The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: 2: Backing Tail To Hand
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:10 pm
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Location: Waterloo, IL
I thought I would share the fun way I taught Blade to back to hand (I think that's what you call it, correct me if I'm wrong.) First I got a clicker & some treats :wink: I knew that if I stood behind Blade & motioned in the air he would turn around and come to me, but I tried it anway. He did exactly that. However, I noticed that before he turned, he took one step back and sort of pivoted around. Aha! :D I tried it again, I went behind him, put my hand up in the air & motioned backwards. He took one step back just like the last time, but before he had a chance to pivot around, I clicked! He stopped and got this surprised look on his face, and I ran to give him his treat. :D
I repeated this a few more times and within a few minutes he was backing 2-3 steps! Now I can get him to back as many steps as I want just by standing behind him and motioning with my hand! And this was taught using absolutely no pressure, in fact without even touching him! The power of postive reinforcement! Blade sure loves his carrots! :wink:

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Brittany

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:54 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
Great idea to post this, thanks! :D

I turned it into a sticky with a kind of level tag and a slightly more clear title, so don't think your post is gone. ;)

I love this exercise because it takes away all the 'dominance' pressure from backing up. Most horses dislike backing up because it's most of the time taught by blocking the forwards motion, with backing up as only option. I taught Blacky backing up tail to hand because he needed to strengthen one of his hindlegs more with backing up and sideways movements, and he was getting more and more fed up with backing up with me next or in front of him.

I did it just as you did: I stood behind him and snapped my fingers (our cue to touch my hand), and instead of turning round and walking to me (what I had meant), Blacky stood still for a second, and then backed up towards me, untill his tail touched my hand. He sure earned a lot of treats with that!

The good thing is that he not only invented this himself (I had never seen anyone do it before either, so it truly is his invention), but also that he loves to do this. He will back up 10 to 20 meters, with me telling him how good he is all the way of course. 8)

Sjors invented it the same way recently. Sometimes when I stand further to the side (for example when lungeing) and ask him to come to me, he turns his hindquarters towards me and walks backwards to me. :roll: 8)

Another nice variation is something to do when the backing up to your hand goes really well: instead of posting yourself behind him, you can then start to stand more behind-to the side, and see if he discovers that he can not only back up straight, but also in angles and curves.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:07 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, IL
Quote:
The good thing is that he not only invented this himself (I had never seen anyone do it before either, so it truly is his invention), but also that he loves to do this. He will back up 10 to 20 meters, with me telling him how good he is all the way of course.


Blade loves this too! I think it's his favorite exercise. :lol:

Quote:
Sjors invented it the same way recently. Sometimes when I stand further to the side (for example when lungeing) and ask him to come to me, he turns his hindquarters towards me and walks backwards to me.


Yes, Blade does this also! Except not while lunging. In the pasture when I am just hanging out with him, he will sometimes swing his hindquarters around and start backing towards me. :roll: He loves to use this to beg for treats. :wink:

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Brittany



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2008 11:11 pm 
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Titum also loves this. He doesn´t touch anything with his tail, but walks backwards towards me when I walk backwards behind him or next to his hindquarters. But in his case I am always afraid to reinforce (and in that way do) it more than necessary, because he is so non-dominant. Do you think that it is possible that backing up can increase a horse´s self-confidence and pride when he chooses to do it himself and is praised for it? Maybe I am worrying too much about it?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:17 am 
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Miriam wrote:
Great idea to post this, thanks! :D

I turned it into a sticky with a kind of level tag and a slightly more clear title, so don't think your post is gone. ;)

I love this exercise because it takes away all the 'dominance' pressure from backing up. Most horses dislike backing up because it's most of the time taught by blocking the forwards motion, with backing up as only option. I taught Blacky backing up tail to hand because he needed to strengthen one of his hindlegs more with backing up and sideways movements, and he was getting more and more fed up with backing up with me next or in front of him.

I did it just as you did: I stood behind him and snapped my fingers (our cue to touch my hand), and instead of turning round and walking to me (what I had meant), Blacky stood still for a second, and then backed up towards me, untill his tail touched my hand. He sure earned a lot of treats with that!

