When I arrive at the pasture and go out to see my horses, the first thing I do is touch them and c/t. If they are really involved with grazing they'll wait for me to approach them.
|Gwen was faking me out- she galloped over to me as soon as I put the camera down.|
I don't c/t while I'm grooming them, I tried it a while back and found that it made them fidget, but I will occasionally c/t them while I'm tacking up. I'll c/t Coriander for letting me put the bridle on and I'll c/t Gwen for bridling and for standing still while I cinch up the saddle. Then I walk them over to the mounting block, where I'll c/t them for standing still while I run the stirrups down and check the girth again.
When mounting I very rarely click them for standing still before I get on, but I do click and treat every time I slide into the saddle. With Coriander I wait until I've got my feet in the stirrups to click, but for Gwen I click as soon as I'm upright on her back. I was having issues with Coriander a while back because I was clicking before I got my feet in the stirrups, he'd eat the food and start walking off before I was ready, so now he has to wait. This has worked very well for me, they both stand like stones now.
I also click and treat every time I dismount. My hope is that when I fall off, because it's going to happen, that my horses will be so used to looking for the treat when I hit the ground that they'll immediately turn to me instead of running off into oblivion. With any luck, I won't have to test out this theory anytime soon.
When I'm putting them back in the pasture for the night, each horse has a different routine. Coriander will walk through the gate, wait for me to ask his hips to move over so I can close the gate, and then stand and wait for me to take his halter off- I click and treat him once for this "loop." Gwen is different, she likes to walk in the gate and directly over to the water to grab a drink, I'll wait for her to finish and then I take her halter off and c/t. I think she does this because she knows I'll hold Rocky off so she can drink her fill without getting harassed, so I haven't gotten picky about this behavior.
Rocky tends to throw a bit of a monkey wrench in my training with her issues, sometimes I have to tie her up so I can get my horses in and out of the pasture. She likes to hover over the gate and snaps at my horses if they get too close to her- so they do their best to avoid her. She's an interesting horse, that Rocky, she bites and kicks at my horses all the time but is still terribly attached to them, especially Gwen. She might be the topic of another post someday.
Anyway, back to my horses, because of our end-of-the-day routine I never have to worry about them bolting away from me or pulling other sorts of nastiness when I turn them loose. That's not to say they never gallop off when I let them go but they always wait until I've given them their treat and walked away before they run off.
I feel that continuing to c/t these behaviors that they know well helps to create mutual respect between us. They know what I expect of them and I know what they expect of me. Obviously I'm not teaching them anything because they already know these behaviors, but I really like having a way to say "thank you" that they understand and appreciate.