland http://www.amazon
.com/Clicker-Training-Horse-Karen-Pryor/dp/1890948039. By the way, you do not have to use a clicker to do "clicker training" if you do not want to. Clicker training is simply positive reinforcement training with a clicker being used as the "marker." The "marker" just lets the animal know that whatever behavior they did in that exact second was the behavior that they are receiving a treat for. A clicker is very precise, but any marker can be used instead (as long as you are quick). I use a clicker when training my birds because they are super fast, performing many behaviors/movements in quick succession, and I need to be very precise as to what behavior I am reinforcing. I use a verbal "Yes!" with my dogs because a clicker can be cumbersome working with a larger animal when I am moving around rather than just sitting by a desk or perch to train. I have used either a clicker or a verbal "Yes!" with target-training different horses and both have worked.
I also found this: "How to Clicker Train a Horse to Fetch" How to Clicker Train a Horse to Fetch | eHow.com
It's a pretty good general outline, but I would change a couple things. First I would recommend teaching the horse to target first (this can be your first prop behavior; it is easy, and can be used to get to many other tricks). On step 7, I would not "take" the item from the horse... I would just hold my hand directly under the item so that the horse would be guaranteed to drop the item into my hand. On step 8, I think a more gradual approach would be better. They go straight from the horse picking up the item and dropping it into the trainer's strategically placed hands to making the horse turn and walk several steps with the item, yikes! I would break it down further... So, once the horse is picking up the item and placing it into the trainer's strategically placed hands consistently, start moving the hands an inch or two out from under the item so that the horse must pick up the item and move her head ever-so-slightly to place the item into the trainer's hands. If the horse simply drops the item on the ground, then they have not learned that part of the trick is the item landing in the trainer's hands. If that is the case, then move the hands just half an inch out of the way so that the falling item will sometimes bump (and sometimes not bump) the trainer's hands. The horse should notice that proximity of the hands is important. Once the horse makes an effort to drop the item near the hands, they can be shaped to drop the item into the hands (selective reinforcement for drops that are progressively more "into" the hands). Then start adding distance, but only inches at a time at first. Only once the horse clearly understand that the object must be placed into the trainer's hands can distance be quickly added, or turns be thrown in.
I hope some of that was helpful. I have not trained a horse to fetch, but my bird is a little fetching machine... and the general principles should be largely the same or at least similar. :)
(ETA: target, pedestal, and fetch would be 3 prop behaviors)