Tuesday, August 21, 2012

the mat

I am so glad that I read this post from Shannon over at It's Quarters for Me. She uses clicker training for her two horses and I needed something new to do with Shyloh, since she is out of commission for now (more on that later).  Shannon discussed using a mat as a mark for her horse Gwen to stand on. I have also seen this at Equine Affaire, I believe with Double Dan Horsemanship. It was just the thing for me and Shy to work on.

Since I didn't have a mat handy, I dug up a cardboard box and flatten it. Tada! Mat! I put the "mat" on the ground, grabbed some almonds, my clicker, and Shy and got to work. 
Can I eat it?
At first Shy refused to step on it. She stepped around it and over it. Then she tried to eat the cardboard mat! With much prodding and pleading, I finally got her to put a hoof on it! Click and treat. The other hoof was proving much harder for her to put on the mat. So I went and got a dressage whip so I could tap her legs and place them where I want them.
Almost there. . .
Backfire. I had initially used the dressage whip to tap her legs to teach her to wave. So I got a waving, pawing pony and a messed up piece of cardboard. Good thing we have tons of empty SmartPak boxes. Ugh. Because of her hoof antics, the cardboard made it difficult for her to stand on it. . .sometimes she would flip the cardboard up and one hoof would be on it and one hoof under it. 

But eventually Shy got it! Every time she got both hooves on the mat, click and treat! When she finally got both hooves all the way on the mat, click and lots of treats! We have more work to do on this new behavior, but we have a start!
Fuzzy photos. . . 
It is hard to take a photo, hold a dressage whip, and click at the same time. I finally gave up on holding the lead line, she was staying put just fine!
As far as Shy being lame. . .I have no idea. Beth thought maybe it was a stifle issue (she had been reading up on it for one of her horses and thought Shy fit the bill), but she does not have any swelling. None of her legs or hooves have any heat or swelling. She is showing no pain reactions. I think she is faking. . .just kidding. I am still thinking it may be sore muscles from being asked to use her rear end for movement, but Beth thinks that would not cause lameness. She shows no lameness at the walk, so I am reluctant to bute or keep her on stall rest. She does not run in the pasture. She really shows no signs of pain and never fought going into the trot even even she was tracking up short. The chiropractor is coming out Monday, so I will see what he thinks then. Other than that, Shy is off work, once again until I have some answers. 
Smiles! Proud of herself for doing a good job! I promise I was not asking for smiles while we were working on this!


  1. Oh cool, I'll show Mom your post so we can have something new to work on too. It's been something she's intended to work on but, never thinks of it.

  2. Great new trick. You're very clever to keep her brain engaged when she's off work, Allison, it's something I always talked when we had a horse recuperating but I never actually did it.
    Hope the lameness is nothing. I thought she was stepping short with the left hind in walk in your video. No heat or swelling in the hocks?

    1. We gotta do something!

      No heat or swelling anywhere! Me and my barn owner checked her out. An abscess was suggested, but no heat in any hooves. Ugh! Frustrating.

  3. Oh very good Shy! You'll find that some mats are easier for horses to stand on than others. I have a plywood mat that makes a nice sound then they put their feet on it, but I also have a thick rubber mat that Gwen likes to stand on.

    I hope your girl is feeling better soon!

    1. I was going to get a piece of plywood, but rubber sounds like it would be nice! Thanks for the tip :)

  4. Shy, tell Allie your piece of cardboard is to small LOL! You did awesome though. :D


Share your thoughts or comments, I love to read them!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.