Hooking on?

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Hooking on?

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    03-12-2014, 10:26 PM
Hooking on?

I'd like some advice on how to work on teaching the mare I lease to hook onto me.

When I was at the barn on Tuesday I had extra time after my ride so I unsaddled her and put her halter on and walked/trotted her in hand, then tied the lead rope around her neck and managed to get her to do the same thing! She would follow me at a respectful distance at a walk, and would pick up a trot when I started jogging (with a little bit of vocal encouragement). She stopped behind me when I stopped, and I noticed afterwards even in the barn she was keeping an eye on me and paying attention.

I know that that's not complete hooking on or anything, but I thought it was really neat and I think she enjoyed it as it's something new to her and it breaks the ordinary riding and sleigh-pulling. So I want to keep working on it and get her to legitimately hook on, and be able to send her off and everything!

What exactly should I do to accomplish that? Any tips and pointers would be much appreciated :)
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    03-13-2014, 01:25 PM
Sounds to me like you have accomplished your goal.
loosie and Alexandra V like this.
    03-13-2014, 03:05 PM
You got to the goal without all the rigmarole of round penning. The next challenge is to see if when you ask her to move away from you, does she just leave, or does she move away a few steps then stop (because you stop the pressure) , turn and look back to and even walk back with you if you start walking off sideways, for example. That would be kind of testing the strength of your draw on her.
Alexandra V likes this.
    03-13-2014, 04:03 PM
Super Moderator
I think you've already made a good start and proved that it can be done - and has been done - without the need for a round pen
If anything I think what's happened with you is better because the horse made a completely willing decision to want to be with you and watch your body language and take direction from that
You can spend a little time each day building on it, decide on the cues you want to use and build from there
Just be sure not to reach a boredom level where she finds it has no interest any more - which means you getting inventive if you want to increase what you do with her on this sort of groundwork thing
loosie and Alexandra V like this.
    03-14-2014, 11:46 PM
Good job! Remember there are many different recipes for a chocolate cake! You're obviously doing some things right. You just need to keep reinforcing the 'good' stuff. While IMO negative reinforcement(removal of pressure) is invaluable to training, I also think positive reinforcement(reward; scratchie, treat, etc) is incredibly valuable, on a number of levels.
Alexandra V and DanielDauphin like this.
    03-17-2014, 01:24 AM
Thanks for the words of encouragement everyone! I really am happy with what we've accomplished in one session and I think she has a good head and temperament for this kind of thing.

So I guess now my next question is how would I work on sending her out of my space? What do people usually do? I'm not going to lie I kind of stumbled into getting her to hook on, I didn't have a game plan or anything - it just sort of happened.
DanielDauphin likes this.
    03-17-2014, 04:15 AM
Originally Posted by Alexandra V    
I'm not going to lie I kind of stumbled into getting her to hook on, I didn't have a game plan or anything - it just sort of happened.
Often does 'just happen', if you have a reasonable 'feel'. My pony isn't the only one by far who is 'hooked on' to my kids without them even knowing what it means. Often doesn't even(especially?) work when people are trying really hard & following a bunch of instructions!

I teach a horse to yield to direct(fingertip or such) and indirect(finger or whip pointed, bodylanguage) pressure in a variety of ways. They learn to move away from the pressure when it's 'on' but not to keep trying to 'escape' when it's off. 'Free lunging' etc is just doing that at a distance with no strings attached.

So... very basically, if a horse is facing me & I want to 'send' her, I'd point out in the direction I want & direct a bit of pressure at her inside(what I want to be the inside) shoulder to get her to turn away. Then I direct a bit of pressure out behind her if I want her to go/speed up. To slow down, stop or backup, the cue is pressure out in front & the cue to face me is pressure directed at the hind quarters to get them to turn away.

It's easier to start out - especially if you don't use any positive reinforcement - in a small paddock, large pen or on line, to have more control, to block or make 'wrong' behaviour less likely & reinforce 'right' behaviour more. Once it's going well like that, you can 'up the ante' & try it without strings & in different environments.
Alexandra V likes this.
    03-17-2014, 06:26 AM
Great, thanks a lot for the awesome advice loosie!
    03-17-2014, 10:50 AM
I have never heard this term before: is it the same as "joining up"?
    03-17-2014, 05:21 PM
Originally Posted by Zexious    
I have never heard this term before: is it the same as "joining up"?
As far as I can tell it's basically the same thing, yeah!

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