In the last post, it looked like Heather and her horse were now going to live happily ever after!  She was listening – she was using positive reinforcement – it was all good!  But it’s hard work changing your behaviour!  It’s easy to revert to old habits.

For example, if you were trying to change your behaviour and meeting up with a friend,   you may spend time listening to them, but after a while, you just really want to either talk about yourself – or express your own opinion…. after all, you’ve given them their 15 minutes of fame!

What would the friend be thinking?  Let’s say I’m a new improved version of One Way Heather – I’ve learnt to ask my friends questions – but I’m really just going through the process – I can’t wait to start talking about myself!

So I make a date with a friend for lunch.   I also want to pay for the friend’s lunch (reinforcement)  …  this is how it might go.

Heather – Hi! How about we meet for lunch – my shout!

Friend – Thanks!  See you then!  (thinking – oh that’s really kind of her, but I hope I can tolerate the conversation!)

Heather – So tell me what you’ve been up to?

Friend –   Thinking – wow!  She asked me a question!!!  Well … (proceeds to talk – notices though that Heather is distracted – trying to listen but isn’t really interested)

Heather – So guess what happened to me last week?…

Friend – Internally rolls eyes because it will be a while before Heather comes up for air…

They arrange another lunch date.  The friend has mixed feelings….. she’s thinking ….

Heather so generously paid for lunch, she tried hard to ask questions – but it was obvious she just wanted to talk about herself.  There is something I would love to tell her – I’d love to confide in her – but I won’t get the empathy I’m looking for.  She will either preach to me about what I should do – or compare it to an experience she’s had.  I don’t know that I really want to meet up again so soon – especially with this problem in my life……

Meanwhile, Heather thinks she’s done a wonderful job!  What a great friend she is!  She congratulates herself on how much she’s changed.

Now – let’s get back to the horses!  And let’s use a real life example!

I want to go back to the Ducati incident.  The detail of the incident starts here Part 136 – Riding Ducati – I’m On – Then I’m Off!

I’ve written in several posts about the accident I had so I won’t go over the detail.

I will play that scene over as New Improved Heather with Ducati.  Let’s set the scene.  I had a new saddle fitted for Ducati – but I hadn’t used it.  I had learnt about clicker training and Ducati was very happy – he went around cones, stood on mats, went backwards and forwards etc. etc.

I started by adding the mounting block to the cone circle.  Now I’d had bad experiences at mounting blocks in the past so I was very aware of how I felt climbing those steps.  Below is a video when Ducati finally ‘gets’ the game at the mounting block.  Clicker training was wonderful!


I congratulated myself on these steps – we had done what I thought a good clicker trainer should do.  We had thin sliced, had short sessions and a good rate of reinforcement.  At the same time I was gaining my confidence on the mounting block.

The next plan was to move the mounting block back to the corner and work from there.  Little did I realise that Ducati was actually playing the part of the friend in my lunch time scenario above!

I was trying hard – but it was still about me!

To be continued…..



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