The Art of Natural Dressage

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 10:16 am 
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It seems that I have forgotten to two of my last videos here. They are also linked in my diary, but I like to have them all collected here as well, so I copy the post from there. They were taken on the 12th of January:

We took some videos, but nothing fancy. Mucki showing a little bit of his Spanish Walk, which is getting better and better. Lately I tried to reduce the leg lift, but concentrate on his hindlegs instead. It really starts to look like walk again now! :applause:
http://youtu.be/EhrX3j4AIxY

Finally a video of me and Lily (a premiere here I think?). First working a bit on the one legged bow, then a bit more up-tempo things ;). Me trying to keep Lily's bursting energy contained, trying to get her to stay calm and lift her shoulder a bit ;). She trying to convince me that a round pen is built for gallop! She's so much fun! :funny:
It's interesting for me to see that I'm not really in tune with Lily - the body language I use with Mucki is not exactly as useful for Lily. I have to work on that...
The last part of the video is unfortunately very blurry :blush:.
http://youtu.be/1pbT-s7ND60

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:02 am 
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Yesterday I took a little video of some fooling around. Nothing special, but I have not posted something for a long time and it shows quite good how the trainings situation looks like right now.
It's freezing cold (-10°C and falling), it's usually dark when we get there on work days, the ground is frozen, so we are limited to fooling around in the paddock. Mucki has finally gotten the fetch game right - his new toy (catch-ball) was just the right catalyst for it ;). It's a very self-reinforcing toy. :yes:

http://youtu.be/IEh18jZnkX0

Not on video, but also results of the training situation lately are a lot of other tricks:
I was - after a long time of trying half-heartedly - able to show Mucki how to do the Plié (front crunch) properly. :pray:
He has learned how to put up a traffic cone :applause:. This is such a fun lesson! And astonishingly easy too. Mucki had it done after ten minutes of shaping and on the next day he was able to put up three cones in a row :ieks:.
It was really interesting to watch him and guide him through the shaping process. I don't do this kind of exercises very often with him, but he was so absorbed in it that I think I have to do this more often. It's such a good opportunity to see the learning process in every detail.

Finally, I started with the pinnacle of all positively reinforced lessons: NOT eating a carrot! 8) Inspired by the one and only Pia, I challenged Mucki to boldly go where no Lipizzaner has gone before! :rambo:
We made some good progress and I'm very excited to see where we will end up with this lesson :green:.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:36 am 
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What a cool toy, and so nice to see how interested your horses are in it! And also the video itself is great, I didn't know it was possible to film so nicely in the dark - maybe I should try that too, one day. Looks very special! :)

It's the same here, I also don't do the circus trick kind of work very often, but when I do it, the horses really seem to enjoy it. So I always decide that I should do it more often... but then I usually forget, so thanks for the reminder! :)

And I am sooo looking forward to seeing Mucki and the carrot. I haven't done any of this with Pia since spring or summer, so I guess it's high time for us refresh and continue this kind of challenge as well. I guess it would do her good to have some "hard work" again. :f:


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:48 am 
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I will definitely keep you updated on our progress, Romy! I have to watch your videos again and see how you did it - I have just started yesterday without planning ahead very much. :roll: But it worked quite good I think - in the end Mucki was licking the carrot, but not trying to bite. I think for Mucki it will be easier than for Pia, but we'll see.
BTW, what's the status quo of Pia and the carrot?

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:02 pm 
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Our steps basically were touching it, licking it, scraping it with her teeth, biting it - or at least that's how I remember it. Not sure if it will be easier for Mucki than for Pia. On the one hand, she is very disobedient :green:, meaning that I don't even have to try telling her that she is not allowed to eat the carrot. On the other hand, she is not that crazy about food. She also has a tiny mouth and tiny jaws, so when we had a big carrot, it was easier for her to let go again, simply because she would have had to bite very hard to break it.

Concerning the status quo: Before we stopped, she was able to bite into the carrot, hold it (with me holding the other end) and then spitting it out again. Not every time though, sometimes she also just ate it. Our next steps would be picking it up herself and giving it to me all by herself, without me holding the carrot while it is in her mouth. Another thing would be decreasing carrot size, so that her not-eating performance becomes more and more attributable to her will and self-control, and less to the difficulty of breaking it.

By the way, for her it was much easier if she bit it not with her front teeth but further back, and then pushed it out at the side of her mouth with her tongue. I have no idea why, but it seemed like this reduced her temptation to eat it, so after she had seen that this was possible, she chose to do it that way most of the time.


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:32 pm 
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Romy wrote:
Not sure if it will be easier for Mucki than for Pia.
I don't know either, it was just a quite uneducated guess based on her temperament and Mucki's. :funny:

One reason why I want to try this exercise is that seems to me such a mental stunt for a horse to do it. How can I explain the task to Mucki? Can he understand that I hold out a carrot for him, just to NOT eat it? Does a horse understand such concepts like self restraint? But why not, Mucki shares his food with others as well...

