This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Goin' To The Mat!

Split LOVES mat work! I mean, he "hangs out" and makes all these funny little nickering sounds in his throat when he hears me click......he gets uber enthusiastic, actually! So we need to work on some emotional control but that's what this journey is all about - for both of us!
Split knows when that big piece of plywood comes out that he's going to get lots of treats 'cause all he has to do is stand on it. Oh, boy!! Today my loop was: stand on the mat, C/T; mom walks away while Split continues to stand on the mat then calls Split to "come," CT; Split is told "on the mat" (and I walk over and tap it) and back he goes. This isn't really too difficult or complicated for him because we've been working on this off and on for a while. Split was a prince while I walked away from him while he could see me, however, as soon as I walked away by walking BEHIND him, well, that was a different matter! He would immediately leave the mat and try to follow me. Interesting! (Meanwhile, Jingle continued to stand politely on the mat and wait for her share of the treats! LOL) Obviously I had to break this down. I started by walking past his shoulder. If he stood on the mat, C/T. He quickly caught onto that. Then I walked past his rump.....and so it progressed. I was able to walk behind him and all the way to the corner of the paddock while he stood looking away from me, waiting until he was called. Great progress!!! He did get a bit frustrated at one point and I may have been walking too far away, i.e., not breaking this down into small enough segments, because he repeatedly turned and walked off the mat to follow me. I simply asked him to walk back to the mat. When he repeated the "turn and follow mom" behavior 3 times, I realized that there was a big hole somewhere and we needed to address that. And so we began again.............I did not click and treat when I had to ask him to return to the mat because I didn't want him to create his own loop of "stand on the mat, mom walks away, Split follows, mom brings Split back to the mat for a treat." I wanted him to understand that I want him to stand on the mat even when I walk away unless I cue him to leave. It's going well - can't wait til tomorrow!
The only "problem" I had was when I bent down to pick up the mat...........both Split and Jingle came running and stood on it!! ha ha ha I had to ask them to back up, of course. Jingle would back off and as I was asking Split to back off of it, Jingle would step onto it and vice versa. Finally I got them both to walk off at the same time and I quickly picked up the mat and made off with it! Those guys..............

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." Tolstoy

I've got lots of time...............need to work on the patience!!!
So long for now!

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