For Jethro's training session with the Whips-a-Daisy I decided to work with him on targeting. For those of you not familiar with targeting, it is a tool that clicker trainers use to be a "safe place" for their horses. How it works is you choose a target (in Jethro's case, the Whips-a-Daisy) and start out by having them touch their nose to it, and in turn they receive a click and a treat. Since they actually want to touch the target, it is useful for getting your horse over "scary" things. With Ypke I have successfully used targeting for crossing bridges, tarps, water, etc. As they get used to things, you no longer need the target for that specific thing. This was Jethro's very first targeting session.
Jethro getting used to to the whole targeting thing
As you all know, Jethro is just a baby and isn't even a year old yet. Just from what I have observed from dealing with young animals of any sort as well as humans, babies often times don't have the largest attention span and get bored quickly. Jethro has been known to get bored very easily, and I think that the unusual appearance as well as noise of the Whips-a-Daisy was rather intriguing to him. He marched right through a thirty minute session and was focused on the task at hand for nearly the whole time.
Learning how to cross the tarp
I decided to teach Jethro how to cross the tarp, something he has never done before. At first he was pretty scared, but once bringing out the target he was much more willing to cross. Soon enough, he had it down in no time!
Crossing the bridge
One of the things I like about the Whips-a-Daisy is how convenient it is. Many people use miniature cones for targets, but in my opinion they can be a bit of a hassle if you have to frequently pick them up and move them around. Each Whips-a-Daisy is an ideal length for keeping the animal out of your personal space bubble, but yet at the same time not TOO far away.
Loading into the trailer
Jethro's targeting session went very well, and I am excited to see what else I can teach him with the help of the Whips-a-Daisy.
Jumping the railroad tie
The verdict: Jethro jumps with joy when he sees the Whips-a-Daisy! :)
**Disclosure: Whips-a-Daisy sent me their products free of charge for review purposes. While I did receive these products at no expense, all thoughts expressed in this review are based off of my own experiences. Despite my experience being positive, I cannot guarantee their products.**
Ypke has really been about as awesome as can be lately. Ever since fair, there has yet to be any major disagreements between us (of course, there is the occasional small thing). It has been super nice to just enjoy riding instead of finding myself getting into a bickering fest with her every 5 seconds.
For the longest time I actually dreaded having to go and work with and ride Ypke. I was constantly scared of the possibility of her spooking, me falling off, her taking advantage of my nervousness, etc. Riding is supposed to be a FUN time, not a time where you are terrified of becoming roadkill. From the second day of fair through the present time I haven't been filled with fear being around Ypke, I have been actually been ENJOYING myself. Can you imagine? Someone actually enjoying being around horses? Impossible.
I have noticed that not being a tense mess has actually helped my equitation a lot. My leg is getting much steadier, my shoulders are a lot farther back (still have to work on them though), my arms are no longer as straight as boards, etc. Now that I am actually relaxed I can look half decent in pictures.
Since suddenly becoming a heck of a lot braver, I have been living a life that the old me would have considered, "quite reckless." I ride her around hands free, I have been practicing neck reining on a loose rein the majority of our rides, etc. I have also been working with her on things I wouldn't have normally done such as leg yielding, which she can be quite the whiz at.
Unfortunately, now that summer is over I am a busy person now. I have only been riding once a week, and the pony has become quite fat.