On Monday we had been prepared to maneuver horses. That was July 4th, Independence Day – very applicable. We moved the Iceys first. Each horses loaded like a dream. I do love good loaders! And I by no means take it with no consideration when horses load nicely. They travelled over with the final of the spherical pen panels and a load of stall mats. We obtained all the things unloaded, the Iceys settled, after which went again for the opposite three. None of them had been on a trailer in years. Magnat hadn’t been on a trailer in near fifteen years. He has a coronary heart situation, so early on I made the choice that he didn’t must journey. And Peregrine had an early historical past of being a decided non-loader. I by no means know what to anticipate from him. The previous few instances he’s traveled, he’s been good to load, however I by no means take this with no consideration.
Peregrine was the primary on. I like my trailer. It has so many configurations for a horse to journey in – straight load, slant load, field stall, no matter fits the horse finest. Peregrine tensed up after I tried him in a straight stall, so I let him get off and loaded him up entrance within the slant load. That he was okay with. So subsequent got here Magnat and eventually Robin. Each horses walked straight on as if they’d been trailering each weekend. Good horses! 5 horses – 5 simple masses. That’s what I like, and I by no means take it with no consideration or fail to understand horses who load comfortably onto trailers. So now the horses reside in the midst of a development zone. And they’re taking all of the noise and the equipment clattering round exterior nicely of their stride. It’s superb what horses could be completely blasé about. A great deal of stone could be dumped proper exterior the sector door, they usually don’t even elevate their heads from the hay.
The horses are settling nicely into their new life-style. I knew as soon as we obtained them out of the boarding state of affairs we might see modifications. They’re already a lot extra relaxed, a lot much less testy and fussed by folks. Peregrine is the one one who hasn’t settled in nicely. He’s not bothered by the development, however he’s clearly anxious about not being in his acquainted atmosphere, so I’ve been tenting out on the enviornment to ensure he’s okay by the evening. The boarding barn the place they lived for years had set hours. I couldn’t go see them within the early morning. Now I’m on the market daily earlier than daybreak doing chores.
At clinics we at all times start by going across the group and catching up on what everybody has been doing with their horses. Individuals will usually very apologetically say they haven’t executed very a lot. They haven’t had time to journey. Properly I positively would fall into that class. For the time being there’s no time and positively no power left to journey. However that doesn’t imply that good coaching isn’t occurring. I get to work together with the horses a lot greater than I did within the boarding state of affairs. I at all times did all of the night chores, however now I’m there all through the day.
Certainly one of my favourite John Lyons’ quotes is “Good coaching must be boring to observe”, which means there shouldn’t be a variety of Hollywood theatrics occurring. There shouldn’t be horses rearing or bucking their riders off into the rafters. Good coaching ought to appear to be a nicely run classroom. It may be a beehive of exercise. There could be tons occurring. There can definitely be a lot of laughter, however there must also be an underlying sense of stability. I used to be going to put in writing order and management, however these are such loaded phrases. Stability and a way of goal are higher.
We have a tendency to think about coaching as one thing separate, one thing we do after the chores are executed. And I definitely usually get requested the right way to handle all of the “mom’s little helpers” who hover about entering into issues. How do you do chores while you’ve obtained a clicker-trained horse glued to your aspect wanting consideration? I do know some folks clear up this through the use of the presence of their deal with pouch as a cue for coaching time. After they simply wish to do chores, they take their pouch off. It’s a technique that works for them, however with my very own horses, I’d see that as missed alternatives.
Once I’m round my horses, I at all times have my vest on, and I at all times be certain there’s a superb provide of hay stretcher pellets within the pockets. This morning after I was cleansing stalls, Robin and Peregrine had free run of the sector. Robin had taken himself off to eat the hay I’d put out of their “grazing” space. Peregrine was sticking to me like a barnacle. Of all of the horses he’s the one who has struggled probably the most adjusting to the transfer. He’s wanted a variety of reassurance, and a variety of social time. So when he adopted me into Robin’s stall, I didn’t ship him away so I might get executed sooner. I let him hover round me. When he requested for social time, I rubbed his face, I stroked his neck. I didn’t click on and reinforce him for these interactions. However I did click on and reinforce for different issues, resembling an supplied pose. He’s utterly comfortable with clicker coaching. He is aware of the treats are usually not going to go away, so he doesn’t get anxious after I’m not clicking each little factor. I’m at all times a clicker coach when I’m with my horses, however that doesn’t imply I’m at all times clicking.
