Half 7 – The Clicker Middle Weblog

On Monday we have been prepared to maneuver horses. That was July 4th, Independence Day – very acceptable. 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 properly. They travelled over with the final of the spherical pen panels and a load of stall mats. We bought every thing 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 couple of 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 really 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 greatest. Peregrine tensed up once 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 at last Robin. Each horses walked straight on as if they’d been trailering each weekend. Good horses!   5 horses – 5 simple hundreds. 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 live in the course of a development zone. And they’re taking all of the noise and the equipment clattering round exterior properly of their stride. It’s superb what horses might be completely blasé about. A great deal of stone might be dumped proper exterior the sector door, they usually don’t even raise their heads from the hay.  

The horses are settling properly into their new life-style. I knew as soon as we bought them out of the boarding scenario we’d see modifications. They’re already a lot extra relaxed, a lot much less testy and fussed by individuals. Peregrine is the one one who hasn’t settled in properly. 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 area to ensure he’s okay by means of 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 all the time start by going across the group and catching up on what everybody has been doing with their horses. Folks will usually very apologetically say they haven’t executed very a lot. They haven’t had time to trip. Properly I positively would fall into that class. In the mean time there’s no time and positively no vitality left to trip. 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 scenario. I all the time did all of the night chores, however now I’m there all through the day.  

One in all my favourite John Lyons’ quotes is “Good coaching must be boring to observe”, that means there shouldn’t be lots of Hollywood theatrics happening. There shouldn’t be horses rearing or bucking their riders off into the rafters. Good coaching ought to seem like a properly run classroom. It may be a beehive of exercise. There might be heaps happening. There can actually be plenty of laughter, however there must also be an underlying sense of stability. I used to be going to jot down order and management, however these are such loaded phrases. Stability and a way of function are higher.  

We have a tendency to consider coaching as one thing separate, one thing we do after the chores are executed. And I actually usually get requested find out how to handle all of the “mom’s little helpers” who hover about moving into issues. How do you do chores once you’ve bought a clicker-trained horse glued to your aspect wanting consideration? I do know some individuals clear up this through the use of the presence of their deal with pouch as a cue for coaching time. After they simply need to do chores, they take their pouch off. It’s a method that works for them, however with my very own horses, I might see that as missed alternatives.

Once I’m round my horses, I all the time have my vest on, and I all the time be certain that there’s a superb provide of hay stretcher pellets within the pockets. This morning once 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 lots of reassurance, and lots 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 fully comfortable with clicker coaching. He is aware of the treats will not be going to go away, so he doesn’t get anxious once I’m not clicking each little factor. I’m all the time a clicker coach when I’m with my horses, however that doesn’t imply I’m all the time clicking.  

There’s a lot good coaching that may be executed when you are 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 steadiness. We wove out and in of the stalls with Peregrine making approach for me as I wanted to maneuver the wheel barrow or herald water buckets. Who would have thought cleansing a stall might 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 among the small barns the place Peregrine has lived, we had the posh 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 appropriate. If we would like considering horses, we have to give them an atmosphere by which we can provide them selections and a few levels of freedom.

Now my coaching time simply appears like stall cleansing. These maneuvers we’ve been practising in our formal coaching classes to construct good steadiness are simply as wanted right here however for very sensible causes. So the coaching session that I might have had within the boarding barn, out within the area, 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 count on I’ll discover I’ve a tuned-up horse to play with, not one who’s stiff and off from an excessive amount of time without work throughout my journey season.

I’m having fun with these small interactions. I get to test in on manners. Once I carry 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 carry 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 plenty of good coaching, however particular boarding home manners from years of being fed by children who simply needed to get the hay and grain handed out as shortly as attainable so they may get again to their buddies. Now I get to form higher manners. It’s nothing fancy. In case you got here to the sector, you wouldn’t see horses doing “circus tips”. As a substitute you’d see them accompanying me by means of the move of the day’s chores, backing when requested, maneuvering out of the way in which when wanted, sharing my time and a spotlight with the opposite horses. It’s simply quiet coaching that anybody can do, and that has such good ripples into the every thing else I’ll need to do with them.  

Whereas I’m within the area 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 properly the horses dealt with having the work happening instantly exterior the sector. They’d someday to settle in, then on Wednesday the excavator arrived along with his heavy gear. With the open wall on the entrance aspect the horses can see the bulldozer because it trundles alongside backwards and forwards throughout the entrance of the sector smoothing out the highest of the hill and pushing the surplus filth over to construct the entry ramps. Out the again door they’ll watch because the again hoe tears down much more timber to punch a gap by means of 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 in order 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 nearly completed. I’ve been bagging all of the manure into trash luggage so we don’t entice flies to an unmanaged manure pile. It’s an enormous trouble, 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 non permanent kickboards. I shall be very glad when the composter is usable, however I’m glad I bought to see how the muse for it was constructed. It’s way 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 area.  I’ve heard so many tales about development initiatives, they usually all appear to incorporate a stage the place issues get not on time and are held up.  We’re on this stage now.  The builder can’t go away his different challenge to come back work on ours.  We’ve been promised a full crew in August.  So I’ll finish this report right here and decide it up later when extra of the work has been executed.

Alexandra Kurland


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 subsequent installment will carry us ten years ahead. I’ll share some favourite pictures from the Clicker Middle.Thanks for sharing this look again on the Barn’s development.

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