Every morning I lead Marcus (the yearling Dutch Warmblood colt) into the arena. For the last few weeks I’ve set up the small orange cones made out of rubber, placing a piece of carrot under each of the four cones. I separate them by at least three metres and he goes from one to the other, finding the carrot. After cone/carrot number four I’m his last target. I’m another three metres away, waiting for him. He comes to me and receives a carrot. At that point we retrace his route, picking up the cones. Initially he moved each one with his nose. Now he’s picking up each cone, I take it and give him a treat.
Just for fun I rolled out the large orange jolly ball. It has a handle which is easy for the horses to grasp. Marcus picked the ball up by the handle and tossed it to me! I was about four feet away. The good news is: I caught it. I praised him and decided it’s high time I teach Z and Z to toss things TO me.
I took Marcus out to his paddock and fetched Zeloso. The challenge is to find an object that is easy to toss and does not currently have another job. The orange jolly ball is being used to differentiate between touching with the nose and with the foot. I looked amongst the toys and picked the zebra hat. It’s sort of in the shape of a cowboy hat. Too bad I didn’t think about teaching “toss” way back when the boys were tossing items all over the arena instead of holding onto them and waiting until I took them.
Zeloso thoroughly enjoyed flipping his head up and down and sideways. Accidentally the hat fell out of his mouth. Click/treat! On to Zelador. Somehow I taught him to drop the hat. Hmmm….Maybe with a day of “gap” time he’ll enter the arena tomorrow and would have figured out what I really mean when I say “Toss”!