Whenever you have a Challenge with your horse, the first step is to break the problem down in smaller pieces.
Imagine your horse doesn’t lift his feet well for cleaning or trimming. How can you break down that problem for your horse?
Break it down for your horse
Your horse doesn’t know anything about your expectations!
When you break your goal down and start rewarding your horse for a slight weight shift *off* of that foot, you’re reinforcing 2 things. One is that you encourage your horse to think about what he did and how it influenced him (he got a treat). The other thing is that you strengthened the first step toward your goal.
We can have success when we try to skip the first step in the process. Even when you’re not sure that you know all steps in the training process, start by thinking about the first step.
This will also give you information about the second step and the third. Especially when your use positive reinforcement and encourage your horse all the time to think *with* you. Horses are very good at helping you train them, when you let them do it and are willing to listen.
So what would YOUR next step in training your horse be like? I would love to hear it!
PS If you want to practice your clicker training skills, join our Clicker Challenge Community! You get a new Challenge each month and you’ll develop your equine clicker training skills while having fun with your horse. Everyone can join!
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.
Back Up Challenge
Spray bottle Challenge
Pick Up Challenge
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:
Purple level for novice horses and/or trainers who just started clicker training
Green level for green horses (that have no previous clicker training XP) or trainers that are relatively new at clicker training
Blue level for advanced clicker horses and/or advanced trainers
Red level for expert clicker horses and/or expert clicker trainers
Join us today!
Contact me email@example.com to join us!
Happy Horse training! Sandra Poppema, B.Sc., founder of HippoLogic
December is a fun month to make beautiful pictures of you and your horse. There might be snow, you can put on a Santa hat or take a picture of you and your horse in front of a Christmas tree. How about teaching your horse to play Jingle Bells? So many ideas, where to start?
A few years ago I wanted to make pictures of Kyra and me. We got it done but it took way longer than anticipated and it was quite frustrating for me. Kyra didn’t want to wear the hat and keep her ears forward, she shook her head or kept her ears to the side.
Luckily with some clicker training this was solved, but it took longer. I envisioned to walk to where we wanted to make the Christmas card pictures and get it done. I didn’t envisioned that it would take way longer than one hour before the first ‘good’ picture was taken. (I made a mental note to be prepared next time.)
This year I am prepared!
I planned to make a cute December video of Kyra and lots of Christmas themes pictures I can use the next few years. I am currently training her to ring a bell so she can “play” “Jingle bells”, wear a wreath around her neck and hand me a Santa hat. This year I will train her so it won’t be as frustrating as last time. When the person with the camera is ready, we will be ready too!
Maybe you have the same issue making December pictures of you and your horse?
Since it’s always nicer to play with friends I want to invite you to join me in this month HippoLogic Clicker Challenge if you think this will be fun.
Imagine the first day of snow and you can immediately make the perfect December video and Christmas card pictures.
In one training session Kyra already learned to ring a hotel bell and ring Christmas bells. Take a look and get inspired!
Join me in the online HippoLogic Clicker Challenge
If you join the HippoLogic Clicker Challenge (HCC) you get the Challenge emailed to you. I made 4 different levels so if you are a beginner or seasoned clicker trainer, you will get challenged.
I provide you with 14 days online help in our FB support group so you have accountability to get it done!
The HCC runs from December 1-14, 2018. On December 14th you can upload your final video. I am looking forward to it. There are still spots available! Sign up ends Dec 4th.
(If you’re not too busy decorating your tree and buying gifts, you can enter the one that runs from Dec 15th-Dec 30th. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org)
I help horse owners get results in training they really, really want. Getting results with ease and lots of fun for both horse and human is important to me. Win-win!
Sign up for HippoLogic’s newsletter (it’s free and it comes with a gift) or visit HippoLogic’s website and join my online course Ultimate Horse Training Formula in which you learn the Key Lessons, Your Key to Success in Clicker Training.
If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of celebrating successes. I know this year my blog will hit the 100.000 views! Something I didn’t foresee when I started. Time to celebrate! With you! This is how: I will give away a 30 minute coaching session ($35 value) or a ticket to participate in my HippoLogic Clicker Challenge ($47 value).
Why I started blogging
I started this blog as an online (accountability) training journal to tell my friends and family (and maybe a few strangers) about Kyra’s training.
She was 11 months old en just caught out of the wild (a nature reserve in The Netherlands). She didn’t want to deal with people, she was super scared for everything and only ate hay. No carrots, apple, sugar cubes of horse treats. Quite a challenge to start with positive reinforcement.
After 3 weeks of daily training (twice a day in the first week) I could approach (a BIG deal!), halter her, touch her all over, lead her over the premises (only if other horses stayed in eye sight, but it was a start), lift her feet and even disinfect the wound on her leg with a spray can. Every month I put a summary on my blog to list our achievements.
Kyra was my first horse that I made clear goals for (taming her was my #1 goal). It is because I wrote down my goals, discussed them with my best friend, my accountability partner. I also kept track of how I trained behaviours and kept a logbook so I could reproduce my results. This all lead to developing HippoLogic’s Key Lessons, Your Keys to Success in Positive Reinforcement training program. I wanted to develop an easy to follow step-by-step program for horse lovers who want to implement clicker training.
Becoming a blogger was an important step in this whole process. I want to celebrate this with you: my readers and loyal followers of my blog!