There’s a lot good coaching that may be executed while you’re doing chores. Once I wanted Peregrine to shift out of the way in which of the wheel barrow, I requested for backing, or for lateral shifts of stability. We wove out and in of the stalls with Peregrine making means for me as I wanted to maneuver the wheel barrow or usher in water buckets. Who would have thought cleansing a stall could possibly be such a dance!
On the boarding barn the horses couldn’t be unfastened within the aisle whereas I labored. That’s one thing I missed. In a number of the small barns the place Peregrine has lived, we had the luxurious of with the ability to let the horses wander about as they happy. That’s been one thing I’ve been wanting ahead to with the ability to do with the horses. It’s so clicker suitable. If we wish pondering horses, we have to give them an atmosphere wherein we may give them decisions and a few levels of freedom.
Now my coaching time simply seems like stall cleansing. These maneuvers we’ve been working towards in our formal coaching classes to construct good stability are simply as wanted right here however for very sensible causes. So the coaching session that I’d have had within the boarding barn, out within the enviornment, in a proper work session, asking Peregrine to again up, to yield his hips, to step over laterally, I can now have cleansing a stall. Subsequent time I work formally, I anticipate I’ll discover I’ve a tuned-up horse to play with, not one who’s stiff and rancid from an excessive amount of break day throughout my journey season.
I’m having fun with these small interactions. I get to test in on manners. Once I deliver the hay cart into the sector, are manners preserved? Can I stroll down the row of stalls passing hay out to the opposite horses with out Robin or Peregrine making a fuss. Can I deliver the buckets of grain out and have the horses go to their stalls? We hear a lot about “respect”. Right here in all of the small interactions of chores I get to seek out out what that actually means. The horses got here into this case with a lot of good coaching, however particular boarding home manners from years of being fed by youngsters who simply needed to get the hay and grain handed out as rapidly as doable so they may get again to their buddies. Now I get to form higher manners. It’s nothing fancy. For those who got here to the sector, you wouldn’t see horses doing “circus tips”. As a substitute you’d see them accompanying me by the circulate of the day’s chores, backing when requested, maneuvering out of the way in which when wanted, sharing my time and a focus with the opposite horses. It’s simply quiet coaching that anybody can do, and that has such good ripples into the all the things else I’ll wish to do with them.
Whereas I’m within the enviornment with the horses, I can hear the work crews exterior. The excavator is again on the job, constructing the composter and the ramps. I used to be impressed by how nicely the horses dealt with having the work occurring instantly exterior the sector. That they had in the future to settle in, then on Wednesday the excavator arrived along with his heavy tools. With the open wall on the entrance aspect the horses can see the bulldozer because it trundles alongside forwards and backwards throughout the entrance of the sector smoothing out the highest of the hill and pushing the surplus dust over to construct the entry ramps. Out the again door they will watch because the again hoe tears down much more bushes to punch a gap by the hedge row into the again discipline. They didn’t thoughts in any respect when he dug a deep trench for a culvert pipe or introduced stone in to cowl it up.
I’m penning this on July twenty third and the entrance nonetheless isn’t completed. The comb remains to be there, but it surely’s been consolidated into one pile. The ramps are formed, however not surfaced so that they nonetheless aren’t actually usable, and with out the ultimate ending work, we nonetheless can’t fence the sphere, so the horses have been confined to the indoor for nearly three weeks.
The composter is sort of completed. I’ve been bagging all of the manure into trash luggage so we don’t appeal to flies to an unmanaged manure pile. It’s an enormous hassle, and I now have a line of trash luggage a number of layers thick lining the lengthy aspect of the sector. I inform myself they function short-term kickboards. I shall be very glad when the composter is usable, however I’m glad I obtained to see how the inspiration for it was constructed. It’s far more of a basis than something we’ve executed for the barns. They dug out the financial institution and put poured concrete frost partitions.
It’s all a piece in progress. And it is rather a lot an train in utilizing clicker coaching ideas exterior the coaching enviornment. I’ve heard so many tales about development tasks, they usually all appear to incorporate a stage the place issues get delayed and are held up. We’re on this stage now. The builder can’t depart his different challenge to return work on ours. We’ve been promised a full crew in August. So I’ll finish this report right here and choose it up later when extra of the work has been executed.
July 23, 2011
Postscript: This journal leaves you with the barn half constructed. You may learn the conclusion of the barn constructing saga in my weblog: theclickercenterblog.com
The following installment will deliver us ten years ahead. I’ll share some favourite images from the Clicker Heart.
Thanks for sharing this look again on the Barn’s development.