Imagine a ‘perfect’ world, where children learn natural horsemanship alongside their horse training, where groundwork and horsemanship is as important as riding…
One such place exists – “Pony Pros” in Oregon USA.
Here’s what they have to say:
Clicker Training is a wonderful addition to ANY equestrian discipline. Clicker uses an acoustic marker signal (a click) to tell the horse that whatever he was doing the moment he heard the click was the right thing to be doing. After a click, the trainer rewards the horse with a treat, usually a nickel-sized amount of grain.
What we do differently:
Our methods for clicker training are different from those of most other equine clicker trainers. Some other well-known equine clicker trainers include Alexandra Kurland, Leslie Pavlich, and Peggy Hogan. Because our program is an EQxpressionist program, focusing on creating dialogue between horse and human, we use clicker training to teach our horses how to read human body language. Traditionally, clicker is used for teaching specific behaviors only. We do use it to teach specific behaviors as well, but we find we can use it for so much more than that! Our program is based on communicating with the horse through body language and expressions, so you’ll find us using clicks with horses in much the same way clicks are used in teaching Autistic students social skills and in language classes for pronunciation. We find that, with this approach, clicker closes the gap between horse and human.
Why do you even need a click?
Horses usually treat learning like a multiple choice test. A horse looks at a dark spot on the ground and thinks, “Ok is this dark spot is…
A) a hole,
B) a lion’s den,
C) a snake pit, or
D) a watering hole.”
Then the horse investigates the dark spot from every angle and checks off the wrong answers one by one. Even if the horse thinks the dark spot is a watering hole, it doesn’t make sense for a horse to go right up to it in case it is actually something dangerous. So, the horse works at a problem in reverse order, checking off the answers he is pretty sure are wrong before setting on the right one.
As humans, we want our horses to hurry up and get to the right answer, so we have to overcome our horse’s “multiple choice” instinct. When the horse knows that he will be immediately rewarded for a right answer, he will try to give you the right answer immediately, rather than checking off wrong answers first.
Studies have shown that the sound of the click freeze-frames an imagine in the trainees’ mind. That means that your horse knows exactly what he did right. Thus, the horse’s retention is significantly better than with traditional methods and his recall is faster!
Working with over 125 head, we’ve found that horses, donkeys, burros, and mules typically learn certain behaviors 3 times as fast with clicker training as with traditional methods. We’ve used it to be up and sitting on a 2 year old colt with minimal handling in just 15 minutes.
Clicker Training is great for any age student and any age of animal (dogs, cats, dolphins, elephants, donkeys, horses, etc). Even a newborn foal can be clicker trained, and it’s a great way to start off a lifelong relationship with humans!.
Here’s some youtube of them!
Visit Pony Pros website for more information