2012 the year of many changes
In 2012 we (my husband, our 1 year old son, our 2 cats and Kyra) emigrated to Canada. I changed from working mom to stay-at-home mom without a social network in my personal life or in my horse world. I left all my friends, family and horse riding clients behind and I really missed them.
I struggled, I had happy times, felt lonely, was home sick, was happy again. I felt it all! Then, in 2014, I decided to restart my blog, so I had something to do besides being a mom. I missed teaching riding lessons and helping equestrians so much!
In October 2014 I wrote my first blog in English. I posted 9 articles that year. Yes, that is how I started. Now I publish about 100 each year.
Time to Celebrate!
In order to celebrate my upcoming 100.000st view I decided to give away a 30 minute coaching session ($35 value) or a ticket to participate in my HippoLogic Clicker Challenge ($47 value).
Since the receiver determines the reward: you choose your price.
Put the link of your favourite blog in the comments of the FB post
Share what you liked about it or how it helped you in the FB post
You can win one 30 minute coaching session ($35 value)
participation in my #HippoLogicClickerChallenge ($47 value)
Let me know which prize you prefer best. Draw ends on December 31st, 2017
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
I improve the human-horse relationships by reconnecting you with your inner wisdom and teach you the principles of learning and motivation, so you become confident and knowledgeable to train your horse in an effective and FUN way. Win-win for horse and human.
All my programs are focused on building your confidence and provide you with a detailed step-by-step formula to train horses with 100% positive reinforcement.
Haven’t we all experienced that a horse pulled you towards some grass in order to grab a few bites? Isn’t that annoying? I think it is!
I didn’t want to be pushed around anymore by my horse every time there was some juicy patch of grass growing around. Grass is everywhere! I decided to look for a proper, force-free way to teach my horse more desired behaviour around grass.
I tried a few different approaches, before I found one that works well, gave me a solid result and is totally force-free. I would like to share it with you.
Define ‘proper behaviour around grass’
It took me a while to teach Kyra to behave ‘properly’ around grass. With ‘properly’ I mean: no more pulling me towards grass, wait until I give the ‘graze’ cue and ‘stop grazing and come along’ if I ask her to. I was tired of pulling Kyra off the grass.
I must say before you can start training this you need a bit of preparation and… lots of practice time. After all, what is more enticing than grass? Well, a click can be…
What really helps is already have a solid history of click & reinforce. Secondly a horse that walks with you properly and the key lessons ‘head lowering’, ‘patience’ and ‘targeting’ are required to make this challenge most likely to succeed.
I started to reinforce lifting Kyra’s head while grazing. Why? Because this is the first step to move away from the grass. I began with leading her to grass and I would cue her to graze. Then I just waited (very, very patiently) until she lifted her head by herself. That is the moment I wanted to capture and reinforce.
I can’t stress how important it is to wait until the horse moves (his head) away himself. I tried other methods like pulling the head up/preventing the head from going down or asking Kyra to target while grazing in order to lift her head, but reinforcing her own head raise worked best.
High value treats
Every time she would lift her head , I clicked and reinforced Kyra with a very high value treat. One that could compete with grass. After she ate the treat I immediately gave her the cue to ‘graze’. Here is when the key lesson ‘head lowering’ comes is really handy.
I also clicked and reinforced the ‘graze’ cue. But instead of offering a treat off of my hand, the reward was to graze as long as she wanted.
Every time she would lift her head again, I clicked, reinforced and would then give her the ‘graze’ cue.
After a certain amount of training sessions, which Kyra enjoyed very much (!), I noticed that she started to lift her head more often during grazing sessions. This is a perfect time to add a ‘lift head up’ cue. The key lesson targeting helped me a lot.
So my next clicker session looked like this:
walk to the grass
give the cue ‘graze’
wait until Kyra lifts her head
click and reinforce
give her the cue ‘graze’
let her graze until I thought she was likely to lift her head up again, ask ‘touch’ target stick
click and reinforce
In this way she is always reinforced for whatever I ask.
Raising the criterion
After several sessions I noticed that Kyra didn’t seem to mind lifting her head up anymore. She was eager to see what I had to offer her. The ‘diving into the grass’ behaviour was gone. She seemed so much more relaxed on grass.
I thought this would be the perfect time to raise a criterion. Now I wanted to lift her head and take one step forward before I gave the ‘graze’ cue again. I literally built this behaviour step-by-step.
The final step in this process was to teach her to wait for the ‘graze’ cue when we would walk on or approach grass.
Now I can ask Kyra to leave grass at any time. She is very willing to come with me. She never pulls me towards a patch of grass and I never have to pull her off of the grass. Win-win, for her and for me.
Kyra turned from a I-need-to-graze-now-and-store-fat-before-winter-comes-horse into a I-see-grass-so-what-horse. She knows she can trust me and is allowed to have her share… only when I say so.
Today I wanted to make a video for the FB Grass Training FB Group. Kyra didn’t want to graze, so I couldn’t show how to start walking on grass when all your horse wants to do is graze. Never thought I could be in that position: a horse that doesn’t want to graze because training is way more valuable.
Sandra Poppema, B.Sc.
HippoLogic helps establish, enhance and excel horse-human relationships
Buy the HippoLogic Grass Training for Horses that leads to a well behaved horse on grass.
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