When I can see and then reward the slightest try they get it almost instantly! I've been reading Richard Bandler's book "Using your Brain for a Change," and he talks about how fast our brains learn. Holy smokes Batman my horses showed me their super learner brains this past week.
We focused on transitions and change of direction on the circle in 3 savvies- on-line, freestyle and liberty. Each horse has a side that is easier for them to change direction on and a side that they are tighter in their ribs and thus transitions are harder. This was very fascinating to sort out and play with.
Somewhere in the middle of the week a light bulb went on in my head and I realized that every good dance partner finds a way to announce a change whether it is tempo, direction, foot fall such that they can dance as one. Otherwise you end up with an echo or a hiccup or a misstep from your partner as they try to catch up. Anyone who has ever danced ballroom knows how that feels. Ugh.
OK so I put that together with what my mentor & I talked about in our last session and tried adding a sound queue just before I ask for change of direction online. WOW.... all 3 of my horses got it on the second try. Although I was being as careful as I could to be consistent with my body when asking for a change, this little extra auditory signal gave them a head ups that a change was coming. And of course prior and proper preparation laid the foundation for this extra queue to make sense to them. I got 2 beautiful eyes easily on both sides from Dove & Cherokee. Spice still spaced out when changing R to L so we'll go back to the basics first before adding in the queue again.
I also tried playing the game of 1 cluck for trot and 2 clucks for canter while practising our transitions online. It became a game of don't make me pick up my stick but this time with an audible queue added in. We will still need to play with our go buttons a bit more before this game will be as easy for them as the change of direction. Still it was a fascinating experiment.