Friday, October 21, 2011

Whip Training

Looking around whichever stable you are in, you'll no doubt see a fair few items that may or may not make sense to you. The pony walker makes sense in that it can be used to teach the basics of pony role playing, thinking of the breathing etc..., but it is something that will no doubt be unique to each trainer.

One of the simple yet more fun activities is Whip Training in a corral, but it does require a partner. It may sound a silly an ultimately boring thing to do, but do try it and try to give it some time. Settle down where you won't be disturbed in RL and just go with it for 20-30 minutes.

This activity is also useful for training items like the MD Pony boots (or the ballet boots if you need to exercise a ballet-shod doll, but you might use a different command system for that one) where walking is limited. It is certainly more beneficial than doing laps of a sim.

Basic Commands

This is very simple. Commands are given by a series of whip cracks. A free whip is in the pony freebie kit and I actually recommend it. The animations are perhaps a little violent, but it uses a HUD, so it continues to work across sim boundaries (blue menus don't and you have to re-click the whip). The commands are -

1 crack - Go
2 cracks - Stop
3 cracks - Left
4 cracks - Right

There's also an option for 5 cracks of the whip. This is different depending on context and on the person holding the reins. Some trainers prefer to pull the reins to get a pony to back up, but 5 cracks is often reverse. In a corral it usually means "come to me" (and is hopefully followed by an apple slice or two, so try not to disappoint the pony - check the freebie pack for a supply).

Don't be worried if you make mistakes - they happen and you are there in the safety of the corral to learn and adapt. There's also no shame in not being able to remember these combinations between sessions. Do note them down on a piece of paper if you need to refresh your memory when you next go out in a cart or to the corral, but be honest with yourself and try to learn them - it can decrease your enjoyment if you are distracted.

In the corral.

Essentially, the trainer should take the pony's reins, lengthen them to about 10m and stand them on an edge spot. The trainer then moves to the centre spot. At this point, it is best to test the left and right commands with the pony stood still - make sure they get them the right way round and can hear the sound of the whip.

This is very important as the sound can often be the best identifier (and also tends to need to be downloaded to the client, so there can be a significant delay the first time). It's therefore best to test stop before start and make sure they can hear it.

When the trainer cracks three times, the pony turns left and faces clockwise (looking from above). This is also as the pony sees it, not the trainer. When the trainer cracks four times, the pony turns round and faces anti-clockwise.

Importantly, if the trainer indicates right again, the pony continues going right/anti-clockwise. The trainer can stop, start, mix it up a little. Call right twice, leave the pony for four laps, then indicate right again and see if they are paying attention. It can get quite relaxing and, if the pony can, they should try to stop reading the "Trainer cracks the whip four times" commands that come through and focus on the sound.

Now by their movements, the pony indicates to the trainer that they know what is going on, and it should eventually become second nature. Once they don't make mistakes, the trainer might want to consider taking the pony out on the road in a slow cart and build up to more advanced activities. We will cover those more later.

More advanced corral activities

Obviously, you will get more practiced at this and walking in a circle relentlessly can get a little tedious, so try some variations. Add a line that is to symbolise a sim boundary and get your pony to slow-step over it, keeping them aware of their surroundings while attentive to the whip commands. Get two ponies to stand either side, possibly with blinkers, train them together and see if one catches the other. As long as you are enjoying it, there's no "wrong" variation.

Freebie package updates

I am really happy with the reception this package has received. The current version is dated 6th October 2011 and I threw a few textures on it to make it a little more pretty/obvious. I am now keeping a copy outside my house here -

and Jorden Grau has put out a copy at Chateau de Xaara Country & Pony Club

I am really grateful for the support and feedback it has had.

Jo Ronin, Pony Correspondent

No comments:

Post a Comment