Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Update

I'm shocked at how much time has passed since my last post. At least I'm spending (slightly) more time with my horse than I am blogging. :-)

I was just outside removing blankets (sunny & 25 degrees) and feeding. While waiting for Smokey to finish eating, Guinness & Cody instigated a clicker training (CT) session with me. Cody has finally learned his first behavior taught entirely through CT. He can now "smile" on cue and is very proud of it!! He is well on his way to "shaking hands" (lifting his front leg) and next will be picking up a glove.

Guinness had two triumphs this morning:

1. I can now stand on the other side of a fence, tip my head in the direction that I want him to turn, then raise my opposite hand and make a spinning motion with my hand and he will spin in that direction and return to facing me. It works in both directions!

2. I can gesture at his front foot and tap his hind leg and he will lift his left forefoot high and right hind at the SAME TIME. This is the beginning of a piaffe on cue at liberty!

He will alternate lifting his forefeet depending on which side of his withers I tap. (I need to remember to play with asking him to lift alternate hind feet with a hip tap.) I think that I'm going to expand my cue for the forefeet into snapping my fingers and reaching with the arm that I want him to mimic, while facing him. Then I'll turn and teach it to him while facing the same direction that he is. This should allow us to morph it into a "stick to me" game with extension and/or elevation of the forelegs. How fun!!

While Guinness was smiling at me, I noticed that he has lost one of his lateral incisor baby teeth and another one is very loose. I think that he was showing them to me.

For more information on young horse dentition, visit this website:

I've heard that it is supposed to warm up to near 50 degrees next Thursday, so I'm going to plan to spend the day playing horsey!!


Julie K said...

Awesome! I definitely need to try the spin thing! My horse loves tricks...his first was "paw" and now he bows on command.

How do you teach them to "smile?"

Parelli Central said...

Very cool!

Petra Christensen
Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
Parelli Central