Re: problems breaking in my four year old
He's only a baby- remember like children- as we grow up, we don't get everything first time- some kids do, some really need it broken down into chunks to help them.
My 4 year old and I have experienced similar problems, we introduced clicker training into his work because we applied shaping ( not just through clicker training- shaping is very useful tool to have!) and broke down things into small chunks for him.
Shaping is basically taking a behaviour you want to teach- i.e walk forward and breaking it down into lots of small steps- it makes it easy to retrace any steps you've had and it makes it more digestible for the horse to understand- especially at this tender age!
So, for example, walking forward under saddle, I approach the situation like this;
1-In field/school/yard, in headcollar and leadrope, walk forward- if horse follows- Click and Reward.
2-Repeat the first step several times, keep rewarding the effort, increasing the number of steps taken each time.
3-When understood what you walking on means, begin to add in a cue- whether it be verbal - waaalk or a tickle from the school whip- this cues when the behaviour needs to occur- C/R
4-Ask horse to stand still- using the cue- ( verbal/cue stick), ask them to walk forward- C/R
5-Put tack on, perhaps have someone sit on back- ask for forwardness- C/R
6-Apply this when you are onnboard. C/R
Obviously this is a very simply, not very broken down one- but it's just an example of how shaping works- it builds up a final behaviour which you want to teach by breaking it down and by the end, they all link together.
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