River is learning a lot in her new home.
|"What is this BOO of which you speak?"|
|River will yield to a poking finger, |
but dressage whip tapping cues are new.
The lesson that came before the "weird stuff" lesson is this: People have cookies.
|She had to figure out how to move away from the tapping whip |
without crowding the human. Hmmm.
River is a big fan of cookies.
|She's never been asked to move hindquarters and forehand separately before, |
but she figured it out with some practice (and some cookies)
Therefore, River is willing to do weird stuff with people...
|"You hop on up der, Kid, and I'll keep my nose pointed |
at the pocket that contains all the cookies."
...because she knows that the people with the cookies
...like to share.
|This is her second "hopping" session. Ever. Not bothered at all.|
The weirder the exercise...
|Note that Patty's knee is supporting Sirie's foot...|
and River's nose is pointed at the cookie-pocket again.
...the more cookies will be involved.
A lot of folks disparage "teaching with food," but I'm a huge fan of rewarding food-oriented animals with food, intermixed with verbal praise and plenty of petting. Intermittent reinforcement makes the strongest impression, as anyone who bought a Powerball ticket this week will tell you!
It makes sense: the people want a behavior, and the horse wants a cookie.
It's a good trade for both sides.
|River sheds in TWO COLORS.|
River can even do weird things when other horses are doing weird things.
|Hana Banana Wannacookie works on the longeline |
while River Gimmecookie works with Patty
She's almost ready to carry a rider.
|Stepping away from the tapping whip, but not stepping onto|
the person on the mounting block = new skill
|Take portrait photo, then haz cookie?|
She thinks all that stuff will be fine.
After all, she's pretty sure that we'll bring plenty of cookies with us...and she's also pretty sure that we will share.