Tyra and Hrimmi have assisted me in getting Alys to be the horse owner we want her to be. I have done the bulk of the work, and I must say, it has not been easy. Alys is a very willful individual who at times has erred in thinking that she is more intelligent than any of us.
Then again, in working with her, I have, at times, seen the lightbulb go off over her head.
For instance, for some time, she was frustrated because she could not figure out how she might dole out the hay without Tyra and me grabbing for it. Hrimmi, who may be smarter than all of us, would go into the outer stall, and wait for the hay to be brought to her.
Tyra and my point of view was that the hay was there, in her arms, so why wait to eat? Alys seemed to think that we should wait until she put it out for us. “To hell with that,” I said, adding, “what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine.”
Alys reads a lot. This is at least what I’ve overheard. I had a long time ago convinced her that the only way in which she was going to get what she wanted, was through the use of positive reinforcement. Otherwise, we’d engage in a war of wills. And this matter of us versus her, in regard to the hay, was a war of wills.
What Alys decided was this – she’d put up targets, and we’d wait at the targets until she put the hay on the ground. The targets, we were familiar with them. They were yellow supplement bucket lids. The routine went like this: we’d go the targets that were hanging on the fence and touch them. Alys would then click with the clicker, which was her way of saying yes, we’d done the right thing, then reward us by giving us treats. In time we’d go to the targets and wait for our hay to be doled out.
Now, if Alys, in working with me, had gotten her way, she would not have resorted to positive reinforcement alternatives.
It turned out that this was the meeting of the minds. Do things the way she wished them to be done, and we all got rewarded. Tinni, towards the end, she was giving him treats indiscriminately – he liked that.
So there. Alys is becoming the owner we horses want her to be. Lucky her, lucky us.
Next: 314. 11/15/22: Mid-Month