I love the responses to my first thread but I couldn't blab anymore, there was no more room reply to Sarah's cool posting about orienteering... my kind of thing... I see me and Oliver out on the trails as soon as I can figure out my stranger danger thing... for sure... today at liberty we walked over the logs I have in my arena and clicked each time he went over one, he didn't like the puddle though so that's a new thing to work on, we played in the water, advance and retreat games we did, and my circle game .... then I worked him on the line which I mean haltering him without him exasperating me when  he tried to run off with it and put it in his mouth and shake his head.... but no laughing either... ... remember, my first objective was to get the chip off his shoulder and to keep him from pulling the rope away and running off with my arm, LOL... so when there was no slack in the rope I was patient, when he had slack I clicked him yes, when he would walk with slack I made a fool out of myself with praise and now he's leading really nice woohoo and we are doing obstacles... Sarah, my area of handsen dam has an orienteering game, a poker ride, tons of stuff but I don't ever do anything, the Christmas Parade, but we'll get there.... :)  we have competitive trailrides too, cow sorting all sorts of cool stuff... we live in an entirely equestrian neighborhood... Oliver has a bad rep around town though, uh oh... LOL...

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I have a friend, Gerri, that lives in Concho, Az. She clicker trains and swears by it; I've never tried it. I believe that the training/teaching only stops when I no longer own the horse, so it might be something fun to teach both my horses. It sounds like you and Oliver are well on your way to accomplishing your gaols. Oliver might have a bad rep now, but that can change. Roping is the equine sport of choice around here, I don't rope, so I'm left out. My husband and I like to trail ride, I did some cow sorting when we lived in Az., I had a blast.
Well today was a good day for me but I'm not sure for everyone else Friday is hang out with trainer day... ... Steve seemed frustrated, to which i decided he could only handle so much clicker training, lol Oliver got confused, which made him act like he usually doesn't and yet I kept doing what I was doing and I got what I wanted which was he did not take the rope away from me but kept slack in it and I even turned him all the way around easily when he tried to do his jerky move.... so for me, I was happy... nobody else really got the subtle amazingness that was going on so I'm telling you, lol cuz you will.... Steve said, "you have to keep practicing that clicker stuff so I understand it better" and I decided he'd had enough for one day, LOL but he's open so that's a good thing..... he said my energy was up when I was rewarding and that was getting oliver up... "exactly" I thought... that was my point..... and he got it but he didn't see it as a good thing..... so behavior modication of all of us is going to take time... but I had a fairly soft, still goofy, slack lined horse walking and leading..... I think Steve is concerned that he's doing things for food..... not understanding that the clicker is the bridge reward.... but I'll keep at it till he is amazed.. and I bet it takes about another month..... we are doing so much better than even two weeks ago.... he is a criticizer though..... and he gets nervous when I have trouble... isn't that funny? such a guy.. wants to rush in and fix it instead of going through the uncomfortableness of the project when it isn't working.. Practice ain't pretty!! I worked with Oliver some more today by myself and he does get a little pissy for his reward and impatient.. but oh well, that's not what we are looking for...... and he eventually corrects himself... that is what I'm looking for. :)

With Toby, while he is a great and easy horse to lead, because he's had a zillion owners, my goal was to "teach" him to walk at my shoulder...... moving him forward up to where he met my shoulder and then clicking... if he lagged behind I kept asking till he moved forward... the second his body was in the exact position I wanted, his distance, speed, shoulder placement, head placement, I clicked and treated... by the end of our arena walk he was on a loose line, shoulder to shoulder and now we can start more speed control.... click.. it's fun to see them learn. :)
Isn't amazing how it can all fall apart when there is an audience?

