Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 4

I'm starting to see a big change in Marley.  He is feeling more and more comfortable in his surroundings and with me, and the personality is coming out.  He is moving confidently and investigating anything new, and his expressions just crack me up.

Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
I spent the morning at school, so I didn't have as much time with Marley as I would have liked, but we still got some good training and de-sense in.  When I went into the stall to get him he turned to me immediately and walked up.  I guess he knows who has those carrots he loves so much!  When I walked him to the round pen today there was a lot going on around the barn.  Cars driving in, lots of other horses being ridden and walked around, car doors slamming... lots of distractions and things to spook at.  I've found that if I let him stop and look at something for a second, he is usually fine, so we took our time, but we never paused for more than 10 +- seconds.

Combing Marley's forelock for the first time
Yesterday Marley learned about the clicker, and how to "target" to my hand, so today I wanted to transfer the target behavior to a target pole (basically a stick with a buoy at the end of it).  It's the same principle as targeting to my hand, he basically has to touch his nose to the target (the buoy), click, treat.  Right now it's a fun game and is helping him to build confidence, but soon I will be able to use it to shape fundamental behaviors that I will build a lot of his basic training on.  Here's a short clip of Marley learning to target to the buoy.  Notice when he doesn't target the first time, I went back to touching the target to his nose rather than asking him to come to it again.  This is Marley's second day with the clicker, so I'm not too picky about his reaction time, but if he takes way too long or isn't paying attention, I just ignore the mistake and go back to the basics.  There was a lot for Marley to look at today and distract him from training, so to help this, I moved him around a lot to keep his attention on me.

Other training for today included more lunging (Marley cantered today!), brushing, picking up front feet (which he still isn't too sure about), touching his back, belly, butt, tail... He's coming along nicely.  He also let me comb his forelock for the first time, so I was pretty excited about that.  On a side note, a helicopter was flying back and forth because of a fire not far from the barn.  It was the first time, since the first day of training, that I saw Marley ever really jump sideways and want to bolt.  He responded when I pulled him in, and I proceeded to feed him and talk to him until it went away.  Interesting.

Sandee from Forever Yours Photography (photographer who visited us on our first day) sent some more photos over as well, so I'll post a few of them here, as well as on Marley's facebook page.  If you haven't seen his facebook page yet, just search "Marley the Mustang" on facebook, then "like" him to view lots of photos and conversations about his progress.  Thank you again for all of your support and for taking the time to read about our journey.

1 comment:

  1. Saw your blog link in the FB EMM site... Love that you are clicker training the ...this is the way I've trained several of my mustangs...boy does it get them involved and thinking instead of reacting...Great luck with Marley and we'll be following your blog!