The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Lying your horse down
PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 12:18 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:01 am
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Eager to know who does & how they have taught their equine

Mine I taught to initially lay down with a rope over his back and holding 1 hoof up until he started to get the hang of it and now when the rope is on, he just paws ground and goes down.

But with no rope around belly~he wont go down if I just hold hoof up myself

I also use no halter etc but would like to be able to ask him to go down with 0 equipment at all

That is my aim


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:10 pm 
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soquilichiaus wrote:
But with no rope around belly~he wont go down if I just hold hoof up myself
Right now it seems that the rope is the cue. Since he's already lying down on cue, you could just slowly fade out the rope.
I don't know if you are using clicker training, but I guess you will use some reward once he has laid down. So I would try to simulate the rope with your hand and at the first sign of going down (smallest weight shifts, etc.) I would reward him. Then slowly ask more until he lies down without rope. You can also try to alternate using the rope and then no rope to get him on the right track.

If you want to build up the behaviour from scratch, there are several ways you could try. Some people go via the one legged bow, kneeling and then lying down. It is a bit of a detour, but I guess it's intuitive for some horses.

With my horse, I used a combination of capturing and mimicry. I rewarded every idea of lying down, when he wanted to do so and I was around. Then he already knew that I liked him to lie down and so I could install a mimicry cue. I tried to imitate him when lying down (walking in circles with head down, shuffling the sand with my feet, bending the legs, etc.) and lately I added a cue with my hand as well to fade out the other cues eventually.
With Mucki it was quite easy though, because he loves to lie down in the arena :D

In this video you can see what I just described: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-ki6Jrf9WCI#t=110s

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:04 pm 

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I think it's probably just as well he doesn't lie down with just the hoof up :funny: otherwise you may have a hard job undoing that cue!!!!
You might also try adding a verbal cue to what he knows and then fading out the rope. Think hard about what cue you would like to use as I have made many mistakes and had to replace cues because they are too similar or can't be used without being in touching space of the horse or transeferable under saddle. Hence why I suggest maybe a verbal cue (that is clear and consistant and doesn't sound like any other vocal cue you use) as I personally would not want my horse to suddenly decide to lie down under saddle or when someone else (vet/trimmer) might be doing necessary stuff. :D

Good luck!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 7:59 am 
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We also have a sticky on that: Lie Down :f:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:41 pm 
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Morgan wrote:
I think it's probably just as well he doesn't lie down with just the hoof up :funny: otherwise you may have a hard job undoing that cue!!!!
I assumed the hoof up was just the precursor to a bow? Or is he really lying down when you just pick up the hoof? That would be a strange cue indeed :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:14 pm 
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Ooooooh, I tried to get my mare to bow on one knee by picking her hoof and pulling it backwards (with my other hand I'd pull her forearm/breast too, since I wanted her whole chest to move backwards, not only the end of her leg).
I never got more than a split second of knee on the ground, but... now she offers some of it when being trimmed ._.
I tell her I won't ask for that on hard pavement (as the one where she's trimmed), but she insists a little on this weight shift XD

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 9:45 am 
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Yes, Luara, I had the same "problem" with our horses as well when we started doing the bow. It's normal that they brag with their new learned abilities and beg for treats and attention with it. Also biting each others front legs is a common horse play that eventually leads the a bow.
I always try to be strict with the cues I use. Facing backwards when picking hooves, facing forwards when asking for the bow. And as soon as the horse gets the idea of how the bow is done, I tried to switch to another cue, so I don't need to touch the leg anymore.

I also work on a set of different exercises in each session, usually emphasising one or two of them. That way I can control what particular exercise becomes the favourite. If that favourite becomes too prevalent - like for example rearing when in my back when I didn't ask for it - I start to reinforce a different behaviour more.
That way a lot of those so called "misbehaviours" faded out by themselves and I never had to punish them :f:.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:51 am 

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Thanks heaps!


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:33 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:24 pm
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You need to work on different exercises that will solve this problem. It is necessary to maintain the consistency in the cues that directs the horse. Once a horse gets familiar with the cues, it becomes easy to direct him as intended.


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