Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I like being able to look back at past posts and see if I met my goals.  I decided that I needed some firm goals for this winter while I am pregnant.  Boomer clearly has some issues that I have been focusing on lately.  I think that in the past, I was able to overlook some of these issues because I had 'real training' to work on.  Now that riding is less of a priority and I am more sensitive to my fears and safety, a number of issues have come up.  I am taking them as wonderful training opportunities.  

Groundwork Goals:

1.  Get over fear of lead rope dragging
2.  Learn head-down plus 'stay' command
3.  Work on giving to downward and forward pressure on lead rope
4.  Work on standing nicely untied/ground tied
5.  Stand nicely while tied
6.  Become relaxed in cross tie area while unhooked/ground tied
7.  Stand quietly while hooked in cross ties
8.  Accept saddle and girth calmly while untied and tied

Overall, my biggest goal is to be able to trust Boomer.  The things I like least about him are how reactive he is and how nervous he can be.  I hope with trust, work, and age he can become a less reactive horse.  

I'm not sure how you measure success with some of these goals, but I think that markers of success will become more clear as time progresses.  


Judi said...

Well, if those are your goals, you will be glad you are starting clicker training! It helped me with all of them with my horse, Cole.

It may even help with the reactiveness, too, because he will be more focused on you--wondering how he can make the treat machine work!

~ C said...

I had rented a Stacy Westfall video on groundwork and one of the BEST things about that video was a total lightbulb moment for me. She works on desensitizing the horse to both rhythmic stimuli, and reactive stimuli. How she demonstrated this, was say taking a rope and swinging it around gently and slowly - that's rhythmic. They grow used to the movement and eventually settle. The one thing that those of us that self-train sometimes leave out is reactive movements. She'll suddenly jump, or throw her arms in the air, or bend over - very quick and sudden. Her thinking was "I've never had a deer on the trail jump out, and jump back, jump out, jump back."

I started to incorporate this when working with Diego. I would even say "Boo!" and jump and throw my arms out. The first time I did it, he nearly died on the spot from shock and horror. =) Now "Boo" has become a desensitizing word, if he's worried about something, or startles, I say "Boo" and he's like "Oh, nevermind, it's just Mom being weird again." Even when it's stuff like the dog rushing up or not something related to me directly. It's teaching them to curb that startle reflex.

Heather said...

Judi- I am enjoying the clicker training we have started this week! More posts scheduled on that!

~C- That is one of the big issues I have with NH/groundwork trainers- everything is so rhythmic and unrealistic. I would rather just train 'on the go' in real life situations. Maybe I should look into Stacy and see if her methods are more up my alley! Teaching him how to cope in scary situations is much more important to me than teaching him to be unfazed by balloons or tarps.

Shanster said...

Sound like good goals... will be good to watch your progress cuz you know you will progress! grin. My plan is to get Rosso OUT this fall/winter... take him all over, take him out and about til he is bored with it... we'll see if that can really happen. heh heh.

Good luck - we all do the best we can do and any time you spend with him is good.

Heather said...

Shanster- Yes, if nothing else this is giving me something to keep my mind off of feeling guilty about not riding!