Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Lily Does Clicker

Today I took Lily out for some more work.  Last fall, I had done a little bit of clicker training with her, and we started that up again.  Clicker is good for Lily - she's very motivated by food treats, and it also gives her something interesting and challenging to do.  We had done a few sessions of work last year in which she had progressed from touching a cone (one of those orange safety cones) with her nose, to having to move around to touch the cone, to standing 50 feet away from me and then cantering over a 3' jump to get to the cone and touch it.  My first goal with clicker training Lily is to have her pick up a cone and carry it over a jump to me.  The purpose of this was for Lily to have some work to do that is interesting to her.

We had also just begun last fall to have her mouth the cone, in preparation for picking it up and carrying it.  All we did today was to remind her of what she had already learned - we had only done 3 or so brief sessions last year but she is a very quick learner.  We worked on touching the cone, touching the cone by having to move a step or two to get to it, and then we worked some more on progressing towards picking up the cone.  At the end of our session, I was clicking and rewarding her when she was mouthing the cone.

Lily would benefit from some challenges - she is a very smart horse and very capable - read my post from yesterday for her history.  I think jumping should be part of whatever we do since she really loves to jump.  I'm somewhat less interested in jumping myself, and Lily is hard to ride over jumps because she has a very round jump that is difficult to ride, so she'll need to do the jumping on her own.  I have a vision that she can do something like dogs do in agility contests - going over obstacles, including jumps, on hand signals from me.  I think we can do this using clicker; we'll have to see.  For now we'll keep on working with our cone exercises, and once that's accomplished - I have no doubt she can learn it if only I can be clear enough in communicating what I want her to do - we'll move on to other exercises.

After a number of cone-mouthings, with clicks and treats attached, we stopped doing that and I bridled her and got on and rode for a few minutes.  Today we went through the maze a few times, and also did some circles and changes of direction, all at the walk.  Then we were done for the day - another successful Lily outing!

12 comments:

  1. Lily is a smart girl. The clicker training sounds interesting. I've been considering this form of training for one of our horses and actually bought some books on the subject.

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  2. I love clickers! It's amazing how quickly the horses catch on. Small steps build really quickly :)

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  3. I've heard a lot of good things about clicker training from those who have practiced it. Glad you had a good day.

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  4. I love CT, especially good for those horses that find it hard to concentrate and brilliant for us humans as we try to train our horses, it begs us to be more accurate with aids and rewarding.

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  5. Trudi - that's one of the most interesting things about clicker training - it's really more about training ourselves to know exactly what we want the horse to do, and then paying close attention so we can reward the horse at the moment the behavior occurs!

    NuzzMuzz - I haven't done much with clicker yet, but so far it's been very interesting, and Lily seems to really enjoy it.

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  6. That sounds so cool!!!!!Well done you and Well done Lily!!!!!! Keep us posted! :)

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  7. Always pooh poohed clicker training until a friend(Trudi) suggest I try it. It really works! Just shows how little I know. !!

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  8. What a brilliant way of keeping Lily interested! I admire how you put so much thought into what is best for each horse you have. Bravo!

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  9. Too cool for words!! Just think, you might start an entirely new kind of competition. Wonder how many people would get into it.

    The best thing is that it is a good challenge for both of you so you can learn and share the experience of experimenting together. That should certainly make Lily happy. (Alpha mare and alpha "mom" working together as a team...)

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  10. I knoiw nothing about the Clicker training...but that is trewat inspired..my Wa mare would go well with this..in fact i do a click(like others do for speed or go) on her to get her attention with treat...is works very well..she will leave hay to come for the click and treat.
    I will be reading for your comments on it!
    Thanmks for Signing up to "Lead/Follow/Share" my blog!
    KacyK

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  11. Jean - Trail Riding Cowgirl of All Things Horses mentioned in a recent post that there are at liberty obstacle classes for miniature horses - I'd love to hear more about that if anyone knows about them.

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  12. I'm a CT newbie! Avoided it for years (thought treating would get me mugged!!) but the boys and me love it! And Trudi's so right - yet another great training system for humans!!

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