Diamond – More Progress – 4-10-2018

Now that the weather is getting somewhat warmer this week (it will be 75 by Friday!), I’ve been trying to train more with Diamond and with Atticus.

Some of the things we’ve been working on is hind-end awareness – backing, backing onto things, teeter board – movement along the fence line, and standing next to the gate to prepare for handling hind legs in protected contact.

I’ve also been trying to clean up handling of the front feet as she tends to wiggle the legs once they’re up.  I breathe a heavy sigh and she drops her shoulder and stops wiggling.  She does very well with this on her left side, not so much on her right; but we’ll get there.

Backing in general is really good and she stands three feet away from the gate now which I’m just thrilled about.  But backing onto something higher than a board has been interesting as she has now added “101 Things To Do With My Head” to the exercise.  Cleaning this up has become a priority for the hind-end awareness work.

Also spring has arrived and the horses can go out more now so we’re also working on putting on the muzzle at liberty in the paddock rather than in the stall.  This is going very well and I’ve included today’s video.

And then, just because, I decided to work with her left hind foot just to see what she offered.  I haven’t felt safe in the past because she was so FAST! with her hind feet.  Today she was much slower in responding to my touch and it felt more “normal”, so I worked with her left hind for a few minutes.  The video is the last 42 seconds of a six-minute session.

Perhaps all of the other work has helped in some way; I don’t really know.  Something I knew already but noticed more today, is that Diamond doesn’t have the best balance and doesn’t know how to correct herself or balance herself in any given situation.  She’ll park out such that picking up a foot would be hopeless.  She’ll also stand in a crooked way so that asking for a hind leg is just asking for problems.  I needed to position her carefully so that she didn’t feel unbalanced and so that asking for the foot would be more controlled.

You’ll see that in this clip I’m trying to click early when she barely loosens the fetlock joint.  Clicking early like this stops the behavior from being extreme – snapping the leg up to the belly.

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

Her Facebook page can be found here.

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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