Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lesson on Ladd, Game Show, and Jumping

I had my lesson with Karin on Ladd Friday. That was...just as insane as my other lessons with Karin. It's sort of hard to describe :P but I'll try my best.
We started out just working on circles, getting him to bend and getting me to sit up straighter. Height apparently hinders sitting up straight; apparently I have a turtle back :P. I think I knew that already.
We worked on circles at a trot first, then moved to a canter, and it actually went really well. I thought the lesson would revolve around Ladd and how to ride him better...but in the first half of the lesson I had the thought "Wait...I'm riding Ladd!" because he was so good, we were focusing so much on me and how I was riding, I sort of forgot who I was on. :)
Jean warned me the other day about taking breaks. She said that, though Bubba is known for doing better if you ride him, then walk him a bit, give him a break, and then keep going, Ladd is the complete opposite. He's bad after breaks.
He was really really good the first half. Then I got tired cantering (my biceps are not used to that work at all :-/), and Karin let us walk and rest. We went back to "riding" riding, and whoa...it was insane. We were cantering, my arms were SCREAMING. She was talking about riding "up" not "rocking" with his canter, not letting my mid-body move, just letting my hips move, and hugging him more with my ankles and legs to quiet my body and allow him to canter more forward and "springy" like for jumping...It went ok at first. But then...I don't know. The entire time we were cantering I was conscious that I was breathing in gasping breaths through my mouth, because I was working hard...but at some point it just went downhill. His break made him even stronger yet (such an event horse :P) and we were doing a canter in a small circle, and he just went faster...and faster....and faster. And Karin was telling me "slow your body and he'll slow down, just make your body quiet" and telling me all this other junk, but...I was gasping for breath. I
could not stop him. I was trying so hard and he was going faster and faster and I'm GASPING for air, saying incoherent things as I gasp for breath, things such as "crap...Karin...dying....can't breathe...can't breathe...my arms....can't stop....gasp gasp gasp...air...karin....help" etc. Seriously, you can laugh. Of course looking back my pathetic-ness is hilarious, but that point...holy canoli, I seriously truly believed I was going to die...like, just bail and fall on the ground and pass out. And of course she's telling me what to do and I'm not listening to a word and there comes the inevitable "good, that's better! Good" and I'm like "Lady, I have not listened to a word you're saying, I'm just trying to survive the next time around this canter circle, but I'm glad I'm apparently improving". I'm not really sure how, but I guess I did manage to slow my body, because I did get him to a walk again...Karin was like "Melissa! I thought you were stronger than that!" (sheepish grin...or grimace....). In the end, I walked him out while Karin set up a crossrail for Oliver's lesson coming up...or so I thought. I'm all relaxed, cooling out, breathing through my nose again, and she says "Ok, pick him up to a trot again and take him over the crossrail".
She just had to be kidding me.
I'm thinking along the lines of: if he's strong on the flat, I do NOT want to experience a jump on him quite yet.
I was like "Yeah I talked to Jean. She was like 'I will be seriously jealous if you're the first to jump him' ". Karin was like "Oh it's fine, just take him over."
Oky-dokey then.
He was great jumping. He
stayed to a trot. He didn't rush the fence, and he cantered after but came back down fairly easily. We jumped it four times (!) ( ;) :P) and I'm still alive to tell the tail. It was a tiny jump, but he rounded really nicely over it :) Good boy.
So it ended on a good note. Of course, I was sore, Sore, SORE the next morning...my left calf still hurts to the touch, and I have a blister all up the middle part of my right hand ring finger :P. And my shoulders killed (it's seriously so hard to keep them rolled back :-/ )
I'm going to ride him again tomorrow and Thursday.....my official last exam was today and I'm free!!

So onto my pony, who is just absolutely amazing and such a great ride compared :P (I do really like riding Ladd....Daisy's just simple(r) all the time :P)

We went to an evening game show with our 4H club on Saturday, but had a practice mounted meeting the night before. We practiced games, and pick-up race, where you race down the end of the ring, pick up another rider, and race back. I practiced with Sara from our club (You don't know our club so I don't have to specify which sara; there are 3 :P). She sat behind Daisy's western saddle and rode around walk and trot...I told her she couldn't leave without trying a canter "Fine...ONE STRIDE" (easier said than done, haha :P) We went into the canter, and ended up doing it way more than one stride :P Daisy was really awesome for it. She wasn't phased at all :)

Game show went well...Didn't end until just before midnight (starting at 5) and that was with one event scratched, but Daisy was good. We actually placed (!!!) 5th in Keyhole which was a big deal because we NEVER place, and we didn't even get last place! (I think there were 10 people in the division). We didn't place in poles (pictures below). We were doing really well, but she was so into gamer-mode, she turned and skipped the second pole of the weave...so we had to go back and do it (that's why she's on such an angle below) and lost time.
We did quadrangle barrels and she was AWESOME. I really think we should have placed; she had neat, tight turns, and a lot of speed...cloverleaf was our last event and I didn't push her, we didn't place; no surprise. It was a lot of fun though :) and I really think the vinegar is making a difference.

