Once the horse understands that a whistle or a click means food, I can link that sound to behavior. The horse begins to learn that the only time he hears the click is when he presents certain behavior. Now it's the horse who thinks he has me trained. He's aware of the power of his own actions. Present behavior. Get treat. What a wonderful system!
Now Alexandra Kurland's classic volume on equine clicker training is available in a deluxe hardcover edition packed with full-color photographs. Produced by our British co-publisher, Ringpress, this special edition of Clicker Training for Your Horse will stand up to years of reading and reference. It also makes an elegant and enduring gift for every friend you would like to introduce to the power of clicker training.
From Abigail Curtis: I did my science fair project on learning by observation when I was in the fifth grade. We put eight ponies in a ring, tied up so that they could all see what the pony in the middle was doing. Before we brought them in we had put a treat under a bucket on a chair. Then we let one of the ponies, go and timed how long it was before the pony found the treat. The first timing was about 2 minutes (it was so long ago that I have a hard time remembering exactly what the timing was). When we let the next pony go the time was much shorter (about 30 seconds). After that all the other ponies ran straight to the chair when we let them go.
Liberty was born here to an Arab mare named Sky that I got for $300. Sky was an abuse victem. She was beautiful, and only 10, but she was unbroke, and unmanagable, terrified of people, and bred. By the time Liberty was born, I could manage Sky well enough to do foot care, etc, but I was then in the midst of a terrible divorce, and didn't do much more than toss feed to the horses during that time. Incidentally she adopted her dams attitude of dislike and disdain for people, but not the fear. When she was about 6 months old, I started attempting to create a relationship with her. And I did, unfortunately it wasn't a good one. She was completely out of control, and although it burns my pride to say so, I was afraid of her.
Alexandra Kurland earned her B.S. degree from Cornell University, where she specialized in animal behavior. In the 1980s she studied with Linda Tellington-Jones and became a TTEAM Practitioner. The other major influence on her riding at that time came from the high school dressage trainer, Bettina Drummond. In the early 1990s she added John Lyons' training into the mix to develop her own teaching program, "Riding In a State of Excellence."