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You've found the Mary-Dixon page about horsemanship.  Horses are my passion and my obsession.  They have helped me become a kinder, more confident, more patient person.  What they have taught me about them and taught me about myself is immeasureable.  I now try to teach folks about the nature of horses and how to understand each other which leads to a more confident human and a more confident little darling.
Adventure Horse Riding in NYS

3/29/12

#63 Playdough and Legos

#63  Playdough and Legos
Shaping the behavior - is a nice calming phrase to remember. It goes with the statement "reward the slightest try. " So when you are trying to teach your darling something and he only does real real tiny baby steps in the beginning - which is to be expected - that is his way of attempting to understand what it is you are asking. It is YOUR job to let him know he is in the process of getting the correct ANSWER and he has to know this UNEQUIVOCALLY.

 
To avoid frustration & impatience on your part - KEEP thinking of it as "shaping" like when you are making something out of playdough or legos - you start off and it is just a messy blob, then little by little by little it starts to take shape. That is what your horse is doing. So that he knows he is going in the right direction he needs acknowledgement from you that he is going in the right direction and this can take any form such as  a treat, or the release (just stop doing what you were doing), a gentle pat and short wait, etc. He is shaping the playdough or building the lego thingee which will eventually result in the act or behavior that you are asking of him.

Adventure Horse Riding in NYS            Smilla13@gmail.com  (Mary Dixon)         www.RideNYS.com