DVD Lesson 3: Head Lowering: Your Calm Down Cue by Alexandra Kurland

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When Alexandra Kurland first started The Click That Teaches DVD series, Head Lowering: Your Calm Down Cue was the lesson she most wanted to create. More than just calming a horse down, it helps put an end to unwanted behavior, develops emotional control and stabilizes good behavior. A key foundation lesson for advanced training.

Approx 2 hours.

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Imagine the following: your horse has stepped on his lead, or set back against a tie. In the past he would have felt trapped by the pressure and pulled harder, but after you’ve taken him through the head lowering lesson on this tape, he’ll understand that there’s another option.Now he’ll yield to the pressure and drop his head. Instead of having a wreck, he’ll know how to put the slack back into the lead.

Or maybe your horse is the one that rears when he gets excited. On the ground or under saddle his response to pressure is to stand up on his hind legs. With this lesson, you’ll show him alternatives to these theatrics that will make him much safer to be around.

Or suppose you’ve taken your horse to the county fair. Your friend’s horse is going crazy, leaping and rearing up. But you’ve taught your horse the “demand cue to calm down”. You’ve given him a way to handle his fear.

This lesson teaches your horse patience. It shows you how to build duration with the clicker. If you’ve experimented with clicker training, you’ve probably discovered how eager horses become to show off behaviors they’ve learned. That can be great fun at first, but it may not feel very stable. Your horse may feel like an equine yo yo, offering the same bits of behavior over and over again to earn reinforcement. This tape shows you how to combine the clicker with pressure and release of pressure to build duration into the head-lowering behaviour. In the process your horse will be learning patience. He’ll learn that if he wants to earn reinforcement, he has to control his fidgety, fussy, push-into-you, run-for-the-next-county desires. Instead he has to stand quietly waiting for you to click.

Head-lowering teaches emotional control, and it also teaches physical balance. If your goal is up-level performance, the head lowering exercise is an important foundation skill. Why? Because this head-lowering exercise teaches your horse how to shift his weight back into his hindquarters and to stretch through the entire length of his spine. If your horse leans down onto his shoulders, or over-flexes laterally, this exercise will teach him how to get up off his shoulders and elevate the base of his neck. The more you ask your horse to collect, the more you also need to be able to ask him to stretch down through his whole spine.

The video features four horses:

Leyden, a four year old Dutch warmblood gelding who knows he’s big and knows how to use his shoulder weight to barge through his owner. Leyden’s behavior is typical of many youngsters. He illustrates well all the steps horses gothrough as they learn the head lowering lesson.

Sindri, the six year old Icelandic stallion featured in Lesson 2. Sindri shows you how to take the head-lowering lesson beyond basics to develop soft, light control.

Gregor, a twelve year old approved Dutch warmblood stallion. Gregor was bred to be an Olympic-level performer, but his original trainers used too much force with him. he became instead an aggressive, dangerous, come-at-you-with-his-teeth horse. On the tape you’ll see how his present owner takes him through the head lowering lessons to a place of calmness where he can learn to trust people.

Blitz, a six year old quarter horse. Blitz is a good-natured, easy going horse. His issue isn’t fear, so much as it is balance. Under saddle Blitz is stiff and above the bit. The head-lowering exercise teaches his teenage owner how to be rounder and more forward in his gaits. Blitz’s lesson show you how to take the ground exercises and connect them to riding.

Approx 2 hours.

 

Click Here to read what Alexandra Kurland says about her series of clicker training books and DVDs, and how to get the best from the lesson sequence.

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