EQUINE CLICKER TRAINING.....
using precision and positive reinforcement to teach horses and people
About the Site
In the last 10 years, clicker training for horses has started to spread through the horse community. Many owners started to clicker train their horses after finding success with their dogs or with exotics. Others were just intrigued by the idea of teaching horses in a different way. As part of a support network for this rising interest in clicker training horses, I (Katie Bartlett) started this web site as a way for clicker trainers to share their stories, their horseís stories, training tips, and resources.†
Over the years the site has changed as I have added articles about training my own horses and what I have learned at clinics, through books, DVD's and other resources. I have spent many years (10 as of 2011) studying with Alexandra Kurland and I have written extensively about her work. I have also taken on various new horse projects including a rescue pony and some young horses. If you are interested in reading more about me, you can read more about me below.
There are two different ways to access the articles on the site. You can choose "Articles" off the menu and all the article are listed there, grouped by category. Or you if you are new to clicker training, you can choose "Clicker Basics" or "Getting Started" and those pages will suggest which articles to read (and in which order) so that you can proceed in a logical fashion. "Clicker Basics" is about the theory behind clicker training. "Getting Started" is the practical information about how you actually start clicker training.
In addition to being an educational website, this site is also intended to provide some networking information by making it easier for clicker trainers to find each other. So, one focus of this web site is to collect names of clicker trainers everywhere.† A clicker trainer is anyone who is clicker training their horse. You donít have to be a professional or someone with a lot of experience. I would encourage everyone who is clicker training to be listed here. This will provide a way for clicker trainers to find each other, whether you are looking for someone to help you, or just someone with whom to share your clicker training experiences, training ideas, and progress.† Even if you canít find someone locally, you might find someone who is willing to provide internet or phone help, or even to just be an email friend. I think that having a support network is really important, especially for those of us who are isolated from other clicker trainers, or working alongside horse owners with more traditional methods.
About me: Katherine (Katie) Bartlett
I started clicker training in the winter of 2000-2001 after buying Alexandra Kurland's first book, Clicker Training for Your Horse. I read the book and thought it sounded interesting and started playing with clicker training my horses. Since then I have been hooked. Prior to this I had spent 20+ years riding and training my own and a few other horses. I am primarily a dressage rider, although I like to jump a little (I evented when I was younger and braver) and my horses all hack out. I had always been interested in animal behavior and having a good relationship with my horse and clicker training combined all my interests together. No wonder I enjoy it so much.
I attended my first clinic with Alexandra Kurland in 2001 and was a regular attendee at the Groton clinics for about 13 years (3 times a year - that's a lot of clinics.) I originally took my OTTB gelding Willy, but after a few years I started taking Rosie, my young KWPN mare. These clinics were a great way to get her used to traveling and working in a new environment and we learned a lot about clicker training. When Rosie was about 10, I started looking for local trainers or visiting clinicians who could help me train her to upper level dressage. This has been an interesting process as many traditional trainers are not educated about clicker training and are skeptical about the value of using food.
Over the years we have found some helpful people to work with and I have enjoyed learning from Wendy Murdoch, Francois LeMaire de Ruffieu and Jose Mendez. In addition, I did regular lessons with Paul Belasik (on his horses) for 3 years and have audited and ridden a few times with Jean Luc Cornille and Mark Russell. More recently (fall 2015), I have started riding with a local GP trainer. Now that Rosie is working at third level, it was time to find regular help as I would like to teach her to do flying changes.
While Rosie has been my main focus for the last fiftteen years, I have had some other projects at the same time. I started both our young horses (Red the QH and Finale the Shire) under saddle and rehabbed a rescue pony who came with some serious issues (rearing). With clicker training I was able to re-teach her all the behaviors she needed for husbandry and handling around the barn. I also had a lot of fun with our mini and taught him both tricks and useful behaviors. He loves to fetch and stand on his pedestal. In the fall of 2013, I bought a 9 month old filly, Aurora, who will be my next riding horse. In addition, I have done some local teaching and clinics. I love to get people started with clicker training and help them when they have questions.
I think continuing education is very important and horse people can learn a lot from other clicker trainers. I've attended both the Clicker Expo and ORCA conferences a number of times and in 2013 I took Kay Laurence's Intelligent Dog Training Course (www.learningaboutdogs.com) with Rosie as my "dog." This is an intensive 2 year course (taught on-line) and at the end of it, I received my certification with endorsement from Kay Laurence. In 2015, I was asked to assist in her new course TAKL (trainer accredited by Kay Laurence) and am continuing with that this year. In 2014 I also took Dr. Susan Friedman's Living and Learning with Animals course (www.behaviorworks.org). I also coach students on Alexandra Kurland's on-line course (www.theclickercenter.com).
Clicker Training has led me to some other related interests. I started barefoot trimming in 2005 and became interested in bodywork a few years later. I started by learning level 1 of Equine Touch. In 2014 I became a Masterson Method Certified Practitioner (www.mastersonmethod.com) and now I divide my spare time (what there is of it!) between teaching/writing about clicker training and working on horses. I also love to do and teach in-hand work. A lot of times in-hand work is the bridge between bodywork and ridden work and I find it fascinating to see how I can use bodywork to release tension patterns and in-hand or groundwork to re-educate the horse about new ways to move.
If you want to know more about my own personal story (how I found clicker training and why I got hooked), you might be interested in the following articles:
Also, here is a little piece I wrote for one of the clicker lists.
I hope you will enjoy clicker training as much as I do. Good luck and have fun,
Katie Bartlett (firstname.lastname@example.org)