After a good ride I worked on Marley's "down" behavior again. I don't know if I'll be able to use it or not at the EMM, but it's still really fun to train, and I'll hopefully have him for longer than another week. He went down several times on cue, and rolled twice off cue, but I gave him a "jackpot" (the rest of my carrots) when I gave him the cue and he immediately put his head down and dropped to the ground. It was his best approximation yet, and now that he is laying down, I will have to shape it so that he knows that if it is cued, he doesn't roll, and he stays down until I ask him to stand up. Not sure how long that will take as shaping usually takes longer than simply catching a behavior and rewarding it (this simply increases the frequency of the behavior).
|Photo by Katherine Payne Photography|
Going into this blind was actually a huge blessing because I didn't have expectations going in that I find myself fighting with as we near the end, now that I know what trainers are capable of accomplishing with their horses. If anything, I think it really does go to show that with some knowledge, patience, and an open mind, anyone can do this. You don't have to be some big time trainer to make it work, and I think that's what this whole thing is about anyway. These horses need good homes and so many of them will live out their lives in holding for no good reason. Not one horse I have seen in this has walked onto the trailer looking like anything extraordinary, but now I don't think anyone would argue that every single one of them is. It's really cool, and I would absolutely do it again.