Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 16

Got a late start today as I haven't been feeling great.  The flu has turned into a bad cough, and Marley got an ear full from Mike and I both today.  I think it's safe to say he is officially de-sensitized to any loud, sudden noises... I'm very much over being sick.  That said, he is making great progress in other areas of his training as well.  He is targeting beautifully, and the issue he had previously with wanting to target to my hand instead of the target pole has been eliminated thanks to my friend Allison's suggestion to move back to rewarding him immediately and directly next to the target as soon as he touches it.  She works with giraffes at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and they are on a similar training program to help zoo keepers take better care of them, as well as for some fun and stimulation!  Thanks for the tip Allison, it worked great!  Marley is now starting his "bow" behavior, just something fun to work on when he's not under saddle, and it seems to be great for our trust building as he is nervous about bringing his head down low to the ground unless I'm sitting.

He is also progressing with his "mirror" behavior.  I don't know if you'll be able to hear it on the video, but it is the cutest thing ever... Marley "nickers" throughout the entire behavior.  It gets louder when we trot, and it cracks me up.

Under saddle Marley is moving forward into the walk, trot, and canter so today was all about suppleness in Marley's head and neck.  He understood flexions at a stand still, but not while moving so I devoted the entire sessions just to that.  It was our longest ride to date, though still under 30 minutes, but once Marley got it he really understood.  I'm looking forward to seeing where he picks up tomorrow.

In other news, Marley is officially in love with Chance.  Unless Chance stands up really fast from laying down.  Then he is a terrifying beast.  But otherwise, Marley was fascinated with him. 

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