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.