Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 3

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
This morning started off hazy and I went out to the barn early before it got too busy.  Marley had gotten through the rain just fine, and didn't look like he had used his shelter at all as he was soaking wet.  I guess he's never had a shelter before, so why use it now?  When I first walked into his stall he snorted at me a bit and acted like I might jump on him, but when I just stood still he turned toward me and I was able to touch his nose.  After that it all came back and he realized who I was and he relaxed.  We took it easy for an hour or so, Mike cleaned his stall and I fed him some carrots, we basically just hung out with him while he ate.  It still amazes me that just three days ago he had never been handled other than being run through a chute and corralled. 

video
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
My two goals for today were to bring him back up to the round pen and to start clicker training.  Anything else I decided I would just see how he was and go from there.  He hesitantly left his stall and walked cautiously the entire way to the round pen, but he never spooked or pulled on his lead.  A couple of times, we stopped and he looked around at other riders, cars, and the dogs that were barking from the house, but after investigating he would step forward again.  I was extremely proud of him for making his second trip through the stalls and up to the round pen, and he really relaxed as soon as he walked through the gate.  I think he remembers it as a safe place, as it is where he spent his first night, and first two days of training.

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Clicker training isn't something that is widely used with horses, but I'm telling you, the look on Marley's face when he finally started to make the association between the click and a carrot was hilarious, even the oldest school cowboy would admit that it was fun.  Pretty soon I was teaching him to "target" to my hand, just a simple game that when I place my palm out, he has to touch it with his nose then I "click" and give him a treat.  This is a video of him figuring it out, I wish I had more of the clicker but mike was diligently going from camera to video to document everything.  I'll try to get more soon.  He was being so cute once he had it down.
video


In addition to some clicker training 101, we also learned a bit of lunging.  Before today, Marley was rewarded for facing me rather than turning away, so it took him a minute to figure out that now I wanted him to move forward around me instead of turn to look at me.  It only took a couple minutes, and when he finally got it, he was pretty laid back about it.  That seems to be a common trend with this horse, laid back.
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Finally, I spent more time just touching and moving around Marley to get him used to being worked with.  He accepted the brush really well again today, and I even got all the way over his back, tummy, and butt.  He is still pretty jumpy with his rear end, so I haven't started with his hind legs yet, but for the first time today he allowed me to run my hands all the way down both front legs, and he even picked them up for me!  Have I mentioned yet how proud I am of him? 
Photo by Katherine Payne Fotography


Photo by Katherine Payne Photography

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography




video
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
I would like to thank Katherine Payne for coming out today to photograph Marley's progress.  I am so blessed to have the support and interest from artists and photographers like Katherine and Sandee (who accompanied us on Day 1 of our Journey) and look forward to seeing Marley's story being told through their lenses.  I'll finish again with another video, Marley walking back to his stall.  He was much more confident on the way back to his stall then he was walking out of it, he stayed relaxed and was happy to be back.  He's turning out to be a little food monger, and of course, he immediately went to his hay once I let him loose.  Could there be a better way to start a morning?

2 comments:

  1. So good you illustrate the Clicker training for others to understand and learn to use.

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  2. Thanks! I'll try to get more video. This video doesn't illustrate the very first step to clicker training, which is simply "click" and treat over and over again until the animal makes the association between the click and the reward. This video illustrates the beginning of target training.

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