Chase away those wintertime blues! Pie learns to shake hooves.

Trick training is a lot of fun, especially during the winter. by the time I get home, its usually chilly and it gets dark early. if its kinda cold or I get home late, I can work her 10 minutes on these things, get her using her little noggin, and have a good time as well. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to chase away the winter blues!

These pictures show her second time ever working on “shake”.
I made sure to only ask her for this while she is on her “stool”. a cute trick can turn into a bad or dangerous habit if you don’t set clear boundaries.

this first picture shows how I started asking her for “shake”..we did about 5 minutes of this the first time I worked with her. This is not anyone’s “particular” way of teaching this trick..Ive taken a few ideas from various people and come up with this method..which worked VERY well for Pie!

She is used to having her feet handled and is also used to me using a rope (as that was part of how I taught her to bow). I tied a soft rope around her leg with a quick release knot, right below the fetlock and asked her to step up on the stool.

I asked for her hoof, with the cue I plan to use, bending slightly forward, hand outstretched. As I do this, I will pull gently with the rope til she lifts her foot. I then take her leg, stretch it out to meet my hand. at that instant I click and reward her..then set the hoof back down gently.

After working with the rope, I can feel her picking her leg up by I start adding the verbal cue of “shake” in conjunction with my body cue.
When I feel she is reliably offering the cue with little help from the rope..I take it off..some horses it takes a few sessions, others, like Pie, only take a few minutes.
Here I am asking her for “shake”, sans rope..she is starting to lift her leg

Her first inclination is to pick the leg straight up, as I ask her to do in a bow. I make sure my cues are DIFFERENT..bow is a tap on her leg..shake’s cue is done off of body language on my part. I gently pull her leg forward, to reiterate what I want..and click/reward when it;s RIGHT…

AH! you want it FORWARD!

and the finished product..she is now understanding to offer her leg more FORWARD versus up!

I will still work on her actually “targeting” my hand with her hoof..maintaining the key elements of waiting til I ask for her hoof and also her being “gentle”, which she has been..I don’t want her leaning on me or “pawing” with her hoof..eventually, a child at the schools we visit should be able to shake hands with her.

I love her style in the last picture..I hope she keeps it as she becomes more comfortable with this cue.

As always, Pie never ceases to amaze me in her attitude, brains and her absolute willingness to learn and understand what is being asked of her.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cynthia
    Jan 09, 2011 @ 23:27:05

    Good job Pie and Sarah!


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