Sunday, August 2, 2009

First mounted exercise: Turn on the forehand?

I managed to fit in a session with Ande today before the rain started up again. I've been working him in hand or longeing him almost daily but don't like to get on him unless somebody else is on the farm. After climbing on, I took the slack out of one rein to get him moving by displacing his hips as I had read about and seen demonstrated. He promptly stepped over behind so I clicked and treated. Tried again, same thing. We still weren't going forward so I held the rein for a second more. But this was a clicker trained pony and so he had been rewarded for hip gives before so I got a nice little turn on the forehand. hm. Tried the other direction. Turn on the forehand in the other direction. Hm. Well, we've got the turn on the forehand down!

I resorted to 40+ years of experience and clucked! Ah- a step forward. C/T. Then I tried both together: I'm not exactly sure what it was but we went sideways and forward and turned both directions and it's been a long time since I've ridden bareback and he was wiggly and little and so I just slid off to think a minute. He knows to stand still so I decided to go back to that. I got back on and clicked immediately and then right off quick again to get him standing quietly. Very important with these enthusiastic learners to reinforce "chill!" to stop their minds and bodies from throwing behaviors out in an effort to be right! So we stood. Then I lifted my reins toward his ears and clucked, careful not to put any pressure on either rein. We got a step forward and I C/Td quick! Tried again and C/T'd after two steps. Now we were on a roll. We proceeded one step at a time up to 8 steps at which point I realized I was out of treats and we were right in front of his mat so I let him stop on the mat, slid off and gave him the rest of the crumbly bits I had left and then pulled the bridle off so he could graze.

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