Monday, March 19, 2012

Cole Train is One Step Closer to Becoming a Circus Pony

Cole Train is One Step Closer to Becoming a Circus Pony

Cole and I started out very poorly on our ride, last night. We entered the indoor arena, and the horse that was being ridden at the time became very spooky. Cole picked up on it, and he decided to buck and play as I was leading him. Well, this made our companion’s horse even worse. The rider became insecure and left to get a lounge line. In the meantime, I started trotting Cole. He was very volatile, and had several outbursts.

The other horse came back to be lounged. That meant we lost half of the arena. It took a while for the other horse to settle down, so Cole and I just stood there and watched. When her horse seemed settled, we started to work on our half. Cole settled down, and I realized how un-round out circles have become.

At the end of the ride, I led Cole around a little. We practiced walking in time with my footsteps, and he was doing great. I clicked him a few times for it.

On the way back to the barn, he timed his steps with mine and suddenly, he lifted his front legs really high! I clicked, but realized I didn’t have any treats left. I rubbed his neck as I searched my pockets. I found crumbs and gave them to him.

I went back to the barn, unsaddled him, grabbed more treats and brought him back into the arena to work on our dancing. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. If he wanted to dance, we were going to dance.

The dancing all began when I started to click him for putting his head down. Now, I just point to the ground, and he drops his head. Somewhere along the line, I realized he was timing his footsteps to mine when he lowered his head. I started to click him for that, and he got very good. I could slow my steps or speed my steps, and he matched me.

We have been doing that for weeks. It’s just something fun to do when I lead. Well, after his little demonstration that showed he wanted to do more, I decided to find out what he would give me.

I led him, but this time I lifted my feet higher. Cole threw in a step that was higher—so I clicked and treated. We did this for a few minutes, and he started to offer a higher step consistently. I then started asking for more. I didn’t click him for one step—I clicked him for several. After a while, I waited until he got a little higher.

Soon, he was doing a very, very low Spanish walk. Sometimes, my silly, little pony threw in a tap-tap with his left hoof. It was cute, but I didn’t click him for it. I wanted to keep him going forward. He has done that tapping in the past, so I can see adding it in at a later time to a different cue.

All in all, I think we worked 10 minutes—and had loads of fun. He can be such a flamboyant, expressive horse, at times, and he showed it in this little exercise. I don’t know where this will develop, but it will be fun to find out.


Laura said...

Aww sounds like great fun!

achieve1dream said...

Fun!!!! I can't wait to do this with Chrome. :D Cole is so awesome! I missed reading about him. I have to stop getting so far behind on blogs, but when the weather is so awesome it's hard to sit in front of the computer lol.