Backsliding? Diamond, 7-13-17

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”

My last blog post was about loving latent learning because Diamond pleasantly surprised me by offering clean leg lifts on both front legs and letting me catch and hold each for a second.

Of course, Tuesday was a different day with a “different” horse.  Diamond was not so wonderful that day for whatever reason.  Maybe if I kept a detailed journal and took note of such things as the weather, the time of day, the happenings just before training, etc., I might be able to find something that would tell me why Monday was so great and Tuesday was not.

Since Monday was so great, maybe I got a little greedy and thought I could move on to the next criterion.  I tried knocking my knuckles on the bottom of her right front hoof and, by the second rep, she apparently didn’t like it!

Okay, not such a great idea.  Back up to where she is successful and stay there awhile.

Here are a couple of videos to show what happened after I tried knocking on her sole:

And this next video shows her shoving her shoulder into me while she’s turning around in the wash stall.  Is that supposed to be a message or is it that she just doesn’t know where her body parts are?

Wednesday, she tried hooking her hoof behind my knee.  No thank you!  I’d really rather Diamond didn’t do that!

So what’s going on?  Does she need more days off and I train her only every other day?  Or walk more between sets?  Or put down some free gnoshes (non-contigent reinforcers)?  There’s a hay net right there if she wanted to eat.  There’s another one not far away if she wanted to leave and eat at that one.

Is she a horse that just doesn’t like change?  Does she need to learn more easy behaviors to learn how to guess?  Does it just take awhile to become more resilient to frustration?

In many ways, she seems fearful of touch and fast or unexpected movement.  I don’t think she was abused per se, just not very used to weird human behavior.

Maybe I just need to slow down even more.

We didn’t train today as I had other things to do, so maybe we’ll try something else tomorrow.

To contribute to her fund for her fostering and rehab, please go here.

Her Facebook page can be found here.

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About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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