Monday, March 28, 2011

Clicker training magic

Since I know that many people's eyes glaze over if you talk about hooves too much, here's a brief respite.

Proof that clicker training is for more than teaching tricks:

This is Oliver, a PMU horse, and his trainer Debra of The Magic Center in Washington. Doesn't he look beautiful? Look at his fabulous balance and carriage. This might serve as a little inspiration if you've been considering clicker training yourself- it works!

I do still have horses of my own. Gwen did a little yielding of the hindquarters under saddle Saturday and stayed wonderfully relaxed the whole time. We still need to work on forward but I'm a little... erm... scared. I'm being a bit ridiculous, but I can't help it. There's nothing Coriander can do under saddle to make me scared, but all Gwen has to do to get me hyperventilating is pick her head up quickly. I do get more confident every time I sit on her but I've still got a ways to go. Fortunately Kate G. will be out in a week or two helping me out, with her there I think I can get around this fear block.

In preparation of trying out the Ansur saddle this week I've been riding Coriander more in the bareback pad to see if he might find my saddle constricting. You know what? I think he does. He steps out much bigger when I'm sitting on the bareback pad vs. the saddle. Maybe if I buy an Ansur it will have more benefits than just fitting both horses. Hmmm...


  1. I am just in the very early stages of clicker and I can see it is working well. Thanks for sharing all the great info.

    Good luck with Gwen. You are taking it slow which will work. Confidence comes, but it takes time!

  2. Thanks Juliette, you're quite right. We'll get there when we're ready.

  3. Amazing--especially the work at liberty around the cones in an open arena.

  4. Great video showing how clicker training really does work. I've been meaning to try it, but just haven't had the time for consistent work. Oliver is one beautiful horse.

    Gwen is likely less nervous than you are, I'm sure by you taking it slowly you'll get there when you get there. It took Dusty and me a long time to get her used to me. We walked for months and still do when I think that's what she needs.

    Good luck with the Ansur saddle.

  5. Linda- it really is amazing. Plus, Oliver is choosing to do that work himself. It's a wonderful example of a really great horse/human relationship. They're a real inspiration.

    GHM- thank you, sad for me to say it but it makes me feel a lot better knowing that other people have taken it slow. I don't know why I sometimes feel pressured to be going faster than we are.

    I'll let you know what happens with the saddle :)

  6. Very interesting video.

    I think it's important you go at the speed you are comfortable with. It's a process and I don't think there should be any time limits or expectations on how long it should take. It happens when it happens. I have no trouble just walking on a horse if that's what seems to make sense to me at the time. If I'm not comfortable, I don't do it until I am ready and the same goes for the horse. I don't do it if they're not ready.

  7. Thanks MiKael, even if I wanted to go faster Gwen wouldn't hear of it ;) I got on her again last night and she keeps just wanting to walk back under the barn to the hay. I ask her to go forward and she just turns around and starts trying to walk under the barn. She doesn't have a problem walking with me up there, she just doesn't want to go where I want her to. Maybe I need to set up two hay piles and have her walk from one to the other. Hmmm...