Flexing muscles and brains!
Offside target work with Reggie
This is such a good exercise for stretching (we worked on stretches to the side and following a target down and between the legs) Reggie finds these easy peasy as he's a super flexible pony.
BUT my main intention on this task was to brain train! Reg is a pretty intense pony, and when he's locked onto a person, it's a military level locked on! The purpose of this task
was to take his attention away from me, find his target and return. It's very easy to get stuck in the habit of having our targets an arm's reach of ourselves, that horses can become to reliant on having a person involved and to depend on us for confidence. So with this Reggie had to take me out of his line of vision, disassociate me with the target, and become a strong independent thinker
To start this exercise off, you'll have to establish a solid foundation of target training, with a (bright) target on a minimum of a meter long stick.
Practice from in front, guiding your horse side to side with the target, so they're in practice of looking to the side instead of straight on for it.
Once this is in place, move to the side and place your arm over your horse. Remember, if your horse is locked onto you, he may not notice the target on the other side. (This is also why I recommend a bright target) So bring the target forward and pointed towards his face. When he's switched his attention, pull back until their nose has reached the point you've desired for the stretch, let them target, click and treat.
When this has been done a few times to allow your horse to build up an idea of what you're asking, you can pair a voice cue with it. Not shown in the video, my cue is "away". Ultimately, it's use is to be able to get your horse to move their head "away" from you - and will be beneficial down the line if your horse is to become a mugger for treats, or steps into a humans bubble.