Lately Zelador has decided that when travelling along the wall to the left he should place his head to the right…bummer.
Today I used the clicker to help him flex to the left. I was in the saddle and we stood still. I said, “left”. When he put his head even slightly to the left I click/treated. After doing it correctly a few times he decided to find out exactly what I wanted and he checked to see if he was correct. You should have seen him searching! He put his head up, he put it down (to the ground), he placed it to the right. He dreamt up a gazillion places to put his head…none of which were to the left! Then, he put it to the left. He did this quickly and was ready to bring it back immediately to the centre or to the right, but I was watching with my eagle eyes and I got in that CLICK when he went left!
During this session I did a few “left” head turns, then walked a quiet circle. After a while I practiced riding him on the left rein, saying “left” and clicking when he got his head just that little bit to the left. He actually started on the left rein much straighter in his neck and head than he’d ever done.
I know that the next time I ride him he’ll act like he’s done “left” all of his life.
Alexandra Kurland says that every day the horse will show you what he needs to work on. But most of the time we aren’t paying attention to the tiny details and we forge ahead and try to fix too many things at once…at least that’s my way of operating (bad!).
On another note: I found two dog toys at the feed mill which just might work with teaching “toss the toy” to the horses. When I showed each one to Zelador (he was in his stall) he happily flipped them a few feet in the air. I’m hoping he can refine this move and toss them into the audience at our next fundraiser when we’re performing “When You’re Happy and You Know It”.
I was also thinking that we just might be able to get some body movements for the “Hokey Pokey”. We’re also brainstorming about a costume for the song, “Alice the Camel has Five Humps”. We’ll figure out a way to remove hump after hump until finally “Alice is a horse”. I mentioned to Ron that there’s a really cute song on one CD I have. It’s about a “boy and a girl in a little canoe, with the moonbeams all around”. Ron said he could picture a person on a horse with a canoe paddle, stroking the imaginary water to “propel” the horse.
…can you tell that it’s been a long winter…