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Go Back   Talk Budgies Forums > Off Topic > Lighthearted and Upbeat Chit Chat Only > Other Pets


Other Pets Share pictures and stories about your non-avian pets
Thread Description:Dressage, Liberty, Trick Training

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  #21  
Old 12-01-2018, 11:02 PM
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I'm in total awe ... I just don't have the words to express it.
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This is really fascinating, well done.
I'm so glad I have an eager audience! Sharing this journey is so much more worthwhile with others taking part in it

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  #22  
Old 12-03-2018, 12:35 PM
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Same as Deborah said... I also donít have all the words to express how in awe I am at your (and Tessaís) accomplishments, and your application of your training knowledge! Wow!

Iím learning more and more about horses from this thread . Your photos and videos look professional Katie .
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:43 PM
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Wow! Can't believe it's been 2 months since I've updated! We've been surviving the cold...barely. I still teach 2 lessons a week (most of which takes place outdoors), work Tessa 4-5x a week, and work Sioux 2x a week. So I definitely have some progress to share! I am also taking an online course in equine massage therapy. After the course, I can be certified in equine massage, which will save me money on Tessa (who we often have to call a masseuse out for) and hopefully allow me to book some appointments in the future. Since I hope to train client horses in college, it also is a very helpful tool: in my experience, a big chunk of behavioral issues stem from physical pain. I'll continue to take online equine classes separate from the college I attend, which will help me work toward my PATH certification (officially saying I can practice equine-assisted therapy). My school also assigned a second senior project...wasn't overly thrilled, but I chose to research the myths behind traditional horse training and the science behind positive reinforcement.

It's easiest to just post some video clips to impart the training routine for the horses. It's pretty much impossible to explain otherwise

I have had to do a lot of counter conditioning with Tessa to form positive associations with things that were a negative experience for her before. Like the mounting block (I mentioned she used to be ridden when she had sore muscles and poor saddle fit). Even though that pain is gone and I have done a lot of counter conditioning, to this day I still have to work with her. It's a very slow process in order to do it correctly; you have to work with a horse below its threshold and build up from there. And some horses let go of past experiences easier than others...Tessa doesn't forget easily.

So that's the counterconditioning we've been working on and then some new things I've introduced are as follows: stationary target/mat, cue differentiation, target course, hindquarters target, long-range target, and re-introducing riding again.

So the cue differentiation and target course kind of go together. It's a way for her to move forward and turn without pressure to get her to understand what I'm asking. Sometimes I give her a vocal cue "mat" to stand on her stationary target. Other times I ask her to "touch" the cones, then to "walk on" or "trot." Below are some pictures of her course, complete with mounting block counter conditioning. I taught her to relax when I say "down" which is a good way to equip her to deal with her own anxiety if a sudden stressor occurs. It is also a way for me to tell her that the situation she's in is completely okay.

Let's see...here's a video of her targeting her hindquarters and the captions of how I went about it. It was a very rainy day; I was completely soaked through by the end. Eventually, I'll use this to teach the movement haunches-in for dressage.


I'd say I've been successful in encouraging some energy...I just love her goofy ways so much. Her bucks at the end crack me up: that is some lateral work that ought to take the prize in any dressage test


And here is how I've begun riding again with just +R. Since pretty much all of riding nowadays is done through -R (pressure & release) and +P (punishment) it's taken a bit of thinking to figure out how to go about this- riding with positive reinforcement. Thankfully, most of my riding cues aren't pressure on her sides- it's all from my seat. So that's a blessing, at least. I can pair my cue from my seat with a vocal cue and if she doesn't listen, I don't increase pressure. I figure she didn't respond because she didn't understand or has some other valid reason...I can't assume that I'm a perfect rider. Getting back in the saddle again in winter means that I'm often tight and crooked. When she doesn't respond to a cue, it allows me to see where I need to improve, without moving to "grunt-force" to get her moving. If I force her to move forward, I get tenser and out of an ideal position and she gets upset. So you see, the other way is much better.


Of course I haven't forgotten about dearest Sioux. I am getting so attached to this horse. Leaving 2 horses I love is going to be so much harder when I go for college. My trainer would totally give her to me, but I'm going to have a hard enough time supporting 1 horse in the coming years. We'll see what God has in store for us.

Okay, Sioux's progress: she canters after me, she's getting desensitized to pressure on her sides/back through me leaning over her, and maintaining confidence with the halter. However, one of her biggest troubles has been letting someone lead her from her shoulder. She is fine if she follows behind someone, but if you're at her shoulder she won't move forward. So, since she targets the noodle (my long-range target), I am able to encourage her to move forward without following me. I'm getting to the point where I'm rewarding her as soon as she walks forward with me by her shoulder, not when she touches the target. That way, she understands the behavior I'm looking for is leading from her shoulder. This will allow me to eventually take the target out. You can see that she still lags behind at the trot, but for now I'm just happy that she trotted to my vocal cue. You wouldn't believe how much work it's taken for her to trot after me whenever, or to show any energy for that matter. So proud of the happy, vibrant horse she's become.
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  #24  
Old 02-09-2019, 05:40 PM
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Love the new updates - thank you!
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Old 02-09-2019, 08:24 PM
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This is fascinating and a great window into the mind and emotions of a horse. Love the video of Tessa bucking.
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Old 02-12-2019, 10:02 PM
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Love the new updates - thank you!
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This is fascinating and a great window into the mind and emotions of a horse. Love the video of Tessa bucking.
Thank you for following this thread! Is there anything specific you'd like to see in the future, or are the updates fine?
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Old 02-13-2019, 05:54 PM
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I think the uptakes are great, Katie!
I'm enjoying following the thread and am learning a lot!
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:53 AM
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It's great that you are using positive reinforcement for Tessa and Sioux, instead of the 'traditional' negative reinforcement methods typically used in horse training.

Tessa's colouring is quite unique, I don't think I have seen any red dun pintos. She's very pretty.

Just curious, how old is Tessa?
How long have you owned her?
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:11 PM
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It's great that you are using positive reinforcement for Tessa and Sioux, instead of the 'traditional' negative reinforcement methods typically used in horse training.

Tessa's colouring is quite unique, I don't think I have seen any red dun pintos. She's very pretty.

Just curious, how old is Tessa?
How long have you owned her?
Thank you! I've loved researching the science behind horse training and have experienced the benefits of +R firsthand. Tessa is indeed a rare color, but one I had always wanted. Still can't believe I ended up with her!

Tessa is 12 (turns 13 April 24) and I've had her for 3 years...4 on May 29. She has changed the way I've done everything with her and horses! Such a blessing and wonderful teacher
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Old 02-19-2019, 05:36 PM
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It sounds like you were meant to have her then, you work well together.

She's still fairly young then. You're so lucky to know her actual birthday, I celebrate Bennys on 1st of August as no one seems to know his.
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