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Chevylover96 02-25-2013 09:49 PM

Clicker training?
 
I wasn't sure if I should put this under health or training, but oh well, maybe you guys will have health answers too! So a 16.3 hh, 3 year old standardbred I bought in December has been having a few issues. I bought her for $500, as a project, I knew there would be a few issues. Training has gone perfectly, she is green broke, mounted after a week of groundwork, and can now w/t and sometimes canter under saddle. Unfortunately she has come up sore. NOT lame, but sore. So I'm giving her a good month off to gain weight (she's quite thin), and relax. She needs her teeth floated, and we will do that when the vet can come out, but unfortunately we can't afford a chiropractor or vet for her back until April. So she's going to have no work until we can get her all sorted out for sure. My trainer and I are 99% sure it's her back, as her legs are fine and she has nice solid, barefoot hooves that were trimmed not long ago. Anyway it could be because of an ill fitting saddle, so I am going go get a fitter out in April too. Anyway she already know a few tricks (kiss, smile and lift her leg when tapped and asked) the leg will turn into Spanish walk eventually. But I'm thinking of teaching her with the clicker to fetch, kick a ball, say yes and no, hug, lay down (this one will be easy since she loves rolling). Any other tricks? What else can I do with her? She seems fine to lunge, I will most likely be doing that once a week , depending on how she feels, what else should I do with her? I might do some showmanship in the mean time since she is sound to w/t in hand for sure! Anything else you guys would do? What do you guys do if your horse turns up lame or sore for a while? Thank you!
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palogal 02-25-2013 09:54 PM

I think I would avoid the laying down, bowing type stuff if she's already sore. I don't do clicker training myself, but I've watched people that do, it's pretty neat.

loosie 02-26-2013 05:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chevylover96 (Post 1911998)
mounted after a week of groundwork, and can now w/t and sometimes canter under saddle. Unfortunately she has come up sore.

If she's only 3yo I would be doing very little riding on her, no trotting or cantering yet, for at least another couple of years at least. A horse's vertebral growth plates don't 'close' until around 6yo at least.

Quote:

Anyway it could be because of an ill fitting saddle, so I am going go get a fitter out in April too.
Yes, if you're going to do any riding in a saddle & you're not sure, definitely good to get a *good* saddle fitter to fit her, or get the chiro to evaluate her saddle when they're out. But remember she's only 3yo & still growing, so no matter how great a saddle fit you may get now, you'll have to check/adjust it frequently - every couple of months I suggest.

Quote:

Anyway she already know a few tricks (kiss, smile and lift her leg when tapped and asked) the leg will turn into Spanish walk eventually. But I'm thinking of teaching her with the clicker to fetch, kick a ball, say yes and no, hug, lay down (this one will be easy since she loves rolling). Any other tricks?
Your imagination's the limit! Just keep safety in mind - hers too, in what/how you teach. If she lays down/rolls over by herself, I'd say teaching her to do it on cue wouldn't likely be bad for her back, but if she doesn't do it of her own accord, I second that it may be an indication you shouldn't ask for this until her back's better.

Quote:

She seems fine to lunge, I will most likely be doing that once a week
Lunging is an exercise that is quite hard on joints, especially of immature, unfit beasties. Of course, it depends how you do it, but I would consider that carefully & not overdo it. Little & often is far better than big sessions too, especially if you can only do it once a week.

Chevylover96 02-26-2013 07:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by loosie (Post 1912582)
If she's only 3yo I would be doing very little riding on her, no trotting or cantering yet, for at least another couple of years at least. A horse's vertebral growth plates don't 'close' until around 6yo at least.



Yes, if you're going to do any riding in a saddle & you're not sure, definitely good to get a *good* saddle fitter to fit her, or get the chiro to evaluate her saddle when they're out. But remember she's only 3yo & still growing, so no matter how great a saddle fit you may get now, you'll have to check/adjust it frequently - every couple of months I suggest.



Your imagination's the limit! Just keep safety in mind - hers too, in what/how you teach. If she lays down/rolls over by herself, I'd say teaching her to do it on cue wouldn't likely be bad for her back, but if she doesn't do it of her own accord, I second that it may be an indication you shouldn't ask for this until her back's better.



Lunging is an exercise that is quite hard on joints, especially of immature, unfit beasties. Of course, it depends how you do it, but I would consider that carefully & not overdo it. Little & often is far better than big sessions too, especially if you can only do it once a week.

