Gossip and Oya

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:39 pm

Well, we had cold white stuff falling from the sky overnight, and it seems to have turned Gossip into a demon pony!! Went down to tell them their hay had arrived for the morning, and he showed me a few close-ups of his back feet before I "encouraged" them to run off up the field to eat. Typical bloke, grumpy when he's hungry!!

The little princess, on the other hand, has had a very successful couple of days. Yesterday she ate out of my hand for the first time (I think she actually forgot herself cos she made grumpy faces at me when I offered her another bit as if to say "what do you think you're doing imposing food on me?!"). Today she had a bit of carrot this morning, and then this evening I took a couple of buckets to the field, tied Gossip up to practise standing, and then sat with a bucket of chopped carrots. It only took a few minutes for her to come over, and ate several pieces from my hand as if she had been doing it all her life! I clicked each time she took a piece, but just did a few clicks before putting it away.

Then she stuck her head in the bucket in my lap, and let me rub her forehead while she was eating! Only for a few secs at a time, then she backed off or went to check in with Goss, but she always came back, even when she thought I had caught her (she caught her headcollar on my glove). So proud of my baby girl, and Goss is certainly growing up to be a knight, even if I am going to have to watch the bolshiness pretty soon! Think seriously overgrown labrador puppy with hard feet, that's him!!

Have got photos, will upload later tonight.

thepennywhistle
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by thepennywhistle » Mon Dec 05, 2011 3:58 pm

That sounds like wonderful progress with Oya! Wonder if she is shy of competing with your
pocket pony Gossip for attention? Either way, her trust in you seems to be growing by leaps
and bounds, and that must feel great. Hope your dodging skills are good with your little boy's
naughtiness. I'm glad you weren't hurt, and I always try to reassure my nerves after an incident
like that by telling myself that if they'd MEANT to kick you, the kick would surely have landed.

Your patience with them will be rewarded, and I can envision the brave and loyal team you
are going to have at the finish -- the kind that will go through anything if you ask it, and just
because YOU are the one asking.

Have fun!

jacksdad
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by jacksdad » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:45 pm

speaking of clicker training horses, you might find this interesting
http://drsophiayin.com/resources/video_ ... n_training

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Wed Dec 07, 2011 4:57 pm

Well, a quick update, I have finally softened and brought them in for a night to dry off - they survived last weeks gales and rainstorms but we have another 24hr severe weather warning with 60mph winds and torrential rain forecast, and they haven't been dry through for over 2 weeks. So they are tucked up in a stable together with a big pile of hay!

Oya has done well, getting cautiously closer by the day, and knows now that buckets contain food and she is allowed to eat it. I think tomorrow I might have to damage that opinion because I really need to catch her to loosen her headcollar before it marks her face, but hopefully she will forgive me.

I have just bought a lovely book on working with semi-feral foals, or just people shy foals, and it has given order to what I already knew and wanted to do, so I will be putting some of that into practice. It is based on Intelligent Horsemanship, but also includes clicker methods, but basically it is just a gentle way of doing things, rather than force and give in. All about rewarding by releasing the pressure ie if they let you touch then you move away, rather than desensitising or fighting until they give in which is the more common way of doing things. Also has good advice on how to manage a more confident foal which is handy right now given Gossip has decided to push the boundaries considerably in the last couple of days!!

ClareMarsh
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by ClareMarsh » Thu Dec 08, 2011 9:34 am

What's really lovely (to state the bleedin' obvious :roll: ) is that you get to try out these techiniques and methods on two very different personailities. More photos please :D
Proud owner of Ted and baby Ella
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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Thu Dec 08, 2011 6:27 pm

Not at all stating the obvious, it is a real treat to do that, to show (hopefully!) that the techniques can be used on nervous and bolshy youngsters, in the same way positive training can be used to help all types of dogs, not just nervous ones. In fact I have just had a message from the lady who recommended the book who said she was in the same situation, one forward pony and one very nervous and distant, and she had a lot of pleasure from working with them both this way. And now you can't tell which was which!

Won't be starting for a couple of days though, weather is too bad to tie Gossip up away from the stable, and I have my 30th birthday party to organise the day after tomorrow!!

WufWuf
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by WufWuf » Fri Dec 09, 2011 9:46 am

Happy birthday :D I hope you have a wonderful time :P

Beautiful babies I'd love to smush my face into their necks and smell them, not that they'd enjoy that just yet!

I'd love to read that book sounds very interesting.
Operant conditioning rocks but classical conditioning rules

bendog
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by bendog » Fri Dec 09, 2011 3:55 pm

^^ same
Horaces Mum you have such self control to keep your distance and let them come to you, I'd probably push it too soon and try to cuddle them!

