And I think thats the most important factor, she is being trained new things.
No need to backtrack with lunging eh?
No, I think it gets as boring for them as it does for us.
Ok. But this is where Ive been wanting to do fun excersizes with her (whether its obstacles or tricks) for now on.
Yep, start doing something different with her.
I see what you mean but I wont be able to groom her in her paddock for long because she will be in the herd in the next 2-3 days. Or do you think it would be ok to do it in the field with her herd there?
First get comfortable with the other horses in her paddock and let them know that you are not to be trifled with. Say HI, get a pat and a quick scritch and off you go. They are not to come around and try to boss your mare, push her out, push you out, or interfere in any way. At first, I'd halter her and carry a lunge whip or carrot stick in with me to let the others know that you are in charge.
Games that I can play with her at liberty, yes I would love to do this. I am looking into it right now. Im a huge fan of all this liberty training but doesnt it take years to achieve this?
Not at all. Pick one thing you want her to learn and every day that you go out, spend 15 or 20 mins. working on that one thing until she gets it. If you go out for several hours, then break it up. For instance, in the first hour spend 15 mins teaching her one thing. Then go away for a while. 2nd hour, spend 20-30 mins grooming her and letting her stand quietly tied. come back and turn her loose in a small corral or round pen for a little while. 3rd hour, work on a different thing for 15 mins. I wouldn't do too many sessions in one day, that can quickly lead to burn out for both of you. One of my trainers used to say, "Work him more than once a day, but allow him time to forget he's already been worked, feed him a meal and leave him alone for a while in between." I find that works pretty well.
Same with trick training, Ive actually done a bit of clicker training with her (3 times over the span of a couple weeks) where I would get her to touch a target (I used a pylon) with her nose. She did great. I also used clicker training on getting her to do flexions and she did great. I put this off for a bit because (over the past couple weeks) I wanted to associate a word in place of the clicker as I find it would be more convenient. So my word that ive been trying to teach her is "good".
I've never been in to clicker training, it's cool but I jest never saw the point, I guess. When my horse is doing well, good attitude, doing what I ask, I say a BIG, "GOOOOOOD BOY!" or girl, whatever. When we've had a bit of a disagreement over how things should go and he finally has the light come on and does what I have been asking, I usually go over and kiss him on his nose (I KNOW I KNOW, he doesn't have a CLUE what a kiss is) and I drape my arm over his neck and put my hand between his ears and get him to drop his head and I say softly, "Goooood booooooy!" and I tossle his forelock a little and then I rub the base of his ears. Softly and gently so that my praise is exactly the opposite of the little tussle we had.
I would first go in her paddock and have her face me and say "good" and treat a carrot. I did this a few times and again the next day and the next day. i was hoping she would catch on but Im not sure if she is. After the first few days doing this, I started spreading out this word associating to every 2nd day (cause I was worried if I gave her treats everyday she would start seeing me as a vending machine).
When I'm training I don't care if they think I'm a vending machine for treats, as long as they understand that the only currency accepted is doing what I've asked of them. Then they get praise and/or a treat. Frequently in the beginning, they get both.
I have yet see her lick and chew and worried she hasnt quite caught on. Usually it shouldnt take long at all.
Licking and chewing is nice when you have a real demonstrative horse. I've had horses though, that you could watch all day long and if you weren't paying real close attention at just the right moment, you'd miss it, it was that little and that subtle. That kind of horse also tends to clench their jaws and get uptight. With one of those, I will wait until I see they have "locked up" and then I'll go over and very gently stick my finger in their mouth so they have to unlock their jaws, and they'll reflexively lick and chew. I just stand with my arm draped over that horse's neck and gently give them time to relax a little and digest what we've just been doing. I don't pet, don't talk, nothing, just BE for a little while. Once I can see they've reflected and processed a little bit, I'll back up to something they understood and did well and start over from there.
Ive even allowed more time to pass inbetween each time I click and treat. But the past couple times, (because Im still working with her on getting her to lead away from me willingly), each time she does this when I lead her, while she leads away I right away say "good" and treat her and give over the top praise. I think she may be catching on with this (she did with the unhaltering and pretty quick).
In the beginning, I praise lots and lots and lots and I give a lot of treats, consistently when they do something right. At this point, it doesn't matter if they think I'm a hot and cold drink dispenser, as long as they give me a good honest try, I'll give a treat and praise. We can work on weaning off of treats and such later on (like a year or 2 down the road), right now I want them to get what I'm teaching.
But I need to make sure she knows what it means when I say "good" and that it means a reward is coming and a treat is the form of the reward. So that when I do something with her and I say "good" and praise her, she will know. And eventually I can phase out the treats and just say "good" and give her scratches and rubs and she will know the scratches and rubs are the reward. Hope im not talking mumbo jumbo here.
No, you're not talking mumbo jumbo, but you ARE trying too much too fast. Some horses are like the nerd kid in school and seem to drink n everything you toss at them, training wise. Most are more like the Spay-shull kids that need individual teaching and someone who can be infinitely adaptable to their learning needs. I forget who said it, Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt? but, "It takes a horse at least 1000 repetitions before you can say he's truly trained." That means, 1000 reps of EVERY SINGLE THING you ever teach them. Before that, they may or may not have it and in a crunch may forget what they've been taught. They have to build muscle memory in addition to having "head" knowledge.
Anyways Im hoping by doing some fun stuff with her that it will bring us closer together. You think this can happen?
Absolutely it will happen. You just need to give her time. Do more with her, spend time just learning to hear what she's telling you and the more you learn her ways, the more she'll trust and rely on you.
See my post above in between your questions. You want to read good books by folks who KNOW their stuff, read stuff by Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Sheila Varian. Those are some really GOOD horse folks.