The good thing is that he not only invented this himself (I had never seen anyone do it before either, so it truly is his invention), but also that he loves to do this. He will back up 10 to 20 meters, with me telling him how good he is all the way of course. 8)

Sjors invented it the same way recently. Sometimes when I stand further to the side (for example when lungeing) and ask him to come to me, he turns his hindquarters towards me and walks backwards to me. :roll: 8)

Another nice variation is something to do when the backing up to your hand goes really well: instead of posting yourself behind him, you can then start to stand more behind-to the side, and see if he discovers that he can not only back up straight, but also in angles and curves.


Please don't shoot the messenger
:wink: ...but... MUGGING FOR TREATS WITH HIS BUTT?

You AND people are nuts. You know that, don't you? :lol: :lol: :lol:


Sorry, couldn't resist.

(Now I just have to see if Dakota will do that).

Donald Redux

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Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 12:59 am
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Location: Derbyshire UK
Donald Redux wrote:
Miriam wrote:
Great idea to post this, thanks! :D

I turned it into a sticky with a kind of level tag and a slightly more clear title, so don't think your post is gone. ;)

I love this exercise because it takes away all the 'dominance' pressure from backing up. Most horses dislike backing up because it's most of the time taught by blocking the forwards motion, with backing up as only option. I taught Blacky backing up tail to hand because he needed to strengthen one of his hindlegs more with backing up and sideways movements, and he was getting more and more fed up with backing up with me next or in front of him.

I did it just as you did: I stood behind him and snapped my fingers (our cue to touch my hand), and instead of turning round and walking to me (what I had meant), Blacky stood still for a second, and then backed up towards me, untill his tail touched my hand. He sure earned a lot of treats with that!

The good thing is that he not only invented this himself (I had never seen anyone do it before either, so it truly is his invention), but also that he loves to do this. He will back up 10 to 20 meters, with me telling him how good he is all the way of course. 8)

Sjors invented it the same way recently. Sometimes when I stand further to the side (for example when lungeing) and ask him to come to me, he turns his hindquarters towards me and walks backwards to me. :roll: 8)

Another nice variation is something to do when the backing up to your hand goes really well: instead of posting yourself behind him, you can then start to stand more behind-to the side, and see if he discovers that he can not only back up straight, but also in angles and curves.


Please don't shoot the messenger
:wink: ...but... MUGGING FOR TREATS WITH HIS BUTT?

You AND people are nuts. You know that, don't you? :lol: :lol: :lol:


Sorry, couldn't resist.

(Now I just have to see if Dakota will do that).

Donald Redux


My mare does this in summer for scratch my bum please it is itchy or between my back legs and keeps turning her backside to me lots so will have to make use of it now :lol:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:50 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:10 pm
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Location: Waterloo, IL
Quote:
Please don't shoot the messenger
:wink: ...but... MUGGING FOR TREATS WITH HIS BUTT?

You AND people are nuts. You know that, don't you? :lol: :lol: :lol:


:lol: :lol: :lol: Only we would do that sort of thing!
The rest of the world must think we are lunatics. :roll: :lol: :lol:

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Brittany



www.royalhorsecompany.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:26 am 
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Joined: Sun May 20, 2007 5:52 am
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Location: Taiwan, via NZ
Sunrise and I learnt to back to hand similar to this.. but without carrots.
She loves getting her tail scratched.. so when she swung her butt around to me to ask ( :roll: yeah another nuts human and hugely impolite horse :lol: ) I would take a little step back and encourage her to move back to my hand.
Then after scratching for a while, I would take a little step back, hold my hand up into scratching position and call her, beginning with just a few inches.
Once she was good with this, we experimented with moving out to the side a little, and in this way are expanding it to moving hips towards me, without the need for pressure on the opposite side as it's usually taught.

I saw a lovely video clip recently.. forget who it was.. but she was teaching horse to sidle to mounting block using similar technique.. scratching the horses back, then moving chair a little away so horse needed to come closer to get scratch again. She called it the chair game. What a lovely way to prepare a young horse for mounting.
:) :)
Sue


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:00 am 
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Location: Waterloo, IL
Thanks Sue, I will definitely try expanding this exercise to a hips toward me. What a great idea!

