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

I am so pleased with and for Jack. For the last few days I have been riding him, in the school, completely on the buckle, leaving it up to him how he carries his head. The more testing conditions are the lower his head gets but he has done none of the 'head in the air staring into the bushes', and not a single spook.

I had no idea what I was taking on when I bought him really. I liked him as a person, he was Bella's brother and he was cheap, so I didn't want to know, just hoped for the best. The more I read about horses with defective eyesight (as opposed to blind in one eye) the more I realise that if he just ends up safe and reliable, that will be huge, never mind about performance.

Clicker training has given him a reason to want to stay and work, and head lowering has given him the tools to be able to do so. I never even have to suggest to him that he puts his head down anymore - he does it all by himself. Working in hand he doesn't really seems to need his mat now and I think that the same will happen ridden, if I leave his head free for as long as it takes. I think that the longer he is ridden in all conditions and manages to keep himself calm and relaxed, the more self confidence he will have, and hopefully confidence in me too.

I picked him up into a contact for just the last few minutes in the school tonight and he felt wonderful; completely soft, round and relaxed, that last bit of tension mentioned in my post 4 days ago had vanished.

Bella has always had my undying admiration for her courage and her ability to always make the best of everything, but Jack is proving himself to be every bit as courageous and admirable.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive


About Me

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