A beginner clinic is just that. No prior clicker training experience is required of either the horse or the handler. The clinics will cover in detail the six foundation lessons of clicker training:
- Targeting : Teaching your horse to touch a target – used to introduce the horse to the clicker. From this simple exercise we can progress to a range of games (fetch and football, for example) and other useful behaviours, such as ‘touch the scary object’, put a bit in your mouth, take a wormer, etc.
- Backing: Which teaches the horse to stay back out of your space as well as how to get his weight back onto his hind end.
- Head Lowering: A very powerful exercise which teaches your horse to calm down – even under stressful conditions.
- The Grown-ups are Talking: We all want polite mannerly horses. This game helps them to stand quietly beside us without fussing – they learn not to interrupt.
- Stand on the Mat: This gives us ground tying together with body awareness and balance in our horses. Ground tying means that our horses learn to stay put, even when they are not tied-up.
- Happy Faces: It’s hard to smile and be grumpy at the same time. We can teach our horses to look and feel happy with this simple exercise. It’s an exercise that also teaches how to ‘shape’ or ‘capture’ a behaviour.
For the human participants, there’s a lot to learn too and we spend most of the time teaching the handlers the skills that are needed. For this we use human ‘horses’ quite a bit!
- Good rope handling skills: so we can get what we ask from our horses while being soft, but very clear, in our requests.
- Balance and stability: which helps us to safely work with everything from bog ponies to half tonne horses on the ground
- Relationship building: how we can build trust and have good fun while training our horses.
These lessons introduce the handler to the principles of clicker training. They give you tools to build polite manners and great emotional self-control in your horse. Clicker training creates eager, enthusiastic horses. We also want to be certain that it also creates polite, good “citizens”, Just like Kindergarten for children, these simple lessons are fun, easy for the horse to learn, but so important for building a solid, “good citizen” foundation.
Practical Stuff (for those organising a clinic):
Start-up clinics take place normally over three days. On a start-up clinic, we have up to 10 people with up to a max of five horses which allows us a good amount of time with each. We will need stables/stalls or small paddocks for the initial stages of training. We spend 7-8 hours each day playing, working, discussing etc..
We also need an area where we can all sit and chat (hay bales in the barn aisle work perfectly!) and a supply of tea, coffee, etc. We use lots of energy during our clinics and a good lunch is essential. Treats for horses should also be provided. We usually use carrots and apples to start with as these can be chopped into chunks about ½ inch square (bring a sharp knife and chopping board and lots of carrots and apples!). In the initial stages, while the horse is learning, we use LOTS of treats – this reduces as the horse understands the lesson.
If you have any questions or need further information re pricing etc, you can contact me by email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: Mary (353) 87-1370162