EDIT: Romy beat me to the reinforcement details
I think that R- at it's finest is pretty much the same as R+ , as far as the cues are concerned. In fact you could say that when you claim to be using R+ and you apply a cue (even something like lifting your own leg for mimicry cue) and you hold it until the horse responds, then you "release the cue", it is actually R-
I agree with you, that as far as cues are concerned, R+ and R- can look pretty much the same. Only for me the difference is not about cues, it's about the motivation to change a behaviour (to learn).
If the motivation to change my behaviour is the release of a cue (or other stimulus), than it's R-. No matter what the cue was. If I change my behaviour, because something nice is happening as a result of that behaviour, than it is R+. No matter what the cue was
The first sets you in a re-active mode, the latter in a pro-active mode. For me, this makes quite a difference
For this, it very much matters which leg we are lifting, otherwise we are out of sync. And I like having the horse following my feel under saddle (you probably have this in your ground work as well, I don't very often...) I initiate, then harmonize.
For me, that's the same on the ground. I need a solid cue for Mucki to understand that it's about the SW, than I just go with the flow and encourage him to go on. I don't control though, which leg should be lifted when, because he knows that better than me
Like you said - initiate, then harmonise. I "just" need to be in control of my own movements to sync them to the horse. The rest is the horses business. I'm convinced that Mucki knows how the SW goes and he tries very hard to achieve that. After all it's not an exercise that I invented - it's in every horses' ethogram...
If it's still hard for Mucki to lift both legs in cadence and to a certain height, that's mainly because he's not yet bodily able to do it.
So do you think I should be trying to train one leg only? or allow the multiple steps? And should I try this in movement already? ... so many questions
One step at a time probably
. After all, the pool noodle is right now just a cue for targeting it with a certain position of his leg. That's the task at hand, isn't it?
If that cue works reliably, in all wanted circumstances (at halt, walk, trot, ...), then you can use it whatever way you want. For SW, Spanish Trot, passage, ... You name it