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Report from Ottawa

I had the pleasure of teaching in Ottawa this past weekend. There were a great group of ladies with many, many years of combined horse experiences, but only a few who had been exposed to clicker training, and most of those through the dog world, so it was very exciting to see all of them get excited about the possibilities with the horses.

As the weekend unfolded and they could see just how fast the learning occurred they got very excited about all the possibilities for their horses.

The horses we used in the demos were a good cross section with regards to exposure to the clicker work.

It went all the way from Carter who was a rescue and Anne his owner did a lovely demo for us all of all the work she had done using the clicker to get him from a horse referred to as dangerous into a lovely confident fellow who loves to be ridden and give hugs, to Jake a horse that had no exposure to the clicker and turned out to be one of the superstars of the clinic.

Jake was terrified of clippers, jump out of the box stall scared if he even heard them. He went from learning targeting and just touching a ball on a stick, to hand targets, to touching a hand target held close to a massager that made a clipper sound etc. all while free in a box stall in around ten minutes.

We even managed, using tag teach and having everyone participate in this, to get one of the participant’s timing correct so that she could successfully shape her horse Mike to bridle himself, which he was doing after only two sessions!

Participants got to practice food delivery mechanics, learn about the science behind the training, and work on rope mechanics to make their communication clearer.

Below are some of the comments from the clinic. I look forward to coming back in the fall. If you are interested in attending this fall clinic please contact me. Tentative dates are October 14-16, near Ottawa.

Valerie What a wonderful clinic! So many great ideas, such swift learning responses by the happy horses, and such a supportive group of people! Thank you all so much.

Diana So years ago I left the main track and started with round pen and horse listening type training, then I went further over to the dark side and learned classical and French training and threw my hands in the air, and now I have gone even further down the path to a clicker person. I get it, and all the myths are wrong, and there is nothing that can’t be trained or fixed. Error free learning here we come.

My mind is blown with all the information on clicker training I have learned today. The possibilities are endless. Time to rethink most of what I do and rewire the neuropathways of my brain.

So little Mr. Eros became my first victim of the clicker today. Taught him to stand still and wait on the cross ties. Not bad considering he comes in and usually dances and mobs everyone and has no respect for space. So no smacking needed, no pushing back, no No’s of any kind. Just yes when he did it right. He learned quick and calmly and got the hang of it.

So more adventures in clicker training fun. Today little while waiting to open the gate to put hay out, my daughter was approached by Eros. He sidled up respectfully and stood still and square, with a tiny glance in her direction, as if to say “do you see me standing here all well behaved, where is my cookie”

Katherine I totally agree. Not a gimmick or silly pet tricks which I what I had originally thought. Bonfire method that is horse friendly, people safe and fun. So looking forward to applying some of this stuff in my training.

Muriel I was able this past weekend to observe a portion of a great clinic at Heroncrest Stables in Smith Falls, ON with “The Pony Fairy” Monty Gwynne from Cochrane, AB on Clicker Training! Monty is an excellent clinician who imparts a wealth of knowledge to her students and I was thrilled to see that her knowledge of biomechanics and Classical training was very much on the forefront of her teaching at all times!! What a pleasure to see how the 2 methods of training/teaching came together so fluidly!! She is a very gifted instructor and I came away with lots of great insight!! Thank you Monty!!

Janet A Halflinger gelding named Carter extensively with clicker training and he acted as our main demo horse. The others horses in the workshop had little or no experience with positive reinforcement. The auditors were amazed at how quickly the horses caught on to the tasks and how enthusiastic they were. We worked on basic targeting, haltering, asking a horse to take a bit on his own, horse pilates, and walking in a circle with a bend. We played the Portal Game, had great food and good conversations.

Enjoy these great pictures too!

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