Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Having A Little Fun

So I haven't been doing much with the horses other than routine care.  Chaos reigns in my little universe and I seem to be struggling against the tide of disorder.  But I have found a little time to just have fun with Cricket.

One day last week, I pulled her out to groom her and have a look at her feet.  I incorporated the clicker for picking up and holding her foot.  I would have been more successful without the added task of picking and spraying her feet.  As such, I didn't reward her honest efforts even when they failed to meet my needs for the husbandry tasks I was trying to perform.

Of course Cricket knows to pick up her feet, so why add the clicker.  Because I can.  Because it seems to cause her to become a willing participant in whatever I'm doing.  And it's not as much for the treats as some (even I) might think.  It's because she knows she's right.  And if there is one trait she gets from her two-legged mother, it's a deep love of being right.

Saturday I decided to just play with her.  No plan, no idea - just a loose horse, an arena with stuff in it and a bag of treats with a clicker.  I had my carrot stick to help guide her but tried, as best as I could, to just offer enough pressure to indicate what I might want.

She played with the barrels, the cones and the big bridge.  She offered close range circles at the walk, trot and canter.  She jumped the small cross rail and a single down barrel.  We just played and had fun.  No stress, no worries.  Just having fun together.

And isn't that what this is supposed to be about?

Oh, I did jump on her bareback and bridleless.  We meandered around for awhile and I introduced some C/T for lateral flexion.  That was interesting.  But it was fun.


inchwormwv said...

Fun--good example! Your list of accomplishments is awesome. I cannot wait to get Augie home and spend some no stress time with him.

Mary H. said...

Hi Lisa,

Am catching up on some of the lists I follow and saw your post from about a week ago on clickryder (and then took a trip over to your blog).

Loved your description of your session playing around in the arena. Sounds like you are Cricket were both really having fun.

I'd be interested to hear about your experiences with clicker training in the future!


Mary Hunter

(P.S. I'm cheerios from the It's About The Horse forum.)