Additional challenges have been my health, but again, I am facing those challenges and moving forward, and the final challenge for us as a couple has been learning to run the farm by ourselves. Our lovely daughter, Guine, has moved out, as is the way with youngsters, to find herself, and establish her own life.
Of course, I needed to inaugurate it! I chose our stallion, *Beau, as it had been almost two years since I had last worked with him, other than during basic leading and foot-trimming. I have been following a clicker page on Facebook, called “Clicker Training Horses” with Peggy Hogan as the leader. While reading through I learned about teaching a horse to stand on objects or “station”. As *Beau is already trained for driving and used to word commands, I thought today I would introduce him to this new word “station”. I brought down everything I would need: a large square of plywood, a traffic cone, treats….what’s CT without treats right? Then I went to get *Beau. He and *Red were way at the other end of their pasture when I started toward their gate. As I approached the solar charger to turn it off, I gave a whistle. *Beau looked up and I yelled, “Come Beau!” He immediately stopped eating and headed toward me. “Good boy!” I shouted.
Because it was new to him, I walked *Beau around both ways, allowing him to see the fencing with each eye. I incorporated some Tellington-Jones wand work, as he knows that, and we walked and whoa-ed several times. Once that was done, I went into the middle and asked him to circle me at a walk. Again, we worked on walk and whoa. *Beau is very sensitive to my energy, and we both need time to learn to properly communicate again, so we had a couple of bobbles in our work together; however, once it felt right I asked for and got walk-trot-walk transitions in both directions. All of this was done on my 12 foot line and all was done with a loop in it. That’s my boy!
After that, I gave him a bit of relax time, he nibbled on the grass in there (like he hadn’t been doing that all morning
He knows the cone, he also knows ‘target’. The moment I got his attention and said ‘target’ he looked at the cone, and headed right for it to touch it with his nose. C/T!! We then spent time bouncing between rests, ‘target’ and ‘station’. After half a dozen times, and ending with a ‘station’, I told him what a fabulous guy he was, scratched his face for him, and untied the lead. We sauntered out of the round-pen and around to the truck where I grabbed a couple of large treats. Back we went to the pasture, turned off the power, and there was *Red waiting for us. In we went, I dropped the lead to hook up the gate and *Beau stood there politely waiting for me. I then took off the halter, tossed it out of the fence, stripped my gloves, tossed them out, and turned to the two boys, who had been standing there waiting and watching. I pulled the ‘cookies’ from my bag and asked them both for a back-up, gave them each their treat, a rub and a “What great boys you are!”
I had a fantastic time!