Adventures in Clicker Training Continued

My lesson on Tuesday was very intense and I didn’t think I could reproduce it on my own.  I’ve decided to up my lessons for a couple of weeks from two to three until I get it and feel I could practice on my own.  In between is giving me a great opportunity to practice with the clicker.

As I mentioned in my last post, I thought PJ would need a little time to digest his clicker lesson and I was right. Today, he came out and moved off my leg right away.  If yesterday was a 4, today was a 7.  Of course, part of it could have been that it was cooler today and so he was more willing to go forward.  I started with halt-walk, and got him to go a quarter around the ring in a nice marching walk. I made sure not to press my luck and not wait for him to slow down, which would have defeated the exercise.  I always clicked in the middle of a great walk.  He did so well, I tried a couple of walk-trot transitions.  I only let him trot two or three strides before clicking, stopping, and treating.  I also did turn-on-the-haunches in both directions. He seemed to really get those.

One thing I changed from yesterday was that I didn’t reward him for walking off on his own – only if I asked.  I could see him one day taking off whenever he wanted thinking he was doing the right thing if I didn’t nip that one in the bud now.  One interesting thing is that I got that marching walk and the walk-trot transitions without the use of any spur or whip.  Cool.

I thought he did so well, that I took it outside. Not unexpectedly, he reverted back to where he was yesterday.  I just did halt-walk transitions until he marched off.  Then I quit for the day.

I do see that I have a happier horse, which is part of my goal.  I now just have to keep him that way.  At my lessons, I’m not going to ride with the clicker. I don’t think that will confuse him too much.  I kinda want to do an experiment and not tell Barbara what I’m working on to see if she can see a difference on her own.  We’ll see.  If PJ seems confused or unhappy, I’ll re-evaluate this decision.

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