For this routine we lay the rags out in a line. Only the horse weaves the rags while the handler walks parallel to the rags. Each request for sidestepping is followed by walking a circle, to give variety and vary the flexion throughout the routine.
To link weaving, standing together quietly, walking circles together and sidestepping.
- We have stepping on a mat strongly ‘on cue’ or ‘on signal’ or ‘under stimulus control’. #9 HorseGym with Boots: Putting Targets ‘On Cue’: Click here. More info about putting targets ‘on cue’: #5 HorseGym with Boots: Putting Nose Targeting ‘On Cue’. Click here.
- Smooth transitions staying shoulder-to-shoulder. Smooth ‘Walk On’ and ‘Halt’ Transitions. Click here.
- While walking shoulder-to-shoulder, the horse changes direction in response to handler moving his/her body axis toward the horse or away from the horse. #170 HorseGym with Boots: Body Axis Orientation Signals. Click here.
- Weaving. #70 HorseGym with Boots: Only Horse Weaves. Click here.
- Horse understands a signal for sidestepping. Sidestepping. Click here.
- Handler has developed a clear ‘Zero Intent’ signal so the horse knows when standing quietly is what is wanted. ‘Zero Intent’ and ‘Intent’. Click here.
ENVIRONMENT AND MATERIALS
- A work area where the horse is relaxed and confident.
- Ideally, the horse can see his buddies, but they can’t interfere.
- The horse is not hungry.
- Halter and relatively short lead (~8′) when not working at liberty.
- Six rags (or any even number) laid out in a straight line with enough space between them so the horse can easily weave the rags.
- Only the horse weaves the rags. The handler walks a line parallel to the rags.
- Click&treat as often as appropriate to keep the horse continually successful.
- This is concentrated work, so after doing the routine on one side of the horse, it’s best to do something relaxing before working on the other side.
- For the sidestepping tasks, you could be in front of the horse as I am in the video clip, or on the side asking the horse to either move away from you or toward you.
- On the left side of the horse, weave the rags in both directions. Put in a halt and a few seconds of ‘wait together’ at each end of the weave.
- Walk a circle to line the horse up with his belly beside the first rag.
- Ask the horse to sidestep so the first two rags pass under his belly.
- Walk a circle to line up the horse’s belly with the third rag.
- Repeat the sidestepping across two rags followed by a circle to line up for the next two rags until you reach the end of the rags.
- Use a jackpot or Triple Treat to indicate the end of the routine on the left side of the horse.
- Repeat on the horse’s right side.
- If you can run with your horse, trot the weaves.
- If the horse understands sidestepping with various signals, mix up the way you ask for it.
- Work on a slope if you have one handy.
- Do the routine with imaginary rags. I do this often and if I’m careful to keep my signals consistent, it’s amazing how well it works once the horse knows the routine.