Clicker Training

Recommended YouTube video:
Halter Training a Difficult Young Horse
This is a good video showing a difficult wild horse. Unfortunately the YouTube videos have to be short so the trainer can't show all the steps in clicker training. I like the fact that the trainer starts on the other side of the fence. A wild filly can easily whirl and kick.

Trainer Karen Parker at has some good articles on the clicker training basics.

Like any method of training you have to do it right to get good results.

The click is the signal to the horse that it has done what you want. The treat is the immediate reward.

To begin with, sometimes you have to "charge the clicker". That means you click and give a treat immediately just to associate the click with treat (not expecting any behavior.) Have bucket hanging on fence. Horse comes to you. Click and throw handful of grain into bucket. Horse gets the idea that treat follows click. You can use a word like "good" in place of click but click is best because it is quick, sharp and never varies.

The first thing clicker trainers usually teach the horse is to target an object in their hand. (plastic bottle is good) When horse touches object with his nose, click, treat immediately. This is just something easy for the horse to do.

Then you can wait for the horse to do some random movement. Maybe come to you and touch halter. Click, treat immediately to signal that was the right behavior.

After a few sessions of clicker training, the horse catches on to the game and offers up behaviors trying to get you to click, treat him. Just ignore all but the behavior you want and then click, treat horse.

The most amazing thing I got a horse to do was back away from the treat. You would think cllcker training would make a pushy horse trying to get to the treats. My first colt was a difficult horse right from birth. A born rebel without a cause. I had to learn more than I ever thought there was to learn about horses in order to handle him. And the best thing I found to get him to back out of my space was clicker training him to back away from a treat.

Training 2

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