Clicker Challenges for Fun!

***NEW** Clicker Challenge Community

Join our community for a new Clicker Challenge each month and develop the bond with your horse while having fun.

What’s a HippoLogic Clicker Challenge?

In a Clicker Challenge you’ll get a challenging assignment to train within two weeks. Each Challenge helps you teach your horse multiple behaviours that you have to chain together.

5 Skills that you’ll develop in the Clicker Challenges:

  • Chaining behaviours together
  • Putting behaviours on cue
  • Building duration in exercises
  • Teach your horse to listen, even from a large distance
  • Fading out clicks & treats without losing behaviours

12 Challenges a Year

On the 1st of each month you’ll get access to a new Challenge! In our community you’ll work together to accomplish your challenge. We start February 1st, 2023 with the first challenge.

Each Challenge has 4 levels: from absolute beginner to expert and 2 levels in between. You can pick the level of your choice and when you’ve accomplished it, you can aim for a higher level. Each level builds upon the previous level, to help you move through the levels faster.

In the Challenge Community you’ll get Accountability to do fun stuff with your horse that helps you develop his skills, as well as your own.

All Challenges include one or more foundation behaviours and may include a husbandry skill or include a trick training aspect. What they all have in common is that you’ll learn advanced skills and training techniques to help build a better bond with your horse.

12 Challenges

HippoLogic Clicker Challenge Community
  1. Back Up Challenge
  2. Farrier Challenge
  3. Movement Challenge
  4. Send Challenge
  5. ‘Trailer’ Challenge
  6. Movement Challenge
  7. Stay Challenge
  8. Spray bottle Challenge
  9. Pick Up Challenge
  10. Mounting Challenge
  11. Recall Challenge
  12. Jingle Bells Challenge

Rules of the Challenges

  • Everything has to be taught with positive reinforcement only (that’s why it’s called a Clicker Challenge)
  • You can use whatever bridge signal you prefer, it doesn’t have to be a clicker
  • During the training phase you are allowed to click and reinforce/use keep-going signals/encourage your horse verbally as much as you need
  • During the training phase you are allowed to use props (like a target stick, mat, cone) to help your horse understand your criteria. You can fade these out in the final stage and before you film your final video.
  • Punishment and negative reinforcement are not allowed!
  • Share videos of your results in our secret FB group  (not mandatory, but it’s very helpful to get feedback and coaching is included!)
  • In your final video (last day to admit is on day 14) you are allowed to bridge and reinforce once
  • The final video must be: one take, no editing (you may shorten the video)

Choose your level

There are 4 levels of difficulty:

  1. Purple level for novice horses and/or trainers who just started clicker training
  2. Green level for green horses (that have no previous clicker training XP) or trainers that are relatively new at clicker training
  3. Blue level for advanced clicker horses and/or advanced trainers
  4. Red level for expert clicker horses and/or expert clicker trainers

Join us today!

Contact me hippologic@gmail.com to join us!

Happy Horse training!
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc., founder of HippoLogic

Are you inspired and interested in personal coaching in a group or do you want to have access to online clicker training courses and a fabulous, supportive R+ community, then join our HippoLogic Clicker Training Academy. Apply today!

Sandra Poppema, BSc
Founder of HippoLogic
Enhancing Horse-Human connections through clicker training

6 Things You Might Not Know About Clicker Training (6/6)

In this series I will be sharing 6 interesting facts I didn’t know about when I started using positive reinforcement in training animals. This is part 6. This one is really an eye-opener! This is a phenomenon you only see in R+ training!

Some of these are common misunderstandings people have about clicker training while others are facts most equestrians don’t know at all.

The goal of this blog is to help more people understand how well positive reinforcement (R+) works in training our horses. I want every one to know that clicker training offers more great benefits besides training your goal behaviour. Positive side-effects you won’t get in negative reinforcement (R-) based training methods (traditional and natural horsemanship). I wish I had known these benefits earlier in life.

#6 Horses increase the criteria

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Your horse will do more and more for one click, if you know how. He will raise the criteria of the behaviour on his own in order to ‘train you to click’.

That is very unconventional in horse training! And scary too: “What if you are being trained by your horse instead of the other way around?! That is outrageous! You will loose your leadership!”

To tell you the truth: horses are training us. From day 1. Now you realize this, you can use this knowledge and turn it into a mutual benefit! Since we- clicker trainers- are encouraging and reinforcing the animal’s initiative he will be very likely to show you what else he can do.

At first you click and reinforce every step towards the goal behaviour. Once a behaviour is consistent, you can change to a variable reward schedule. This is where the fun part start: the experimenting! I love this part! Once the behaviour will be on a more unpredictable reinforcement schedule your horse will figure out that the more effort he will put into the exercise the more likely it is to receive an appetitive.

Video of a horse increasing her own criteria

In this video you can see how this works: First Kyra gets clicks and reinforcers for ‘walking around each cone’. Soon she figures out that she can influence the click and getting it sooner by getting to the cone faster! Now my more-whoa-than-go-horse offers a trot! By herself!

I reinforce this with clicks and treats. Now the criterion is raised. By Kyra! I  click less often (variable reward schedule) and I got a canter! Bingo! Kyra raised her criteria again! This is how you can work together with your horse in training.

The behaviours trot and canter are put on cue. Then I click only for cued behaviour. Final step in training is to fade out the clicks (but not completely appetitive reinforcers). How you can use this is in your own training is what I teach in the 8 week online Ultimate Horse Training Formula course.

Influencing the clicks and reinforcers will keep your horse very much engaged and enthusiast in training. He will offer better quality behaviour or longer duration by himself. As trainer you can easily capture this with a click and reinforcer. Tadaa, now the criterion has been raised. By the horse!

