I always warn people that keeping a horse can be a hazardous business. I remember the day my best friend bought a beautiful young Frisian stallion and I warned her:”Be careful. Keeping horses and taking care of them can be dangerous.”
The first day her finger got stuck between the stall door. And a few days later her other finger got caught in the lead rope while she was tying her horse. Well, it was her first horse, what can I say… Horses and or being around them can be dangerous.
Yesterday I wanted to do some clicker training sessions with Kyra. I am participating in a Clicker Challenge on Facebook. The end goal is to position the horse 1 meter in front of a pedestal made of 2 little blocks of wood or stepping stones, give your horse a cue to mount the stones, let him stand for 20 seconds, reward and then dismount backing up.
Anyway, Kyra’s best motivator is food, so that’s the reward I use the most.
Dangers of working with food as reinforcers
I think everyone has heard about the dangers working with food as a training tool. Yesterday I got hurt for the first time!
I am not talking about the myths about using food as training tool, like ‘your horse will become pushy and will mug you‘ or ‘your horse will try to bite you in order to get the food’. We all know that this is key lesson #1 in clicker training: teaching your horse to behave around food. Here I am talking about something else. Let me explain.
I was preparing the treats. I wasn’t paying attention, which was my mistake, and I cut my thumb! Ouch! It was a really deep cut and I can tell you it hurt. Badly. It was bleeding and bleeding and wouldn’t stop at first. Arggg, I just had my camera set-up and was planning to video my training.
Although the pain was bad, worst of all: it is my favourite clicker thumb, my left one. Now what? Pressing a clicker with the top of your thumb hanging loose wasn’t an option. And although it wasn’t a very nice experience, I had to laugh a little at myself. I am always telling people that there is no danger in working with food as training tool… Now I am injured. Worst of all: by myself. Please don’t laugh.
Any way, I just want to warn you all: PAY ATTENTION while cutting your apples and carrots. Or be safe and choose grain, pellets or treats you don’t have to cut. Just saying… horse training can be a hazardous business. 🙂
PS I did train and used my right hand to click and feed. A bit ungainly but
the show training must go on. Kyra didn’t care about my injury. I think she was just thrilled that I trained her anyway. Left or right hand, a click sounds like a click.
Join our Community!
- Are you looking for professional positive reinforcement advice?
- Do you want an affordable program?
- Do you want to turn your equestrian dreams into reality, but you don’t know where to start?
If you have answered ‘Yes’ to one or more of the above questions look into one of the online programs HippoLogic has to offer.
Join our community for online positive reinforcement training tips, personal advice and support in training your horse.
Shape the community
If you’re interested to become a member of the HippoLogic tribe, please tell me what you want in this short questionnaire. Thanks a lot!
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 always aim for win-win!
Sign up for my newsletter (it comes with a gift) here: HippoLogic’s website.
Take action. Start for free!
Book a free 60 minute Discovery Session to get a glimpse of a new future with your horse. In this conversation we’ll explore:
- Your hopes and dreams and goals so that we can see what’s possible for you and your horse
Your Key to Success
- Where you’re now, where you want to go and which path is right for you
- What’s holding you back so you can make a plan to get these hurdles out of your way.
At the end of the call I’ll give you some ideas and advice for your next step and if it looks like a fit, we can explore what it looks like to work together.
Simply check the best time for you in my online calendar and click to reserve your free call today.