Clicker Training new horse?

Dannii5691

Owned by Ponies!
Nov 16, 2009
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I was reading through the arcives and i came across a few interesting threads about clicker training! after reading for a couple of days i decided to go to pets at home and got myself a clicker!
I had a go with my faithful cob and after an hour she was backing up at liberty (well almost, she did loose interest every so often :rolleyes: )
So my question isnt about my cob its about my new horse! I recently put a post in the cafe section about my new horse, her getting loose in the field, me ending up muddy and bruised etc etc etc and outlineing a few of her problems. My dilema is, India (the cob) is a polar opposite to ruby (new one). India is very people orientated, comes to call for cuddles, very calm and toletent of anyone and anything, will stand and mutually groom you forever and a day, and very very fast learning. so far she has picked up whatever i have thrown at her very fast and is eager to learn more!

Ruby firstly is a b**** to catch, which is a problem in itself, as she lives out 24.7 (no stable) its a nightmare to try and get her in to work with her.
She is very nervous of ... well anything, cant yet pick her feet up, difficult to groom legs - strikes and kicks, strong to lead, shes currently unbroken but as with india im in no rush to break her in and also she is very VERY head shy, which is one of the reasons she is so difficult to catch im thinking! she is currently wearing a field safe head collar as i dont want to stress her out chasing her around the field and then putting a head collar on her! I personally dont care about riding her (although it would be nice one day, i just want her to be the lovely sweet horse she can be, for about 30 seconds she turns into a little diamond!)

so my question is this - how do i introduce clicker training to a very nervy highly strung tbx and how can i first use it to tackle her catching problem! She is nervous of the sound itself and when she is in "nervy mode" which she normally is treats are invisable - shes just not interested!

PLEASE HELPP

Dannii, India & Ruby! x
 

popularfurball

Learning all the time
Jul 18, 2005
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If she isnt motivated by treats its possibley not the best option to take - perhaps a pressure release system would be better? Ie. You put pressue on hind quaters, she moves over a step you release would be better.

Im sure with a bit of time she will learn to trust you :) This isnt meant to dishearten you, but more that it can be done - its taken me almost a year to achieve some level of trust with Sil but we are getting there.

As for clickers, I would start simple - putting on, treat, off headcollar, treat - so she gets the idea that treats and clicker is good. So do tasks she can already acomplish - then progress to backing up and moving over - particularily work on moving her back end over independant of her front end. All the time using the same verbal cues and tone of voice over and over - also try and use the same tone of voice/name when calling her - calll her when you walk past the field, when shes in the stable or tied up so she associates that certain noise/call with you (rather like individual whinnies in the herd). She will soon associate call = nice person = treats if Im nice too.

It will take time, but be patient - im glad your giving this neddy the time of day :)
 

Dannii5691

Owned by Ponies!
Nov 16, 2009
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Thank you for your advice pfb! I thought clicker as it would be something repetitive she could hopefully eventually relate to, in totally new to it so it will be interesting how india progresses with it, as she has just discovered she can walk with me on her back I'm hoping clicker training will help reinforce this good behaviour!! I'm going down tomorrow, armed with the o.h (he's takin me to the BIG horse shop in the mornin) lots of carrots, a book and a chair and if it takes me 6 hours to catch ruby then that's how long lt takes me to catch her!! I'm determined this needy will come right! No matter how long it takes! I'm thinking a progress blog may be required!! Hope silver Is okay!! :) x
 

popularfurball

Learning all the time
Jul 18, 2005
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If you have the time of day and not too many other neddies in the field just take a pew and hope for sunshine!!!!! If its just the two of them even better as India will come over to you and hopefully after a while Ruby will come over.

Oddly enough, Silver is "ear shy" and I can go right up to her in the field, fling arms about her neck or scratch her etc - yet if Im holding a headcollar she disappears! I can rug her, groom her and cuddle her completly untethered and no headcollar - but often struggle to do these activities with a headcollar on! Silver likes to think its "her" choice to participate I think! Perhaps try convincing Ruby that its on her rules too (when its not, but just pretend :p) - They always want to know whats going on when they are ignored etc! Give them the attention and they run a mile - hence would be good if India was in there as she would want the fuss and Ruby would feel left out and hopefully edge a little closer :)
 

Dannii5691

Owned by Ponies!
Nov 16, 2009
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They are both in seperate fields unfortunatly and at the moment I can't put them in together until the fields clear up (there's 5 horses in indias field and 5 in rubys)! After a field swap about in spring I should be able to have them both together! She is usually found located close to the gate and is always interested in me and what I'm doing aslong as there us no sigh of a lead ripe and my hands are kept firmly away from her! After turnin indie out I normally spend 5 or 10 mins stood at her fence and she will come over and say hello just not engage in any contact! It's strange, she is so laid back in the field but out of it she is a fruit loop! Well no it's not strange at all she has been really untouched for the past 4 years and just part of the herd! I understand being away from her friends is not fun for her, I just need to figure out the compramise that makes her realise spending time with me is!! Hmm If only india would have a word ... Unfortunatly india is quite partial to having all mummys attention all the time! I wish I could speak fluent horse sometimes, I'd love to know what they were saying about me!!
 
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