Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Enjoying our New Found Freedom

I've said it before but I'll say it again.  It is so nice to not be training for something, but rather going wherever our sessions take us.  I have been focusing on details in Marley's training that weren't important for the Extreme Mustang Makeover, but that I personally want in a future competition partner.  More than anything though, we have been doing so much ground work!  We are refining a lot of the clicker behaviors and going backwards a little bit in order to move forward onto more advanced clicker work.  My goal for this summer is to teach Marley to actually come up into a frame solely using shaping.  That is a tall order for the summer, but even if we can get that behavior started, so many amazing doors will open in terms of training in dressage and even over fences. 

You see, clicker training is good for more than just tricks!  For those of you that have read our entire history, it is how I introduced the bit, bending, turning, leading, backing, trailer-loading, lead changes, etc.  With the pressure of the 90 days breathing down our neck constantly however, I was previously satisfied with "good enough" in order to get us moving onto the next order of business.  Now with time, I am really raising my standards and hope to demonstrate that positive reinforcement training can yield more than just a back yard, trustworthy pony (but lets be honest, is there really anything better than that?).  The great part about this is that I've never trained upper level maneuvers with a clicker, so you will all get to see the trial and error version.  Sorry for this, but then again, it may also end up being really interesting for all of us training geeks out there.

So, back to Marley.  It has been hot as heck, which I'll take if my other option is wind, rain, and mud!  Mike and I are planning a hiking trip up to my absolute favorite Colorado hidden gem, Chicago Lakes (3 beautiful natural mountain lakes close to the base of mount evens and require a long hike in so no one is ever there), and I would love to bring Marley, just leading him, as horses are allowed on the trail.  I don't think it is going to happen this early in the summer unfortunately, as we are still sans trailer, but I look forward to getting him out into the mountains, where I know he is probably the most comfortable.  I still can't believe my horse used to be wild, I think about it a lot.

Marley's lay down behavior has gotten so good, check out the video Katherine took, along with a few stills.  I just love how freely and happily he lays down, and I never once used a rope to tie up his leg or lean him over.

video


Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Photo by Katherine Payne Photography


Photo by Katherine Payne Photography
Isn't he the cutest?  Mike and I were looking at photos last night of him from the beginning, he doesn't even look like the same horse.  Check out this photo from day 2.  What a fuzzy monster!



5 comments:

  1. What a difference! I just loved they way he nickered for more goodies, that was cute! I really look forward to reading about how you do the clicker training as you progress. Your camping trip sounds wonderful! I hope you have good weather, too bad you can't take Marley.

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  2. That must be such a welcome change of pace for you.

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  3. Freedom! I hope that you have fun on your trip! Marley is getting a little expectant of those cookies huh? ;)

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  4. You obviously have built up such a level of trust between you that it is special to watch. I love hearing all about your training routines and seeing pictures and videos. Such a different life I get to visit through you guys! :)

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  5. Marley is not getting expectant of treats, that's a big pet peeve of mine!! Please see above post :) :)

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