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Mojo up date – he had been in all night as he asked the yard owner to come in last night. Apparently he looks directly at her kitchen window and stamps his foot when he wants to come in to his stable. It was obviously too wet for him last night as at 5pm he was happy out and at 7ish he was at the gate asking to come in.
He was a very muddy beast and quite hot, with all his hair, this morning, I brushed as much as I could and got lots of hair out. Then we went in the school to walk over the poles that were nicely laid out in a fan shape. Mojo was very good at this but did knock a few out of place. Then did his “carrot” stretches using a target and then giving the food. I left him in the school after the end of session signal and he went to look in the mirrors at the end of the school, he seemed quite intrigued at his reflection.
We just need some dry weather for a prolonged period so the fields are not so waterlogged. Is this really Spring?
Mojo October 23rd 2015
We did the barrel again today – trying to remember to feed at arms length – not sure I did that all the time. Mojo remembered he had to push the barrel, we started with 3 repetitions of 1 push and got up to 3 repetitions of 3 pushes. We finished there as I used the short side of the school and we had run out of space. Made a big fuss of him and gave him a jackpot feed.
Then I put him in the stable with his hay net (so we don’t get expelled for making a mess in the sand school)!
I put out the agility course I want to do for the Fair Horsemanship Challenge. The only thing I got wrong was not walking over the tarp with him. To do that I may need a bigger tarp, but I was very pleased with Mojo. A bit sticky through the cones but we went back and did them again afterwards and he was perfect. I may need some help with the proper video as the umbrella opening was only just in the frame. It has been a lot of fun though training each obstacle and then putting it all together.
Then came the fun bit – he has been very sticky leaving the barn and going back to the field. So we made it a fun game today – thanks Jo Hughes for the suggestion. Who would have thought a flag on a carrot stick could be so exciting.
Targeted high, targeted low and did hip over, circles and some nice shoulder-in. Mojo did not even notice the mini tractor mowing the golf field. He only grass dived twice and came straight back up to continue playing the game.
I have struggled to get Mojo a bit more animated when following a target, probably due to me not going fast enough. So my daughter came to help today, we put 2 cones out as he stations nicely at these and then she got him to follow the target stick and upped the reinforcement for trotting, he was getting quite lively towards the end. However Liz can run faster than I can so I need to get his trotting on a cue so he can trot to the cones by himself.
Before this he was very wary meeting a new person, a few big startle responses as Liz touched him, but he soon decided she was trustworthy and really seemed to enjoy the session.
When you have a horse who is nervous like Mojo you have to go slowly and desensitise to so much. It is like starting a horse from the beginning. Restarting often takes much longer than starting a youngster with no experience of aversive methods.