I sat my long term goal for the course by Hippologic to be teaching Rusty to be a cutting horse. Is there a right way to say that? Teaching Rusty to cut sounds so… vague. Cut what? I’m just not sure of the proper terminology here. I will have to ask my friends that cut. (There it is again, cut what? Meat? Flowers? Have got to get this figured out. )
The first day we went back and studied up and turns on the hindquarters. It was completely gone, I know we hadn’t worked on them for awhile but I thought he would remember a little. Once unburried he was able to do them again, technique needed work though.
The next time I got to work him, a few days later, we worked a line. Working on walk, whoa, back and turn. All things that he knows and we have worked on but putting them together for the first time. In clicker training terminology it would be called chaining, I believe. It was just a few minutes and he was sticky, but it was his first time and asking a lot at once.
Now today we did it again. I put it first because it’s hard for him, lots of thinking, and I’ve read that hard things become more pleasant when they are regularly followed by easy fun things. All he want’s to do right now is paw and offer Spanish walk so I thought we would do that after. We started our line again. I walked beside him, stopped, click, back, click, turn, click, then walk off again. Same at the other end, whoa, click, back, click, turn, click. I noticed he was wanting to walk out of his turns so, not wanting to discourage that I started feeding his reward at a walk. It makes things more interesting, someday I will probably loose a finger, but worked beautifully.
Before I knew it he was stopping, backing and turning beside me before I clicked and rewarded him. We even added some trot work! He did great. Now we need to perfect his position if I am the cow he needs to keep his shoulder next to me. He is doing some chasing, instead of staying next to me. Need to continue to work on, smooth out and add consistency to the whole chain. Eventually we can add speed, I did a little trotting today and I suppose it doesn’t hurt to go a little faster already getting from end to end but at the ends I need to make sure we are getting good quality stops and turns before I try to get him to go faster through them.
All in all I am very proud of the little pony, who is not so little anymore. I can’t believe how much he has grown since last winter!He is starting to look more and more like his beautiful, cow horse ancestors.
We did work on Spanish walk a little. He did beautifully, he offered about six steps in a row. Clicking after every two steps. But then he started looking at something on the ground to his left with his neck all cocked and on tip toes. I never could tell what the problem was and it was still there after we moved forward a few steps. He worried me a little since I couldn’t see a thing there for him to be worried about.
As I turned him out we worked more on stop and back just to reinforce and to keep his front feet on the ground. It’s going get cold this week, which is saying a lot since my fingers were froze stiff inside my glove by the time we got through, but I hope to work him tomorrow at least. Hopefully he will continue to make huge leaps like this.
- Riding Lessons
- Old Friends