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Making Plans for Wizard

December 10, 2008


Making Plans for Nigel/Wizard…

When I tested Wizard on Monday night, he got an A+ on his report card with every behavior and habit. Here’s what we have right now:

Longe a few rotations at the trot without violently stopping or spinning- check
Stand quietly at mounting block- check
Stand quietly facing away from arena door for about a minute- check
Walk under saddle with a decent forward walk without any balking- check, but ongoing
No tightening or bunching up at the walk- check, but ongoing
Walking forward after a halt- check, but still needs work
Lead from left and right side- check
Walk comfortably over ground poles under saddle and in hand- check
Clicker training: head down for 3 seconds- check
Clicker training: target objects high (dressage letters) and low (jump poles)- check
In-hand work: walk, halt, and jog with little rein/leadline contact- check, but still needs work
Grooming/crossties: stand quietly and be less sensitive to grooming- check, but ongoing
Walking comfortably in an arena with another horse and with lots of jumps in the arena (he had a blowup with another horse and a bunch of jumps in one of our first sessions)- check

Some goals for the winter- thanks to the suggestions of my favorite training books/methods, as well as some esteemed equine colleagues:

Clicker behaviors: Begin work with standing squarely beginning with standing one hoof on a piece of cardboard, learn to stretch his neck up, out, down, to the side, continue liberty work with clicker, and teach safe tricks like smiling.

Begin very basic under saddle trot work with the goal of improving forwardness and also improving Wizard’s overall balance and flexibility. Begin the free walk under saddle, starting with the diagonal, then advancing to a shallow loop.

Work with moving his haunches in and out at the walk with the goal of helping to straighten his gaits and control the hind end.

Introduce turn on the forehand, first on the ground, then under saddle.

Work on various exercises with a square of 4 ground poles to improve Wizard’s balance, attention to detail (for me and Wizard), subtlety of my cues, submission, placement of hooves, relaxation, and working with obstacles. Walk into square, halt, walk out. Turn on forehand in square. Walk in, quarter turn, walk out. Back Wizard in. Put front feet in the square and hinds out and ask for him to take sideways steps keeping the pole under his belly, starting with a few steps and ending with the entire square. Also, ride through and learn to back through an L-shaped chute of ground poles. Also, place a barrel on its end and ask him to keep his nose to it as he pivots around it- this will help with hind and front end control as well as taking bigger steps in hind end to match smaller strps in front.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2008 10:50 pm

    It’s great to articulate goals isn’t it. I’m seriously considering setting up another blog to just document the dogs and their training. Might be just what i need to get me working hard at it again.

    Great post!

  2. December 11, 2008 1:36 am

    Thanks so much!

    I’m so glad that I had the inspiration from friends and the motivation from within to keep this going. I hope you do the same- looking forward to reading it!


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