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Brittany



www.royalhorsecompany.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:14 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 11:43 pm
Posts: 598
Location: UK
I can't believe it, I actualy have Jason backing for me. After reading these posts I thought I would have a go. I have never really liked the thought of feeding treats as I had images of the horse being more interested in trying to find another treat instead of listening to me, I also worried about finding a healthy treat as my horses are very prone to weight gain. Well I found these little tiny grass nuts flavoured with natural pepermint oil, they are by Pegasus and they are called PegaMints. Well the horses love them. Jason and Storm understand the word 'back' so I stood behind Jason, signaled with my hand in the air and said 'back' and to my amazement he backed two steps, so I went straight to his head and gave him a Pegamint, he was so pleased and I was going crazy, rubbing him allover and telling him what an amazingly intelligent boy he is.
That was yesterday, and I only did it twice as I didn't want him to get bored of it, so again tonight, I stood alot further away and gave the hand signal and said 'back' and he came striding backwards towards me, again he got lots of mints and hugs and me going on and on about how clever he is.
Is this ok or can anyone tell me if this is not right, let me down gently though as I'm just so chuffed :D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:19 pm 
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AnnieB wrote:
let me down gently though as I'm just so chuffed :D


:lol: :lol: :lol: Don´t worry, you are here now, not in another place that many of us got to know. :wink:

And as you describe what you have done, it sounds absolutely wonderful, I see no reason to change anything. Great!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:54 pm 
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AnnieB, I agree with Romy! LOL! I think this is wonderful!

And I hope it just gives you inspiriation to try other things. We never know what the horse might understand right off, if we don't try. My friend and I that train together a lot, started off by just touching the horses, here and there...whether it was with a hand, or touching with with a whip, standing still and in movement, JUST to see what the horse might offer as a response. It's really fun.

It might be the lifting of a leg, or taking a step sideways, or turning the head, or lowering the head, or moving the haunches over...speeding up, slowing down. It's just fun experiementation to see how the horse would like to respond, accepting and rewarding the response they give.

Tam offered backing up toward before I even tried to teach it. One day, I walked away from his haunches, and he started to follow me backward. I rewarded it. He chose the behavior!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Location: Pacific Northwest U.S.
Karen wrote:
AnnieB, I agree with Romy! LOL! I think this is wonderful!

And I hope it just gives you inspiriation to try other things. We never know what the horse might understand right off, if we don't try. My friend and I that train together a lot, started off by just touching the horses, here and there...whether it was with a hand, or touching with with a whip, standing still and in movement, JUST to see what the horse might offer as a response. It's really fun.

It might be the lifting of a leg, or taking a step sideways, or turning the head, or lowering the head, or moving the haunches over...speeding up, slowing down. It's just fun experiementation to see how the horse would like to respond, accepting and rewarding the response they give.

Tam offered backing up toward before I even tried to teach it. One day, I walked away from his haunches, and he started to follow me backward. I rewarded it. He chose the behavior!


The answer to that ever present question: "How do they DO that?"

The profound is so often the most simple answer possible.

Your answer is something that can be taken to the paddock.

Thanks, Donald

Donald Redux

_________________
Love is Trust, trust is All
~~~~~~~~~
So say Don, Altea, and Bonnie the Wonder Filly.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:53 pm 
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Location: UK
Sorry Romy, other places do take away your confidance, this place gives me loads :D
Strange how different horses are, Jason is a hoot, always up for a laugh, and he responds to most things I try to do with him, however Storm just stares at me almost as if he's too important for these silly games, he does take life so seriously. I need to think of more ways to motivate his mind, any ideas to motivate a very, very serious horse.
I am now trying to think of more things to feed Jasons energetic mind, he has the most wonderful sense of humour, I have been getting him to do leg lifts and he does then get a mint, but he now comes up to me when I come in the field and lifts a leg and looks at me as if to say 'so come on give me a mint' :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:59 pm 
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Location: Waterloo, IL
Annie, it's awesome how you taught Jason! Way to go! I had so much fun teaching it to Blade!

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Brittany



www.royalhorsecompany.com


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