For the problems (?) with the food reward a suggestion. Try transitioning him to seeing praise as an award. The first few times give him the praise first, then the food (like GOOD BOY, then the treat), then see if he has learned to like praise, and if he has use praise instead of a treat. When he understands it then you can praise for longer. I have never handled a horse that did not love being praised for catching on to what I am trying to communicate. Remember, the new signal first, then the old signal, horses understand this.
You and I are generally on the same page at exactly the same time ms. Jackie..... over weeks now, I use the clicker to praise him even if I don't have food..... but he gets it... they eventually look for the click....... they totally bridge..... and then he knows somewhere down the line he'll get the reward and I do love to use my voice for praise.. he is really changing... remember, he's been rewarded through release of pressure, and to a guy and many trainers that is praise, .. thankfully he's never been mishandled by Steve.... at all..... but to actually receive praise, no, Oliver is not used to that.. nor alot of petting, touching, any of that...... but he does like it..... but I don't ever give him food if he's pestering me, I never have.... but the funny thing is he is looking for food.... I'll break him of it..... he doesn't grab things or pick them up with his mouth anymore and he drops stuff now...... it's a modification of behavior that just takes practice don'tcha think... and ya, the audience thing is a crack up... it all falls apart is right... I even said at the beginning... we are practicing if you want to watch.. we are not here to put on a show... :)
it sounds like you are really starting to work with your horse, unfortunatly I don't like clicker training because I think its almost like teaching a horse tricks. I would much rather not have to lean on a clicker as guidance but more of the handler. For me I don't want to carry a clicker everywhere I go, and i would like to know my horse will do it for me, not for a click and reward. This is also isn't good for resale, if the horse won't do it without a click, chances are he doesn't have the trust or respect yet to do it for you unless he finds it as a know how to get food or a click. Take this with a grain of salt, at the end of the day its your horse. BTW I have a 2 year old by the name of Olliver, he is a very good lad, and I have started to work with chris irwin work, along with bits and pieces of my own ideas.
I think all training is only as good as the next person that takes over your horse..... :) clicker is a tool... what is your tool for releasing pressure when your horse gives you the response you want???? it's the same thing is all..... it isn't really all that complicated.... it has sped up my horses training is all..... I take everything with a grain of salt, but it works for me and Oliver.. he really is happy!!
everyone has their perception also...... to me, when you can ride your horse and do flying lead changes, that is a trick..... getting them to walk over a puddle on a trailride, that is a trick, even having them stand tied is a trick.... horses aren't doing what they want to do when they around us, so let's not kid ourselves.... ... everyone believes that their training method is a good one because their horse is doing what they ask..... who really cares how we get there...I'm looking for an attitude adjustment....... that is alot different than teaching a trick..... he is just a new horse is all I can really say and he likes to do our lessons.... and he's not standing in my face anymore which is super cool..... he's thinking to back up on his own... that is a behavior modification.... :)
A click is not a cue, however, it merely bridges the cue with the desired behaviour. So once a behaviour is learned, it does not require the click any more, merely the cue. The reward is phased out in the learning process, so that a food reward is not required (imagine - you would NEVER stop feeding treats if this were the case!). It is similar to other learning systems in that the aim is for the cue to become lighter and more refined, and the response more immediate and genuine. You use clicker training WITH pressure/release - all it does is refines the correct response to pressure. However I think in some ways, clicker training is very good for humans as you have to be sure of what you want and what you are training...
I realized that yesterday Camilla..... it is a teaching tool huh.. once they learn it, it doesn't seem necessary anymore..... and I'm not needing it as much. Both of my horses have sure learned a few things lately though, quicker and more easily and with more enthusiasm... :) and it is good for me to be able to get what I want the second it happens, so yes, it is good for the human. :) Thanks for your response!!
I suspect that the click trains the human as well as the horse--gee, two trained beings from one click! Sounds efficient to me.
It took a loooong time for my first horse to teach me the proper time to end an aid (ie. immediately). It seems that the clicker training is training you to time and release your aids correctly. I am impressed, it had not occured to me that clicker training would actually train the horseman as well as the horse.
Good work Jennifer, I'm proud of you.
Thanks Jackie!! Today I hung out with my trainer and we talked... I showed him something I taught my horse Toby that took about 6 years, yet one day with my clicker.. maybe because of me.... not having a clear picture of what a release is but with the clicker he and I are on the same page even if my body language isn't right... that I can perfect, and I asked Steve for his help today. We worked on, without a clicker, what is your "release"... show me, explain it to me so other people will understand it.... so we worked on it.. I still think it's nebulous and takes timing on the teacher and the horses part.. but back to Toby. ..... picture this..

He's at my shoulder and I have a long whip.. of which he has been terrified of, couldn't even touch him with it for 6 years... All I wanted was for him to walk with me when I stood shoulder to shoulder pointed forward and raised the crop.... he would back up..... the cue was in my mind to move forward.. anyway, the second he thought about moving forward when I kept the pressure on, I clicked and within like 15 minutes one session he was walking forward.. that I showed steve today... now toby and I can walk side by side and start doing our speed controls and stuff but he would back away from the crop before. my pony is at my right shoulder and the riding whip is in my left hand, and I'm pointing it behind us, off the ground, clucking and asking him to move forward.... if he moves forward, I drop the crop tip back down and quit bugging him... .. somehow, now, I can rub him all over with the whip...... it happened that fast... it was interesting to me....

Steve and I both did a demonstration for each other of getting Oliver away from his feed, out of his stall at liberty..... he showed me evertime I lost the connection with my horse.. interesting.... with my clicker I would have had a much better connection, but it forced me to learn how not to break the connection without it.... I think students would benefit from learning the release because I think we do more pressure and not a good release and that is why our communication is lesser than a pro... :) anyway mine... in my heart and in my head I want to give my horse the release that he understands...... but, I see that I am the one blowing it eventhough I wanted it so bad... so when I got to click when I got what I wanted, they still licked and chewed, and they learned really fast.. isn't that interesting??? wow, awesome....

but may I say I almost fell over when I heard THIS? "Wow Jennifer, Oliver is getting so easy to ride in the last few times... he has such a willingness to move forward, it's really nice to ride him, he wasn't like that before, he balked more".... Steve told me this today.. is that interesting?
The more I hear of your success with Oliver using the clicker, the more I'm thinking I might give it a try with Rip. I use pressure/release with Rip just like I do with Star, a release with her is easy to give/she understands pressure/release very well, somehow it's harder with Rip, not really understanding why that is. Sometimes he seems to find the pressure...insulting I guess is a good word, and seems to become frustrated before he 'gives' and maybe doesn't recognize the release as the reward, but sees the release as him 'winning the battle'...Maybe it's just the difference in the two horses' (I hesitate to use the word personalities but not sure which word to use), I'm not really sure, maybe he's not understanding the release, maybe I'm not making it a clear release, all I know is I need something to help Rip and I move forward with our training. Getting some really good info from the thread, thanks Jennifer for starting it, and good work with Oliver and helping Steve to understand it better. Even trainers can learn new things.


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