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.
Thursday, 22 January 2009
After watching them I wanted, today, to try to get Renvers, Travers and Half Pass at liberty by drawing my horses towards me from the inside of the bend, rather than 'pushing' them away from me from the outside of the bend, which is how I've always done it before.
It was tricky. I knew that the back end was going to be harder to draw than the front so I began by asking their outside hind to step underneath them towards me, by staring at it, stepping slowly backward and beckoning it towards me with my nearest hand, much as in the video clips.
Jack stood with his head down, thinking and trying SO hard to work out what I was asking, but I don't think he could see me well enough on his bad eye side. I didn't think there was much point in doing it on one side only so I found something to click him for and abandoned the exercise in that form.
Bella understood really quickly and stepped underneath, towards me, with her outside hind. I clicked and treated her madly for that and it was then quite easy to get her to target my other hand with her nose and draw her into the movement, but I did find that her front legs drew more easily and took bigger strides than her hind legs, which is what I thought was happening slightly in the video clips. I need to find some way to emphasise the 'push' of the outside hind, to keep the power of the stride.
What really, really blew me away was how hard they both tried and how much mental effort they put into trying to work out what I wanted. I don't usually do proper liberty work (as opposed to just letting go of the reins) in the school, because there is a lot of grass growing in the school, and grass is something they're allowed very little of, so it's often been too much of a temptation.
They didn't even look at the grass. There was nothing to stop them wandering off but they stayed with me and gave me every last ounce of their thought and attention. That is something I wouldn't have dreamed possible with young horses, pre clicker. I shouldn't be surprised, having seen Hilary's Lottie on the 'Microshaping DVD but it still amazes and humbles me every time.
I don't think I've EVER seen Jack try as hard as that anywhere, let alone in the school. He might have been the one who couldn't work out what I was asking but it certainly wasn't for want of thought, attention and desire to please. His mental effort was written all over him. Once again he was my hero among heroes!!!
- Motivation of Dressage Horses - Richard Hinrichs
- Taking Stock.
- Snowy Days.
- Photo Albums 2008.
- Snowy Days Photos.
- Frosty Photos.
- Philippe Karl Style Flexions.
- Giving the Horse a Voice.
- Aspirations and Expectations.
- First Time Evers.
- I found these clips on You tube yesterday and they...
- Russell's Story.
- Saddle Fitting.
- Photos of my Pones Backs.
- My Little Helper.
- ▼ January (15)