Clicker Training Lessons

Book Amanda to teach you privately or in a group for:

1 hour
1.5 hours
3 hours (half day)
7.5 hours (full day)
or a weekend

To book a clicker training lesson with Amanda email her at amanda@smaarthorses.co.uk or use our contact form to the right of the page.

What does a Clicker Training Lesson Involve ?

The clicker training lessons can be any duration to suit you and your horse.  Amanda can teach for an hour, 1.5 hours, or any other time that you would like.

She is also available to come to teach you clicker training for half days and full days.  Email Amanda to find out more about her teaching you privately at your own yard for partial days (3h), full days (7.5h) or even full weekends.  You can even share your clicker training lesson with someone else at your yard if that suits you better.

Each lessons content will vary depending on the needs of you and your horse.  Amanda will discuss your goals with you then carefully and thoughtfully tailor each clicker training lesson to suit your needs and help you achieve your end goals.

The primary focus of each clicker training lesson, no matter what we are working on, is emotional and physical balance in your horse.   We will also havea  strong focus on safety as well as spending some time thinking about our own balance as we work with the horse.

Which Areas Do You Teach Clicker Training in ?

Amanda covers all of the UK and the EU.  She has many venues where she teaches and she also offers private lessons at your own yard.  To see if Amanda already teaches in your area send her an email at amanda@smaarthorses.co.uk, or check the calendar.

I don’t see any Clicker Training Lesson Days in My Area

Amanda is always adding new venues and teaching locations to her calendar.  If you don’t see your area already covered just email her at amanda@smaarthorses.co.uk to discuss the possibility of her coming to your area.

Do I Need to Bring My Own Clicker Training Treats ?

Yes, you will need to supply your own treats for the clicker training lessons.  If you are not sure what to use contact Amanda, or check our Simple System products as many of their products make great low calorie clicker training treats, to find out what would be best for your horse.

What Type of Treats should I use for my Clicker Training Lesson ?

The treat that you use for clicker training must be appealing to your horse, something that they will be eager to work to obtain.  Low calorie pony nuts are ideal.

Make sure it is something that is not high value (either taste wise or financially) or you will be stuck with using them.  Save the high value for behaviours that require much more effort, either mentally or physically.

What is clicker training ?

Clicker training is a way of training using rewards (positive reinforcement).  It is a way of saying ´yes´ to a behaviour that you want the horse to do.

It is not a training system or method, rather it is a good use of the understanding of how animals learn.  We can use this understanding to optimise learning in the real world.

Clicker training engages both the trainer and the animal as active participants in the learning process.  It is an efficient way to teach reliable and accurate behaviours in response to a cue or request from the trainer.  What develops as a result of using clicker training is a wonderful relationship between trainer and animal that has it´s foundation in mutual respect.

Body Aware Horses

This simple teaching concept begins to develop a horse who is not just wonderfully responsive, it develops a horse who is body aware.  The overall result is enhanced physical and emotional balance (a must have for a spooky or anxious horse).

Effective Training

Rewards based training is not a new concept, it has been around for almost 100 years.  Deemed the most ethical and effective way of training since it conception, it has been used by world famous animal trainers to train performance animals at zoos and aquariums etc.

How does clicker training work ?

Me and BrodyWhat we are doing when we clicker train is we are using the positive reinforcement aspect of operant conditioning (or trial and error learning) to teach the horse.

The use of treats in training has been used for a long time, however, it was noted by trainers that the time it takes between the behaviour and getting the treat to the horse was too long and could disrupt the training.

What the clicker does is ‘bridge’ the gap and tells the horse ‘yes’ at the exact moment that the behaviour happens.  It’s a bit like a camera taking a picture of an exact moment in time.  The clicker is therefore known as a ‘bridging tool’.

Positive reinforcement is a reward.  If you apply positive reinforcement as a behaviour happens you are more likely to get that behaviour to happen again.

What is positive reinforcement ?

tarp cropPositive reinforcement is the giving of something that the horse wants in response to a behaviour.  The way to tell if you are working with positive reinforcement is that the behaviour is more likely to happen again.

What is reinforcing to the horse may change and we need to understand that.  If the horse is afraid, moving their feet may be reinforcing.  If they are calm and focused, food may be reinforcing.

When we start clicker training, we set things up so that the horse is calm and relaxed so that we can use food as a reward.  Setting things up like this also allows us to teach behaviours and get them solid before we need to use them in a distracting environment.

How do rewards work ?

Rewarding a behaviour means that behaviour is more likely to happen again.
An example of this would be if you were asked to wash the dishes.  In return for washing the dishes you will get a reward of your favourite chocolate cake.
The next time you are asked to wash the dishes you are more likely to jump up to get them done because you know that you will get a piece of chocolate cake once you are finished.

Additionally, you are more likely to offer to do more work around the house if you think there is a chance you will get chocolate cake as a reward.
The same happens with clicker trained horses, they become eager to play with us and offer behaviours in return for rewards.

Do I have to use food as a reward ?Classic Football

The sound of the clicker is how the horse knows that they got the right answer.  However, you need to teach the horse that the clicker means yes, they don´t instinctively know it.  To do this, we pair the clicker with what is known as a primary reinforcer.

A primary reinforcer is something that the horse does know, instinctively, as something nice (food, water, sex, etc).  Primary reinforcers are about survival.  We use this primary reinforcer to pair with the clicker and the clicker then becomes a signal that a primary reinforcer (treat) will be delivered.
This means that food is not essential to be the treat of choice, however it is the most effective and easy to use.