Leaving The Cones

I’ve been asked how to progress with a young horse from targeting cones and walking from one to the other on to regular riding. So here is my opinion.
Once you are able to easily walk from cone to cone start changing things up. Sooner rather than later, you don’t want the horse to become too set on doing things a certain way. Start changing directions often. Rearrange the cones. Don’t follow them in straight lines, instead cut corners, walk across the center. Click for one step past the cone, then two. Go with fewer and fewer cones until you are down to two, one at each end of the arena so the horse is only getting clicked twice at a cone then click them regularly for things, stops, turns, away from cones. Get down to only one cone and click at it after a trip all the way around the arena.
If you are clicking regularly for all the things you do away from the cone the horse will loose his dependence on the cone to guide him. It will quickly go from a strongly supporting crutch to a barely noticeable, unneeded cue.

 

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