Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to show off the amazing goals you’ve accomplished with clicker training?
Visitors at the barn
One time a Facebook friend who was eager to learn more about clicker training visited me at the barn.
On this particular day in Winter it was cold, windy and rainy. The field was muddy and when we arrived all horses where gathered around the feeding place in the field.
As soon as Kyra heard my voice she came over to the gate and while I was haltering her, I was pondering how I could show off and what I would do in order to impress my friend.
We went to the indoor arena where Kyra and I demonstrated a few tricks at liberty. I also kept it short because it was cold and when we brought Kyra back to the field, I asked her what she liked best.
Her answer was not at all what I expected!
Instead of asking me about How I trained lying down or Spanish walk, she told me that she was very impressed that Kyra had came across field, all the way to the gate. My friend assumed we had at least to wade thru the ankle-deep mud in order to get Kyra or maybe even chase her a bit before I could halter her.
To me this was not something impressive. I didn’t realize that something as simple as your horse coming over to meet you could impress people and I will never forget that feeling. She was already impressed before we started! Just by Kyra showing me she was eager to interact with me and willing to go through the mud!
From that day on, I paid more attention to what impresses horse people.
Some people are surprised that, when Kyra gets loose because I am bad at tying knots, she doesn’t run away from me and I can simply walk over to get her.
Others notice that she’s not mugging me while I obviously have treats in my pocket. While I hope they are impressed by the behaviours I spent hours training, most people are impressed by the side-effects positive reinforcement training has: a confident horse and the relationship I have with Kyra.
How does your horse impress other horse people?
Next time you’re at the barn, pay attention to what others admire about your training. What remarks do they make that tells you they want what you can do? Sometimes their sentence starts with simply with the words “I wish my horse would….
- I wish my horse would be easy to catch…
- I wish my horse would stand still…
- I wish my horse was more like yours…
Share with in the comments what others admire about the relationship you have with your horse or what you’ve trained they wish they could.
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Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I help horse owners get the results in training they really, really want with joy and easy for both horse and human. I make training a win-win.
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