Fun Things to Train
Fun things to do with the clicker:
If you have any further information
1.Teach your horse to put on his halter (the goal being to hold the halter
up, and he puts his head in)
2. Get a bike horn, or any bell, and have him learn to "play" them
3. Can he fetch items yet?
4. Teach him his body parts: his ears, eyes, nose, etc.
5. Teach him to smile
6. Teach him to lower his head.
7. Wave a flag?
8. Touch his toes?
9. Roll a ball?
10. Say YES (nod) or NO (move left/right/left)?
I taught my gelding his body parts, as a means of getting him comfortable
being handled. He used to be ear/head shy. In one twenty minute session,
he learned to put his ear in my outstretched, cupped hand (Rocky gave a
great breakdown of the steps just a day or two ago*).
After the ears, we moved to the eyes. By then he'd picked up on the "game",
and it went pretty fast. I use the same approach to the body parts as I
did with the targeting game. In lieu of the horse touching an object with
his nose, I want the horse to target my HAND with the specified body part.
Just like you help a horse learn to target by making it easy for them to
bump into the object, I had my hand approach say, his eye. Right on the
comfort side of his discomfort threshold, I'd click him. Then his comfort
zone stretched progressively, until he'd allow my cupped hand to cover his
I tend to yak alot when I'm with him, so I probably was saying the cue word
("eye - where's your eye"?) all along. Now I can hold my outstretched,
cupped hand anywhere, give him the verbal cue, and he walks over and gently
places his eye in my hand. He's pretty cool.
The smile is easy. You're just clicking the horse for something he already
does naturally - the flehman response (you know, when they've smelled or
tasted something new, and they stick their heads in the air and curl their
upper lip up towards their nostrils). All you have to do is find something
that induces your horse to do the flehman response. Sometimes a new treat
will do it, or something very sweet. As soon as that lip goes up, click and
treat; build in your verbal and physical cue (I point to my own mouth and
say "smile"!), and you're on your way to having a smiling horse. Your
friends and neighbors will be amazed.
prepared to CT my friend's hard to catch horse, Licorice. She
said that Licorice turns her butt to you when you take out
the halter, or runs away. She wants to be able to catch the
horse, and asked me to help.
I spent maybe an hour total, in 10-15 min. sessions, and
ended with her horse putting it's own head in the halter
and waiting patiently for me to buckle it. I repeatedly
put the halter on and off (over 10 times) in the last two
The horse was so ear-shy to begin with, that I had to
pause in the halter-lesson to desensitize her ears to
my touch. Licorice gave in on that issue almost totally!
I thought she would hang onto that problem, but when
I showed her that my hand could touch and slide gently
over her ears, she was willing to trust me. CT is
Course, I had to start with my hand at the edge of her
comfort zone for the ears... and that was about 8 inches
from her head!!! Then I pressed on, slowly. I alternately
petted her neck and face while I worked the ears.
When I left, Licorice was racing me to the gate, not
wanting me to leave. (isn't that what CT is all
about!?...a willing partner...*sigh*)
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