Patience, a "wild mustang"
We're naturally wary of gimmicks which seem to pervade the
riding and horse training industry. Most seem to be designed
to permit the handler or rider to ignore good horsemanship
techniques in favor of forcing or coercing the horse to do
something in lieu of the human learning how to properly handle
But once in a while someone develops a truly ingenious technique which doesn't replace good horsemanship, but instead addresses some specific barriers in horse training which, when removed, greatly facilitates the application of good horsemanship principles.
We have discovered the appropriate application of the click-reward system of what we call "behavioral shaping" to be an incredibly effective addition to our bag of horse training tools, especially with unduly nervous or difficult horses. Our first experiences were with a couple of very defensive mustang mares which their owners could not get close to. These mares had severely overgrown feet so we were reluctant to "work them down" in the round pen. The clicker literally delivered in minutes the kinds of results we expected to take several days, including the horses lifting their feet on verbal command and lay them quietly across my leg so that I could trim them. In addition to helping the horses focus on the desired lesson or behavior, all the horses so far seem to enjoy clicker training and have a good attitude, even during the most apprehensive types of lessons.
We don't consider ourselves as clicker experts and at the end of this document we will provide links to sites which competently discuss the depths of clicker theory, however we have learned a number of things worth sharing and those are the concepts which we are presenting here.
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