Below, meet Peanut, TWH. He is a trimming client of mine and a clicker wonder. These photos were taken in the early spring of 2007 when this naturally-boarded horse was still wearing his winter coat. Here Peanut demonstrates two behaviors.
Can You Lower Your Head? is a Foundation Exercise. He lowers from the slightest poll pressure. You can see what a wonderful stretch this is for the top line. We teach the head lowering from a variety of cues, some that transfer nicely to riding. Why? Because a horse with his head down, is a calm horse.
Secondly Peanut has learned to put all four feet on a small stand. What trust he must have in his trainer!
Below, Can you touch the target is another Foundation Exercise. Here Peanut offers to touch the “dressage wand” when it is placed above his head. This is an advancement from touch it right around and below his head. Extensions of this exercise are: Can you walk while touching the target (TTT)? Can you back while TTT? Can you stretch to the side and TTT? Can you reach between your front legs and TTT (one way to teach the bow)? See Alex’s books for more suggestions.
A horse who can touch and follow a target can also touch a Scary Objects while on the trail. These exercises form a basis for desensitizing work: walk over water, walk over tarp, touch flapping tarp, walk through a wall of moving plastic flaps, etc.[Gallery not found]