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Fri Dec 09, 2011 4:20 pm

Ah well, I can cuddle Gossip lots, he is a cuddle monster and if anything I have to be careful to remember to teach him to watch my space otherwise he is in my face all the time!!

I know have 2 very fluffy little ponies, they have had a couple of nights in avoiding the storms we have had. Turned them out today for a few hours and when I went to get them they came galloping (and I mean galloping!) up the field to me, an then straight past, tails in the air, stunning trots from each of them! They then settled down and came over to be caught. Still cant catch Oya but she will come for her carrot and she listens to my voice when I call her if she hangs back or gets too far ahead!

Looking forward to actually getting down to working with her :D

MPbandmom
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by MPbandmom » Fri Dec 09, 2011 8:56 pm

Happy Birthday Horus' mum! I hope you have organized a ton of fun into it and that Oya decides it is a great day to be a little braver.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:11 pm

Thanks for the birthday wishes, I had a great day if a bit hectic, had a fab party involving pass the parcel with forfeits, treats and random items of comedy clothing! Also played musical chairs, and we did a quiz all about me to find out what my friends actually know :lol: :lol: :lol:

Today I started work proper with Oya. Took Gossip out and tied him up, then started doing pressure-release stuff with Oya and a hand on a stick. To begin with she just had to look at me and I would turn away and take a step back. Then she had to touch the hand for me to turn away. Very gradually over 20mins or so I kept repeating this until by the end of the first session I could rub across her withers and down her shoulder for several seconds before taking the pressure off and walking away (with the hand on a stick).

The idea is that rather than desensitising her, she learns that in order to get me to go away she needs to stand and let me touch her. It is all about reading her body and facial expressions, reducing the pressure if she gives me stress signals and moving forward a little at a time as she is ready. A few times I had to backtrack to just sniffing the hand again for a few goes until I could start touching her again, but by the end she was standing solid and relaxed, with no reaction when I moved forward to touch her, 4-5 times in a row. Then I walked away to the opposite end and circled round to move her away from the door so I could get out, and Gossip came back in as the ultimate reward.

Goss in the meantime had a really good groom by a friend, he looked gorgeous and fluffy but I didn't have my camera. Next time! I will do the same work with him once I can tie Oya outside because he doesn't really accept leg and foot contact very well. I did start him with a clicker today - he has been getting very mouthy and I just don't have the discipline to never feed by hand, I enjoy it too much, so we were working on looking away to get a click and piece of carrot. He seems to have got the hang of it very well, he didn't try and mug me once!!

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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by JudyN » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:15 pm

It must be fascinating seeing just what you can do with the clicker and a gentle, positive training approach :D My experience of horses was with typical riding school ponies who were not very responsive, to say the least, and it was just a case of kick to go faster, pull the reins to go slower, left rein to go left, right rein to go right. And of course you didn't get a chance to bond with a pony as you were on a different one every week. We were missing out on so much!
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Sun Dec 11, 2011 2:04 pm

Yes and no - I rode at a school which gave you a difference pony every week as well and although it was very traditional, it made me a very confident rider - I will get on anything without a worry. I think people who learned to ride on one pony are very limited in their technique book. But yes, it is fascinating working with the ponies in a positive fashion, trying to retrain myself to eliminate the last little bits of traditional stuff where possible. I did a lot of freeschooling and join-up type stuff with my first pony, but lost her just as I discovered clicker work.

What is really magical is seeing the transformation from scared running baby pony to confident, still, relaxed baby pony despite being touched, all in the space of minutes. That and the first time they sniff and nuzzle your hand :) :) :) :)

thepennywhistle
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by thepennywhistle » Sun Dec 11, 2011 4:03 pm

[quote="Horace's Mum" It is all about reading her body and facial expressions, reducing the pressure if she gives me stress signals and moving forward a little at a time as she is ready.[/quote]

Well done! I personally consider this type of training to be the most fun in the world.

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Horace's Mum
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Re: Gossip and Oya

Post by Horace's Mum » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:41 pm

Day 2 and we have made huge progress! I can now touch Oya all over her left side (literally, including tummy and inside back legs) and much of her right side with the glove on a stick, and she was doing so well I used my hand on her neck to gradually work up to her headcollar. In 2 goes I managed to unbuckle it and slide it off without her worrying at all, so she is now naked again. Hopefully in another couple of days it will be on and off like a yoyo!! She was fab, no running around, straight down to business today. When I take the pressure off (turn away) she actually follows me which is an amazing feeling. Another success for positive training!!!

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