Clicker Training

Clicker Training is an invaluable tool to add to your training, once your timing is perfected it has immense capabilities when used correctly. I use it for groundwork, handling and ridden work. The horses enjoy it and gain a quick understanding. See the video below of my daughter Emily at 5yrs old with her pony having fun together.

What is Clicker Training

Clicker Training is using a signal to mark a specific behaviour in a freeze frame moment of which the animal for instance a horse, is then rewarded with positive reinforcement for example, food. For the signal it is most common for a clicker to be used that you can hold in your hand. When I’m training horses I actually make a click sound that is separate to other sounds I use and this works really well especially when riding.

Once the horse realises that the behaviour it shows gains a reward it only takes a couple of times for them to really understand, you are then able to shape the behaviour into something you want them to do by breaking it down into small steps.

What can I do with Clicker Training?

You can use Clicker Training to educate your horse to do virtually anything. For example:

  • Trailer loading
  • Picking out feet
  • Handling
  • Bombproofing
  • Clipping
  • Teaching dressage movements
  • Train your horse to work at liberty
  • Teach your horse tricks
  • Transitions

How does it fit in with my training programme?

Clicker training improves willingness and motivation it is so much clearer to the horse what you are asking for and therefore effective. Once both the horse and handler have truly grasped the concept training becomes much easier and great fun for both of you.

Written by Sam Jamieson © 2015

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