I will be there everyday anyway, I can lunge whenever, far more than once a week if I wanted to, but since I'm letting her go on break I'd like to do as little work as possible! I don't push her on the lunge line, usually less than 20 minutes, and I kinda see what her mood is like, if she's hyper and wants to run I let her, if not i usually do lots of w/t transitions. So it's not too much work. Would you suggest more lunging even with a sore back? Since its her back and not her legs I'm not sure what she'd be fine to do! My lease horse last year was lame a lot, but in his hind leg, so it was a different story! She definitely lays down and rolls daily on her own, so that's how I'm going to teach her! For my lease horse a while back (a different one) I taught him lay down by asking his head to go down, give him a treat, then he had to keep it down longer, then make some sort of movement to indicate that he was going to lay down (dog, circle), with in a few days he was laying down when told! Hopefully my baby will love that trick as much as he did! :)
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shawnakarrasch 02-26-2013 03:18 PM

Hi Chevylover96,

I am assuming that you are already familiar with positive reinforcement/clicker training. If this is relatively new to you I want to remind you how important it is to get off to the correct start. The initial exercises will ensure good manners and helping her to really enjoy the learning process.

I suggest teaching her to got to and hold on a stationary target, to stay, to lift her feet, to spin (turn in a circle, not a reining spin), back up and even to stretch. One caveat on the stretching...it needs to be relaxed and slow.

I had a horse with a tender back and the stretching made a big difference in him. I taught him to allow me to hold his foot extended out in front. I would bridge (click) for relaxation. Pretty soon he would take over and he'd sink into a full stretch.

Those are some of my ideas. I hope they help out!

Chevylover96 02-26-2013 07:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by shawnakarrasch (Post 1913053)
Hi Chevylover96,

I am assuming that you are already familiar with positive reinforcement/clicker training. If this is relatively new to you I want to remind you how important it is to get off to the correct start. The initial exercises will ensure good manners and helping her to really enjoy the learning process.

I suggest teaching her to got to and hold on a stationary target, to stay, to lift her feet, to spin (turn in a circle, not a reining spin), back up and even to stretch. One caveat on the stretching...it needs to be relaxed and slow.

I had a horse with a tender back and the stretching made a big difference in him. I taught him to allow me to hold his foot extended out in front. I would bridge (click) for relaxation. Pretty soon he would take over and he'd sink into a full stretch.

Those are some of my ideas. I hope they help out!

I've been doing stretches with her, not a noticeable difference yet, only been 2 days! But how did you teach your horse to hold his hoof out on his own? Would it be the same as Spanish walk kind of, but encourage them to hold it longer? Help appreciated! :)
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shawnakarrasch 02-26-2013 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chevylover96 (Post 1913466)
But how did you teach your horse to hold his hoof out on his own? Would it be the same as Spanish walk kind of, but encourage them to hold it longer? Help appreciated! :)
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I tend to support the foot. I am looking for softening and letting me hold the foot without resistance or tension. I find if they are too focused on performing a behavior that they don't relax enough to realize how good it would feel to stretch. In case you are interested, I included a link to clip I did a couple years ago with my horse Mint. This isn't the one I mentioned earlier who had the tender back. Mint is just starting to learn the stretching. Apparently he likes it though! I hope this helps.

loosie 02-26-2013 11:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chevylover96 (Post 1912622)
I will be there everyday anyway, I can lunge whenever, far more than once a week if I wanted to, but since I'm letting her go on break I'd like to do as little work as possible! I don't push her on the lunge line, usually less than 20 minutes

So... I'm confused why you want to do the once a week lunging, if you want her not to work?? I'd either do it daily or not at all, and only for short, slow sessions, not for 20 mins or so, unless you're just asking for walking, trot transitions, stopping, turning, etc.

Quote:

Would you suggest more lunging even with a sore back?
I wouldn't suggest any real lunging really, at her age & with her sore back. Certainly not fast &/or tight circles & only for short sessions. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that. *I'm not a vet or bodyworker, let alone not having seen the horse, so I'd advise you get one of these 'experts' to advise you about exercise.

Quote:

then he had to keep it down longer, then make some sort of movement to indicate that he was going to lay down (dog, circle), with in a few days he was laying down when told!
Nice to hear of this being taught with pure shaping, without pressure!:wink:

WildcatandI 03-04-2013 05:09 PM

Another great way to teach a horse to lay down is to hose them off and take them to their favorite sandy area. When they lay down to roll, capture it with a click and a jackpot of their favorite reward! After a few sessions stop hosing them but take them to the same sandy spot. Generally it transfers over pretty easily and you can start adding a cue so that you can ask for it in other areas too. This was how I did it with my horse:

WildcatandI 03-04-2013 05:17 PM

If your horse is sore I would refrain on teaching the sit up until she is all healed. The other thing to consider when teaching the sit up is that it takes a while for your horse to figure out how to balance and hold himself in that position (you can see how awkward my horse was at first compared to the last clip). Watch your toes! If you get too close and he steps on you trying to balance or while standing up, it's your fault, not his :)


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