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The Training of Jousting Horses]

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  • DIANNE KARP
    This came off the jousting list and I think is a very clear explanation. Even if you never plan to do jousting or mounted combat, it is a very good idea to get
    Message 1 of 5 , May 6, 2010
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    This came off the jousting list and I think is a very clear explanation.

    Even if you never plan to do jousting or mounted combat, it is a very
    good idea to get your horse used to armor and the nose it makes along
    with the noise of swords hitting armor.

    It never hurts to get a horse used to the mechanics of jousting, etc.

    Siobhan





    One tidbit I picked up from Jeff at our clinic is, that for "new to
    armour" horses, put on an arm harness when grooming them to help them
    get used to armour. Then, work your way up from there. By the time
    you're up to a full harness, they'll be much more relaxed about it all.

    On a lead, out of armour, on the ground....work with all the weapons all
    around them. Touching, talking petting, etc. Then do it mounted (maybe
    with someone holding the lead the first few times if you think you need
    it). Walk/trot/canter with the lance and other weapons. Ride around a
    lot with the lance...make it part of you. As we learned at the clinic,
    if you are hold it properly, you can hold it all day without getting
    tired.

    Out of armour..walk/trot/canter down the lane. With another horse, have
    the "made" horse/rider (if you have one) stand still at the center of
    the tilt and let you, riding the new horse, w/t/c by them. Then, you
    stand and they w/t/c by you. Of course, if it gets to be too much, back
    off. Then w/t/c by each other.

    After that, I add lances and if things go well, I switch out the lance
    for just a helmet. If things go well, I'll add lance and helmet. If
    things go well, I'll do the same w/t/c excercise above with lance and
    helmet. Then maybe add the ecranche. Then work your way up to full
    harness and then on to breaking passes.

    Of course, some horses will take to this with no problem and others
    (ahem... ;-) won't. Just take it in baby steps and keep and eye on
    them. If it gets to be too much stimuli for them, take a step or two
    back.

    Time is your friend. If you rush it, you will end up having many more
    problems to fix.


    Eule/Steve
    Unus sed Leo
  • juliana_of_avon
    Oh an opinion? Of course I have one! He forgot the part where Gwen (Jeff s wife) religiously offers treats when they hit the end of the list. :-) I don t know
    Message 2 of 5 , May 6, 2010
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      Oh an opinion? Of course I have one!

      He forgot the part where Gwen (Jeff's wife) religiously offers treats when they hit the end of the list. :-) I don't know if they get them at "every pass" or not. I've watched her do this - I still see pictures of it. It works for them. But it is also a part of their process not mentioned in Steve's post.

      My horses would MOW me down if they knew cookies "were happening" as soon as they get to me. LOL! I cannot "treat out of the hand" that much. It creates too many issues with my horses. One of them being that evil expectation of auto-cookie.

      Also. In addition to this:
      > Of course, some horses will take to this with no problem and others
      > (ahem... ;-) won't. Just take it in baby steps and keep and eye on
      > them. If it gets to be too much stimuli for them, take a step or two
      > back.

      Some horse just don't take to contact jousting. Certainly DO try to train them for it. Give them a year or so of patient "weekly submersion" with it. Don't burn them out with it - be a horseman about the process. If you have one that cannot settle into the job, don't make them do it. You'll end up with a disaster brewing and it will probably hit when there are the least amount of escape routes.

      Any of these groups will tell you that they've had horses that did not settle into the job. Maybe it was personality, maybe it was the training they got. Some just don't like it. Some tolerate. Some are indifferent. Some really love it.

      ~J
    • DIANNE KARP
      This brings up a good point. When training anything (dogs, birds, rabbits, children, horses)we start with shaping - anything that resembles the behavior we
      Message 3 of 5 , May 6, 2010
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        This brings up a good point.

        When training anything (dogs, birds, rabbits, children, horses)we start
        with 'shaping' - anything that resembles the behavior we want gets
        rewarded. Rewards can be praise or food or both.

        Gradually, we reward behavior that is closer to what we want until we
        reward ONLY what we want.

        Then, we begin to change the re-enforcement schedule. Instead of every
        time, it is 3 out of four then 2 of 4 then 1 of four then 1 of
        10, then randomly (the numbers are for the purpose of example, not an
        absolute).

        Random re-enforcement is the strongest kind. Studies show everyone works
        harder if they never know when they will be rewarded. It is the basis of
        the Lottery and all gambling. Studies show that a person who gets a 'big
        win' early in their gambling experience is much more likely to keep
        trying - every random little win re-enforces the belief that the next one
        is another big one.

