Cluck means ‘get the ball’

This was filmed just days after Gus first met the ball. What I find most interesting about this video is that you can ‘see’ Gus processing and thinking about what he was taught.

When I first showed him the ball he was on a 15′ rope and and I sent him back and forth by the ball. Every time he passed it but didn’t focus on it I would turn him back around and send him back to it.

Eventually he would return to the ball on his own if he passed it. I rewarded him by leaving him alone if he faced the ball. He is a quick learner and he soon noticed that if he faced the ball there was no work.

You can see in this video, especially if you listen for me clucking, that when I cluck Gus knows that he needs to either get to work…or get the ball.


  1. Amanda Accordino on December 1, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    ah wow! this helps me.. as i think about my “ADHD” mare how to keep them on task…

  2. Nikki on November 5, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    🙂 cute…. i have a ball too, but not such a nice arena to play with. The wind at our farm is soooooooo strong, that we are constantly chasing after the ball.
    also the draft horses, killed so far 3 of them. Ooooops! 😉

  3. Allison on November 5, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Aw gee, do I HAVE to play?

  4. Kirsten White on November 5, 2011 at 8:13 am

    It seems to me that this would help develop concentration in a youngster. Disguising “work” as play, in small doses, can many times accelerate learning. What a cool thing to do!

  5. Jodi on November 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

    This is cool, but I have a question – I understand using the ball to desensitize the horse to strange objects – he’s obviously desensitized – but why do you teach them to push the ball around on command? Is this just a step you use before you eventually ask the same thing under saddle (which I do get)? Or is this a step towards bridle-less riding? He seems a bit bored by being “made” to push the ball, which would seem to negate it’s use as a toy…

  6. LINDA on November 5, 2011 at 6:34 am

    The fact he brought it to you is so cool! Thanks for the tip.

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