Bob reads flash cards, does the Spanish Walk, Obstacles, Free Lunges, comes to a whistle, Smiles, Kisses, Bows, Podium and about 40 more tricks and skills.
Horses love ‘Clicker Training’. Also known as ‘Positive Reinforcement’ or ‘Reward Based Training’. It’s fun for both the human and the horse, and very bonding.
These ‘tricks’ are stepping stones to very practical behaviours, because they build confidence in the horse, for things they’ll need to be able to do in the human world. Here are some examples:
– Trailering is made easy, because the horse has learnt to step up onto the ‘podium’, and to back up from the ‘tail’ cue.
– Throwing the scarf in front of his face is great for desensitising him to weird things like plastic bags blowing past.
– Mounting a horse from the ground puts a lot of strain on a horses spine, but mounting from a fence is less compromising. Also, if I drop something whilst out riding, the horse can ‘fetch’ it for me, so I don’t need to get off and remount from the ground.
– Bowing comes from teaching the horse to pick up his feet on cue. Essential for daily grooming.
Having this communication between the horse and human, helps the horse feel more confident in scary situations. When my horse sees something weird when we’re out riding the trails, instead of following his instinct and bolting, he trusts me when I reassure him that it’s fine. Essential for safety.
Clicker training is used by trainers in all disciplines, as a training language. Olympic level trainers use horse clicker training for dressage and jumping, for a joyful, progressive and rewarding training experience.
It’s great for:
– Bomb proofing (de-spooking) (sacking out).
– Cooperative health care.
– Trail riding.
– Western and English connection.
– Trick training.
People are concerned that the horse will become pushy for treats, however teaching respect around food is the first step of clicker training. The result is actually a more polite horse.