Clicker training is a reward-based training method that focuses on building your horse’s confidence, curiosity and happiness. It works by pinpointing the moment he does the right thing with a specific marker and then rewarding it.

The marker could be a specific word or noise, such as a click — either using a clicker, which is a small box that clicks when pressed, or clicking with your tongue.

The rewards that you use can be anything your horse values, from a good scratch to a chance to graze. However, the most commonly used reward is food because it’s powerful and easy to use in training.

Before you can use clicker training, you need to first teach him what the click means and how to be polite around food.

Start while he’s standing quietly and in a place he feels relaxed, such as in his stable or an arena. Prepare your treat bag with a low-value food reward like chopped hay or unmolassed chaff.

If you need more motivation, you can use higher value rewards, such as chopped carrots or pony nuts.

Begin the session by teaching your horse that when he hears the click sound, a reward will follow. Click and then immediately feed him his reward.

You can also begin this training over a fence or stable door as he learns to wait calmly for the reward. Repeat this a few times, just clicking and feeding to help him make the association.

The next stage is to wait a moment before clicking, teaching your horse to wait calmly in his own space. Stand next to him, at which point he will probably turn to you, looking for the treats.

Block him from getting the treats and as soon as he turns his head away from you, click and reward. Repeat this until he will stand and keep his head out of your space in order to earn the click and reward.

Next teach your horse to touch a target with his nose. Begin by holding your target out to your horse, who will probably sniff it out of curiosity — click and reward that moment. Repeat this.

If he starts to look away or touch your hands instead, wait until he finds the target again and click and reward that moment. Once your horse is happily touching the target, you can move the target into different positions.

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