Yoshi continues trucking along with clicker training. I discovered he is much crankier about his right side. I suspect this is an OTTB thing, but it also could be just him.
Side note, I hate when people assume that every dog that is afraid of things has been abused, so I'm trying not to assume that every weird quirk in Yoshi is an OTTB thing. Seriously on the dogs, my own dog that is now my dad's dog is terrified of almost everything. Do I think she was ever hit? No. She doesn't react to a hand raised or even accidental boops with the foot that happen when living with a dog. I do think she spent her formative years in a backyard with no socialization and no exposure to normal things like cars (driving past her and riding in), music, etc. This makes her really reactive to anything new or loud.
Anyways, back to the horse. We have made progress with politely standing in a relaxed fashion, and he continues to want to come out to play each time, quickly engaging with me now instead of wandering the round pen looking for scraps or staring at other horses. I started asking him to yield both sides of his body with a nudge just behind the girth area. Left side no problem, right side ears pinned and swinging his head at me. I had to adjust to be a lot less picky about it to begin with, not waiting for inside hind crossing in front of outside, just rewarding any movement away from the pressure. Today we started to finesse the movement a bit, rewarding the actual crossing over I was initially looking for. He also primarily wants to stand on my right side (with his left side to me) when I am rewarding relaxed, attentive, head straight behavior. I flipped the treat pouch to the other side of my hip and tried using my other hand to give treats to make sure it wasn't me being uneven, but nope, he feels more comfortable and confident with me on his left. So I'm trying to pay attention to evening that out and working both sides equally.
I did get some saddle time in this week. His old owner generously let me come out and ride one of the horses at her barn on Tuesday. It was a lot of fun and turned into a mini lesson after I let her slip out of the second jump in a line. Several good tidbits:
- Hands in front of shoulders, always - said after I was lamenting my leaning/jumping ahead and lack of release
- If you don't correct the run out she won't even know that she has done the wrong thing - I let her loop back around the ring and approach the jump a second time rather than stopping and circling in the direction of the runout. I know better, but I was so much to blame for letting it happen to begin with that I didn't want to correct too strongly.
- Get the bend on small walk circles, making sure she can yield her jaw and neck both directions. Then move it up into trot.