On Monday we have been prepared to maneuver horses. That was July 4th, Independence Day – very applicable. We moved the Iceys first. Each horses loaded like a dream. I do love good loaders! And I by no means take it with no consideration when horses load nicely. They travelled over with the final of the spherical pen panels and a load of stall mats. We bought every little thing unloaded, the Iceys settled, after which went again for the opposite three. None of them had been on a trailer in years. Magnat hadn’t been on a trailer in near fifteen years. He has a coronary heart situation, so early on I made the choice that he didn’t must journey. And Peregrine had an early historical past of being a decided non-loader. I by no means know what to anticipate from him. The previous couple of instances he’s traveled, he’s been good to load, however I by no means take this with no consideration.
Peregrine was the primary on. I really like my trailer. It has so many configurations for a horse to journey in – straight load, slant load, field stall, no matter fits the horse greatest. Peregrine tensed up once I tried him in a straight stall, so I let him get off and loaded him up entrance within the slant load. That he was okay with. So subsequent got here Magnat and eventually Robin. Each horses walked straight on as if they’d been trailering each weekend. Good horses! 5 horses – 5 straightforward hundreds. That’s what I like, and I by no means take it with no consideration or fail to understand horses who load comfortably onto trailers. So now the horses live in the course of a building zone. And they’re taking all of the noise and the equipment clattering round exterior nicely of their stride. It’s superb what horses may be completely blasé about. A great deal of stone may be dumped proper exterior the world door, and so they don’t even elevate their heads from the hay.
The horses are settling nicely into their new life-style. I knew as soon as we bought them out of the boarding state of affairs we’d see adjustments. They’re already a lot extra relaxed, a lot much less testy and fussed by folks. Peregrine is the one one who hasn’t settled in nicely. He’s not bothered by the development, however he’s clearly anxious about not being in his acquainted surroundings, so I’ve been tenting out on the area to ensure he’s okay by way of the evening. The boarding barn the place they lived for years had set hours. I couldn’t go see them within the early morning. Now I’m on the market each day earlier than daybreak doing chores.
At clinics we at all times start by going across the group and catching up on what everybody has been doing with their horses. Folks will usually very apologetically say they haven’t completed very a lot. They haven’t had time to journey. Properly I positively would fall into that class. In the mean time there’s no time and positively no vitality left to journey. However that doesn’t imply that good coaching isn’t occurring. I get to work together with the horses a lot greater than I did within the boarding state of affairs. I at all times did all of the night chores, however now I’m there all through the day.
One in all my favourite John Lyons’ quotes is “Good coaching must be boring to look at”, which means there shouldn’t be numerous Hollywood theatrics happening. There shouldn’t be horses rearing or bucking their riders off into the rafters. Good coaching ought to appear to be a nicely run classroom. It may be a beehive of exercise. There may be tons happening. There can definitely be a number of laughter, however there also needs to be an underlying sense of stability. I used to be going to write down order and management, however these are such loaded phrases. Stability and a way of goal are higher.
We have a tendency to think about coaching as one thing separate, one thing we do after the chores are completed. And I definitely usually get requested easy methods to handle all of the “mom’s little helpers” who hover about moving into issues. How do you do chores if you’ve bought a clicker-trained horse glued to your facet wanting consideration? I do know some folks resolve this by utilizing the presence of their deal with pouch as a cue for coaching time. Once they simply need to do chores, they take their pouch off. It’s a technique that works for them, however with my very own horses, I might see that as missed alternatives.
Once I’m round my horses, I at all times have my vest on, and I at all times make certain there’s a very good provide of hay stretcher pellets within the pockets. This morning once I was cleansing stalls, Robin and Peregrine had free run of the world. Robin had taken himself off to eat the hay I’d put out of their “grazing” space. Peregrine was sticking to me like a barnacle. Of all of the horses he’s the one who has struggled essentially the most adjusting to the transfer. He’s wanted numerous reassurance, and numerous social time. So when he adopted me into Robin’s stall, I didn’t ship him away so I might get completed quicker. I let him hover round me. When he requested for social time, I rubbed his face, I stroked his neck. I didn’t click on and reinforce him for these interactions. However I did click on and reinforce for different issues, comparable to an supplied pose. He’s utterly comfortable with clicker coaching. He is aware of the treats will not be going to go away, so he doesn’t get anxious once I’m not clicking each little factor. I’m at all times a clicker coach when I’m with my horses, however that doesn’t imply I’m at all times clicking.
