Have I Mentioned That I Love Clicker-Trained Horses?

Atty ForsythiaHave I mentioned that I just love clicker-trained horses (or any animal, really)?

I needed to treat Atticus with White Lightning today. (I’d say “soak” because it’s easy, but “soak” is not the right word. It’s more of a “gassing” than a soaking.)

He came out, turned around in the wash stall, stayed in place while I hooked up the cross ties, and offered his foot for cleaning. All behaviors are reinforced, of course.

Then I got the materials ready (three garbage bags and three zip-lock bags, vinegar, White Lightning, and duct tape). I let him sniff each item and CT’d. Then I put his foot in the three zip-lock bags and CT’d. Then the three garbage bags – CT. Then poured in a little vinegar – CT. Then a little White Lightning. Quick! Close up the three zip-lock bags and tape them! Then tighten down on the garbage bags and tape them! CT Atty.

Now wait 30 minutes and CT Atty for standing still. He moved the other three feet slightly, but never moved the one in the bags. This is the first time that something didn’t happen to the bags and they leaked.

Another reason to love my clicker-trained horse:

Atticus has his own stall, but he sometimes feels the need to go slumming into Ollie’s stall – looking for leftovers that Ollie may have missed (yeah, right!). To try to train him to go into his own stall, I’ve been putting a bit carrot or other treat on his windowsill. After several months (a year?) of this, I started adding a tongue click when he found the carrot. Or, if there was no carrot, clicking for when his nose touched the windowsill and then I gave him whatever I had in hand.

A couple of days ago, he wanted to go into the barn, probably to pee, since they’ve been outside 24/7 for about a month. I was behind Atticus as he walked down the aisle, ahead of him were two stall openings. He looked over his left shoulder at me, then went right into HIS stall. Of course I clicked him for the right decision! He stopped and backed up a step. I fed him forward into his stall.

I love my CT horses!

About Laurie Higgins

I play with clicker training - with my horses, dogs, and cats. I also attempt to grow vegetables with the hope of one day being able to feed my family from my garden. My daughter and I are learning ballroom dancing. Well, we were. But she left me for a paying horse job, so now my husband and I are learning ballroom dancing. I'm also now helping Peggy Hogan, of Clicker Training Horses (and The Best Whisper is a Click) to teach people how to train their own horses using "clicker training".
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2 Responses to Have I Mentioned That I Love Clicker-Trained Horses?

  1. meadowmice says:

    I am so happy to find your blog! I’m a newbie to clicker training. I have four donkeys – one of which is a rescue (of sorts) who needs lots of help relaxing about letting himself be handled. Thank you for sharing your experiences. It really helps to read someone else’s observations and ideas! I’m at http://meadowmice.net .


    • Hi, I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog. I saw on your blog that you’re reading Alex’s book, which is great. I would also suggest that you check out Peggy Hogan at http://www.thebestwhisperisaclick.com and her Facebook page, Clicker Training Horses (both the group page and the business page). She has a little different take on clicker training horses. Keep on keepin’ on! 🙂


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