Monday, June 7, 2010

Cole Training

Cole made it down the trail! Friday evening, I decided to try to cross the street and get to the start of the trail. Remember, last week, he was afraid to even step onto the paved surface of the street. He went right across. At the trailhead, he was a little nervous about the posts that keep cars off the trail that he had to walk through, but my work with the forward command got him through. We only went a few minutes, then we turned back to come home.

I figured out why I have been having trouble getting him through one of the barn doors to get to his stall. I feel so stupid that I didn’t notice this right away. As he would step through the door, the mare in the corner stall was laying her ears back and baring he teeth. She was what made him nervous. He only stalled out once this weekend at the door, though. That was when she charged at him.

Saturday, we led him all the way down the hill that leads to the river. Of course, we aren’t attempting the river itself for a while. Sunday, we did the hill twice. When I wanted to turn him around to start the second trip, he got very balky. We worked through it the very way I did with going through the barn door. We were successful, but I had to be patient and persistent. Finally, he gave up and walked down the hill.

We have also been practicing standing still and lifting feet. Standing was very hard for him, at first. He just wants to be with me every moment and didn’t like me stepping away. That is when I figured out the wither rubbing trick. I stepped away for a few seconds, and if he didn’t step forward, I came back and rubbed his withers. If he did step forward, I backed him back in place. He has also gotten very good at backing!

I have been doing clicker targeting, and I believe he is starting to understand clicker. It only took Mingo 1 lesson. He touches the target, hears the click and gets the treat. He just doesn’t realize what the click means.


achieve1dream said...

That is fantastic that you figured out what was causing him to balk in the barn doorway!! Don't feel bad that you didn't notice the mare. You're so used to her being there it's not a surprise it didn't cross your mind. :)

It sounds like he's progressing really well on the trail too! I love hand walking or ponying horses. It's so much fun to watch them experience new things for the first time. :) Keep up the great work!!

achieve1dream said...

Aww sorry you had a set back. I know how frustrating it can be. :) Do you have any idea what caused the balking this time? Was there anything different? Or is he just the type of horse who gets bored easily and doesn't want to do the same thing over and over? The only two things I can think of is he's bored or he just doesn't like to do anything he considers work (my mare was that way). I hope it's because he's bored. Dealing with work sour horses or horses with no work ethic is no fun. I never did figure out how to get my mare over that. It always felt like she was so relieved when I let her back out in the pasture. Like she couldn't wait to get away from me. Not a pleasant feeling lol. Then again that might of been a mare thing. She was definitely not affectionate in any way.

Anyway keep me updated on how he's doing!