Thursday, February 26, 2009

Horse Lateral Work

This owner is training lateral work with her horse; and the specific exercise is "lateral movement towards me", through clicker training. The horse is rewarded for moving laterally towards her.

A description from Cheryl of how she worked on this lateral move:

`Lateral Toward Me' (3 ten minute lessons)

Front / Shoulders:

I worked with Candy's front end first.

Near and offside separately.

I asked Candy to bring her nose toward me `click'. I took a step backwards and her front feet started to follow me `click'.

After a few times Candy started to cross her front legs and take a step sideways with me when I stepped back `click'. (I did not worry about her hind at this stage). Once this was firm in candy's mind, I only needed to point my arm to her shoulder- step back and she crossed her front legs and stepped with me `click' (you can see this on video with her offside).

I then had -`The start of Lateral Towards Me' (front)


I then went to her hindquarters. I tapped her hip and I took a step backward, with the slightest idea she was going to come sideways towards me with her hind I `click'. (This was all she needed on her offside.)

At the start of our hind work with her near side, Candy needed a "clue" of how to come to me- what I was asking of her.


What I did was placed her offside parallel to a fence meaning she could not move away from me when I asked but in fact she needed to come sideways with me.

(She could have backed up or left by walking forward though, as I prefer to work with my horse with no halter etc unless it is used only for a clue).

I then tapped her hip with my outstretched arm and I took a step backward.


With no hesitation her hindquarters came sideways toward me (just a small weight shift) but `click' and the best treat.

I then had `Start of Lateral Toward Me' (hind)

Full Body Lateral:

After that as you can see in the start of my video, I only needed to point an arm to her shoulder and an arm to her hip, step backward and she will sidestep to me.

Her full body is now `Lateral towards me'.


The softness in Candy has come naturally while Candy and I worked through what I was asking of her and tiny step by step she `Got It'.


Candy and me are now progressing from my arm cues, (which I used as a clue for which body part to move) to her following only my footwork. This will be her cue for this exercise, as body language works well for Candy. I also like the result to be an easy neat `clear cue' for my horse to pick up on. (which she usually picks)

4th ten minute lesson:

On our 4th ten minute lesson tonight I worked with Candy on her offside.

She is now gliding sideways with me as she does with her near side, in a `full Lateral Towards Me'

There was a lot more `click' moments while teaching this. I am a trainer who looks at - the start of a behavior to the finish of a behavior- as one big jigsaw of a thousand pieces. `I click for each piece'.

Example: if I'm asking Candy in this particular exercise to come to me with her front and she moves her hind instead `click'. She is still heading towards the end result.

Hopefully you can get the idea, but remember to watch your horse, he will 'tell you' when to click. Each horse will react differently when you ask something, so be ready to `click' for the smallest thing.

Video Information, Clues:

Study the video for more clues if you need to, as there is quite a lot of information to find on it.

I love my horse she is such a pleasure to work with.

Enjoy yours!

Cheryl and Candy

Another horse and owner working on lateral work:

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