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Driving Eggo

I will admit, thanks to a friend, that I almost (ALMOST but not really) wish that snow and winter would stay a bit longer. Why on earth would I want that? Well I’ve discovered kick sleds.Now don’t get too excited about me actually doing exercise in the snow and cold. My kick sled is not human powered!

My, now coming four-year-old mini, Eggo was finally ready to really hook to something and start really driving.

I’d put in lots of preparation. I’ve also trained him differently than my other driving ponies. I’ve tried to use positive reinforcement and cue transfers to shape his learning without any negative reinforcement. I must say I’m quite pleased with the results and I think Eggo is too!

This first video shows some of the behaviours I teach all my guys. They come in handy for teaching many other behaviours that come up.

Eggo grows up:

With Eggo, I played with some other slightly different variations as I knew I wanted to teach him to drive this way. He has a very strong reinforcement history of ‘heel position’ so from that it was easy to teach him to position himself between the shafts. Now there was a ton of preparation done before having him between the shafts of the cart but you can see the final product.

He was also shaped to stay between the shafts. He was not hooked to the cart until he would stay between them on his own accord:

The pulling things and getting used to the harness were also gradually introduced and he was free to say ‘no’ to any part of the process. It was then up to me to find out why he said no!

We were both getting rather bored with the arena and the cart, but there was snow on the ground and my cart isn’t the easiest to get in and out of so I needed another idea for the transition to driving outside and snow. Along came the kick sled idea after seeing a friend of mine using it on Facebook. Now she was ponying her mini beside her and she was doing the work. Great idea as they both got some exercise, but I’d rather have Eggo work and me go along for the ride.

Another lady posted that she had attached shafts to hers and I asked her for a picture. Well we were off and sledding in no time. It’s amazing what a little creativity, some double-sided Velcro, pvc pipe and electrical tape can do!

Here is the first time Eggo ever pulled the sled and the first time he had ever really pulled any sort of ‘weight’ besides a small (very small) tire in the arena.

First driving video:

Well he took to it like he’d been driving his whole life. I was ready to stop but oh no he wanted to keep going and exploring …so explore we did. I can hardly wait for spring and ‘the open road’…so to speak….

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