Riding with Clicker Training - Karen Pryor Clicker Training
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Riding with Clicker Training

Alexandra Kurland - Portland 2017

For many people, riding a horse with the clicker seems mysterious. How do you deliver treats? What do you click? Doesn’t your horse have to stop to get his treat? How is that going to work? You click when he’s cantering, and suddenly he’s slamming on the brakes. How can that be right?

Clicker training is all about breaking down lessons into small steps. Every time you click the clicker you are creating a step in the training. On the ground those steps are easier to understand. If you want to teach your foot-mover of a horse to stand still next to a mounting block, you can see all the preliminary lessons you need to teach before you ever take him near a mounting block. It’s easy to click and hand him a treat. Once you've taught that lesson well, you’ll be ready to put your foot in the stirrup.  When you climb aboard, you’re going to want to take clicker training along for the ride. How do you do that?

This Session will look at the universals of riding and how to teach them using the clicker. The information crosses all riding disciplines. It doesn’t matter if you ride English or western, if your dream is to ride in a dressage arena or on backcountry trails, there are basics ALL horses need to understand. Remember the very first lessons a beginning rider is taught? This is how you ask your horse to go. This is how you stop him, and this is how you turn. It was often a simple set of instructions.

Stopping, starting, turning, moving in balance: those are the universals. What separates a novice horse from an advanced performer is how well he responds to those basic requests. In this Session we will tease apart the universals of riding. We’ll see how to introduce the universals to a horse and how to develop those universals into performance excellence. Again, these lessons are independent of riding discipline. We’ll be looking at the overall structure of using clicker training to build performance under saddle.

(Is this Session is only for riders? Not at all. If you are interested in how to break a complex behavior into its component parts, and then how to teach those parts separately so you can recombine them to create performance excellence, this Session is for you—even if you never intend to put your foot in a stirrup.)

Total run time: 1:28