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Two weeks ago I got the most amazing filly. After not having a horse for over a year, it's amazing how much happier and "fulfilled" (yes, it's cheesy) having a horse to call my own! She's 9 months old, and I have been wanting to have a "journal" to write in about our daily training sessions so I will be posting them here.

I'm working on writing down a "goal list" for both of us. I'll post it when I get it written up. There are so many things that I want to do with her, so it may take me awhile to compile a realistic one with goals we can achieve.

So far we have achieved her picking up all 4 feet happily and consistently. She also disengages her hindquarters when I ask her.

She is SUCH a sweet filly. I am so excited I got her. She is willing to please, very submissive, and smart - I usually only have to ask her 2 or 3 times before she picks up on what I want and does it. I'd like to say that it's my training but I think it's just because she's sharp as a tack. :lol:

She is very very spooky. So 75% of our training is desensitizing. When I got her she was VERY head shy, threw her head whenever you took a halter off or put one on. She is doing much better. I wish I had before and after video.

I can't wait to go on this journey with her. I'm sure it'll be filled with frustrating days, amazing days, and even boring days. But I am looking forward to every minute of it.
 

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Today was a great day with Joy! I got to see her in the morning and in the evening. This morning we worked on crossing the creek for the first time. She was hesitant at first then completely walked through it/jumped it depending on how wide it was where we crossed it. Will upload a video later.

I tried doing the same thing with her in the evening and brought my husband so I could brag on how well she does, and of course the darn thing would NOT go in the water. I kept swearing up and down she had walked right in earlier. We finally did get her in as I didn't want to let her win the battle but it was pretty humiliating... lol.

She also did well on not spooking. There was a nail gun going off, tractors rolling by etc and she did not spook. She got to get turned out with a new yearling friend which was awesome. They played together. She also trotted in hand with me without totally going bonkers which was nice.

AND... possibly the best part of it all... when I let her out two weeks ago when I first got her she wouldn't let us catch her. It took 4 people and a miniature horse to get her in the barn. Today she not only let me catch her but came straight to me twice. I'm extremely happy with her today.
 

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Today Joy and I tackled the scary blue tarp and I think she hates me now. :lol: It took about 15 mins of running around the round pen scared of the tarp to get her to relax and let me rub it on her. We will do more tomorrow if it's not windy. This was not one of our easiest training sessions, but I think she'll do better next time.


She is cute! Got any more pictures?
Thank you so much! Here are a few :)
 

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So glad to see this post. I am also happy to see an owner who is using the young horse and exploring and experimenting. In my area when I did that with my young colt I received the strangest comments and looks.

It will pay off in the long run! Happy to follow your journal and watch Joy grow.
 

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Thank you so much everyone!

Today we worked more on the blue tarp and she definitely did much better, even though she doesn't love it quite yet.

I think she pulled a muscle or something in her neck so we are doing only light work the next few days, and no turnout. She seems ok until I go to touch it, then she acts as if it's hurting. The stable owner is taking a look at her tonight as well.

A little off topic.. but a new baby arrived at the barn today! She is a Clydesdale filly and the cutest thing I think I've ever seen.
 

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Joy did so well today. Possibly the best since I've gotten her. She was in a really good mood today and did everything I asked without hesitation. We trotted in hand (a flip of the whip was needed to get her going - but she did trot next to me), walked through and up a creek a few feet, came right to me after I turned her out for a few mins, etc.

One thing I have been really working on the past few days is desensitization to blankets/towels/tarps. She HATED them on her back. I assume because she can't see them well. So for the past few days I had been frustratingly trying to just desensitize with persistence. She got ****ed. I got ****ed. I wanted to move on. But, while I feel taking a step back and taking a break is not necessarily wrong, especially with a baby, I didn't just want to skip it and move on to more fun/easy stuff. So I decided to switch it up a bit.

