Chunking down training tasks

(excuse the squealing in the above video, I’m trying to sound really excited! ha)

Like I discussed in the last blog post, I’ve been re-examining my training on Dante. We need to move forward and we seemed to have gotten stuck with not much more to do on the ground. However, there is more we can do – and I just need:

  • a schedule,
  • a knowledge of why
  • and a way to measure progress.

I’ve broken these tasks down into micro training steps, smaller tasks that lead up to the bigger training goal. Linda Tellington Jones talks about “chunking it down” and Intrinzen has an interesting video about how we learn and why this is necessary (cognitively the brain can’t juggle as much new learning as you think – and something should be learned by 3 sessions – but it won’t if it’s too complex).

Problem Dante is quick to put his hoof back down and will not hold it up long enough for proper farrier work. Some of this has been due to his stifle injury so this is not only about rewarding proper behavior but getting him stronger so he can keep the leg up.

Lifting legs for farrier work (retraining):

  • Touch leg and horse shifts weight off leg – cue is “up”
  • At touch on cannon bone with voice cue, hoof is lifted
  • Duration that hoof is held lifted increases
  • Hoof can be placed on hoof stand and held for duration
  • Hoof toe can be placed on hoof stand and held for duration
  • Strengthening exercises: placing a foot on the platform and doing a carrot bow; backing up a hill, tail pulls, warm up walk before trim work.

Goal: Foreleg Lifts frees and opens the shoulders, allowing the front to lift and allow the hindpower space. Lifting forelegs, chest high, in alternate walking forward pattern
(see Panther Walk, Jambette, Spanish Walk)

  • Lifting the leg to touch a target
  • Lifting the leg up on the voice command “lift”
  • Alternates the foreleg in the leg lifts
  • Takes a step forward after one leg lift
  • After taking a step forward, lifts the other leg
  • Walks with alternating leg lifts
  • Problem solving: for the leg that doesn’t lift as high (his left foreleg which is the weaker), strengthen and stretch by having him touch/stand on a platform with one leg and do a deep carrot stretch between his forelegs.

Goal: Chase the Tiger game increases play drive, encourages follow, lifts front, weights hind, strengthens the horse through play (see Panther Walk, Jambette, Spanish Walk)

  • Horse touches the Tiger (horse knows targeting)
  • Horse steps forward and touches Tiger with foot
  • Horse moves forward and follows Tiger
  • Horse stomps-paws the Tiger
  • Horse lifts when following to Chase the Tiger

Free Play games (per Natural Dressage)

  • Run with me
  • Run to me
  • Run away from me (taught in that order)
  • Mimicry

Stretching exercises (per Natural Dressage)

Ramenershift weight back, lifting through the withers – goal to lift the back on command – targeting (increasing the strength of the back)

Goal: to teach fundamental horse task to provide stengthening exercises
Horse lunges at walk and trot with long and low for duration
(lifting the back, also re-training for calmness and strength)

  • Horse knows to walk on the lunge by the word “walk”
  • Horse knows to trot on the lunge by the word “trot” body language
  • Horse knows to stop on the lunge while on the circle
  • Horse knows to come towards the middle and change direction
  • Horse knows to follow target
  • Horse knows to bring head down at the word “down”
  • Horse travels for duration on the circle with head down
  • Horse performs upward walk-trot transition smoothly, in balance
  • Horse performs downward trot-walk transition smoothly, in balance
  • Canter transition from trot
  • Ability to smoothly, and in balance, transition from canter to trot
  • Canter transition from walk
  • Ability to smoothly, and in balance, transition from canter to walk

Mounting block (re-training)

  • Horse follows target to mounting block
  • Horse lines himself to mounting block with Hip Targeting
  • Horse waits at the mounting block being touched over the back
  • Horse allows mounting

Shoulder-In (micro steps coming)

Travers (hindquarters in) (micro steps coming)

Python – part of the wither lift (micro steps coming)
(increasing the strength of the back, improving upward transition)

If you want to know more, check out these accounts:

This entry was posted in Art Natural Dressage, Cavalia, Klaus Hempfling KFH, Liberty, Straightness Training, Training, videos. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Chunking down training tasks

  1. Pingback: Implementing a training schedule (part 3) | Horse Ideology

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