Romy wrote:
By the way, for her it was much easier if she bit it not with her front teeth but further back, and then pushed it out at the side of her mouth with her tongue. I have no idea why, but it seemed like this reduced her temptation to eat it, so after she had seen that this was possible, she chose to do it that way most of the time.
That does make sense to me, I can imagine that food at their incisor teeth might trigger a reflex to bite, whereas large pieces of food at the back of the mouth, where it cannot be split properly rather trigger a reflex for dropping them to get them back to the incisors.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:20 pm 

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I'm just wondering how the picking up of food and NOT eating it fits with a dog doing the same thing.
When my dog is given food I request he lay down (submissive) and then I place the bowl and give him permission to eat. (He is a dominant dog and there are 5 members of the family and life is not too consistant....hence the method we chose!) Occasionally he will catch a bird (but mouths it gently) and brings it to us for permission to eat!! :ieks:
Same thing if I give him a bone, he will take it gently, place it down and then look at me for permission to eat it :funny:

Now here's what I am wondering......horses allow or don't other horses to eat depending on hiararcy just like I allow my dog to eat or not as it would be in a pack. The diference being that horses don't take their food somewhere else to eat it by "carrying" it in their mouth. However with the retrieval of toy items we know the horse can pick up items carefully and walk with the item and drop or place it where requested, but the link seems to be in moving an item that is food and the fact that the horse would not release or walk with the food or wait to eat it...so herein lies the steps needed to train to suceed.
If a dog can override his strong feelings of grabbing and eating food, I am sure it can be done with a horse although having said the above, it may be more difficult for the horse to grasp the concept as it is not something he would do naturally unless of course he is being chased by another higher horse and managed to run in and grab a mouthful :funny:

It may be possible to offer a food reward deemed higher valued than the one being carried? For instance when I feed Morgan and put down hay and concentrates, he will eat all the concentrates first every time!!! So maybe trading the carrot that has been retrieved for a higher food reward might seem like a good swop for the horse concerned!!!

Anyways, you guys got me thinking hard about this and I look forward to following what happens with both Mucki and Pia :D

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:55 pm 
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Thanks Annette for the interesting thoughts on this topic. I have no experience with dogs whatsoever, but I think the concept of guarding food, or moving food to a safe spot is more predator-like. As a grazing animal I would eat while and where I can and if the spot is not secure, I would seek a safer place. Moving food is not really a horsey concept, grass cannot be moved after all ;).

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It may be possible to offer a food reward deemed higher valued than the one being carried? For instance when I feed Morgan and put down hay and concentrates, he will eat all the concentrates first every time!!! So maybe trading the carrot that has been retrieved for a higher food reward might seem like a good swop for the horse concerned!!!
That was exactly my first thought. I traded the carrot (which is actually not very highly valued food) for juicy pears. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:26 am 
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nice video's, look great!
you have also a catchball, so much funn we have with that toy. I sold it for a few years in my webshop (not anymore)
our dog and ponys play with it. Both can apport it, or just chew on it :roll:
Here you can see that i use it also during agility with my dog. I learn her to do some new tricks and with help of the catchball.
http://vosjesparadijs.wordpress.com/2011/11/17/clickertraining-met-lola/

i saw that both horses pick it up and give it to you, thats very nice!


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:27 am 
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The catch-ball is fantastic. Both horses love it and me too! :) It's easy to spot, easy to pick up and it doesn't get dirty when playing on muddy ground or in the arena! I can highly recommend it.

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:09 am 
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Another video of us. Me, wrapped up and ready to go for a polar expedition, Mucki ready for wild games ;). Unfortunately the ground was still frozen, so I didn't want to encourage too much wild play. A pity, because Mucki would've like it so much - and me too ;)
I sticked to putting up traffic cones - one of his favourites at the moment ;). And I tried to get him to engage his hindquarters more when doing the jambette. Right now he puts his hindfeet back for balance and carries all his weight on his other foreleg.

http://youtu.be/X-ut2tdhID0

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:24 am 
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Wow, Mucki looks like a grown-up already, so big and proud and confident! :) So nice to watch you two. Is it possible that your walking/circling has become more harmonious and fluent? Looking great! :f:


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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 12:08 pm 
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Thank you so much! That's nice to hear. And yes our interaction has generally became much more harmonious, although I have to say that on this particular day Mucki was actually rather pushy and mugging me for treats at times. But of course all measured by Mucki standards, so he was actually super sweet as always! :applause:

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:21 am 
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Since it got lost during the forum crash, I post it again:

Spanish Walk again. He's working so hard to get it right :) Only it's hard enough for me to keep my balance and cadence - and I have only two legs ;)

http://youtu.be/kicSX5UmsaU

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 Post subject: Re: Nepomuk in motion!
PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:33 am 
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I think I had not replied yet? But when first watching it, I was so amazed how well you two are doing. Now I see what you meant when you wrote in another post that it seems they are using their body much better when learning the Spanish walk through mimicry as compared to targeting. Wow! :)


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