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March 7, 2019: Ideas Day: Listen Up!

Yet another ideas day. I know I’m growing older. I hope that at the same time that I am growing wiser. Hope is an illusion, so most likely I am not. I am who I am, most of the time.

I am coming to the sad conclusion that I can’t act upon all ideas. It isn’t that I’m not organized enough; but rather, I only have so much time in the day, 24 hours to be exact.

This morning I thought that I might take each of Karen Pryor’s ten laws of shaping and write a dispatch about each one. Then I’d take the dispatches and put together an e-book. So I pulled up the ten laws on the computer, and wrote each one

Sarah and Pete ready Hrimmi to drive
Sarah and Pete ready Hrimmi to drive

on a notecard. The first one is, raise criteria in increments small enough so that the subject always has a realistic chance of reinforcement. Now I know what this means – I can explain it by example. If you are training a horse to put its foot on a tire, reward the movements that precede putting the foot on the tire. The problem that I have with this example is that it involves microshaping. I’d have to go with a more externally driven example, say, reward the horse for going through the on-ground noodle walk as it approaches, in the middle of, and at the end of the exercise.

Hmm, maybe I could follow through on this particular idea, prefacing it with some ideas about externally motivated cues. Well, I have my notecards right in front of me, on my standing desk. I’d have to get another copy of Don’t Shoot the Dog because my friend Jacki took my copy with her back to her home in Buffalo.

So, I put this idea on the back burner.

Next, a related, and a more plausible and a very exciting idea. In fact, this idea is ground breaking. Last month I put the horse agility exercises on notecards and used them in going through the course. This did not go as well as I’d like – actually Tyra and I did well, and Raudi and Hrimmi did well, but I did terribly. They had high scores and I had low scores. Oh oh.

So this month I have decided to try something new. I put their exercises on notecards again. And, additionally, I put my exercises on cards. These differ a bit from the horses’ exercises in that they have a few more body awareness components. My thinking is that focusing on what I need to do might work a little better.

And so, I am going to first have Pete go through the course and read out the cues to him. Then I am going to go through the course and have him read out the cues to me. Add to this – my friend Sarah wants to bring her horse over, hitch her to a cart, and go for a ride. Hearing this, in my head I went whoa. These days, in my head, whoa means chunk things down. So I instead am going to suggest the following:

Day One: We first watch the Intrizen video on internal and external learning, and then we’ll spend time in the playground, first directing one another through the course. We’ll next individually take Hrimmi and Tyra through, noting the differences. Then, after, doing this exercise, we’ll ground drive Hrimmi and Tyra around the loop.

Day Two: I’ll have Sarah bring Spiffy here and do some fun, autonomously-related activities in the playground. After, we’ll ground drive Hrimmi and Spiffy together.

Day # 3: Have Sarah take Spiffy for a cart ride. I’ll accompany her by ground driving Hrimmi.

This would be a big commitment of time on Sarah’s part, plus she might see all these steps as being extraneous. This is just fine. What’s most important here is that I came up with a plan that complements my beliefs in terms of horse education. Chunking down sets the animals up for success big time. And in being set up for success, there exists the likelihood that brain neurons will be activated. I could go on and into greater detail here, but I’m not sure that right now its important that I do this.

What is important is that my felt sense tells me that, as an educator with a strong interest in body awareness, I am on the right track.

Next: 66. 3/8/19: Spring is in the Air

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