I bought a few clickers a couple weeks ago and decided to utilize them. I would start waving the towel around and putting it on her back. Every time she let me do so and didn't flinch/move away, I clicked the clicker and she got a treat. It did not take long for her to associate that standing still while I threw the towel around meant a treat/positive reinforcement. :D She also picked up on the fact that the clicker means a treat almost instantly. So I would praise her, say things in a sing-songy way like "this is not going to hurt you, lalala!" whilst throwing the towel around and clicking the clicker when she stood still. We looked absolutely ridiculous I'm sure but what went from a frustrating workout turned out to be a fun exercise for both of us. She still does not love the towel yet but she is much, much more accepting of it being thrown around her now.

She's actually not very food motivated and treat training is not my favorite way to work with a horse. But it worked SO well for her in this instance. I wanted to take something she previously hated and make it fun for her. And it seemed to work. But I do like clicker training because she knows not to "ask" for a treat unless she hears the clicker go off. And she actually starting spitting the treats out after awhile so I think she got sick of them, but she does seem to respond well to the clicker and praise in general. So eventually I will probably wean her from treating altogether and just use clicker/praise. But who knows... she's teaching me new ways to work with her everyday!
 

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Not much to report today. It was raining so we stayed in the barn and under the indoor arena.

She irritated me today by being a butt when I tried to put MTG in her mane. And then when I tried catching her in the indoor she thought it would be fun to play "you can't catch me" for a few mins. She got to run around for a few minutes for that and she did let me catch her but it was just one of those days...
 

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So glad Joy has been doing well. That's great! Desensitizing is awesome. :)
Clicker training is really good too. LOL sounds like she wanted to be playful that rainy day!
 

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So glad Joy has been doing well. That's great! Desensitizing is awesome. :)
Clicker training is really good too. LOL sounds like she wanted to be playful that rainy day!
Thank you! I'm somewhat new to clicker training so I'm constantly learning, but it seems like a great tool.

Very nice looking filly.
Thanks so much!


Joy got to be turned out in the "big horses" field today. :lol: It was her first time turned out with more than one horse, and she looked liked she had a lot of fun. I'm glad she'll have more turn out time. I hate her being in a stall for more than a half day at a time. As much as I love working with her I know she needs a chance to be a baby/horse as well.

Her desensitizing is going well but she still is very spooky with anything that's going on behind her, which, can't say I blame her. She has been bolting much less though and overall has calmed down a lot.

We accomplished a couple new things today. She's learning to walk, trot, and whoa by voice command. I say voice command but it's more of a combination of body language and clucking/kissing/using the whip/etc. But regardless I'm thrilled I can get her to do that gait I want with only slight cues. She also flexed today as well. She is much more comfortable going to the right than the left so we will probably work on the left more.

Also, it's been high 60's to low/mid 70's so I have been able to play with her that much more. Normally I would be disappointed about not getting snow in February, but since I have a filly to play with I can't complain. :D
 

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I started training Joy to pivot today. I found a show that offers about 7 in-hand classes she could enter including halter, showmanship, and trail in hand (and variations of all of them). After I looked at videos of showmanship and trail in hand I realized there's that much more we need to work on.. but that's OK, because we have well over a year before I can even sit on her so I need new goals to keep us busy on the ground. Video attached of the pivot. She did another pivot even better than that but of course I didn't get it on video. :icon_rolleyes:

EDIT: Video...
 

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We've had a pretty uneventful week. I'm self-employed and made myself pound the pavement this week to get some stuff done. That means less time with Joy, but gotta work so I can afford Joy. lol. A really bad storm came through early Wednesday morning as well, so it's been windy and I am a big baby and hate working outside when it's windy.

I did do some pivot work with her again today. She's started going forward when I ask for the pivot which is frustrating because she never did it before. I did realize it was partly my fault because when she went forward I would release the "pressure" and try again. Today I kept the pressure applied until she stopped and pivoted the correct way. We did a good 90º half circle so I called it a day.

Here is a picture of her cuteness taking a little nap. :D
 

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