There’s a lot good coaching that may be completed if you are doing chores. Once I wanted Peregrine to shift out of the best way of the wheel barrow, I requested for backing, or for lateral shifts of steadiness. We wove out and in of the stalls with Peregrine making means for me as I wanted to maneuver the wheel barrow or usher in water buckets. Who would have thought cleansing a stall could possibly be such a dance!
On the boarding barn the horses couldn’t be unfastened within the aisle whereas I labored. That’s one thing I missed. In a few of the small barns the place Peregrine has lived, we had the posh of with the ability to let the horses wander about as they happy. That’s been one thing I’ve been wanting ahead to with the ability to do with the horses. It’s so clicker suitable. If we would like pondering horses, we have to give them an surroundings by which we may give them selections and a few levels of freedom.
Now my coaching time simply seems like stall cleansing. These maneuvers we’ve been training in our formal coaching classes to construct good steadiness are simply as wanted right here however for very sensible causes. So the coaching session that I might have had within the boarding barn, out within the area, in a proper work session, asking Peregrine to again up, to yield his hips, to step over laterally, I can now have cleansing a stall. Subsequent time I work formally, I count on I’ll discover I’ve a tuned-up horse to play with, not one who’s stiff and rancid from an excessive amount of break day throughout my journey season.
I’m having fun with these small interactions. I get to test in on manners. Once I carry the hay cart into the world, are manners preserved? Can I stroll down the row of stalls passing hay out to the opposite horses with out Robin or Peregrine making a fuss. Can I carry the buckets of grain out and have the horses go to their stalls? We hear a lot about “respect”. Right here in all of the small interactions of chores I get to search out out what that basically means. The horses got here into this case with a number of good coaching, however particular boarding home manners from years of being fed by youngsters who simply wished to get the hay and grain handed out as shortly as attainable so they may get again to their buddies. Now I get to form higher manners. It’s nothing fancy. If you happen to got here to the world, you wouldn’t see horses doing “circus tips”. As an alternative you’d see them accompanying me by way of the circulation of the day’s chores, backing when requested, maneuvering out of the best way when wanted, sharing my time and a focus with the opposite horses. It’s simply quiet coaching that anybody can do, and that has such good ripples into the every little thing else I’ll need to do with them.
Whereas I’m within the area with the horses, I can hear the work crews exterior. The excavator is again on the job, constructing the composter and the ramps. I used to be impressed by how nicely the horses dealt with having the work happening instantly exterior the world. That they had sooner or later to settle in, then on Wednesday the excavator arrived together with his heavy gear. With the open wall on the entrance facet the horses can see the bulldozer because it trundles alongside backwards and forwards throughout the entrance of the world smoothing out the highest of the hill and pushing the surplus grime over to construct the entry ramps. Out the again door they’ll watch because the again hoe tears down much more timber to punch a gap by way of the hedge row into the again discipline. They didn’t thoughts in any respect when he dug a deep trench for a culvert pipe or introduced stone in to cowl it up.
I’m penning this on July twenty third and the entrance nonetheless isn’t completed. The comb remains to be there, however it’s been consolidated into one pile. The ramps are formed, however not surfaced in order that they nonetheless aren’t actually usable, and with out the ultimate ending work, we nonetheless can’t fence the sector, so the horses have been confined to the indoor for nearly three weeks.
The composter is sort of completed. I’ve been bagging all of the manure into trash baggage so we don’t appeal to flies to an unmanaged manure pile. It’s an enormous hassle, and I now have a line of trash baggage a number of layers thick lining the lengthy facet of the world. I inform myself they function non permanent kickboards. I shall be very glad when the composter is usable, however I’m glad I bought to see how the inspiration for it was constructed. It’s way more of a basis than something we’ve completed for the barns. They dug out the financial institution and put poured concrete frost partitions.
It’s all a piece in progress. And it is extremely a lot an train in utilizing clicker coaching ideas exterior the coaching area. I’ve heard so many tales about building tasks, and so they all appear to incorporate a stage the place issues get delayed and are held up. We’re on this stage now. The builder can’t depart his different undertaking to come back work on ours. We’ve been promised a full crew in August. So I’ll finish this report right here and decide it up later when extra of the work has been completed.
July 23, 2011
Postscript: This journal leaves you with the barn half constructed. You’ll be able to learn the conclusion of the barn constructing saga in my weblog: theclickercenterblog.com
The subsequent installment will carry us ten years ahead. I’ll share some favourite images from the Clicker Heart.
Thanks for sharing this look again on the Barn’s building.