Training with the Clicker
you read any further- a word of caution. Using the clicker as an aid to
training horses has exploded in popularity in recent years. Rightly so,
since it is a fantastic way of working. However, just like any other
training tool, it is not a magic wand, and is only as effective as the
hand that holds it. In order to become a good trainer using the clicker
you should be prepared to take the time to learn the science of the
clicker (in other words the theory and the practical skills), which you
can then marry with the art of training with the clicker (in other words
the feel). You often hear people refer to 'clicker training' as a method
in it's own right. I prefer not to take that approach- to me there is
good, bad and mediocre training, regardless of the method taught, and I
prefer to educate people to improve their overall training skills, so
that they can then understand all the different methods out there, and
choose to work in a way that they feel is ethical and effective. For me
the clicker is simply a means of positively reinforcing your horse, it
is my ethics, beliefs and skills as a trainer that matter.
So what is the clicker?
is a clicker. It is a simple little plastic box that makes a distinctive
'click' noise when the metal strip inside is pressed.
How on earth does it work and why is it so great?
noise of the click becomes associated with a food reward, and therefore
the click becomes a conditioned positive reinforcer. The beauty of it
lies in being able to communicate with the horse that he or she is doing
something right, instead of relying on telling them they are going
wrong, which is the way most traditional methods of training work.
Because the noise is so distinctive and clear, it enables precision
timing, so it can be used to reinforce very small behaviours. This means
that very specific movements and responses can be very accurately
additional advantage of training using the clicker is that reward based
methods of training encourage a relaxed, calm and confident horse, and
if used with skill can be used to teach lightness and balance in the
Sounds great- I'd like to learn how to do this for
give Helen a ring and arrange either to attend a
workshop or to have some one to one or group sessions on how to use the
clicker. Helen also incorporates clicker work into riding
lessons for those who are interested.