Then yesterday I jumped her in Jean's arena...stadium jumps on her are really disappointing...she definitely jumps XC way better....simply because the she takes the jumps seriously. She just blows off stadium :P So there's the video below....I know I really shouldn't two point so much...or at all...it's just so habit, and I need more time jumping to force myself not to do it.

Also, does anyone have any experience clicker training horses? It looks like fun; just want some input.


Sydney_bitless said...

Been there, the I am doing to die because this horse is not slowing and my body is giving in feeling.

Clicker training is wonderful. I personally do not use clickers anymore.
See theres essentially two ways humans/dogs/cats/horses etc learn. Negative reinforcement EG- teaching a horse to move off your leg. When you squeeze and the horse walks forward you release the pressure and he learns to avoid the pressure he needs to walk forward.
And positive reinforcement Eg- Teaching a horse to pick up his feet and giving him a treat every time he lifts his leg until he begins offering it willingly every time, sometimes even before you ask because he knows theres a positive outcome to the behaviour (a treat!)
It's been proven that horses are more likely to retain and offer a behaviour when taught with positive reinforcement. An example of this is Sophie, the morgan mare I sold of ours last summer. She seriously did not get the point of setting up for halter. I tried for months to get her to stretch out and stand there. She would do it after about 5 minutes of arguing but would fidget and take far too much time to get where I wanted in the first place. So I got out the ol bag of treats and started giving her a treat every time she moved a front hoof up to stretch. Add about 15 more minutes onto that and I had a horse that not only stretched up willingly and perfect every time the first show I took her to she stretched up and stood like a rock for TWENTY MINUTES (there were 21 horses in the class) between two horses snaking all over the place and running their handlers down, screaming out and everything else you could imagine. She ended up getting second, the good girl.

The clicker is good because you can "charge" the clicker (click and feed a treat, click and feed a treat etc etc) and then start teaching tricks. Eventually after a wile they associate the click with a treat and positive things you don't need the treats and can offer a click to say "yes thats good! That is what I want"

Michaela said...

I bought this book a long time ago on sale at a tack shop. It's called; "The Truth About Horses" by Andrew McLean. It is all about how to train your horses based on how they learn, etc. It is really quite interesting. It explains a lot of what Sydney just said but in more detail and several other concepts. One thing it mentions is an experiment done by Pavlov using a clicker.

You need a target like a frisbee (I use the lid from my Strongid), a clicker, and treats (I use animal crackers). I let Indigo loose in the arena but round pens are fine too.
You start by taking the target and touching it to your horses nose while at the same time clicking. Then take the target away and give the horse a treat. Repeat this several times, and then hold the target nearby while clicking and the horse should put his nose to the target in order to get a treat. After a while, you can throw the target or hold it high, low, etc, and the horse will find it and touch his nose to it. I do this with Indigo when: a)I have nothing better to do, b)when my dad forgets to pick me up and I am stuck at the barn, or c) I am too lazy to ride but still want to see my pony :-P. I call it supplemental training because it doesn't really serve a purpose besides filling time, but it is quality time to spend with your horse. I don't like doing the same thing everyday so things like this help vary it up. And it is really neat. Indigo will run after me and jump over things to find the target and get his treat. :-) And now I am curious if I can do this to help him get over his thing with water. He isn't scared of it, he just doesn't like getting wet. Maybe he'll follow me across water to get a treat?

ILJ said...

oh I know what you mean! i had a lesson like that yesterday, but not nearly as bad as how you felt. I just oculdn't breath :P

will you be jumping him a lot? will you be taking lessons from Karin a lot?

Mellimaus said...

Thanks for your input everyone!...I've been reading online about clicker training horses but almost no one has said anything about getting to the point where you don't use treats anymore...so I just wondered :P. I want to use it to be able to teach her stuff; sort of like tricks, I guess...first one being to walk over a tarp :P because I'm waiting for the day where we'll need to in trail classes.

ILJ: I'm not gonna lesson with Karin more on Ladd...but I will jump him. I did today already. Video up in a bit :)


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