        So, I have a horse that will not let me catch him. First, I put him in a
        small area. I start the training process when he is hungry.

        I put out the hay and stand by it,. He does not get to eat until he
        comes up to the hay. He may grab a bite and run - that's ok. Stand
        there. When he comes up to get it and stays put, I pet him and tell him
        he is a good boy (approximation/shaping/praise). I do this every day and
        gradually do things like put my arm over his neck and pet him while he
        eats. When he will let me put a rope around his neck and then a halter
        on his head, we are ready for the next phase. Very occasionally during
        this process, he also gets a treat (I usually say "treat?" when I do it
        as this gets the word sound and the item connected for later)

        Now I walk in (again he is hungry) and walk towards him with a treat in
        hand. NO rope, no halter. I say "treat?" If he walks up, he gets a treat
        then he gets his hay. If he does not walk up, I wait. He will come
        eventually.

        Gradually, we do the same process - adding arm over neck and then rope
        over neck and then halter.

        Lastly, we turn him out in a big area and do this AFTER breakfast. First
        treat - no rope no halter. then arm then rope then halter.

        Then, when he will reliablly lets me walk up to him and halter him to get
        the treat, we start doing it without the treat once in awhile.
        Gradually, we remove the treat - praise is all he gets.

        You can do this with anything. the difficulty is that folks over use
        treats and never extinguish the treat so the horse expects treats every
        time he see a person. That, and folks do not demand good treat behavior
        - not crowding, etc.

        If your kid gets a big bowl of ice cream every time they do their one
        math homework problem, I guarentee that they will do one problem.
        Getting them to do all their homework using that kind of reward schedule
        is going to require a bunch of ice cream and Tums.

        All this being said, there are some horses that can never have treats
        from your hand - treats in buckets will do the same thing. And for the
        few who shove you around to get the treat no matter what - praise alone
        will also work.

        Siobhan



        >
        > My horses would MOW me down if they knew cookies "were happening" as soon
        > as they get to me. LOL! I cannot "treat out of the hand" that much. It
        > creates too many issues with my horses. One of them being that evil
        > expectation of auto-cookie.
        >
        J
      • juliana_of_avon
        (below) Kitty learned this with Duke and was very strict about treating him out of the hand. Early on, he did become a jerk about expecting treats - and got
        Message 4 of 5 , May 6, 2010
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          (below) Kitty learned this with Duke and was very strict about treating him out of the hand. Early on, he did become a jerk about expecting treats - and got horribly pushy/aggressive. It was no good for his attention span nor his attitude.

          She made the right call and got a positive change in his attitude. He got to the point where he sulked a bit when he saw Velvet get a cookie, but he did stop grabbing my cloths and nosing (pushing) me INTO the tack room in expectation of a treat. (THAT was annoying!)

          ~J

          --- In WestKingdomEQ@yahoogroups.com, "DIANNE KARP" <diannekarp@...>
          > All this being said, there are some horses that can never have treats
          > from your hand - treats in buckets will do the same thing. And for the
          > few who shove you around to get the treat no matter what - praise alone
          > will also work.
        • DIANNE KARP
          ... In Duke s case, he grew up without someone insisting that he respect space. It was his biggest problem when he was at Lynn s. He takes advantage when he
          Message 5 of 5 , May 6, 2010
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            > (below) Kitty learned this with Duke and was very strict about treating
            > him out of the hand. Early on, he did become a jerk about expecting
            > treats - and got horribly pushy/aggressive. It was no good for his
            > attention span nor his attitude.
            >
            > She made the right call and got a positive change in his attitude. He got
            > to the point where he sulked a bit when he saw Velvet get a cookie, but
            > he did stop grabbing my cloths and nosing (pushing) me INTO the tack room
            > in expectation of a treat. (THAT was annoying!)
            >
            >

            In Duke's case, he grew up without someone insisting that he respect
            space. It was his biggest problem when he was at Lynn's. He takes
            advantage when he is being handled by lots of different folks. I have
            seen his manners since Kitty started demanding respect and it is joyful
            to see.

            All I can say is 'whiffle bat'. We call it the Baton of Behavior. Makes
            a great deal of noise and you can whale on a naughty pony without hurting
            them.

            All my horses drop their heads and stare then back up or find somewhere
            else to be when they see it. It often comes out when 'gate manners' have
            been forgotten.

            Siobhan
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