Equine Clicker Training
If you are just getting started, be sure to read the answers to frequently asked questions on the FAQ's page. A lot of basic material is covered there. If you are looking for a clicker trainer, the members page lists horses owners and trainers who are available for help with clicker training.
Here is a list of articles on this web site and a few others. There are also training tips in the "food for thought" section on the home page. Articles without a specified author were written by me (Katie Bartlett). There is more training information in the "Clinics" section that is accessible from the sidebar menu on the home page.
The Three Part Series on Using Clicker Training with Operant Conditioning (these are all available as pdf files by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org to request them). To view and download them directly, click on four_quadrants.pdf, negative_reinforcement.pdf, or plus_r_training.pdf.
Part 1: An in-depth look at using the 4 quadrants of operant conditioning and how it applies to clicker training. This article focuses on the more theoretical side of clicker training and how it relates to operant conditioning. It contains an explanation of the terminology mixed with some real life examples. If you wonder if clicker training is all positive reinforcement or how to integrate clicker training into an existing program, this article should give you some answers. It is the first of a 3 part series on the four quadrants. (March 2009).
Part 2: How to use Negative Reinforcement as a clicker trainer: This is the second in a series of articles on the more theoretical side of clicker training. I suggest you read the 4 quadrants article first if you are not familiar with the 4 quadrants of operant conditioning. (May 2009).
Part 3: Thinking Outside the Box: Tips on capturing, shaping and getting your horse to offer behavior using +R. This is the third and final article in the series on clicker training and operant conditioning (Feb 2010).
Clicker Expo 2010: My report on the sessions I attended at Clicker Expo in Kentucky in March 2010. (April 2010)
Loopy Training: A post I wrote for the_click_that_teaches list about Alexandra Kurland's Loopy Training model for good clicker training (November 2009).
Improve Your Clicker Training Skills: suggestions for ways to supplement your clicker training time with other activities that will make you a better clicker trainer. A good list for things to do in the winter if you can't get out and train (September 2009).
Clicker Expo 2009: Some notes from the sessions I attended at Clicker Expo in Providence RI. (April 2009)
Taking Clicker Expo Back to the Horses: This is a follow-up article on what I have been doing with my horses since Clicker Expo and how I have been integrating microshaping, secondary reinforcers and backchaining into my riding sessions. (May 2008)
Clicker Expo 2008: Some news and tips from my Clicker Expo Sessions in Kentucky 2008. I went to sessions on conditioning secondary reinforcers, backchaining, cue control, poisoned cues, broken clicks, TAGteach and guide dogs (April 2008)
Stella: an introduction and overview of training the latest member of the Bartlett herd. Stella came from a rescue and needed some training.
Should you click offered behaviors? A look at stimulus control. Clicker trained horses love to offer behaviors off cue and it is one of their charms that they are so enthusiastic, but should you click offered behaviors? Is it possible to click offered behaviors without losing all stimulus control? Here is a look at how offered behavior fits into the structure of training and how to decide whether or not to click. (April 2007)
How to Interpret and Manage Energy, Excitement and Tension. Some thoughts on how to handle energy and emotions in our horses. If you feel like your training is being controlled by your horse's mental state and energy level, this article may give you some ideas for addressing that. (March 2007)
Biting Solutions by Arlene Colon: Do you have a horse that nips at you when you are handling it? Arlene was dealing with this problem in her own horse and wrote a detailed post describing her approach to the problem.
The stages of clicker training by Elaine Elmer - A look at the stages of clicker training, from the first light bulb moment to a more advanced understanding. This article has useful information about how to tell where your horse is, and where he needs to go next. A great overview of the development of a clicker trained horse.
Mat work by Margaret Leach
- Mat work can be invaluable for teaching horses to
stand still and sending them to a location. But it can be used for much more.
Margaret describes how she has used mat work in her training and has created a
chart showing how mat work can be used to teach everything from ground tying to
- Mat work can be invaluable for teaching horses to stand still and sending them to a location. But it can be used for much more. Margaret describes how she has used mat work in her training and has created a chart showing how mat work can be used to teach everything from ground tying to liberty work.
Measuring our Progress by Melissa M. - What can you do in a year with a horse that isn't ready to ride? Melissa looks back at all the things she has taught her mare Ruby. A great resource for those of you with young horses to show how all those little training sessions add up.
Using clicker training for neurological rehabilitation of a horse by Margaret Leach - We all know that clicker training is great for working through aggression and fear issues and for teaching fun new skills, but what about using it to help a horse overcome a serious medical problem. Margaret's mare Serena suffered a severe neurological problem, so severe that she could barely walk in a straight line. Here is the story of her illness and how Margaret used clicker training to help Serena relearn how to organize her own body to become rideable again.
Ways to use cones in liberty or lunging work - Most of us use cones to mark places for the rider or handler, but how about teaching your horse to respond to the placement of cones. Here is the story of how I started using cones in round pen work and ended up being able to use cone gates to exercise my horse at liberty in an assortment of patterns and at different gaits.
Clicker Training Foals to Halter and Lead by Barbara Ray - do you have a new foal you would like to start with clicker training? Barbara has many years of experience teaching foals basic handling skills in a gentle and positive way. She explains how to teach your foal about pressure and release and how to follow your feel.
Ears Forward of Happy Faces: A story and some strategies and tips - Do you have a grumpy horse? Are you interested in teaching ears forward but not sure how to do it? Are you wondering if it will make any difference? This article documents how I trained Rosie to put her ears forward and how it changed our relationship.
Duration: Training Strategies and how to develop duration in the clicker trained horse An in-depth look at duration in the clicker trained horse. What is duration? How can I train a horse that works for longer periods of time? This article has strategies and tips for starting to work on extending behaviors for longer periods of time. It also has information about how to build duration without sacrificing quality, and how to help your horse develop the emotional stability it needs to be successful at working for longer periods of time without a click.
The Nudge: Stella offers some insight into how we interpret what our horses do.
Connecting SRR (single rein riding) to traditional cues: moving the shoulders. An explanation of how to use single rein riding to teach your horse to turn while remaining balanced and light.
Single Rein Riding: Practical applications and integration with work on two reins: A look at how I use single rein riding as both a teaching tool and as part of my every day riding. (September 2007, Katie Bartlett)
Useful articles on other web sites are:
How to keep everything going smoothly by Ilse de Wit on the Canadian Clicker Centre Web Site – this is a shortened version of what is known as the “cranky horse thread” on the clickryder list. For the original version, you can visit the crankyhorsediscussion in the clickryder files area. The cranky horse article is for those of you that start clicker training with your polite horse and end up with a food motivated, mugging monster. It is also recommended reading for anyone just getting started as it will help you avoid creating such a monster in the first place.
Clicker Training Builds Relationships by Julie Varley as published in The Natural Horse Magazine. Julie Varley and her mare Allie are one of the stars of Alexandra Kurland's clinics and demonstrations at Equine Affaire. Here is Julie's account of how she got started and where clicker training has taken her.
You can also find links to some training articles on the links page.