Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Marjon's Icelandic Horses

Icelandic Horses being clicker trained in the Netherlands.

"jong geleerd is oud gedaan"

Otra came in my life at 6 months old, I loved her at first sight. When she was 1 year old she went to a kind of wildpark with a lot of other Icelandic youngsters, where she grew up, developed socially and physically (real herd dynamics) until the age of 4. Then, finally, she came home! But first she 'visited' a stallion of friends of mine, after 5 weeks we were certain she was bred and expecting (hopefully). Wow, after 4 years waiting she was finally there. First I let her settle down, get used to my geldings and her new environment. I soon realized what a cool type of horse she is, she was already easy with moving her around in trailers etc, but now, at home I really discovered her character. How different from the guys! At the age of 4 1/2 I was ready to start with her ground training (I thought). I didn't know about Clickertraining at that time, but was familiar with other NH methods like Hempfling, Roberts and I used TTEAM already with the guys. Ok, I tried a kind of join-up first, in a 'closed' part of my arena, which I always use for liberty longeing. No way! that she is going to move, she didn't run around and around or even moved a foot. I quickly realized she is just too cool for that, but when I 'ignored' her in the arena after a while, she perfectly 'joined' and followed a few steps behind me. This also made me realize that, in my opinion, there's no reason first to make your horse run in a sort of fear, so it can 'submit' to you afterwards, first you act like the preditor and after a while you say, well you may 'surrender' I'm not going to eat you after all.. there's no logics at all, certainly not from the horses point of view. Maybe this kind of join-up is really meant to be done with really wild horses like mustangs, but not with horses who are used to the company of man!

I went on with groundwork, and it was kind of 'frustating' . During that time I got into a somewhat emotional period in my life, really a good period of interacting with a 'green' horse and so in that disturbing period, I tried it all: leading work, with and without a small obstacle course, took her for walks, tried liberty longeing, tried playing and having fun, nothing worked out with her. She just didn't want to move her legs! She already learned basic leading and ground manners as a filly, but now I was confronted with a totally uninterested horse, who didn't look happy at all. I even bridled her completely, with a girthed saddle, she didn't care at all!! So I decided (just in time, thanks heaven) to just stop all training with Otra, also considering the fact she was expecting. People told me 'just to mount her' because of her beeing so cool, but I still want a firm "ground" basic before I even mount her.

Her filly came, and with that my emotional balance. Also C/T came into my life, and with that the big, huge lightbulb; I'm so glad I waited long enough to find out that that's the way for Otra and me: she needs to have a 'reason' to work and learn!

The first lessons went great, she reacted so quickly at the trigger ( a hardplastic can) I hardly couldn't get up with her speed: touch/click and treat, left/right left/right...the second day she showed me that she really understood , she immediately took up the game, I placed the can in a corner of her paddock, gave the verbal cue I already used, together with a handsignal, and on she went. Touched/C and back for her treat, again and again. She already looks at me in a different way, more 'light' in her eyes, more happy. She is also far more quicker in her responses than the guys with C/T, they took more time before making the connection.

The first lesson liberty longeing also went good with C/T, she gave much more response and was willing to move away from me, she also did some 'walking the cavaletti' in liberty and was really enjoying herself with that. I know it's important not to hurry things, I think I'm going to watch HER to make the next move, let her lead me into her world, her level of understanding and willingness....

Me and my mare Otra, picture taken in a kind of wildpark where she grew up the first years of her life (is common use over here with Icelandics 1-y till 3 or 4 y old).

This morning I "zapped' a little around on our television, when I suddenly found myself looking at a childrens program on national television. It's a program where children may ask a question about whatever they want to know, and there was an item now in a circus. I missed the introduction/question of this little girl, but it was sure about training lions and tigers. Standing by the cage of two 5-month-old lions, she asked him how he trains them. He put his hand in his pocket, took something out, and there it was: "our" clicker! He also had a target stick, and then the girl was asked to help the trainer with the little lions first lessons: she did the "click" when the stick was touched, he did the treat.

Well, we all know about that first lessons. Next step was in the bigger arena: sniffing a seat, C/T, climbing the seat C/T. The girl (very clever one) asked about the training of the older, he told that he uses C/T with new tricks, and goes on when the tricks are "settled" with vocal/non-vocal cues. It really sounds all familiar don't you think. I did know of course about C/T other animals, in fact operant training started years ago with dolphins and other, but it was nice to see it on television. I was surprised by the dutch host of the program, he translated some stuff (the trainer was foreign) and he perfectly told the basics of CT, all by himself, not as a translation, more like something he already knows well. I do hope a lot of children watched it and are as clever as this young girl, "jong geleerd is oud gedaan" dutch saying: teached when young, done when older.


The stallion Birki, sire of Saela

Saela, born april 1999

My 14-y old gelding Himbrimi (meaning Icediver = a bird) call him Brimi. he's my 5-gaited Landrover for long distances, and a real joy to have around, tends to be introvert but you must know how to play with him, he can be very clever and full of jokes, likes hugs and massage (not like Rodull, is more the independant "I don't need that kind of stuff" horse)

My 22-y old gelding Rodull (now I really mis the icelandic keyboard function) : taken this summer, a real delight to ride, four distinguished gaits, a real "sportscar" , a lot of temperament, very honest and safe to ride, not the "spook-seeing" type when riding, only during daytime routine and groundwork (great for C/T work). I love him and his independent Icelandic-import nature.



ClickRyder Email List