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Separate Cues For Each Action

Hi Marv,

Thank you so very much for the BS (Bonding Scenario, thought I'd mention that ~ Marv) from your Web Page. I wanted your updated one with the pictures and it is added to all the other posts I have collected from you. I thought your site was great and I subscribe to the 2 lists so I could learn more. I do have a question though that I hope you will be able to help me with.

Right now the arena is too muddy so I am working with our horses in the barn on a 12 foot lead rope. I want our horses to keep walking around me in a circle with out stopping and Walking up to me when my back is turned on them. In the bonding routine they will join up when I take my eyes off them. On the lead line I want them to learn to stay in a gait until I cue them to stop or change gaits.

We trail ride mostly and I am wanting our horses to learn to only change gaits when cued, not slow down or pick up whenever they feel like it. Today I tried using voice cue (walk) and lightly swing the rope to keep him walking when my back was on him. ( a little awkward) and use the kiss sound when I wanted him to come in.

Do you have a way to separate cues that would help me with this? I may be going about this all wrong.

Thanks Marv. Sincerely, "T"

Thanks for the BS from my Web Page???

Oh...for a moment there...

You're welcome.

I don't think you are going about it all wrong. In fact, I think you have the right idea and are, in effect, really using the bonder for what it is - an attitude setter upper. Once you have the attitude you want you find ways to use that attitude to its best advantage. You build on it to fit your unique situation.

The solution here, which you appear to have stumbled on all by yourself, is to have separate "cues" for each action.

You say you are working your horse in the barn with a leadline. If the horse is contained, *I* would dump the leadline and work the horse without it.

I would use my cue and then get the horse to do it. For instance, I'd say, "Walk!" and keep the horse walking. If it came into me I'd repeat the cue and send him back out. I'd do the same for the trot and if room allowed, the canter.

A cue can be a word or an action that tells a horse to perform an action. "Walk" means walk, "trot" means trot, "canter" means canter, "whoa" means stop, "reverse" means reverse and "kiss" means come to me and stand beside me until told otherwise no matter where my eyes are fixed or what my body language is.

It isn't the best idea to stand in front of the horse in a "I'm a big monster!" stance and then tell him to walk because they are two somewhat conflicting signals. Ideally you want your actions to complement and encourage the horse's actions. You can have both a word and an action cue that says the same thing and can be used interchangeably. "Walk" can mean walk and so can a thigh squeeze, a slight lifting of the reins or what have you.

Horses can build up quite a repertoire of cues. John Lyons teaches 8 foot cue locations from the saddle alone. There is no reason you can't have separate cues for "come in" and "stay out". You're doing well and you'll figure out the cues that work best for you.

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