Alex outlines six foundation lessons for creating a good equine citizen. I'm going to be intentionally vague about them, if you want more information go to her website, The Clicker Center, and purchase one of the books or videos (If you're really nice I'll email you some more info, I just don't want to splash it all over the internet on her.).
- Targeting = teaching your horse to touch their nose to a target. This is a great lesson because there is so much you can do with it.
- Head Lowering = I've mentioned this before, it teaches the horse emotional control.
- Backing = teaches the horse to respect your space.
- Grownups are Talking = essentially teaches the horse to stop mugging you for treats; is the first lesson for ground tying.
- Why Would You Leave Me? = teaches respectful leading skills.
- Happy Faces = rewards the horse for looking pleasant (like having their ears forward), important because people react positively to horses that look pleasant.
I've already started incorporating lesson 4 with both the quarters. After I groom them I take them off the cross ties and we work on Grownups are Talking. Gwen has picked up on this much faster than Coriander, but she was never as much of a mugger as him anyway. I plan on making this a regular addition to grooming time.
For the next week and a half I'm going to concentrate on teaching Coriander targeting and getting Gwen really good at head lowering. This already involves backing so we'll have that one covered too.
After my screws come out on June 1 we can start working on Why Would You Leave Me. I'm very excited about that one, I hope it creates a significant difference in how Gwen leads.