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whitney

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With 5 horses I do one each weekday showmanship, driving, jumping, trail and liberty. All 5 get worked on the weekends.

Dusty my gelding is my Mondays child he is finishing up his basic driving, has his showmanship down pat and his liberty is KICK BUTT. I wish I would have had a video on him last night, when we did the recall (dog terminology--not sure whats its called in horses) he was dead stop at the opposite end of the arena I called Dusty FINISH he CHARGED FULL GALLOP right to me, I WASN'T MOVING, did a sliding stop and stood there for 3 minutes. Still tweeking his jumping he tends to get overly motivated after jumping and wants to drag me over the next 2 or 3 jumps but that was even MUCH better last night. Any tips you can give to moderate speed and enthusiasm would be GREATLY APPRECIATED!

Tonite is Trystans night.

ANYONE else want to give us an update?
 
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hobbyhorse23

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In Liberty I think it's called a "catch." I like "recall" too!

Kody's got the same enthusiasm problem when jumping and at a clinic I took him to earlier this spring the World Champion trainer was actually quite impressed with him because she said she'd much rather see one who truly loves jumping like that than one who is nervous and unsure. She had me simply stop him and back him up after each rushed jump (not angry or yanking him to a halt, just quiet and firm) and that did seem to help at first. Unfortunately Kody's the type to get annoyed at these "interruptions" to his fun and soon started to nip and fidget although at least he's grown up enough not to immediately drag me off as soon as we started forward again like he would have a couple of years ago. What I found was most effective for us was cavaletti work. The vet had me walking and trotting him over raised poles to help his stifles anyway and when he'd recovered from surgery enough to attempt a small jump I threw a low cross-rail in at the end of the cavaletti line. It took him a time or two to figure out how to coordinate the trotting and the jumping but I could see how hard he was thinking about it instead of just rushing through for once. That gave me an idea and soon I had several cavaletti lines and three or four low jumps scattered around the arena. At first he tried to jump everything in sight but once I reminded him what cavaletti were for and gave him a click/reward for doing it right he quickly caught on to the game and began to realize there were things he needed to slow down and collect for instead of blindly rushing. It was a complete revolution in his thinking and I could almost see the lightbulb going on.

He tested his theory carefully and the first time he successfully trotted a line, jumped, then calmly trotted another line I made the biggest fuss over him you've ever seen. After that he completely changed his thinking from "the human is holding me back, argh, angry/annoyed/frustrated" to "The human is someone I look to for direction on what the next challenge is. She's in this with me." I still have to remind him sometimes at the shows but all it takes is one stop-and-back-up and he's back on his best behavior. Once your horse masters it on a straight line, start taking corners but make sure a cavaletti is always the first thing he has to go over once he's done rushing through the turn!


The complicated horses sure make you a better, more creative trainer! *LOL*

Leia
 

whitney

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Leia your PRICELESS.

Nope what Dusty and I do is NOT a catch(I picture me running after him) its a RECALL (I call he comes).

Question after the 1st jump (this is when Dusty is in DRAG mode) should I have another jump/cavaletti group set up, and if so how much distance between them? Really don't want to do the stop backup, want to encourage forward movement, but I want to engage the BRAIN, and I think the ground poles will do just that. THANKS.
 

hobbyhorse23

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Hey, you're the one who said you weren't sure what the terminology was in horses!
"Catch" just means you got a halter on a loose horse, not that you had to chase them. Kody and Pyro do good running/sliding recalls too...most of the time.


As for the pole arrangement, do what works for you. I have a book called 101 Jumper Exercises that I find very useful but haven't had a chance to do much with it since Kody had only just gotten back into jumping when he had his second surgery. What I've done after the initial work is set up one line of raised trot poles in the center of the arena and four jumps (one at each corner) and I just weave back and forth around them in whatever order seems best. If he gets rushy we do the trot poles.

If Dusty's in full drag mode I'd have two lines of cavaletti set up and only one (very small) jump in the middle so he's mostly doing the trot poles and doesn't get up much momentum. Also don't ask for too much at once. I clicked/rewarded for good form over a single line of trot poles, then had him clear the jump separately, then clicked again for good form on the trot poles, then for the trot-AND-jump he got a jackpot and then back to the trot poles without jumps to reinforce calm trotting. The great thing about using clicker training in this context is the side effect that they hear that click in midair and come to a screeching halt all on their own to get their goody! It really helps with the horse's motivation to stay with you and not rush off afterwards. There's little danger of losing the forward because the horse still enjoys jumping and continuing on to the next jump is a reward in itself.

So chunk it down into simple requests ("Trot the poles. Reward. Trot the poles with a crossrail at the end. Reward. Trot more poles. Reward. Trot poles then take two strides and do a small jump. Reward. Trot poles then take two strides and do a small jump then trot over one or two ground poles. Jackpot!" Etc.) Keep your sessions short and positive and since you know your horse can already jump, put your emphasis on teaching balance through pole work. The jumping will follow naturally.

Leia

Edited to add: Backing up should be a forward movement in itself if done properly. The horse must shift his weight rearwards, round his back and lift his legs in careful diagonal pairs so backing up is often used in ridden work (yes, even classical dressage) to help the horse rebalance onto his hindquarters. To me it's important that the horse has a basic understanding of his job before using this tool but it does help. It's sort of a mega-halfhalt and should not cause the horse to be less forward but rather more balanced. Some jumpers rush because they're off-balance so it could be a helpful technique if that's the case. Doesn't sound like it is with either Dusty or Kody though.
 
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