I have been working with Bodhi for a few five minute segments on side passing at liberty. We Keep it very short (5 mins) and work on it a few times a week. The biggest break through was getting him to hold still long enough to really understand what I was asking. That is one of our issues right now. He gets very excited and jumps into a behavior with out waiting for the cue. I know this just means he needs more work on cue control but I am also thinking about teaching him a chill cue. Never thought I would need a chill cue for this horse! It would be used specifically when he gets worked up during a shaping session. It is so adorable how hard he tries. He is one of the hardest working horses I have ever had the pleasure of working with. His slow little dopey baby self is shifting into a serious hard working adult horse. It is very fun to see him mature.
I am inspired by him to work with other horses. I wonder if it is just Bodhi or if it is the new way I am approaching training that gets me such consistent, positive results? I would love the opportunity to work with other horses so I can hone my skills as a positive trainer. Too bad as a graduate student I do not have the funds or time for a second horse.
I posted two videos below showing our process so far. The first one shows how I rewarded him after one correct step. The second video is later when I reward him after he fixes a straightness issue he was having.