Equine Clicker Training

Here is the long awaited YouTube link for Sugar showing everyone her new trick – taking a bow. My friend, Toni, had a conditioning assignment for her psychology class, involving training animals with a clicker, and asked if she could use Sugar. Of course I thought that was a great idea. Sugar needs to lean as much as she can!

I tried my hand at clicker training when Jake became sick; I figured if I couldn’t work his body, at least I could work his mind. I ordered some books on Amazon and went to Karen Pryor’s clicker training website. Her site is mostly for training dogs, but I found some useful stuff there for horses too.

From what I can tell, the theory is to get the horse to do a desired behavior and then click and give them a treat. Supposedly the clicker indicates they performed correctly and the treat reinforces the behavior. I taught Jake and Kobi to pick up an orange traffic cone. I started by clicking and reinforcing when they showed interest and touched the cone with their nose. Once they were doing that consistently, I would only click and treat when they would mouth the cone, and then pick up the cone.

But enough about my attempt at clicker training – click on the link below to see Toni and Sugar’s successful training!

http://youtu.be/wz8Ov-_Kiyo

BTW – the kitten’s official name is now Cricket, but Les might be allergic to her, time will tell.

About Heather Hamel

Growing up with horses is a little girls dream come true. Heather’s dream in life was to be a horse trainer - how dreams change - sort of! She moved to the wonderfully historic town of St. Augustine, Florida and was a historic tour guide and a ghost story teller while putting herself through college to become a special education teacher. After graduating, she felt the pull of horses in her life again. That's when she met Kobi! She learned quickly that when you own horses you become a part time vet, part time nutritionist, and full time equestrian. She wouldn't change a thing! In addition to being completely obsessed with her herd, she still teaches and tutors students with learning disabilities, and more specifically, dyslexia.
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