Ypke is a dominant mare, although I am assuming that you have guessed that by reading my sorry tales. She hated standing while tied, dragged me around when I was leading her, refused to pick up her hooves, was a
|A controlled trot, a bit of rounding, and a relaxed horse. There is no speedy trot, giraffe neck, or frustration.|
I had searched and searched for a method that would work for us. I was getting increasingly discouraged and she was getting worse. There was one thing I knew for sure about the Enigma- she loved food. There was one problem... everywhere I read it said you should never use treats during training. I had a "the heck with it!" moment. I didn't care. In my mind she could only get worse, so what other choice did I have?
I discovered the clicker training method shortly thereafter. I have always associated clicker training with dogs, but much to my surprise Sea World marine animals, cats, rodents, livestock, etc. use the clicker training method as well. If it works with those animals and people have had success using the method with horses, what was there to lose? The heck with the "never feed treats" rule.
|Look, a dominant mare taking a treat politely!|
Throughout using clicker training, I have also found how versatile the method is. If your horse is extremely spooky, clicker training can help him gain confidence and literally forget his fear (I've tested this out on three different spooky horses, and it has never failed me yet). If your horse is dominant or has a sour attitude, you can tailor it to fit their needs. You can also use clicker training to overcome obstacles like picking up hooves, trailer loading, etc.
|In under 10 minutes, Ypke was confident to cross the bridge (Note: She is naturally bold)|
I personally use clicker training for everything- groundwork, desensitizing, riding, etc. Ypke's attitude has improved dramatically since I began using this method. It may not seem like by the way I describe her, but she really is ten times better.
|Throwback to when I first taught Ypke how to target.|
Special shout out to Alexandra Kurland, author of The Click That Teaches, a step-by-step guide in pictures.
Have you ever used the clicker training method? If so, I would like to hear about your results with it!