Thursday, January 3, 2013

Building Sentences

In our past posts we have talked about some principals and concepts of communication. We've talked about building word recognition for a basic understanding of what we may be saying to them. We also talked about the horses emotions and how important it is to be aware of, and have some control over it.

This post will cover Building Sentences. Of course we will have to start with easy sentences. Just like with a child, we may teach them to recognize a dog. Later we may see the dog run and say to the child, "The dog is running." Now the child has a new sentence in their memory banks. The difference between a child and a horse is a child will only learn a few things a day, a horse can learn quite a few things in an hour. Even though a horse can learn quicker. It still has to be done methodically. We want them to succeed.

So once we can move them in any direction one step at a time. We then start building our sentences by just asking for more of the same thing. For instance if we ask them to step away from us with their front end. We would just ask them to keep going for a few more steps. We should always be aware of how well they are doing it and also be aware of ourselves to make sure we aren't confusing them in any way. When I start building sentences this is how I like to start. At first I will just get 1 or 2 extra steps. But within 5 minutes or so I will be getting a little bit longer sentence. I will do this by being aware of the progress. If I can move them 3 steps before they try to start walking forward, then I may go the three steps and stop, make sure they don't go forward, then start again. This way we don't get the forward movement. (Of course that is if you don't want forward movement.) As I go on, if I think they are ready I will keep them moving and correct any forward or backward movement while in motion. Stopping as soon as I get a few good steps. Remember to reward anything better than what you have been getting, and to always look to improve. Rewarding things like a better posture, a better response, a few steps without a mistake, or better focus on you or the task, just to name a few.These things will help them to learn your intention quicker.

Once we can do that with all the basic movements we would move to sentences with transitions. This is one of the better ways to get control of their body and their emotions. It is important to remember to not ask to much to fast, but to progress in an orderly manner. When I say to fast I mean don't skip steps. The progression I use to start a colt would allow me to get through all of these last 6 posts and move on to saddling, ridding, and out on our 1st trail ride generally under 5 hours. So its not a matter of time. Its a matter of understanding.

In our next post we will talk about introducing sentences with transitions in a way that will minimize the anxiety. We will also talk about how to deal with any anxiety that does show up. We hope you have been enjoying our Blog posts, and remember this is an interactive blog. Feedback and question are all welcome. Thanks for reading along.

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