What's New: Mule Crossing

All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Mule Crossing’

  • MULE CROSSING: Rewards, Treats, Coaxing and Bribing

    0

    By Meredith Hodges

    It is important to know the differences among rewards, treats, coaxing and bribing in order to correctly employ the reward system of training called Behavior Modification.

    Rule Number One: Treats and bribery should never be used during training. However, the appropriate dispensing of rewards and coaxing will produce the correct behaviors.

    In order to reward your equine correctly for performing tasks, it is important to know the difference between a reward and a treat, and between coaxing and bribing. Let’s begin with some basic definitions of these terms:

    Reward: something desirable given for a completed task

    Treat: an unexpected gift given simply because it will be enjoyed

    Coax: to gently persuade without dispensing the reward

    Bribe: to persuade the animal by indiscriminately dispensing treats

    Continue Reading

     

  • MULE CROSSING: Judging a Show

    0

    By Meredith Hodges

    Being asked to judge a show is both an honor and a tremendous responsibility. Just being asked to judge indicates that you have a reputation for being a knowledgeable and respected person in your field of expertise. Accepting the invitation to judge means that you are willing to share this knowledge and expertise with people who may, or may not, accept IT or you! Exhibitors can say that each show reflects only one “man’s” (judge’s) opinion, so not to worry if you don’t do well. As an exhibitor and a judge, this bothers me a little.

    If the basics of Horsemanship, or Mulemanship, remain constant, then the consistency among judges should also remain fairly consistent with only a little variation from judge to judge. The variation in placements should be determined by the performance of the exhibitors and not by the personal opinions of the judge. The judge should be a catalyst toward better learning and performance. He or she should try to make their knowledge readily available to inquiring exhibitors and be diplomatic enough about its delivery to inspire and encourage exhibitors to improve their skills. In turn, the exhibitors will be better equipped to exhibit their animals in a favorable light to the public at large and to grow into knowledgeable experts themselves with time and experience.

    Continue Reading
  • MULE CROSSING: Shoulder-In and Lengthening the Trot

    0

    By Meredith Hodges

    In order to perform the shoulder-in properly, it is important to understand its purpose. The shoulder-in causes the equine to engage his hindquarters so that they carry the bulk of his weight, giving him more freedom and suppleness in his shoulders and front quarters. A strong base must be established to carry this weight forward while the shoulders remain light and free to proceed forward while tracking laterally.

    The shoulder-in is done on a straight line. Normally, an animal traveling in a straight line makes two tracks in the dirt behind him, because the front legs are positioned directly in front of the back legs. In the shoulder-in, the shoulders are positioned so that they cause a three-track pattern behind—the inside front foot makes one track, the outside front foot and the inside hind foot make one track, and the outside hind foot makes one track.

    Begin by walking your equine around the perimeter of the arena. When you reach the corner before the long side, make a ten-meter (30-foot) circle. As you close your circle at the start of the long side of the arena, maintain the bend that you had for the circle, using steady pressure on your inside rein. At the same time, nudge your equine with alternate leg pressure in synchronization with his hind legs as they each go forward. Squeeze your outside rein at the same time that you squeeze with your outside leg, and then release the outside rein. Ride the hindquarters straight forward from your seat and legs, as you offset the shoulders with your hands. Be careful that your inside rein is not so tight that your animal bends only his neck to the inside. As you squeeze with the outside aids, feel your equine rock his balance back to the hindquarters, giving you the sensation of pedaling backward on a bicycle. Simultaneously, you should feel the front quarters begin to lighten and become supple.

    Continue Reading

     

  • MULE CROSSING: Imprinting Beyond Birth

    0

    By Meredith Hodges

    Imprinting is defined as “rapid learning that occurs during a brief receptive period, typically soon after birth or hatching, and establishes a long-lasting behavioral response to a person or object as attachment to a parent or offspring.” 1 When we speak of “imprinting” in the scientific sense, it is a reference to the way the brain accepts input. The brain compartmentalizes impressions and images, and the animal reacts to the stimulus that the image produces. A collection of “imprints and images” produces memories. Imprinting training with a foal of any breed will give him a jump-start on his life with human beings.

    Imprinting is more than getting your foal used to people. He’s going to spend the rest of his life with human beings, so he should get used to your touch, your voice, your smell and, especially, your handling of him. Handling your foal the minute he is born is a wonderful way to bond with him, and you will learn how he likes to be touched in order to produce a positive response. This early imprinting lays a foundation of trust for the training to follow.

    Although it is commonly accepted that initial imprinting on the foal’s brain occurs only during a brief receptive period when initial contact is made during the first few days of life, it does provide a foundation on which to expand exposure to a human being through your foal’s five senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight that leave impressions on the equine brain and will affect the way he interacts with a handler beyond what his dam may teach him. If the initial contact with humans leaves a positive impression, a foal will be more likely to be curious about humans than afraid of them. Because of this early contact, continuing imprinting then becomes an ongoing process that builds on the initial imprinting that is introduced at birth.

    Continue Reading