Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ed Levin Walks

Indian Hill got a hay delivery! Half of this is alfalfa, half is orchard grass mix. Two semis hauling doubles seems like a lot of hay, but with over 200 horses here, it goes fast!
Lucky me I don't have to buy it or supervise it's unloading or feed it

This time of year is so dry and pale brown and flammable.

Janow and Cherokee waiting for their dinners. These two have been neigh-bors off and on for nearly 10 years.

I have been taking Janow for walks in the nearby Santa Clara County Region Park. To get to Ed Levin park, it's a short walk down Calaveras Road. Janow hasn't been off the ranch much in a while, but I decided he needed some excitement, and I need the hill walking. Yesterday I noticed something very interesting.

BACKGROUND Because I want to teach Janow to drive, he has to be very good at voice commands for "stand" "whoa" and "back up" so we have been practicing these on our walks. It's one thing to get good in the comfort of the home ranch, but another thing to do it away from home when you are stressed. Typically, Janow is in a constant state of acceleration. He likes to get ahead of me, but I don't want to get dragged around the park. When he gets ahead of me, I stop. He is very prompt at stopping when I do. That makes it easier. Then I say "Back up" until he is in the correct position in relation to me. Then we "walk" on and I praise him. When I praise him, he does licking and chewing to show relaxation. I do this as often as needed, sometimes every five or six strides. It's working and I have to do it less each time.

INTERESTING PART When there is something making him worried, he gets ahead deliberately so that I will stop and back and walk and then praise him. He gets ahead when he needs praise and comforting because I provide that every time he gets ahead.

By being gentle and persistent, am I teaching him to be bad when he gets nervous, or am I teaching him to respond to my requests even if he is nervous? I'm pretty happy with how this is going.

Rabbits also do this licking and chewing for the same reason as horses. It's harder to see the licking part because they have mouths on the floor side, very close to the floor. Rabbit people call this "teeth purring" because you can hear the faint grinding of the teeth.


OnTheBit said...

hmm...Is there any way you can get him to stop before he gets ahead to see if he really just needs praise? If you get the same reaction before he gets ahead he might just be happy to have you as the heard leader maybe?

Cara said...

I'm not sure what you mean.

He stops when I stop. I can get him to stop anytime. I don't have to tug the lead, he just stops when I do and he is a good boy.

I don't want to praise constantly for status quo because then it will become meaningless background sound. In this case, I think Janow feels a need for soothing. He should improve with more park trips.

I'll see...........

Grey Horse Matters said...

Janow is a beautiful guy. He seems to be coming along and doing what you want and your walks sound like good training opportunities.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

You make me want to take my horse out for walks. I'm still dealing with fear around horses now, though. Maybe taking a few walks will help...or make the fear worse.

I think I need the soothing and praise from my horse, instead of the other way around. lol!


Toddersville said...

Loved the tour of Milpitas. Sounds like a great place to be. Especially when the snow is up to my a-- in the winter. I'll get in touch for directions to all the sites during my virtual vacation in January.