Why I do this

This sequence of photos was taken today at a school function. McKee is an amazing little horse and he is clicker trained. For those of you who know me, clicker training horses is what I do and promote.

One of the reasons is because of what you see in this photo here. McKee was at a totally new place, lots of noise and distractions and I was STILL able to SHAPE him into backing into this little small space in front of the play house.

One of the reasons this excites me so is that the behavior was shaped. So what does that mean? Basically, McKee was told, with each click, that what I wanted was for him to back up. You can see the spacial restrictions. You can see this would be difficult for a horse. BUT I didn’t coerce, stress, put pressure on or force him to do this. I just let him know with the click that I wanted him to back up. Simple, elegant, rewarding and very cool.

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About clickertraininghorses - Peggy Hogan

I teach people and train horses using positive reinforcement. The horses I work with are given choice, the freedom to volunteer behavior. The joy is that they strive to volunteer what works for both of us.
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5 Responses to Why I do this

  1. What amazes me is how fast horses pick up new behaviours using clicker training. I have only just started with my horse in the stable and we already have two commands, ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Looking forward to reading more of your posts for inspiration!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. So how did you train the commands “yes and no” using the clicker? Please come visit my YouTube channel, there are lots of free videos that can be helpful: http://www.youtube.com/peggasus09

    Also, I have some great discussions going on my FB page….click on the “clickertraininghorses” link. Hope to see you there as well. ~Peggy Hogan

    • The first thing I trained with my horse finn was ‘ask’ to prevent him from nuzzling my pockets- I clicked and treated when he turned his head away. I progressed this to ‘no’ by waiting until he turned to the other side to click, etc etc. ‘Yes’ was much simpler (I am obviously dealing with an optimist!) I just stood out of reach of him (he was in the stable) and waited for him to extend his neck. Then this progressed easily to him bobbing his head.

      Your videos on you tube are great, the little ones look to have great characters! I love the willing with which they do their tasks- you can see they really enjoy working in this way.

      I’m planning on covering some clicker training on my blog ‘Animal Translation’, will let you know when I do!

      • That’s so great Rachel, some people have a difficult time in the beginning because they try to push the horse’s head away from the treats. By clicking when he volunteers to turn it away you clearly understand the power of clicker training horses!!! That’s wonderful.

        Yes….my little ones are so eager to train it’s scary. But my full sized horses are just as eager, and the full sized horses of my clients show the same enthusiasm. It really is the method.

        I’d love to hear more about your “Animal Translation” blog.
        ~Peggy Hogan

  3. Thanks for the encouragement! I’ll keep you posted on how we get on, your videos have provided me with plenty of inspiration!

    My blog is quite new, but I have visions of simplifying animal science for pet owners. Post examples include ‘Something to Digest’ about differences between animal digestive systems and ‘Roley Poley Pets’ about pet obesity and how to spot it. I will cover cognition and brain capacity soon too! You can find it at ‘animaltranslation.wordpress.com’

    Rachel

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