Half Pass at Liberty!

Now that Dino is at a new barn with lots of space and arenas to play in, I thought I’d get back to doing what I love….Liberty Training! It’s been eons since I have played with teaching Dino the Half Pass at liberty. So imagine my surprise when I asked for it and Dino gave me a few beautiful steps! Sometimes Dino makes me sooooo happy!

The Half Pass at liberty takes a ton of shaping. Notice the nice bend in his body toward the direction of travel. He leads with his shoulder and crosses over behind. I’d like to see more forward movement, but that will come. Also note that I didn’t use the arena wall or a circle to get the bend. This bend is from straight up shaping! Fun stuff (for a horse training nerd anyway!). Also for my western friends, the primary difference between a Half Pass and a leg yield is the direction of the bend. A bend INTO the direction of travel is a much more difficult gymnastic than a leg yield. Leg yields are pretty straight forward and easy to train (even at liberty). A Half Pass at liberty takes a bit more creativity!

The best part about filming this movement is that I had to change my visual aids. I normally use both arms to cue Dino for a half pass, but that wouldn’t work while holding my camera. So, I improvised trying to do everything with one hand. I held a whip so it would be more visually obvious. In hindsight, the cue looked nothing like the normal cue. Dino was probably just guessing. I only have two movements that I have trained that give commands from behind Dino, and the other cue is very different. The half pass was just a great guess from the dinosaur. It just goes to show how smart horses are. They probably fill in the blanks more often than we think!

Seeing RED….or not.

Ever wonder what colors your horse can see? Horses see color differently than we do.  It is believed that certain colors can appear grey to the horse. So, I thought I’d play around and see what colors Dino can actually “see”…. But first I had to teach him to discriminate between objects, which was kind of interesting.

Day 1:

To start, I thought I’d see if Dino could discriminate between a red and a green bucket. I started with just rewarding him for handing me the red bucket. After a few tries, I introduced the green bucket. Of course he had no idea what I was asking. I have never taught him to discriminate between objects before. The results had me laughing and a maybe even a bit bruised.

I rewarded Dino when he gave me the red bucket, and I ignored him when he tried to hand me the green bucket. He just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t getting a reward for the green bucket, and he started getting violent with it! He slammed it into my leg trying to get my attention. He was basically saying, “Hey lady I am handing you the freakin’ bucket. Take it and give me a treat!!” Do you know hard it is to not respond when your horse is throwing a little tantrum because you won’t take a bucket from him? It cracked me up!

At the end of the first session, Dino was no closer to figuring out what I wanted. So, I ended after he handed me the red bucket and put him away.

Day 2:

Sometimes horses process the lesson when they are sitting in their stall, and that is exactly what happened. I started the lesson the same way I had the day before, but now Dino picked the red bucket 80% of the time! He was figuring the game out.

Day 3:

Dino had a 100% success rate discriminating between the red and green buckets by day 3! He was super confident in this game too. So, I added more buckets. Dino kept a 100% success rate discriminating between 4 different colored buckets. He only faltered when I added the fifth bucket. It was a black bucket.

Horses don’t see color like we do and it is believed that red is not a color they see. In fact, red probably looks grey to a horse. So this dark red/magenta bucket looks almost black to Dino!

Next up, I think I will teach Dino to pick out the green bucket….. This should get interesting!

 

Do Horses see color

 

World’s Best Pony Loves Liberty Jumping!

My daughter ‘s pony Sutter (AKA World’s Best Pony) really took to liberty jump training. He is a pretty athletic little guy and loves to jump, buck and play-basically he loves anything that gets all 4 hooves off the ground. Sutter is just learning how to jump courses, but I can already tell he is going to excel at this ;-). Check out his video below:

 

Oops! Never forget the basic rule of liberty jump training….

There is a right way to liberty jump train and a wrong way. You would think after 30+ years of training, that I wouldn’t miss the #1 fundamental rule in liberty training.

I took Kelsey and pony off site for some jump training, but pony was a little too spooky for her. So lacking all necessary lunging equipment, I decided on an impromptu liberty jump training session. Pony is pretty new to liberty jump training, but he really loves it. I thought it would be the perfect way to get his extra energy out, and it definitely was!

I found 3 out of 4 of the basic “issues”, but judging by the video, finding the unknown last “issue” was the key!

Dino’s Soccer Adventures

There is more than 1 soccer star in the family! Dino has learned to dribble and pass the soccer ball. He knows the goal is to get the ball back to me, but like any soccer star, Dino likes to hog the ball. Sometimes he will dribble for a bit before he passes the ball.

Dino is also only 3 years old in this video and can still lose focus. My favorite clip is when Dino gets distracted and looks away, then looks back at me. Suddenly he remembers we are playing soccer and runs to the ball. Typical 3 year old….Too cute!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: