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

Rode Jack in the school today for the video. It was very windy but he was Mr. Cool yet again. There is still a tiny bit of resistance there at times, particularly associated with softening to the outside rein still, but it's so tiny I might not have noticed it if I didn't have Bella for comparison. I think that I will go back to the single rein riding for a while, at least for most of the time. He hasn't done as much of it as Bella because of all the head lowering we have done.

However, the biggest problem used to be getting inside bend at the back of the school when his bad eye was on the outside, and that now seems to be no problem at all. In fact I'm not sure that he doesn't prefer the scary end of the school now, so that's a massive change.

We had one minor disagreement about whether he should stamp on a chicken or not, as it refused to move out of his way. rolleyes

I won't get the video until tomorrow, but I think I will be happier about my position. I think that I have trained myself to sit down better on Jack, because of his (former) propensity for unexpected and spectacular sudden changes of direction. Complacency on Bella has encouraged my tendancy to idle sloppiness!

I also rode Bella on a more definate a contact for ten minutes for the camera, so that I can see what difference it makes. She was perfectly happy with that, so the reluctance is all mine, and probably misjudged!

We also had a quick go at breaking down the canter transition. Everything happens too quickly in trot, so it would have to be in walk, and I need to watch a few perfect canter transitions, preferably in slow motion, to get exactly what I'm after more firmly established in my mind. I know that I would be working by feel but I need a more definate, detailed mental picture.

I've just remembered, as I typed that, that I did get Bella to do a few walk to canters in hand, on her best rein, so perhaps I could do it that way. So many things to work on!!!!!

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