"Thinking of your horse as behaving badly disposes you to think of punishment. Thinking of your horse as struggling to handle something difficult encourages you to help him through his distress."- The Concordia Connection

August 6, 2013

Hopefully you had some fun and success playing with targeting to the mat, but possibly you have one of those horses who has some issues from being MADE to do stuff and so is very afraid to try it. In this case you will need a different approach that allows the horse to make the decisions with regards to how close and when he steps on the mat. This approach will do a lot to build your relationship with him.


Another way to teach this would be to free-shape the behaviour. Turn the horse out into a small area and place the mat on the ground in a spot where it is likely to be noticed or in a likely path. Perhaps watch him in the pen for a bit and put the mat where he is likely to encounter it. (Managing your environment to set you and your horse up for success is an easy and very important part of the planni...

July 15, 2013

I like to relate grown-ups and duration by suggesting you look at it this way. You and I are having a great conversation, you have my attention and I have yours. We are responding to each other’s emotional bids. Now along comes a friend of mine. I now ignore you and talk to my other friend. How would you feel? Left out, upset, wondering why you aren’t being included in this conversation? Part of how you feel will depend on your understanding of what is going on. If you are young and still learning the rules of social interactions I should not expect you to wait long before expecting my attention or at least acknowledgement.

A two-year-old human toddler will need to be reinforced more frequently for his quiet waiting than say your husband who has figured out how this works. So, while I can expect my clicker sup...

May 27, 2013

What now? The horse, right? No, not yet!

Now that you have your food delivery skills perfected, it’s time to add another new skill: handling a target. A target can be anything that is easy to hold and is horse safe. An empty plastic water bottle, the lid off of a supplement container or a small cone, all makes great targets.

You will be teaching your horse to touch his nose to a target, in your first horse lesson, so we need to practice with your human horse first.

Pretend that your human horse is in a stall with a stall guard across the door.

Here is the loop of behaviours – standing on your horse’s left side, hold the target out with your left hand in a position where she can easily bump it with her clasped hands (they represent the horse’s nose). Click as she touches the target with her “nose” and hand her the...

May 21, 2013

This series of lessons, showing you how to use the foundation lessons of Alexandra Kurland’s clicker training, though they appear very simple, were very carefully designed. If you progress systematically through them, you will see amazing results from your horse and reap unexpected benefits to your relationship.

Each lesson presented will explain another section of the “polite horse” rule book to your horse. The lessons will also address a whole host of issues such as barging, pushing into you with their shoulders, rearing, biting and shying to mention a few.

Now, I know you’re going to be eager to go out and try this with your horse but, before that happens, we’re going to begin by perfecting the basic mechanical skills you will need to be a great clicker trainer.

We start by having people work on these lessons...

April 22, 2013

One of the biggest keys to success with clicker training, like any form of training, is about how to set things up to be successful before you actually do any training. Most people don’t think too much about what they wear to the barn as it pertains to clicker training, at least not until they find themselves in a pickle with the training not going well and wonder why.

I drive my daughters crazy when they are with me and I am shopping for clothes. They tell me that I am obsessed with pockets. I hate to say this, but it is true. As a clicker trainer I covet good pockets on clothes; pockets that permit smooth easy food delivery and are big. Pockets like this are NOT easy to find and are almost never to be found on clothing in the horse stores. I have taken to thinking outside the ‘tack box’ to find suitable clot...

December 2, 2012

I thought it was a good time to write about clothing for the clicker trainer. Winter is an especially trying time for us to find clothes that allow us to function well in the cold. Everyone knows how hard horse folk are to buy for and I hope to give you some suggestions for your clicker trainer friends that will earn you a click and a treat!

I drive my daughters crazy when I shop for clothes and they are with me. They tell me that I am obsessed with pockets. I hate to say this but it is true. As a clicker trainer I covet pockets on clothes, especially pockets that permit smooth, easy, food delivery. Pockets that do this are NOT easy to find and almost never found on clothing in the horse stores. I have taken to “thinking outside the tack shop” to find suitable clothing for clicker training. In this article, I...

April 3, 2011


What makes a clicker-trained horse different? This question came to me while chasing frozen horse turds across the barn floor during this last cold spell. Why did I like the results I was getting using the clicker better than when I trained all those years, very successfully, without the clicker?

Most of the “behaviours” were the same - picking up feet, standing still for mounting, being light, etc. But some were different. Through the clicker training, my horses were learning more in-hand work, like canter in-hand and all the lateral movements. But whether it was a familiar behaviour or a new one, there was something different with all these behaviours now. They were still oft en taught using pressure and release of pressure, some...

February 1, 2011

I would like to show you how proper food delivery, accompanied by the clicker, can actually stop mugging if you already have a muggy horse.

Why do some horses that are fed treats become muggy?

Usually, a horse is muggy, not because they are getting treats, but because the treats are fed indiscriminately. The horse gets treats for no apparent reason that he can see. There is no specific behaviour that is linked to the treat so he starts to “mug the vending machine.”

Can we solve this using clicker training and proper food delivery?

You bet. In fact you can train your horse to actually turn his nose away from the food and almost look like he is saying “there is no way I’m going to take that food!”

How do I start?

You will actually begin by perfecting your food delivery skills using another human as your “horse....

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