A break in the rain! Time to do some work - started with Dorica and we had a long and wonderful session. I am focusing a lot on mat work these days - it's a surprisingly challenging thing to get right. But in order to keep things interesting and avoid frustrating the donkeys, I mix it up and throw in other things (maybe too many ...!)
So we started with trotting. Need to work on keeping Dorica in a straight line. She's good for awhile, but then veers closer to me until she's steering me off to the left (funny she never veers the other way!)
Very good at voice cue "whoa."
Back to the mat (a truck floor mat) and trying to square up her front feet. I just watched Alex's Shaping On A Point of Contact DVD for the first time and will watch it again - excellent lesson about how to do this - I should practice my rope handling skills with a lead attached to a door knob instead of a donkey so I get it more fluid before working with an animal.
Dorica will paw at the mat just like Ringo - pawing is forward motion - back her up and reposition. Higher rate of reinforcement for standing quietly.
Set up the cones in a circle and attached Dorica's new rope reins. I am asking for lateral flexion as she circles the cones, then click and back her into hip-shoulder-shoulder. This is sloppy though and could use some coaching. I am finding it hard to ask softly for her neck and then drop the lead completely.
Took Dorrie into her stall and worked on backing around the corners for the first time. Not bad - she was getting it!
Chasing the big ball - this is so much fun! I turned Dorica loose and let her gallop after the ball. She isn't the least bit afraid of it even though it's nearly as big a she is! But I want her to follow the ball, not follow me and we have to work on that - she stays glued to my side. Want her to take off after the ball then come to me (wherever I am, for her treat.)
Ringo's turn. Worked a bit on self-haltering at his stall door. The out to the cone circle for some WWYLM game and mat work. He was a bit head-tossy and pawing the mat so we circled out and around 2 cones and then back to the mat. Did this a few times.
Then into the breezeway for some simple forwards and back against the wall. The beginnings of 300 Peck Pigeon. This is such good work - teaches control. Short lesson for Ringo today!