- Published on Tuesday, 18 February 2014 11:05
Training with the “Soft Whip”
I have been around horses my entire life and have been privileged to work as a professional marine mammal trainer for the past 19 years. One of the best lessons the dolphins have taught me is that there is always another way to ask for the same thing! There is a kind, gentle and efficient way to communicate what you as a trainer need the animal to do.It is called clicker training! The clicker is simply a little plastic goodie that makes a click sound when pressed.
But like all training it is not a magic quick fix solution to a problem. When used properly clicker training is a valuable tool to complement any discipline of horse training and shape the desired behaviour in the animal. This training method is especially beneficial in training “husbandry behaviour” like standing for body inspections, having ears and feet worked with, standing for injections, being backed for the first time, etc. Horses with severe phobias are usually able to come to terms with their fears, becoming fairly bold after only a few clicker sessions. And the wonderful part is that the communication between handler and horse suddenly becomes a whole lot clearer. In all the years I have been applying the principles of dolphin training to horses I have never encountered a horse that was not willing to try to do the right thing.