This is the story of my quest to train my three Dales Ponies for classical dressage, primarily by using Alexandra Kurland's clicker training methods, with a touch of others such as Philippe Karl and Anja Beran thrown in. I turned to clicker training because I had come up against some issues that I didn't know how to fix and because I wanted to inspire them to become enthusiatic partners. Bella and Jack are all my own work and have never been ridden by anyone else.

Bella, Grace and Jack

Bella aged 6

Bella aged 6

Treat Delivery

Jack aged 7


Monday, 10 November 2008

For the last few days one of the things I've been doing with Bella and Jack, who hadn't really understood my request to lengthen their stride within a pace, is walking alongside them, taking huge, exagerated strides myself while saying 'long' as a drawn out word, and clicking them for mirroring me. They got this almost instantly, and now understand when I say 'long' when I'm riding. Jack is especially good at this and tries so hard, dropping his head and overtracking by a mile with a really earnest look on his face.

Bella and I managed our first couple of ridden steps of travers today! I sneaked a quick look at her back legs while I was giving her her treat and they looked to be in exactly the right place, so I think that it was OK. Our leg yeild is much better now as well, though the angle's still a bit steep at times.

I also found that by using both legs on the foreleg buttons I can get more swing into her trot, and medium trot is starting to feel a possibility in the not too distant future.

My OH stopped and watched us for a while. He used to ride and never says anything complimentary about Bella or Jack (he says that I rave about them enough for both of us) but, when I asked him if he'd ever seen a horse concentrate as hard or try as hard as Bella, of any age, let alone a six year old, he had to admit that he hadn't, so he must be REALLY impressed, and he was a complete clicker sceptic!

I must watch 'The Art of Riding' tapes again. I have never even seen the advanced one, because I thought that it would never apply to me and my horses. Now anything seems possible!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive


About Me

My photo
I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!