Something I have never seen in negative reinforcement (traditional/NH) training methods. Yes, I have seen horses run faster because the threat of the aversive increased (e.g. giving a second leg aid and then a ‘tap’ with the whip), but that only lasted for a short period of time. It wasn’t the lasting change that we see in R+ training.

sporen

Soon the horse will figure out how to offer a minimum of behaviour: just enough to avoid the aversive.

Think back or look around you: How often did you have to give a leg aid twice or three times because you thought your horse ‘didn’t pay attention’? How many horses do you know that get ‘deaf’ for light leg aids and even spurs? Maybe horses know us better than we know ourselves…

Read the other articles in this series:

part 1 of 6 Things You Might Not Know About Clicker Training
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5
part 6

Sandra Poppema, BSc
Founder of HippoLogic
Enhancing Horse-Human connections through clicker training

***NEW***

Have you heard of the HippoLogic Clicker Challenge Community?

Register today for our Online Equine Clicker Challenge Community
Each month a new Clicker Challenge
Goal: Develop your clicker skills in a fun & supportive community
Discover your strengths and boost your confidence in your Clicker Skills each month. I guarantee you that you will walk away with practical tweaks that you can apply to all your other training and that your horse loves to work with YOU!

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Have you done a Clicker Challenge with your horse?

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Here is an emoticon hint for you, if you are curious what you will learn this month:
😍<–…<–…<–…<–…🐎
How would that make you feel?
Register today.  Click here for more info and sign up. Join us, it will be two weeks of fun with your horse!

One of the first Clicker Challenges I participated in myself turned out to be very useful and even saved me money on my vet bill a year later! That is what it’s all about: learning fundamentals in a fun and challenging way.

_Kyra_en_ik_hippologicSandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve horse-human relationships by educating equestrians about ethical and horse friendly training. I offer coaching to empower you to train your horse in a 100% animal friendly way that empowers both you and your horse.
Sign up for HippoLogic’s newsletter (it’s free) or visit HippoLogic’s website.

5 Benefits of Trick Training in daily life

Today I had a really hard time to sit down and write a blog because my horse Kyra is on my mind. Last week she was diagnosed with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome): obesity, laminates (foundering) and insuline resistance are three very important components of this syndrome as well as Cushing’s. _Kyra_hippologic

Change of life style

Kyra needs a different life style for now: no grass, a restricted intake of calories, as little sugar as possible (only soaked or low sugar hay and no apples, carrots or other sugary treats) and more exercise (which is hard since she is very sore on her front hooves).

How trick training helped

Sometimes previous training benefits you in situations you never could have expected. So can trick training. Many tricks may seem useless when you train them, however they can benefit you in surprising ways. Here are some examples.

When the vet came I wanted him to take X-rays of Kyra’s front feet to see if there was any rotation of the pedal bone. She needed to stand on wooden blocks with her front feet to take the pictures.

1) Clicker Challenge and 2) Mat Training

Kyra knows how to stand on different kinds of pedestalsmats, tarps and last year we participated in an online  ‘Clicker Challenge’. She had to stand for 5 seconds on two small wooden blocks. Exactly the same blocks the vet brought. How amazing is that!? In hindsight this was the perfect preparation for taking the X-rays.

I joked to the vet and asked if I could get a discount since Kyra behaved really well and safe. First he said ‘no’ but then he told me I actually just saved $ 50 on the bill because Kyra didn’t need sedation to make her stand on the blocks.

3) Trick training: financial benefits

When I wrote a cheque he did give me an additional discount (Thank you!). So our trick training paid off! Not to mention the stress we avoided because we didn’t have to make her do something she was afraid of. I didn’t need to stress about it, too. So, this was a triple bonus.

4) Muzzle and 5) boots

The vet also recommended a grazing muzzle so she can be in the pasture with her herd. I really have a hard time putting horses in a solitary paddock. The stress she has in there worries me. Stress has a negative impact on the immune system and wouldn’t benefit the healing of her laminates (which is an inflammation of the lammellae in the hoof).

Targeting helped me get the muzzle on in no time. Kyra didn’t seemed to mind the muzzle to try it. She doesn’t realize yet that she is rewarded by getting it on, but will miss out on the grass later in the pasture. I feel like I tricked her, but it is the best I can do if I want to get her healthy as soon as possible.

A few weeks ago I had started training Kyra to accept a soaking boot. This related well to the need to have Kyra use soft ride boots now to protect her feet and I didn’t need to start training this behaviour from scratch. It saved us a lot of time and stress when it was needed most. Having trained Kyra in all the basics and having experimented with different tricks has prepared her for a lot of different situations.

Practising for the Clicker Challenge in January 2015:

Here the video in which the behaviour of the Clicker Challenge is established and how Kyra did with the vet.

Ignoring grass

Now I hand walk Kyra daily to give her the exercise she needs. I have a really good barn friend who loaned me some horse boots that really give Kyra some relief. Thanks to the many hours of training her to ignore grass, I don’t have problems walking the street with the very juicy banks of grass.

How did trick training help you in a situation you had never thought it could be useful? Please share your story and help inspire others to enjoy trick training (more about trick training).

If you think this is a blog that someone can benefit from, please use one of the share buttons  below. Or just hit the like button if you appreciated this blog. Thank you!

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Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
My mission is to improve human-horse relationships. I reconnect horse women with their inner wisdom and teach them the principles of learning and motivation, so they become confident and skilled to train their horse in a safe and effective way that is a lot of FUN for both human and horse. Win-win.
Sign up for HippoLogic’s newsletter (it’s free and it comes with a reinforcer) or visit HippoLogic’s website and discover what else I have to offer.