Lol. Trick training, 202. Not 101. I think Luke is well past trick training 101 at least where the bow and Spanish Walk are concerned. They are coming along very well. Luke is a pro at bowing now, he goes down and stays down for several seconds and holds his weight on his knelt leg. I think the next step I’m going to attempt to do is to teach him to bow just by pointing to the ground, so I don’t have to bend over beside him. I can get him to Spanish Walk by pointing and he is up to 4 steps of the proper Spanish Walk.
I purchased a book called Trickonometry that explains teaching basic tricks to your horse and some more advanced ones like bow, kneel, and lay down. Personally, I have to say, I am not finding the book as useful as I hoped. It details teaching the horse to shake their head by using a nail to poke them until you get the reaction they want. To teach a bow, using ropes and whips, and doesn’t go into Spansih Walk at all, yet ironically, it is pictured on one of the introduction pages.
I have never used a whip to get Luke (or Dixie) to do the moves I want, and in my experience of teaching these tricks “properly” with Spyder, my ex mare I used to own, using the whip produces negative results for both horse and handler, mainly frustration. In my experience, the horse just doesn’t get it – tap the leg until they move it and if they don’t move it, tap harder and harder. I just about got my head double barreled off of me by Spyder with all the pointless tapping. I stopped using a whip and she learned the tricks.
It may be wrong, it may be amateur, but I like my non-invasive methods of teaching these tricks. I will make a serious effort to get some video up of Luke’s progression with the Spanish Walk soon.
But I do plan on using a whip in the “202” stage of learning. Luke is at the point where pointing to his legs will get him to Spanish Walk, and barely have to cue him to bow, I do have to hold the carrot to the ground, so I have to bend over. I’d like to get him to where I can just cue him to bow by tapping the whip to the ground.
I have a plan for doing this, I don’t know if it will work or not, but I think in the next trick training session, probably next week, I will attempt to start this. I think I should bring the video camera. Using the whip to point to his legs will also add some much needed distance between me and his front legs. He accidentally nailed me in the knee cap during our session yesterday and it’s made a black and blue mark that is rather painful. That little hackney has quite the Spanish step! LOL! I can’t wait to see him perfect this and walk a good 10 or 12 steps properly, I figure that’s about the distance down a center line for driven dressage freestyle.
Dixie is learning, she is finally kicking her legs out properly for the Spanish walk, but she tires of it easily and is not as interested, so progression is very slow with that. I’m also trying to teach her turn a circle on cue, so we’ll see how that shapes up over the next several weeks.
I want to start building a pedestal for trick training to continue, and get pool noodles and a tarp and any other spooky scary streamer glittery flying thingy’s I can come up with to start desenitization 101.
Now Luke and Dixie are already at desentization 1/2 0f 1/2, lol! Dixie wears a tarp wrapped up around her and goes over under and through anything you want with no reservation. She’s a tough little mini that doesn’t spook easily at pretty much anything ~ except the donkey down the street while we’re trying to drive past and he’s running and braying! LOL!
Luke, too will also drive through flying tarps and streamers as well as stand on tarps and drive over tarps and through cones and pretty much most other things. Luke and Dixie prefer not to go through water, so we’ll be working on that this summer – every times we get a hard rain, part of the street just down from the barn floods, so it will be a perfect (and deep) experience for them to drive through, they they cannot get around at all.
Luke gets a little jumpy sometimes about being haltered, he will play games with you and run away, not letting you halter him, he will also flinch if a lead rope is waved around, so if you’re trying to sneak the lead rope over his neck while he’s near you, you can’t, because he’ll jump away. He does this about once every 3 months, and it’s more of an annoyance that anything, but I hoping a little lead rope desenitization will help, so our last session began that particular training. He stood quite well (in the round pen with a halter on), while I was waiving the lead rope every which way, popping it across his back and looping his legs with it. He relaxed enough that I got him to Spanish Walk while the lead rope was being flailed. Perfect.
Since I dont’ have my own horse to work with (and never will, mind you), I do plan on spending the summer working on tricks with the ponies and desenitizing them to just about everything I can come up with. I’ll be sure to keep video record of my progress and continue making YouTube videos!